CNSNews.com had to follow Trump's flip-flops on the shutdown to keep parroting the party line, on top of its refusal to fact-check anything Trump says or tweets. Read more >>
Thursday, February 14, 2019
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Another WND Columnist Upset By News Website Trust Monitor
Craige McMillan writes in his Feb. 1 WorldNetDaily column:
This is basically a gentler version of the anti-NewsGuard screed WND editor Joseph Farah wrote a while back. Both share the basic conceit that operations like NewsGuard are a liberal conspiracy to silence conservatives, though their real fear is having WND's history of shoddy journalism quantified (though we've been doing exactly that for years).
Contrary to McMillan's assertion, one does not need "the journalist’s notes regarding human source interviews and look at the series of revisions from rough draft to final story" for every single article a news operation publishes to determine whether "tell if the article was made up, or carefully researched and written." The final article itself is proof enough and can be easily analyzed.
Take, for instance, the story we just highlighted about WND freaking out over meditationin schools as some government-Buddhist plot. We know the article was not "carefully researched" because reporter Bob Unruh quoted only the right-wing American Center for Law and Justice, whose legal action Unruh's article was promoting, and makes no attempt to contact any school or government official involved in the story. It's a highly biased article, and one does not need to look at all rough drafts of it to conclude otherwise (though it might be entertaining in this case to see if the article was even more biased in earlier drafts).
NewsGuard must be on to something it WND is getting this nervous about it.
MRC's Double Standard on Schadenfreude, Or: Dancing on the Newseum's Grave
Topic: Media Research Center
A Jan. 25 NewsBusters post by Mark Finkelstein admonished former Republican aide Rick Tyler against engaging in "schadenfreude" over the arrest of Trump confidate and overall sleaze Roger Stone, becuase "to take such manifest pleasure in another political operative's indictment is not a display of civility and compassion in politics." Nobody at the Media Research Center apparently read Finkelstein's warning, because it was in full schadenfreude mode just a few hours later over the sale of the Newseum property.
Scott Whitlock wasted no time dancing on the Newseum's grave in a post whose headline called it a "self-indulgent journalistic shrine." Whitlock sneered that the Newseum was a "temple dedicated to journalists by journalists," complained that the Neweum didn't uniformly lionize conservative journalism and right-wing talk radio, then scowled:
The Newseum undeniably had its problems due to poor management and its origin as something of a vanity project by longtime newspaper executive Al Neuharth. But Whitlock's kneejerk denigration a museum that has 9/11 artifacts among its exhibits and tries to explain how people working in news do their jobs shows how much the MRC absolutely loathes journalism and is dedicated to destroying it in order to replace it with a partisan model demonstrated by its ridiculously biased "news" division, CNSNews.com.
This is a reminder that the MRC has always been anti-media, especially if it doesn't follow a right-wing agenda.
Why Did WND Illustrate Article On Meditation Class With Pic Of A Briefcase Full of Money?
WorldNetDaily writer Bob Unruh has freaked out about yoga in the past, so it's no surprise that even the benign practice of meditation would set him into freakout mode as well.
A Feb. 2 article by Unruh rewrites a press release from the right-wing American Center for Law and Justice that attacks a school "trying to push a Buddhist-based meditation program on preschoolers," purportedly with federal education money. As usual for Unruh, he can't be bothered to talk to any school or federal official for the other side of the story; ACLJ appears to be his only source of information. Thus, there's no explanation of how meditation itself, or seeking "discernment, insight, wisdom, enlightenment," can only been seen as promoting the religion of Buddhism, or why that can't have a secular purpose.
(Of course, while the ACLJ presents this as imposing religion in public schools, it has no problem when the religion being imposed is Christianity.)
Unruh writes that the ACLJ "wants to find out from the Department of Education how many grants it has awarded for the programs 'and how it justifies using federal taxpayer dollars to implement them,'" citing as one alleged example "a $3.3 allocation to Portland State University for a MindUP program, 'a mindfulness-based social emotional learning program to be implemented on preschool-age children in 120 schools in Oregon.'" But mindfulness is not necessrily meditation; it's the ability to be fully present in where you are and whatever you're doing. That is not an explicitly religious principle.
Unruh and the ACLJ won't tell you this, but mindfulness programs in schools appears to work in improving student behavior and test scores.
The weird thing, though, is that WND chose as its lead image for the article a briefcase filled with money:
The federal government should be trying to fund educational programs that work (which mindfulness does). But it's utterly ridiculous to portray that funding as suitcases full of cash presumably being shoved across or under a table.
These sort of outrageously biased editorial choices are just another reason why nobody believes WND.
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
CNS Channels WND, Still Pushing CNN-Roger Stone Conspiracy Theory
When Trump confidant and all-around sleazy person Roger Stone got arrested as part of the Robert Mueller probe last month, CNSNews.com reporter Susan Jones turned conspiracy-happy by promoting President Trump's never-proven conspiracy theory that CNN cameras were on hand at Stone's house for the arrest because they had been tipped off by Mueller.
Apparenly channeling her inner WorldNetDaily, Jones pushed the conspiracy theory again when acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker was asked about it by Republican Rep. Doug Collins during congressional testimony, devoting much of a Feb. 8 article to it. Jones touted how Shitaker said he was "aware -- and deeply concerned -- about CNN being there to cover Stone's arrest" andhelped Collins push the unproven claim that "CNN may have been tipped off."
Of the 11 paragraphs in her article devoted to the conspiracy theory, only one reported the truth, and even then only parenthetically, as if it was unimportant instead of the thing that blows up the other 10 paragraphs:
We've prevoiusly noted the creeping WND-ization of Media Research Center properties like CNS. Jones' conspiracy-mongering takes it up to a new level.
WND Tries to Rebrand Anti-Gay Conversion Therapy As 'Gender-Confusion Counseling'
Last year, WND tried to brand state bans on conversion therapy as "Must Stay Gay" laws (without explaining why folks must be forced to stop being gay). Now it's obfuscating about the therapy itself by calling it "gender-confusion counseling," as it did in a Jan. 27 article touting a right-wing legal group's latest lawsuit:
WND never provides evidence that conversion therapy works; instead, it uncritically quotes from Liberty Counsel's complaint to vaguely complain that "Maryland purports to try to 'protect' youngsters with its ban on counseling, but the “evidence” included in the law 'misrepresents the empirical record.' And studies that were cited were biased."
Indeed, the Liberty Counsel complaint spends a lot of time ranting about one study questioning conversion therapy. It also promotes supposed guidelines for therapy forwarded by something called the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity -- which, it turns out, is a rebrand of the notorious anti-gay group NARTH, and which still shames same-sex attraction.The complaint never identifies the Alliance as an anti-gay group.
A Jan. 30 article -- like the earlier one, anonymously written -- didn't go the rebranding route, but did promote a separate Liberty Counsel lawsuit that takes a different legal tack by claiming conversion-therapy bans violate the First Amendment. WND then misrepsents what conversion therapy bans are about:
Actually, legislators see the harm that an unproven therapy can do to youngsters -- considering how they're so heavily based in shame -- and are trying to keep them from being victims of anti-gay "therapists" trying to coerce them into not being gay.
Again, WND provides no evidence that conversion therapy actually works in a consistent and replicable way.
An anonymously written Feb. 10 WND article promoted yet another Liberty Counsel lawsuit over conversion therapy, this time in New Jersey, again invoking First Amendment rights. Once more, WND doesn't note that Liberty Counsel provided any evidence that conversion therapy works and again falsely claims that "the issue is governments trying to censor any counseling speech that does not endorse same-sex relationships."
MRC Misleads In Claiming Secret Anti-Abortion Videos Weren't Edited
Topic: Media Research Center
A Jan. 18 Media Research Center post by Matt Philbin touted a federal appeals court decision that, according to him, puts the lie to the Planned Parenthood/media talking points about the infamous 2015 undercover “baby parts” videos being deceptively edited," which "should be a blow to the extensive list of media outlets that dutifully repeated Planned Parenthood’s damage control statement about the video." Bill D'Agostino followed up the same day with a post furthering this talking point:
D'Agostino then provided a "list of organizations and news outlets who have repeated the now-disproven line about 'deceptive edits'," huffily adding, "It's anybody's guess as to how many of them will issue updates or corrections."
It appears D'Agostino and Philbin are confusing issues. It's indisputable that the Center for Medical Progress, the anti-abortion group that perpetrated the sting, rolled out their attack of the day designed to spark conservative outrage with a video that was, yes, deceptively edited. Only later did CMP release the full, supposedly unedited video that, more often than not, contradicted claims made in the edited version.
The ruling is unclear on what video or videos are being talked about. Rather, it narrowly states only that video submitted by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s Office of Inspector General in support of its attempt to defund Planned Parenthood in the state "was authentic and not deceptively edited." Indeed, a firm paid by Planned Parenthood found there were edits to the longer "unedited" videos as well. It does not refer to the body of short videos CMP released that were, in fact, deceptively edited, as demonstrated by the unedited videos they released hours later, or does it claim, as Philbin and D'Agostiono suggest, that all CMP-released videos were unedited.
So, yes, CMP did release tapes that were deceptively edited -- the court ruling does not change this fact. D'Agostino provides only a laundry list of articles at various website and does not fact-check regarding the specific claim of editing they're making. Nobody needs to correct anything, since the MRC does not prove any specific claim false.
Of course, this misleading claim spread elsewhere at the MRC: A Jan. 23 CNSNews.com article by Emily Ward similarly falsely suggested that the court's ruling applied to all CMP videos.
Monday, February 11, 2019
AIM Thinks Repeating Pro-Trump Talking Points Is 'Fact-Checking'
Topic: Accuracy in Media
Brian McNicoll spends his Feb. 6 Accuracy in Media article rebutting Washington Post fact-checkers writing about claims in President Trump's State of the Union address by ... repeating pro-rump talking points and being mad that the Post won't give Trump credit for anything that happened between the 2016 election and his inauguration:
McNicoll offers no proof that "Business investment began almost immediately. Banks began to lend again. Defense contractors ramped up for increased orders" immediately after the 2016 election solely because Trump was elected. Actually, it can be easily argued that Trump is simply continuing Obama's economy, since major economic trend lines are simply continuing their Obama-era trajectory.
McNicoll is also disingenously comparing job creation during Obama's entire presidency -- which started with a major recession -- with the two years of Trump's presidency. As the Post has also reported, average monthly job growth in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 under Obama outpaced that of 2017 under Trump, and 2018's figure through October matched 2015 but fell short of 2014.
So much for accuracy in media at AIM.
CNS' Hilariously Biased Coverage of Trump's State of the Union
As if the right-wing bias of CNSNews.com was obvious, they made it crystal clear in its coverage of President Trump's State of the Union Address.
CNS published four "news" articles centered on, or completely made up of, quotes from Trump's address:
These were followed by three articles focusing on the facial expressions of Democratic politicians listening to the address -- all centered on CNS' pet issue of abortion:
Additionally, CNS published no article on Stacey Abrams' Democratic rebuttal to Trump's address -- effectively censoring its existence for its readers. It did, however, publish a column by Tom Kilgannon of Freedom Alliance declaring that State of the Union rebuttals should be banned because they're "pointless, petty and uninspired" and "only perpetuates distrust and discord in our political life." Kilgannon claimed he was making a bipartisan demand -- "It matters not whether the respondent is Stacy Abrams or Marco Rubio, the evening belongs to the president" -- but we found no instance of Kilgannon making the same demand while Barack Obama was president.
CNS' Media Research Center would be up in arms if it found bias this blatant at a "liberal" media outlet.
WND Finds A New Conspiracy Theory To Promote
There's a hot new conspiracy theory going around: that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg could not possibly have attended an event in Washington, D.C., last week -- described as her first public appearance since cancer surgery in December -- because no photos exist of the event, perhaps because she's dying or dead.
And WorldNetDaily -- conspiracy theorists extraordinare -- wants in on that action. Thus, an anonymously written Feb. 5 article:
As an actual news outlet reported, the reason there are no photos is that photography was forbidden at the event. A Washington Post reporter who actually witnessed the event in question and saw Ginsburg there has been accused of either lying or having seen her body double instead.
Sunday, February 10, 2019
At The MRC, Personal Attacks Are 'Media Research'
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center seems to have given up doing anything that remotely resembles "media research" these days. When it's issuing bogus "research" that's narrowly crafted to forward the MRC's right-wing agenda, it's issuing personal attacks against people for the offense of not being as right-wing as it is.
One recent example: The mysterious Jay Maxson marked Bob Costas' departure from NBC Sports with a hateful diatribe sparked by his being triggered by any injection of politics into sports that isn't right-wing or overtly Christian (even if the person injecting said Christian messaging played a part in a double murder). Maxson ranted that Costas has "worn out his welcome among sport fans who tune into sports broadcasts for sports and prefer that politics be left to the newscasters." He then listed what he claimed were Costas' "most disgusting political lectures and controversies," one of which was simply receiving an award. This was objectionable, Maxson huffed, because it's "a who's who award that goes to the left-stream media's heaviest hitters, including: Anderson Cooper, Gwen Ifill, Scott Pelley, Bob Schieffer, Christiane Amanpour, Diane Sawyer, Brian Williams, Tom Brokaw, Helen Thomas, Al Michaels and Ben Bradlee, among others."
Maxson was also offended that Costas pointed out the overall homophobia of Russia during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, which earned him "the Gold Medal awarded by GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation." Maxson does not dispute the accuracy of Costas' observation -- only that it was voiced.
Another example: A Jan. 21 post by Gabriel Hays went well beyond criticizing Lady Gaga for criticizing Vice President Mike Pence from the stage of her Las Vegas residency -- the MRC is now reviewing Vegas stage shows now -- to attacking her for daring to speak out at all:
Hays seems to be lacking Christian goodwill and, with such nasty attacks, seems to be moving quickly toward being a preening windbag in the tradition of his boss, Brent Bozell.
CNS Stenographer Hides Kudlow's History of Bad Economic Predictions
Arter is certainly not going to mention -- and she doesn't -- Kudlow's long history of terrible economic predictions, as we've documented, even though it's newsworthy regarding his veracity as an economic adviser. Yet Arter lets Kudlow attack without challenge the economic reports of the Congressional Budget Office, even though he's frequently wrong in his CBO-bashing. (Though Kudlow has no problem with CBO numbers that align with his political agenda.)
This is what happens when pushing a political agenda becomes more important than reporting the news.
Saturday, February 9, 2019
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 document the atrocities, shall we?
Karen Townsend is stuck hate-watching "I Am Jazz," about a transgender teenager, and she sympathizes most with Jazz's father, who's been ambivalent about the transitioning process:
In the following episode, which featured Jazz's "bottom surgery," Townsend took offense when the surgeon declared, "It's a girl!" at the end of it: "Really? Did Jazz’s chromosomes change on the operating table? How cliché. It was as though a baby was delivered."
The mysterious Jay Maxson ranted that anyone who criticizes a proposed South Dakota bill to require participation in high school sports based on birth gender as "gender deniers" and ranted about "the kettle of 'misinformation' coming directly from LGBT-conforming media."
Maxson was even triggered about something that's not at all gay: the Los Angeles Rams' cheerleading squad including two men, the first male cheerleaders to accompany a team to a Super Bowl -- and turned into something vaguely gay anyway. Maxson huffed that this was "history in the making that contributes to the feminization of the American male" and denounced it as "this effeminate form of masculinity."
Tim Graham had a meltdown over PBS discussing President Trump's ban on transgender people in the military without having an transgender-hating activist on:
Brad Wilmouth similarly complained that CNN "provided a sympathetic forum to transgender activist and former Navy SEAL Kristin Beck to complain about a new policy by the Trump administration that puts restrictions on the recruitment of transgenders by the military for the future."
Lindsey Kornick, meanwhile, is stuck hate-watching "Supergirl," so the idea that the show will introduce a transgender superhero is grinding on her:
And Alexander Hall was not pleased that Facebook reported that its "LGBTQ employment has jumped to eight percent in 2018, far higher than the 2017 Gallup Poll estimate that claims only 4.5 percent of the national population is LGBT," a 14.29 percent jump. He huffed that "This won’t surprise social conservatives, who have complained heavily about mistreatment on the platform — especially on moral issues like marriage." Hall is conveniently ignoring all the times Facebook has sucked up to conservatives to respond to that criticism.
We have an idea: Hall should disclose what percentage of the MRC workforce is LGBTQ -- if he has the guts.
WND's Peterson Plays the Victim, Lacks Proof
Jesse Lee Peterson huffed in his Jan. 20 WorldNetDaily column:
Strangely, Peterson provides no documentary evidence of this alleged assault, though he claimed to be filming for his "web series." He links only to a general YouTube page to the series as well as a 2017 video headlined "Jesse Peterson Crashes 'Dirty' Women's March" -- which may be alluding to something Peterson's not telling us.
Note that Peterson never describes what led up to the alleged incidents against him -- or, again, supplies video of it. We're guessing that any alleged "attack" on Peterson did not occur unprovoked, or that Peterson was merely standing and doing nothing when he was purportedly "surrounded by an angry mob screaming and cursing at me." Peterson is a provocateur -- he wants this sort of reaction from people so he can play the victim. After all, he loves to portray President Trump as the "Great White Hope" while being ignorant of (or very aware of) the phrase's racist origin. He likely said -- or shouted -- something similarly provocative to the marchers and generally acting like a jerk.
For provocateurs like Peterson, the only thing worse than a negative reaction to his provocations is no reaction at all. He's only playing the victim to get attention.
Friday, February 8, 2019
Will CNS Report On Bozell's Tangental Link to Trump-Russia Scandal? Doubtful
CNSNews.com -- as befits a loyal pro-Trump stenographer -- typically doesn't report on negative things about President Trump unless it can be spun to his advantage, which is why much of its reporting on the Trump-Russia investigation is mostly limited to random people insisting that there was no collusion. It's also why the only story CNS has published about Russian operative Maria Butina and her alleged attempt to infiltrate the conservative movement by acting as a gun-rights enthusiast is framed around the idea that the arrest of a former U.S. Marine by Russian authorities was done in retaliation for Butina's arrest.
But there's another tangent to this story that nobody at CNS or its Media Research Center parent want to talk about -- because it involves MRC chief Brent Bozell.
Butina was romantically involved with a conservative political operative, Paul Erickson, who helped ingratiate her with various conservative groups (and who also just got indicted in relation to the Butina case). Despite his conservative bona fides, Erickson was a bit of a scammer, and Bozell got scammed, as a newspaper in Erickson's home state of South Dakota reported:
Don't look for CNS to report on any aspect of this story anytime soon.
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