WND Teams With Fringe Medical Group To Push Anti-Vaccine Fearmongering Topic: WorldNetDaily
When the current measles outbreak began, WorldNetDaily didn't have much to say; it copy-and-pasted articles stolen from elsewhere about one apology for an outbreak and calls to reduce exemptions from vaccinations. But WND is a longtimeanti-vaxxer, and those tendencies have been rekindling in recent months, so it couldn't stop conspiracy-mongering for long.
Every time there is a measles outbreak somewhere there is an outcry to restrict vaccine exemptions, to protect the public – and, just coincidentally, vaccine manufacturers.
Measles is extremely contagious, and with today’s air travel, a patient incubating measles but not yet sick can arrive any time and cough virus particles all over Disneyland. Most patients recover fully, with robust lifelong immunity. But some get serious complications or die. Measles is two to four times worse than in pre-vaccination days because it affects more adults and infants. Mothers with only waning vaccine-induced immunity cannot give their babies the antibodies that once protected infants of naturally immunized mothers during their most vulnerable period.
That link goes to an abstract of an article in a medical journal that doesn't quite say what she thinks it says. The full article states that the fact that diseases are more severe in the unvaccinated "might be a potent tool to motivate hesitant parents to vaccinate their children," but that clinicians "do not engage parents in extensive discussions about many clinical services, including vaccination."
Instead, Orient complained that outbreaks cause people to dismiss anti-vaxxers like her:
Worries are attributed to “antivax quacks,” and the omniscient Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook is reportedly going to protect the public by suppressing information he judges to be “not credible.” Public health people prevented the screening of the 2016 movie “Vaxxed: from Coverup to Catastrophe” in Phoenix. The film shows children with devastating neurologic damage and parents telling how their once-normal child changed dramatically just after getting a vaccine. But these are mere anecdotes; there is “overwhelming evidence” of safety, the experts assure us.
"Vaxxed" is the film made by Andrew Wakefield, a now-defrocked doctor who wrote an infamous study claming a link between vaccines and autism that has since been discredited.
Orient then dismisses the threat, assuring us that "measles probably can't be eradicated" and that "the last measles death in the U.S. occured in 2015."
That was followed by a March 6 article touting how the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons -- the fringe-right organization that Orient heads -- fearmongering about the alleged "government-imposed risks" from manating that children be vaccinated.
We're guessing that WND is not going to report to its readers that an unvaccinated boy almost died of tetanus and racked up an $800,000 hospital bill trying to stay alive.
MRC Suddenly Loves Jorge Ramos After His Detention In Venezuela Topic: Media Research Center
We've noted how the Media Research Center's MRC Latino division seems to have been formed just to attack Hispanic journalist Jorge Ramos -- to the point of demanding that he resign. But now Ramos has played into the MRC's right-wing agenda, and suddenly its criticism of him has subsided.
Last month, Ramos' news crew was detained overnight in Venezuela by the government of Nicolas Maduro -- whom the MRC wants to make sure you know is a socialist, and that socialism alone is responsible for Venezuela's current state of collapse (though that's not actually true) -- and Ramos has denounced his detention as a act of repression and a violation of international law.
So, of course, the MRC's first reaction to this was to ... defend President Trump?
Yep. An anonymously written Feb. 26 piece, credited only to "MRC Latino Staff" and carrying the headline "Venezuela Is Not Iowa," touted how Ramos feeling actual repression means that Trump's kicking ramos out of a news conference is utterly benign by comparison:
Maduro literally held Ramos and crew; and seized their equipment while inflicting psychological torture on the Univision News crew - all for the sin of asking uncomfortable questions. To suggest that this is somehow similar to Trump’s ejection of Ramos of the press conference forvbreaking protocol and heckling, only to bring him back minutes later and take his questions, minimizes the gravity of what actually happened in Caracas and threatens to erode whatever goodwill Ramos rightly deserves for having endured such an outrageous act of journalistic repression.
The only proper takeaway from this incident is that these actions are the last gasps of a dying regime that struggles to hold power by any means necessary against the will of a people that yearn to be free after two decades of misery, starvation, and death. Anything else is just noise and nonsense.
(Of course, as we noted, the MRC had no problem when the reporter engaing in heckling and breaking protocol is a conservative and the president is named Obama.)
The same day, Curtis Houck touted an appearance by Ramos on Sean Hannity's Fox News show "to discuss his brief detainment in Venezuela by the murderous Nicolas Maduro regime." In a similar Trump-protecting moment, Houck particularly gushed over "perhaps the most profound thing he said ... which was the fact that, despite his dislike of President Donald Trump, assaults on press freedoms like what took place in Venezuela don’t happen in America."
The minute Ramos says anything even remotely critical of Trump again, though, look for the MRC to once again demand his head on a platter.
CNS Tries to Link Defrocked Cardinal To Democrats, Censors His Link To GOP Topic: CNSNews.com
Religion is politics at CNSNews.com -- and it proved that yet again by trying to tie a Catholic cardinal defrocked over sexual abuse of children to Democratic politicians.
An anonymously written Feb. 25 article worked hard to do just that:
Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was defrocked by the Catholic Church on Jan. 11 for abusing minors and the Sacrament of Confession, presided over the Aug. 29, 2009 burial service for Sen. Ted Kennedy at Arlington National Cemetery.
The burial, which took place at sunset, was televised and preserved on video by CSPAN. McCarrick, at the time, was the retired archbishop of Washington, D.C.
The video shows Vice President Joe Biden chatting amiably with McCarrick before the burial.
The anonymous writer also made sure to rehash an old Kennedy scandal: "On the night of July 18, 1969, after leaving a party on Chappaquiddick Island along with 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne (who had been a staffer on Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign), Kennedy drove off a bridge into a channel of water. Kopechne drowned."
(But we thought the MRC hated when the media brought up unfortunate stories about dead people's pasts.)
The next day, CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey tried to hang McCarrick around the neck of another Democratic politician:
On Jan. 6, 2009, the day that Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) was re-elected to serve as speaker of the House for the 111th Congress, then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick said the opening prayer for the House of Representatives and Pelosi said he had honored the House by doing so.
She then called all the children in the chamber that day to join her at the podium as she took the oath of office and said: “I want to thank the children for joining me at the podium so that, as we called the House to order earlier today, it will be clear that the House will be called to order for all of America’s children."
At the opening of that day’s session, McCarrick, who was then the archbishop emeritus of Washington, D.C., was introduced at the podium at the front of the chamber to say the traditional prayer. This was the first meeting of the 111th Congress, which had been elected in November 2008, with majorities in both chambers going to the Democrats. In that same election, Barack Obama was elected president.
But CNS doesn't want to tell you that McCarrick was very much a bipartisan cardinal. The Washington Post reported that McCarrick curried favor on both sides of the political aisle -- reading at a memorial service for Ronald Reagan and earning praise from President George W. Bush -- and that he "basked in the glow of being a crossover figure who presented himself as the righteous person whom politicians sought when they faced their own theological questions of right and wrong." The Post also points out -- where CNS failed to -- that nobody knew about McCarrick's proclivities.
But then, nobody reads CNS for fairness and balance in reporting.
MRC Thinks Twitter Conspired To Bury Jussie Smollett Story With John Wayne Interview Topic: Media Research Center
The tech monitors at the Media Research Center are unfortunately prone to such things as pretending that social media platforms that promote hate and white supremacism are merely engaging in "free speech" and portraying fringe activists as mainstream conservatives. Now they're going the conspiracy-theory route.
In a Feb. 19 post, Alexander Hall appears to be blaming Twitter itself for allegedly redirecting attention from the Jussie Smollett story to a resurfaced interview that John Wayne did with Playboy in 1971, under the headline "Twitter Diverts Attention from Smollett to Old John Wayne Interview":
Things aren’t going so well at the moment in the culture wars? You went all in on a hate crime that turned out to be a hoax? Your dignified Indian elder Marine veteran wasn’t much of a veteran and the Covington kids did nothing to him? How about the minstrel show in the Virginia Capital?
Take heart, progressives. You can dig up an American icon and knock him down cost-free and with no risk he’ll defend himself!
Jussie Smollett’s story may have been fiction, but John Wayne was real and he was conservative. Therefore, he can be vilified. It doesn’t matter that the Duke rode off into the sunset in 1979 -- why not pour a bit of your perpetual outrage in the Wayback Machine and head over to Twitter for some gasping about....a 48 year old interview with the star.
Desperate for something to distract from Smollett, lefties found a new target: John Wayne. Specifically a 1971 interview Wayne did withPlayboy.
The only evidence Hall offers of Twitter's alleged corporate hand in creating the distraction was a notation that a tweet -- made by a "non-verified user," Hall wants us to know -- about the interview that had already been gaining attention "was elevated two days after it began as a trending Twitter Moment."
Curiously, Hall failed to note anywhere in his post exactly why the Wayne interview was getting so much attention -- he does not quote from it at all. Fortunately for us, an actual news outlet was on the case:
In the 1971 interview, Wayne railed against “perverted films,” giving the interviewer, Richard Warren Lewis, two examples when asked: “Easy Rider” and “Midnight Cowboy.”
The actor described the characters in the latter film with a homophobic slur, then went on to extol the virtues of sexual intercourse between men and women.
“I believe in white supremacy,” he said, and spoke harshly about African Americans, saying, “We can’t all of a sudden get down on our knees and turn everything over to the leadership of the blacks.”
“I don’t believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people,” he said.
But to Hall, this wasn't newsworthy; he was mad that accurately quoting Wayne was designed to "disparage this American icon."
Meanwhile, a few days later, Hall's MRC co-worker Curtis Houck was complaining that the media wasn't reporting enough on "any of the scandals surrounding the three Democrats who sit atop Virginia's government," two of which involved racially charged blackface incidents, despite there being nothing to report on. Depends on whose arguably racist views are being focused on, apparently.
WND Joins MRC In Praising Lara Logan, Censoring The Story She Botched Topic: WorldNetDaily
Just as the Media Research Center did, WorldNetDaily went all in on gushing over Lara Logan's love of right-wingers and disdain for the "liberal media." Joe Kovacs writes in a Feb. 18 article:
A longtime reporter for CBS News best known for her work on the network’s “60 Minutes” program is now publicly admitting that most journalists at major media companies are “absurdly left-leaning” when it comes to politics.
Lara Logan, a foreign correspondent for CBS, agreed with that assessment as she spoke from her own home on the the Mike Drop podcast, hosted by retired Navy SEAL Mike Ritland.
It was Ritland who first said American media were “absurdly left-leaning” and that Democrat biases were a “huge f—ing problem” and “disaster for this country,” reported Breitbart News.
“I agree with that. That’s true,” responded Logan, who said it was a phenomenon not solely limited to America.
And just as the MRC did, Kovacs failed to mention the apparent source of Logan's bitterness: A 2013 "60 Minutes" story in which she interviewed a pseudonymous man who claimed to have witness the Benghazi attack. But after the story aired, other journalists discovered that the contractor was nowhere near the Benghazi facility at the time of the attack and that he told a different account to the FBI. On top of that failure of reporting, Logan also failed to disclose that the contractor's book was being published by a company also owned by CBS. All of this required retractions and sent Logan on a forced leave of absence.
Then again, as we documented at the time, WND's treatment of the story didn't leave it covered in glory. Then-reporter Aaron Klein rushed to defend the man, prematurely declaring that the "attempt to discredit" him had "backfired." After the man was definitively found to be discredited, Klein flip-flopped and insisted he should never have been trusted to begin with (which, of course, doesn't explain why Klein defended him in the first place).
Since this was all just a bit of lazy media-bashing (on Kovacs' part as well, since he missed the part where Logan left CBS months before her interview), WND editor Joseph Farah wanted in on that action. In his Feb. 21 column, he gushed that Logan "is one of the most accomplished and courageous people in journalism" and played up her claim that she was committing "professional suicide" by going on a media-bashing attack:
As a former member of the so-called “mainstream” media, I know what she means. There’s no going back. There’s no absolution, no mercy, no grace, no two sides to every story anymore. Once you point out the obvious – that your colleagues are all in the tank for one very narrow political worldview – whatever you accomplished in your previous professional life is forgotten. You are a pariah.
Needless to say, Farah didn't mention that the real reason Logan is a "pariah" is that she committed professional suicide years earlier by botching a major story.
CNS' Highly Biased Coverage of Cohen Testimony Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com's coverage of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's testimony before Congress was like a lot of its political coverage: highly biased.
CNS kicked things off with an article by Susan Jones touting Trump tweets trashing Cohen. It's not until the ninth paragraph that Jones gets around to noting that Cohen said in his written testimony that "Trump is a racist, a conman, and a cheat." That was joined by an anonymously written preview article taken from Cohen's advance written testimony that focused on he "says that he has lied but he is not a liar" -- and completely omitted Cohen's scathing criticism of Trump in that very same testimony. (A separate anonymous article addressed that; no reason was provided as to why they could not appear in the same article.) And it wasn't until Cohen's testimony before Congress actually started -- a full four hours after her first article posted -- that Jones got around to more fully summarizing Cohen's criticism of Trump in his written testimony, and it's framed as it usually is by Jones declaring that Cohen offered no "direct evidence" of collusion. (Jones wrout another article the next day highlighting Trump's tweeting that Cohen lied about everything except the "no collusion" part.)
CNS curiously cited no questioning of Cohen by Democratic representatives -- that would have been too fair and balanced -- but it did a full three stories on Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, among the CNS and the Media Rrsearch Center's favorite congressmen, haranguing Cohen:
Melanie Arter transcribed Jordan's rant against Cohen, calling him a "fraudster, cheat, convicted felon, and in two months a federal inmate."
Craig Bannister highlighted Jordan's complaint that "CNN obtained Cohen's statement and exhibits before the committee did."
Dimitri Simes gushed over how Jordan "pressed the former lawyer to President Donald Trump over his filing of five fraudulent tax returns and his failure to pay $1.4 million in taxes."
Jones also featured Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx badgering Cohen about whether he intends to "profit from his crimes through movie and book deals."
None of these articles addressed any of the claims Cohen made about Trump. Again, that would have been too fair and balanced.
The one bit of non-Cohen-related fireworks at the hearing -- Republican Rep. Mark Meadows trotting out a black Trump administration official to somehow counter Cohen's claim that Trump is racist, and Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib's calling out Meadows on the tokenism of that gesture -- got subdued coverage that managed to be about Tlaib and not Meadows.
Arter touted Meadow's stunt, and his insistence that "Lynne Patton, who served as vice president of the Eric Trump Foundation," somehow countered Cohen's point that there are no black executives in the Trump Organization (which is the name of Trump's business operations). An article the next day by Patrick Goodenough attacked Tlaib for having "'liked' a tweet that essentially described Meadows as an example of 'white privilege and white fragility.'" Goodenough did eventually offer an unusually even-handed recount of the dispute. Later that day, Bannister huffed that new CNS target Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez honored Tlaib's "bravery" in criticizing Meadows "for daring to allow an African-American colleague testify that President Donald Trump is not a racist."
(Actually, the woman, Lynne Patton, did not testify; she simply stood next to Meadows.)
Bannister then gave Patton her own article, citing a Fox News appearance (of course) in which she went on a self-aggrandizing, Trump-fluffing rant that Tlaib was taking "the word of a self-confessed perjurer and criminally convicted white man over a black female who is highly educated, rose up through the ranks of one of the most competitive companies in real estate, spoke before 25 million people at the Republican National Convention, and now works in one of the most historic administrations in history."
Bannister didn't mention that Patton is so dedicated to emulating Trump that she's trying to get a spot on a reality TV show.
The MRC Is STILL Promoting 'Gosnell' Film Bomb Topic: Media Research Center
We've documented how the Media Research Center loved to help right-wing filmmaker Phelim McAleer raise money for and promote his fictionalized film about rogue abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell (but nowhere near as enthusiastic about discussing what McAleer was providing to the MRC in consideration for all aht publicity). It tanked at the box office, making only $3.6 million, but production costs were mostly funded by (MRC-promoted) crowdfunding so McAleer's personal financial hit was likely negligible.
But the promotion never stops, which brings us to a Feb. 22 column by McAleer that the MRC published on its NewsBusters website. In it, McAleer simply rehashes the victim narrative he pushed to get his film made: Hollywood, the tech industry and the media conspired to keep the film from getting made and shown to hide the reality of abortion.
(No mention of the fact that, as one reviewer noted, Gosnell was able to exist as a rogue doctor in part because of laws promoted by anti-abortion activists that made using reputable clinics difficult, as well as because of anti-abortion protesters who are dedicated to scaring off potential patients -- in other words, "Kermit Gosnell was exactly what women resort to when abortion becomes too hard to obtain.")
McAleer declared at the end: "People are tired of being fed the left's lines. The Americans who funded Gosnell through Indiegogo, saw it in the theater and bought it on DVD are fighting back."(As if McAleer is not feeding people lines through his polemic film.) And that led to an editor's note: "Gosnell - The Trial of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer is available on VOD and Dvd."
That's right -- McAleer's column is basically a commercial for the release of his film on video. Did McAleer pay the MRC for that as well as part of their previous promotion deal, or did the MRC give him the space for free?
CNS' Donohue Still Gay-Bashing Over Catholic Sex Abuse Scandal Topic: CNSNews.com
When right-wing, anti-gay Catholic Bill Donohue declares he's going to assess "gay priests' role" in the Catholic Church's sexual abuse scandal -- as he does in his Feb. 21 CNSNews.com column -- you can be assured that it will not be a fair and balanced assessment. Indeed, he asserts at the very start that "every effort to downplay the role of gays is being made."
Donohue does, surprisingly, offer the illusion that he's not being as anti-gay as he usually is, though said in an unusually passive voice for him:
Let it be said emphatically that it is morally wrong to blame all gay priests or to bully someone who is gay, be he a priest or a plumber. It is also wrong to call on all gay priests to resign: such a sweeping recommendation is patently unfair to those gay priests who have never violated anyone.
However, it is not helpful to the cause of eradicating the problem of sexual abuse in the priesthood to dismiss a conversation about the obvious. We can begin by talking honestly about who the victims are.
Then, for the first time that we've seen, Donohue acknowledges that the researchers in the John Jay report commissioned by Catholic bishopshave pointed out that at least some of the abuse committed by priests were crimes of opportunity not necessarily driven by sexual orientation -- then goes on to blame gays anyway:
The John Jay researchers try to protect homosexuals by saying that not all the men who had sex with adolescent males consider themselves to be homosexuals. But self-identification is not dispositive. If the gay priests thought they were giraffes, would the scholars conclude that the problem is bestiality?
It was the John Jay researchers who first floated the "opportunity" thesis that Cardinal Cupich picked up on. This idea is flawed. Predator priests hit on boys not because they were denied access to girls, but because they preferred males. More important, there is something patently unfair, as well as inaccurate, about this line of thinking.
It suggests that many priests are inclined to have sex with minors—and will choose the sex which offers them the greatest opportunity. There is no evidence to support this unjust indictment. Also, girl altar servers date back to 1983, after Canon law was changed. They became even more common in 1994 when Pope John Paul II ruled that girls can be altar servers.
If the "opportunity" thesis had any truth to it, we should have seen, over the past few decades, a spike in altar girls being sexually abused by priests, but this has not happened. Indeed, 80 percent of the victims are still male and postpubescent.
Donohue offers no evidence to substantiate his argument.
Donohue then rants about the "homosexual subculture in the Church," which ultimately tells us that, despite his semi-conciliatory wording earlier in his column, blaming gays for everything remains Job 1 for Donohue.
MRC Thinks NPR, BBC Is No Different From Russian Propaganda Outlets Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Corrine Weaver bizarrely writes in a Feb. 21 post:
Facebook is willing to take down pages funded by Russia. Now it’s facing the question about what to do about other state-funded media outlets like Al Jazeera, BBC and even NPR?
Facebook suspended three pages on February 15 , including the popular video site Ruptly. All three allegedly failed to disclose that they were backed by RT, which is funded by the Russian government. CNN reported that Facebook would restore the pages if they made public the organization they were affiliated with. While the pages did not include this information initially, they were not required to at the time.
But Ruptly isn’t the only foreign-backed media outlet on the platform. Al Jazeera is funded by Qatar, the BBC by the UK and NPR, PBS and VOA are all funded by the United States, to name just a few.
The BBC is funded by the United Kingdom, which has a special fund from Parliament.
Even in the United States, NPR is funded by two different government bureaucracies. Will Facebook start asking these news outlets to disclose their affiliations with state actors publicly?
Weaver apparently doesn't understand the difference between state propaganda outlets that try to hide their true identities and state-funded media outlets that offer straight news. As the CNN article to which Weaver links, the Ruptly-controlled outlets -- which operate under the corporate name Maffick Media, based in Germany -- were effectively propaganda targeting American millennials:
Like RT, Maffick's videos are generally critical of U.S. foreign policy and the mainstream American media, while largely avoiding criticism of the Russian government. Much of its content, like much of RT's in the US, fits comfortably within fairly mainstream American politics, especially on the left.
A typical tactic of Russian information operations in the US over the past few years has been to try to exploit existing divisions and tensions in the country. When covering and broadcasting in the US, RT has typically not injected some new line of criticism about the country into the discourse; instead it has reflected criticism of the US and the US government's actions at home and abroad that already existed — and that some people argue deserves more attention from the mainstream media.
Business Insider adds of Maffick's channels: "Those channels publish videos critical of US and NATO foreign policy, American waste habits, and news issues like Russia being barred from the 2018 Winter Olympics. While the videos do not overtly criticize the US and applaud Russia, they often play on tensions in the US."
Of course, VOA is effectively a pro-U.S. propaganda outlet -- but it hasn't claimed to be anything else. Al Jazeera has taken stabs at trying to be a straight news outlet but is not trusted as such.
But thinking that the BBC and NPR and PBS are no different than Russian propaganda outlets and should also be removed from Facebook? Weaver needs to lay off the MRC Kool-Aid for a while.
WND's Massie Goes There, Portrays Kamala Harris As A Literal Whore Topic: WorldNetDaily
Mychal Massie despises Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, and he felt the need to dedicate his Feb. 25 WorldNetDaily column to smearking them in the most vile and personal terms, including calling them whores -- Warren figuratively but Harris literally:
Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren are both Democrats, and they’re both examples of the lowest forms of amoral humanity. Ergo, it should come as no surprise that, realizing they haven’t a snowball’s chance at the equator of coming close to winning their respective Democratic presidential bids, they’ve resorted to what their kind commonly ascent. They find a subject they can exploit and fan the flames of same. They know they will never get the party nomination, but they hope to position themselves favorably for a cabinet post.
Black people do not need or deserve reparations; they need common sense, they need to embrace modernity, and they need to embrace morality. Pursuant to same, Harris and Warren are among the greatest examples of those with an absence of said qualities.
Specifically, Harris engaged in what many call the oldest profession in the world by taking up with California’s Willie Brown during his tenure in elective office. One could sarcastically ask if she learned the art of selling herself as a way to get ahead or if it came naturally as a politician. Whether or not Harris used the assets she so readily shared with Brown with other powerful individuals in the California and Sacramento political and campaign establishment is open to conjecture.
What is not open to conjecture is that Brown at the time of his sexual exploits with Harris was and still is married to his wife, Blanche Vitero. It is also a known fact that passing around “candy” is commonplace in the hidden echelons of politics. It is therefore fair to ask, who else Harris slept with to get what she wanted?
I find it interesting that in a day and time when liberal feminists, as if there were any other kind, boast of being strong independent women, Harris and Warren found it easier to get ahead by whoredom and lies. But, I digress.
Digressing so much, in fact, that Massie doesn't mention that Brown had long been separated from his wife, though not divorced, when he was involved with Harris. And as we've come to expect from Massie, his sleazy assertion that Harris slept her way to the top is not true.
Bizarrely, Massie apparently finds more virtue in a man on his third marriage who paid hush money to a porn star:
We have a lion in the White House who has accomplished great things in a mere two years, in the face of the most extreme political obstruction ever witnessed. Let Harris and Warren answer why We the People of America would want to entrust America back to Democrats, much less to Democrats who are proven liars without a thread of morality.
Massie has had nothing to say about Trump's affairs while still married.
MRC Lionizes Lara Logan, Censors The Story She Botched (Again) Topic: Media Research Center
When former CBS "60 Minutes" correspondent Lara Logan went on someone's right-wing podcast to declare her conservative bona fides and lash out at the "liberal media," the Media Research Center went into full squee mode.
"CBS's Lara Logan Goes NUCLEAR on ‘Horsesh**’ ‘Propagandist’ Press," screamed the headline on Scott Whitlock's Feb. 18 post, in which he gleefully recounted how Logan "unleashed a blistering, uncensored attack on the extreme liberal bias polluting America's news outlets" and "Logan fully agreed with the idea that the press was hard-left." Whitlock also touted how Logan swallowed MRC orthodoxy that Fox News' right-wing bias doesn't matter:
Regarding the idea that Fox News balances out the liberal press, Logan shot back: “There’s one Fox. And there’s many, many, many more organizations on the left.” She added, “But the problem is the weight of all of these organizations on one side of the political spectrum. When you turn on your computer or you walk past the TV or you see a newspaper headline in the grocery store, if they are all saying the same thing, the weight of that convinces you that it’s true. You don’t question it because everyone is saying it.”
Two days later, Nicholas Fondacaro was similarly gleeful while writing up Logan's appearance on Sean Hannity's Fox News show as she lashed out at "the liberal media folks now targeting her and her career." Fondacaro even credulously insisted that "Hannity wasn’t sure of Logan’s personal politics and told her as much." (Pro tip for Fondacaro: If Logan is on Hannity's show and Hannity isn't viciously attacking her, she's a fellow right-winger.)
Strangely, neither Whitlock nor Fondacaro mention what is likely the key reason Logan is so bitter: That "liberal media" she now so thoroughly despises exposed the bogus "60 Minutes" story she spearheaded.
In 2013, Logan did a story on a security contractor hiding behind a pseudonym who had written a book claiming that he had witnessed the attack on U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans. After thet story aired, other journalists discovered that the contractor was nowhere near the Benghazi facility at the time of the attack and that a told a different account to the FBI.On top of that failure of reporting, Logan also failed to disclose that the contractor's book was being published by a company also owned by CBS.
But as we documented, even though the MRC despises CBS as a member of the so-called "liberal media," it entirely ignored the controversy. Though it touted Logan's original segment -- the original post remains live and uncorrected -- it never told readers the story was found to be false.
The thing is, as the Washington Post's Erik Wemple notes (but the MRC doesn't), Logan did address her botched Benghazi story in her podcast interview, lashing out at Media Matters (disclosure: we used to work there) for having purportedly "targeted" her because her story was considered an attack on Hillary Clinton. Media Matters responded by pointing out that it was Logan's badly flawed story, not Logan herself, that was the target, adding that "major broadcast networks don’t often retract stories, launch internal investigations, and force correspondents to take leaves of absence just because Media Matters criticizes their reports."
This is what happens when you stuff things down a memory hole, like the MRC did with Logan's botched story. Logan's trying to play the victime by engaging in revisionist history, and the MRC now looks dumb by helping her do so in contradiction of the facts.
P.S. By the way, the MRC managed to get burned by Logan again. Whitlock's original post touted her as a current CBS employee, because that's apparently what she represented herself as in the podcast interview; the article and headline had to be revised to reflect that Logan, in fact, left CBS months ago -- ironically having to credit one of the MRC's greatest enemies, CNN's Brian Stelter.
NEW ARTICLE: Financial Non-Accountability at CNS Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com editor in chief Terry Jeffrey loved to attack President Obama and Democrats for rising federal deficits. Now that President Trump and Republicans are in charge, though, Jeffrey's much less interested in assigning blame. Read more >>
WND Forms Nonprofit Division To Fund Its Reporting Topic: WorldNetDaily
We called it!
Nearly a year ago, we pondered whether Joseph Farah would try to save WorldNetDaily by following the example of the Daily Caller by offloading reporters to a separate but related nonprofit organization that would essentially give WND its work for free. And it turns out that's what he's going to do.
At the end of his Feb. 24 column -- yet another screed blaming Google and Facebook for WND's financial woes instead of WND's history of fake news and conspiracy theories -- Farah quietly announced the creatoin of the "WND News Center," calling it a place to ame "a tax-deductible donation to support the cause of independent investigative journalism," adding, "We need to raise at least $1 million this year to survive."
The ad copy at the donation portal, which Farah introduced in a later column, sounds more than a bit like WND is trying to emulate the Daily Caller News Foundation:
Would you like to help WND’s style of independent, credible and fearless journalism?
Now more than ever, your financial support is absolutely necessary for us to continue the vital task of shining a bright and honest journalistic light on today's world, including the lawless political and cultural forces that daily threaten Americans' happiness, well-being and security. In an age when journalistic truth is increasingly rare, WND is dedicated to making sense out of the chaotic and dangerous era we are living through. Many important stories never see the light of day -- until WND breaks the story.
And now, thanks to the WND News Center, a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation, your contributions to support this kind of journalism are tax-deductible.
Very simply, times have changed: If you like WND, your contribution is essential to our success -- indeed our very existence.
If every one of our millions of WND readers donated just $3 per month, we would not only be on a sound financial footing, but we'd be able to dramatically expand our reporting!
The donation page offers an mail address for donations, which appears to be an accountant'soffice in Hawthorne, Nevada -- odd since WND has no offices in the state. Farah's column lists a Washington, D.C., address for mailed donations.
The ad copy, though, might be getting WND in trouble by so explicitly tying the nonprofit to WND itself. The Daily Caller setup is in a bit of a gray area -- while the Daily Caller publishes everything its News Foundation generates, that copy is also available to others for free (WND has previously published News Foundation articles), and it's been criticized as a bit of a scam to offload expenses from the Caller itself and then not have to pay taxes on the money raised.
Plus, there's the question of financing. Farah is asking for $1 million, though it's not clear if he means for the main WND operation or the News Center. The Daily Caller News Foundation raised $3 million in 2015 alone, though it's not clear who the donors are (though the usual conservative suspects like the Koch Brothers and Donors Trust have given small donations in the past).
Has WND moved too far to the right-wing fringe -- and embraced fake news and conspiracy theories for too long -- to hurt funding for its nonprofit division? Time will tell.
Context Matters to Tim Graham After All Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Tim Graham loves to complain that fact-checkers care a little too much about context for their ratings. This time around, he's claiming a fact-checker didn't use context at all.
In a Feb. 20 post, Graham groused about how PolitiFact went after Rush Limnbaugh for saying that "I know young people, Chris [Wallace], who really think that by the time they're 65, the country, the world is not going to be habitable because of climate change, which is another hoax! There's no evidence for it." Graham made sure to point out the, yes, context explaining that "Limbaugh's quoted remarkswere preceded by talk about how millennials are mis-educated" and adding: "Earth to PolitiFact: this is NOT the kind of disastrous warming that moves the political needle, and it's not really what Limbaugh was talking about. He's talking about using climate panic to push dramatic government intervention like the 'Green New Deal.'"
Graham also took offense to PolitiFact responding to Limbaugh's portraying climate change as a hoax by citing a climate scientist stating that "The Earth is now hotter than it's ever been," huffing, "That's not technically true, since the record of measuring global temperatures goes back to 1880." Of course, humans have been recording the weather for hundreds of years before that, and earlier climate patterns can be determined through paleoclimatology, but Graham doesn't quite want to admit that.
Finally, Graham complains that PolitiFact has fact-checked too many things Limbaugh has gotten false, which "suggest an emotional investment in dragging down America's most popular radio host as a fact-mangler." Graham doesn't explain why that's not the case.
CNS Managing Editor Refuses to Fact-Check Trump Topic: CNSNews.com
It seems that CNSNews.com's lonstandingrefusal to fact-check the Trump administration comes straight from the top. Managing editor Michael W. Chapman uncritically writes in a Feb. 15 article:
During his Rose Garden talk today about declaring a national emergency to deal with the crisis at the southern border, President Donald Trump discussed the scourge of drug dealers and quoted Communist Chinese President Xi Jinping who had told him that China uses the death penalty against narcotics dealers and that ends the problem.
Trump prefaced these remarks by noting that China had agreed to put the deadly drug fentanyl (synthetic opioid) on its list of illegal products.
In his speech, Trump said, "Their criminal list, a drug dealer gets a thing called the death penalty. Our criminal list, a drug dealer gets a thing called 'how about a fine?' And when I asked President Xi, I said do you have a drug problem? ‘No, no, no.’"
"I said you have 1.4 billion people, what do you mean you have no drug problem?" asked Trump.
"‘No, we don't have a drug problem,'" he quoted Xi as saying. "I said why? ‘Death penalty. We give death penalty to people that sell drugs, end of problem.’"
That's simply not true. China does, in fact, have a drug problem in both manufacture and use. Indeed, an actual news outlet found that the number of drug users in China is on the increase, and that the death penalty for dealers has not served as much of a deterrent, if it is at all (never mind the fact that punishing drug crimes with execution violates international law).
Asa a result of Chapman's refusal to fact-check Trump, CNS has published more misinformation. Apparently, he's proud to do so.