Newsmax Lobbies For Ex-Employee Fleitz To Get A Different Trump White House Job Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax really, really wants Fred Fleitz to have a job in the Trump administration.
We've documented how Newsmax lobbied for Fleitz to succeed Dan Coats as director of national intelligence -- while failing to disclose that Fleitz is a former Newsmax employee, having headed a short-lived subscription-based "global intelligence and forecasting" operation called LIGNET. Now, another Trump White house vacancy has brought another opportunity to lobby for Fleitz.
A Sept. 10 article by David Patten cited "informed sources familiar with the situation" to claim that Fleitz "has an inside track to replace outgoing National Security Adviser John Bolton," highlighting "a picture Fleitz tweeted shortly after 9 a.m. Tuesday, showing him standing by a seated President Donald Trump at the Resolute desk in the Oval Office" as an alleged "indication of the president’s thinking." Patten added that "The picture is believed to be a recent image, and possibly from a Tuesday morning meeting with the president. The text Fleitz included in his tweet stated: 'Proud to help @realDonaldTrump keep America safe! @securefreedom.'"
Patten went on to cite "an intelligence community insider who directs an organization titled ReportForThePresident.org, which is believed to reflect the thinking of the intelligence community" who "told Newsmax on Tuesday he has received reports from his network that Fleitz is expected to get the nod to replace Bolton." Actually, ReportForThePresident.org looks to be little more than a pro-Trump, liberal-hating operation whose "statement of purpose" gushes about how "President Trump has done a remarkable job of keeping his promises by rebuilding our national security, defeating ISIS, creating jobs and global fair trade, reducing taxes, standing up for our rights, prosecuting human traffickers, and reducing the number of criminals coming across our southern border, despite countless diversions--from the fake Russia collusion story to other fantastic attacks by self-serving opponents." Further, the site's operator, Robert Caron, is also linked to a group called JTFMAGA, which in turn is reportedly linked to the QAnon conspiracy theory.
So, actually not that credible. Needless to say, Patten didn't tell his readers any of this, let alone that Fleitz is a former Newsmax employee.
The same day, Newsmax's John Gizzi wrote an article about how difficult it might be to find someone who would take Bolton's job, adding that Fleitz "was an alleged candidate and was reportedly a runner-up to be national Intelligence director" and had "worked closely with Pompeo when the secretary of state was a U.S. Representative and member of the House Intelligence Committee."
Fleitz even put in an appearance on Newsmax TV, as documented in a Sept. 16 article that's hidden behind a paywall.
Alas, as before, all this lobbying was for naught -- two days after Fleitz's Newsmax TV appearance, Trump picked Robert O'Brien as his new national security adviser.
MRC Pretends Fox News Isn't Rabidly Pro-Trump Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Ryan Foley intoned in an Aug. 30 post:
Your World host Neil Cavuto closed his show Thursday afternoon with a monologue addressing President Trump’s recent criticism of Fox News. While he spent his monologue reminding President Trump that Fox News does not work for him, the legacy media could also learn quite a few lessons from Cavuto’s monologue.
The final segment on Thursday’s edition of Your World began with an audio clip of President Trump discussing his displeasure with Fox News during an interview on Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade’s radio show. Cavuto reacted to President’s Trump complaint that Fox News “isn’t working for us anymore,” reminding him that “we don’t work for you. I don’t work for you.”
Cavuto proceeded to explain the job of the media, which personalities on the other networks should definitely take note of: “My job is to cover you, not fawn over you or rip you, just report on you, to call balls and strikes on you. My job, Mr. President, our job here is to keep the scores, not settle scores.” Many on MSNBC, CNN, and the three networks have made a career out of ripping President Trump and attempting to “settle scores” with him since the day he announced his decision to run for President. They would have a lot more credibility if they decided to “call balls and strikes” rather than act as an arm of #TheResistance.
While the legacy media will no doubt enjoy watching a Fox News personality offer constructive criticism to President Trump, they should realize that Cavuto did not let them off the hook either. The media might actually be able to shed their “fake news” label if they remembered that their job was “to call balls and strikes,” not compete for the affections of the anti-Trump left.
Fox and Trump have enjoyed a mutually beneficial, symbiotic relationship. The network helped drive Trump’s political rise, all but fused with his administration after his election, and regularly cheerleads for him. Trump, in turn, is obsessed with the network, whose programming and personalities shape his worldview and frequently impact his decision. He regularly promotes Fox’s coverage and has given its hosts unprecedented access, lifting the network’s ratings.
But Trump clearly views the network as part of his messaging operation, and he has publicly aired his grievances when it has failed to live up to that standard by hosting Democrats or publishing unfavorable polls. While watching Fox on Wednesday morning, he again saw something he didn’t like: an interview with the Democratic National Committee’s communications director.
Fox executives have consistently pushed back against criticism by arguing that while the network’s “opinion” hosts are conservative, it also features a “news” division which produces objective journalism like other media outlets.
This is largely farcical -- Fox’s purported “news” hours feature much of the same disinformation as its “opinion” hours. But they provide the appearance of similar programming on other networks, with interviews of members from both major parties, reports from correspondents, and panel discussions.
That image is essential to maintaining the network’s business model.
Of course, pretending that Fox News is a legitimate "news" outlet and not a pro-Trump propaganda mill is a key mission of the MRC as well.
CNS: 'People' Leave NYC, But 'Immigrants' Move In Topic: CNSNews.com
Apparently, CNSNews.com doesn't view immigrants as fully human.
Kharen Martinez Murcia wrote in a Sept. 6 CNS article: "An estimated 277 people are moving out of the New York City metro area every day, a loss that is being cushioned by a large influx of immigrants, reports Bloomberg News."
That's interesting wording. Immigrants are not people? Apparently not at CNS.
Martinez Murcia also cribbed from the Bloomberg article that “[f]rom July 2017 to July 2018, a net of close to 200,000 New Yorkers sought a new life outside the Big Apple while the area welcomed almost 100,000 net international migrants.” Highlighting that seems to betray the same anti-immigrant bias, since CNS apparently assumes that all thet people leaving are fully fledged Americans and everyone coming in is probably an "illegal alien" or something. It also doesn't account for whether any of the "people" leaving New York are also immigrants.
Martinez Murcia went on to state in the first paragraph that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo "claims the exodus is being fueled by a $10,000 cap on deductions for state and local taxes," suggesting the issue was a state one -- but waited until the eight paragraph to not that the tax deduction cap was "implemented by the Trump administration and Congress in 2017."
But in the previous paragraph, she stated that "mass migration has more to do with bad administration on N.Y. Gov. Cuomo’s (D) part than it has to do with tax policies," claiming this was "disclosed" by The Hill. In fact, the Hill article to which Martinez Murcia is referring is not a news article but an opinion piece by "libertarian writer" Kristin Tate.
Michael Brown's Gay-Penguin Freakout Topic: WorldNetDaily
Have you heard the latest? An alleged gay penguin couple is raising "their" baby penguin genderless. I kid you not.
This is how the headline reads: "Gay penguins at London aquarium are raising 'genderless' chick. The 4-month-old, who has two moms, will be the first Gentoo penguin at Sea Life London Aquarium 'not to be characterized as male or female.'"
Seriously? This is a story on NBCNews.com?
For the benefit of those who read the headline only, the baby penguin actually has a mom and a dad.
This is not the immaculate penguin conception.
This is not a modern-day miracle.
In a million, trillion years, two female penguins will never produce a baby penguin. Count on it.
In "A Queer Thing Happened to America,"I documented the case of Roy and Silo, the allegedly gay penguins who became the subject of an illustrated children's book.
The book was called "And Tango Makes Three," by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, based on the story of these penguins who lived in a New York City zoo. The book also tells the story of the baby penguin they "adopted."
But in a fascinating sequel to the book (a sequel that has not been added to this children's reader), one of the "gay" penguins ended up leaving his partner and taking up with a good-looking female penguin from California – and fathering a chick. So much for being gay.
As gay scientist Dr. Dean Hamer once wrote (claiming there's not even a good animal model of heterosexuality), "Pigs don't date, ducks don't frequent stripper bars, and horses don't get married."
MRC Blames Media For Trump Administration's Botched Rollout of Citizenship Change Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Scott Whitlock huffed in an Aug. 29 post:
It hasn’t been a good week for NBC. First, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell had to retract a bombshell claim that Donald Trump’s taxes showed loans co-signed by Russian oligarchs. Now, MSNBC has backed down on an assertion that “children born to U.S. service members outside of the U.S. will no longer be automatically considered citizens. Parents will have to apply for citizenship for their children in those situations.”
That was tweeted by Ken Dilanian, an NBC news correspondent who covers national security, on Wednesday afternoon. Less than an hour later, he issued a correction.
It’s not surprising that journalists rushed to get this story not [sic], not bothering to study the facts.
In fact, the blame belongs to Trump administration officials who botched the explanation of the change so badly that journalists got it wrong. Even conservatives -- and the MRC's "news" division -- concede that. Cully Stimson, "a leading expert in national security, homeland security, crime control, immigration, and drug policy at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies," wrote in a Sept. 4 CNSNews.com column:
The way the policy was rolled out led many to believe that the Trump administration was ending birthright citizenship for children born to U.S. citizens stationed overseas, which naturally would have been a big deal.It did no such thing.
Rather than briefing stakeholders and the media before the rollout, or explaining how the policy would work once in force, or even publishing “frequently asked questions” along with the policy—all standard ways to roll out new policies—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services just published a poorly written policy change that caused an immediate firestorm.
Media outlets, politicians, and scores of military personnel stationed overseas thought the policy change ended birthright citizenship for children born to U.S. citizens working for the federal government or military stationed overseas.
The backlash was so quick and aggressive that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services acting Director Ken Cuccinelli issued a statement the same day saying:
“This policy update does not affect who is born a U.S. citizen, period. This only affects children who were born outside the United States and were not U.S. citizens. This does NOT impact birthright citizenship. This policy update does not deny citizenship to the children of US government employees or members of the military born abroad. This policy aligns USCIS’ process with the Department of State’s procedure, that’s it.”
Cuccinelli even went on a popular Washington, D.C., morning radio show to explain what the policy did, and more importantly, did not do.
But it was too late.
Senior leaders in the military, State Department, and elsewhere started asking questions and demanding answers. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi even tweeted that the Trump administration was ending birthright citizenship for U.S. citizens stationed overseas.
In an attempt to get back control of the narrative, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services also published an update designed to clarify the policy and a flowchart that identifies whom the policy applies to.
But by then, the damage had been done.
Stimson added: "U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services should have made the policy clear from the get-go."
Will Whitlock and MRC retract its bogus blame of the media for something the Trump administration screwed up? Don't count on it.
MRC's Allen West Gets His Facts Wrong on Obama Economy Topic: CNSNews.com
Allen West has a thing for the counterfactual. In his Aug. 19 CNSNews.com column in which he likens "the left" to the Borg from the Star Trek series (something he also has a thing for), the Media Research Center senior fellow wrote:
What is rather hypocritical, as are most things with the progressive, socialist left, was how the media covered for the abysmal economy of Barack Hussein Obama. Obama has gone down in history as the first president since the Great Depression to not achieve year-over-year GDP growth that topped three percent while in office, and we were told by the media that that was the new normal. For eight years, the leftist media told us the Obama economy was the fault of George W. Bush. Even after Obama’s reelection, where he inherited his own failing economy, we were told it was still Bush’s fault. And now, we are being told by the media that Trump’s economic success is because of Barack Obama. Yeah, I am confused as well. And our confusion comes since we all know that is was Obama who mocked Trump for having a “magic wand” to bring jobs back to America and truly grow the economy. And oh, by the way, the great recession of 2008 was the result of an insidious progressive socialist “participation trophy” policy from Jimmy Carter in 1978 called the Community Reinvestment Act. The equality of outcomes mentality of the left believing that every American had a right to own a home led to the economic crisis by way of failed mortgage backed securities and subprime lending.
Hmm, how many times did we hear the leftist media talk about that? Yes, just as many times as we heard them speak about Obamanomics being a blatant Keynesian economic model failure.
First: West conveniently ignores the fact that 3 percent GDP growth hasn't happened under Trump either, as even wildly pro-Trump CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey was forced to admit. (Funny how West seems to perceive that usng Obama's middle name is an attempt at an insult.)
Second: West also conveniently omits the fact that 1) Obama took office in the midst of a severe recession, and 2) the overall economy under Obama was far from "abysmal." In fact, monthly job growth under Obama's second term was higher than it is under Trump, while unemployment steadily declined and GDP steadily increased from the depth of the recession under Obama. Indeed, it can be argued that the trendlines show Trump is simply continuing Obama's economic policies.
Third: Allen's claim that that the recession was the "result" of the Community Reinvestment Act is a right-wing falsehood. As Barry Ritholtz writes, the CRA targeted discriminatory lending practices in low-income urban areas, but the risky subprime mortgages that played the biggest role in triggering the financial crisis were mostly in suburban areas, mostly issued by non-bank lenders who weren't subject to the CRA.
By pushing right-wing propaganda that ignores the truth, West has shown who the real member of the Borg is.
MRC's Double Standard on Ejected Reporters Topic: Media Research Center
Randy Hall fretted in an Aug. 29 NewsBusters post:
Even as the Democrats inveigh against President Trump's rudeness to media outlets, Beto O'Rourke's campaign ejected a prominent Breitbart senior editor from a campaign event at a "historically black college" in South Carolina on Tuesday. As if Beto doesn’t have enough to worry about as he craters in the polls, now he can't handle one non-cheerleader in his press entourage.
According to an article written for Politico by national political correspondent David Siders, the campaign acknowledged the following day that it had “booted” Pollak and criticized Breitbart News in the process.
But if an ejected reporter failed to be a pro-Trump cheerleader, the MRC is totally cool with it.
We'vepreviouslydocumented the MRC's war on CNN correspondent Jim Acosta for failing to be subservient to Trump, cheering his brief eviction from the White House press corps.But he's not the only White House reporter whose suspension the MRC has championed.
Playboy correspondent Brian Karem's White House press pass was suspended in July following a kerfuffle between him and former White House aide Sebastian Gorka at the White House's social media summit (which the MRC was a part of) that escalated after Karem snarked that "this is a group who are eager for demonic possession."
Curtis Houck declared Karem to be a "clown" who was "seemingly challenging Gorka to a fight" by inviting Gorka to have a "long conversation" (perhaps Houck can show us how exactly that translates into a fight challenge). Houck insisted that Karem was the one who was "mak[ing] a scene" and "act[ing] like an immature teenager" when the video shows that Gorka was being the belligerent one.He concluded by sneering, "My goodness journalists are so insufferable." And Gorka isn't?
hief MRC partisan snarker Tim Graham weighed in with an Aug. 4 post cheering that Karem's House press pass had been suspended, further complaining that Playboy tweeted about the incident "like they're a First Amendment giant instead of a naked-girly magazine," adding that "It's a chance to remind everyone that Karem is another screeching egotist that CNN pretends is a worthy representative of journalism." (Again: And Gorka isn't a screeching egotist?)
When a judge ordered Karem's press pass to be restored, Houck predictably didn't take it well, again blaming Karem for the "meltdown and near scuffle" with Gorka and asserted that the "juvenile" Karem is "the bronze medalist in carnival barking" behind Acosta and April Ryan. Houck's hatred for journalists who refuse to cozy up to Trump was all too apparent, sneering that "Cloaking onself in the First Amendment is perhaps one of the things the press does better than, well, actually doing their jobs" and that Karem is "a detestable insult ... to the idea of journalism" for being critical of another Houck-beloved Republican, Mitch McConnell.
Of course, if Houck really wants to see detestable insults to the idea of journalism, he need only look down the hall at the Trumpsycophants at the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com.
In a case brought by the Hamas-founded Council on American-Islamic Relations, a federal judge ruled the FBI’s “no fly” watchlist of “known or suspected terrorists” violates the constitutional rights of the people placed on it.
U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, granted summary judgment Wednesday to nearly two dozen Muslim U.S. citizens who had challenged the list with the help of CAIR, the Washington Times reported.
The judge is seeking additional legal briefs before deciding on a remedy, the Times said.
Gadeir Abbas, a CAIR senior litigation attorney, said he will ask the judge to severely curtail how the government compiles and uses its list, the Times reported.
“Innocent people should be beyond the reach of the watchlist system,” Abbas said. “We think that’s what the Constitution requires.”
This is a flip-flop -- WND has a history of complaining that the no-fly list being used against non-Muslims. In a December 2015 article, WND worried that if a proposal that people on the no-fly list were prohibited from purchasing firearms, "America could see U.S. Marines, congressmen, journalists and even federal air marshals mistakenly stripped of their firearms," going on to warn that "thousands of innocent people have been mistakenly linked to U.S. terror watchlists. Some experts and critics contend the federal list process contains many errors and relies on an overly broad standard of reasonable suspicion."
The problem is not a disagreement over whether people on terror watch lists should have guns.
Nobody thinks they should.
Not President Obama. Not Hillary Clinton. Not Donald Trump. Not the NRA.
The problem is the lists.
And that's where the NRA and the ACLU agree.
So, everyone agrees terrorist shouldn't have guns.
What they don't agree upon, is who may be a terrorist.
And whether to rely upon a government watch list as the definitive word on who is, and who is not, a terrorism suspect.
But while San Bernardino, California, terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook managed to fly to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia under the radar of federal authorities in 2014, thousands of innocent people have been mistakenly linked to U.S. terror watchlists. Some experts and critics contend the federal list process contains many errors and relies on an overly broad standard of reasonable suspicion.
But it seems that WND is unhappy that a pro-Muslim group is making those very same points.
MRC Is Mad Media Treating Biden's Falsehoods The Way It Treats Trump's Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has no problem with the multitude of falsehoods President Trump peddles. It believes that merely pointing them out is a "Democratic Party talking point," and Tim Graham thinks Trump deserves a pass because he and other Republicans can't be bothered to find a candidate with more personal integrity.
But when a Democrat gets caught making false claims, the MRC is ON IT, and is quick to play whataboutism. When the Washington Post found that a story Joe Biden has been telling on the campaign trail about an Afghanistan veteran to whom he awarded a medal had numerous key details wrong -- something the MRC largely avoided giving the Post credit for, since doing so would undermine its narrative of the Post being a wildly biased "liberal media" outlet -- the MRC got mad that the media was, essentially, treating this the way the MRC handwaves Trump's torrent of falsehoods.
Nicholas Fondacaro whined, "If President Trump got as many details wrong about a story, the liberal media would declare that he was intentionally trying to 'gaslight' the country," complaining further thet "ABC and NBC helped him rationalize it" while "Biden’s crafted tale wasn’t even a priority for the CBS Evening News."
Mark Finkelstein ranted that "Joe Biden might have set a personal record last week for the most gaffetastic gaffe of his storied, fact-mangling career," while Trump has had only "alleged tangles with the facts." Finkelstein was enraged when commentator said that Democrats "pride themselves on fact-checking and making sure that things are right," sneering, "spare us the notion that when it comes to the truth, Democrats are some paragons of higher-standard virtue!"
Alex Christy spun away in portraying Trump as victim of a factual "double standard":
Perhaps one reason why Trump has over 12,000 lies and misstatements attributed to him is because of a double standard that this story illustrates. When Biden tells a misleading story, the media decline to unequivocally condemn him, when Trump engages in obvious hyperbole to say that 1,000 hamburgers would reach a mile high, fact checkers are on the case. Even humor gets a "fact check."
Graham -- one of those cartoon fact-checkers, by the way, complained that New York Times columnist David Brooks "came rushing to Biden's defense, that unlike the president, he's not 'mendacious' or 'irresponsible' with the facts."
Fondacaro returned to grouse about the "double standard" the media allegedly has, refusing to admit his own in giving Trump's whoppers a pass. He also grumbled that on NBC's "Meet the Press, "the mostly liberal panel swooped in on Biden’s behalf to argue that President Trump’s lies were insidious, while the former VP’s were about American heroism" and that they were more Reagan-esque. Of course, Fondacaro never actually conceded that either Trump or Reagan told falsehoods.
Graham returned as well to attack Snopes for accurately pointing out that Biden's story was a mixture of true and false claims and not the "complete factual collapse" he would like you to believe it is. Graham also huffed that "Snopes is building an unmistakeable record of cravenly serving up liberal-excusing and Democrat-excusing reports" -- which, of course, is a part of a key right-wing narrative to discount fact-checks of Trump as supposedly biased.
The headline on this piece reads "FACTS or FLACKS?" As if Graham doesn't care more about flacking than facts.
Graham and his boss, Brent Bozell, served up a column attacking the alleged "excusing frenzy" over Biden. But the two were essentially excusing Trump's falsehoods by being silent about them other than to rehash commentators pointing out that Biden isn't being as mendacious as Trump.
They whined: "This whole energetic frenzy of excuse-manufacturing once again underlines the fraudulent media boast that they are 'facts first' and care most deeply about 'the truth.'" Treat Trump's falsehoods as harshly as you treat Biden's, and then maybe we can talk.
CNSNews.com's obsessionwith right-wing radio host Mark Levin (or his guests or guest hosts) and treating pretty much everything he says or does as wisdom from on high that cannot be disputed (and not at all because Brent Bozell, whose Media Research Center runs CNS, is a close buddy of Levin) continues apace. Let's document the atrocities over the past two months, shall we?
That's 21 items for July and August, and a total of 81 items so far in 2018. That's approximately one Levin article every three days at CNS. It seems that only President Trump gets more CNS coverage than Levin.
MRC's Graham & Bozell Cite People With Credibility Problems To Attack Media As Lacking In Credibility Topic: Media Research Center
Tim Graham and Brent Bozell write in their Aug. 21 column:
On her weekly Sinclair TV show, "Full Measure," on Aug. 18, former CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson interviewed pollster Scott Rasmussen about journalists' standing in the public square. They're about as trusted as Wikipedia, the website considered so unreliable that school teachers often tell students they can't cite it as a source for their research papers.
Only 38 percent said national political coverage is accurate and reliable, while 42 percent said it is not. "We asked about national political reporters. Are they credible? Are they reliable?" said Rasmussen. "And you know, a little more than 1 out of 3 people say yes. When we ask about Wikipedia, we get the exact same answer. So what's — what's happening is we have a world where people look at journalists like they look at Wikipedia."
But Graham and Bozell didn't tell their readers about the "massive credibility problem" of their sources.
We've documented how conservatives love Attkisson for her increasing right-wing reportng despite her pushing of anti-vaccine conspiracy theories -- never a good look for any reporter and continued to hide growing issues with her reporting. We've also noted how Attkisson's claim that the Obama administration had "compromised" her personal computer has been discred ited when an investigation showed the problem was actually a stuck backspace key. And if Attkisson wasn't a biased reporter, why has she written mostly for conservative outlets since leaving CBS? That includes her current employer, Sinclair, which is notorious for forcing its local TV stations to inject conservative bias in its newscasts, putting ideology before credibility.
Meanwhile, Rasmussen has his own credibility issues. The polls of the company he founded, Rasmussen Reports (he left in 2013), are rife with pro-Republican and pro-conservative bias, and it also tends to be among the least accurate.
Oh, and one other thing Graham and Bozell didn't disclose: According to a show transcript, Attkisson's show paid for that Rasmussen poll she's talking about. Seems relevant.
This is the best Graham and Bozell could do when finding people to challenge media credibility? Sheesh.
Posted by Terry K.
at 11:23 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, September 14, 2019 11:28 AM EDT
WND Also Defends Dubious Anti-Google Researcher Topic: WorldNetDaily
Like the Media Research Center, WorldNetDaily loves Google-hating researcher Robert Epstein for his claim that Google is biased against conservatives to the point that it likely swung votes to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
WND has long promoted the right-wing anti-Google film "The Creepy Line," which features Epstein's claims of a "Search Engine Manipulation Effect, which he described as the one of most dangerous behavioral discoveries ever. It has the power, he said, to manipulate an individual's opinion without his knowledge. WND editor Joseph Farah has called the film "one of the most important documentaries I've seen in my lifetime" since it fuels WND's victimization narrative, hyperbolically adding that it demonstrates that Google along with Facebook "represent an existential threat not just to the independent media like WND, but to the future of our country as a self-governing constitutional republic accountable to the people."
A December 2018 WND article by Art Moore touted Epstein's credentials and "peer-reviewed research" claming that, in Epstein's words, "Not only does Google have the power to shift votes and opinions on a massive scale, they actually use that power." It featured Epstein's claim that "Google heavily biased results in favor of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, possibly shifting as many as 3 million votes." The June issue of WND's sparsely read Whistleblower magazine similarly cited Epstein's research to accuse Google and "big tech" of staging a "stealth coup." In July, WND gushed over "Harvard-trained researcher" Epstein's congressional testimony that "Google's search results favored the Democratic candidate in 2016 and can do the same in 2020."
Of course, as we've noted, that key claim by Epstein has been discredited, in part because it was such a tiny sample size -- 95 people, 21 of whom were undecided in the 2016 election -- and partly because Epstein has never made public the full data behind it. The Washington Post pointed out that Epstein's paper doesn't explain how it determined whether a given website exhibited "pro-Hillary bias," nor did it describe how those "election-related searches" were conducted. Epstein also apparently threw out results that were unbiased based on a conspiracy theory that "perhaps Google identified our confidants through its gmail system and targeted them to receive unbiased results."
WND went on to tout how President Trump promoted Epstein's work -- and when Hillary Clinton pointed out those deficiencies, WND rushed to Epstein's defense. WND repeated Epstein's insistence that he's a "big" Hillary supporter and is "not a conservative," but Epstein never specifically denied that his results hinged on the beliefs of 21 undecided votes.
WND has also been silent about his anti-Google paranoia, which manifested itself in the above conspiracy theory about search results sent to him from study participiants using Gmail but also in a recent Twitter rant: "People keep writing to me from gmail addresses, which allows #Google to violate my #privacy. Please stop!"
Like the MRC, WND won't report the obvious problems with Epstein's research.
Posted by Terry K.
at 1:33 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, September 14, 2019 10:53 PM EDT
MRC Still Doesn't Know How Planned Parenthood Funding Works Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center loves to push the canard that federal money to Planned Parenthood is fungible in order to claim that said federal money pays for abortions. The MRC also manages to misunderstand how other areas of Planned Parenthood funding works.
In an Aug. 29 post, MRC Latino's Jorge Bonilla criticized one news anchor for allegedly framing the controversy over the Trump administration effectively cutting off Title X federal funding to Planned Parenthood "in a way most favorable to Planned Parenthood," going on to huff:
Since no pro-life voices are featured, no one was present to point out the fact that the federal government allocates close to $600 million a year to Planned Parenthood. Furthermore, no one was there to point out that Planned Parenthood could very easily cover their Title X shortfall by diverting monies destined to political campaigns...that is, if they're so concerned about Latinas being left without "services".
As with federal funding to pay for reproductive services, money for political activism must be accounted for separately and can't be moved around. As FactCheck explains:
Although a tax-exempt, nonprofit, Planned Parenthood is involved in federal campaigns through three national committees: the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, which is registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(4), a social welfare organization that is allowed to engage in some political activity; Planned Parenthood Action Fund PAC, which is a political action committee registered with the Federal Election Commission; and Planned Parenthood Votes, a super PAC also registered with the FEC.
It is illegal for Planned Parenthood to "divert" money designed for its operations for political purposes, and it would jeopardize its nonprofit status. Those 501(c)4s and PACs collect money specifically for that purpose, and that money can't go into the parent organization.
TheMRC ought to know this; while it pushes the envelope of allowed political activity under its 501(c)3 nonprofit status, it has a separate entity, MRC Action, that's designed for more explicit political activity , as well as For America, which is MRC-linked, if not controlled, and registered as a 501(c)4. Presumably it knows it can't move money between those entities -- then again, maybe it doesn't, which is why it thinks Planned Parenthood can.
Flip-Flop: CNS Moves From Light Treatement Of Mueller Report To Harsh Treatment of Comey Topic: CNSNews.com
When the report on Robert Mueller's investigation into President Trump was released, CNSNews.com labored hard to make Trump look good as possible despite it not exactly being a full exoneration for him. By contrast, CNS' reporting on a Department of Justice investigation into former FBI Director James Comey -- which turned up less than on Trump -- was much harsher.
The lead story by Susan Jones emphasized that the DOJ's inspector general "concludes that Comey failed to live up to his responsibility to protect sensitive information; and by using sensitive information to force the appointment of a special prosecutor, the OIG found that Comey "set a dangerous example for the over 35,000 current FBI employees -- and the many thousands more former FBI employees -- who similarly have access to or knowledge of non-public information." The report's key conclusion, that Comey didn't leak classified information and will not face criminal charges, didn't get mentioned until the third paragraph.
Just as CNS lined up Republicans and conservatives to spin away the Mueller report with pro-Trump rah-rah, it lined up many of those same conservatives for some Comey-bashing:
CNS also served up a commentary from the Heritage Foundation's John G. Malcolm repeating those same right-wing attacks.
By contrast, an article by Jones on "liberal" reaction to the Comey report was snarky and dimissive, reacting to one commentator's statement that the last 10 pages of the report are "sort of a howl of rage and anger" by huffing: "In fact, the last ten pages of the report include the IG's conclusion that Comey failed to live up to his responsibility to protect sensitive information; and by using sensitive information to force the appointment of a special prosecutor, the OIG found that Comey 'set a dangerous example for the over 35,000 current FBI employees -- and the many thousands more former FBI employees -- who similarly have access to or knowledge of non-public information.'"
Jones concluded her article with seven paragraphs of copy-and-pasted text from the report "for the record" -- even though that very same text was copy-and-pasted into her lead article, so it was already on the record at CNS.
MRC Still Trying To Hide That Bret Stephens Is A Conservative (And That It Has a Grudge Against Him) Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Scott Whitlock took a not-undeserved shot at New York Times columnist Bret Stephens for a disproportionate response to a critic on Twitter: "Don’t be cruel to Bret Stephens. The New York Times columnist, who compared Republicans to murderous dictators and said the 'serpent' Ted Cruz would sell his family into slavery, doesn’t like being called a 'bedbug.' Not only that, he’ll complain to your boss if you do such a thing." Whitlock went on to complain that Stephens previously criticized members of the Trump administration.
What Whitlock didn't tell you: Stephens is a conservative writer the MRC used to love.
When Stephens moved to the Times from the Wall Street Journal in April 2017, his first column was dedicated to effectivly denying climate change. Then-blogger Tom Blumer defended Stephens against media reaction to the column (though he still complained that Stephens "gave far too much credit to the supposedly 'scrupulous' science"). But the relationship soured a couple months later when Stephens wrote a column criticizing the MRC for planning to give its annual William F. Buckley Award for Media Excellence to Fox News' Sean Hannity, declaring that giving an award named after Buckley -- who had nourished a brand of conservatism that was "fundamentally literary -- to a conspiracy-monger like Hannity ushers in the "post-literate conservative world." After Buckley's son, author Christopher Buckley, similarly objected to the award, Hannity suddenly had a scheduling conflict that kept him from receiving it. No award was given out that year, and no MRC outlet reported on the controversy even though it could've had a big scoop.
When Stephens wrote a Times column a few days later doubling down on his reaction to being called a "bedbug," Graham showed up to drag him some more. Criticism of Stephens was pretty much universal by this point, but Graham added the requisite amount of right-wing whining: "Stephens also described Ted Cruz as a "serpent covered in Vaseline" who would sell his family into slavery. So he really doesn't stand on a moral high ground at all." No mention of Graham's Cruz fanboyism or the MRC's grudge against Stephens, and still no mention of the fact that Stephens is a conservative formerly in the MRC's good graces.