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Wednesday, August 28, 2019
WND Keeps Pushing Conspiracy Theories Over Epstein's Death
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily can't keep away from a good (or bad) conspiracy theory, especially when the hated Clintons can be worked into it. Thus, WND was quick to blame the Clintons for the death of Jeffrey Epstein (even though it can be argued that President Trump, being the president and head of the branch of the government that runs the federal prisons, had much more means and opportunity to pull it off). And it's certainly not going to stop now.

Which brings us to Larry Klayman's Aug. 16 column, in which he unsurprisingly accuses the Clintons of killing Epstein:

The apparent murder of Jeffrey Epstein last weekend – a felon who sexually abused and exploited underage girls – came as no surprise. Likely murdered in a federal prison, when he was supposed to be on "suicide watch," can only be explained by realizing that this was likely a "Mafia hit."

The No. 1 user and abuser of Epstein's evil was of course former President Bill Clinton, who it is known traveled on Epstein's private plane with underage girls at least 23 times.

Clinton is known for his obsessive, unhinged and perverted sexual abuse of women, and the Monica Lewinsky scandal is just one small example.

[...]

And, in the course of my hard-hitting cases against the Clintons, when I deposed Linda Tripp, who had worked with Vince Foster in the Clinton White House, and the two whistleblowers who exposed the first Hillary Clinton email scandal – where about a million emails implicating the Clintons in crimes were suppressed from production to me at Judicial Watch, independent counsel Ken Starr and Congress – a list of these 80-plus dead persons were left on the chairs of Ms. Tripp and the whistleblowers, among others.

Thus, even if the Clintons did not indeed have any of these persons and material witnesses murdered, they wanted those who had evidence that would implicate them in even more crimes to know that they were at risk of murder if they talked.

I can go on and on, but I do not need to. We all know just how evil Hillary and Bill Clinton are; worse than even Bonnie and Clyde, who murdered innocent people at will.

That is why I – the only person ever to have a court rule that Bill Clinton committed a crime – must now take the lead and investigate, and then through Freedom Watch's citizens grand juries indict, try and convict the Clintons of murder.

Sure the Clintons did not themselves go into the prison and kill Epstein, a criminal and witness who could have finally put the Clintons away for life. Instead, they likely had a Mafia hit man do it for them, as it is widely known that the Clintons do have ties to the Mafia. Some of their highest confidants and political advisers have known Mafia ties. This is no secret! I deposed some of them during the Clinton years.

Andy Schlafly's Aug. 13 column is less conspiratorial but just as Clinton-obsessed:

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.

This former high school teacher who became the billionaire owner of luxurious properties and even his own island in the Caribbean evidently had much he could have said about Clinton and other favorites of the left. Perhaps Epstein's cohorts think his death should close the case, but instead it should make getting the truth easier without his army of lawyers hiding behind a plea bargain that now can be voided.

[...]

Like Epstein, Clinton has been able to get away for decades with conduct that would have landed any Republican in prison long ago. But the Epstein scandal and the clamor by all sides of the political spectrum may finally bring some accountability to Bill Clinton, after all these years.

After an autopsy finding that Epstein committed suicide was released, an Aug. 16 WND article repeated the claims of an 88-year-old "prominent forensic pathologist" claiming on Fox News he doubted the finding.

That was followed by an Aug. 20 article by Bob Unruh that gave space to WND's favorite dubious doc, Jane Orient. While she didn't go full Clinton, Orient did declare that we can't trust the results of  because "there is a motive for a lot of people to really want him dead ... with probably enough money to contrive to bring that about."

Gotta keep those conspiracy theories alive, after all.

UPDATE: An Aug. 23 WND column by James Zumwalt served up his own conspiracy theory, albeit a Clinton-free one, arguing that Epstein's death was an "inside job," because "the perpetrator would have known certain cameras monitoring Epstein were malfunctioning and, thus, was unworried his actions would be monitored." Then Zumwalt lectured about proliferating conspiracy theories: "Conspiracy theories will continue running rampant about Epstein’s death simply because so many contributing factors fell into place for it to happen: no suicide watch, a cellmate’s removal hours prior, two guards falling asleep on duty, a critical camera malfunctioning. A perfect storm of coincidences make Epstein’s death a conspiracy theorist’s gift that will keep on giving. As more evidence comes to light, his death will take on a high-level, public profile completely contrary to the low-level private profile friends preferred be given a lifestyle they shared with him."

Clearly, Zumwalt is not so above conspiracy theories that he refused to advance one of his own.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:46 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, August 28, 2019 5:01 PM EDT
Tuesday, August 27, 2019
CNS Shills For Border Patrol, ICE
Topic: CNSNews.com

As Border Patrol and immigration officials have come under increased scrutiny over the Trump administration's crackdown on refugees and other undocumented immigrants and how they are treated in custody, as well as tweets from President Trump widely viewed as anti-immigrant, CNSNews.com -- already a loyal Trump stenographer -- increased the sycophancy over the past couple months by with a notable uptick in articles defending ICE and CBP and atacking their critics, usually in the form of favorable testimony by administration officials or Republican congressmen:

Meanwhile, CNS also made time to make political attacks over immigration, such as an article by Melanie Arter complaining that "House Democrats refuse to pass legislation that might slow the overwhelming tide of illegal immigration at the nation's Southwest border, but today they will find time to vote on a resolution formally condemning President Donald Trump for his 'xenophobic tweets.'"

Just a reminder of what CNS' priorities are ... and they aren't news.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:35 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE -- MRC on Massacres, Part 1: Defense and Distraction
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center knew what it had to do following the El Paso and Dayton massacres: Defend Trump, play up one shooter's left wing views while distracting from another's anti-immigrant sentiments, and attack anyone critical of guns. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 9:09 AM EDT
Monday, August 26, 2019
AIM Feels Some Clinton Derangement Over Epstein's Death
Topic: Accuracy in Media

WorldNetDaily and the Media Research Center are among the ConWebWatch outlets expressing outrage that coverage of Jeffrey Epstein's sex-trafficking charges and subsequent apparently suicide in jail emphasized his ties to the current president over someone who hasn't been president for nearly two decades. Add Accuracy in Media to that list. Marissa Martinez complains in an Aug. 12 item:

CNBC, the Washington Examiner, and many other news outlets have been reporting that then-private citizen, Donald Trump flew on Epstein’s private plane in January of 1997, from Florida to New Jersey. 

Not only do reports show the real estate mogul and now current president on Epstein’s plane one time, but the mainstream media continues to cover Donald Trump’s involvement with Jeffrey Epstein rather than highlighting former President Bill Clinton’s as well.

However, the only outlet found reporting President Bill Clinton being seen on Epstein’s private jet and helicopter is the Washington Examiner. The original report by the Examiner read, “Former President Bill Clinton’s Press Secretary, Angel Urena, claimed that ‘in 2002 and 2003, President Clinton took a total of four trips on Jeffrey Epstein’s airplane: One to Europe, one to Asia, and two to Africa.”

Martinez didn't mention that the Washington Examiner, like AIM, has a conservative bias and would obviously be obsessed with Clinton-Epstein links.

Martinez also complained that not enough media attention was paid to a claim by one of Epstein's trafficking victims, Virginia Giuffre, that her accusations of powerful men she was allegedly forced to have sex with included two Democratic politicians, George Mitchell and Bill Richardson. But Martinez omitted -- even though it was in the CNN article she cites for the other claims -- that Giuffre's list of alleged abusers also includes Alan Dershowitz, who was not only an attorney for Epstein but has also been a prominent defender of President Trump. (Dershowitz has denied any contact with Giuffre.)


Posted by Terry K. at 9:24 PM EDT
MRC's Double Standard on People Who Later Do Bad Things
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Kristine Marsh writes in an Aug. 9 post:

Earlier this year, CNN irresponsibly gave positive coverage to an illegal immigrant hiding from ICE in a liberal sanctuary church in Colorado. One week ago, that same immigrant killed a father of five in a car accident, while driving recklessly without a license. As usual when these things happen, the only thing you hear from the media is crickets.

It's not like the MRC would dare to anything similarly irresponsible, right? Oh, wait, it has.

In 2013, the MRC gave positive coverage to Cody Wilson, a man who uploaded to the internet plans for a plastic pistol largely undetectible by security systems and can be made using a 3D printer. Kyle Drennen mocked TV panelists for "hand-wringing" over the development by "the usual group of liberal pundits," and Matthew Balan huffed that a CBS segment on the gun blueprints featured "Democratic supporters of the proposal, and ... failed to include any soundbites from gun rights supporters."

Last year, Wilson's name came up again when 3D-printed gun blueprints again became available. Ashley Rae Goldenberg complained that a pro-gun regulation group called Wilson a "self-proclaimed anarchist" and noted that "The U.S. Department of State reached a settlement with Defense Distributed, whose founder, Cody Wilson, was accused of violating the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) because, by nature of being online, the files to construct a gun could be downloaded anywhere. Nicholas Fondacaro, meanwhile, wenty into full-on sneer mode to defend Wilson:

For days, the liberal media have been experiencing a Chernobyl-level meltdown about a Texas company releasing online instructions for 3D printing plastic weapons that actually fire real bullets. Of course, none of them did their homework and spewed inaccurate nonsense in an effort to stoke public fear of guns. After a liberal judge in Seattle blocked the release on Tuesday, the broadcast networks sang their praises with one network touting Democrats who said President Trump had blood on his hands.

[...]

Meanwhile, on the CBS Evening News, reporter Tony Dokoupil sat down with Wilson and assailed him with a question about how “when somebody downloads a gun from your website with your blueprints and kills somebody with it, how are you going to feel personally?” “If I allow you to download an AR-15, the full plans on the AR-15, I don't believe that I provide you anything other than the general knowledge of what an AR-15 is. I am no different from a publisher of information,” Wilson shot back.

Dokoupil was so ignorant about how easy and legal it was American citizens to make their own firearms, that he seemed aghast that Wilson had“personally moved beyond plastic to machine-grade metal, funding his legal fight by selling thousands of these-- a milling machine capable of making unmarked metal AR-15s and handguns-- A.K.A., ghost guns.”

Meanwhile, over at MRCTV, Caleb Tolin touted last year's federal settlement that allowed Wilson to again post his gun designs, and Brittany Hughes gushed that Wilson would be selling his 3D-printed gun designs online "in defiance of a court order," claimin that the deabte over 3D guns that Wilson is at the center of has been "largely misconstrued."

But what you won't read on any MRC website: Wilson's brush with the law ... of the underage sex kind.

Earlier this month, the 31-year-old Wilson pleaded guilty in a case in which he weas accused of paying to have sex with an underage girl, whom he found on a website called SugarDaddyMeet. He was arrested in Taiwan after allegedly fleeing the country to avoid prosecution. Wilson ultimately pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of injury to a child; he will avoid prison time, but he must register as a sex offender and, ironically, cannot own a firearm during the seven years of his probation.

Don't expect the MRC to hold itself to the standards it demands others follow -- it never has before.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:17 PM EDT
WND Columnist: Blame Mass Shootings on Abortion
Topic: WorldNetDaily

As with its "news" coverage, WorldNetDaily's opinion columnists went the whataboutism-and-distraction route after the El Paso and Dayton massacres.

Insisting the El Paso shooter's racism isn't a right-wing value because "American conservatism believes in rugged individualism, in the unique worth of each person, regardless of race or other characteristics" (Lowell Ponte)? Check. Insisting that government can't stop mass shootings because the real issue is "the breakdown of the family" (Jesse Lee Peterson)? Check.

And it wouldn't be WND without one of its columnists going off the deep end. Larry Nevenhoven fills this role by blaming mass shootings on ... abortion:

If you have any doubt that God judges nations for their collective sin, check out Matthew 25:31-46 where the Lord judges between sheep nations and goat nations. Sheep nations are accepted by Him, but goat nations are sent to an eternal punishment.

My guess is that murdering 60 million innocent babies created in the image of God certainly places America near the top of the goat nations list. So much for our nation being a shining city upon a hill!

OK, what does this have to do with mass shootings?

The Lord said to Cain, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's [innocent] blood is crying out to Me from the ground [for justice]. And now you are cursed...." (Genesis 4:10-11 AMP, emphasis added)

Biblical curses are not trivial putdowns, but are consequences for nations that rebel against God and His ways, as shown in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28.

[...]

Can we expect the mass shootings to lessen in the future?

Unless Roe v. Wade is overturned, we can expect the mass shootings to increase even more in the future. You see, the consequences for rebelling against God's ways escalate over time when a nation refuses to repent. But not only will the mass shootings increase, we can also expect an even larger assortment of calamities to hit America.

What can we do?

"Even now, declares the Lord, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning." (Joel 2:12)

Weird that God apparently uses the mass deaths of human beings to protest abortion, which to conservatives is already the taking of a life.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:04 AM EDT
Sunday, August 25, 2019
Working The Refs: MRC Targets CNN Debate Questioner
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center set the narrative with the first Democratic presidential debate: Do a pre-attack of the media folks who will ask the questions, then attack the questions after the debate as brimming with "liberal bias" even though it can't be bothered to identify exactly how it came to that conclusion.

For the last Democratic presidential debate on CNN, the MRC's target was moderator Don Lemon. In a July 30 post, Geoffrey Dickens dismissed Lemon as a "Democrat-adoring, Trump-despising, black hole conspiracy theorist" whopurportedly "hates rank-and-file Trump supporters" and is prone to "incendiary and obnoxious outbursts."

After the debate, Dickens declared that he "called it" and insisted that Lemon used the debate "to relentlessly promote lefty policies and politicians, and launch invectives against Donald Trump and his supporters," gloating that "The bias was so bad from Lemon last night, even President Trump noticed, slamming the CNN Tonight host." Dickens claimed that a Lemon question noting that "President Trump is pursuing a reelection strategy based in part, on racial division" was based in "rage against Trump" -- but he didn't dispute the accuracy of the statement. Dickens also included a list of "Lemon’s most obnoxious questions from the left," but he provided no methodology as to how he reached that conclusion.

After the debate's second night, Dickens struck again, complaining that Lemon "used his questions to pontificate on Trump’s 'racism' – as if the Democratic candidates wouldn’t have done that anyway." Again, Dickens added a Lemon-bashing Trump tweet to round things out. And, again, Dickens declined to offer evidence that Lemon was wrong about Trump's racism.

At least this time we were spared a "study" devoid of methodology and raw data purporting to designate how many debate questions were "liberal."

Meanwhile, at the MRC's "news" division CNSNews.com, the attacks on Lemon continued with an article by Melanie Arter touting a Trump tweet calling Lemon "the dumbest man in television."

"Media research," folks!


Posted by Terry K. at 8:30 PM EDT
CNS Echoes WND's Obsession With Flies Landing on Democratic Politicians
Topic: CNSNews.com

In 2013, WorldNetDaily was briefly obsessed with a minor incident in which President Obama dealt with a fly during an interview. An article by Aaron Klein claimed that "religious and other websites are using the headlines to point out that a biblical reference for Satan, the Semitic deity Beelzebub, literally translates from Hebrew into “Lord of the Flies," adding how one blogger assered that "I feel like I am watching a horror movie and the secret evil character is revealed by the evil signs around him." (This is on-brand for WND, which regularly likened Obama to the Antichrist.) A 2015 article featured another fly incident, making sure to add that Obama "has had flies land on his face numerous times" and rehasing the Beelzebub stuff.

Craig Bannister seemed to have this in mind when he wrote an Aug. 8 article about another Democratic politician:

A fly apppeared to land on the face of former Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday--as he accused President Donald Trump of “immorality” and “carnage,” according to video of the speech posted online by multiple news agencies.

First, the fly landed on Biden’s cheek, then it moved to his nose, as Biden said:

“Limited to four years, I believe – I really do believe – history will look back at this president as an aberrant moment in American history.”

Videos of the speech posted by MSNBC, CNN, NBC, C-SPAN, all show the fly engaging Biden’s face.

Just think of this article as another step in the creeping WND-ization of CNS.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:39 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, August 25, 2019 11:40 AM EDT
Saturday, August 24, 2019
MRC Touted Gushy Review Of Bozell/Graham Anti-Media Book (Originating From The Book's Publisher)
Topic: Media Research Center

Last month, as part of the promotion for Tim Graham and Brent Bozell's new anti-media book "Unmasked," Media Research Center divisions NewsBusters and CNSNews.com both published an overly fawning review of the book by conservative activist Craig Shirley. He proclaimed that the book exposed "the rampant and corrupt media bias against the 45th president of the United States," and he gushed over Bozell as supposedly having "appropriated the power of the Fifth Column inside the Fourth Estate," further slobbering: "Bozell’s MRC has been making the effective fight now for over 30 years. Bit by bit, brick by brick, page by page, exposing lie by lie, he has torn down the walls of the Media State. Big Media is no longer BIG MEDIA."

Both versions noted that Shirley's review was first posted at Newsmax. But the disclosures stop there when they should have continued if Graham and Bozell were to follow the same journalistic standards they demand from other members fo the media.

First, as we've noted, Newsmax published "Unmasked" under its Humanix Books banner. So one could plausibly argue that the review was part of Newsmax's promotion for the book. Newsmax is running its usual loss-leader deal by giving away the book by throwing in free introductory subscriptions to things like Newsmax magazine and the Newsmax Platinum paywall that one must unsubscribe to before the trial period ends in order to avoid being automatically charged for a full subscription.

Also, Shirley contributed a blurb to the dust cover of the book, declaring it to be "a much needed tonic of truth and facts the left so fears in Brent Bozell and his years of exposing the lies of the liberal media."

In other words: The review is totally an inside job, a fit of PR and not journalism.

Meanwhile, Newsmax's John Gizzi wrote about a July reception for Bozell and Graham's book: "What could easily be dubbed as a 'Who’s Who' of conservative leaders in Washington, D.C. turned out last week to hail an exciting new book on President Donald Trump and the liberal media." Among that "who's who" was, yes, Craig Shirley. Weirdly, Gizzi suggests that Trump bought the loyalty of Bozell, whose MRC was a critic of Trump before abruptly flipping:

“Unmasked” has particular meaning, since Bozell freely admits he was not a Trumpian at the beginning [he backed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016] and he even told Trump that he could not be nominated.

Trump, who hosted Bozell in the Trump Tower’s cafeteria, respectfully disagreed, listened carefully, and held no animosity to his guest. A few weeks later, he sent his first contribution ($5000) to Bozell’s Media Research Center.

Bozell does admit this in the preface of his book. Is that the impression Bozell really wants to leave?


Posted by Terry K. at 10:06 AM EDT
WND's Fake Business News
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An anonymously written July 31 WorldNetDaily article declared:

Gillette ran an infamous "toxic" masculinity ad during the Super Bowl casting men as sexist bullies, followed by one in which a father teaches a daughter who is "transitioning to be a man" to shave.

The February ad prompted an immediate backlash, with many men vowing to stop using Gillette products, charging the ad assumes most men are misogynistic.

Now, P&G is reporting a net loss of about $5.24 billion for the second quarter due to an $8 billion non-cash writedown of Gillette, according to Reuters.

For the same period last year, Reuters noted, P&G's net income was $1.89 billion, or 72 cents per share.

Just one problem: WND is falsely portraying those two events as related. They are not.

The Reuters article to which WND linked  doesn't mention the ads at all. Instead, it reports the financial issues are longstanding and did not start after the ads ran:

Cincinnati-based P&G, which operates in 80 countries, sells Gillette razors, gels and foams worldwide and said the writedown was due primarily to currency fluctuations - enduring strength in the U.S. economy in recent years has strengthened the dollar. The charge was also driven by more competition over the past three years and a shrinking market for blades and razors as consumers in developed markets shave less frequently. Net sales in the grooming business, which includes Gillette, have declined in 11 out of the last 12 quarters.

“Initial carrying values for Gillette were established nearly 14 years ago in 2005. ... New competitors have entered at prices below the category average,” Chief Financial Officer Jon Moeller said on a call.

We've reported on how WND writers were severely triggered by the Gillette ad. We've also documented how WND's lack of understanding about economics and business and its insistence on forcing such stories into its narrow right-wing agenda. The fact that it's still doing so seems to be more evidence that perhaps WND doesn't deserve to live.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:18 AM EDT
Friday, August 23, 2019
MRC Still Mocking Fact-Checks On Satire -- But It Fact-Checked A Cartoon
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center loves to mock Snopes for treating right-wing satire site the Babylon Bee as something that needs to be fact-checked because enough people think its stories are true -- even as the MRC itself unironically insists on fact-checking jokes. Both patterns have continued.

Tim Graham -- who once fact-checked a joke on a public radio game show -- unironically complined in a July 26 post about the "astringently humorless 'fact check' squad at Snopes.com" because it once again pointed out (which Graham called an "attack") that a Babylon Bee was not true and defended doing so because people believe it's real.

This was followed by an Aug. 10 post by Chrstian Toto -- a movie critic moonlighting as a right-wing media commentator who fact-checked a joke by Stephen Colbert regarding Trump's comments about the Charlottesville protests (and, as it turned out, got it wrong) -- under the headline "Here’s Why the Liberal Media Fear the Babylon Bee." Toto forwarded a conspiracy that Snopes is fact-checking the Babylon Bee in a deliberate attempt to cut off its revenue because it "fears the power of their very funny viral jokes aimed at the Left."

However, the MRC undermined this point with a July 11 column by Graham and Brent Bozell in which they, yes, fact-check a cartoon -- specifically, the Colbert-created "Our Cartoon President." The two even admit that the cartoon never clames to be actually true, but because it claims to be "truish" and because it mocks President Trump, they must forget about all that Snopes-mocking they've been doing and go on the attack:

Showtime thinks it's funny to claim that conservatives say they are "oppressed" and need a "safe space." The network says its "cutting-edge comedy presents the truish adventures of Trump ... and his family."

"Truish." That word gives you a clue. It's like the truth. The executive producer is CBS late-night star Stephen Colbert, so the "truish" part is fascinating.

In 2005, Colbert was celebrated for mocking then-President Bush with the word "truthiness," insisting, "We're not talking about truth. We're talking about something that seems like truth — the truth we want to exist." It was celebrated by Merriam-Webster as word of the year in 2006.

"Truthiness" perfectly defines this nasty cartoon, made by a nasty man who announced on national television that this president's mouth is a holster for Russian President Vladimir Putin's penis. He presents Trump and conservatives as the worst kind of loathsome idiots, because that's the truth he wants to exist. It's "his truth," as the left so illogically tries to explain these things. It's just another dose of ongoing therapy for liberals who feel oppressed because Trump is president.

In the July 7 episode, titled "Save the Right," a cartoon Ben Shapiro convinces doltish Trump to sign an executive order declaring conservatives a protected class. Shapiro tells Trump, "someday we will achieve true equality and be able to wear a Confederate flag unitard to Soulcycle," the indoor-cycling gym franchise. At the end of the episode, Shapiro — who grew up in Los Angeles, not Alabama — rips off his outer clothes and is wearing the unitard.

That's "truish," Tinseltown style.

[...]

In the "truish" vision of Colbert & Co., all conservatives are racist fanatics who already have "all the money and all the power," as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin snapped in the show. If that were the slightest bit true, that the right has all the power, would this cartoon exist?

"Our Cartoon President" is satire just the same as the Babylon Bee -- should the word "truish" have been a clue? -- but becuase Graham and Bozell don't like the target, it must be "fact-checked" and denounced.

Talk about humorless.

Nevertheless, the war on Snopes continued. Alexander Hall noted in an Aug. 20 post that a Snopes-promoted study found that the Babylon Bee was "among the most shared factually inaccurate content ," leading Hall to complain that Snopes has "switched tactics to instead claim satirical news can be dangerous," and to rush to the Babylon Bee's defense: "With the increasing popularity of the Babylon Bee, particularly with younger generations who love satirical humor, it appears the liberal media establishment is on full alert. After years of poking fun at easy targets, the liberal establishment may be lashing out at conservatives who know how to banter right back. "

Yet the MRC won't give satire that targets Trump the same pass.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:33 PM EDT
CNS' Summer of Interns Pestering People With Gotcha Questions Comes To An End
Topic: CNSNews.com

As we've noted, The main job of summer interns at CNSNews.com this year appears to have been pestering members of Congress with loaded gotcha questions designed to push right-wing narratives. That's [pretty much how the rest of the summer played out.

In mid-July, CNS served up a few more stragglers for its previous gotcha question about  immigration: “Article 2, Section 3 of the Constitution says the president ‘shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.’ Does the president have a constitutional duty to enforce the immigration laws?” This time, Sens. Robert Menendez, Patty Murray, Jon Tester, Angus King and Steve Daines and Reps. Andy Harris and Robert Aderholt got the treatment. With the previous round, that's a total of 21 congressfolk who got the CNS treatment over this question.

Also in July, as budget talks were going on between Congress and the White House, interns were sent out  to ask members of Congress a questions almost certainly scripted by editort in chief Terry Jeffrey: “The federal government spent $4.1 trillion in fiscal 2018 and ran a deficit of $779 billion dollars. Does the government spend too much money?” And several responded, mostly Republicans who gave the conservatively correct answer:

At the end of the month, after a deal had been reached and the House had already passed it, the interns were apparently sent out to try this again to Republican senators with another obviously Jeffrey-penned question: “The recent budget deal passed by the House last week allows the government to borrow a limitless amount of money until July 31, 2021. Do you support that?” They were only able to pin down Republicans Mitt Romney and Rick Scott. (UPDATE: CNS also asked the question of GOP Sen. Mike Braun, but the story wasn't published until four days after the Senate vote was taken.) 

For what was apparently their final project -- and the sole question of the summer targeted at Democrats and non-members of Congress -- the interns collaborated on an Aug. 8 article about their latest gotcha question:

Despite the well-documented violence of the radical left Antifa group -- the Department of Homeland Security classifies it as “domestic terrorist violence” – not one of the 23 Democrats running for president would condemn Antifa when repeatedly asked by CNSNews.com over the course of 12 business days.

The Trump administration did respond, within a day, condemning Antifa.

In emails and telephone calls to the press offices and campaigns of the 23 Democrats running and to the Trump campaign, CNSNews.com asked the candidates to answer two questions about Antifa based on background about the group reported by Politico.

[...]

CNSNews.com then asked the candidates, 1) Do you condemn Antifa? And 2) Do you believe federal law enforcement agencies should take all lawful steps necessary to prevent Antifa from engaging in ‘domestic terrorist violence’ during the 2020 U.S. election campaign?

Done like a "news" organization that's more interested in pushing a narrative and generating partisan clickbait than actual news. But is that what these interns should really be learning?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:25 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, August 29, 2019 8:59 PM EDT
Thursday, August 22, 2019
MRC's Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy In Action Again
Topic: Media Research Center

We've written before about the Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy, the logical fallacy in which (as it applies in the ConWebWatch world) conservatives believe that any piece of news that's negative to conservatives is being reported specifically because the reporter or anchor personally approves of that negative news. The Media Research Center is particularly particularly prone to this fallacy, and we have another example.

"CNN's Baldwin Blames Trump for Man Attacking Boy Over Anthem" reads the headline on an Aug. 9 MRC item by Brad Wilmouth. But the item doesn't support that headline:

On Thursday's CNN Newsroom, as host Brooke Baldwin devoted a segment to a disturbed man who assaulted a 13-year-old boy for refusing to remove his hat during the national anthem, host Baldwin and correspondent Sara Sidner suggested that President Donald Trump was to blame for inspiring the man to perpetrate the violent act.

After recalling reports that 39-year-old Kurt Brockway attacked the boy during the national anthem on a fairground in Montana because he refused to remove his cap, leaving the child with a skull fracture, Sidner relayed claims by Brockway's attorney tying the violent act to the President's demands that the American flag be respected:

The attorney for Brockway, the suspect, said that his client does have a brain injury and has problems with impulse control. Get this: He said that Brockway takes the rhetoric of President Trump literally and is angered any time he thinks someone was disrespecting the flag.

She added: "So apparently he thought this child was disrespecting the flag, and he attacked him." 

Baldwin went along with the notion of blaming President Trump as she responded: "Words matter. Sara Sidner, thank you."

At no point does Baldwin or Sidner "blame Trump" for the attack -- she and Sidner are simply relaying the fact that the man's attorney says the man thought he was doing Trump's bidding. Wilmouth is imparting much more meaning to Baldwin's "words matter" throwaway line than is there, for the seemingly sole reason of manufacturing outrage to advance his employer's "liberal media" narrative.

The fact that Baldwin reported this story does not mean that she agrees with the case being presented by the man's lawyer. The fact that the MRC repeatedly attributes a reporter's or anchor's personal views to the stories they report on -- as if its "media researchers" are mind-readers -- is a huge reason why it has little credibility outside the right-wing anti-media choir it's preaching to.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:17 PM EDT
Terry Jeffrey Trump Deficit Blame Avoidance Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

The latest episode in CNSNews.com editor in chief Terry Jeffrey's refusal to single out President Trump by name for his role in running up the federal deficits Jeffrey decries comes in an Aug. 12 article headlined  "$3,727,014,000,000: Federal Spending Sets Record Through July; Treasury Runs $866,812,000,000 Deficit" (in his usual deviation from accepted AP journalistic style by putting full numbers in the headline instead of the shorthand of saying "billion" or "trillion"):

The federal government spent a record $3,727,014,000,000 in the first ten months of fiscal 2019 (October through July), according to the Monthly Treasury Statement released today.

While spending that record $3,727,014,000,000, the government ran a deficit of $866,812,000,000.

As usual, the words "Trump" and "Republican" never appear in Jeffrey's article, even though they control the executive branch and half of Congress. It also has the usual implicit blame-spreading through the use of photo of Trump with Nancy Pelosi, suggesting equal blame even though Pelosi controls only one-half of one branch of government. At least this time Jeffrey found a different Trump-Pelosi stock photo to use, after the previous three months of using stock photos taken from the same Trump-Pelosi event.

It's so bad for Jeffrey, in fact, that he's been forced to admit that earlier high deficit spending involved a recession. In noting that the last time federal spending was this high in the first 10 months of a fiscal year was 2009, Jeffrey added: "Federal spending was impacted in fiscal 2009 by the recession that was ongoing when that fiscal year began. At the beginning of fiscal 2009, President George W. Bush signed the Troubled Asset Relief Program to bailout failing banks. Later that fiscal year, President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, aimed at stimulating the economy."

Still, Jeffrey can't quite admit that Trump doesn't have a recession and economic stimulation to blame for all the deficit spending.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:32 PM EDT
MRC Is Mad NY Times Made A Headline More Accurate
Topic: Media Research Center

As part of its narrative-invoking coverage of the aftermath of the El Paso and Dayton massacres, the Media Research Center had a meltdown over a headline.

Following President Trump's speech following the massacres, the first edition of the print edition of the New York Times carried a front-page story about it with the headline "Trump Urges Unity Vs. Racism." But for the second print edition the headline was changed to "Assailing Hate But Not Guns." Never mind that it's hardly unheard of for newspapers to alter headlines between editions (not that anyone at the MRC would know that, since so few of them have ever worked for the type of news operation they attack every day) -- the MRC smelled conspiracy. Never mind that the second headline is arguably more accurate because it reflects Trump's failure in his speech to mention anytring about guns, though more than 30 people were shot to death in those massacres.

Clay Waters ranted that the Times succumbed to "left-wing Twitter pressure" by changing the "accurate" headline to something more "Trump-skeptical" (which Waters doesn't deny is also accurate). This was an "ignominious retreat," Waters insisted.

Needless to say, MRC chief Brent Bozell was compelled to rant as well, and he ran to Fox Business for an easy platform to do so. The "hard left" that allegedly forced the Times to change the headline is "clearly out of control," Bozell huffed, forcing the times to move away from a headline that told “the truth” even though it went “against” their alleged anti-Trump narrative. Of course, Bozell has an anti-media narrative that he gets paid well to promote. And foer good measure, Bozell shouted down a rare liberal panelist by putting words in his mouth.

Bozell also agreed with a Fox Business correspondent that the new headline was "fake news," sneering that "the left has so much power that they can change truth in a newspaper like The New York Times." He offered no evidence that the new headline wasn't true or had anything "fake" in it.

(In a fit of corporate synergy, Bozell's rant also got summarized at his "news" division, CNSNews.com.)

Waters returned the next day to claim that Times executive editor Dean Baquet was on an "apology tour" over the headline change in which the paper "caved" to "a left-wing social media mob." Once again, Waters insisted that the original headline "did reflect what Trump said accurately" while refusing to admit that the new headline is also accurate. Waters also attacked the paper's alleged "leftist readership" who is "slavering for a constant supply of anti-Trump red meat" -- as if Waters wasn't catering to the MRC's right-wing readership slavering for a constant supply of anti-media red meat.

But Waters still couldn't let it go, beginning another post attacking the Times for something else by referencing the headline controversy: "The New York Times has learned its lesson on front-page headlines, making sure it injected plenty of anti-Trump context to lead its Thursday edition, after being vilified by the left for insufficient hostility toward Trump (and quickly changing a banner headline) on Tuesday."

At the MRC, the narrative is all, and the Times has always been a target. Let's not pretend it cares about journalism.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:55 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, August 22, 2019 6:14 PM EDT

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