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Wednesday, October 2, 2019
MRC's Double Standard On Anonymous Whistleblowers
Topic: Media Research Center

As rumblings of impeachment of President Trump grew, the Media Research Center -- being dedicated Trump loyalists -- had to construct a narrative to try and save Trump. ONe thing it did from the start was to discount the allegations of the whistleblower as non-credible because he has chosen to remain anonymous and over the allegedly vague nature of the allegations:

  • It seems every week the media spends day after day obsessing over another anonymously-sourced report that makes claims no one can back up. Thursday, journalists were in a frenzy over a Washington Post report which alleged an anonymous “whistleblower” who formerly worked for an intelligence agency, claimed President Trump had promised something “troubling” to an unnamed foreign leader, earlier this Summer. -- Kristine Marsh, Sept. 19
  • An anonymous intelligence official has claimed that President Trump said something to someone during a phone call that the unnamed official found troubling. That is a summation of the flimsy reporting in The Washington Post that all three network morning shows seized on Thursday morning. -- Kyle Drennen, Sept. 19
  • On MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Friday, left-wing regular Donny Deutsch was convinced that vague allegations of someone overhearing President Trump making controversial comments to another world leader during a private phone call would be the commander in chief’s downfall.  -- Kyle Drennen, Sept. 20
  • Despite that there were still few facts known and a whole lot of speculation about the allegations made by the anonymous and so-called “Trump whistleblower,” ABC and NBC were more than willing to throw their weight behind the effort. -- Nicholas Fondacaro, Sept. 22
  • The liberal media have begun yet another round of frenzied impeachment speculation, this time in reaction to anonymously-sourced media reports about a supposed whistleblower complaint that has not been released. -- Bill D'Agostino, Sept. 24

But in the midst of all of these attacks on the Trump whistleblower for being anonymous, the MRC was praising another anonymous whistleblower ... who was involved in one of the MRC's favorite narratives. Alexander Hall wrote in a Sept. 23 post:

Another anonymous Big Tech insider has come forward to take his company to task for election meddling. 

Fox News contributor Sara Carter published an exclusive blog article, “Google Insider Turns Over 950 Pages Of Docs And Laptop To DOJ.” According to the whistleblower, Google “created algorithms to hide its political bias within artificial intelligence platforms ... targeting particular words, phrases and contexts to promote, alter, reference or manipulate perceptions of Internet content.”

The “former Google insider,” who reportedly has already corresponded with guerrilla journalist organization Project Veritas, met with on “several occasions” in early August. 

The insider has claimed that this leaked information “will provide proof that Google has been manipulating the algorithms and the evidence of how it was done.”

The MRC won't whine about anonymous whistleblowers -- as long as they are being an anonymous whistleblower for its preferred causes.

(Though we have to wonder: How soon before we discover that the whistleblower is a far-right white nationalist like other Google "whistleblowers"?)

This is just another example of the MRC's hypocrisy over anonymous sources.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:28 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 7:54 PM EDT
WND's Kupelian Doesn't Understand How Google Works
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily managing editor David Kupelian began his Sept. 20 column ranting about "how Big Tech is attempting to re-shape – indeed re-create – America in its far-left progressive image" and "the reckless far-left hate group the Southern Poverty Law Center," blaming them for alleging "forcing us into major layoffs, pay cuts and other painful but necessary survival strategies." (And not, apparently, the years of financial mismanagement.) He then served up his own dubious tale of woe:

A couple years ago I suffered a serious heart attack. I didn't talk about it publicly and never wrote anything about it until two years later, this past Christmas. The article was headlined "My Christmas heart attack" and many readers told me they were deeply affected by my story and the personal Christian testimony incorporated in it. And yes, I'd say of all the articles and books I've written over the decades, this one is uniquely meaningful to me.

Anyway, the other day I needed to pull up my "heart attack" article for some reason, so I opened a Google search window and typed in the search terms, "My Christmas heart attack" – a formula that has always worked in the past. Enter the exact headline, plus "" and Google takes you directly to the story on WND as the very first search result.

Except now, it seems, WND no longer exists – not to Google. When I keyed in the search terms, my article came up all right, but reprinted on another website (Virtue Online, a popular Anglican website that likes my writings and sometimes reprints them). After that came page after page of other search returns – but none included my heart attack article on WND. To Google, you see, WND doesn't exist.

(You might rembember that Kupelian did not learn the right lesson from his heart attack.)

Actually, we just did the "My Christmas heart attack" Google search Kupelian described, and the top result was his column -- followed by another WND article:

So much for the idea that "WND doesn't exist" at Google.

Pro tip for Kupelian: If you want to guarantee finding WND articles on Google, put "site:" in front of "" -- that way, it searches only WND articles. That's necessary since WND's own search engine has long been terrible.

But Kupelian wasn't done. He returned to victim mode by invoking anti-Google researcher Robert Epstein (whom it loves) claiming that "Google likely swung as many as 3 million votes toward Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential contest -- a claim that has been exposed as highly dubious -- and that it "is now poised to swing as many as 15 million votes in next year's presidential election – toward the Democratic candidate!"

Kupelian then went on to rant, "We have been suppressed, banned, defamed, sued, maligned, hacked and attacked in every way imaginable – but we're still here! I guess we must be doing something right." Then he begged for money, as usual.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:33 AM EDT
Tuesday, October 1, 2019
NEW ARTICLE -- Out There, Exhibit 74: Our Cartoon Media Researchers
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center freaks out every time an animated program refuses to hate the LGBT community as much as it does. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 9:57 PM EDT
CNS Joins MRC Parent In Pushing Bogus Censorship Claims

We caught the Media Research Center serving as the PR agent for anti-abortion activist group Live Action, uncritically repeating its less-than-factual claims about being censored on social media. Its "news" division,, is letting one of its columnists repeat those same bogus claims.

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins wrote in a Sept. 13 column:

“If this isn't bias, what is?” Good question – one that Facebook had better be prepared to answer. If they don't, at least four senators are about to make life difficult for more than CEO Mark Zuckerberg. After months insisting there's “no prejudice” against conservatives, Americans aren't buying it. Neither is Congress, and that's bad news for the Big Tech liberals at Twitter, Google, and Pinterest.

Other organizations might think it was a mistake. But the pro-life group Live Action knew better. They'd just been through this in June with another company – only Pinterest had a clever way of suppressing the message. They reclassified the entire organization as a porn site. Facebook, on the other hand, was a lot more open about their agenda. According to National Review, when Lila Rose posted two videos insisting abortion isn't medically necessary, they were labeled “false” and censored.

As we documented, Pinterest never classifed Live Action as a porn site. And like the MRC, Perkins did not offer any evidence to counter the fact-check on Live Action's insistence that abortion isn't medically necessary; he just parrots the right-wing attack line that the fact-check was "biased" because the fact-checkers were allegedly "pro-abortion activists."

Seems like everyone at the MRC is singing from the same choir book.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:33 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 9:02 AM EDT
Monday, September 30, 2019
Taylor Swift Derangement Syndrome At The MRC
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has spent much of the year bashing Taylor Swift for committing the offense of expressing political opinions it doesn't agree with. It's certainly not about to stop now.

Gabriel Hays sneered in an Aug 8 post:

Taylor Swift seems to be looking for a new reputation as leftwing savant and the singer has definitely put in a good effort, working hard to slam conservative perspectives ever since coming out against Tennessee Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn in the November Midterm elections less than a year ago. In that short period she’s gone from knocking Blackburn’s platform of hate to now brutally slamming “white cisgender males” in Vogue’s September 2019 issue.

Well, fine, Taylor, but aren’t you currently dating one?

Hays worked up even more sneering in an Aug. 26 post:

Taylor Swift has gone from zero to sixty in record time when it comes to social justice activism. With the August release of her latest album, “Lover,” she joins the tired chorus of lefty status quo politics. In her latest project, the pop princess tackles the real issues of the day, like sexism and LGBTQ suffrage. She has also made no bones about the fact that America is in a dark place in 2019, telling reporters she thinks Trump is “tearing the country apart.”

In an interview published by The Guardian on Friday, August 23 — the same day Swift launched her album — the pop-star showed “the latest signs of her political awakening.” Ah yes, if you could consider identity politics and anti-Trump language as constituting an “awakening.”

Turns out, she’s as historically and civically ignorant as every other lefty celeb.

Hays, an inveterate LGBT-basher, was also bothered that Swift's new album "also features a very pro-LGBTQ anthem in the song 'You Need To Calm Down,' which is a rebuke of homophobic people who aren’t happy celebrating all things queer."

The same day, Karen Townsend was upset that Swift used an acceptance speech at the MTV Music Awards to promote her petition online in support of the Equality Act, an “anti-discrimination” bill that discriminates against religious views on traditional marriage and biological sex," adding: "While Ms. Swift said the petition has enough support to receive a response from the White House and tapped her watch impatiently, clearly the bill doesn't have enough support in the Senate and therefore President Trump hasn’t seen it on his desk. Maybe Swift is the one who needs to calm down[.]"

The next day, Kristine Marsh huffed that "All three networks couldn’t stop gushing over pop star Taylor Swift’s liberal awakening on full display at last night’s MTV Video Music Awards," offended that she was "surrounded by drag queens" while accepting her award and promoting the Equality Act.

Hays returned to complain about "the very inclusive performance of everyone's favorite new lefty shill, Taylor Swift."

Matt Philbin picked up the sneer baton from Hays for an Aug. 29 post bashing a writer who he says is "pretty sure we need Taylor Swift’s sad thoughts about America," continuing: "The truth is, Swift is simultaneously trivializing and aggrandizing the political moment into, like, the worst night ever. It’s a much less clever episode of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. The Hell Mouth is open, the apocalypse is nigh; we need to defeat it and get to the prom by 8:30!"

MRC honchos Tim Graham and Brent Bozell couldn't help but offer their two cents, whining that "YOu Need To Calm Down" "trashes anyone still dissenting from the LGBTQ agenda" and that media outlets are "gushing over her leftist activism." Making equality a partisan issue, Graham and Bozell insisted that the Equality Act "enables anti-religious hatred and bigotry," mostly by keeping Christians from discriminating against LGBT people, adding that "The LGBTQ orthodoxy shreds dissent. There is no debate allowed. " They don't explain why Christians must discriinate against the LGBT community.

Hays slinked back again on Sept. 18 to grouse that "Ever since Taylor Swift decided to join the left’s propaganda machine, the pop star has been one of the hottest tickets for interviews." (As if he isn't a part of the Right's propaganda machine.) Hays went on another sneering binge, this time over Swift's preference for President Obama over Trump:

Previously, under Obama, it had been a dream for Taylor. She told Rolling Stone, “We were in such an amazing time when Obama was president because foreign nations respected us. We were so excited to have a dignified person in the White House.” Yes, doll. They were dream times, weren’t they? She also added she’s looking forward to 2020: “I’m just focused on the 2020 election. I’m really focused.”

Miss Swift also urged party unity, saying that Dems need to not quibble about “the right kind of Democrat and wrong kind of Democrat” in order to beat Trump. She used an interesting image, claiming, “We need to just be like, ‘You’re a Democrat? Sick. Get in the car. We’re going to the mall.’” Hey, throw a drum loop on that, and some major chord strumming and you’ve got one killer campaign song.

The MRC's inability to deal with a celebrity who run counter to the right-wing narrative shows us who really needs to calm down.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:01 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 8:29 PM EDT
WND Begs For Money To Launch War on CAIR
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Because the Council for American-Islamic Relations stands up for Muslims, WorldNetDaily despises them. So much so, in fact, that it's begging for money to try and destroy CAIR by building it into a bogeyman only it can attack. Managing editor David Kupelian writes in a Sept. 18 email to readers complaining that CAIR didn't mark the 9/11 attacks on Sept. 11:

It’s like the 9/11 terrorist attacks by Islamic jihadists on our nation that killed almost 3,000 innocent people never happened. It was a “non-event.”

This is why we have reported the fact that CAIR stands for Islamic supremacy ... has raised large amounts of money to finance Islamic terrorist groups like Hamas ... and rather than assimilate into our Judeo-Christian American culture, CAIR believes that Islam reigns and that Sharia Law should replace the U.S. Constitution.

That’s what CAIR is and we want America to know it.

As the longest-serving, most trusted conservative Christian news website in America, WND will look back on this moment in history with shame if we fail to do more – much more – to expose CAIR and neutralize its influence on America.

If you agree with me, please take a moment – right now – to do one thing before you move on to your next email and possibly forget to return to this message by helping WND with a donation of $25, $50, $100 or whatever you can afford today.

CAIR survives by flying under the radar.

Unless they are wailing about someone saying something that “offends Islam” – which is just about anything – they stay off the front pages and toil in the background to undermine our nation by advancing Sharia supremacy in America.

WND vows to pull back the curtain on CAIR so decent law-abiding citizens can see CAIR and other groups like it for what they really are.

First: WND may be desperate for money, but it betrays what few jouranlistic principles it can still plausibly claim to have by pledging to use that money specifically to attack an organization it doesn't like.

Second: WND doesn't mention that it loves to attack anyone who says something that "offends Christianity," which is just about anything. Indeed, Kupelian has smeared WND's critics as "anti-Christian."

Third: WND is "most trusted conservative Christian news website in America," which publishes "pro-American, truth-based journalism"? When did that happen? Well, it didn't -- that's an attempt a rebranding that WND first pushed in 2016, though Kupelian appears to have abandoned Joseph Farah's insistence that WND never admit its unmistakable bias by calling it "conservative" (though WND is actually several degrees to the right of mainstream conservatism). As far as WND being "trusted' and "truth-based"? Not so much.

Kupelian seems to think that admitting he and WND are blatantly partisan is the way to dig it out of its financial morass. But he seems to have forgotten that Farah was one of Trump's biggest fanboys as WND's ship continued to sink.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:49 AM EDT
Sunday, September 29, 2019
MRC Cheers Attack on Fact-Checkers Who Ruled An Anti-Abortion Claim False
Topic: Media Research Center

The anti-abortion activists with Live Action don't want their views to be challenged -- no matter how false they are -- and the Media Research Center is helping to advance this dubious cause.

We've already documented how the MRC uncritically repeated Live Action's bogus claim that Pinterest shut down its account because of a purported campaign to censor conservative content when, in fact, it was because it was using the account to promote misinformation.The MRC is now working with Live Action on its latest campaign to deflect from the misinformation it provides.

A Sept. 3 post by Corinne Weaver repeated the Live Action party line that Facebook was "actively working to suppress pro-life content"  and "censor" it by pointing out that some of Live Action's content was false:

Facebook chose a side in the abortion debate and is actively working to suppress pro-life content. 

Live Action, a pro-life nonprofit organization run by activist Lila Rose, was notified August 30 that two of the company’s videos were marked as “false” by fact-checkers. As a result, Rose was informed that the page’s outreach would be “limited.” 

A third-party fact-checking site,, conducted a fact-check of Lila Rose’s YAF video that she shared to Facebook. In the video, Lila Rose defined abortion as the “direct and intentional killing of an embryo, a fetus, a baby in the womb.” She stated that this act was not “a medical treatment” and therefore “Abortion is never medically necessary.”

Weaver also repeated the unsupported talking point that "the message of the videos is based on the opinions of 2,500 pro-life obstetricians and gynecologists." Weaver also didn't note any rebuttal of the fact-check, which pointed out that there are indeed circumstances in which a fetus may need to be aborted in order to save the mother's life.

A Sept. 9 post by Alexander Hall was essentially a Live Action press release:

Big Tech companies are facing their day of reckoning from the Pro-Life movement.

Leading pro-life organization Live Action has gone through its fair share of confrontations with Big Tech, and now is taking the fight to the next level.

In early September, Live Action’s attorneys sent cease and desist letters to YouTube and Pinterest. These letters accused them of suppressing content and breaching contracts, which resulted in money loss and damaged reputations.

Speaking exclusively with NewsBusters TechWatch, Live Action leader Lila Rose spoke with enthusiasm about the upcoming legal battle. In a best case scenario where the case goes to court and they win, she hoped for Big Tech companies to actually be held to standards of “integrity and fairness” to the point where they do not interfere with information and “people can make up their own minds.”

Hall also repeated the misleading claim that "Pinterest placed Live Action on a blacklist among pornographic sites, blocking the pro-life group’s content from being shared on the platform." As we've noted, Pinterest explained that the label was a quirk of the company’s internal content moderation tools due to such bans being originally directed at porn, and that the account was never labeled as pornography.

On Sept. 12, Weaver and Hall did more PR work for Live Action by advancing its attack on Facebook's fact-checkers,  citing a letter from anti-abortion republican congessman claiming that "Facebook’s ‘independent fact check’ of the Live Action videos was performed by two pro-abortion activists with significant ties to abortion-rights advocacy organizations." Weaver and Hall did not note any claim from Live Action or anyone else that the fact-check was incorrect -- which tells you the partisan political nature of this.

Facebook eventually backed down, but Live Action -- and, thus, Weaver -- were not done complaining. In a Sept. 16 post, Weaver complained that one of the medical experts who did the fact-check on Live Action videos said that "People who lie about abortion should be banned from Facebook for spreading hate." Again, Weaver failed to cite any evidence the fact-check was false, but instead repeated the Live Action talking point that "Lila Rose, the founder of Live Action, was echoing the professional opinions of several doctors."

Hall cheered Facebook backing down in a Sept. 20 post, gloating that "Facebook apparently knows that it made a mistake with the pro-life community. He claimed that "the bogus fact check that condemned [Rose's] content has not been retracted" -- but, as before, he offered no evidence there was anything bogus about the fact-check. Instead, he parroted Rose's bogus attacks on Facebook as a "far-Left, politically motivated puhlisher," conveniently ignoring the fact that Live Action is a far-right, politically motivated publisher who doesn't want its bogus attacks to be challenged.

It's almost as if Live Action paid the MRC for all this PR work.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:51 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 29, 2019 8:58 PM EDT
CNS Gives Its Favorite Anti-Trans Doctor Another Platform
Topic: loves to promote Paul McHugh's positions on transgender issues because they align with CNS' anti-gay, anti-trans narrative and he has the weight of his association with Johns Hopkins University to lend gravitas (even though conservatives don't care much for highfalutin schools like Johns Hopkins).

The latest attempt to do so is a Sept. 17 blog post by Craig Bannister touting that "Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University and former psychiatrist–in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital, who has studied transgendered people for 40 years, believes that patients suffering gender dysphoria need psychological care – not gender reassignment treatment."

You can see Bannister's appeal to authority by invoking the Johns Hopkins connection and even by giving him a middle initial. Bannister noted that the McHugh interview was taken from a website called the College Fix, but he didn't disclose the fact that it's a right-wing website (proudly stating on its nameplate that it's dedicated to "right-minded news and comentary," and, yes, the italics on "right" are in the original).

And because the College Fix didn't tell its readers that McHugh's views have been criticized over the years for being outdated, Bannister doesn't either. It's been pointed out that while McHugh argues for "psychological care" for transgenders, neither he nor anyone else has developed"a way to actually talk a transgender person out of their gender dysphoria." And Johns Hopkins has restarted the transgender reassignment surgery program McHugh suspended in 1979.

That tells us he's very out of the mainstream with current medical thinking. But Bannister and the College Fix don't want you to know that -- he serves too important of a political purpose to them.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:23 AM EDT
Saturday, September 28, 2019
Tim Graham's Latest Anonymous-Source Complaint Fail
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Tim Graham ranted in a Sept. 10 post:

Imagine CNN running with a story based on anonymous sources that Barack Obama thought his children were stupid. Or the Clintons thought Chelsea was a moron. Unthinkable? Naturally. But with the Trump family, anything goes. On CNN Tonight on Tuesday, Don Lemon brought on McKay Coppins of The Atlantic to tout his tabloidish story about how Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump are furiously fighting each other to be president.

We could suggest two words about these hot palace-intrigue stories about dynastic dreams: "Jeb Bush."

CNN, which imagines itself a global force for good journalism, pays zero attention to the sourcing of this "fascinating" soup. They just drank it in as Coppins ladled it out: Don Jr. "emerged as this kind of shouty, testosterone-soaked, you know, mini-Trump,"  while Ivanka stayed in the White House and "kind of very quickly figured out that she was out of her depth."

The Trump kids are dummies. CNN loves that stuff.

As we've documented -- and Graham would never admit in public -- the MRC has no problem with anonymous sources when they advance his employer's political and anti-media narratives. Heck the MRC has employed at least one NewsBusters blogger who wrote anonymously under a fake name. (Among Graham's titles is executive editor of NewsBusters, so he's surely aware of this.)

Graham whined further:

This is the same CNN that happily regurgitated thinly sourced anti-Trump gossip from Michael Wolff, and from Omarosa, and so on, and so on.

But when Ed Klein wrote the gossipy book Blood Feud about the Clintons and the Obamas five years ago, CNN Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter trashed his work on July 13, 2014: "To call it poorly sourced is a compliment. A lot of the book passages honestly sound too crazy to be true, like when Klein claims that one of Hillary Clinton's arguments with the president turned physical, with her jabbing him in the chest."

But the MRC is a hypocrite about Klein too. We've noted that it demanded media coverage of one Klein book despite publishing a post detailing its factual errors. In 2016, Graham similarly mustered up only lame whataboutism when Klein's anonymous sources were pointed out. He also did this in 2012 while alongside a complaint that the book's "headline-grabbing allegations" were being ignored.

Graham's hypocrisy on this issue is so ridiculous that perhaps he should give up.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:07 PM EDT
WND Columnist Doesn't Understand All The Fuss Over Vaping
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In her Sept. 16 WorldNetDaily column, Rachel Alexander does a mostly good rundown of the current issues surrounding vaping, such as the lung diseases and deaths associated with it. But she rushed to blame the problems on a certain brand of vaping liquid on the black market that uses THC, the active ingredient in marijuana -- in fact, officials have yet to pinpoint a single cause, and one examination of 86 vaping patients found they reported using 234 different products. And then, she had to go and push the point that vaping is still safer than cigarettes:

On the other hand, 480,000 die each year from regular cigarettes. Considering that only six people have died from vaping, could we be overreacting? A study found that smokers who switch to e-cigarettes are more likely to stop smoking than those using nicotine patches or gum.


It comes down to this: Are people's lives being saved from dying of lung cancer by switching to e-cigarettes? As long as we're not banning cigarettes, perhaps we need to keep this option open. There just needs to be more awareness that not all e-cigarettes are created equal. Buying them on the black market or from disreputable companies could be detrimental to your health. And manufacturers should stop marketing them to teenagers. Notably, flavored tobacco cigarettes are still legal.

E-cigarette manufacturers can apply next year to get approval from the FDA and return to the U.S. market. They will need to show that their products protect public health.

Then again, Alexander is also pushing the idea that corrupt ex-Rep. Steve Stockman was targeted by the Deep State, so maybe her reporting has an issue or two.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:47 AM EDT
Friday, September 27, 2019
MRC Gloats Over Low CBS Evening News Ratings
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center spent the first week of Norah O'Donnell's tenure viciously attacking her for her purported "liberal bias." Now, her ratings are low, and the MRC couldn't be happier about it. Nicholas Fondacaro gleefully wrote in a Sept. 3 post:

Things are not at all well on CBS Evening News, the flagship evening program for the third-place broadcast network. After making the major transition from CBS This Morning anchor Norah O’Donnell has been floundering in the ratings fight with ABC and NBC by hemorrhaging viewers for the first six weeks, according to the Nielsen ratings.

For all the talk about CBS News head Susan Zirinsky booting the more-balanced Jeff Glor (whose last newscast was May 10) under the guise of low ratings, that move sure didn’t appear to have paid off. Instead, it’s made matters worse.

Shockingly, the normally hot-headed Fondacaro refrained from further attacks on O'Donnell beyond his claim that Glor was "more balanced"; his source for that claim was a February post by Rich Noyes citing the MRC's highly dubious methodology to claim that Glor’s CBS Evening News has consistently aired fewer negative statements about the administration than either of its competitors," though he still made sure to complain that the program under Glor refused to be a "pro-Trump bastion" -- which, of course, is what Noyes, Fondacaro and the rest of the MRC are demanding all news programs become (which is why Fox News never faces questions from the MRC about its obvious media bias).

Posted by Terry K. at 2:30 PM EDT
CNS Mocks Actress For Speaking Out -- But Touted Ringo's Opinion on Brexit

Craig Bannister wrote in an Aug. 27 blog post:

Actress Alison Brie used her public platform as a music video award presenter to lecture her viewing audience on her interpretation of the U.S. Constitution on Monday.

Brie declared enforcement of U.S. immigration law “unconstitutional” as she and her co-presenter conflated illegal and legal immigration, NewsBusters reports:

Who knew that a star of the show GLOW on Netflix was a constitutional scholar? She's not, and yet, actress Alison Brie declared with certainty on the stage of the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards Monday night that what America is doing to immigrants is “unconstitutional and frankly disgusting."

As Brie and singer French Montana presented the award for Best Latin Video, they conflated legal and illegal immigrants. While French Montoya wants to be the "voice" of immigrants, as one himself, and said, "we are the people that make this country," he didn’t mention he legally immigrated. Brie chimed in, “What’s happening to immigrants in this country is unconstitutional and frankly disgusting.”

Her co-presenter then instructed the audience to applaud Brie’s constitutional analysis.

Bannister might have had a point if CNS didn't treat celebrities' political opinions with reverence -- when they conform to CNS' right-wing agenda, that is. We've documented the fawning treatment it affords the views of, say, actor Kevin Sorbo and ex-pretty boy Fabio, and it publishes a politics-heavy weekly column by musician Charlie Daniels.

And CNS' hypocrisy was proven yet again a few days later. A Sept. 10 blog post by CNS managing editor Michael W. Chapman gushed over how "the famous Brit and Beatles drummer Ringo Starr strongly supports Brexit because the people voted for it, he says, and 'it's a great move' to be "in control of your own country.'" There was no mocking or dismissive tone; Chapman treated his opinion quite seriously.

There was also no news value here, since Ringo's statements were made in a 2017 interview -- two years ago.Talk about old (and hypocritical) news.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:06 AM EDT
Thursday, September 26, 2019
MRC Gives PewDiePie's Racist Videos A Pass, Attacks ADL For Pointing Out The Racism
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center finds a way to take the side of yet another right-wing extremist while bashing one of the most respected civil rights groups in the country. Alexander Hall writes in a Sept. 11 post:

The most popular YouTuber on the platform is attempting to gain favor with the organization that wrote no company “has any obligation to support his wide dissemination of hate speech.”  

PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, announced on September 10 that he will donate $50,000 to the Anti-Defamation League. Because of his previous dust-up with the ADL, subscribers and fans are skeptical. 

PewDiePie posted to Twitter that while media hitjobs against his politically-incorrect humor have not intimidated him in the past, “after the Christ Church[sic] travesty a few months ago, my own clash with MSM was manipulated as a tool for destruction,” which in turn made him “[feel] responsibility to make changes.” PewDiePie wrote that he while “making a donation to the ADL doesn’t make sense to everyone, especially since they’ve outright spoken against me,” but even so he added “I think it’s important, this just isn’t my fight anymore.

PewDiePie, while vague about his own genuine political beliefs, would sometimes indulge in offensive or absurd imagery purely for shock value. PewDiePie previously had a joint venture he established with Disney-owned Maker Studios in 2014. Disney, seeing his shock value humor as beyond the pale “severed ties with him” which in turn caused ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt to congratulate Disney for the move.

Note that Hall is curiously vague about exactly that "dust-up" was about -- or even what that "shock value humor" was that got him booted from Disney. Usually when people have "dust-ups" with the ADL, it's because they were acting in an anti-Semitic way. The Washington Post summed it up:

Kjellberg came under fire in 2017 after the Wall Street Journal reported on nine inflammatory videos that, with a combined 23 million views, included content seen as insensitive, racist and anti-Semitic. In one, two men laughed as they held a sign that said, “Death to all Jews.” In another, a man dressed as Jesus said, “Hitler did absolutely nothing wrong,” and in another, Kjellberg threw out the “Sieg Heil” Nazi salute during a mock video. A neo-Nazi website, the Daily Stormer, endorsed his videos. Whether Kjellberg intended to be racist or was kidding, they wrote, “The effect is the same; it normalizes Nazism, and marginalizes our enemies,” as the New York Times reported.

Hall also curiously failed to explain PewDiePie's reference to the "Christ Church travesty." That's because the perpetrator of the mosque massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand, said "Remember, lads, subscribe to PewDiePie" during his livestream of the massacre. (It was a reference to a campaign among PewDiePie's followers to boost his subscriptions to keep him the most popular YouTuber.)

Hall then went on a tirade against the ADL and Grenblatt, repeating a National Review claim that the ADL has been led "off a partisan cliff" under Greenblatt.

The next day, Hall cheered when PewDiePie reneged on his pledge to give money to the ADL due to backlash from his followers, which he thinks is a good thing:

Many fans were dismayed when PewDiePie, YouTube’s biggest individual creator, planned to donate to the censorious ADL. Today he has recanted after the backlash and says he will instead donate his money elsewhere.

Yesterday PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, appeared to pledge $50,000 to the ADL, an organization that attacked him and has famously put out hit lists of politically-incorrect YouTubers worthy of deplatforming. 

Today he uploaded a new video saying he has reconsidered the pledge, and claimed that while he wanted to act as a responsible creator, he “didn’t know a lot of things that surfaced throughout this whole thing about the charity.” He added that “these are things I would have known myself if I had just taken my time.”

Again, Hall was silent on the offensive content of PewDiePie's videos -- which means that Hall has spent much more space attacking the ADL for criticizing PewDiePie's offensive content than telling his readers exactly what that content was.

Apparently, if you're a conservative or even appear to be one, you can get away with "offensive" content for "shock value humor" as far as the MRC is concerned.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:15 PM EDT
CNS Managing Editor Obsesses Over Chicago Violence To Distract From Mass Shootings
Topic: managing editor Michael W. Chapman has occasionally invoked violence in Chicago when it suited his right-wing agenda. For instance, in 2016 he featured spotlight-loving Wisconsin sheriff David Clarke touting how "there have been 455 murders in Chicago so far this year, which is greater than the 270 coalition soldiers killed in Afghanistan since 2013." Given how Clarke has since abruptly resigned from his sheriff amid lawsuits and became so toxic and extreme that even the Trump administration wouldn't hire him and Fox News barred him from appearing on the channel, this one hasn't aged too well. Chapman also wrote about Chicago violence a few times in 2017 and 2018, and he hadn't written about it at all for the first seven months of 2019..

But with the El Paso and Dayton massacres in early August -- one of which was clearly influenced by right-wing anti-immigration rhetoric that President Trump -- Chapman found a new reason to invoke Chicago: as a distraction. We've already noted that in an article just a couple days after the massacres, Chapman claimed that "51 people were shot in Chicago and seven of the victims died" the same weekend of the massacres, huffily adding that "the liberal media did not express nationwide outrage over that gun violence and politicians did not blame President Doanld Trump for the violence."

Chapman became mildly obsessed with Chicago violence for the next few weeks:

  • On Aug. 12, he wrote that "shootings in Chicago left 4 people dead and 43 wounded" over the previous weekend.
  • On Aug. 26, he detailed that "Over the weekend, six people were killed and 29 people were wounded by gunfire in Chicago" and that "1,800 people have been shot in Chicago since Jan. 1, 2019,"adding that "For comparison, there were 1,196 people killed in "mass shootings" -- four or more people killed by a lone shooter -- in the United States between Aug. 1, 1966 and August 19, 2019, according to The Washington Post."
  • On Sept. 9, he wrote: "Despite having some of the toughest gun control laws in the country, Chicago experienced another weekend of gun violence with 34 people shot, six of them fatally, reported the Chicago Sun-Times. That's on top of the 44 people shot, nine fatally over the Labor Day weekend, and the 282 Chicagoans killed by guns since the first of the year." He again compared the number to mass killings: "ABC News, using a definition of four (or more)  people killed in a one-day incident, reported on Sept. 3 that at least 116 people had been killed in mass shootings."

Chapman hasn't written about Chicago violence since. Perhaps the massacre story has sufficiently faded that he doesn't feel the need to.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:42 AM EDT
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

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