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Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Newsmax Alan Dershowitz Defense Watch
Topic: Newsmax

We've documented how Newsmax has been giving Alan Dershowitz all the space he wants to defend himself over his alleged involvement in the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking scandal and related issues. That hasn't really stopped.

On Aug. 9, Dershowitz defended his infamous argument for lowering the age of consent for sex, insisting it was merely "a provocative think piece, designed to stimulate debate." After Epstein's death, Dershowitz wrote an Aug. 16 piece insisting yet again that the sex accuations made against him by one of Epstein's victims is false, declaring: "The death of Jeffrey Epstein does not diminish the suffering of his real victims. Nor does it diminish the suffering of those who have been falsely accused by Epstein’s victims."

An Aug. 13 article quoted Dershowitz in a Newsmax TV appearance declaring that he will be vindication of the Epstein-related charges not only in a court of law but "the court of public opinion" as well, going on to claim that "the accusations against him are a result of opportunists trying to capitalize on society's sensitivities to the Me Too movement."

An Aug. 19 column by Michael Dorstewitz ran to Dershowitz's defense, portraying him as a victim of "polarization politics" over the Epstein-related charges and his defense of President Trump, making sure to portray Dershowitz as a "lifelong liberal." On Sept. 24, Newsmax published an Associated Press article on Dershowitz filing a motion to "throw out a lawsuit that accuses him of lying about his sexual history with a woman who claims she was a teenage victim of a Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking ring."

Dershowitz has also used his Newsmax platform to opine on politics:

  • On Aug. 29 he declared that fired FBI Director James Comey "certainly acted guilty."
  • On Sept. 9, he insisted that Trump didn't do anything illegal in paying hush money to a porn star before the 2016 election, adding, "that's called a settlement. It's done all the time.
  • In a Sept. 15 article, he was quoted as uncharacteristically defending former FBI official Andrew McCabe, though he undercut it by going on to claim that Trump's naming of William Barr as attorney general was the "right choice to bring credibility back to the Justice Department."
  • This was followed by a Sept. 18 paywalled item featured him claiming that israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's "experience and leadership is still a valuable asset during tenuous times in the Middle East."

We missed it before, but Newsmax also published an Aug. 1 column by former Dershowitz student David Oskar Markus defending Dershowitz against the Epstein-related claims, lamenting he is being "accused of a heinous crime without any real recourse or due process protection."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:57 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 25, 2019 10:11 PM EDT
At The MRC, Trump's Sharpie Isn't News, But Biden's Eye Is
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center started off its attacks on coverage of Hurricane Dorian in the usual way, complaining that it spent too much time -- which is to say, any time at all -- reporting on the hurricane in the context of climate change. So bitter about this was Curtis Houck that he ranted that CNN hosts "are reduced to no more than puppets in Jeffrey Zucker’s play, willfully reading from nearly identical scripts as they peddle their daily doses of venom for not only President Trump, but anyone who stands in the way of their far-left, anti-gun, pro-abortion, and pro-Green New Deal vision (to name a few policies)." As if Houck isn't a puppet reading from Brent Bozell's hateful right-wing scripts.

But when President Trump kept insisting he was right about Alabama being endangered by Dorian even though early forecasts showing that possibility were quickly revised -- to the point that he displayed a map with an crudely extended possible  impact area into Alabama drawn by the president's trademark Sharpie marker -- the MRC complained that too much time was being spent on that too:

  • Scott Whitlock did admit that Trump was making a "weird claim," yet groused that media outlets "jumped on the possibility of jail time for the President" for altering government weather forecasts, "perhaps hoping that a Sharpie pen could accomplish what Robert Mueller did not."
  • Houck and Bill D'Agostino declared Sharpiegate to be "perhaps the most frivolous piece of the news cycle" and complained about the amount of coverage given to "this non-news item."
  • Nicholas Fondacaro touted how "CNN media propagandisdt Brian Stelter" argued that the Sharpiegate coverage may have helped Trump, going on to rant that "Trump was just a distraction from a terrible week for the lying liberal media." (Weird how Fondacaro never holds Trump accountable for his lies.)
  • Houck huffed further about "the liberal media’s delusional, week-long obsession over Sharpiegate while thousands across the Carolinas and Bahamas have lost life, limb, and property," then praised a conservative for having "injected sanity" into the issue.
  • Fondacaro gushed that "National Review editor Rich Lowry humorously ripped that media on Sunday for their obsession with the story by suggesting they’re like conspiracy theorists 'analyzing this with the detail of the Zapruder tape.'"

But you know what the MRC did deem worthy of wall-to-wall media coverage? Joe Biden's eye showing some blood during a CNN climate change forum. Mnark Finkelstein whined, apparently unironically (bolding in original):

What was a newsworthy thing to come out of CNN's interminable climate town hall snoozarama last night? Surely not the details of the various candidates' plans to "save the planet." No, the most interesting thing was the way that Joe Biden's left eye filled with blood during his appearance. While it might not bear directly on his fitness for office, it certainly does play into the narrative questioning Biden's age, health history, etc.

If you're a Biden campaign aide, surely you groaned when it happened. And you braced yourself for media coverage, particularly by CNN, which hosted the event. But relax! CNN's got Biden's back, and that of all the Democrat candidates! At least during the three hours of New Day this morning, there was exactly . . . zero mention of Biden's bloody eye.

Is there any way to see this other than highly-partisan journalistic malpractice?

Similar unironic whining followed from Tim Graham:

On Thursday, we noted CNN's New Day skipped over Joe Biden's bloody eyeball during the seven-hour CNN Town Hall on climate change, despite it being an all-day Drudge Report item. But then something happened that we didn't expect: CNN never reported it. Neither did MSNBC. Neither did ABC, CBS, NBC, or PBS. Even The New York Times and The Washington Post skipped it. Fox News covered it, but not obsessively.

The Bloody Eye wasn't Earth-shattering news. But some wondered if it suggested a health problem for Biden. It wasn't Hillary Clinton collapsing in the September 11 "heat." But are these media giants that defensive?

Posted by Terry K. at 3:26 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 25, 2019 11:29 PM EDT
WND's Erik Rush Tries To Explain Why U.S. Is Heading Toward Civil War, Excludes His Own Screeds As A Reason
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The last time we checked in on WorldNetDaily columnist Erik Rush, he was declaring his preference for civil war over another Democratic president. He expanded on that a little more in his Sept. 4 column, in which he attempted to explain that "if the heretofore unthinkable should take place and the United States winds up on a civil-war footing within the next decade or so, historians will probably cite many of the controversial and bizarre phenomena to which we are routinely being exposed as having been clear harbingers of that conflict.

A lot of it is your basic right-wing claptrap; at one point he blames "leftist-fostered moral decay" for "increased numbers of people retreating into apathy, addiction, sexual promiscuity and increasingly bizarre and harmful forms of sexual deviance.

Then he ranted that George Soros is s "former World War II Nazi collaborator who'd become a billionaire via predatory global financial schemes, then used his vast wealth in an attempt to destroy the West, and America, from within." Rush is just the latest to repeat the "Nazi collaborator" lie at WND.

Rush eventually descended into lame right-wing tropes and his trademark Obama derangement:

If there's still a United States of America in existence, citizens will hear about how our celebrated first black president was not-so-secretly committed to Islamic ascendency in America and had close ties to subversive Muslim groups whose mission was that of displacing the Constitution with Islamic law despite a stark incompatibility between the two systems.

There's little doubt that latter-day Americans subject to these accounts would find them incredulous and quite surreal. How could so many have fallen for a creed so odious, whose promoters' stock-in-trade was nothing but lies? Had their progenitors really sanctioned things like infanticide and tolerated a brisk market in dissected baby parts? Did they really let 350-pound, bearded males in dresses terrorize women and little girls in ladies' rooms just because they said they "felt like women"? Did parents actually stand by while such individuals were invited into their local schools to instruct their children?

Rush then claimed that future generations might wonder "why, in light of our past patriotism and having collectively overcome so much adversity, we suddenly turned on each other." He would never admit it, but right-wing screeds like those penned by Rush would be one contributing factor.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:06 AM EDT
Tuesday, September 24, 2019
NEW ARTICLE: And The Award For Most Award Freakouts Goes To...
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center gets triggered every time a journalist it despises wins an award for reporting on something in a way it also despised. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 9:47 PM EDT
Terry Jeffrey Trump Deficit Blame Avoidance Watch
Topic: editor in chief Terry Jeffrey's issues with declining to blame President Trump and Republicans by name continued in a Sept. 9 article complaining that "the federal debt had already increased by more than a trillion dollars in fiscal 2019 with more than three weeks to go in the fiscal year":

At the close of business on Sept. 28, 2018, the last business day of fiscal 2018, the total federal debt was $21,516,058,183,180.23, according to the Treasury.

At the close of business on Sept. 4, 2019, it was $22,517,297,955,639.18.

At that point, the federal debt had increased by $1,001,239,772,458.95 in fiscal 2019.

As of Sept. 6, 2019, the latest day for which federal debt numbers have been reported by the Treasury, the debt had risen to $22,532,757,499,591.39.

Thus, so far in fiscal 2019, the federal debt has increased $1,016,699,316,311.16.

As usual, the words "Trump" and "Republican" appear nowhere in the article. As usual, he tries to implicitly blame Democrats for the deficit by including his favorite stock photo of Trump and House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi together.

Jeffrey followed that with a Sept. 13 article complaining that "The federal government spent a record $4,155,323,000,000 in the first eleven months of fiscal 2019" while it "ran a deficit of $1,067,156,000,000." Again, the words "Trump" and "Republican" are missing, and again, Jeffrey's favorite Trump-Pelosi stock photo is used.

This story has a tag at the end that "The business and economic reporting of is funded in part with a gift made in memory of Dr. Keith C. Wold." Once again, we have to wonder if Wold's memory is best served by such misleading, politically driven economic reporting.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:38 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 24, 2019 12:40 AM EDT
Monday, September 23, 2019
AIM Gets The New Deal Wrong
Topic: Accuracy in Media

A Sept. 4 Accuracy in Media item by Brian McNicoll tries to rebut a piece in Salon claiming to debunk right-wing objections to the Green New Deal. He takes particular offense to a claim regarding the Green New Deal's reference to Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal to lift America out of the Great Depression in the 1930s:

Only, the New Deal legislation did not pull the American economy out of the Great Depression. U.S. GDP had fallen 39 percent below its trend levels before the stock market crash of 1929 and was still 27 percent below trend levels in 1939. Likewise, unemployment bottomed out at 25.2 percent in 1929 but was still 19 percent in 1939.

McNicll's source for these claims is an Investopedia article -- which he misread for one key number; unemployment topped out at 25.2 percent in 1933, not 1929. But Investopedia itself misleads by not telling the full story.

As we've documented, unemployment numbers at the time did not count those employed through government work programs as actually "employed," meaning that actual unemployment was lower than the official numbers. It also glosses over the fact that higher unemployment numbers were not a product of the New Deal but, rather, of a recession in 1937 and 1938 -- which, according to economixt Paul Krugman, was a result of the Roosevelt administration cutting spending and raising taxes, even though New Deal-related spending had driven down unemployment rates.

It's unclear where Investopedia got its "1929 trend levels" number from, since 1929 is the first year government GDP statistics were kept. And according to those numbers, GDP bottomed out in 1933 at 56 percent of the 1929 number, then steadily increased every year except 1938, growing to 89 percent of the 1929 number in 1939.

Of course, what pulled the U.S. out of the Great Depression for good was another massive federal spending program: World War II.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:50 PM EDT
Working The Refs, Part 3: MRC Bashes Even More Debate Moderators
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has been running a narrative for its coverage of the  Democratic presidential debates: Crank out a huffy post before the debate attacking the moderators as irredemably liberal, then declare victory afterward that its narrative against them was proven correct (through murky analysis of the questions asked). And so it was with the MRC's look at the Sept. 12 debate.

Geoffrey Dickens established the talking points in a Sept. 11 post: "The moderators for ABC’s Thursday night Democratic debate include a former Bill Clinton campaign staffer and an anchor who was actually kicked out of a Donald Trump campaign event. So it’s safe to say ABC’s Democratic debate hosts won’t be asking any tough questions of the candidates – at least none from the right." Dickens listed the moderators' purported "history of liberalism" and made sure to huff that the former, "Good Morning America" co-host George Stephanopoulos, "spun the news as Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign advisor and then White House Communications Director" and dwas also a "Clinton Foundation donor."

For the latter, Univision host Jorge Ramos, Dickens repeated that he "was so rude he was removed from the press conference." As we've documented, the MRC held Ramos to a higher standard by ranting that he was an "activist" and worse then it held Daily Caller reporter Neil Munro when he was similarly rude to President Obama in 2012. The MRC also was much more sympathetic to another activist reporter from the right-wing Breitbart who got booted from a campaign event for Beto O'Rourke, declaring that O'Rourke, not the reporter, was the rude one.

The day of the debate, Rich Noyes weirdly complained that "debate host ABC’s evening newscast has awarded a majority of its news coverage to just one candidate: former Vice President Joe Biden" while virtually ignoring other candidates. This is just more lazy research; Noyes focused only on a single, short program and ignored other ABC news programs and its website operation.The point of all this, of course, whas a cheap gotcha, as Noyes revealed in his final paragraph: "So, the question can be posed: Have the media already effectively winnowed the Democrats’ 2020 field before the voters ever had a chance make themselves heard?"

This was followed by a post by Joseph Vasquez claiming that "at least 29 executives from ABC, or parent company Disney, have donated to Democratic candidates." He later conceded, however, that these executives "held entertainment roles with Disney Television Studios, Walt Disney Studios, Disney+ and Twentieth Century Fox," and he identified none as linked to ABC's news operation.

Shockingly, however, the MRC's initial post-debate reaction was praise, not its usual attack mode. Scott Whitlock did the deed:

It’s actually possible to ask 2020 Democratic candidates questions that conservatives want answered. Thursday’s debate was proof that it can be done. To be clear, there were plenty of liberal questions, including wondering how forcible gun confiscation “will work.” Yet, ABC did manage some queries of interest to conservatives, including demanding answers on eliminating private health insurance, not speaking out on socialist dictators and calling Trump voters racist. 

Yes, the MRC insisted that merely asking how a proposed policy would work was "liberal" -- Whitlock devoted an entire post to the subject.

But the MRC wasn't about to let the moderators off that easy. Cue Jorge Bonilla complaning that Ramos was being praised for the questions he asked and insisting how we're all wrong for doing so:

Much of the media misread of Ramos’ performance stems from his exchange on “democratic socialism” with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Ramos garnered wide praise for daring to ask a tough question. Except that it wasn’t. For starters, Ramos had already put the Venezuela question before Sanders, on Univision’s Sunday political affairs showAl Punto.

In fact, one could call it a dry run inasmuch as Sanders’ answer was identical to what he proffered at the debate, varying only in degree of denunciation of Venezuelan tyrant Nicolás Maduro (going from "abusive" to "cruel tyrant"). Sanders then transitioned into a furious defense of his brand of so-called “democratic socialism,” which made Ramos’ question look a lot tougher than it actually was[.]


But the question only looked tough because Sanders botched the alley-oop. If Ramos’s own Facebook Watch program is any indication, it looked like the question was framed so as to set Sanders up for an affirmative differentiation of “democratic socialism” vis-a-vis Cuba, Venezuela, and North Korea. 

Ramos’ weird segue from Venezuela to veganism, the Amazon to climate legislation (in furtherance of the Green New Deal) reinforces this track. The intent was clearly not to make “democratic socialism” look bad. 

Otherwise, Ramos’ role within the debate was wholly predictable.

Just about as predictable as the MRC's narrative about it.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:28 PM EDT
WND's Dubious Doc Pushes More Anti-Vaxxer Fearmongering (And Publishes Work By Discredited Anti-Vaxxer)
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily just can't stop pushing bogus anti-vaxxer fearmongering, and it has an actual dubious doc, Jane Orient, to help push it. She did so again in a Sept. 8 WND column attacking a proposed California law to limit non-medical exemptions for vaccines.

Orient claimed that the bill, SB276, would be "severely limiting medical exemptions, the only kind available"; in fact, the bill aims to close a loophole in which parents appeared to receive dubious medical exemptions for their children following the passage of a 2015 law that eliminated exemptions for personal reasons. Orient then claimed:

The bill's author, Sen. Richard Pan, M.D., said that everybody who really needed an exemption would get one. However, 882 out of 882 pediatric practices told a mother that they would not write an exemption for a child who had had anaphylactic shock. This life-threatening allergic reaction, which kills rapidly by closing off the airway, is one of the few allowable indications for an exemption. But now, a parent not willing to risk recurrence cannot send her child to school.

Doctors are no doubt afraid of being targeted by the medical licensure board.

But as one observer points out, the video to which Orient links -- in which doctors were called to see if they would grant an exemption to a child based on a vague claim of  anaphylactic shock -- doesn't actually prove anything, since doctors are unlikely to hand out exemptions to a child who has not previously been a patient and whose medical history they are unfamiliar with.

Orient discredited herself even further by invoking the fraudulent doctor Andrew Wakefield, whose research claiming that vaccines cause autism was proven so wrong that the medical journal that originally published his work retracted it and denounced it as a fraud. But never mind all that fraud stuff: Orient, in her role as executive director of the fringe-right Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, actually published an article by Wakefield in the AAPS' Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons in which, according to Orient, he blamed vaccine failure and "escape mutants" – viruses that elude vaccine immunity, the predictable outcome of selection pressures-- for this year's big measles outbreak. Neither he nor Orient understand the idea that if you don't vaccinate children, they're more susceptible to disease.

Orient doesn't seem to understand that publishing an utterly discredited figure like Wakefield makes her and the AAPS look bad. And WND doesn't seem to realize that publishing someone like Orient doesn't help its credibility issues.

UPDATE: Wakefield's journal article states that it was "based on a presentation given by Dr. Wakefield at the 2018 meeting of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness." Guess who runs Doctors for Disaster Preparedness? None other than Jane Orient. This conflict of interest was not disclosed in the article.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:40 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 24, 2019 4:36 PM EDT
Sunday, September 22, 2019
MRC's Double Standard On Cakes
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Kyle Drennen grumbled in a Sept. 4 post:

On Wednesday, NBC’s 3rd Hour Today show excitedly welcomed on liberal Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to promote her new children’s book, Just Ask! Co-host Al Roker was beside himself with glee, declaring: “We’ve got a Supreme Court justice. Come on! How great is this job!” Later in the fawning segment, Sotomayor was even presented with a cake to celebrate her 10th anniversary on the high court.  


There were no substantive questions about court decisions or cases that may considered in the upcoming term.

Instead, the segment wrapped up with Roker noting: “By the way, this is your tenth anniversary.” [co-host Dylan] Dreyer chimed in: “Congratulations, we have a little – well, big – a very, very large cake for you.” One of the producers then brought out the massive cake that read, “Happy 10 Years Justice Sotomayor.” Dreyer continued: “Congratulations on ten years on the bench.” Sotomayor replied: “Oh my gosh, look at that! Thank you so much.”

By contrast, as we've noted, the MRC raised no objection to "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace presenting then-Republican Rep. Paul Ryan with a birthday cake on a 2012 show. Wallace -- who has something of a reputation as a hard-hitting journalist unlike, say, Al Roker -- was nearly as gushy as Roker in presenting Ryan with the cake.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:38 PM EDT
CNS Blogger Touts Trump's Bogus Attack On Poll He Doesn't Like

Craig Bannister was in full pro-Trump stenography mode in a Sept. 10 blog post:

Americans are being misled by “phony polling information” produced and reported by hostile news media, President Donald Trump said Tuesday.

In the first of two tweets on the subject, Trump recalled how results of a “fake poll” by ABC/Washington Post during his 2016 campaign were drastically revised after his lawyers protested:


The ABC/Washington Post poll results referenced by Trump appear to be from its 2016 election tracking poll published on October 23rd of that year, which reported that “Clinton leads Trump by 12 percentage points among likely voters, 50 to 38 percent.” On November 1, 2016, The Washington Post reported the tracking poll showed that “Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are all but tied.”

But as Bannister's Media Research Center colleague Nicholas Fondacaro should have learned by now, just because you don't like the numbers doesn't mean that they're false.And Bannister also omits the context of Trump's remarks in order to portray them as unquestioned fact.

Vox reports that Trump's attack was promoted by a new ABC/Washington Post poll showing dismal numbers for him. Vox also explained why the 2016 poll showing him 12 points behind Clinton wasn't "fake" or "phony" at all:

The final Post-ABC tracking poll before the November 2016 election found that Hillary Clinton had the support of 47 percent of likely voters, compared to 43 percent for Trump. That’s not far off from Clinton’s ultimate margin of victory in the popular vote, which was 48 percent to 46 percent. In fact, Clinton’s edge in that final poll did “not reach statistical significance, given the poll’s 2.5 percentage-point margin in sampling error around each candidate’s support,” as the Post noted in its writeup at the time. And one factor working in Trump’s favor that the Post also noted was that he was ahead in a number of battleground states.

The Post didn’t respond to a request for comment about Trump’s accusation that they manipulated their 2016 polls after Trump’s “lawyers protested,” but a graph of their polling shows, predictably, that Clinton’s lead widened after the Access Hollywood tape was released in early October 2016, only to steadily narrow as the WikiLeaks dumps and FBI Director James Comey’s letter to Congress about the investigation of her emails rocked her campaign.

It was difficult to foresee that Trump would lose the popular vote while winning the Electoral College. But the fact remains that although the Post-ABC polling underrepresented Trump’s support by about 3 percentage points, it pegged Clinton’s support within a point, and correctly predicted the winner of the popular vote. The poll that Trump now bashes as “inaccurate” certainly left open the possibility that he might ultimately prevail.

In short, Trump is trying to rewrite history.

And Bannister is all too eager to help Trump rewrite it instead of following the journalistic duty to tell the full truth.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:48 AM EDT
Saturday, September 21, 2019
Another Hypocritical MRC Lecture About Anonymous Sources In The Media
Topic: Media Research Center

Randy Hall spent a Sept. 4 MRC NewsBusters post lecturing CNN host Brian Stelter for being critical of President Trump's attacks on the media for reporting on him:

Stelter is upset that Trump says "journalists routinely make up sources out of thin air, for example, he has no proof for the charge."

But Stelter didn’t note that the source he quoted is “anonymous” and therefore cannot be proven. Media outlets that use anonymous sources would refuse to prove that the sources are real. That's why they're anonymous.  We don't know anything about the sources, whether they are highly placed or not, or more importantly, if they have a personal/political reason to unload in these stories. We don't know whether sources are betraying the trust of their employer by spilling the beans...unless their "off the record" conversations suddenly go on the record. 

Apparently you can't question the media's ethics when they're not transparent.

As we've highlighted, the Media Research Center has no problem citing anonymous sources when those sources advance its anti-media narrative. Hall himself is a hypocrite on this issue as well. We've caught him praising the work of a right-wing troll who goes by the name of CarpeDonktum  -- an anonymous person who, by Hall's own definition, shouldn't be trusted.

Shouldn't the MRC's ethics also be in question over its love of (certain) anonymous sources? Hall doesn't say -- he's too busy pushing his hypocritical attacks on Stelter.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:34 AM EDT
WND's Zumwalt Uses Another Fake-News Website As A Source
Topic: WorldNetDaily

James Zumwalt spent his Sept. 1 WorldNetDaily column ranting about Rep. Ilhan Omar and bizarrely tried to liken her to the Conditions of Omar, which he clamed "set out conditions by which non-Muslims subordinated themselves to Islam." At one point Zumwalt wrote: Recent evidence indicates she may well be facing 40 years in prison and deportation for seven new crimes uncovered. These include very credible evidence she and her family changed their name to illegally enter the U.S. in 1995, and at least eight instances of perjury going back to 2009."

Zumwalt's evidence for this is an article at a website called Voice Liberty, which begins with a rant that "Obviously, Ilhan Omar has no regard for US law and yet here she is representing Minnesota in the US Congress and a sitting member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee."

Voice Liberty is a sketchy operation at best -- its website design is rudimentary, much of the content looks to be pro-Trump, anti-Hillary aand anti-Muslim, its "about us" page is blandly written and all the articles appear to be written by someone using the byline of "Paul Gabriel."  All of these things are hallmarks of a sock-puppet fake news operation which no sentient human ought to trust.

Then again, we've caught Zumwalt sourcing his rants to fake-news websites before. Such are WND's standards.

UPDATE: Zumwalt did it again in his Sept. 9 column, which was all about attacking the United Nations over humanitarian aid for Yemen. This somehow digressed to an attack on the Clinton Foundation:

The Charity Navigator organization mentioned above provides corruption ratings for 180 countries. When its data suggest something is seriously wrong with a charity, it puts it on a watch list before dropping it from its rating system. That was the fate suffered by the Clinton Foundation when its reports showed no more than 15 percent of what it received benefited charitable causes. If Charity Navigator monitored it, the U.N. would likely would suffer the fate of the Clinton Foundation.

That link goes to a website called NewsPunch, which has its own Wikipedia page describing the fake news it has published.

Further, the claim that the Clinton Foundation was a terrible charity because only 15 percent of the money raised was given to charitable causes is highly misleading. As documented, the foundation had no need to provide funding to others because it did much of its own charible work. FactCheck itself reported that in 2013, 88.3 percent of spending went to programs.

FactCheck reported, Charity Navigator never claimed there was anything "seriously wrong" with the Clinton Foundation; its presence on the group's watch list regarded media questions about foreign donations to the foundation and was more about "news to know" than any formal red flag. Indeed, Charity Navigator gave the Clinton Foundation its highest rating in 2016.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:06 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 22, 2019 6:18 PM EDT
Friday, September 20, 2019
MRC's Attack on Brian Stelter Flops
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Alex Christy complains in an Aug. 28 post:

CNN's Brian Stelter has a very elastic definition of the Trump-Fox News relationship. When President Trump says something nice about Fox News, that is proof that Fox is something akin to state-run TV. When President Trump voices his displeasure with Fox, it is proof that Trump wants it to be "an organ of the White House."

Yeah, no. It's clear to the vast majority of media observers -- at least, the ones not employed by the MRC who love to obfuscate about the role of Fox News in the Trump administration -- that Fox News is, in fact, akin to state-run TV and that when Trump complains about Fox, it's solely because it's not enough of one. In other words, Stelter's definition is nowhere near as "elastic" as Christy wants you to think it is.

Christy continued:

Later in the segment Stelter made another head scratching statement: "Look, just after the DNC woman was on Fox this morning, a White House spokesman was on Fox. So, the idea even of having two different people from two different parties is something is an anathema to the president." CNN might not be the best source to criticize Trump for this, because according to a MRC study, 82% of CNN's interviews with members of Congress are with Democrats and 81% of their questions reflect the Democratic agenda.

Christy didn't mention that this study complaining about the dearth of GOP representatives was issued a few days after the MRC praised those very same GOP representatives for refusing to appear on CNN, so it seems that study's results were a bit gamed.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:06 PM EDT
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, 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, 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.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:52 AM EDT
Thursday, September 19, 2019
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.

Foley didn't mention the fact that Cavuto doth protest too much, given the fact that Fox News really does work for Trump. Media Matters explains:

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.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:03 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, September 19, 2019 2:07 PM EDT

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