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Monday, August 19, 2019
MRC Hides Far-Right Leanings of 'Conservative' Google Whistleblowers
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has a narrative to push about high-tech companies and social media outlets being uniquely inhospitable to conservataives -- never mind that it's not actually true. Which explains how  Corinne Weaver used an Aug. 1 item to tout the latest cause celebre-cum-victim on that front:

Conservatives might not be able to have a career in tech engineering unless they turn liberal. 

In an article published in the Wall Street Journal, former Google engineer Kevin Cernekee detailed the political harassment he experienced from the time he was hired in 2015 to his ultimate firing in 2018. One manager publicly asked in 2017 on a chat forum if the company could fire the “poisonous assholes” who shared conservative views.


Google informed Cernekee that he was fired for misuse of equipment. Cernekee told the Wall Street Journal that he was fired for being conservative. 

Weaver followed that up with a post promoting how President Trump embraced Cernekee's victimization narrative.

But Weaver is hiding something -- Cernekee is very much a committed far-right activist, not merely the "conservative" she claims.

As Gizmodo documented, Cernekee used internal Google message boards to promote a far-right crowdfunding platform that has defended the likes of neo-Nazi Richard Spencer and neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer. He also argued that documented neo-Nazi groups merely "reject racial supremacy." A former Google co-worker of Cernekee's criticized his "questionable viewpoints and questionable tactics and that his denials of being an extremist ring hollow. Even the conservative Daily Caller has written of Cernekee and the narrative he provides that conservatives like Weaver embrace: "Conservatives angry at big tech may view such postings as a cautionary lesson in the importance of vetting their cause célèbres."

Despite the highly questionable claims this "conservative" whistleblower made, Weaver repeated the process (and the narrative) with an even more dubious person. She dutifully repeated no an Aug. 14 post:

Google used a blacklist and a blocklist for search results. And those two lists reportedly blocked  a large amount of conservative content from the app — including NewsBusters. 

A Google whistleblower, Zachary Vorhies, shared several documents with James O’Keefe and Project Veritas that were released August 14. These documents included a document with a Google Now blacklist and Google block list, and hundreds of other pages of material from internal Google memos, emails, and guidelines. This allegedly impacted the app and not all Google searches. 

That block list included NewsBusters, MRCTV, Twitchy, Conservative Tribune, Front Page Mag, RedState, Christian Post, Daily Caller, and Catholic News Agency, among others.

Reminder: Project Veritas is so notorious for disreputable and sleazy tactics that even the MRC has denounced it. But it seems that advancing the narrative is good enough for James O'Keefe's group to get back in the MRC's good graces.

Later that day, Weaver scored an interview with Vorhies (following the narrative pays off in scoops!) in which he detailed Google's alleged diversity efforts. She apparently made no effort to fact-check Vorhies' claims.

The next day, Alexander Hall contributed to the narrative, touting a claim by Vorhies about how Google and YouTube purportedly manipulate search results to address "pro-life accuracy" and other issues. He too got an exclusive blurb from Vorhies. Weaver return to promote a document allegedly leaked by Vorhies regarding Google's cooperation with federal immigration officials.

None of these articles, however,  did Weaver or Hall tell readers that Vorhies is even farther to the right than Cernekee.

The Daily Beast reports that Vorhies "is an avid promoter of anti-Semitic accusations that banks, the media, and the United States government are controlled by “Zionists.” He’s also pushed conspiracy theories like QAnon, Pizzagate, and the discredited claim that vaccines cause autism." He has also accused "Zionists" of killing Andrew Breitbart and Israel of plotting the 9/11 attacks.

Weaver and Hall are censoring serious credibility problems with their alleged "whistleblowers" and the organization promoting them. That hurts the MRC's credibility as well -- but, apparently, pushing the narrative trumps all.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:58 PM EDT
WND Blames Copycats, Not Trump, For Massacres
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily responded to the shootings in El Paso and Dayton much the way its fellow right-wingers at the Media Research Center did: with distraction from Trump's rhetoric and whataboutism to attack Democrats.

Article on how the Dayton shooter's alleged support for Elizabeth Warren (from Art Moore)? Check. Playing whataboutism over inflammatory rhetoric to take the heat off Trump (by Michael Brown and an anonymous writer)? Check and check. Denyhing the El Paso shooter had any white nationalist motivation (from Andy Schlafly)? Check.

But for that added WND touch, we have to turn to David Kupelian, who tries to sound all smart and stuff (while also deflecting attention from Trump's rhetoric) by blaming the copycat effect, suggesting that the shooting at a festival in California triggered these shootings:

But in light of the close proximity of these two most recent mass shootings, as well as the mass shooting just six days earlier, at a garlic festival in Gilroy, California, resulting in three dead (plus the shooter) and 12 injured, consider the problem from a different vantage point – one that casts the growing incidence of mass-shootings in terms of “contagion.” Or in more everyday terms, the “copycat crime” effect.

Kupelian even found a way to work in some Muslim-bashing: "Likewise, jihad – the Islamic variety of mass-murder madness – has proven so susceptible to the copycat phenomenon that imitation may be the single most important factor involved, especially since jihad cheerleaders and recruiters encourage precisely that."

Kupelian was careful not to mention the 2011 massacre in Norway perpetrated by Anders Breivik that killed dozens -- perhaps because WND is cited six times in his manifesto.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:28 AM EDT
Sunday, August 18, 2019
MRC After The Shootings: Still Defending Guns (But Blaming Hollywood For Putting Guns In Movies)
Topic: Media Research Center

We've highlighted the various ways the Media Research Center pushed a conservative narrative in the wake of the El Paso and Dayton shootings, with an emphasis on protecting President Trump and pushing distractions. There was another component as well: attacking anyone who brought up the idea of increased gun regulation.

Curtis Houck howled "DIABOLICAL" in a headline about how CNN guests "slammed the National Rifle Association (NRA) as seemingly the one group that’s anthetical to keeping Americans safe." Houck hurled childish insults at anyone who didn't stick with the right-wing pro-gun narrative, "arrogant," "smug," and "deranged" among them, and huffing that one guest either didn't know or care "about why the Founders didn’t go with direct democracy."

Houck's excessive rhetorical flourishes continued in another post in which he accused CNN guests of engaging in "a nearly 14-minute-long beatdown of political commentator David Urban, who was the lone conservative panelist. Houck went even farther on his personal Twitter account, actually claiming that Urban was a victim of "rhetoric[al] waterboarding."

Famous people who said something about guns were a big target. Gabriel Hays bashed "Hollywood leftists" for having an opinion on the shootings -- making sure to get in the talking point that the Dayton shooter was "a self-described "leftist" who supported ANTIFA violence and Elizabeth Warren's bid for the presidency"  -- then went after country music artists who spoke out, sneering that "aspiring activists should be called to propose something constructive, rather than just, 'Oh, my gosh! FIX IT!'"

In the same vein, Aiden Jackson went off on late-night hosts who advocated stricter gun laws, right down to invoking the rote talking point that everyone in the media and doesn't adhere to right-wing narratives is an "elitist": "It is easy for elitist members of the media, with personal security guards, to demonize those who have to take their safety into their own hands." Amnd it's easy for conservativeslike Jackson, in their right-wing media bubble, to demonize all who disagree with them. Jackson later attacked "The Daily Show" for making a video game about moving a gun-restriction law through Congress that's a parody of first-person shooter games, huffing that it was "gauche" and "virtue-signaling." But isn't Jackson virtue-signaling by attacking anyone who criticizes guns?

Nicholas Fondacaro ranted about the townhall CNN aired after the shootings, attacking it in advance as a "anti-gun show trial" that would "emotionally exploit grieving families"and rehashing his rage at a post-Parkland townhall CNN aired.AFterwards, Fondacaro robotically called it a "show trial" again, complaining that host Chris Cuomo "lashed out at the National Rifle Association for not subjecting themselves to the hate and rhetorical torture session they were treated to at the Parkland shootingtown hall last year." Which can also be interpreted as the NRA's refusal to leave the conservative media bubble where it knows the MRC and its media allies will ever say an unkind word about it.

Houck kept up the "show trial" narrative after the townhall, declaring it to be "just as hideously horrible as one could have predicted when it came to promoting gun control and confiscation in the wake of the El Paso and Dayton shootings."

And Jorge Plaza argued that the real problem isn't guns but movies that have guns in them:

On August 4th, two horrific shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio shocked the nation. Americans from coast to coast were nonplused that such atrocious acts could be committed by their compatriots, and unfortunately, many are already using these events as political clubs to beat the drum for gun control. They scapegoat guns as the root issue, ignoring the possible cultural influences. 

On the same weekend of the shootings, the gun-touting film Hobbs & Shaw from the Fast & Furious series surged to the top of the box office, breaking $60 million in its first weekend. In the movie’s three official trailers, a gun flashed on screen a total of 106 times. According to, the movie features 19 guns that the New York Post would classify as “weapons of war” -- that is, any gun that is not a handgun.


Mentally sound adults understand the line between fantasy and reality. The shallow enjoyment we derive from watching a bunch of guns firing on screen is easily distinguished from its real life counterpart. It’s difficult to say the same for people of unsound mind, and perhaps it would not be completely out of line to say that our viewing enjoyment may influence mentally ill people that commit mass shootings. It’s possible that sadistic psychopaths come to the conclusion that shooting people in real life is as fun as in the movies.  

Nevertheless, there should at least be a mourning period before the media goes off to politicize a tragedy. Have the decency to let the dead rest in peace before you stand on their graves to push your political agenda.

As if Plaza and the rest of the MRC were not also politicizing a tragedy in their vociferous defense of Trump and guns.

Finally, Geoffrey Dickens served up yet another of the MRC's dubious "studies," this one claiming that "the networks filled their morning show programs with statements favoring gun control over gun rights by a ratio of roughly 17 to 1." As usual, no methodology or raw data was provided so that readers could see how the MRC arrived at its conclusions. Ironically, Dicken's piece is illustrated with a screen shot of a "CBS This Morning" host holding up a pro-restriction front page cover from ... the New York Post, which is most definitely part of the "liberal media." Yet we don't recall the MRC going after the Post for that headline.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:22 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, August 18, 2019 11:00 PM EDT
CNS Loves To Quote Group Funded By Same Folks That Fund CNS

A July 18 article by Melanie Arter starts off by reporting on a House vote to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. But most of the article -- 10 of its 14 paragraphs -- was devoted to an attack on a higher minimum wage by Alfredo Ortiz, president of the Job Creators Network, repeating the usual right-wing talking points and plugging an effort by the organization to push for higher-paying careers.

In addition to being an example of the right-wing bias CNS is increasingly unafraid to display -- at no point does Arter include any voices in support of a higher minimum wage -- Arter's article fails to disclose a conflict of interest. As we documented earlier this year when CNS promoted a JCN attack on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, JCN is funded by the Mercer family, which also happens to be the largest individual donor to CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, providing one-fourth of its multimillion-dollar annual budget, some of which presumably goes to pay for CNS reporting.

CNS has promoted JCN several other times this year without disclosing the conflict of interest:

  • Managing editor Michael W. Chapman devoted a Jan. 16 article to repeating JCN's anti-minimum wage attack, blandly describing JCN as a "small business non-profit advocacy group."
  • An April 29 article by Chapman quoted JCN's Ortiz supporting the nomination of right-wing economist Stephen Moore to the Federal Reserve board.
  • A May 3 article by Craig Bannister touting low Hispanic unemployment rates included a quote from Ortiz.
  • A June 7 article by Bannister gave Ortiz space to spin away a low job creation rate as being caused by a labor shortage.

Committing to right-wing talking points over journalism isn't a good look -- especially when those talking points come from the same funders that fund you.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:11 PM EDT
Saturday, August 17, 2019
Mysterious MRC Sports Blogger Dumps On LeBron-Funded School
Topic: Media Research Center

Last year, amid a fit of LeBron Derangement Syndrome at the Media Research Center, mysterious sports blogger Jay Maxson attacked the school in Akron, Ohio, that basketball superstar LeBron James is funding to help underprivileged students, then attacked the media for writing nice things about it "before the first report cards have been issued," sneering that "these young children should do well in political science class" because James has committed the offense of talking about things that don't involve sports.

A year later, Maxson is still attacking James and his school. In a July 17 post, Maxson disdained an article about the school's "emphasis on self esteem and unorthodox teaching methods," though he/she conceded that "students improved significantly from the beginning to the end of the first academic year."

After noting that the school does things that help students by engaging in "trauma-informed" practices and community service, Maxson still found a way to dismissively undercut the school's achievements:

The children are rallying behind LeBron James, [writer Hanif] Abdurraqib says, because his "drive and passion seeps into the spaces he occupies ... ." James is said to have widened the path for these children.

Very wide. Among the values stressed at the school is that everything is earned rather than given. However, students at I Promise School will automatically receive scholarships at Akron University whether they are academically earned or not.

It seems Maxson must always stay on the attack -- even a school that even he/she admits is doing good things.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:00 AM EDT
WND's New Donation Graphic Steals Less From Liberal Website Than Its First One did
Topic: WorldNetDaily

When WorldNetDaily first attempted last year to do a donation box at the bottom of each article, it stole the layout, color scheme, quote from a reader and even the credit card graphic from a similar box used by the British newspaper the Guardian -- ironically, WND's ideological opposite.

Well, WND has a new donation box. If nothing else, it's less blatantly plagiaristic:

The box keeps the gray-and-yellow color scheme and, it appears, the credit card graphics, but the copy has been put in a different font and altered to reflect its longtime narrative that "Google, Facebook and Big Tech" are conspiring against it, and to claim that WND offers "real news" and "accurate information" -- apparently, that's what WND is calling its conspiracy theories now.

For all its begging and touting a paywall-free website, though, WND still has no significant non-advertising revenue stream other than its online store, and the Daily Caller-esque nonprofit journalism outfit to which it was planning to offload its reporting in order to save money is apparently still not up and running.

Even on the business end, WND hasn't quite demonstrated it deserves to live.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:50 AM EDT
Friday, August 16, 2019
MRC's Antidote to 'Liberal' Spanish-Language Networks: A Trump Propagandist
Topic: Media Research Center

A July 31 MRC Latino post by Kathleen Krumhansl began with the usual "liberal" bashing of Spanish-language TV networks:

Since 2015, the nation's liberal media, both mainstream and Hispanic, have super-glued themselves to the same rhetoric towards President Donald Trump, using his references to the problems brought about by illegal immigration as a mantra to compel conformity to their political agenda. The latest example came on June 25th, 2019.

Spanish-language news anchors, including Jorge Ramos and José Díaz-Balart, have taken Trump's warnings about dangerous, illegal immigrants crossing the border as personal insults. Both Telemundo and Univision went about it AGAIN as recently as the launch of the Republican Party's Latino campaign in Florida on June 25, 2019, as part of their coverage of the first Democratic presidential candidate debate, which was also held in Miami.

This was followed by clips of people Krumhansl didn't like, then a transition to the actual meat of the post:

But how does the conservative Latino community feel about the constant references to the President's 2015 speech - “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best… They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

MRC Latino's Miguel Leal interviewed Bianca Gracía, Vice President of Latinos for Trump, who was also at the Republican voter campaign event in Miami where the above mentioned interviews took place.

Her answer: “They're strongly mistaken and if that's the best that they have right now, that´s pretty sad that they can't come up with a different message to combat this President,” referring to “the old stuff from 2015-2016 so often repeated by the liberals.”

Yes, that's MRC Latino's antidote to the supposedly "lliberal" Spanish-language TV networks: a pro-Trump propagandist. Leal served up softball questions, and García answered them like a pro-Trump pro, especially toward the end (bolding in original):

In the words of García, her perception, and that of members of the conservative Hispanic population, is that the current administration is delivering, securing a low unemployment rate and providing jobs. In her words “our luchador (fighter) in the White House.

Yes, she actually said that. Of course, when most modern folk -- Mexicans and Americans alike -- hear the the word "luchador," they think of masked Mexican wrestlers. Not an image anyone has ever connected to Trump.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:20 PM EDT
CNS On Massacres: Trump-Fluffing, Distracting Attention Elsewhere
Topic: embraced the tactics of its Media Research Center parent in the afttermath of the El Paso and Dayton massacres: deflect and distract from any thought that President Trump's overheated anti-immigrant rhetoric is any sort of a problem.

The first article CNS did was not about the shootings themselves but, rather, a blog post by Craig Bannister on Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick using a Fox News appearance to warn Antifa protesters not to come to El Paso -- despite the fact that, as a real news outlet reported, he was not asked about Antifa and was apparently referencing a right-wing news article that was later corrected to admit it had no actual evidence Antifa would come to El Paso.

Bannister followed up with some serious Trump deflecting, repeating a tweet from "conservative commentator and Blexit leader Candice Owens" playing another MRC distraction card by highlighting that "The Ohio shooter was a self-described socialist and Elizabeth Warren fan" but "we don't blame anyone but the shooter" and that anyone blaming Trump's rhetoric for the El Paso shooting was a "coward." Bannister concluded with a plug for Owens, declaring that "Owens' Blexit movement seeks to bring conservative values to America's inner cities." CNS loves to serve as Owens' stenographer and censors news of her controversies, like the time she said that Hitler would have been cool if he had just stayed in Germany.

Susan Jones contributed some stenography from White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, claiming that it isn't fair to blame Trump's rhetoric for the El Paso shooting because it's a "social issue." Jones also framed criticism of Trump as "Trump hatred," beginning an article on Joe Scarborough's criticism of Trump with the claim "Trump hatred flows daily on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," especially on this particular Monday morning."

Managing editor Michael W. Chapman played the Chicago distraction card in one politically malicious blog post:

In addition to the horrific shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio over the weekend, 51 people were shot in Chicago and seven of the victims died, reported ABC 7. This follows several weekends in the Windy City in which dozens of people were shot, including the July 12-15 weekend in which 56 people were shot and 11 died.

However, the liberal media did not express nationwide outrage over that gun violence and politicians did not blame President Doanld Trump for the violence.

Chapman followed that up with a post invoking Mother Teresa, which may or may not have to do with reaction to the massacres:

It is a simple moral question: Do you support the murder of children by abortion, yes or no? If you say yes, then anything goes. For if it is okay to kill a baby in the womb, then it is okay to do anything. You cannot say something is wrong, if child-murder is right. This is bottom-of-the-barrel morality.

American liberals and their allies in the media support abortion on demand. Their faith, sexual liberty, means -- if it comes to it -- that they are willing to kill in order to have sex. No baby will get in the way of their freedom.  And we wonder why many young people today seem so indifferent about the value of human life.

But when Trump made a short speech reacting to the massacres, CNS was in full stenography mode, devoting a whopping four articles to it:

Why couldn't CNS have combined all four of these short items into a single, longer article? It's a mystery.

From there, CNS served up more pro-Trump tweet stenography: one article weirdly attacking Beto O'Rourke for having a nickname (one of CNS' favorite bugaboos), and anbother whose headline says it all: "Trump Slams 'Sleepy Joe,' Joaquin Castro, Democrats, Sen. Brown, Mayor Nan Whaley, MSNBC, CNN..."

Finally, Patrick Goodenough complained that United Nations experts were making an "implicit attack on President Trump" by stating that  politicians who use hateful rhetoric should be considered complicit in crimes that follow. Goodenough went into spin mode, highlighting a statement in the el Paso shooter's manifesto that his anti-immigrant views “predate Trump and his campaign for president.”

Posted by Terry K. at 12:17 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, August 16, 2019 11:00 PM EDT
Thursday, August 15, 2019
MRC Hammers On Dayton Shooter's Leftist Views To Counter Trump Rhetoric Link To El Paso Shooter
Topic: Media Research Center

We noted in passing that part of the Media Research Center's playbook on protecting President Trump from fallout linked to his anti-immigrant rhetoric mirroring that of the El Paso massacre perpetrator was to play whataboutism by hyping the far-left views of the Dayton massacre perpetrator and, specifically, his alleged support for Elizabeth Warren. The extent to which the MRC beat that particular drum in the first few days after the massacres is rather amazing ... almost as if MRC writers were under orders to manufacture a specific narrative.

-- CBS This Morning hosts jumped on the Democratic effort to blame this weekend’s horrific mass slaughters on Donald Trump. ... [CBS correspondent Chip] Reid made no mention of the Ohio shooter’s alleged support for socialism, gun control and Elizabeth Warren. -- Scott Whitlock, Aug. 5

-- Monday morning following horrific, deadly mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas over the weekend, as well as Gilroy, California last week, the networks were eager to pin blame on President Trump for “fueling” the violence with his “hateful rhetoric” against immigrants. What they were not eager to do was point out that the alleged social media accounts of one of these shooters revealed he was a radical leftist, who supported socialism, antifa, and Elizabeth Warren for president. -- Kristine Marsh, Aug. 5

-- During coverage of the horrific mass shootings that happened over the weekend, on Monday, NBC’s Todayshow eagerly touted Democrats rushing to blame President Trump’s rhetoric for the attack in El Paso, Texas. ... Amazingly, none of the network morning shows on Monday mentioned reports that the shooter in Dayton, Ohio was a self-described “leftist,” Antifa supporter, and fan of liberal politicians like Elizabeth Warren. -- Kyle Drennen, Aug. 5

-- Celebrities, includingAvengersstar Don Cheadle, rapper Cardi B, Golden State Warriors Coach Steve Kerr and pop star Bebe Rexha, blasted President Trump and Republicans for inspiring the violence through “racist” rhetoric and lamented the lack of gun-control. Still no word on whether they acknowledge that the onus of the murders is on the crazies who pulled the triggers, one of whom was a self-described "leftist" who supported ANTIFA violence and Elizabeth Warren's bid for the presidency. -- Gabriel Hays, Aug. 5

-- The actual nature of the shootings that occurred over the weekend also contradicted Scarborough’s premise. One of them was committed by a white supremacist and the other by a crazed leftist who supported Elizabeth Warren, yet the blame was put squarely on President Trump.-- Gregory Price, Aug. 5

-- [Columnist Charles] Blow (pictured) tried to suggest Dayton shooter Betts was motivated by anti-black racism, ignoring his alleged Twitter account where, as NewsBusters Kristine Marsh pointed out, “he identified as a ‘leftist’ ‘atheist’ who wanted socialism, and he said he’d vote for Elizabeth Warren. -- Clay Waters, Aug. 5

-- So far, broadcast networks ABC, CBS, and NBC have spent a combined 77 minutes on their flagship morning and evening newscasts covering Sunday’s horrific shooting in Dayton, Ohio. However, as these networks on Tuesday morning delved into the alleged shooter’s disturbing past and personal life, none of them spent even a second of air time discussing his apparent “leftist” political views. -- Bill D'Agostino, Aug. 6

-- CBS This Morning on Tuesday scored an exclusive interview with the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. So, of course, co-host Anthony Mason used the opportunity to push Kevin McAleenan on Donald Trump’s culpability for this weekend’s mass killings. ... One question that didn’t come up was the Dayton shooter’s alleged support for Elizabeth Warren, Antifa, socialism and other left-wing causes. -- Scott Whitlock, Aug. 6

-- As NewsBusters research analyst Bill D’Agostino exposed Tuesday afternoon, the liberal broadcast networks were doing their best to avoid telling their viewers that the gunman behind the Dayton mass shooting was an admitted ‘leftist.’ But hours later, ABC’s World News Tonight was the first flagship network news program to break that trend when they footnoted that fact. Meanwhile, the flagship CBS and NBC newscasts were still avoiding it like the plague. ... Unfortunately, ABC still didn’t mention the fact that the shooter was a big fan of 2020 presidential hopeful Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Antifa, or his anti-gun stance. -- Nicholas Fondacaro, Aug. 6

-- The journalists at CBS This Morning on Thursday resorted to the “critics” say line of attack to link Donald Trump the mass slaughter seen this past weekend. ... No mention, of course, was made of the Dayton, Ohio shooter who endorsed Antifa violence and Elizabeth Warren and called himself a "leftist."-- Scott Whitlock, Aug. 8

-- While [Bill] Maher had no problem tying the El Paso shooter to President Trump, he remained mum on the political beliefs of the Dayton shooter; who described himself as a “leftist” and supported liberal Senator Elizabeth Warren. -- Ryan Foley, Aug. 10

That's what's called a narrative.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:55 PM EDT
CNS Tries To Give Pelosi Equal Blame For Budget Deal, Though Trump & GOP Control Most of Government

CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey's continued reluctance to assign President Trump and Republicans their share of the blame for large federal budget deficits heavily informed CNS' coverage of a federal budget deal. As the deal was announced and as it wound through Congress toward Trump's signature, CNS branded it as a co-equal deal between Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, even though Pelosi, a Democrat, controls only one-half of the legislative branch and Republicans control the other half plus the entire executive branch.

"Pelosi and Trump Agree to Increase Spending Over Next 2 Fiscal Years; Put No Limit on Debt Until 2021" read the headline on an anonymously written July 22 article announcing the agreement, which "will allow increases in discretionary spending over the next two fiscal years and place no limit on the new debt the federal government can accumulate until July 31, 2021." Note that Pelosi appears before Trump in the headline, as if she has more power than the president of the United States.

Jeffrey followed two days later with a column grousing about "the Trump-Pelosi debt-and-spending deal," making sure to stay on-brand with his invented nomenclature (he uses the "Trump-Pelosi" term four times as well as in his headline): "The Trump-Pelosi debt-and-spending deal is a short-term political win for the Washington establishment of both parties and a long-term loss for the American people. Rather than serve a great national interest, it attacks a great national interest: the solvency and future prosperity of this nation. It will not help Make America Great Again. It will make America bankrupt sooner."

At no point does Jeffrey specifically criticize Trump for his role in brokering this deal; instead, he whines about the "bipartisanship" that allegedly brought it about.

The next day, Jeffrey gave Republicans more credit than they deserve in an article headlined "132 House Republicans Vote Against Trump-Pelosi Spending Deal—But House Democrats Push It Through," blaming "overwhelming support from House Democrats" on its passage. He did note, though, that Trump urged Republicans to vote for the bill.

On July 26, CNS published another anonymously written article recalling a 2011 speech in which Pelosi said it's "time for this Congress of the United States to get serious about debt reduction." CNS did not run a similar article reviewing Trump's previous statements critical of deficit spending.

A July 29 article by Melanie Arter went into stenography mode for White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney complaining that "if President Donald Trump could pass spending bills, the federal budget would be on the path to being balanced and the deficit would be down." Arter did include pushback from "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace, who pointed out that Trump is the president and Republicans controlled Congress for the first two years of his presidency.

In an anonymously written Aug. 1 article noting the Senate's passage of the budget deal, Jeffrey's blame construct got a workout again: "Republican Senate Approves Trump-Pelosi Deal to Up Spending $320 Billion; Limitless Debt for 2 Years." The anonymous writer did admit that "President Donald Trump has aggressively promoted it and will sign it into law."

The next day, Mark Jennings touted Republican Rep. Rand Paul's objections to the budget bill, but he escaped Jeffrey's nomenclature by describing the bill as "arranged by President Trump and the congressional leadership" and not mentioning Pelosi by name at all.

With CNS' "news" side not daring to take digs at its favorite president the way it inserts editorial comment attacking Democrats, it was left to the actual labeled opinion side to call out Trump. A July 30 column by Daniel Mitchell claimed that Trump was "impersonating Obama with huge, across-the-board spending increases," failing to mention that Obama was dealing with a recession and deficit spending is an econonmically sound way to escape a recession and Trump doesn't have that excuse.

A column by Tony Perkins joined Jeffrey in blaming bipartisanship and refusing to call out Trump by name for his role in increasing deficits.

An Aug. 7 column by Mark Hendrickson, meanwhile, complained that "Trump readily agreed to Speaker Pelosi’s domestic spending requests in exchange for relatively modest increases in military spending," but then shifted blame away: "Don’t blame President Trump. Blame the tens of millions of voters who keep electing big spenders."

Posted by Terry K. at 3:31 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, August 15, 2019 5:44 PM EDT
NewsBusters Touts Dubious Cease-And-Desist Letter From Right-Wing Media Outlet
Topic: NewsBusters

Randy Hall writes in a July 31 NewsBusters post:

After more than two fruitless years accusing President Trump of collusion with Russia, some liberals apparently still consider that tactic a winning strategy -- when used to attack anyone even remotely connected to the Republican occupant of the White House.

One example of that is the claim from MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Kevin Poulsen of the liberal Daily Beast website since both have suggested the One America News Network -- which Trump has called his new favorite news outlet -- is a fountain of Russian propaganda.

OANN has demanded retractions from Maddow and the Daily Beast with angry letters from their law firm Miller Barondess.

The controversy centers on a writer named Kristian Rouz, who the Daily Beast revealed is an on-air reporter at OANN while also writing for Sputnik News, a Kremlin-operated "news" operation. According to OANN's letter, Rouz "never had decision-making authority with respect to the content that is aired on OAN" and that "His outside work for other media outlets has no relation to -- or bearing on -- his work for OAN."

Neither of those statements contradict the central premise of the Daily Beast article: that OANN published someone who was also working for a Russian propaganda outlet while not disclosing that connection to its readers.

The thinness of OANN's case is such that Hall resorted to touting how the cease-and-desist letter included a personal attack on Kevin Poulsen, who wrote the Daily Beast piece, pointing out that he served  prison time for computer hacking in the 1990s. There was no mention, of course, of how Poulsen has since become a tech journalist who busted registered sex offenders using MySpace to solicit sex from children and developing an open-source platform to facilitate secure communication between journalists and sources.

The OANN case is so thin, in fact, that even other conservative media outlets, unlike Hall, are pointing that out. The Washington Examiner reported that OANN really does have synergy with Russian propaganda, having repeated bogus Russian claims regarding a chemical attack in Syria.

Hall huffed: "It's all about mocking Trump and any media outlet he likes."Of course, it's not hard when said media outletsd make it this easy. Oh, and Hall never once admitted that OANN has a prounounced right-wing ideological tilt, though he claimed the Daily Beast is "liberal."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:14 AM EDT
Wednesday, August 14, 2019
AIM Article Reads Like A Trump Campaign Press Release
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Marissa Martinez's Aug. 2 Accuracy in Media post begins as if it was written as a Trump campaign press release:

Since the launch of President Donald Trump’s official campaign, rallies have continued to sell out. In fact, each rally has been over the full capacity limit, thus forcing hundreds of supporters to outside of the stadium/area. 

On Tuesday, at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, it was no different. The arena was at full at 17,500 supporters, many from different racial groups.

Actually, tickets to Trump's rallies don't "sell out" -- if the tickets are free, no selling is involved.And if you're giving away tickets, it's not that hard to "sell out" venues.

Most of Martinez's post, though, was complaining about a HuffPost item about Trump supporteers denying that they, and he, were racists. She then went back into Trump campaign mode:

Present at the rally was a coalition of African American supporters wearing “Trump & Republicans Are Not Racist,” and “Blacks for Trump.” None of the individuals were quoted in Huffington’s piece.

There was also no mention of black unemployment, which sits at 6 percent — a near-record low and below the rate under any previous administration in the article.

In addition, there was no mention of the Latino unemployment rate (4.3 percent, which is near the historic low of 4.2 percent). Asian-American unemployment is also at an all-time low of 2.1 percent as of June 2019, but that statistic was also negated.

Martinez didn't mention that increased employment under Trump is simply a continuation of of the pace begun under President Obama.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:19 PM EDT
MRC Defends, Deflects From Blaming Trump's Rhetoric After Massacres
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has had some weird freakouts in the aftermath of the El Paso and Dayton massacres, blaming Dr. Seuss and melting down over a planned CNN townhall (and let's not forget that pre-massacre post denying that white supremacy was an issue). But protecting President Trump is Job 1 at the MRC, and it tried its best to spin away the fairly obvious link between Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric and that in the El Paso shooter's manifesto.

Scott Whitlock whined that CBS "uncritically parroted talking points from the 2020 contenders on how the President should is [sic] responsible" -- thus invoking the Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy that assumes any action reported on a newscast is automatically an endorement of that action. Nicholas Fondacaro took a similar tack, ranting that by repeating what Democratic presidential candidates said, ABC was "spewing the liberal hate that demanded that President Trump be considered the cause of the violence." He didn't mention the shooter's manifesto, even though it had been reported on before his item was posted. Kyle Drennen kept this narrative alive, complaining that "the Today show eagerly touted Democrats rushing to blame President Trump’s rhetoric for the attack in El Paso, Texas."

In another post, Fondacaro declared that "The liberal media hate machine was running at full steam on Sunday in the wake of two mass shootings the left wanted to blame President Trump for" and that "the liberal media has taken every opportunity to smear and label Trump voters as racist and worthy of contempt." Fondacaro didn't mention the double standard of how he and his employer treat Democratic politicians and voters as worthy of contempt.

From there, it was time for massacre whataboutism. Cue Kristine Marsh:

Monday morning following horrific, deadly mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas over the weekend, as well as Gilroy, California last week, the networks were eager to pin blame on President Trump for “fueling” the violence with his “hateful rhetoric” against immigrants. What they were not eager to do was point out that the alleged social media accounts of one of these shooters revealed he was a radical leftist, who supported socialism, antifa, and Elizabeth Warren for president.


While it is the media’s responsibility to share unverified information responsibly, they’ve already shown they don't care about acting ethically or responsibly when it comes to these tragedies, by immediately blaming Trump for any violent act that happens in this country.

Whitlock reacted badly to a reporter who pointed out that the shooter's language on immigration was "almost identical" to Trump's, huffing: "Almost identical? In his manifesto, the alleged killer offered support for the mass murder in Christchurch, New Zealand. He ranted about the “great replacement” of white people and discussed the best way to pull off a mass killing. That’s identical?" Whitlock is being dishonest here; the reporter specifically referenced the language similarly "with regard to illegal immigration" -- as he quoted the reporter saying earlier in his piece.

Whitlock went on to suggest Trump's post-massacre speech critical of white supremacy somehow indemnified him from criticism over his previous racially charged remarks, lamenting that the speech "wasn't enough" for some.Marsh took a similar tack, lamenting that some "slammed Trump’s words as 'empty' and 'lacking self-reflection' on how his 'rhetoric contributed' to these shootings."

Bill D'Aogstino followed by complaining that the speech didn't stop some in the media from assigning blame to Trump. He then tried a lame whataboutism: "Since Sunday, supposedly objective reporters have framed the President’s supposed culpability as established fact. If these members of the press truly believe that the President’s rhetoric is responsible for the deaths of dozens of innocents, one wonders how they would like us to assess their own rhetoric about him and his administration."

Fondacaro similarly complained: "Despite President Trump’s full-throated denunciation of racism and white supremacy on Monday, NBC Nightly News was determined to place the weekend’s mass shootings at his feet."

Marsh whined again that an MSNBC correspondent was "sounding more like a Democrat [sic] politician" by claiming he said "it was 'clear as day' he was to blame for this weekend’s shootings."

Under the hyperbolic headline "Mulvaney RIPS INTO Chuck Todd Over Atrocious Shooting Blame Game," Drennen cheered a servile Trump White House official doing his job by defending the president.

Clay Waters returned to the massacre whataboutism narrative, claiming a New York Times columnist "tried to suggest Dayton shooter Betts was motivated by anti-black racism, ignoring his alleged Twitter account where, as NewsBusters Kristine Marsh pointed out, 'he identified as a "leftist" "atheist" who wanted socialism, and he said he’d vote for Elizabeth Warren. In his tweets, he supported antifa using violence against "white supremacists" and "right wingers" even calling the antifa terrorist who attacked an ICE facility in Tacoma, Washington, a "martyr."'"

Whitlock returned to grouse that "The Daily Show" made a compare-and-contrast video between the shooter's manifesto and rhetoric on Fox News, calling it "ugly" and "a pure political attack on Fox." At no point did Whitlock dispute the similarities between the two.

(Ironically, in another example of a post that didn't age well, Brad Wilmouth complained in a July 24 post -- just 11 days before the El Paso massacre -- that a CNN guest suggested that Fox News gave racists and white supremacists a platform. Wilmouth then tried an incredibly lame bit of whataboutism by claiming that a chart showing that right-wing violence is a threat "manages to overlook the substantial amounts of violence committed by Americans who go on to register as Democrats after being released from prison.")

And Drennen was appalled that anyone would like a commentary that pointed out flaws in American culture that ought to be addessed:

On Tuesday afternoon, MSNBC hosts Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle marveled at an unhinged diatribe delivered by left-wing Princeton University professor and MSNBC contributor Eddie Glaude during Monday’s Deadline: White House. In the nasty rant, Glaude dismissed the “myth” of American “goodness,” referred to the conservative Tea Party movement as the “ugly underbelly of the country,” and labeled President Trump the “manifestation of the ugliness that’s in us.” 


Rather than challenge a single portion of Glaude’s racially-charged rhetoric, on Tuesday, host Ali Velshi simply praised the incendiary remarks: “Powerful words from Eddie. Hard to fathom, hard to sort of digest. But there is nothing I can debate him on that one. There is nothing I could tell him he’s wrong about.” Ruhle chimed in: “If it’s hard to digest, I recommend watching it again.”

It’s bad enough that MSNBC brings on left-wing rhetorical bomb throwers like Glaude, let alone that supposedly objective journalists like Ruhle and Velshi then endorse such language.

Meanwhile, nobody at the MRC has offered any criticism whatsoever of Trump's racially charged rhetoric.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:41 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, August 15, 2019 6:14 PM EDT
With Epstein's Death, WND Embraces 'Clinton Body Count' Again
Topic: WorldNetDaily

When Jeffrey Epstein reportedly attempted suicide a couple weeks back, WorldNetDaily couldn't run fast enough to embrace hoary, discredited "Clinton body count" references. Now that Epstein has died apparently from suicide, WND unsurprisingly went to that Clinton-hating well once again. Joe Kovacs cheered in an Aug. 11 article:

This weekend’s mysterious death of wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein at a federal prison in New York has ignited an online war of conspiracy theories, as President Trump retweeted messages suggesting former President Bill Clinton may somehow be involved, and Trump’s own son blasted Twitter for suppressing the the trend of the “ClintonBodyCount,” while prominently displaying “TrumpsBodyCount” as the top trending topic for discussion.

Epstein, who was facing numerous charges of sex trafficking involving underage girls, was found hanging dead in his jail cell about 6:30 a.m. Saturday, with the U.S. Justice Department saying it was the result of an “apparent suicide.”

On Saturday afternoon, President Trump retweeted messages insinuating the Clintons may have had some sort of connection to Epstein’s sudden death.

At no point did Kovacs mention the fact that the "Clinton body count" has been long discredited. Instead, he touted an earlier WND article that "documented the uncanny number of Bill and Hillary’s 'friends' who mysteriously fell off buildings, crashed in planes and died in freak accidents."

Kovacs also failed to mention that WND spread knowing falsehoods about one of the people on that list, Seth Rich, because then-WND reporter Jerome Corsi knew as early as August 2016 that it was Russian hackers, not Rich, who leaked internal Democratic emails to WikiLeaks, yet WND continued to push the false Rich leak angle. While he's at it, Kovacs might want to discuss the fact that Russian intelligence operatives were the ones who planted the Seth Rich conspiracy theories WND so enthusiastically embranced.

Kovacs followed this with an article uncritically repeating speculation that Epstein might not be dead -- mostly coming from Rush Limbaugh. He added that it was "comical" to dispute that the Clintons killed Epstsein, citing conservative Ben Shapiro stating that "If you believe the Clintons crafted a genius plan to murder Epstein you’re going to have to explain why Hillary wasn’t even able to find Wisconsin on a map." That's not stopping WND from suggesting otherwise, of course.

Then, a WND column from Andy Schlafly that, while not quite as conspiratorial as Kovacs, is similarly obsessed with Clinton:

The #MeToo movement takes on the Deep State over the Epstein scandal, and the shadow governmen may have finally met its match. The outrage by feminists against Jeffrey Epstein for evading justice while allegedly providing underage girls to powerful men has even the New York Times demanding answers.

Epstein was apparently protected by the Deep State for more than a decade, receiving extraordinary favoritism right up until his final moments of life in jail. At first the liberal media reacted to his death by calling anyone who questioned the circumstances a “conspiracy theorist,” but the media have since flipped amid pressure by liberals themselves not to let Epstein’s scheme off the hook.

No one can pretend that Epstein “acted alone” all those years, which is the favorite refrain of the Deep State when it wants to close the lid on investigatory failures about other famous crimes. Epstein obviously had powerful allies, starting with Bill Clinton, as well as pilots to fly them and others on the “Lolita Express” staffed by underage girls to serve for their satisfaction.

There are surely dozens, if not hundreds, who must have been in on Epstein’s illicit activities and unexplained accumulation of massive wealth. Bill Clinton himself traveled numerous times on Epstein’s private airplane, which included a bedroom for the pleasure of his travelers.

Schlafly didn't mention that Donald Trump was also a buddy of Epstein's.

Indulging in conspiracy theories is one big reason why WND is in its current financial difficulties, and continuing to indulge in them is one big reason why WND likely doesn't deserve to live.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:23 AM EDT
Tuesday, August 13, 2019
MRC Unhappy That Dead Conservative Is Remembered As A Biased, Terrible Person
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Scott Whitlock complained in a July 20 post:

The Washington Post on Friday couldn’t let old rivalries go, even in death. The paper’s obituary for long time Washington Times editor Wesley Pruden dripped with contempt for the “defiantly abrasive” conservative and his paper. In fact, the paper offered nicer coverage to Fidel Castro, hailing the dead dictator as a “romantic figure in olive-drab fatigues and combat boots.”

Whitlock didn't link to the Post obituary on Castro but, rather, his bosses Tim Graham and Brent Bozell's column complaining about it. They -- and, thus, Whitlock -- didn't mention that the obituary also stated that Under [Castro's] reign, Havana eventually became something of a Marxist Disneyland — a shiny, happy veneer over something much uglier," pointing out that "impoverished Cubans lived in crumbling homes on rationed food. Teenage prostitutes openly offered their services to tourists." It also stated that some Cubans "clearly feared a leader who imprisoned tens of thousands of his enemies over the years, often on little more than a whim. ... Many Cubans would not offer criticism of their leader for fear of being overheard by government informants, who lived on practically every block."

Anyway, back to Pruden. Whitlock complained that the Post obituary "had to warn readers of how dangerously conservative the Times is" --  in fact, all the obituary did is point out that the Times is a highly biased newspaper and that Pruden played a key role in that by editing stories to make them even further right-wing than they may have already been, a process that's been called "Prudenizing."

We though Whitlock and the rest of the MRC opposed media bias. Apparently, bias is OK as long as the MRC approves of the bias being offered.

Whitlock went on to grouse that the obit "cited notable liberal outlets and journalists." One of which was David Brock, who wrote for the Times as a dedicated conservative before turning liberal, so that was actually germane; the other he pointed out was the left-leaning journal The Nation, which had done an expose on the paper. Whitlock clipped a short ellipsis-beginning segment pointing out that The Nation found that Pruden and then-managing editor Fran Coombs "had fostered an atmosphere that was 'profoundly demeaning and abusive to women and minorities.'"

It seems that Whitlock decided that describing Pruden as a acting in a racist and sexist manner to subordinates was less damaging than describing him as a neo-Confederate.

But the part before the ellipsis, which Whitlock made sure not to clip, highlighted how The Nation echoed reporting from the Southern Poverty Law Center that Pruden ran a weekly Civil War page in the paper that the SPLC said helped "to popularize extremist ideas and neo-Confederate sympathy." Whitlock similarly ignored the obit's statement that Pruden's namesake father was a white supremacist in Arkansas who led a group that "tried to block the desegregation of Little Rock High School."

Whitlock by the way, did not challenge the accuracy of these claims -- only complained that they were reported. He did, however, complain about one other claim, that Pruden had been fired by a publication in the 1970s for manufacturing quotes, scoffing at the Post's attribution of this to "some accounts." If Whitlock had bothered to do a quick internet search, he would have found that this was apparently first reported by the SPLC in 2003.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:16 PM EDT

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