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Tuesday, March 6, 2018
MRC's Latest Fox News-Shaped Blind Spot
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center spent a lot of time complaining that media outlets were surprised that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's sister, who represented the country at the opening ceremony of the Olympics, wasn't an ogre or a terrible person. Nicholas Fondacaro, for instance, whined that "Despite the fact her job entailed censorship and glorifying public executions, numerous outlets had touted her for 'stealing the show,' winning 'diplomatic gold,' being the 'Ivanka Trump of North Korea,' and hyping the extremely creepy North Korean cheerleading group."

But there was one media outlet curiously missing from the MRC's scorn, and we're pretty sure you can figure out what it is.

A Feb. 9 video on the Fox News website carried the headline "Kim Jong Un's sister steals show at Olympic ceremony." Repoter Greg Palkot stated: "Stealing the show today, the sister of the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. She was interacting and very friendly whith South Korean president Moon, especially with a unified Korean team." But that segment never got singled out by the MRC.

In the midst of a Twitter argument with the MRC's Fondacaro and Fox News media reporter Brian Flood, CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy pointed out that both Fox and the MRC omitted the Fox segments fawning over Kim's sister from its attacks on similar coverage elsewhere. In a poor attempt at deflection, Fondacaro wouldn't talk about why the MRC tave Fox News a pass, instead huffing that Darcy was "trying to make it about Fox News," then huffed further, "Quit trying to change the subject." Darcy helpfully added: "I don’t think the MRC is allowed to criticize fox!"

True dat. The MRC's Fox News-shaped blind spot just keeps getting bigger.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:25 AM EST
Monday, March 5, 2018
Russia Has Another Comrade at WND
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Over the past few years, WorldNetDaily has gotten unusually cozy with Russia and Vladimir Putin. The motherland gained another comrade in Hanne Herland, whose Feb. 22 WND column praises how Christian Russia has become:

The growing tendency to persecute Christians in the West worries many. In an interview after the 2016 meetings between the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis in Cuba, the patriarch stated: “I strongly believe that we should work together in order to save our society from de-Christianization – because, facing increasing atheistic pressure, which has become quite aggressive in some countries, Christians are being squeezed out of public life. In a sense, we may say that Christians are uncomfortable in many developed countries today. Christians are under pressure. All this indicates that we are dealing with a dangerous, critical situation, with regard to Christian reality and Christian presence.”

Many would be amazed, reading these words. It is indeed, to a Westerner, surprising to see that a country such as Russia, which before used to be an atheist state, now is leading the fight for the Christian faith internationally. It illustrates quite well that some of the information given to the public through the mainstream media is not exactly balanced. We hardly ever hear about Russia’s defense of Christianity. In fact, it is hard to find any positive comments about this large nation at all.


The speech of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, held at the 28th session of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, 2015, stands out as a relevant illustration. Lavrov is among the non-Western leaders who voices, on a regular basis, concern about the aggressive secularism in the West and the persecution of Christians, as morality and traditional national, cultural and religious identity is eroding in Europe. At the Council, he noted: “Christianity is the world’s largest religion in terms of both the number of its supporters and its worldwide presence. After all, every country has at least one Christian community. … I also have to mention the problems experienced by Christians in a number of Western European states, where for some reason it has become politically incorrect to identify oneself as a Christian, and where people are even starting to become uncomfortable with Christian values that form the foundation of the European civilization.”

History may explain part of the reason for this new Russian approach. After the fall of the Soviet Union, most Russians were weary of the anti-traditionalist, atheist, Communist society they felt had limited them for so long. Many welcomed the new freedoms of religion, and today around 70 percent of the Russian people are Christians. This implies massive movements within society to return to the old, cultural greatness of the Russian state.

How strange it is to see a Russian speak like this, while our own progressive political leaders steadily make the point of omitting references to our religious heritage when they speak. The world is truly changing when one has to look to Russia to find support for Christianity in the West.

Herland doesn't mention that Putin considers the Russian Orthodox Church to be an unofficial arm of the government and part of his propaganda machine -- a merging of church and state not permitted in the U.S.

As a result, there is no real religious freedom in Putin's Russia. Merely protesting the construction of a Russian Orthodox church can get you arrested. In addition, the church is virulently anti-gay and helped to relax laws against domestic violence.

That's not a brand of Christianity Herland ought to feel comfortable defending -- especially if it comes from a country that is trying to meddle in U.S. politics.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:54 PM EST
CNS Censors HUD Secretary's Prolifigate Spending Habits

Editor in chief Terry Jeffrey is's go-to guy on federal spending, particularly of the wasteful variety. A couple weeks ago, for instance, Jeffrey penned an entire article about how "The federal government is funding a clown school located in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco-based congressional district that has classes and workshops on 'Precision Idiocy' and how to act like a 'Buffoon,'" as well as another article about food stamp fraud.

But one of CNS' favorite conservatives, Ben Carson -- CNS llikes it when Carson denigrates the transgender community or invokes God as a Republican supporter -- has been accused of wasteful spending of his own as head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Reports have surfaced that Carson attempted to spend $31,000 on a dining set for his office suite, while another HUD oficial reportedly said that "$5,000 will not even buy a decent chair." A HUD employee who complained about the expenses was reportedly demoted and reassigned to a new job.

That's the kind of wasteful spending that should be up Jeffrey's alley. But neither he nor anyone else at CNS has reported a word about this to their readers.

Funny how Jeffrey's only interested in wasteful spending when it involves people or causes he doesn't like. But that's a pattern for the obsequiously pro-Trump CNS under Jeffrey; as we've already documented, CNS was days behind the rest of the media in reporting on HHS Secretary Tom Price's extravagent spending on private charter flights, waiting until literally an hour before he resigned over it to do its very first article.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:33 PM EST
WND (And Chuck Norris) Still Won't Correct That False 'Scripted Question' Story
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The Media Research Center isn't the only ConWeb outlet to hide the truth about a story tied to the Florida school shooting from its readers.

An Anonymously written Feb. 22 WND article recounted how "A teen survivor of the tragic Parkland, Florida, school shooting claims he turned down an invitation to participate in a CNN town hall Wednesday evening because the network gave him a list of 'scripted questions' to ask." WND did note CNN's denial of Haab's claim, then added that "It wouldn’t be the first time CNN has been accused of featuring political plants at its town hall forums."

The next day, WND got a comment from Chuck Norris, of all people, about Haab's story:

Progressives are on the warpath to restrict free speech and guns, and they even tried it with Colton Haab. Thank God, Colton was not afraid to stand up to suppressors of free speech. Rather than suppress Colton’s freedoms and solutions, CNN should have elevated and highlighted them.


Thank God there are still young men like Colton Haab who realize suppression in any form is just a return to life under the British Crown. And if we’re going to protect the children across this land, we’re going to have to call up the reserves and do it ourselves instead of waiting on Washington.

WND also stuck a reference to it into another Feb. 23 article, which noted that Haab "claims CNN wanted to censor his views at a town hall."

Just one problem: Haab's story isn't true.

As we documented when the MRC's Nicholas Fondacaro peddled the story, CNN has since released the full email exchange between it and Haab's family, and it revealed that the emails released by Haab's family to the media were altered to make it look like CNN look bad. Haab's father has now conceded that he altered the CNN emails.

But like Fondacaro, WND has refused to report that CNN has been vindicated, apparently out of hatred of CNN. Shouldn't a business that purports to be a "real news" operation, as WND's Joseph Farah claims it is, want to do something about the fact that the story it published three articles about has been discredited? That's not helping to change WND's well-earned reputation for publishing fake news.

Likewise, we could also find no evidence that Norris has retreacted his defense of Haab now that his story has been discredited. C'mon, Chuck, what's the holdup?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:36 AM EST
Sunday, March 4, 2018
CNS Article on Hope Hicks Resignation Reads Like A WH Press Release

The White House doesn't appear to have written a full press release about the departure of Hope Hicks as the Trump White House' communications director. But if it had, it would read a lot like Melanie Arter's Feb. 28 article about it.

Arter's article is chock-full of press release-eseand nothing but congratulatory statements:

White House Communications Director Hope Hicks is resigning to explore opportunities outside of the White House, having served in that role since September, the White House announced Wednesday.

The exact date of Hicks’ departure is yet to be determined, but it’s expected to be sometime in the next few weeks.


“There are no words to adequately express my gratitude to President Trump. I wish the President and his administration the very best as he continues to lead our country," Hicks said in a statement.

"Hope is outstanding and has done great work for the last three years. She is as smart and thoughtful as they come, a truly great person. I will miss having her by my side but when she approached me about pursuing other opportunities, I totally understood. I am sure we will work together again in the future,” Trump said in a statement.

“When I became Chief of Staff, I quickly realized what so many have learned about Hope – she is strategic, poised and wise beyond her years. She became a trusted adviser and counselor and did a tremendous job overseeing the communications for the President’s agenda including the passage of historic tax reform. She has served her country with great distinction. To say that she will be missed, is an understatement," White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said in a statement.

Hicks “approached the president and told him she wanted to leave so she could start exploring opportunities outside of the WH,” the White House said.

As a longtime Trump stenographer, Arter fails to mention the actual events that may have precipitated Hick's resignation, regardless of the cheery fluff being peddled.

As an actual news outlet reported, Hicks' resignation comes a day after  she testified before the House Intelligence Committee and admitted that she sometimes tells "white lies" as part of her job.

Hicks was also involved in another very recent high-profile controversy. She is the (apparently now ex-) girlfriend of White House staffer Rob Porter, who was forced to resign after his history of spousal abuse was made public. And as a different actual news outlet reported, Hicks may have helped draft a White House statement defending Porter before the scandal fully expoded.

Arter is such a dutiful stenographer for the White House press office anyway, she might as well be on Trump's payroll.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:37 PM EST
WND's Farah Pushes Zombie Lies to Attack Obama's Foreign Policy
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's recent near-death experience didn't keep editor Joseph Farah from rehashing old, discredited anti-Obama conspiracy theories.

In a Feb. 22 column ranting about President Obama's purported "political crimes," Farah cited -- with an assist from the right-wing American Spectator -- what he claimed were "six instances of Obama interfering in the national politics of other countries." At least two of them are bogus non-scandals WND has tried to puff up over the years.

Farah wrote, "He did it in Israel in an attempt to deny Benjamin Netanyahu the prime minister position." That's a reference to State Department money going to a group in Israel for a completely unrelated project, though that infrastructure was later used in a campaign against Netanyahu in 2015 Israeli elections. As we pointed out the last time WND try to portray this as a scandal, a Senate subcommittee found that the grup fully complied with the terms of the original grant, no grant money was used in the election, and the State Department placed no limitations on the post-grant use of those resources.

Farah also wrote, "He did it in Kenya as a U.S. senator who went to the aid of one of his corrupt relatives, Raila Odinga." (The Specator article actually cited WND's Jerome Corsi as evidence of this.) This is one of WND's zombie lies, as we've also pointed out; Obama remained neutral in Kenyan politics and did not support Odinga during his 2006 trip to Kenya, and though Odinga attended some of Obama's events while Obama was in Kenya and clearly wanted to associate himself with Obama, there's no evidence that Obama "openly supported" Odinga.

Farah wasn't done, of course; he also write that Obama "did it famously in Egypt by supporting a Muslim Brotherhood fanatic to replace a pro-American, pro-West president, Hosni Mubarak." That's not true either; Obama supported a democratic political process post-Mubarak in which the Egyptian people elected Muslim Brotherhood-linked Mohammed Morsi, not any specific candidate in that election. Also, Farah ignores the fact that however "pro-American" Mubarak may have been, he was also a dictator who repressed critics of his regime (and for whom WND served as a willing mouthpiece).

Farah additionally claimed that Obama "did it in Honduras by standing by a corrupt leftist, like himself, a close friend of Hugo Chavez, as he tried to dismantle the country’s constitution." This is a reference to Manuel Zelaya, the Honduran military leader who was overthrown in a coup in 2009. Again, as in Egypt, Obama was expressing support for a democratic process in Honduras and against a military overthrow. And Farah is wrong here too: it turns out that Obama administration officials helped to keep Zelaya from returning to office after the coup and also helped the overthrowing junta in consolidating its power.

Of course, Farah has never cared that much about facts when they conflict with his right-wing political agenda. But he doesn't seem to realize this lack of credibility is one big reason why he has been spending the past few months begging for money to keep WND alilve.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:44 PM EST
Saturday, March 3, 2018
What LGBT Stuff Is The MRC Freaking Out About Now?
Topic: Media Research Center

How has the Media Research Center been hating on the LGBT community lately? Let's review!

Gabriel Hays had a freakout over a Coca-Cola commercial during the Super Bowl that was just a little too acknowledging of people he despises for his personal and political comfort:

Coke is woke, and gosh darn it, we’ve all got to know about it!

Coca Cola’s new ad, “The Wonder of Us,” aired during Super Bowl LII. The 60-second spot immediately came out out with the usual diversity happy talk. “Better world, bridging continents, yadda yadda.” However, this time Coca Cola went a little further in terms of diversification, providing a not so subtle subtle nod to the transgender trend, er, ‘non-binary’ community.

The narration says: “There’s a Coke for he, and she, and her, and me, and them. There’s a different Coke for all of us.” When it reaches the pronoun “them,” it’s accompanied by a visual of a young androgynous person wearing a rainbow lanyard. She or he is the “them.”

The genderqueer nod is almost hard to spot amidst all the steaming heaps of diversity but, but apparently, all the right people saw it, and loved it.

Kyle Drennen followed up the MRC's attacks on gay Olympic skater with a swipe at gay Olympic skiier Gus Kenworthy for criticizing Vice President Mike Pence's anti-gay history, grumbling that "The media have been eager to find any way to politicize the Olympic games."

Hays returned to ramp up the sneering anti-gay sarcasm over the idea of boys wearing makeup:

So yes, society, it’s your fault for thinking that it’s strange for men to be doing women things, and vice versa. But now, gone are the days where men “searched themselves for vestiges of effeminacy as though for lice,” or when queerness was spat upon, “simply owning blush could become a liability.” These 20th century fears and stigmas are being rejected by the beauty boys, and it’s a brave new world.

But as Them explains, many of the prominent beauty boys are just cisgender (straight) guys that love makeup. Eccentric as that is, the trans and queer movement would like it to go further, with more queer and non-binary representation happening. That is where the real risk and art is.

This kind of representation would push the gender debate even further, and make society “more open to varying forms of self-expression.” Waters reflects on the classic gender-bending image of Louis XIV in high heels and a massive wig, saying that it shows “that our ideas of masculinity and femininity are ever-changing.” Fair enough, but he takes heart that the rise of the beauty boys might mean something even more significant; that we may be on the verge of divorcing from gender norms entirely.

And that seems way more scary and twisted than a bunch of boys wearing eyeliner. Nevermind, grab the torches and pitchforks.

Tim Graham complained that "On Wednesday, NPR's Fresh Air devoted more than 36 minutes to promoting transgender Democratic activist Sarah McBride and her new book Tomorrow Will Be Different[foreword by Joe Biden, cover blurbs by Sen. Kamala Harris and Cecile Richards]. She spoke at the 2016 Democrat [sic] convention," going on to huff that "transgender activism has never been more extreme and aggressive."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:45 AM EST
WND Repeatedly -- And Falsely -- Calls Trump Dossier 'Discredited'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Feb. 22 WorldNetDaily article by Art Moore carries the headline "Report: Mueller still relying on discredited 'dossier.'" Moore goes on to write that "Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton asserted the revelations about the discredited dossier’s centrality in obtaining the surveillance warrant means the entire Mueller investigation is unjustified."

But Moore offered no evidence that the dossier has been "discredited"l all he did was link back to a Feb. 2 article he wrote in which he repeatedly called the dossier "discredited" -- also without supporting evidence.

The Steele dossier is far from "discredited"; in fact, several parts of it have, in fact, been verified. Even the Republican House Intelligence Committee memo concedes that the dossier is at least "minially corroborated."

Still, WND has insisted on falsely describing the dossier as "discredited." It's been doing so as early as June 2017, when then-reporter Garth Kant claimed the dossier was "full of sensational but widely discredited allegations." The only evidence Kant supplied beyond unverified denials from the people involved was a claim that "The charge that Trump attorney Michael Cohen met in August in Prague with Russian agents to cover up payments to Russian hackers was disproved when he produced his passport and travel documents." But as Newsweek pointed out, that doesn't prove he never met with Russian agents, just that he didn't meet with them in Prague (if he did indeed meet with them). And Politico notes that Cohen traveled to Italy during hte time in question, and he would not need a passport to travel from Italy to the Czech Republic and then return to Italy.

WND's false attacks on the veracity of the dossier continued:

  • An Oct. 25 article by Joe Kovacs uncritically quoted Rush Limbaugh calling the dossier "made-up drivel" and "a totally made-up piece of crap."
  • A Nov. 9 column by Laura Hollis referenced "the now infamous (and largely discredited) 'dossier' on Trump."
  • An anonymously written Nov. 30 article referred to the "largely discredited 'dossier.'"
  • A Dec. 7 article by Moore referred to the "infamous – and now largely discredited – dossier."
  • A Jan. 19 article by Bob Unruh called thte dossier "largely discredited."
  • A Feb. 2 article by greg Corombos uncritically quoted right-wing activist Ken Cuccinelli calling the dossier "largely discredited."
  • A Feb. 5 article by Corombos referred to the "discredited dossier."

Much of this promotion of a right-wing political agenda over facts occurred as WND was fighting for its life, a situation driven in part by its love of conspiracy theories and fake news.

Repeatedly saying something doesn't make it true, after all. You'd think WND would've figured that out by now.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:15 AM EST
Friday, March 2, 2018
Fake News: CNS Pushes Bogus Story About Melania Trump Having White House Exorcised
Topic: managing editor Michael W. Chapman knows a story that's too good to spend much time fact-checking when he sees one -- especially when it fits his preconceived right-wing political and religious notions -- so he wrote a Feb. 8 blog post that began this way:

While commenting on President Donald Trump's very public support for Christianity, as well as the frequent Bible studies and prayer gatherings held at the White House, evangelical Pastor Paul Begley said first lady Melania Trump demanded that the White House be spiritually cleansed and that pagan, demonic items and artificats from the Obama and Clinton years be removed.

Melania Trump reportedly said, "I’m not going to go into that White House unless it has been completely exorcised," according to Pastor Begley. One thing was left, a cross on the wall. "They cleansed the White House," he said.  "They had people in there anointing it with oil and praying everywhere.”

Pastor Begley made his remarks during the Feb. 2 edition of Weekend Vigilante, hosted by Sheila Zilinsky.

Chapman decided that Begley's reference to the purported "Haitian witch-doctor influence" on Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton’s lives" and that "They spent their honeymoon with a witch doctor" need a little fact-checking. Just a little, though, enough for Chapman to decide the story was plausible enough:

According to the Washington Post, the Clintons did go to Haiti for their honeymoon in 1975. The Post further reported, “They toured the old hotel where the writer Ernest Hemingway once stayed and visited a voodoo high priest dressed in all white.” The article does not say why they visited the voodoo high priest. 

"They decorated their homes with Haitian art," said The Post. "They flew back again and again. Hillary Clinton once said that theirs was a 'Haiti-obsessed family.'"

In his book, My Life, Bill Clinton explained that he and Hillary attended a voodoo ceremony where an alleged "spirit arrived," participants rolled flaming torches over their bodies and walked on hot coals and, at one point, a person bit off the head of a chicken. 

Chapman wrote that " contacted Pastor Paul Begley and asked for more information about the spiritual cleansing. Begley said his source for the story was close to 'those working in the White House' and requested that he (or she) not be named." Despite lacking any sort of actual proof that any of this ever happened, Chapman went on to justify it anyway:

Melania Trump is a Catholic. Her husband, President Donald Trump, is a Presbyterian. The two were married in an Episcopal church in 2005. When Melania came down the aisle she was holding a Catholic rosary and a vocalist was singing the Ave Maria, reported the Washington Post. 

Having a home blessed by a priest is a common practice among Catholics, especially if there is any concern that anything unholy may be in or have occurred in the home or on the property in the past.

What Chapman never bothered to do, however, is contact the first lady's office. A few days later, the Associated Press reported that "A spokeswoman for the first lady says multiple reports that Melania Trump had a ceremony to rid the White House of demons before moving in is false. Stephanie Grisham said the reports that were shared widely on social media are 'not true in any way.'"

But in the few weeks that have passed since that story first appeared, Chapman has never corrected it or written a follow-up noting the White House's denial. (Begley, for hispart, still insists the story is true.)

As Right Wing Watch details, Begley's story fits the right-wing narrative -- pushed by Chapman and CNS -- that Trump is a deeply religious man despite having spent much of his life never expressing any evidence of such, and it has become the funhouse-mirror reflection of how right-wingers treated President Obama:

Throughout Obama’s presidency, the far-right justified their animosity toward him by, in part, claiming that he was secretly Muslim or just not a real Christian. Now, the Religious Right fringes are performing the reverse trick with Trump, justifying their support for a man who allegedly paid tens of thousands of dollars in hush money to cover up an affair with a porn actress by claiming that he has found, or is in the process of personally finding God.

Paul Begley’s insistance that Melania had rid the White House of demons showed how these Trump-finds-God stories have spread through the pro-Trump media and the fringes of the Religious Right. The fact that the far-right media took the story at face value—to the point that the first lady’s office had to rebut it—shows just how much power that narrative has.

Indeed, at the end of his blog post, Chapman stated that "In his many prayer meetings, President Trump reportedly has welcomed evangelical Protestants, Catholics and Jews."

Chapman clearly isn't about to let the facts get in the way of his narrative. That's pretty disturbing for a man who is the managing editor of what purports to be a "news" operation.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:58 PM EST
Farah Says WND Is Saved, Going Back to Nonprofit Roots
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Well, WorldNetDaily's not-terribly-transparent fundraising campaign to avert death has apparently succeeded. Editor Joseph Farah's March 1 letter declared that WND met its $200,000 goal by that day's deadline, adding, "You have provided the cushion we needed to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps so we could fight another day."

Farah also shared "some exciting plans for the future – even if I can’t provide the details today":

  • We are working with a non-profit foundation through which we can more efficiently produce the kind of content that makes WND unique as an independent media pioneer and a Christian one at that. Once we’ve got everything set up – and we hope that is soon – we’ll have a way for future contributions to supplement WND’s content to be tax-deductible.
  • We are developing a new revenue stream that is very exciting – even revolutionary, I would say. And that’s what it takes for independent media to survive and flourish when they are playing on an uneven playing field designed that way purposely by the Internet Cartel to make our work next to impossible. More on that to come shortly.

Going nonprofit will bring WND back to its roots; it was founded as a division of the Farah-founded nonprofit Western Journalism Center before being spun off a couple years later as a for-profit operation. The WJC, by the way, still exists, run by Floyd Brown and presenting itself as a training center and laughably insisting that its goal is to "nurture, develop and deploy top notch classically educated journalists of integrity who will report the news in an unbiased fashion," despite being staffed with right-wing operatives like, uh, Joseph Farah.

We don't know if WJC is the nonprofit WND is working with, or even if WJC under Brown still has the nonprofit status it had under Farah. But this is likely the type of nonprofit WND is trying to hide behind.

As far as the "a new revenue stream that is very exciting" goes, well, who knows? An organization that is partly nonprofit and partly for-profit is tricky to manage, since a nonprofit is not allowed to be as explicitly political as WND has been over the years. More details are needed on that.

And, once again, Farah has refused to address the problematic content that helped bring WND to this state. Further, if WND is going to become part of a nonprofit, is Farah really the best person to continue running it, given that it was under his watch that WND was mismanaged to its apparent loss of independence? He can't blame everything on Google and Facebook, after all (not that he isn't trying to do exactly that).

So WND will live another day. But if it continues as it was content-wise, Farah will not have learned the lesson of how he got to this point -- and will be dooming WND to yet another "existential threat" down the road.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:24 AM EST
Thursday, March 1, 2018
MRC Won't Tell Its Readers CNN Is Vindicated In 'Scripting' Allegation
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center hated Hillary Clinton so much -- and loves Fox News to the same extent -- that it never told its readers that Fox News retracted its story that Clinton's indictment was imminent, a story the MRC heavily promoted until said retraction.

It appears that the MRC is going to censor news of another retracted claim, again apparently out of spite toward its target.

Last week, the MRC's Nicholas Fondacaro latched onto a claim by Florida school shooting survivor Colton Haab that CNN to him to ask a question it scripted in order to take part in the channel's forum on guns. When CNN swiftly denied it, Fondacaro attacked CNN anew (in a separate post to which his original post was never linked), basically saying, "Hey, it could've happened! And CNN sucks no matter what!"

Meanwhile, CNN released the emails it and the Haab family exchanged before the forum, which showed that the Haab family released an edited version of one email to falsely support the "scripted" narrative; in reality, CNN wanted Colton to ask a question that he himself had proposed. And even Fondacaro's fellow conservatives were buying into the anti-CNN narrative; commentator Erick Erickson argued that Haab misunderstood what CNN wanted for its forum.

A couple days later, the final vindication for CNN arrived: Haab's father admitted that he altered the CNN emails he released.

Fox News commentators Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, who like Fondacaro promoted the bogus story, have corrected the record. Fondacaro has not.

Even though he has had two days to do so -- and to tell his readers that the story he promoted has proven to be false -- Fondacaro has said nothing. He has found the time to whine about Dick's Sporting Goods ceasing the sale of AR-15 rifles at its stores and to freak out about President Trump wanting to take guns from certain people without due process ... but not to correct the record. Nobody else at the MRC has corrected the record either.

We know the MRC is heavily invested in its institutional hatred of CNN for not parroting the pro-Trump agenda found at, say, the MRC's "news" division, But is hate more important to the MRC than the truth? Apparently so.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:34 PM EST
WND Touts Commemorative Trump Coin Issued By Israeli Extremists, Downplays The Whole End-Of-The-World Thing
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Remember back in January when WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah was denying that right-wing evangelicals like himself were pleased that President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel because it brings us one step closer to the end of the world as foretold in the Bible -- even though WND has touted how an Israeli-controlled Jerusalem will set in motion construction of the Third Temple on the Temple Mount, the major key step in bringing the biblical end of the world?

Well, WND is still promoting that progression, even if it's now doing so less explicitly than in the past. A Feb. 15 article tells us this:

When President Trump in December recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, two decades after Congress authorized it, he drew the wrath of Arab nations and their allies.

Now Israel’s recently re-constituted Sanhedrin is honoring Trump for the move by putting his image on a privately minted half-shekel coin.

Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz reported at Breaking Israel News the nascent Sanhedrin and the Mikdash (Temple) Educational Center are creating a replica of the silver half-shekel coin that the Bible mandates be donated by every Jewish male in the Temple.

As we've already noted, the Sanhedrin is a group of far-right rabbis who have no actual power over anything in Israel, though they would like some. The Sanhedrin's goal is to get the Third Temple built on the Temple Mount. Interestingly, the WND article soft-pedals that:

According to a proposed image presented on a website dedicated to raising money for the construction of a temple and more, the coin will feature an image of Trump on the front and the Holy Temple in Jerusalem on the back.

Also on the front will be an image of the ancient Persian King Cyrus, who was key to the construction of the Second Temple, BIN reported.


BIN reported the coin is to have at least 9.5 grams of silver, as required by Jewish law.

However, the report noted that since the coin itself is not intended to fulfill a biblical commandment, it is not officially designated for use in the Temple.

[Rabbi Hillel] Weiss said the coin “is intended to help in preparations for the Temple and anyone can take part in that at any time.”

But the Breaking Israel News article from which WND cribbed its report makes it clear which temple the coin's revenues are meant for: "Proceeds from the sale of the coin will be used in reenactments of Temple services as well as in other educational and practical endeavors that help prepare for the Third Temple. Should the need arise, the proceeds will be used for the actual building of the Temple." The article also quotes Weiss as saying, "Trump’s political agenda can only succeed if it is focused on building the Third Temple on the place that God chose: the Temple Mount. He must not advance any two-state solution or this will lead to his downfall."

That, again, is the same temple that, when constructed, is a key step to the biblical end of the world -- the same idea WND's Farah denies is driving his support for Trump despite his own website promoting it.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:21 PM EST
CNS Takes Hypocritical Shots At Companies Abandoning NRA

As loyal stenographers for the Natiobnal Rifle Association, it's only natural that would defend it when companies who offered NRA members discounts decided to pull out of those deals in the wake of the NRA's strident, unapologetic rhetoric after the Florida school shootings.

  • A Feb. 26 article by Susan Jones uncritically quoted the NRA denouncing those companies -- then just went ahead and lazily copied-and-pasted the entire NRA press release she was summarizing.
  • A Feb. 28 article by CNS managing editor Michael W. Chapman attacked Enterprise car rental for dropping its NRA discount because the company's foundation "donates thousands of dollars to groups that, in turn, either support abortion or send grants to Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the United States."

But while CNS is bashing companies for dropping support of the NRA, it along with its Media Research Center are engaging in the very same pressure tactics on corporate America they appear to be denouncing here.

As we've documented, the MRC has been manufacturing outrage over a brief comment on ABC's "The View" mocking Vice President Mike Pence's extreme view of Christianity. Having refused to accept the idea that the comment was a joke -- despite having previously portrayed Hank Williams Jr.'s likening of President Obama to Hitler as a joke -- it's now trying to get advertisers to withdraw from the show. 

CNS' Craig Bannister dutifully regurgitated boss Brent Bozell's calculated attack on the show's advertisers:

“They won’t apologize. Maybe, ABC supports this bigotry – so, we’ve moved on to the advertisers.”

“Clorox, Gerber, HomeAdvisor and Oreo are just as responsible for what happened on ‘The View’ as Behar and Hostin.”

“They, too, need to apologize for supporting this bigotry with their advertising dollars. Their silence on this matter is deplorable. Do they support bigotry, too? I hope that’s not the case.”


“We want these advertisers to publicly commit that, until the bigots of the ‘The View’ publicly apologize for slandering Christians, none of their advertising dollars will be spent on that show.”

CNS and the MRC will probably never concede its hypocrisy -- that it's doing to ABC what it's denouncing being done to the NRA.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:06 AM EST
Wednesday, February 28, 2018
As WND Nears Funding Deadline, Farah Still Denies He Publishes Fake News
Topic: WorldNetDaily

If WorldNetDaily is going down on March 1 -- which seems entirely possible given that as of today's fundraising email, WND still needed $29,000 to make its $200,000 goal by that date -- it's going down in a state of denial.

We've pointed out that WND editor Joseph Farah's daily fundraising letters to WND readers conspicuously refuse to discuss one big reason WND is in dire straits right now: the amount of dubious content and outright fake news it has published that has earned its untrustworthy status by major search engines and by Facebook.

Farah's Feb. 27 letter was also published at the WND website, and as usual, he's blaming anyone other than himself for WND's state of affairs:

Well, consider that none other than CNN’s president, Jeff Zucker, has now publicly confirmed – to the letter – everything I’ve been saying for weeks.

In a speech he gave Monday in Barcelona, the CNN chief urged U.S. government authorities to pay closer attention to the raw power wielded by Google and Facebook, who together are making it all but impossible for news organizations to “survive.” That’s right – he said that.

“In a Google and Facebook world, monetization of digital and mobile continues to be more difficult than we would have expected or liked,” Zucker said. And without something new to support news organizations, he added, “good journalism will go away.”

Of course, the difference between WND and CNN – aside from the fact that WND is committed to real news while CNN, due to its hatred of President Trump, is daily drowning in the fake variety – is that CNN is owned by super-wealthy Time Warner and has tremendous resources to float it even as the Digital Cartel dries up its advertising. WND has no such resources, no big corporate backers and no billionaire “sugar daddies.” WND has always earned its own way.

While monetization has been an issue for all media, Farah is, also as usual, not telling the full story -- because Farah is part of the problem.

Every day, WND regularly steals content from other media outlets to repost, but never asks permission or provide monetary compensation for doing so. While WND links back to the original source, that source sees no revenue from WND's links. And WND has never belonged to a news syndicate or cooperative in which monetization of news content is baked into the membership. While Farah has previously insisted WND's theft of content is merely "fair use," the fact remains that it is indeed theft.

Further, Farah's claim that "WND is committed to real news while CNN ... is daily drowning in the fake variety" is laughable on its face. We'd be willing to wager that WND has published more fake news in the past year than CNN ever has.

So, not even this near-death (or perhaps actual death) experience will not persuade Farah to be honest with his readers about WND's low-quality content, let alone explain any plans to do something about it. That's a major sign that WND deserves to die.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:52 PM EST
Updated: Monday, January 14, 2019 9:43 PM EST
MRC Played Clinton Whataboutism on Abusive White House Aide
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's "news" division,, so loathed having to report on Trump White House aide Rob Porter's history of spousal abuse that it dedicated one of the few articles it did publish on it whining that the "liberal media" forced CNS to acknowledge the story and a blog post trying to deflect from it by recounting a Democratic politician's decade-ago consensual affair.

The MRC's main content site, NewsBusters, gave the Porter story more attention -- but it too tried to deflect by engaging in a lot of Clinton whataboutism.

A Feb. 8 post by Kyle Drennen complained that "MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle talked to Democratic Congressman and former Bill Clinton White House Staff Secretary Patrick Maloney about Trump White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter being embroiled in scandal following allegations of abuse by his ex-wives. Amazingly, rape and harassment accusations against President Clinton were never mentioned." But spousal abuse is not analogous to a dubious rape accusation, so there is no reason it should have come up.

Despite that, Drennen registered an almost identical complaint five days later: "Remarkably, for the second time in two weeks, MSNBC invited on a former Bill Clinton White House staffer to lecture the Trump administration over now-fired aide Rob Porter being accused of domestic abuse. This time, it was Clinton’s former Senior White House Aide Ron Klain appearing on Tuesday's Andrea Mitchell Reports to denounce the Trump team’s handling of the situation, without once being asked about rape and harassment accusations against his former boss."Drennen further huffed: "How about the Clinton White House and what people like Klain knew about the numerous allegations against the former Democratic president in the 1990s? That was certainly within the time line Klain mentioned. Was it equally “inexcusable” for an accused rapist like Bill Clinton to not just 'work in the White House,' but in the Oval Office?"

Drennen didn't mention that the woman who accused Clinton of rape, Juanita Broaddrick, spent nearly two decades denying anything happened and filed a sworn affidavit to that effect before abruptly changing her story.

But Drennen was not done huffing:

Bill Clinton and his hatchet men not only “cast doubt” on the former President’s accusers, but actively tried to destroy them. Klain has no right to pass judgement on the current administration until he is first forced to account for the scandal-plagued Clinton presidency.

Drennen didn't mention that President Trump is doing the exact same thing to the women who have accused him of sexual harassment and worse, and we don't recall him or anyone else at the MRC being bothered by that. To the contrary: the MRC is helping Trump try to destroy them.

Beyond that, the MRC joined CNS in whining that the story was being covered at all (though Curtis Houck did briefly concede the allegations against Porter are "serious"):

  • Ryan Foley complained that "CNN spent nearly the entire day on Monday hammering President Trump for his response to the Rob Porter controversy," but he never mentioned what that defense was or argue why it didn't deserved to be hammered.
  • Bill D'Agostino grumbled that "MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell repeatedly redirected any coverage of President Trump’s infrastructure plan back to discussions about the domestic abuse allegations against former White House staffer Rob Porter," further grumbling that "the media simply prefer to focus on the negative aspects of the Trump presidency."

It has been a week since the disturbing allegations came to light that Rob Porter, a now-former White House staffer close to the President, had a history of domestic abuse against his two ex-wives. And during that time, the evening newscasts of the major network news outlets (ABC, CBS, and NBC) had dedicated almost a combined hour to the story. But when it came to similar accusations against congressional Democrats, they couldn’t be bothered.

Fondacaro's reference to former Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson -- who, unlike Porter, did not work in the White House and was not a close aide to President Obama -- and allegations of abuse leveled by his estranged wife in 2014, generated a lengthy clarification appended to the end of the post in which Fondacaro insisted in bold italic type that "it is beyond the scope of NewsBusters’ expertise, and mission, to make claims about the validity of the underlying charges; our job is strictly to analyze the news media’s coverage of these various claims."

Posted by Terry K. at 6:51 PM EST

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