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Wednesday, November 6, 2019
WND's Cashill Is A Seth Rich Conspiracy Dead-Ender
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The right-wing conspiracy theories about murdered Democratic Seth Rich secretly leaking DNC emails are so discredited that even WorldNetDaily stopped pursuing the story (not that it will ever admit it lied to its readers about this, of course).

WND columnist Jack Cashill, however, loves promoting discredited conspiracy theories. Thus, it was inevitable that he would still be promoting Seth Rich conspiracies. In his Oct. 30 WND column, Cashill remains a conspiray dead-ender:

Twelve days after Rich's death, WikiLeaks began releasing emails swiped from the DNC. Although mainstream journalists did their best to deny Rich was involved with those emails, WikiLeaks honcho Julian Assange kept making suppression difficult.

Four weeks after the shooting, Assange said on Dutch TV, "Whistleblowers go to significant efforts to get us material and often very significant risks. There's a 27-year-old, works for the DNC, was shot in the back, murdered just a few weeks ago for unknown reasons as he was walking down the street in Washington."

When the show host insisted it was a robbery, Assange corrected him, adding, "I'm suggesting that our sources take risks."


If he were providing Assange data, the Russians had no reason to kill him; and if someone "had it out for Democrats," there were a lot fatter targets than Rich.

Cashill misleadingly invoked Robert Muller as part of his conspiracy theory:

Unlike the media, Robert Mueller thought Seth Rich worth discussing. The Mueller report quoted Assange at length about his insinuation that Rich was a source.

"According to media reports," Mueller's people wrote, "Assange told a U.S. congressman that the DNC hack was an 'inside job,' and purported to have 'physical proof' that Russians did not give materials to Assange."

Given his importance to the investigation, Mueller's crew should have interviewed Assange first. They did not interview him at all. Can't let that "alternative theory" go bouncing around when the fake ones do just fine.

Cashill curiously omits the part of the Mueller report that concluded Assange knew Rich wasn't his source for the DNC emails and simply claimed he was in order to obscure the fact he did indeed get them from the Russians.

Once a conspiracy theorist, always a conspiracy theorist. Cashill doesn't care about the facts if they interfere with his conspiratorial narrataives.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:40 AM EST
Tuesday, November 5, 2019
MRC Falsely Smears Gayle King By Accusing Her Of A Smear
Topic: Media Research Center

The hypocrisy of the Media Research Center to obsess over sexual harassment scandals at some TV network while it effectively ignored similar scandals at Fox News is breathtaking, to say the least -- but we've come to expect no less than that. The MRC is so committed to that narrative that it's misrepresenting the words of "liberal" network employees.

Thus, we have this Oct. 14 item by Scott Whitlock:

CBS's Gayle King, who co-hosted a show with Charlie Rose (a man who resigned in disgrace after sexual misconduct claims) and who worked for network President Les Moonves (a man who resigned in disgrace after sexual misconduct claim) pressed investigative journalist Ronan Farrow on Monday about his possible “ax to grind” when it comes to sexual misconduct claims... at NBC. 

The somewhat confrontational segment featured all of the current CBS This Morning co-hosts grilled Farrow with detailed questions about his sourcing on sexual abuse claims from powerful men. While they referenced the problems at CBS, the questions came about the problems on NBC. 

Regarding NBC’s refusal to proceed with Farrow’s reporting on disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, Gayle King demanded, “The bulk of the book is about your efforts to tell the Harvey Weinstein story and in the end NBC killed the story saying it didn't reach their level of journalism. How do we know that this is not just —  they're saying it's an axe to grind on your part.” 

Actually, it appears that King is simply setting Farrow up to respond to his critics, particularly at NBC, which has attacked his book (detailed in the transcript that Whitlock didn't otherwise acknowledge).

Whitlock repeated his smear  of King in an Oct. 22 post, claiming that "King suggested Farrow might have an 'ax to grind." That post was otherwise about Fox News anchor Bret Baier's appearance on "CBS This Morning,"with Whitlock whining that the show's co-hosts "grilled" Baier "about the departure of Shepard Smith from the network, baiting him to divine what exactly Smith meant when he said that the 'truth will always matter.'" (The MRC hates Smith for failing to march in lockstep with Fox News' right-wing agenda.)

Whitlock didn't mention that Baier has his own issues with the truth, touting an anonymous sourced story before the 2016 election that Hillary Clinton's indictment was imminent -- a story that Baier had to retract and a story the MRC totally embraced yet never told its readers was retracted.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:12 PM EST
Terry Jeffrey Trump Deficit Blame Avoidance Watch

In case you were wondering: No, editor in chief Terry Jeffrey still has not explicitly assigned blame for increasing federal debt where it belongs: at the feet of President Trump and Republicans. He lamented in an Oct. 16 article:

The federal debt increased by $1,203,343,570,253.55 in fiscal 2019, according to data released by the U.S. Treasury Department.

That equaled approximately $9,432 for each of the 127,586,000 households the Census Bureau estimated were in the United States in 2018.

In the decade that began on the first day of fiscal 2010 and ended on the last day of fiscal 2019, the federal debt increased by $10,809,572,749,922—for an average of $1,080,957,274,992.20 per year.

That $10,809,572,749,922 in additional debt accumulated by the federal government over the past decade equaled approximately $84,724 per each of the 127,586,000 households in the United States in 2018.

As usual, Jeffrey avoided using the words "Trump" and "Republicans" in his article, and it was accompanied with yet another stock photo that included Nancy Pelosi, even though she leads only one-half of one branch of government, while Republicans control one and a half branches.

Jeffrey further complained in an Oct. 23 column:

Federal spending programs that are "designed to transfer income ... to individuals or families" are set to hit a record $3,223,943,000,000 in fiscal 2020, according to projections published by the Office of Management and Budget.

These so-called "payments for individuals" (as the OMB calls them) are projected to account for 67.9% of all federal spending this fiscal year and consume 14.4% of the nation's gross domestic product.

Again, no mention of Trump or Republicans -- despite vaguely huffing that "The people who run our government are truly record setters — when it comes to taking money from one group and giving it to another" -- and again there's a stock photo that included Pelosi.

More budget-related huffing came in an Oct. 28 article:

The amount of money the federal government collected in individual income taxes and the total amount of money the federal government spent both set records in fiscal 2019, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement released Friday afternoon.

However, even while collecting a record amount in individual income taxes, the federal government still ran a deficit of $984,388,000,000 during the fiscal year.

The template was followed again: no mentionof Trump or Republicans, and a stock photo featuring Pelosi even though she's never mentioned in any of these articles either.

Jeffrey returned to the subject again in his Oct. 30 column, and he misportrayed the situation by arguing that Republicans and Democrats share equal blame for the deficit situation:

The leaders of both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party in the U.S. Senate proved again this week that they favor a bigger federal government that spends and borrows more money.


Congress is continuing what is now a bipartisan tradition.

In the first two decades of the 21st century, real federal spending has increased by 70.7%.


When Republicans and Democrats work together in Washington, D.C., today, it is not to cut a bloated federal government but to cut the chances this nation will be solvent and prosperous for our children and grandchildren.

But Jeffrey still couldn't bring himself to utter the word "Trump," even though the president signs those buget bills he considers too bloated and, thus, is ultimately responsible for them.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:09 AM EST
Monday, November 4, 2019
AIM Joins MRC In Embracing Tulsi Gabbard to Bash Hillary
Topic: Accuracy in Media

We've highlighted how the Media Research Center embraced liberal Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard as an excuse to engage in Clinton Derangement Syndrome yet again by bashing Hillary Clinton for criticizing her. Accuracy in Media got in on that action as well in an Oct. 21 post by Spencer Irvine:

Hillary Clinton recently floated a conspiracy theory on a podcast, insinuating that Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is a “Russian asset.” Gabbard is currently running for president on the Democratic Party ticket, although a long shot, and has been an outspoken voice against U.S. interventionist policies in places such as Syria in the Middle East.


Gabbard is an Iraq war veteran and currently a major in the Hawaiian Army National Guard, and has served in Congress since 2013. Yet, she has fought back against claims that she is a Russian asset, primarily against the New York Times in the recent primary debate. Clinton’s insinuation agreed with the New York Times’s comment, when the newspaper wrote, “She is injecting a bit of chaos into her own party’s primary race, threatening to boycott that debate to protest what she sees as a ‘rigging’ of the 2020 election. That’s left some Democrats wondering what, exactly, she is up to in the race, while others worry about supportive signs from online bot activity and the Russian news media.”

As much as Never Trump and Democratic Party lawmakers criticized President Donald Trump for conspiracy theories, there is little outcry over Hillary Clinton joining in on the conspiracy theory bandwagon. It is hypocritical that Trump is blasted for conspiracy theories, but Clinton is left unscathed. Yet the mainstream media will focus on Gabbard, instead of the broader picture that Clinton engaged in a conspiracy theory about a current presidential candidate, even though that candidate is a longshot to become the party nominee.

Irvine never actually tries to disprove Clinton wrong, beyond citing Gabbard's military experience. Even the MRC conceded Clinton has a point (albeit before Clinton made her comment, after which it too went on a Clinton-bashing spree).

Of course, AIM is no stranger to promoting conspiracy theories -- we haven't forgotten the Cliff Kincaid years, even if AIM currently wants to.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:27 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, November 5, 2019 12:00 AM EST
Facebook-Bashing MRC Goes To Defense Mode After It's Revealed Zuckerberg Sucked Up To Bozell
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has been waging a prolonged war on Facebook for allegedly discriminating against conservatives and their viewpoint (despite the fact that the evidence to support that is cherry-picked and circumstantial at best). But as it did when it was revealed that Facebook was sucking up to conservatives in order to stop the baseless attacks, the MRC went into defense mode when more sucking up was disclosed.

An Oct. 14 Politico article reported that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had been hosting "informal talks and small, off-the-record dinners with conservative journalists, commentators and at least one Republican lawmaker" -- one of which was MRC chief Brent Bozell. That sent the MRC into defense mode.

An Oct. 15 MRC post by Corinne Weaver put a "liberals pounce" frame on it: "The intolerant left has a long list of things they consider unforgivable sins. One of them includes simply talking and dining with those on the right." Kyle Drennen touted how it was "surprising" that CBS This Morning "co-host and Democratic donor Gayle King was quick to defend the practice, asking, 'What’s wrong with that?'"

Alex Christy, meanwhile, complained that MSNBC called out the meetings:

A Silicon Valley liberal meeting with conservatives to discuss a relevant controversy, how horrible. They can't stand that. 

Any good liberal guardian of the "truth," or the news, should not be kowtowing to conservative demands of neutrality. At least that is how MSNBC sees it.

The way these writers addressed the conflict of interest in their boss being a part of this story varied widely. Weaver disclosed that Bozell met with Zuckerberg; Drennen didn't disclose the current meetings but noted that "In May of 2016, NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center president Brent Bozell, along with several other conservative leaders, met with Zuckerberg to discuss concerns of anti-conservative bias on the social network"; and Christy didn't mention his boss at all.

Bozell, meanwhile, tweeted out his own justification for the meetings:

Leftists at Facebook are actively working with leftist groups to advance their leftist agenda.

Zuckerberg hosts a couple of meetings just to HEAR from a handful of conservatives - and the far left is condemning him for it.

Leftism. Fascism.

What's the difference?

The issue that all these MRC writers conveniently ignore is that, as Media Matters' Parker Malloy pointed out, all these meetings with conservatives won't stop them from attacking Facebook -- the narrative is too strong and lucrative, and it will continue no matter how many times Facebook caves to their demands, even as research continues to prove that there's no systematic anti-conservative bias at Facebook.

Now, the MRC did praise Facebook for deciding not to censor political speech or fact-check political ads on the platform. Drennen claimed that "The disturbing irony of the news media that make their living from the First Amendment actually being upset by a social media company refusing to censor political speech is stunning," while Weaver framed the decision as Facebook deciding not to "define and correct what the platform calls hate speech."

But a couple days after that, it was back to attack mode, as Alexander Hall complained: "In the latest incidence of Big Tech being in bed with liberals, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife have been caught recommending campaign hires to a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. Hall waited until several paragraphs later to concede that "Zuckerberg had recently held private meetings with conservative leaders to address their concerns," though he didn't disclose that one of those "conservative leaders" was his boss.

Hall followed up with another post complaining about Facebook's new "news" tab curated by an editorial team, ranting: "Much like asking 'who fact-checks the fact-checkers,' the question of 'who curates the curators' will likely be on conservatives’ minds. After all, based on Facebook’s troubled history with truth, conservatives would be right to be concerned about their commitment to free expression."

Meanwhile, Zuckerberg's Oct. 18 sit-down interview with Fox News was completely ignored by the MRC.

Then the tone flip-flopped again in an Oct. 30 piece by Weaver headlined "Media War on Muckerberg" and unironically whining: "The media are opposed to anything that remotely resembles a neutral approach. So when Facebook decided to leave political ads from politicians untouched, the liberal news media declared war." Not a word, of course, about the MRC's war on Zuckerberg and the fact that too doesn't want a "neutral approach" -- it obviously wants Facebook to share its right-wing bias.

In sum: The MRC will always find a reason to attack Facebook, no matter how many times it's been demonstrated there's no anti-conservative bias or how many times Zuckerberg buys Bozell dinner.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:43 PM EST
Updated: Monday, November 4, 2019 7:54 PM EST
WND's Klayman Has Extremist Laura Loomer As A Client
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Larry Klayman devoted his Oct. 18 WorldNetDaily column to his newest client, Laura Loomer, whom he calls "a brave activist fighting to advance the truth, speaking truth to power, and opposing threats to our country" -- not to mention her current campaign for a Florida congressional seat, touting her fundraising "while being banned from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, PayPal and Venmo and being systematically suppressed by Google." He further lionnized his client:

Loomer exposed the New York City Public Theatre portraying the assassination of Donald Trump. Loomer's investigative journalism has uncovered fraud and corruption within the Hillary Clinton campaign, Islamic extremism on college campuses, flaws and loopholes within the U.S. immigration system and widespread voter fraud. Loomer uncovered surprises about the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

But as a Jewish woman, Loomer puncturing the public relations balloon around Shariah law, treatment of women in Muslim countries and the public relations campaigns of jihadists made her a pariah among the news media.

Um, no. If Loomer is considered a "pariah" at all, it's because of her extreme Islamophobia and penchant for promoting dubious conspiracy theories. She's so Islamophobic, in fact, that she's been banned for Uber and Lyft for loudly complaining she couldn't find a driver who wasn't a Muslim. The "surprise" Loomer supposedly "uncovered" about the Las Vegas massacre was promnoting a bogus conspiracy theory claiming that the man who happened to be staying in the room next to that of the shooter was the shooter's accomplice. And Loomer's "expos[ing] of the theater production "portraying the assassination of Donald Trump" -- actually, a production of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" with the title character wearing a suit and red tie -- consisted merely of loudly disrupting one production, getting herself arrested in the process. (We don't recall her getting so bothered about a different production of "Julius Caesar" where the title character looked like President Obama.)

That's the kind of person Klayman prefers to hang around with and represent in court.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:21 AM EST
Sunday, November 3, 2019
MRC Sells Mailing List To Firm Using Sexual Harasser O'Reilly As Spokesman
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has gotten a lot of mileage over the past month by embracing Ronan Farrow's account of how his story of harvey Weinstein's sexual harassment was spiked by NBC, even as NBC "Today" host Matt Lauer would eventually lose his job over similar harassment allegations. (Never mind that the MRC couldn't work hard enough to attack Farrow over his investigation into Brett Kavanaugh's past, declaring it a "questionable hit piece.")

But while the MRC has been giving heavy play to the NBC story, it's been renting its mailing list to a company whose spokesman is a disgraced sexual harasser -- Bill O'Reilly, who lost his job as a Fox News host after it was revealed that both he and the channel paid out millions of dollars in settlement money over claims of sexual harassment against him.

On Sept. 12, MRC subscribers received a message from the Oxford Group in which O'Reilly declared that "I'm the #1 best-selling nonfiction author of all time. And the top-rated cable television host in history. And I'm back in a BIG way." It was a promoting for something called the "Great American Wealth Project," which goal O'Reilly promised was "to help you achieve a seven-figure portfolio as quickly, safely and easily as possible."Viewers of O'Reilly's video would also receive a copy of O'Reilly's new book, which he boastfully claimed includes "Five interviews with the president, including one on Air Force One. Two with Don Jr. It's my best piece of writing of all time."

This was followed on Oct. 25 by another email from the Oxford Club which stated:

At the height of his hit TV show, Bill O’Reilly was reportedly making a staggering $37 million a year.

But today, something incredible has happened to his wealth.

For the first time publicly, Bill comes clean about it in this video.

It’s a stunning admission...

And one that anyone who wants to grow and protect their money in retirement needs to hear.

There's no mention of the fact that paying out millions to settle sexual harassment claims, of course. The video is another promotion for the Great American Wealth Project, featuring an interview with someone from the Oxford Club.

As we documented, the MRC was not terribly outraged by the harassment allegations against O'Reilly, serving up only perfunctory denunciations (though not so harsh that it kept MRC official Tim Graham from being a guest on the final edition of his Fox News show), suggested the charges weren't true, then gave O'Reilly a platform to let him complain that he was the victim of a "hit job"-- something the MRC would never have done for the likes of Lauer and Weinstein.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:48 AM EDT
CNS Promotes Right-Wing Extremist's Wacky Anti-Pelosi Petition

In January, CNS' Craig Bannister promoted a petition on the White House "We the People" website, "created by a person known only as M.G.," demanding that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi be impeached for treason, touting how 12 days after its creation"the petition had garnered more than 130,000 signatures – enough to earn a response" from the White House.

The petition, devoid of supporting evidence, is pure wackiness:

Nancy Pelosi is a TRAITOR to the American People!
The Constitution defines, "Treason against the US.. ..adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort." Illegal aliens are enemies that invade our country with drugs, human trafficking, and terrorist causing death and crime to American citizens. Nancy Pelosi adheres to these enemies by voting for and providing them aid and comfort through Sanctuary policies funded by US citizen tax dollars, and refuses to protect American people by refusing to fund our border wall, leaving our borders open and unsafe. Pelosi refused to meet with Angel families, caused the government shut down then traveled on US dollars to Hawaii and Puerto Rico while 800,000 Fed workers don't get paid, and uninvited Trump for SOTU. IMPEACH Pelosi for treason!

Yet Bannister thought this was of significant enough importance to devote an article to. So much so, in fact, that he did another article on it on Oct. 23, giving it the same undeserved serious coverage:

A White House website “We the People” petition calling on Congress to “IMPEACH Pelosi for treason!” has garnered more than a quarter-million signatures to-date.

As of Wednesday, October 23, 2019, more than 260,000 people have signed the petition to impeach House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) created January 18, 2019 on the “We the People” website - more than two and a half times the minimum of 100,000 required to warrant an official response.

The Georgia woman who created the petition in January, Marjorie Taylor Greene, personally delivered a copy of the petition to Speaker Pelosi’s House office on February 22 of this year. Greene continues to encourage Americans to sign the petition, aided by President Donald Trump’s recent calls for Pelosi’s impeachment for the way she has conducted her impeachment inquiry of him.

Since posting the petition, Greene – a business owner, wife and mother – has launched a campaign to become the Republican House candidate for Georgia’s 6th district.

Bannister won't tell you, however, that Greene is a far-right activist -- enough of one to have earned a profile from the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC states that Greene has been livestreaming her various stunts on Facebook (of which her delivery of the Pelosi petition was just one), where she "uses a cheery persona and smiles to sugarcoat a message of intolerance toward different targets – all based on the opportunity for publicity. She hangs out with Islamophobic extremists like Laura Loomer as well as anti-government militia leaders, and she has also heckled survivors of the Parkland school massacre as "brainwashed" for pushing to change gun laws.

CNS has previously given free publicity to other Republican presidential candidates. 

Posted by Terry K. at 11:24 AM EDT
Saturday, November 2, 2019
MRC's Double Standard on Repeating Talking Points
Topic: Media Research Center

Bill D'Aogstino intoned in an Oct. 17 post:

Television journalists these days sound so similar to Democrats on impeachment that it's nearly impossible to tell them apart. Weeks before the impeachment inquiry was even announced, talking heads were passing off Democratic talking points as objective information about the President's alleged wrongdoing.

What follows is a compilation video of some of the liberal media's greatest minds spouting DNC talking points. These journalists have not had their words taken out of context while attempting to summarize the Democrats’ position. Whether or not they they were intentionally regurgitating the words of Democrats, they did so without attributing their words to anyone.

First: There's a rich irony in the MRC accusing the media of following Democratic talking points, given how much in lockstep the MRC is in following Trump White House talking points on the Ukraine scandal. Indeed, the very act of accusing the media of following Democratic talking points is itself a Trump White House talking point that D'Agostino is eagerly parroting.

Second: D'Agostino is misleading here by claiming that all these TV statements were made by "journalists"; in fact, many of the people in his video were acting as analysts or commentators, not journalists. Carl Bernstein, for instance, hasn't been involved in day-to-day reporting for years.

Third: D'Agostino's claim that "These journalists have not had their words taken out of context while attempting to summarize the Democrats’ position" is an obvious lie. How can a two-second clip of a "journalist" -- some of which are simply sentence fragments -- be anything other than out of context? D'Agostino can't be bothered to supply the sources of his clips so we can judge for ourselves how much in context they are.

But honesty and context are not what D'Agostino and the MRC are trying to engage in. They want clicks from their fellow right-wingers, and they want to defend the president by pushing his talking points.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:07 AM EDT
Friday, November 1, 2019
MRC Sports Blogger Suddenly Wants Sports Folks To Talk About Non-Sports Stuff
Topic: Media Research Center

Mysterious Media Research Center sports blogger Jay Maxson loves to whine about sports figures opining about things other than sports, as his/her Kaepernick Derangement Syndrome makes all too clear, but that's always been a dishonest complaint -- Maxson is only opposed to non-sports opinions are aren't conservative. He has no problem with, for example, a former NFL player making a video for right-wing PragerU arguing against reparations, something conservatives also argue against.

Maxson's double standard popped up again in the controversy over the NBA and China, with Maxson suddenly on the side of sports figures who want to say non-sports things -- that is, when it comes to support anti-China protests in Hong Kong. In an Oct. 9 post, Maxson trashed ESPN -- whom he/she regularly attacks for the crime of not sticking to sports -- by claiming "its television commentators treat the controversy with kid gloves," adding that "ESPN has a working agreement with Tencent, a large Chinese internet company that covers the NBA, and may not want to anger its partners."

Two days later, Maxson criticized the "woke coach" for the NBA's Golden State Warriors for refusing to comment about the NBA-China situation while he "ridiculed President Trump and condemned America for abuses and gun violence. A couple days after that, Maxson touted how a newspaper columnist "took the NBA apart for acquiescing to China's iron-fisted tyrants."

Similarly, Maxson cheered an attack on LeBron James over a not-very-good statement regarding China, then trashed someone who defended him.

The NBA and some players didn't exactly handle the China situation well. But Maxson merely showed his same old double standard.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:39 PM EDT
CNS Still Loves DiGenova's Insult Comedy -- But Censors His Involvement In Ukraine Scandal

We've documented how enamored has become with the insult-comedy stylings of right-wing lawyer Joe DiGenova. He's contributed a couple more to the ouvere over the past few months, lovingly documented by CNS managing editor Michael W. Chapman:

What you're not going read about from Chapman or anyone else at CNS, however, is the involvement of DiGenova and his wife, Victoria Toensing, in the Ukraine scandal for which President Trump is being scrutinized (and which Chapman uncritically let DiGenova bizarrely denounce as "regicide").

In late September, Fox News -- on which DiGenova and Toensing are frequent guests -- reported that the pair were working with Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani in an off-the-books operation to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, with the apparent knowledge of Trump. (They deny that Trump knew about it.)

A few days later, it was revealed that DiGenova and Toensing are representing Dmitry Firtash, a Ukranian oligarch fighting extradition to the U.S. on bribery charges. It was later discovered that Firtash has paid the pair around $1 million for their defense, while he was also helping Giuliani dig up Biden dirt.

It has since turned out that another of DiGenova and Toensing's clients is John Solomon, who has been writing pro-Trump stories spinning away the Ukraine scandal for The Hill (which he recently left). DiGenova has apparently been leaking information from Firtash to Solomon for publication.

You'd think all this intrigue would be worthy of news, and it is -- or it would be if you're not a pro-Trump outlet like CNS and looking to curry favor with the president.

CNS is very much sticking to the Trump White House's preferred narrative on the Ukraine scandal, and telling readers the full truth about DiGenova does not align with that narrative.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:25 AM EDT
Thursday, October 31, 2019
AIM Hires Ex-Project Veritas Staffer As New President
Topic: Accuracy in Media

An Oct. 18 Accuracy in Media post proclaimed:

It has been an incredible 50 years for Accuracy in Media. Founded in 1969 by the legendary Reed Irvine, we have successfully educated millions of Americans about radical bias in the mainstream media.

However, fake news is proliferating more than ever, and not just among traditional media outlets. Social media titans like Facebook and Twitter have become the most popular places to consume news — but they are openly blocking freedom-oriented viewpoints from being shared. For that reason, our organization is making a change of direction, and we are thrilled to announce a change of personnel.

We have hired Adam Guillette, the new president of Accuracy in Media. Adam previously served as a vice president for James O’Keefe and Project Veritas. In that capacity, he helped grow their budget from $5.5 million to more than $11 million in just two years, while also enabling Project Veritas to expose CNN, Google, Facebook and Twitter. Prior to that Adam launched the Florida chapter of Americans for Prosperity; defeating over $320 million in tax increases.

This is not too much of a surprise, given that AIM has promoted and defended Project Veritas' questionable antics for years-- even defending O'Keefe's biggest screw-ups.

A 2010 post by the pseudonymous "Jonah Knox" (who also wrote anti-Obama screeds for AIM) tried to whitewash a notorious incident in which O'Keefe planned to lure a female CNN correspondent onto a boat filled with sex toys and film his attempted seduction of her. Knox at first dismissed it by claiming that "O'Keefe never actually did anything," adding that "There are legitimate questions one could ask O’Keefe about what he may have intended to do. But these are all questions about what did not occur." Knox then justified it anyway because CNN was working on a program about young conservative activists and "CNN clearly has a left-wing agenda that has no place for conservative ideas or conservatives themselves—other than when they can use conservatives to push the leftist narrative of right-wing 'hate'"; he then attacked conservatives for backing away from O'Keefe over the incident and insisting that "James O’Keefe deserved our support in the face of the CNN assault against him."

So, yeah, Guillette will likely fit in well at AIM.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:15 PM EDT
MRC Embraces Russian-Linked Gabbard To Bash Media, Hillary
Topic: Media Research Center

Conservatives hae long loved Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard for being useful to their agenda. And moving in lockstep with its "news" division, the MRC proper is boosting her because she's attacking conservative-friendly targets.

In an Oct. 5 post, Curtis Houck cheered when Gabbard "took a giant whack at the liberal media during Tuesday night’s 2020 Democratic debate, taking issue with debate partners CNN and The New York Times as being overly hostile due to her foreign policy views." It wasn't until a few paragraphs later taht Houck conceded that those outlets might have a point, admitting that "much has been written about Gabbard’s closeness to despicable Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, her skepticism about Assad’s culpability in chemical weapons attacks, and acknowledging how Russian bots and Russian media have praised her." But apparently that's all good in Houck's eyes because "she knocked the two far-left media companies running the debate."

It goes to show how utterly skewed Houck's political lens is -- warped from years at the MRC -- that he considers CNN and the Times to be "far-left."

Yet when Hillary Clinton pointed out that Gabbard is "the favorite of the Russians" and may be groomed by them to become a third-party presidential candidate next year -- you know, basically what Houck conceded to be true about her -- the MRC ran to Gabbard's defense, or at least used the accusation to have a collective fit of Hillary Derangement Syndrome.

Nicholas Fondacaro went into full-blown derangement meltdown mode, declaring that "any rational person who listened to Hillary Clinton’s recent suggestion that Congresswoman and combat veteran Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) was a Russian plant in the 2020 election understood it to be the ramblings of a person unglued," calling them "baseless smears" (didn't he read Houck's post?) and bizarrely insisting that the media didn't report on the claims to his satisfaction "possibly to keep such an accusation as a viable smear against President Trump."

P.J. Gladnick didn't dispute Clinton's claim, but he did baselessly speculate it was made "because Hillary needs yet another excuse why she lost due to the Russians." Mark Finkelstein, meanwhile, tried to play down Gabbard's Russian ties, complaining that an MSNBC segment identified only three Russian sympathizers who have donated to Gabbard's campaign: "an NYU professor; someone who has actually been arrested by Russian authorities; and [an RT employee using the alias] Goofy Grapes."

Kristine Marsh echoed Fondacaro's Clinton derangement:

The media’s happily taking their marching orders from Hillary Clinton again, since she’s thrust herself into the spotlight in recent weeks, even parroting her shocking claim that 2020 Democrat candidate Tulsi Gabbard is a “Russian asset.” The View hosts similarly were shameless in their praise over Clinton’s “deep knowledge” and accuracy, even claiming she had been “exonerated” and “was right about almost everything.”

Meanwhile, Houck forgot he substantiated how "Russian bots and Russian media have praised her" just a few days earlier and pretended Hillary said a terrible thing as an excuse for the usual lame MRC media-bashing:

Appearing twice in as many days on CNN, The Hill’s Rising co-host and former MSNBC host Krystal Ball attempted to breakthrough the CNN machine and their establishment crowd by calling out Hillary Clinton for referring to 2020 Democrat, Congresswoman, combat veteran, and Hawaii Army National Guard Major Tulsi Gabbard as a Russian asset.

Further, Ball attempted to make the argument that if droves of people were repeatedly accused of being Russian assets or ideas or campaigns were deemed Russian-backed, then nothing is. Unfortunately, CNN’s Zuckerbots weren’t interested in this point of view.

The MRC also published a column by Cal Thomas accusing Hillary of having "offered no evidence to support her allegations" and defending Gabbard as someone "who joined the military shortly after 9/11" and who "fired back in the take-no-prisoner style of President Trump," then baselessly whining that "It appears Clinton cannot get over her 2016 election defeat and so she blames everyone but herself."

This is what happens when mindless bashing of the media and the Clintons comes before intellectual or ideological consistency.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:18 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE -- Working the Refs: Debate Division
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center follows the same template for every Democratic presidential debate: Attack the moderator's purported "liberal bias" beforehand, then pick out questions afterwards to try and prove that the so-called analysis was correct. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 2:30 PM EDT
CNS Reporter's Copy-And-Paste Defense of Trump

President Trump's most aggressive defender at is reporter Susan Jones. Over the past month or so, Jones' idea of defending Trump over the Ukraine scandal has been adding chunks of the transcript of the phone call between Trump and Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky to various CNS articles.

A Sept. 27 article by Jones complained that Rep. Adam Schiff, "with a straight face and no hint of a smile," was being criticized for "attributing words to President Trump that Trump never said." by serving up a parody version of the phone call. Jones responded by stating that "Here is what Trump said, according a memorandum summarizing the call," followed by several paragraphs of transcript" while helpfully inserting editorial comments like "Note that the 'favor' involves the origin of the Trump-Russia investigation" and "Note that Zelensky brings up Giuliani."

Jones also uncritically passed along Trump's transcript reference to Crowdstrike without mentioning that he's pushing a conspiracy theory.

In an Oct. 1 article ostensibly about Democrats seeking censure of President Clinton instead of impeachment, Jones again complained that Schiff was "misrepresenting what Trump said -- making Trump’s words sound sinister -- in Schiff’s opening statement at last week’s committee hearing," then added that approximate section of phone call transcript, again inserting a "note that Zelensky brought up Giuliani’s name and referred to 'all the investigations.'"

On Oct. 2, Jones groused that "Democrats, including their liberal media amplifiers, are making much of Mike Pompeo's reluctance to say whether he was listening to President Trump's July 25 phone call to Ukraine President Zelensky, copying and pasting the same selection of transcript from the previous day.

Jones took a break from wholesale transcript insertion for a while, then returned with an Oct. 30 article lamenting that the impeachable offenses Trump is alleged to have committed are so far vaguely defined (as permitted in the Constitution). Jones retorted with a summary of her usual Trump defense:

In his phone call with the newly elected Ukraine president on July 25, President Trump asked Zelensky to "do us a favor" that involved Ukraine's role in the Trump-Russia investigation. The "favor" had nothing to do with Joe Biden or his son Hunter.

Later in the conversation -- after Zelensky mentioned Rudy Giuliani and assured Trump that "all investigations will be openly and candidly" -- Trump said:

... followed by three paragraphs of cut-and-paste transcript.

Jones did punt on the transcript-pasting in an Oct. 29 article, linking to the White House website's version of the transcript and stating only that "The summary of Trump's phone call with Ukraine President Zelensky can be read here in its entirety." Shelater wrote up in normal journalistic style "the part of the phone call that sent Democrats into impeachment overdrive," then editorialized (in bad journalistic style): "The 'swamp' that Trump supposedly drained is now rising up against him, with the full support of Democrats and the liberal media."

(Weirdly, in none of these articles does Jones use Zelensky's first name -- too difficult to spell, apparently.)

But Jones' reliance on the White House-released transcript of the phone call may prove to be folly. On top of the transcript not being a fully accurate one -- it's based on "notes and recollections" of staffers who listened to the call -- one of the persons who actually listened to the call, National Security Council staffer Alexander Vindman, testified that he tried but failed to make the transcript more accurate by adding Trump's reference to the name of the company Joe Biden's son had worked for.

Jones wasn't the only CNS writer to rely on the transcript; a Sept. 25 article by Melanie Arter on the release of the transcript included lengthy copy-and-paste sections.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:43 AM EDT

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