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Tuesday, April 3, 2018
WND Tries to Downplay Austin Bomber's Homeschooling Link
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've previously noted WorldNetDaily's disparate treatement of perpetrators of terrorism: quick to blame religion when the perpetrator is or perceived to be Muslim, but refraining from assigning motives when the shooter is white.

WND's Art Moore did that again in a March 21 article on Mark Conditt, believed to the perpetrator of a string of bombing attacks in the Austin, Texas, area. But not only was Conditt white, he was homeschooled -- and WND is such a proponent of homeschooling that doing so is almost a prerequisite for working there (not that it's hiring anyone right now due to its financial crisis, of course).

Moore soft-pedals Conditt's homeschooling ties and makes sure to frame him as a man who was merely in "darkness":

“Devastated” and “broken” relatives of suspected Austin bomber Mark Anthony Conditt expressed shock that he was behind the deadly attacks over the past three weeks, saying they had “no idea of the darkness” he was in.

[...]

Neighbors have told reporters the Conditts were a “godly” Christian family that homeschooled their four children and held Bible studies in their home. They described Mark Conditt as a quiet, polite, “nerdy” boy who was not violent.

Early Wednesday, FBI and law-enforcement officials told reporters they still do not have a motive for the series of four attacks that still has the entire community on edge, with warnings of the possibility that explosive parcels are still in circulation.  Conditt is believed to be responsible for six bombs that killed at least two people and wounded five.

But at a news conference late Wednesday, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said Conditt recorded a 25-minute-long “confession” to his crimes on his phone, which was found in his possession after his confrontation with police. In the recording, he described creating seven devices, including one he blew up to kill himself “with a level of specificity,” including their differences, Manley said.

The police chief said the suspect did not mention “anything about terrorism, nor does he mention anything about hate.

The message, Manley said, is “the outcry of a very challenged young man talking about challenges in his personal life.”

Toward the end of the article, though, Moore did hint at a possible dark side to Conditt's homeschooling:

The Houston Chronicle spoke with a man it did not name who worked with Conditt’s father and spent time at the family’s home.

He described the Conditts as a “very conservative” and “loving” family didn’t want their children to see “the bad stuff in society.”

“It was a very ‘us versus them’ type of household,” he said. “I’m guessing that was a catalyst that led Mark to believe what he thought.”

The man said he regularly attended get-togethers at the Conditt home he said were “not a cult” but may have been mistaken for one.

“They were always mentoring us on how to raise our family and how to be good parents to our kids in the society they lived in,” he told the Houston paper.

“They were always trying to help people achieve more, as long as it fell in line with what they believed in.”

This is the only "news" story WND has done on Conditt, and no opinion column has yet been dedicated to him. Apparently, a homeschooled terrorist is much harder to demagogue than a Muslim one.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:32 PM EDT
CNS Edits Out Mnuchin Getting Schooled On Line-Item Veto
Topic: CNSNews.com

Susan Jones rather blandly writes in a March 26 CNSNews.com article:

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin echoed Trump's call for a line-item veto in an interview with "Fox News Sunday."

"I think -- I think they should give the president a line item veto," Mnuchin told host Chris Wallace, who responded that it's been ruled unconstitutional.

In a 6-3 decision in 1998, the Supreme Court ruled that the line-item veto Congress gave to President Bill Clinton in 1996 violated the Constitution's Presentment Clause, which says the president may either sign a bill into law, let it become law without his signature, or send it back to Congress with his objections.

The justices ruled, "there is no constitutional authorization for the president to amend or repeal" by eliminating those line items with which he disagrees.

Mnuchin told Chris Wallace, "We don't need to get into a debate in terms of -- there's different ways of doing this.

But Wallace said a lot more to Mnuchin that noting that the line-item veto was ruled unconstitutional. For some reason, Jones felt the need to edit out just how severely Wallace owned Mnuchin on the issue. Here's the full relevant transcript:

MNUCHIN: I think -- I think they should give the president a line item veto.

WALLACE: That's been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, sir.

MNUCHIN: Well, again, Congress could pass a rule, OK, that allows them to do it.

WALLACE: No, no, it would be a constitutional amendment.

MNUCHIN: We don't need to get into a debate in terms of -- there's different ways of doing this.

It's almost as if Jones was trying to hide how badly Mnuchin embarrassed himself, and doing so for the benefit of the Trump White House. But that's kinda Jones' job, isn't it?


Posted by Terry K. at 1:20 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 3, 2018 8:52 AM EDT
Monday, April 2, 2018
Newsmax Plays the Bestseller-List Game With Corsi's Book
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax complains in a March 30 article:

Jerome Corsi's red-hot new book "Killing the Deep State: The Fight to Save President Trump" is a runaway bestseller — but you'd never know that from reading The New York Times.

"Killing the Deep State" debuted last week at No. 10 on the non-fiction hardcover list compiled by Nielsen BookScan, the book industry's only nationally recognized sales tracking list.

And yet, the influential New York Times Book Review inexplicably has not listed "Deep State" on its hardcover bestseller list, despite the fact it outsold many of the books that did make its list.

[...]

Now Newsmax has learned that the Times has snubbed "Deep State" on its April 8 bestseller list as well.

Its second week of phenomenal sales should have put "Killing the Deep State" in the No. 5 position on the Times' list. But you won't see it there, either, despite having sold more than double the amount of copies of many others that are listed by the Times.

What Newsmax isn't telling you: As we noted the last time some right-wing author tried to play this game, the Times list generally downgrades titles driven by bulk sales. Corsi's book most certainly is that, given that Newsmax is currently selling it at a deep discount as a promotional tool to boost subscriptions to Newsmax's magazine.

Surprisingly, Newsmax did disclose that it owns Humanix Books, which published the Corsi book. Which means that Newsmax basically sold a lot of those books to itself, and we're guessing Newsmax didn't pay itself the retail price on those books. Vox reports that the Times also downgrades books sold outside traditional sales channels; selling books to yourself is definitely that.

If you have to sell books to yourself to pump up sales, it's not really a bestseller -- and that appears to be the Times' justification for not including the book on its list. Newsmax will never admit that, of course -- otherwise, it would have to concede all the self-dealing it's doing to falsely jack up sales.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:31 PM EDT
MRC Complains Laura Ingraham Is Being Treated Like It Treated Reza Aslan
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is unhappy that Parkland student David Hogg called Fox News host Laura Ingraham for both maliciously taunting him for not getting into a couple of college to which he applied and for her emploper's overall shappy, dismissive treatement of the activism of the Parkland students.

The MRC's NewsBusters Twitter feed lamented, "Laura Ingraham publicly apologized, so what's the issue?" MRC chief Brent Bozell whined: "Laura immediately apologized for what she said. Her apology was sufficient and demanding anything more is grandstanding by the radical left. If this is the left’s new standard, advertisers should ditch the majority of liberal talk shows!"

Bozell and the MRC have apprently forgot about their own history.

Last year Bozell and the MRC manufactured some outrage when religious scholar Reza Aslan, who had a weekly show about fringe religions on CNN,  who had called President Trump a "piece of shit" for exploiting a terror attack in London to push his travel ban. Aslan quickly apologized, but that wasn't enough for Bozell, who moved the goalposts and demanded that CNN cut ties with Aslan:

Reza Aslan’s apology was not only insincere, but dishonest. His vulgar remarks towards President Trump this past weekend were only a few of the many hateful comments he has made about conservatives. CNN has yet to respond in any fashion to the backlash over Mr. Aslan’s insults. Allowing Aslan to continue to have any association with the network is not only embarrassing to CNN, but insulting to their viewers. 

As we documented, Bozell's jihad worked; CNN did cut ties with Aslan. But Bozell never explained why he considered Aslan's apology "insincere" and "dishonest" -- and he does not explain why he considers Ingraham's apology, made only after advertisers began to drop her show, to be "sufficient."

One suspects that Bozell's apology standards have nothing to do withi the apology itself and everything to do with the political leanings of the person apologizing.

Bozell's outrage that Ingraham's apology was not taken at face value is utterly hypocritical, since he's criticizing the exact same thing he did with Aslan. It's an untenable situation, as the MRC is proving in its attacks on the advertisers who dropped Ingraham. One post attacked one Ingraham-dropping advertiser who advertises on the show of MSNBC host Ayman Mohyeldin because of something Mohyeldin said three years before he was given a show. That's a little desperate.

It seems that Bozell and the MRC are mad at Hogg for playing its own game -- and doing just as well.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:25 PM EDT
Fake-News WND Whines That Stormy Daniels Scandal Is 'Fake News'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah spends an entire March 25 "WND Exclusive Analysis" whining that the media is paying attention to Stormy Daniels' claim of an affair with Donald Trump:

Meet the new “60 Minutes,” which officially joined the salacious “fake news” media March 25, 2018 after a glorious on-air run of 50 years that began September 24, 1968, with a show that, among other things, covered the presidential campaigns of Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey.

It’s worth noting that the show defined itself that night in a conversation between Mike Wallace and Harry Reasoner as one that sought to “reflect reality.”

Is Stormy a reflection of reality?

Given that Farah doesn't disprove anything Daniels says despite dismissing her as "fake news," yes, she is. And Farah calling others "fake news" for reporting unflattering but true news is rather rich given WND's own lengthy history of publishing actual fake news that almost put WND out of business.

Since he can't prove Daniels wrong, Farah goes the slut-shaming route, recounting her other porn-star names and and that she has been "married to three other porn stars."

Then, rather desperately, Farah tries to paint Trump as a victim:

Maybe you’re asking yourself: So what? In the big scheme of things, why is this important to America? Have not former presidents had affairs – even while in office? Have those affairs been of interest to the media at the time? Was this one of interest at the time it took place – in 2006? Would it have made news then? Have other presidents lied – even under oath – about affairs? Haven’t the media dismissed other affairs by presidents as being merely part of their “private lives”? Worse yet, haven’t the media dismissed credible allegations of sexual harassment and rape by them on the same grounds?

What’s the difference now?

Let me suggest to you that the difference is the media’s hatred of Donald Trump and the fact that he won the 2016 presidential election – ironically defeating a woman who helped cover up serious charges by other women victimized by her husband, some of which took place while he was president.

Forgive me for weighing in here with personal analysis. But, without interjecting facts not in evidence in the “60 Minutes” program, or in Anderson Cooper’s earlier interviews with Stormy Daniels, you might think this “story” has some substance beyond gossip and sexual sensationalism. It does not. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t have it both ways and remain credible as a news organization. You can’t dismiss old rape charges and sexual harassment charges against one president and set a completely different standard for another about a matter where no illegality is even suggested.

Once again, Farah forgets his own history. If having a consensual affair before being president is  off limits, why did WND publish so many stories referencing Gennifer Flowers, whose affair with Bill Clinton well before he became president everyone seems to agree was consensual -- including one story where Flowers is given free rein to speculate that Clinton had people murdered?

Farah is being utterly hypocritical here. He should be answering why WND refuses to cover Daniels the way it covered Flowers. After all, you can't obsess about all sexual rumors about one candidate and dismiss the same behavior about another as normal.

Nevertheless, Farah continues to whine:

Is Stormy Daniels credible?

Three times over a period of months she signed sworn statements denying she ever participated in an affair with Trump. She signed a non-disclosure agreement with Trump attorney Michael Cohen to the same effect and collected $130,000 for it. But now we’re asked to believe she has no reason to lie any more.

That’s indeed what she said to Cooper on “60 Minutes.”

“I have no reason to lie,” she said. “I’m not getting paid.”

Of course, she did admit that the job offers are coming in by the score because of her new-found fame.

There’s one other notable quote from the show that differentiates her from all of the other women mentioned in this article – and even more not mentioned:

“I am not a victim,” she said. “I have never been a victim.”

So tell me why I should care. Tell me why America should care.

Again, Farah is being a hypocrite. WND never questioned the credibility of Juanita Broaddrick, who claimed Clinton sexually assaulted her despite her signing a sworn affidavit stating that he didn't. And now Farah demands that Daniels' credibility be questioned?

Farah is just mad that WND's own sensationalist raporting style is being used against a candidate he likes. He has not earned the right to complain about it. That is, not until he apologizes and repent for the way he has run WND the past two decades -- something you'd think a funding shortage so bad he had to beg for money from readers might have elicited by now, despite it playing a big role in said funding shortage.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:10 AM EDT
Sunday, April 1, 2018
MRC's Fondacaro Promotes Highly Misleading Trump Talking Point on Census Question
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Nicholas Fondacaro acted like he was auditioning for a job in the Trump administration in a March 27 post, devoted as he was to pushing a Trump talking point:

ABC and NBC pushed a major piece of false information in regards to the history of such citizenship questions on the census. Both asserted that such a question had not been asked since 1950. “For the first time in more than 60 years, the census will now ask people whether they are American citizens,” ABC anchor David Muir wrongly declared.

In reality, the last time a question about citizenship was asked on the census was back in 2000. According to the long-form questionnaire from that year, question 13 asked: “Is this person a citizen of the United States?” The question is repeated six times, once for each possible person in the household. The question was also asked in 1990 and 1980. All of this information was easily researchable on the Census Bureau’s website.

In fact, Fondacaro is on the wrong side of the facts here. An actual news outlet unravels the truth:

[T]he census itself has not asked a citizenship question since 1950. Third, the American Community Survey included a citizenship question in 2010, although it was not in the census itself.

Let’s take a quick stroll through the history. In 1950, the decennial census form asked respondents to enter their birthplace and whether they were naturalized.

In 1960, the birthplace question appeared again — but not the naturalization question.

In 1970, 1980, 1990 and 2000, the census sent households a separate, long-form survey that included a citizenship question. This was in addition to the standard questionnaire, but only a fraction of U.S. households would receive it, about one out of every six.

So bogus is the Trump White House's take --  and, thus, Fondacaro's take -- on the citizenship question that his MRC colleague and CNSNews.com reporter Melanie Arter, herself seeming to audition for a Trump White House job in her dedication to pro-White House stenography, felt the need to set the record straight:

To be accurate, between 1970 and 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau used two questionnaires. Most households received a short-form questionnaire asking a minimum number of questions that did not include citizenship. But a sample of households received a long-form questionnaire in 1970, '80, '90, and 2000 that did include questions about "naturalization" or citizenship. The 2010 Census used just one short-form questionnaire consisting of ten questions -- none about citizenship. But since 2000, the Census Bureau has conducted an annual, national, ongoing "American Community Survey," which does ask about citizenship.

Will Fondacaro correct his own misleading post? Given that he has yet to tell the MRC's readers that the fake-news claim he parroted that CNN tried to script questions in a town hall forum following the Parkland massacre has been completely discredited, we have our doubts.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:38 PM EDT
Newsmax's Kerik Sneers At 'Ignorant, Entitled, and Disrespectful Brats' At March For Our Lives
Topic: Newsmax

Bernard Kerik -- the disgraced former New York City police chief and convicted felon whom, for some reason, Newsmax has graced with its own column -- is back to whine about those meddling kids taking part in last weekend's March For Our Lives:

Saturday as I watched the charade of marches against gun violence in Washington, D.C., I felt this overwhelming regret for the American people and our country.

Instigated and propped up by the political left and mainstream media, the march’s leaders were a group of ignorant, arrogant, and disrespectful teenagers, many below the age of eighteen. I watched an interview where one of these children, David Hogg, publically degraded and mocked his own parents in a vial diatribe, acting as a mouthpiece for the Democratic Party.

[...]

Those kids are living examples of ignorant, entitled, and disrespectful brats whose views of this great country have been created by social media, Hollywood and the music industry, and a lack of parental, historical, and educational guidance. Sadly, many of the same traits responsible for violence, bullying, and yes… shootings in our schools.

Although most of the protesters were not old enough to remember or even know this: 50 years ago, hand guns and rifles were far more prevalent than they are today, and there were far less restrictions on how and who could purchase, possess or carry guns of any kind.

[...]

A blind man could see that Saturday’s march against gun violence was nothing more than an anti-Trump, anti-NRA rally, and sadly, anti-American rally. Of the thousands of signs, not one focused on the real cause of the Parkland massacre. I didn’t see one sign calling out the Broward County Sheriff’s department for their failed management and response, or the FBI, for their grave errors that unfortunately led to the shooting.

[...]

The kiddie protesters don’t get it and it’s unfortunate that their parents or a grown up with some common sense hasn’t taught them history or prepared them for the real world. These are the same kids that bawled over Hillary Clinton’s presidential loss and needed psychological counseling.

These kids don’t know the difference between an AR-15, M-16, M-4, or a hunting rifle. They don’t care that the statistics refute their arguments for stricter gun laws, Chicago being one example, and the fact that 98 percent of all mass shootings occur in gun free zones. As for the hatred for the NRA, just an FYI, not one of the mass shootings were done by an NRA member.

These are high school aged kids that the Democratic Party, mainstream media, and Hollywood have believing that they are the answer to a liberal socialist movement in this country, and I’m not sure what’s more frightening… their ignorance or naiveté, or the fact that the Democratic Party and members of the U.S. Congress have turned over their pulpit to a bunch of children.

It’s not the guns or gun laws that’s the problem, it’s a lack of discipline and respect for law and order, and an increasing society of self-entitled kids brain washed by everything and everyone but their parents. That’s what we need to address and be prepared for, because until that changes, school safety will be the least of America’s problems.

Does someone who spent years in prison for corruption really have the moral standing to criticize the behavior of others?


Posted by Terry K. at 11:33 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, April 1, 2018 11:43 AM EDT
Saturday, March 31, 2018
CNS Managing Editor Praises Rejection of Transgender Rights As Victory For 'Moral Sanity And Common Sense'
Topic: CNSNews.com

Does CNSNews.com managing editor Michael W. Chapman still hate the LGBT community with a passion? You betcha! Chapman grumbled in a Feb. 13 blog post:

In a stunning example of moral sanity and common sense, the Department of Education will now reject any cases dealing with bathroom complaints by transgender students, reported BuzzFeed, and which leftist Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) addressed in a tweet with #ProtectTransStudents.

On Monday, BuzzFeed ran a storyheadlined, "The Education Department Says it Will Reject Transgender Bathroom Complaints." 

The story noted that the Trump administration, back in February 2017, rescinded Obama-era rules that said public schools should allow transgenders to use the bathroom of their choice, e.g., a male student who imagines he is female may use the ladies room. Since then, liberals and LGBT activists have demanded that the Trump administration clarify its position on this issue.

On Feb. 8, Education Department spokesman Liz Hill told BuzzFeed that the federal Title IX law "prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, not gender identity." 

Note Chapman's highly biased language, portraying the right-wing policy change as dripping with "moral sanity and common sense" while dismissing critics of it as "liberals" and "leftists."

Chapman went on to quote his favorite anti-trans doctor, Paul McHugh, claiming that "transgenderism is a 'mental disorder' that can be treated and sex change is 'biologically impossible' because one cannot change one's chromosomes." He didn't mention that McHugh's views have been discredited.

Chapman concludes: "Clearly, the proper response to transgenderism is mental health treatment, not bathroom reassignment." Meanwhile, Chapman's employer (and, quite likely, Chapman himself) thinks the proper response to homosexuality is conversion therapy.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:24 AM EDT
Another WND Columnist Peddles Lies About Margaret Sanger
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily writers love to lie about Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger. The latest is the guy who calls himself (at WND, anyway) Mason Weaver, who spends his March 22 column falsely portraying Sanger's unfortunate predeliction for eugenics as racism. Weaver writes:

Her “The Birth Control Review” stated in the July-August 1932 edition, “There are other more remote but equally important gains. One is the enhanced respect to be had from the dominant white race. That the Negro must acquire if he is to enjoy the rights and prerogatives he covets. But acquire it he cannot and will not so long as he remains the thriftless, childlike, irresponsible dependent that he is, for such behavior does not command respect.” Even in the social climate of 1932, this seems harsh and racist.

Weaver seems to have lifted this with minor editing -- as well as much of the rest of his column -- from a pseudonymously written 2009 blog post. But while Sanger did found Birth Control Review, she gave up control of it in 1928, four years before this article allegedly appeared, and thus could not have responsible for it.

Weaver  goes on to revive an old false chestnut:

Why are black leaders silent on this? How much has their silence cost us? And how much damage has been done to the mental state of the community from their silence? Now that you know, will your silence add to the pain?

It does not matter that the sins of the past were done out of lack of knowledge – to continue them after awakening is the greater error.

In a famous letter to a Dr. Gamble, dated Dec. 10, 1039 [sic], Sanger reveals her plans but warns, “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”

But as fact-checkers regularly point out every time some rabid Sanger-hater pulls this quote out of context, Sanger was trying to trying to separate her birth-control campaign from sterilization campaigns targeted at blacks that actually were racist.

So not only is Weaver wrong, he's effectively a plagiarist as well.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:28 AM EDT
Friday, March 30, 2018
MRC Suggests Stephon Clark Deserved To Be Killed By Police
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Brad Wilmouth writes in a March 23 post:

On Friday's The Beat on MSNBC, host Ari Melber claimed that the media do not spend enough time on stories of excessive force committed by police officers as his panel that included rapper Vic Mensa and conservative commentator Bill Kristol all seemed to prejudge Sacramento police officers as having behaved improperly in the shooting death of 22-year-old Stephon Clark.

No one mentioned that the police were pursuing him because they had reason to believe -- including infrared footage from a police helicopter -- that he had just perpetrated several acts of vandalism and robbery, or that Clark has a criminal history that includes domestic abuse and robbery.

In fact, it's not clear that Clark was the subject police were pursuing, and it's highly unlikely police knew of Clark's criminal record before shooting him.

Wilmouth does not explain why -- even if both of those things prove to be true -- Clark deserved to be shot 20 times for, essentially, holding a cell phone.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:03 PM EDT
David Kupelian's Factual Fail
Topic: WorldNetDaily

As a sidebar to the sparsely read Whistleblower magazine's theme of the month, "Why the Left Hates America" (“Christianity, the flag, free speech, being white – when did they become problems?”) WorldNetDaily managing editor David Kupelian posted a March 18 column presented as "based on a speech David Kupelian recently delivered in St. Louis as the lead-off speaker at the Constitutional Coalition’s annual conference" but also apparently appears in the magazine as well.And almost at the beginning, Kupelian shows he's willing to distort the truth:

A new California law, SB 219, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, says you can be thrown into prison for 12 months for failing to use the correct transgender pronoun. That is, for refusing to use words that never existed before – newly created pronouns like co, en, ey, xie and yo, which correspond to dozens of new genders that also never existed before in human history, like genderqueer, pangender, hijra and genderfluid.

Kupelian is basically lying. As PolitiFact explained when others made the claim Kupelian is echoing:

There’s no doubt conservative media groups wrote misleading and inflammatory headlines about California’s LGBT Senior Bill of Rights. They seized on the small chance that one could face criminal charges for using the wrong pronoun to identify a transgender resident in a long-term care home.

But the headlines, and some of the articles that follow, don’t fully explain the high bar necessary for criminal prosecution. Calling someone by the wrong pronoun would have to be repeated and willful, as some articles detail. But this action would also have to put a resident at risk of death or serious physical harm -- though at least one religious liberty group disputes that this would be necessary to bring criminal charges.

What seems clear is that in the overwhelming majority of cases, this would be treated as any other violation of the health and safety code at a long-term care center, such as violating a smoking ban, and punished with a fine.

While not without a sliver of truth, the claims by conservative groups clearly distort the penalty proposed for violating this part of the bill.

Nevertheless, Kupelian clung to this fiction, ranting later in his column: "When you’re talking about putting people in jail because they refuse to enter into your delusional world wherein you’re some gender that doesn’t exist and they must use some pretend, unpronounceable pronoun – we are way beyond politics and into genuine madness."

The rest of Kupelian's column is his usual liberal-bashing claptrap, none of which is any different from the kind of content that nearly put WND out of business.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:51 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, March 30, 2018 8:55 AM EDT
Thursday, March 29, 2018
MRC Defends Government Conspiracy Theories -- Then Blames Hollywood, Not Conservatives, For Them
Topic: Media Research Center

Media Research Center intern Ryan Foley spent a March 20 post presenting as credible a Republican congressman's argument there really is a massive "deep state"-type conspiracy going on against President Trump:

During a Monday night interview with Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz (Fla.), CNN's AC360 host Anderson Cooper dismissed the idea of a "secret society" within the FBI, arguing that the text messages between FBI agent Peter Strzok and his mistress Lisa Page alleging the existence of such a society were "lighthearted." When Gaetz suggested that an "informal cabal" committed to taking down President Trump may actually exist, Cooper dismissed Gaetz’s premise: "that sounds like a massive conspiracy theory."

[...]

Gaetz did not seem confident in Cooper’s assertion of the text messages as “lighthearted remarks”, adding “there are still messages we haven’t seen” and implying that the 1.2 million records the House Judiciary Committee has requested may prove the existence of “an informal cabal functioning in secret with a societal goal of hurting President Trump without any evidence.”  Cooper remained dismissive of the idea of corruption at the FBI and an “informal cabal” at the FBI, telling Rep. Gaetz “That sounds like a massive conspiracy theory.”

Gaetz again made the case that the conspiracy presents a threat to American democracy, citing the Inspector General’s report advocating for McCabe’s firing as a validation of “many of the concerns that I’ve raised along with many of my colleagues.” McCabe received a pink slip on Friday, mere hours before his retirement was scheduled to go into effect.

Along with some of his fellow House Republicans, Gaetz has advocated for a second Special Counsel to examine the work of the Inspector General and Congress in addition to taking legal action against any purveyors of wrongdoing at the FBI and the Department of Justice, which the Inspector General’s Office does not have the authority to do. 

Gaetz will continue to have a hard time convincing Cooper and the rest of the media that some at “the upper echelon” of the FBI have an out for President Trump and want to use their power to take him down. The media will never openly admit it but many of them have the same exact goal.

Despite this embrace of right-wing conspiracy-mongering, the MRC's Tim Graham just five days later blamed this exact thing not on right-wing politicians desperate to defend Trump no matter what but, rather, on ... Hollywood? Yes, Hollywood:

It’s self-evident that the vast majority of our government is unelected – 536 officials supervising a federal workforce estimated at 7 to 9 million people (including contractors). But what about the secret manipulation of policy? One blatantly obvious current illustration of a “deep state” is the current and former unelected officials who hide behind a wall of anonymous sourcing as they direct the news media on how to report on government and public policy.

But if [Chris] Matthews wanted to complain about the public being overly concerned about secret manipulation of government, there is an obvious culprit in building this viewpoint: Hollywood.

First, think of the decades of movie plots centering on government conspiracies, from George Clooney’s Syriana to Oliver Stone’s JFK. The X-Files has been a movie and a TV series (now making a second run for the ratings under Trump). Everything we believe about the history of America, and our belief in the goodness of America, is mocked as naïve by films like this.

Then think of the TV shows. These days, we are loaded with TV shows with secret government machinations: Scandal and Designated Survivor on ABC, Blindspot and The Blacklist on NBC, Snowfall on FX and Homeland on Showtime. Even the police procedurals, from the Law & Order franchise on NBC to the NCIS franchise on CBS, have featured plots exposing nefarious government conspiracies.

Yet we doubt Graham will be lecturing Gaetz anytime soon about his inability to differentiate between fact and fiction.

Graham then tries to push his claim one step further:

Hollywood focuses all of its venom on Eisenhower’s “military-industrial complex.” It’s easy to build suspicion about our intelligence agencies and the Pentagon abusing their Top Secret clearances for greedy ends. There’s zero chance of a plot on a large government-funded abortion conglomerate outrageously selling the body parts of aborted babies. They’d probably suggest that’s too over-the-top for a fictional program.

That might make sense, too, if 1) any federal money to Planned Parenthood actually paid for abortion, which it doesn't, and 2) numerous state-level investigations hadn't found there was no actual evidence Planned Parenthood sold body parts.

Graham would seem to deserve being mocked for going conspiratorial.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:12 PM EDT
WND Portrays Ban on Discredited Gay Conversion Therapy As A 'Speech Ban'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The Media Research Center isn't the only ConWeb outlet that's trying to defend the discredited practice of conversion therapy to turn gays straight.

Bob Unruh's March 2 WorldNetDaily article on a proposed ban on all conversion therapy in California hits all the biased, anti-gay notes:

  • Unruh frames the therapy ban as a "speech ban."
  • He refers to being gay as a "lifestyle choice" and the entire LGBT spectrum as "alternative lifestyle choices."
  • He gives a platform to Randy Thomasson, head of the anti-gay group Save California, to claim that "There are tens of thousands of FORMER homosexuals and FORMER transsexuals in our country. They changed back to their natural gender once they learned that homosexuality and transsexuality are not biologically-based" -- but Thomasson does not substantite the numbers.
  • He also puts a weird frame on conversion therapy itself, claiming that youth seeking it "want counseling in ways that differ from state orthodoxy on LGBTQ issues." Isn't the "state orthodoxy" on the issue one of keeping these people from being exploited or abused?

Unruh also claims as fact that "the bias of a trial court judge and the prevailing political perspective in the Obama administration that homosexuality should be promoted killed a New Jersey counseling program that offered help to those who are frustrated with same-sex feelings," citing a 2015 WND article as evidence. In fact, the article, also by Unruh, attributes the "bias" claim to a "licensed professional counselor" who opposes efforts to ban conversion therapy, and he does not substantiate his claim that the Obama administration "promoted" homosexuality as opposed to, say, merely refusing to discrimiate against it, as Unruh apparently prefers.

Unruh even went on to provide a sanitized rehash of the lawsuit that forced JONAH, a counseling organization that specialized in conversion therapy, out of business, lamenting that JONAH was deprived by the judge of using "five of the six expert witnessees" in its defense. But he ignores the evidence showing that the verdict was deserved. As the Southern Poverty Law Center reported:

Testimony at the trial revealed the JONAH program’s bizarre and abusive techniques, which included instructing men to undress and instructing one plaintiff to touch his genitals in a private counseling session. JONAH orchestrated violent role-play exercises, encouraging clients to beat effigies of their mothers, who were sometimes blamed for their sons’ homosexuality. Male counselors advocated “healthy touch” sessions that included prolonged cuddling. JONAH’s tactics alienated some clients from their families and caused them to blame themselves or family members for their sexual orientation.

Unruh does not explain, either in the 2015 article or now, how  those "expert witnesses" could have possibly explained that away as acceptable counseling methods.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:03 PM EDT
CNS Gives Anti-Trans Writer (And His New Book) A Platform
Topic: CNSNews.com

As befits a "news" organization with an unrepentant homophobe as managing editor, CNSNews.com gives a lot of space to peple with anti-LGBT views. One of them is Ryan T. Anderson of the Heritage Foundation.

Anderson is an anti-gay activist who tends to rely on shoddy research and dishonest attacks to back up his work, and he get lots of right-wing press because he presents himself as reasonable, though he really isn't.

Last July, CNS gave Anderson space to rant that, as summarized in the headline, "Biology Isn’t Bigotry: 5 Reasons Why Trans Accommodations Aren’t Compatible with Military Realities." Anderson also promoted "my forthcoming book 'When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment.'"

When that book came out earlier this year, CNS gave Anderson a lot more space. A Jan. 22 column touted the work of anti-trans doctor Paul McHugh, despite the fact that his work has been widely discredited. (Of course, that hasn't exactly stopped that homophobic managing editor, Michael W. Chapman, from promoting McHugh either.)

Anderson's Feb. 1 CNS column perfectly illustrates the faux-reasonable attitude he purports to bring to the trans debate:

Properly understanding sex, gender, gender identity, and gender dysphoria will continue to be pressing concerns in 2018.

A proper understanding is a prerequisite for properly forming people in the truth and properly ministering to people in need.

As new gender ideologies are promoted throughout America, their lies will impact not only those who suffer from gender dysphoria, but all children who need to mature in their self-understanding as a boy or girl, man or woman, a potential husband or wife, father or mother.

Anderson then claims that "My book provides a nuanced view of our sexed embodiment, a balanced approach to policy issues involving transgender identity and gender more broadly, and a sober and honest survey of the human costs of getting human nature wrong." Given that he's already dismissed anyone who disagrees with his viewpoint as liars, we doubt there's much actual nuance involved.

Indeed, his Feb. 9 column huffed that "at the heart of the transgender moment are radical ideas about the human person," adding: "A transgender future is not the 'right side of history,' yet activists have convinced the most powerful sectors of our society to acquiesce to their demands. While the claims they make are manifestly false, it will take real work to prevent the spread of these harmful ideas."

Anderson's Feb. 19 column huffed that "Parents in Ohio lost custody of their 17-year-old daughter Friday because a judge ruled that she should be allowed to receive therapy, including testosterone therapy, to identify as a boy" -- he declined to comment specifically on the case, meaning he didn't have to discuss the fact that the parents' attitude toward their child was inducing suicidal feelings -- then used that story to go on another anti-transgender rant.

Finally, Anderson's March 9 column denounced sex reassignment surgery, citing McHugh once again and engaging in more faux reasonableness: "Thoughts that disguise or distort reality are misguided—and can cause harm. In 'When Harry Became Sally,' I argue that we need to do a better job of helping people who face these struggles.

Anderson's anti-trans campaign has also gotten the endorsement of the folks who run CNS' parent, the Media Research Center. Tim Graham and Brent Bozell's Feb. 9 column touted Anderson's book for making the right enemies in their eyes: "Anderson's book is dismissed as 'hate speech,' and let's not kid ourselves: The LGBT folks would like to ban a book like this, especially when he discusses that which they wish were silenced.

Graham and Bozell even used the book as an excuse to ignore President Trump's history of immorality: "That's a strong reason for the churchgoing conservatives to look past Trump's 'Access Hollywood' braggadocio and affairs from before he became a politician and vote against the extremism — the evil extremism — that Hillary Clinton endorsed."

Talk about demonizing people you oppose. No wonder CNS and the MRC love Anderson and his book.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:40 AM EDT
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
WND Columnist Keeps Up The Manhood Fixation
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Laura Hollis' March 8 WorldNetDaily column falls in with WND's recent manhood fixation, this time looking at Hollywood's version of it:

Because, let’s face it, Tinseltown has a spotty record when it comes to accurate representation of the men out here in the rest of America.

In fact, Hollywood has a strange take on masculinity generally.

What kinds of men does Hollywood fawn over? Men who sleep with other men (the film “Call Me By Your Name” won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, and features a love story between a 24-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy. This didn’t strike anyone as awkward in the current climate?). And then there are the men who dress like women, not to mention the men who cut off their genitals and declare themselves to be women. And, until recently anyway, heterosexual men who are predators.

Detecting a pattern here?

[...]

Were one so inclined, the argument could be made that Hollywood promotes gun bans for the same reason it celebrates penisless men: They simply lack the vocabulary to explain concepts like judgment, morality or self-control. You can’t control your “weapon,” you see, so it must be taken from you. (And we’ll applaud those who unilaterally “disarm.”)

Just so we’re clear, I’m not calling men’s genitals “weapons” (although that is a not uncommon message in certain feminist scholarship). What I’m saying is that just as most gun owners don’t kill people, most men aren’t sexual predators. Those who refrain from that conduct do so because of the other organs they possess – their hearts and their brains. Hollywood has apparently promoted casual and callous sexuality for so long that it has lost sight of the other, higher human functions and capabilities.

Hollis then took a detour to complain about abortion because outgoing Planned Parenthood president was honored at the Oscars:

Those calling for gun control seem to overlook that every gun sale doesn’t kill a human being. But every abortion does.

So while Hollywood rails against men and penises and guns and killing children, who has presided over the destruction of more children than anyone else in this country?

Women.

Even the women at WND hate women, apparently (well, the women who won't fall in line with WND's right-wing fundamentalism, anyway).


Posted by Terry K. at 8:07 PM EDT

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