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Tuesday, November 13, 2018
MRC Downplays The Conservative Among Pollitical Donors Who Are Media Moguls
Topic: Media Research Center

In a Nov. 6 Media Resarch Center post, Julia Seymour highlights a Los Angeles Times article about the top 12 political donors in the 2018 midterms, four of whom own media outlets. The top name on the list is a conservative, but Seymour gave him only a short paragraph:

Ranked at the top by that measure were Sheldon and Miriam Adelson who the paper labeled as “ultra-conservative,” are “Republican super-donors” who spent $113 million on the 2018 elections. LAT noted that Adelson purchased the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2015.

Seymour didn't mention that Adelson also owns several media outlets in Israel, which tend to serve as loyal backers of conservative Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And in the next paragraph, Seymour downplayed Adelson's media holdings, calling the Review-Journal a mere "city paper" that's "small potatoes" compared to the next person on the list, Michael Bloomberg.

Bloomberg got two paragraphs, with Seymour claiming without substantiation that Bloomberg's media empire "often promotes the same liberal attitudes as Bloomberg himself, especially on climate change and gun control" -- right after she cites a claim that Bloomberg's media outlets publish 5,000 stories a day in 120 countries. Seymour did not say how many of those 5,000 items a day were "often" repeating Bloomberg's "liberal attitudes."

Further down was "Hillary Clinton supporter" Fred Eychaner, whose media outlets actually are small potatoes compared with even Adelson -- he owns a couple of small radio stations in the Chicago area, but his main media business is in printing newspapers. He gave one-tenth the money that Adelson has.

Finally, there's Jeff Bezos, who Seymour concedes gave even less political money than even Eychaner and all of it to a nonpartisan group dedicated to electing military veterans. But because Bezos owns the MRC-desipsed Washington Post, he comes in for an irrelevant partisan beating:

While their giving may be nonpartisan, the Postleans heavily left. Shortly after Donald Trump assumed the office of president in 2017, the Post introduced a new slogan: “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”

More recently the paper’s book critic compared Trump voters to “cancer cells,” the paper editorialized that Trump was “complicit” in the destruction that would be inflicted by Hurricane Florence, and a Post political reporter argued “The American people aren’t interested in” the Trump administration's “substantive accomplishments.”

Weirdly, Seymour didn't mention another MRC-despised political donor on the list, George Soros, even though the MRC has spent years ranting about how much money Soros has given to various and sundry media outlets (even though conservative moneybags have spent much more than Soros ever did trying to prop up their failing conservative newspapers).

Posted by Terry K. at 1:06 AM EST
Monday, November 12, 2018
Fringe-Right Anti-Muslim Group Thinks People Fear It (And Misleads About Dead Saudi Journalist)
Topic: Horowitz

It's been a while since we've written about anything Horowitz-related, mostly because the David Horowitz Freedom Center has long since marginalized itself as little more than a Horowitz cult of personality with an anti-Muslim obsession on the side. But we fefel like we had to weigh in on an Oct. 22 FrontPageMag article by Daniel Greenfield smearing apparently deceased Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Greenfield complains that the Washington Post singled it out for pushing said smears. It's telling that Greenfield doesn't link to the Post article to which he objects so his readers can judge for themselves. Instead, he rants:

Front Page Magazine’s article documented Khashoggi’s extensive terrorist affiliations and his advocacy for Islamist power, and subsequent posts delved into his anti-Semitism and support for Hamas. These were all documented using reputable sources ranging from Khashoggi’s own published writings and interviews, to sources like The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright and the Wiesenthal Center.

The Washington Post had no rebuttal to this array of facts. Instead, it dishonestly used conspiratorial language to cast aspersions on our work, smearing the unchallenged facts in a widely distributed article as part of a “dark whisper campaign.” It argued that some unnamed and unquoted “experts on the Middle East” claimed that Khashoggi had adopted a “more liberal, secular point of view.”


The Post quoted "four GOP officials" who were apparently too afraid to name the names of the "lawmakers and others who are passing around information critical of Khashoggi" because it would expose them as "sources." The “right-wing” sources were Patrick Poole, Mark Levin, and, an article by me that the Post smeared as a “story in far-right FrontPage magazine,” taking issue even with Bosch Fawstin’s artful illustration of “bin Laden and Khashoggi with their arms around each other.”

The hysterically vitriolic tone of the Washington Post piece, its conspiratorial claims of “cadres” mounting a “dark whisper” campaign and hidden “sources” among House Republicans could be mistaken as another routine smear of conservatives. But it’s a about a war for Washington D.C.

Greefield's link on the words "reputable sources" gpes to the similarly right-wing American Spectator, which no rational observer considers "reputable," let alone fair or balanced.

The other main sign that Greenfield really is all about smearing Khashoggi is his edited quote of Khashoggi's statement following  the death of Osama bin Laden, with whom Khashoggi had been acquainted before he turned to terrorism, which Greenfield misleadingly painted as an "old friend":

“I collapsed crying a while ago, heartbroken for you Abu Abdullah,” Khashoggi wrote after Osama bin Laden’s death. “You were beautiful and brave in those beautiful days in Afghanistan.”

Greenfield deliberately cut off the end of Khashoggi's message: "...before you surrendered to hatred and passion." In other words, Greenfield is censoring the fact that Khashoggi hated what bin Laden had become after what he considered to a just cause fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan.

From here, Greenfield descends into delusions of grandeur regarding himself, his political god and his employer:

The Washington Post believes that it can set the agenda for Washington D.C. And it sees Front Page Magazine'scutting edge investigative journalism and the David Horowitz Freedom Center as a threat.


The Washington Post’s smears in September and October share a common underlying worry that the David Horowitz Freedom Center is reaching Republican House members. And it is trying to intimidate them with slanted stories and anonymous leaks. The Republicans whom the media fears are not the loudest or those who have the most conservative ratings, but those who don’t listen to the media.

That is why the media hates and fears President Trump so much.

The media’s power comes from driving the narrative, not just at the breakfast table, but in the Senate cloakroom, the legislative chambers, and in the Oval Office. The Post’s latest attack on the Freedom Center is an acknowledgement that our stories and speakers are undermining the media’s influence.

Last year, the Washington Post attacked the Freedom Center’s tax exempt status in “How a ‘Shadow’ Universe of Charities Joined with Political Warriors to Fuel Trump’s Rise.”

It warned that the Freedom Center’s 2014 Restoration Weekend had “brought together an array of hard-right activists and a little-known charity whose ideas would soon move from the fringes of the conservative movement into the heart of the nation's government.”

After this profile, identifying the Freedom Center as a key hub for conservative ideas among elected officials, the Washington Post has been launching smear campaigns intended to prevent the Center’s ideas from reaching elected officials. Other media outlets quickly joined in this coordinated campaign.

Greenfield's aversion to directly linking to anything the Post wrote is so extreme that he doesn't link directly to the Post article on the the far-right connextions to the Trump orbit; rather, he links to a Tampa Bay Times reprint of it.

Greenfiled concludes: "The Freedom Center believes in a free press. And it believes that everyone is entitled to the facts." If that was actually true, Greenfield wouldn't be editing Khashoggi's words or be so desperate to smear a man whose death the Saudis apparently made extremely painful simply for criticizing its leadership.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:52 PM EST
CNS Echoes Trump's Call To End Birthright Citizenship

President Trump says "jump," and asks, "How high?" That's pretty much CNS' editorial agenda these days -- support pretty much anything Trump proposes.

When the Trump administration floated the idea of trying to end birthright citizenship -- in which any person born on American soil is officially a U.S. citizen, CNS knew it had to bolster the legal case for it. And bolster it did with a barrage of opinion pieces.

An Oct. 30 column by the Heritage Foundation's Hans von Spakovsky insisted that the long-established legal case for birthright citizenship is based on a "misunderstdanding" of the 14th Amendment.

The same day, CNS published a column by conservative law professor Lino Graglia, who asserted that "A policy of granting birthright citizenship to children born here of illegal aliens is not merely unreasonable and harmful, but irrational and self-contradictory, a matter of both punishing and rewarding the same conduct."

The next day, Craig Bannister published a "flashback" from a 1993 speech by Democratic then-Sen. Harry Reid cvlaiming that "no sane country" would permit birthright citizenship. It's not until the final paragraph that Bannister gets around to noting that Reid has repudiated his remarks a few years, citing a Fox News article to blame that repudiation on "union pressure."

Bannister also wrote another blog post citing the author of the 14th Amendment, Sen. Jacob Howard, stating that the amendment "“settles the great question” and “removes all doubt” about citizenship.

CNS then called on its favorite right-wing radio ranter, Mark Levin, promoting the alleged constitutional expert's claim that "Nobody really knows how birthright citizenship was instituted." Levin was able to double-dip with an item complaining that House Speaker Paul Ryan is "utterly wrong" and "has no idea what he's talking about" in criticizing Trump's call to end birthright citizenship.

On Nov. 1, von Spakovsky popped up again to declare that "the president is correct when he says that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution does not require universal birthright citizenship" and that "Contrary to popular belief, the 14th Amendment doesn’t say that all people born in the U.S. are citizens." Levin popped up again as well to rant that he was challenging "practicing lawyers or former federal this or former that ... to show me the evidence in the 1860s that supports your position that birthright citizenship was enshrined in the 14th Amendment."

A Nov. 2 syndicated column by anti-immigrant writer Pat Buchanan asserted that "in challenging birthright citizenship, Trump has some constitutional history on his side."

Von Spakovsky showed up once more with a Nov. 5 column pushing the case that Trump can end birthright citizenship with an executive order.

The "news" side of CNS (which is that pretty much in name only) wasn't much more balanced. Bannister wrote a blog post cheering Sen. Lindsey Graham for saying that he was glad Trump was addressing the "absurd policy of birthright citizenship."

And an Oct. 31 item credited only to " Staff" spent more space attacking Nancy Pelosi forsaying that Trump does not have the power to alter the Constitution over birthright citizenship then it did quoting her saying that.

CNS clearly knows how to jump very high at Trump's request.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:11 PM EST
WND Misleads Again Through Press-Release Journalism
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WND rewrites another press release from the right-wing Thomas More Society in an anonymously written Nov. 4 article on a case it has previously offered biased, misleading reporting about:

Three 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges are considering a case in which government officials facilitated sex-change treatments for a minor child against the parent’s specific instructions.

Anmarie Calgaro filed suit in November 2016 after her then-minor son underwent sex-change treatment with the aid of the St. Louis County School District, St. Louis County, Fairview Health Services and Park Nicollet Health Services.

At the trial level, Judge Paul Magnuson agreed her parental rights, which remained “intact” at the time, were violated. But he dismissed the case, determining school officials and social workers did not infringe on her constitutional rights.


Calgaro is represented by the Thomas More Society, and special counsel Erick Kaardal has called her ordeal “a parent’s worst nightmare.”

As before, WND sticks so closely to Thomas More's talking points that it completely ignores the other side of the story. The child had been living apart from Calgaro for serveral months and was self-supporting financially while still taking classes, which meets one definiton of legal emancipation in Minnesota, and the mother had made little effort to bring the child home, contact her or even report her as a runaway before filing the lawsuit.Further, Thomas More -- and, thus, WND -- refused to acknowledge claims by the teen that her mother and stepfather were verbally and physically abusive after she came out as gay.

WND quietly acknowledges that the case is basically moot, noting that the teen was a "then-minor"; indeed, the teen is over 18 now, meaning the teen is an adult as an uncontested matter of law. Thomas More appears to be perpetuating an effectively dead case in order to push a "parental rights" argument, which seems to conveniently ignore that Calgaro effectively abandoned her child and only wanted control again as part of her objection to "sex-change treatments," not necessarily because she actually cares about the child. The gay-hating aspect seems to be one that the Thomas More Society -- and, thus, WND -- finds appealing.

Press-release journalism is probably not the way for WND to go if it wants to ever be taken seriously again.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:15 AM EST
Sunday, November 11, 2018
What LGBT Stuff Is The MRC Freaking Out About Now?
Topic: Media Research Center

Yes, the Media Research Center is still freaking out about LGBT stuff. Let's investigate, shall we?

Matt Philbin is as hateful as ever, sneering: "Los Angeles has only one “LGBT-focused coffee shop.” This is surprising news to me, but then I believe pumpkin spiced latte is Big Coffee’s fiendish plot to turn America into a nation of jittery, fem Pajama Boys." Philbin is so homophobic that he feels the need to invent "the former daytime darling of L.A.’s queer social ecosystem, a makeup artist and part-time yoga instructor named Rudolfo," to mock a story about the financial plight of said coffee shop, cranking up the hateful snark:

Here’s a thought: maybe don’t be so gender-incontinent. Put the disco ball in the back. Lose the teal (keep the leather: you never know when some of those cis-gay guys might drop in. “As if!” sneered Rudolfo.) Maybe accept you might be misgendered by, say, every second person in order to make the joint a going concern. Look outside and see who other potential customers may be.

But solipsism, like deep voices and hairy legs, is brewed into this crowd.

Just as homophobia is deeply ingrained into Philbin and the rest of his MRC cohorts.

Lindsey Kornick declared that one of the "sneaky ways" that "raving lefty lunatic" Sean Penn has put a "liberal agenda" in his new Hulu show "The First" is that "The show really wants you to remember that Kayla is a queer woman. She has a wife she who discusses her feelings of frustration, and the two sleep together near the end of the third episode. Like the previous issue, there really is no need for these agendas as they also deal with the logistics of space travel and the lethal risk of another Mars mission."

Jay Maxson was mad that a media report noted "the first openly gay college football player to score a touchdown, complaining that the commentator "has been on board with the LGBT agenda for a long time."Maxson, of course, has been on board with the right-wing anti-LGBT agenda for a long time.

Annie Piper hates, hates, hates it when gay people are on her TV, specifically in an episode of "A Million Little Things" that focuses on an 11-year-old boy (bolding in original):

Wednesday night’s episode “Band of Dads” focused on one of the oldest topics in the books for liberal enthusiasts—homosexuality. This is something anyone who spends even a night or two a week watching TV should be no stranger to. We are all used to that one gay neighbor, or the gay best friend inserted into almost every show. It’s become so commonplace that if I were to write about every occurrence, I’d have a lot less free time on my hands.


As if it isn’t enough for ABC to make one of their youngest characters gay, they add in one more punch. Not only does Gary support same sex attraction—he encourages it and actually loves him "even more" for it. How quickly we go from tolerance to acceptance to celebration to preferential treatment.

Rebecca Downs similarly complains about people loving gays for being gay:

If there’s a theme in Star’s October 31 episode “Someday We’ll All Be Free,” it’s the suffering and healing of the black characters on the show, particularly the gay ones. The suffering of these characters is so righteous, that it is ultimately likened to the suffering of Jesus on the cross, and taken to mean that God has bestowed a special kind of love upon them.


Bobby could have reminded Miss Bruce about human dignity and worth, and that he is indeed loved by God. Instead, being black and gay is equated with the suffering Jesus as the Son of God endured during the crucifixion. For any demographic to be loved more or less by God, or to be considered having suffered in the same way in which Jesus did at his death, completely distorts the narrative of what the love of God is about. This includes how Jesus was the one who was sent to suffer and die in such a way.

By speaking about how being "made" black and gay shows Jesus “must really love” a person, and that blacks and gays are in a select group of being “the only ones,” the show doesn't remind of us of how we are all children of God, or seek to unite us as members of that human family. Instead, it focuses on a person’s demographics while hitting at "church folk." If this is supposed to be an episode about realizing the importance of healing and seeking help, Star actually hurts the cause.

And Maxson returns to rant that USA Today is "a blatant mouthpiece for the LGBT agenda" because it reported on a transgender female cyclist aiming for the Olympics, fearing that a "biological male" could earn an Olympic medal and huffing: "Perhaps that is what it will take for women ― real women ― to rise up in opposition to a movement that threatens to relegate them to permanent also-ran status in athletic competition."

Posted by Terry K. at 8:28 PM EST
CNS Brings In Pro-Trump Rabbi To Praise Trump's Response to Synogogue Shooting

We've highlighted how has a thing for rloopy, abidly anti-Obama and pro-Trump rabbi Aryeh Spero. An Oct. 29 CNS blog post by Michael Morris lets Spero play Trump suck-up by ostentatiously praising President Trump's response to the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting:

Spokesman for the National Conference on Jewish Affairs (NCJA) lauded President Donald Trump’s heartfelt response and concern for Pittsburgh’s Jewish community yesterday, saying on behalf of the NCJA, “We commend President Trump for his heartfelt expressions of grief.”

“We commend President Trump for his heartfelt expressions of grief to Pittsburgh’s Jewish community, as well as to all American Jews regarding the slaughter at the Etz Chayim Synagogue on Saturday in Squirrel Hill,” stated Rabbi Aryeh Spero in a Facebook post. “It is quite obvious that the President was deeply distressed by the events Saturday and has made an upcoming priority in his schedule to go to Pittsburgh to be with the victims.”


Rabbi Aryeh Spero continued later in his Facebook post:

“We know that President Trump feels this tragedy very personally because he himself has attended synagogues and Jewish rituals as a father and grandfather to a Jewish daughter and grandchildren. The President, as did his late father, Fred, has had a history of supporting Jewish synagogues and causes, and the President continually demonstrates his love of the Jewish People and Israel. Safety for Jews around the world is of prime concern for Mr. Trump.”

We know llittle about this group, but any reputation the NCJA has of a legitimate spokesman for Jews in America is sullied by the presence of Spero, who appears to be placing political concerns before religion. Last year, presumably through Spero, the NCJA sucked up to Trumpa again by praising Trump for his allegedly "principled decision" to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement, further gushing: "We thank President Trump for acting on the facts regarding the Iranian regime’s nuclear program, and for his resoluteness and courageous leadership in protecting the safety and security of the American People."

The presence on the group's website of an article from the anti-Muslim Gatestone Institute complaining about "persecution of Christians" (!) is another sign that the group's true agenda is politics instead of Jewry.

Weirdly, CNS takes Spero's statement from his personal Facebook page -- not from any NCJA website -- upon which Spero has made only three posts this year, before which his most recent post was January 2014.

All of this looks a bit sketchy, if you ask us.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:00 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, November 25, 2018 11:21 AM EST
Saturday, November 10, 2018
Guy Who Called Obama A 'Skinny Ghetto Crackhead' Lectures On Civil Political Discourse
Topic: Media Research Center

Tim Graham and Brent Bozell whine in their Oct. 31 column:

The frightening exposure of pipe bombs being mailed to prominent Democrats and media outlets, followed by a horrific shooting in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, led to news networks lecturing, hour after hour, on the tone of our civic discourse.

Physicians, heal thyselves.

These are not dispassionate observers of the national scene. These are leftist partisans and they are cynically using national tragedies to equate conservative speech — conservative thought — to violence.

Yes, the guy who ranted that President Obama was a "skinny ghetto crackhead" is about to lecture us on proper political discourse.

The pair then play the whataboutism card:

In 1998, Eric Rudolph bombed an abortion clinic in Birmingham, killing a policeman. The media demanded that the pro-life movement condemn this violence. Pro-life leaders lined up before the cameras for humiliating we're-not-as-bad-as-this interviews.

In 1996, Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, was indicted for murdering three men with mail bombs. Authorities found Al Gore's book "Earth in the Balance" in Kaczynski's shack. No one in the media demanded Gore denounce this evil.

In 2009, Scott Roeder murdered late-term abortionist George Tiller in Kansas. Again pro-lifers were publicly shamed by the press. In 2013, monstrous abortionist Kermit Gosnell was convicted of killing three babies born alive, along with one mother. No reporter suggested the pro-abortion lobby bore any responsibility. No one condemned the agenda of NARAL, et cetera. Virtually no one bothered even covering the trial.

It's "humiliating" for anti-abortion activists to have to distance themselves from violence against abortion doctors and clinics, even though mainstream anti-abortion rhetoric frames abortion doctors as murderers and abortion clinics as perpetrating another Holocaust? Bozell and Graham have probably never spent a single second thinking about how humiliating it is for every American Muslim being forced to distance themselves from a terrorist attack. (They also can't name a single line out of Gore's book that could have directly inspired Kaczynski to his violent acts.)

Bozell and Graham ignore the fact that violent anti-abortion extremists are not that far from the anti-abortion mainstream. For instance, WorldNetDaily's Jack Cashill not only tried to claim that Rudolph was framed for the clinic attack and the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing that was purportedly actually carried out by Islamic extremists, he devoted a seven-part WND series to claiming that James Kopp was framed for the murder of abortion doctor Barnett Slepian, which worked until Kopp confessed to the murder. 

Further, we documented how the "news" operation Bozell runs,, buried Roeder's links to the mainstream anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, nor did it report a statement from Randall Terry, a foundational figure in the anti-aboriton movement, effectively condoning Tiller's murder.

And, of course, Bozell and the MRC have for years been cynically exploiting Gosnell to further their right-wing anti-abortion agenda -- the exact behavior for which he attacked the "liberal media" at the beginning of his column.

So, once again, Graham and Bozell are ranting about behavior by others that they themselves engage in.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:57 AM EST
Conspiracy Time: WND's Rush Thinks MAGABomber Is A Secret 'Leftist Operative'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily columnist Erik Rush has always been conspiracy-happy and particularly Obama-deranged. He ratchets things up to a new level inhis Oct. 31 column, in which he argues that Cesar Sayoc (a.k.a. the MAGABomber), accused of mailing pipe bombs to prominent Democrats, is actually a secret "leftist operative":

Following a nationwide manhunt, on Friday federal authorities arrested 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc, a Florida man accused of sending explosive devices to prominent Democrats and critics of President Trump. Even prior to Sayoc’s capture, one could almost feel the anticipation of those on the left in the air, particularly the establishment press: The perpetrator was going to be found to be a Trump supporter, and they would exploit this fact to the nth degree.

As it happened, the evidence gleaned following Sayoc’s arrest suggested that he was in fact a very vocal Trump supporter and a registered Republican. Bear in mind that I used the term “suggested.” Immediately, the left began to exploit this apparent connection. Obviously, Sayoc’s actions had their genesis in Trump’s incivility, incendiary rhetoric, fascistic tendencies and calls for violence, as well as reflecting the general temperament of all who support Trump. Thus, the president should probably be removed from office and his supporters carted off to re-education camps forthwith.


There are also several aspects of Sayoc’s background and alleged crimes that give rise to incredulity and appear somewhat inconsistent for a dedicated Trump supporter, including amateurish construction of the explosive devices, Sayoc’s invisible (or at least limited) means of support and sketchy accounts from some of the ostensible targets.

Following these and other fishy facts revealed after Sayoc’s arrest, social media chatter immediately ensued, with rank-and-file conservatives postulating that the would-be bomber might be a leftist operative attempting to sow widespread fear of President Trump and his followers.

If one is motivated enough to do the research – or to consult my archive on related events – one will discover that there are distinct similarities between the backgrounds of Cesar Sayoc, James Holmes (the Aurora, Colorado, theater shooter), Adam Lanza (the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter) and Aaron Alexis (the Washington, D.C., Naval Yard shooter). All but one were “fringe” elements and, though it was not widely reported, all of these individuals had direct or tangential ties to agencies that, it could be argued or deduced, had the capacity to recognize these men as marginalized and potentially unbalanced, and to subtly manipulate them into carrying out acts of violence.

As it happens, my knowledge of psychology surpasses what my formal education would suggest. I know that it is far easier to influence an individual utilizing mind control techniques than the average person might surmise, and that the methods available to clandestine agencies are far more sophisticated than most people know. It’s even easier if that person is mentally or emotionally compromised, and easier still if they are predisposed to such action.


If we wound up discovering that Cesar Sayoc was an unbalanced right-winger groomed for his role by leftist operatives, or simply a leftist operative himself, it should not be at all surprising given the boundless duplicity of the left and their aforementioned level of desperation.

Rush also suggests that Holmes, Lanza and Alexis may have been manipulated by Obama to commit their massacres in order to boost the argument for gun control:

The three mass shootings I mentioned all occurred during a time when the Obama administration was vigorously stumping for harsher gun control measures, so the motivation for these being staged incidents (in theory) is obvious. There were several other suspicious phenomena that tied those shootings together, such as circumstantial evidence that some involved crisis actors, which would be indicative of staged events.

If Rush so eagerly swallows such ridiculous conspiracy theories, perhaps his knowledge of psychology is not as all-encompassing as he would like us to think.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Rush is not the only WND columnist to push conspiracy theories about Sayoc. In his Oct. 28 column, Lowell Ponte suggests that Sayoc might be a Democrat-orchestrated "October surprise," though he does aver: "In all likelihood, Democrats did not invent Cesar Sayoc, a lone eccentric fixated on conspiracy theories who should be committed to the State Home for the Bewildered."

We would remind folks that Ponte is a conspiracy-fixated eccentric who is not so alone because WND has granted him weekly column space, though he has probably earned himself a room at the State Home for the Bewildered next door to Sayoc.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:19 AM EST
Friday, November 9, 2018
CNS Unemployment Coverage Distortion Watch

There were good numbers again in October's employment figures, and you know what that means: more pro-Trump rah-rah at The lead article by Susan Jones laid the rah-rah on thick, with an added pre-midterm boost:

The economy is the second most important issue for registered voters as the midterm election nears, a new Gallup Poll says. And there was very good economic news on Friday, as the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics rolled out the October employment report -- the final one before next week's midterm election.

The number of employed Americans has never been higher. The 156,562,000 Americans employed in October is the twefth record set under President Donald Trump. 

In October, the number of employed men age 20 and up -- 80,405,000 -- set the 12th record since Trump took office; and likewise, for the 12th time, the number of employed women age 20 and up set a record, reaching 70,909,000 in October.

The unemployment rate held at 3.7 percent, the same as September, which is the lowest it's been in decades -- since the end of 1969. And the Hispanic unemployment rate, 4.4 percent, has never been lower.

We also got the usual item on manufacturing jobs from editor in chief Terry Jeffrey since those increased -- though not his usual item on governement jobs, presumably because the BLS stated there was "little change" from the previous month, which means Jeffrey couldn't tout how many jobs Trump cut.

Jones' mention of the Hispanic unemployment rate got its own full item from Craig Bannister. A few days later, an MRC Latino post by Kathleen Krumhansl and Ken Oliver complained that news reports on Univision and Telemundo "pointedly neglected to include the third record-low in Hispanic unemployment reached under the Trump administration." That synergystic activism, of course, is the sole reason why CNS bothers to highlight the Hispanic unemployment rate in the first place.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:33 PM EST
WND Enlists Medical Misinformer to Fearmonger About Disease-Ridden Migrants
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Bogus fearmongering about George Soros isn't the only conspiracy theory about the migrant caravans that WorldNetDaily is promoting. WND serves up another one in a Nov. 1 article:

There’s a new warning about the three caravans of migrants coming from Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico toward the southern U.S. border: They could be carrying contagious diseases that would create havoc for America’s health system.

“Of course it could happen here,” said Dr. Jane Orient, the executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.

Her comments came in a report by government watchdog Judicial Watch.

“It’s insane to bring in migrants from any country without proper health screening,” she said.

The caravans pose “a serious public health threat and could bring dangerous diseases into the country,” the report said.

Orient explained there are extremely drug-resistant strands of tuberculosis among the infectious diseases the Central American migrants are likely to bring in.

Others include mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue and chikungunya, both widespread in the region.

The problem here is that Orient has no credibility on this issue. As we've previously documented, Orient has since 2003 been managing editor of the AAPS' Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, which means it was under her watch that a notorious 2005 journal article appeared ranting against illegal immigrants as filthy foreigners and falsely claiming that cases of leprosy in the U.S. have exploded. Even though the claim was discredited years ago, we're not aware that the journal has issued a correction, and the PDF of the article on the journal's website remains uncorrected.

Orient is a veritable font of medical misinformation. In 2016, she tried to blame cases of microcephaly on vaccines and not the Zika virus -- a claim that has been discredited.

Orient has spread misinformation about immigrants and diseases before, and to our knowledge, she has never apologized for doing so. There's no reason to trust her on the subject now.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:04 AM EST
Thursday, November 8, 2018
Bogus MRC Coverage 'Study' Watch
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has applied its highly dubious and ridiculously narrowly focused methodology to claim that media coverage of President Trump is too negative to coverage of the midterm elections. The headline of Rich Noyes' Oct. 30 post references "TV News," but that's only if you believe as Noyes apparently does that Fox News, CNN and MSNBC aren't on TV; once again, it's narrowly focused on the TV networks' evening newscasts. Noyes imparts:

With just one week to go before the 2018 midterm elections, the broadcast networks are heavily spinning their campaign coverage against the Republicans, even as President Trump’s campaign activities have received more airtime than all of the individual Senate, House, and gubernatorial contests combined.

Not only was network coverage of Republicans far more hostile (88% negative) than that meted out to Democrats (53% negative), but we found nearly ten times more negative statements about Republicans and President Trump (97) than all of the Democratic candidates combined (10).

In fact, coverage of the entire field of Democratic candidates would have been 67 percent positive if it hadn’t been for negative comments in stories about Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren’s DNA test.

Again, Noyes methodology is very narrowly defined:

We calculated spin by tallying all clearly positive and negative statements from non-partisan sources (in other words, reporters, anchors, voters and other unaffiliated sources). This excludes coverage that merely reflects the partisan back-and-forth of the campaign, in order to isolate the spin being imparted by the networks themselves. It also excludes “horse race assessments” about the candidate’s prospects for winning or losing.

And, again, Noyes can't be bothered to post the raw data so readers can double-check his almost certainly biased pronouncements of what constitutes a "negative" or "positive" statement, or expl;ain why neutral coverage wasn't factored in, or explain whether he thinks "negative" coverage can be the most accurate way to cover a given story, or whether he believes all stories must be "balanced" whether or not the story warrants it.

But dubious methodologies and murky data are how the MRC's "research" rolls.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:51 PM EST
WND Pushes More Anti-Muslim Activism From Right-Wing Legal Group
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In September, WorldNetDaily promoted the work of the right-wing Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund in fighting what it called "proselytizing" of Islam in a California school district. In fact, what was happening was an attempt to counter discrimination and bullying against a Muslim student and allowing Musilm groups explain to students that Muslims are not the evil people right-wingers portray them as.

Well, WND and the right-wing group were at it again in an anonymously written Oct. 27 article:

Parents of San Diego public school students have returned to a federal court in their case against the district’s promotion of Islam, asking the judge to reconsider her denial of their request to halt an “anti-Islamophobia initiative.”

The parents, who are organized as the Citizens For Quality Education San Diego, charge the San Diego Unified School District’s program in partnership with the Council on American-Islamic Relations favors Muslim students in violation of the Constitution.

Ahead of a hearing scheduled for Nov. 26, the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, on behalf of the parents, have filed a brief in support of a motion asking the Judge Cynthia Bashant to reconsider her denial of a preliminary order to stop the program while the case proceeds.

The brief contends the judge overlooked material facts demonstrating the district is advancing the sectarian agenda of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR. It asserts her conclusion the district no longer is partnering with CAIR is “manifestly erroneous.”

The FCDF actually goes on to argue that there must be documented hatred of Muslims before any anti-Islamophobia initiative can take place, according to the article:

The brief contends the judge “ignored the statistics showing no evidence of Islamophobia in the school district and instead held that President Trump’s election was a reason compelling enough to override the parents’ argument that the initiative violates the First Amendment.”


“Relying on spurious claims of rampant nationwide ‘Islamophobia’ squarely conflicts with Supreme Court precedent,” said Daniel Piedra, FCDF’s executive director. “There is zero evidence of MAGA hat-wearing students prowling the schools and terrorizing Muslim students. No doubt the school district has good intentions, but a religiously preferential school program requires an actual problem in need of solving.”

The school’s deal with CAIR “offers Muslim students special bullying protections and empowers the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a controversial Islamic advocacy organization, to revise school curricula for a more ‘inclusive’ portrayal of Islam. CAIR also is authorized to prosecute students accused of being Islamophobic,” the legal team said.

“Government statistics show schoolchildren of all religions face bullying, not just Muslim students,” Piedra said. “While combating religiously motivated bullying is a compelling interest, any school initiative that singles out a specific religious sect for preferential treatment is unconstitutional.”

As with the previous article, WND simply rewrote an FCDF press release and couldn't be bothered to contact the school distric being sued by FCDF for a response. And it's not established how fighting anti-Muslim discrimination is the exact same thing as "promotion of Islam."

The WND article concludes by rehashing earlier attacks by anti-Muslim groups on schools after ominously stating, "The influence of Islam in public schools has become a nationwide issue." We don't recall WND ever complaining about, say, the influence of Christianity in public schools, except perhaps to argue there wasn't enough of it.

It's yet another example of lazy press-release journalism and reflexive anti-Muslim bias on WND's part. Not the sign of a "news" organization interested in surviving.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:25 PM EST
NEW ARTICLE: The Kavanaugh Playbook At CNS
Like its Media Research Center parent, had marching orders to push through Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination and attack his accusers. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 9:23 AM EST
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
WND Pushes False Conspiracy Theories That Soros Is Behind Migrant Caravans
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Like any good right-wing conspiracy-obsessed website, WorldNetDaily hates George Soros After all, its columnists have pushed the false smear that Soros was a Nazi sympathizer during World War II, and it refused to correct the record when it had a chance. So it was unsurprising that WND latched onto dubious claims that a Soros-funded group and, thus, Soros himself -- was involved in the migrant caravan moving through Central America and Mexico toward the United States.

Brent Smith ranted in his Oct. 19 WND column: And who is coaching these marchers? Is it once again Pueblo Sin Fronteras, the George Soros funded group who bankrolled the April 2018 march to the border, or is it Honduran communist Bartolo Fuentes, looking to cause upheaval to regain power in his country?"

An anonymously written Oct. 22 WND article repeated Smith's speculation, adding speculation from the right-wing American Thinker site claiming that "Evidence of Soros funding of an earlier ‘spontaneous’ migration have been found among the tentacles of support that flow from his Open Society group coffers."

An Oct. 29 WND article repeated a claim from the highly discredited Gateway Pundit claiming that "the George Soros Open Society is working behind the scenes with the United Nations to assist illegal migrants like the caravans marching to the southern U.S. border." It also touted a claim from Judicial Watch's Chris Farrell, who "accused Soros of funding the migrant caravan," going on to invoke an even more discredited source: "Infowars said Judicial Watch is calling for a criminal investigation into funding for the campaign after its Chris Farrell suggested George Soros was linked to the move, including grant money given to his groups afer pushing leftist agendas."

WND columnist Mychal Massie wrote on Oct. 29 that "it’s Soros’ Open Society Foundations that are the primary threat to our way of life," ranting: "Bankrolling violent subversive groups for the express purpose of subverting the government of the United States of America and deconstructing our Constitution for purposes of bringing about insurrection is by definition sedition. This is exactly what George Soros has been knowingly funding since at least 1984." Massie added that "An example is the so-called “caravan of refugees,” which is an act of organized politico-subversion intended to create a Marxist climate of anti-American resentment from within the borders of America." Massie concluded his screed: "We are a country of laws, and it’s past time to investigate and punish the person behind this intended seditious subversion of our culture. 'Someone’s got to go to jail' for this, and that someone is George Soros. At the very least he should be deported back to Hungary where it is my understanding that their government would love to see him again."

Except that's not true at all. A New York Times fact-check found no evidence that Soros or Pueblos Sin Fronteras were involved in  the current caravan (though Pueblos Sin Fronteras has been involved in organizing earlier journeys). USA Today has documented how the Soros lie spread through right-wing social media.

This is not the first time WND has pushed such a Soros conspiracy theory. An April 29 article, headlined "Border Caravan? Call it the George Soros Express" -- promoted on WND's front page with the more benign headline "Who's paying for caravan to U.S. border?" -- blamed "billionaire George Soros" in part for purportedly funding a "well-organized caravan-style invasion" earlier this year, touting a state Republican official calling Soros a "leftist puppet master" -- a term that is considered to be longtime anti-Semitic language. But that didn't appear to be true either.

Embracing false conspiracy theories about George Soros is probably not the way to profitability for WND if it's genuinely interested in not going out of business.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:59 PM EST
MRC Blogger Claims To See Reporter's Secret Political Agenda In His Use Of A Common Pronoun
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center tends to do a lot of mind-reading in indicting various people in the media as "liberal." Mysterious MRC sports blogger Jay Maxson takes it to the next level by deducing political leanings from a person's use of a common pronoun.

Maxson's Oct. 29 NewsBusters post berates Huffington Post writer David Barden for writing about LeBron James' "political activism," particularly that he was spotted wearing a cap supporting Democratic Texas Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke. Maxson noted that Barden wrote of the cap that ""If we ever needed a clearer sign that LeBron James isn’t going to just 'shut up and dribble,' this is it," then divined Barden's purported partisan intent in writing that sentence: "From the start of his post, Barden identifies himself as a supporter of O'Rourke and James. The word 'we' is the second word in the post."

Funny, we just see a writer using a common rhetorical device that uses a common plural pronoun that can be resonably argued applies to all basketball fans and observers, not just LeBron and the writer. At no point does in his article does Barden state any personal political preferences -- he's simply reporting what James did.

That's the kind of right-wing paranoia that's driving the MRC these days.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:49 PM EST

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