Yet, apparently, counting the number of times a certain word is used is somehow not an obsession.
Scott Whitlock turned in that old MRC staple, the stopwatch count, in a strategically boldfaced Oct. 1 post:
In just ten days (September 20 through September 30) the broadcast networks overwhelmed their evening and morning shows with more than 7 hoursof coverage devoted to a whistleblower’s complaintabout President Donald Trump’s phone call with Ukranian president Volodymyr Zelensky and the ensuing calls for impeachment.
Only 46 minutes of that coverage referenced Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden’s sweetheart dealwith a Ukranian company. Even when networks mentioned Trump’s concern about Hunter benefiting from his father’s status as Vice President, they were quick to dismiss the allegations with the refrain: “no evidence of any wrongdoing.”
Jump ahead to this month, and the MRC's Nicholas Fondacaro went into full Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy mode -- in an echo of its insistence that the "liberal media" is acting as stenographers for Democrats, a claim that reads like the MRC is taking stenography from the Trump White House -- baselessly portraying news reports noting that Nancy Pelosi had decided to call Trump's quid pro quo to Ukraine "bribery" as an endorsement of the term and of Trump's impeachment in general:
At a Thursday press conference, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) essentially authorized the use of the word “bribery” to describe President Trump’s phone call with the president of Ukraine. The broadcast networks gushed about her use of the word and showed their approval by roundly noting that bribery was an impeachable offense explicitly laid out in the Constitution.
Perhaps “bribery” should be added to the list of shared talking points between the media and Democratic Party.
Kyle Drennen followed up with a body-count piece, headlined "Nets Follow Pelosi Marching Orders: ‘Bribery’ Mentioned 43 Times." He insisted that every singhle mention of the word -- no, really, "all of it" -- was "designed to boost the impeachment crusade against Trump." He also claimed that "journalists seem to be just as eager as partisan Demcorats to throw around the serious criminal charge without any substantiation," even though the quid pro quo Trump is alleged to have engaged in with Ukraine is a form of bribery.
CNS Touts How 'Pelosi Caves' On Impeachment Vote -- But Much Less Cheering About The Vote Topic: CNSNews.com
When House Democrats agreed to hold a formal vote on an impeachment inquiry into President Trump, CNSNews.com immediately found a pro-Trump angle by arguing capitulation to the president. The headline on an Oct. 28 post by Craig Bannister read, "Pelosi Caves to Republican Demands for Impeachment Vote, Transparency, Due Process, Rules." He continued:
Even though President Donald Trump’s call for a full House vote on Democrats’ impeachment inquiry “has no merit,” the vote will take place, anyway, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) declared Monday.
“Multiple past impeachments have gone forward without any authorizing resolutions,” Rep. Pelosi said in a letter to her Democrat [sic] colleagues announcing that a full House vote will be held this week, reportedly, on Thursday. The resolution “affirms the ongoing, existing investigation that is currently being conducted by our committees,” Pelosi writes. But, as The Wall Street Journal reports, "This isn't a vote to authorize starting an impeachment inquiry."
But when the actual vote took place, there was much less enthusiasm, even though its passage in the Democratic-controlled House was never in doubt. So unenthusiastic was CNS that editor in chief Terry Jeffrey couldn't even be bothered to add much of his operation's trademark bias and wrote a longish, relatively straight and balanced Oct. 31 article on the vote.
But don't worry -- Melanie Arter served up a much more biased version focusing on Trump White House complaints about a purported lack of due process, despite the fact that due process is generally not granted during the investigation phase of any criminal proceeding (which, of course, Arter failed to mention).
Newsmax's Ruddy Defends His Buddy Trump on Impeachment Topic: Newsmax
Twenty years ago, Christopher Ruddy and his Newsmax operation were rabidly anti-Clinton and supported his impeachment. Now, he's trying to save his buddy, Donald Trump, from the same impeachment fate. Ruddy declared in his Oct. 20 column:
If you can’t beat him, destroy him.
That’s the Democrats' game plan when it comes to the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
I spoke with the president shortly after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s nonsensical impeachment announcement.
To me, it was so clear this was nothing more than a political act, not motivated by constitutional or legal matters.
Almost from the hours after his stunning election in 2016, the far left went into attack mode, launching protests that very night.
Calls for impeachment began at the time of his inauguration.
The president has been hindered by these actions, and his approval ratings, which should have been sky high, have been dented.
The country has no history of impeaching and removing popular presidents.
The key for Trump, as he faces impeachment, is to use the same playbook he’s employed since he started as a rising business, entertainment and political star: just remain popular.
Unmentioned by Ruddy: Bill Clinton was a popular president at the time he was impeached.
On Nov. 1, Ruddy took a different defense approach: Trump is being impeached for being too good of a president:
Donald Trump may make history once again.
He is on track to become the first U.S. President to be impeached for being too successful.
Yesterday’s House vote, along party lines, is setting in motion a plan to impeach the President because his record is so strong the Democrats can’t beat him at the ballot box.
Unable to deal with the President’s A-plus performance managing the country, the Democrats have launched yet another “allegation in search of a crime” probe. (A phrase I coined to describe the Mueller investigation.)
Again, Ruddy did not mention Clinton, who presided over significant economic growth during his presidency. He did, however, weirdly try to throw President Reagan under the bus, claiming Trump "pales in comparison" to the Iran-contra scandal, adding that "Donald Trump’s involvement in the Ukrainian matter looks like small potatoes compared to Iran Contra, where laws were clearly broken."
Then, in an italic-laden Nov. 15 column in which every sentence is its own paragraph, Ruddy does his best to spin away the impeachment hearings:
Hey, are you seeing these hearings?
They don't have anything.
It's come down to someone hearing the president on the phone with Sondland.
In a crowded Kyiv restaurant. But still hearing every word.
Then there is another person who amazingly heard Trump too.
Trump wanted "investigations."
Trump always wanted investigations.
Long before his "call" with Zelensky, he openly and publicly complained about the Bidens' role in the Ukraine.
Almost two months since the impeachment inquiry, we're just discovering this is "bribery."
But a quid pro quo, per se, is not bribery.
Finally, two things resonate with me.
First, Steve Bannon is looking like a prophet.
At the White House, all he talked about was cycling out the Obama holdovers from the NSC.
“We're going to have big problems," he would warn, seeing danger if Trump staffers were not brought into the NSC.
I heard it myself.
And then there's Trump.
The legendary Ben Hogan said a great golfer isn't defined by his best shots, but by his best "bad shots."
He always makes the best bad shots.
He has a track record of making miracles out of messes.
MRC Blogger Can't Handle Criticism of Right-Wingers Topic: NewsBusters
Clay Waters used to run the Media Research Center's New York Times-bashing operation with a particular obsession with complaining that conservatives were being labeled as conservatives, but these days he's just another NewsBusters blogger who likes to whine that conservatives face scrutiny in the media.
An Oct. 27 post by Waters whined about the idea of censoring extreme hate online:
New Yorker staff writer Andrew Marantz’s new book, Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation, is a nearly 400-page episode of moral panic about right-wing, anti-Semitic extremists on the Internet, who he blames for ushering in the Age of Trump.
Liberal journalists Jane Mayer and Chris Hayes provided back-cover blurbs, and Marantz has been making the liberal rounds, including Brian Stelter’s podcast, so you know where he’s coming from.
The book itself actually doesn’t go as far as his October New York Times essay, “Free Speech Is Killing Us.” Yes, he means it literally, calling for regulation of hateful social media memes and podcasts and forums on Reddit, which evidently directly caused ethnically motivated massacres in El Paso and Pittsburgh and New Zealand:
In Antisocial, only one extreme is an existential threat. There is nothing on the violence of Antifa, or threats by radical transgender activists against feminists on Twitter, nothing on the anti-Semitic left online. Many of the figures he interacts with in Antisocial have had their own controversies, sometimes involving anti-Semitic or otherwise bigoted remarks. But when he talks to Jesse Jackson there’s no mention of his “Hymietown” comment. He sympathizes with April Ryan, White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, whose bodyguard assaulted a journalist in August (albeit perhaps too late for inclusion in the book) .
There’s nothing on New York Times editor Tom Wright-Piersanti’s anti-Semitic tweets or Times editor Sarah Jeong’s anti-white tweets. The Southern Poverty Law Center is granted credibility, but its libelous “hate” designations of Muslim reformers are skipped. Violent rhetoric directed toward President Trump in works of art and even theNew York Times are ignored. A single example, of a Trumpian Julius Caesar, assassinated by stabbing for the benefit of a Central Park crowd during an outdoor production of the titular Shakespeare play, is hand-waved away as mere “ dramatic catharsis” for Trump haters.
As far as we know, Waters never spilt from his MRC colleagues by criticizing an Obama-esque Julius Caesar assassinated by stabbing for the benefit of a different crowd during an production of the titular Shakespeare play.
Waters closed by whining, "who appointed a left-wing writer in Brooklyn to decide what we should be able to watch, read, and write on social media?" Who appointed the MRC to pass judgment on media?
Then, in a Nov. 2 post, Waters did split marginally from his MRC cohorts by conceding that Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns numerous TV stations across the country, is conservative. Then he complained that the New York Times criticized Sinclair:
The New York Times, which dispenses unlabeled liberal reporting as slant every day, is keeping a wary eye on any conservative competition in the news business, eager to drop the “fake” label on their heads.
Friday’s Business pages included the warning, “Americans Trust Local News. That Belief Is Being Exploited,” by Dartmouth College professor of government Brendan Nyhan, who used to write for a liberal blog called Spinsanity. The URL includes the words “fake local news,” perhaps an artifact of a harsher previous headline.
Nyhan went further, attacking a television news conglomerate (regularly targeted by the Times) that doesn’t follow the left-wing conventional wisdom.
(The mainstream press doesn’t need to coordinate their liberal messages – it has always come naturally to journalists.)
The Times has previously singled out Sinclair as a stand-alone example of political bias in the news, ignoring the broadcast networks, CNN, and MSNBC.
At no point does Waters dispute anything in the Times article -- he simply complains that it was said at all, with the occasional bit of whataboutism.
As far as that last bit of whataboutism goes: CNN and MSNBC don't operate local TV stations, The broadcast networks own some, but not even the MRC has accused those network-owned stations of forcing their local newscasts to air politically biased segments the way Sinclairhasdone.
Charlatan Filmmaker Joel Gilbert Gains Another Fan At WND Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've highlighted WorldNetDaily's embrace of charlatan filmmaker Joel Gilbert's new film on the death of Trayvon Martin, which somehow neglected to tell readers about Gilbert's history of pushing false and otherwise bogus claims. Well, Gilbert has another WND fan in the form of columnist Rachel Alexander, who gushed in a Nov. 6 column:
Filmmaker Joel Gilbert decided to start looking into the Trayvon Martin shooting after hearing Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum say Martin was shot simply because he was wearing a hoodie. Gillum also said it had to do with "stand your ground" laws. Those laws, which almost half the states have, establish a right by which a person may defend himself or others against perceived threats, even up to the point of using lethal force.
Gilbert thinks the situation really had everything to do with self-defense. And why would Gillum bring up Martin so much? He saw that Martin's mother was a big fan of Gillum's. Gilbert decided to get to the bottom of it.
Gilbert got to know George Zimmerman, who shot Martin, and Martin's real girlfriend, Diamond Eugene. Martin was on the phone to Eugene when he was shot. But Gilbert discovered that another woman appeared at the hearing pretending to be Eugene. He decided to produce a documentary exposing this, called "The Trayvon Hoax: Unmasking the Witness Fraud that Divided America."
Following in the footsteps of Jack Cashill and other Gilbert boosters at WND, Alexander didn't tell readers about the fact that his anti-Obama film whose central claim that Barack Obama's mother posed nude for Frank Marshall Davis was discredited so quickly that Gilbert re-edited promotional videos to play down the claim, or that earlier so-called documentaries have been mysteriously reclassifed as "mockumentaries" years after the fact. Instead, Alexander uncritically promotes Gilbert's film, touting how you "rent or buy the movie on Vimeo."
Speaking of Cashill, we've noted that he has suggested he had little role in Gilbert's film, writing in one WND column, "Having written a book on the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin – "If I Had a Son" – I have been following Gilbert's progress with interest. In fact, I introduced Gilbert to George Zimmerman, the man who shot Martin. Turns out his role is much bigger than that.
In an Oct. 23 column for the far-right American Thinker, Cashill wrote: "For nearly a year now I have been consulting with filmmaker Joel Gilbert on his book and film project, each called The Trayvon Hoax: Unmasking the Witness Fraud that Divided America From the beginning, I have been impressed by Gilbert’s diligence in exposing the fraud at the heart of America’s most publicized and racially charged trial since O.J.’s." He denied "having any financial stake in the success of either the book or the film."
It doesn't appear Cashill is interested in telling readers about Gilbert's history of charlatanism either.
MRC's Houck Has Yet Another Acosta Derangement Meltdown Topic: Media Research Center
It's been a while since Media Research Center writer Curtis Houck had one of his epic Acosta Derangement Sydrome meltowns, in which CNN correspondent Jim Acosta get hammered with all manner of histrionic, juvenile insults. But Houck has been triggered once more.
Houck kicked off a Nov. 4 post by declaring that Acosta is "absurdly vainglorious" in the headline. That condescending, sneering tone kept up throughout his piece:
As first noticed by our friend Ryan Saavedra at the Daily Wire, CNN chief White House correspondent and egotistical high-horseman Jim Acosta gave an interview last week to the Canadian outlet TVO and their show The Agenda to promote his narcissistic book, The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America.
The half-hour interview crammed in as many displays of snobbish cliches attacking his critics as possible.
Acosta began by refuting the notion that journalists are “not referees” (despite what Chuck Todd claims and they aren’t there to “just report the news, but defend the truth.”
Yuck. Here again, was another example of a journalist wrapping themselves in the First Amendment as if it only applies to the press instead of everyone.
He then unwound a long diatribe worshipping at the feet of CBS’s Walter Cronkite and his famed Vietnam commentary (click “expand”):
Here would be some fun questions to ask: So are you then arguing for a government of, by, and for the news media? Or, what about a government in which journalists determine what the people can and can’t do with their lives? And how about you just run yourself?
After defending the coverage Trump received after Charlottesville and Helsinki, Acosta flaunted himself by stating, while people might not like journalists, they should get over it because “our job as journalists is to give the American people not just the news, but the truth and the hard truths and the ugly truths.”
He also claimed that journalists face “a tricky balancing act” in their reporting because he and his comrades been “slammed” by “folks on the left”for not sufficiently calling Trump a liar.
Poor, poor Jim.
Houck concluded by huffing that "There’s far, far more nonsense from throughout the 31-minute YouTube clip, so please be sure to check out the transcript below." It seems even Houck is becoming as bored with his mindless Acost-bashing as the rest of us.
CNS Still Cheering How U.S. Admits More Christian Refugees Than Muslims (Which It Always Has) Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com was long distressed that more Muslim refugees than Christian ones were being admitted to the U.S. under the Obama administration, only occasionally pointing out that the numbers may have been skewed because Christian charities tend to handle Christian refugees and, thus, wouldn't be counted in the United Nations totals the U.S. uses. But when President Trump took office, CNS championedhow more Christians were being admitted.
That trend has continued, and CNS couldn't be happier. Patrick Goodenough wrote in a Sept. 6 CNS article:
Eleven months into the fiscal year, almost five times more Christians than Muslims have been admitted into the U.S. as refugees, in sharp contrast to the situation under the Obama administration.
Christians are by far the most persecuted group worldwide. According to Open Doors USA, 245 million Christians around the world, or one in nine, are persecuted for their faith.
Of the 28,052 refugees admitted to the U.S. since FY 2019 began on October 1 last year, 22,281 (79.4 percent) self-identified as Christians and 4,574 (16.3 percent) as Muslims.
Goodenough then conceded (though not explicitly) that his Obama-era fearmongering was incorrect because, contrary to what his reporting suggested at the time, Christian refugees almost always outnumbered Muslim refugees under Obama:
During much of the Obama administration, Christians outnumbered Muslims – although not by large margins – among the far larger refugee admission numbers then prevailing.
In fiscal year 2016, when a total of 84,994 refugees were resettled – the biggest annual intake since 2000 – the balance shifted slightly in the other direction, with Muslims making up 45.7 percent of the total and Christians 44.5 percent. The following year Christians again slightly outnumbered Muslims.
Under President Trump, however, the gap has widened significantly. During the first eleven months of fiscal years 2013-2019, the Christian/Muslim ratio are among admitted refugees was:
FY 2013: 6.2 percent more Christians than Muslims FY 2014: 1.6 percent more Christians than Muslims FY 2015: 4.2 percent more Christians than Muslims FY 2016: 1.7 percent more Muslims than Christians FY 2017: 3.4 percent more Christians than Muslims FY 2018: 54.7 percent more Christians than Muslims
Goodenough went on to tout Trump's proposal for "reducing last year’s record-low refugee admission ceiling by a further 40 percent" in a Sept. 27 article. He then touted more Trump remarks in an Oct. 15 article:
President Trump said at the weekend that his administration has, in contrast to its predecessor, made it easier for Syrian Christians to come to the United States.
The president, speaking at the Values Voter Summit in Washington on Saturday, did not say whether he was referring to refugees specifically, although the totality of the remarks suggested that he was.
“If you were a Christian in Syria – which was a rough place to be – you had almost no chance, during the last administration, of coming into the United States,” he said.
“It was, they say, the hardest thing to do to come into the United States. Number one most difficult place in the world to come in was if you were a Christian in Syria.”
“If you were a Muslim in Syria, it was extremely easy to come into the United States,” Trump added.
It wasn't until the eighth paragraph of his article -- after uncritically quoting Trump -- that Goodenough gently and tentatively pointed out that Trump's assertion was misleading at best, though he never used those words (it isn't like CNS to point out Trump's falsehoods so blatantly, after all), writing that "Syrians of all faiths and ethnicities have suffered during the long and convoluted civil war that broke out in early 2011."
Goodenough didn't note, however, that there is no evidence to back up Trump's claim that Christian refugees from Syria had "almost no chance" of getting into the U.S. Instead, he touted how under Trump "the proportion of self-identified Christians among the refugees admitted into the U.S. has grown markedly, and the proportion of self-identified Muslims has duly dropped."
On Nov. 4, Goodenough highlighted how "Not one refugee has arrived in the United States since fiscal year 2020 began 35 days ago, a State Department spokesperson confirmed on Monday, adding that the last time there had been an “extended pause” in admissions was in November 2001; Goodenough included spin from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the U.S. responds to refugees in other ways, as well as criticism of the low cap.
for good measure, CNS also published a column by Michelle Malkin ranting that the U.S has taken in "enough" refugees, blaming the influx on a "tiny cabal of government contractors, mostly religious groups cloaking their profit-seeking in compassion and Scripture" that purportedly "perpetuates the refugee resettlement racket."
MRC Can't Quite Deal With Nicolle Wallace's Insult of Fox News Host Topic: Media Research Center
MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace insulted a Fox News host, and the Media Research Center isn't quite sure how to handle it.
In an Oct. 29 post, Scott Whitlock wrote that Wallace "lashed out at Fox News host Laura Ingraham, calling her “chickenshit.” Weirdly, Whitlock did not explain exactly why Wallace hurled the insult at Ingraham, noting only that "Wallace played a clip of Ingraham talking about Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, who is testifying in front of the impeachment probe. The MSNBC host attacked Ingraham and her guests Alan Dershowitz and John Yoo for criticizing him." In fact -- according to the transcript of their words that Whitlock did not note anywhere else in his article -- Yoo suggested Vindman was committing "espionage" in his work as a U.S. national security official advising on Ukrainian matters, and Ingraham claimed that Vindman was working "against the President's interests," failing to note that Vindman was working to advance the country's interests.
Whitlock seemed to suggest Wallace had a point, stating that "Vindman has an inspirational life story and has devotedly served his country." But since it's not the MRC's job to agree that any criticism of Fox News is justified, Whitlock went on to attack Wallace by recounting past statements he didn't like: "Wallace is in no position to offer moral judgments. She had to apologize in August after falsely accusing Trump of 'talking about exterminating Latinos.' She has also joked about 'punching' the President and wondered if the Trump women are 'dead inside.'" He then provided a link to an earlier MRC "montage of Wallace’s bizarre, unhinged hate."
Despite a brief bit of clarity on Whitlock's part, it's clear that the MRC will ignore that use Wallace's comment as another way to attack her. In a Nov. 14 post, Kristine Marsh wrote about an appearance by Wallace on Stephen Colbert's late-night show. Showing the intolerance for conservatives who have left the fold that the MRC is known for, Marsh complained that Wallace "has been trying her hardest to prove her allegiance to Democrats by trashing the party she used to work for, at every opportunity she gets. Marsh further complained: "Colbert, who also used to pretend he was a Republican on TV, began by playing the clip of Wallace calling Ingraham and guest John Yoo, “chickensh**.” The audience cheered loudly at her crude quip, while Wallace grinned and put her hands in front of her face as if she was embarrassed by what she said. A pleased Colbert looked on approvingly, and asked if she came on the show to clear things up. Wallace admitted she was only sorry because she got caught swearing in front of her kids."
Of course, Marsh declined to provide the context of Wallace "chickenshit" remark -- probably so she similarly wouldn't have to concede that maybe she had a point.
WND Columnist Embraces A New Michael Flynn Conspiracy Theory Topic: WorldNetDaily
Needless to say, WorldNetDaily wasnotafraid to embrace conspiracy theories about the perjury case of onetime national security adviser Michael Flynn, centered around him purportedly being railroaded into a conviction. Craige McMillan peddled a new one in his Nov. 1 WND column:
Gen. Michael Flynn was taken out by the intelligence agencies after he demanded a financial audit of each agency. Flynn wanted to know where the money was going.
It was a reasonable question, certainly for taxpayers. Yet as with so many questions, it raised others. One was not as obvious: What if an agency managed to spend more money than it was given? How do you explain that? Where does the extra money come from?
Maybe some of our intelligence agencies have little "off the books" sources of income. Maybe some of them aren't so little. Illegal drug trafficking, refugees and human sex trafficking, unauthorized weapon sales, quiet wars in faraway places. What if the intelligence agencies are not only advising American foreign policy – but are rather conducing American foreign policy?
The claim that Flynn was "taken out" in order to stop an audit of the intelligence community is curently being peddled by author Lee Smith as well as Flynn's current attorney, Sidney Powell, who has pushed all sorts of legally dubious craziness on behalf of her client.
Naturally, this feeds into another conspiracy theory McMillan is pushing, the one that insists the "deep state" is trying to take out Trump:
Now do you understand what impeachment is really about? Trump decided not to be a figurehead president. This brings up the question, what are the ties between those clamoring the loudest for impeachment and the intelligence agencies that have become the secret United States government?
The rot in our government likely goes very, very deep; perhaps deeper than most of us can imagine. A free people can never allow themselves to be governed by a secret, unaccountable bureaucracy. Eventually, freedom and the charade of FISA warrants and other phony "protections" will collide with the same reality every totalitarian government has experienced. Either the citizens die in an uprising, or the perpetrators die at the hands of Lady Justice's executioners.
McMillan's column concludes: "Fighting against God's will for humanity is the biggest fool's errand in the universe. Give that some thought this weekend." Which suggests the whole divine-Donald thing that WND loves to claim.
MRC's Graham Cuts Out The Middleman In Pushing Pro-Trump Propaganda Topic: Media Research Center
We've noted how the Media Research Center is a leader is promoting pro-Trump talking points on the impeachment process, even as it (rather lamely and hypocritically) attacks the "liberal media" for allegedly promoting Democratic talking points on impeachment (a complaint that its itself a pro-Trump talking point). It seems the MRC is looking to cut out the middleman of laundering those talking points in its house style and just resorting to pushing them directly.
Democrat presidential front-runner Joe Biden granted an interview to PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff for Friday night's program. The Trump campaign sent around an e-mail decrying "Two Big Lies" in the interview.
Let's not be optimistic that the "independent fact-checkers" like PolitiFact will evaluate these. PolitiFact just gave Biden a "Mostly True" for stating he was one of the poorest senators and poorest vice presidents (that's a comparison of high-income people). PolitiFact acknowledged the Bidens reported making $15 million in 2017-2018.
Graham did try to frame thing as a fact-check he claims other fact-checking orgs don't do, but at no point does Graham closely examing the Trump propganda he's repeating.
One of the things Graham says the Trump campaign apparently claimed was a "big lie" (Graham doesn't supply the email in question, so it's unclear what the exact claim is) was when Biden said he "didn't know" his son Hunter was on the board of the Ukranian company Burisma:
Biden confirmed on CBS's 60 Minutes that he told his son Hunter "I sure hope to hell you know what you’re doing" after learning he'd joined Burisma, and said "What I meant by that is, I hope you've thought this through." Biden claiming that he never discussed business with family members is very hard to believe, especially because foreign companies would hire Biden's relatives as a way of gaining influence with Biden.
So Graham is simply speculating that Joe Biden is lying when he said he"never discussed business with family membersm," saying only that it's "very hard to believe" without providing any evidence it's true.
CNS Promotes Dubious Claim From Even More Dubious Pro-Trump Book Topic: CNSNews.com
Sure, we know CNSNews.com is slavishly pro-Trump, but managing editor Michael W. Chapman took it to an other level in an Oct. 25 blog post that's essentially a press release for a new pro-Trump book:
In best selling author Doug Wead's forthcoming book, Inside Trump's White House: The Real Story of His Presidency, it is revealed that President Donald Trump has been a devoted viewer of Christian television, and evangelical preachers, since the 1980s.
President Trump's good friend Paula White told Wead, "He had watched hours of Christian television [since the 1980s]. And not just watched it, but really listened to the messages. He had retained what he had heard. He could bring it back and repeat it to me. He would say what it meant to him.”
"Trump had watched the Billy Graham telecasts as a boy and had later watched Jimmy Swaggart in the 1980’s," states Wead in the book. "But he especially loved the positive preacher, Norman Vincent Peale. Trump found televangelist Paula White while channel surfing on a Sunday morning in Trump Tower."
"Political writers were always puzzled by his connection to evangelical supporters but it had actually begun early," said Wead.
There is apparently no corroboration for White's claim, since Chapman doesn't mention any. Certainly, there's no evidence that Trump has acted since the 1980s like he believed anything those TV preachers had to say.
There's also more to this story that Chapman apparently didn't feel the need to check into, given that he was writing a press release and not a "news" article. A few days after Chapman's article was published, it was announced that White had joined the Trump administration in an outreach job.
White is an evangelist that promotes the "prosperity gospel," and former George W. Bush administration ethics lawyer Richard Painter has pointed out that White has appealed to her followers to send their first paychecks of the year to her ministry with the vague promise they would be repaid in divine blessing, which he portrayed as a Ponzi scheme. And White's recent book portrays Trump's election as part of a divine plan. (CNS has embraced the divine-Donald narrative.)
But back to Chapman, who clearly has a book to sell so badly he's copy-and-pasting PR copy into his post:
According to the page on Amazon.com, Inside Trump's White House offers a sweeping, eloquent history of President Donald J. Trump's first years in office, covering everything from election night to the news of today. The book will include never-before-reported stories and scoops, including how President Trump turned around the American economy, how he 'never complains and never explains,' and how his actions sometimes lead to misunderstandings with the media and the public.
"It also includes exclusive interviews with the Trump family about the Mueller report, and narrates their reactions when the report was finally released."
Wead's book also contains one massive screw-up (not that Chapman will tell you about that). A Fox News article previewing the book highlighted Wead's claim that the Obama White House held "nonstop PC meetings," which Wead decided meant "political correctness," for intelligence officials. In fact, "PC" meant "Principals Committee," which is the name of the group of top intelligence officials. Wead was forced to walk back the claim and his publisher said it will correct it in the next printing of the book.
These stories about White and Wead are much more interesting and newsworthy than the one Chapman thought you should know about.
MRC Plays Victim On Twitter's Political Ad Ban Topic: Media Research Center
With the conservative war against Facebook failing, it was time for the Media Research Center to redirect its social-media-hates-conservatives narrative to a different company.
In an Oct. 30 post, Alexander Hall attacked Twitter for discontinuing all political advertising on its platform, claiming it kowtowed to a "media crusade to try and push all social media platforms to censor political advertisement in a blatant media attack on President Donald Trump," adding that "The timing of this policy change comes amidst the backlash against Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg from liberals like Sen. Elizabeth Warren and the liberal media for the free speech decision on political ads and allowing outlets like Breitbart to be among Facebook’s curated news sources."
The next day, MRC chief Brent Bozell bizarrely -- though not unexpectedly, since the narrative must be perpetuated -- claimed that the real victims of the Twitter ad ban are, yes, conservatives:
To pretend Twitter is taking the moral high ground in banning political ads is laughable. Twitter sees the backlash Facebook has received for embracing free speech in advertising and with this ban, hopes to force their hand into doing the same.
A key reason organizations and individuals buy ads is to promote an issue that they cannot get covered by conventional means. We have seen how the social media giants have used their content policies to suppress conservative speech. Because of this, liberal messaging dominates Twitter and by restricting ads, Twitter can further limit the ability of conservatives to get their message heard.
By including ‘issue ads’ in this ban, Twitter has given itself the power to draw the lines on what is and is not ‘political.’ Make no mistake, this is not an easily defined space and with Twitter’s history of liberal activism, conservatives should be very concerned.
We missed the part where Twitter said only conservative political ads would be banned. Liberal views would presumably also be affected as well.
So did Jeffrey Lord, who echoed Bozell in a Nov. 2 post by insisting that the ad ban "isn’t about anything other than silencing conservatives," adding, "What [Twitter CEO Jack] Dorsey is really about is silencing conservatives, so that the liberal media — social media and all the rest — can put out their modern day equivalents of that old LBJ 'Daisy' commercial out there and, in Dorsey’s own phrase again, “influence votes to affect the lives of millions.” With the liberal media, as was done in 1964, doing the Democrats work for them."
Bozell and Tim Graham used their Nov. 6 column to rail against the ad ban, at first graciously agreeing to "stipulate from the outset that Twitter should have that right to do so, as should CBS, Comedy Central and the Disney Channel" but then playing the victim card, ranting that "we have seen how the social media giants have used their content policies to suppress conservative speech. By restricting ads, Twitter can further limit the ability of conservatives to get their message heard." The two then conjured up anti-conservative conspiracies: "And with Twitter's history of liberal activism, conservatives should be very concerned. Candidate X will be automatically banned, but what leftist groups will wiggle into that paid space as a nonpartisan "public interest group"?
Graham and Bozell then do the un-conservative thing of pushing for more government regulation of media by contradicting their opening statement that Twitter had a right to ban ads:
Broadcast television networks must, as a matter of law, carry federal candidates' ads. As a matter of policy, we think this regulation is obnoxious and should be removed. Twitter has an even greater reach — and, we believe, influence — than TV. So if the feds force broadcasters to carry candidates, why not apply the same rules to Twitter? They should drop the antiquated broadcast requirements.
Again: The narrative must be perpetuated, even if it means trampling conservative principles to do so.
CNS Slavishly Repeats GOP Spin On Impeachment Testimony Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com has alreadybeen putting a pro-Trump spin on President Trump's Ukraine scandal and subsequent impeachment inquiry. But rarely do you see CNS do a spot-on recitation of Republican talking points as we recently saw.
TPM summed up a Nov. 6 CNN report on remarks by Republican Rep. Jim Jordan:
Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R-OH) reactions to the revised testimony of EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland and the testimony of special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker are night and day.
According to CNN Wednesday, Jordan dismissed the EU ambassador’s revised testimony by saying that “it is Sondland’s opinion.” The three new pages of Sondland’s sworn testimony released Tuesday confirmed that congressionally approved military aid hinged on the Ukrainian government’s public support of an investigation into the gas company that former Vice President Joe Biden’s son sat on the board of and the origins of the Russia probe.
Jordan specifically railed against the section of Sondland’s revised testimony that states that he’d “presumed that the aid suspension had become linked to the proposed anti-corruption statement.” Earlier Wednesday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway took aim at the same section of Sondland’s testimony.
Jordan then argued that Volker’s testimony is a “definitive account.” Volker’s testimony, in which he claims that he wasn’t aware of any quid pro quo, gave an inside account of how Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani pressured the Ukrainian government to help Trump dig up false allegations on his political rivals.
The same day, a CNS blog post by Craig Bannister on remarks by Republican Rep. Lindsey Graham echoed Jordan's talking point that Sondland offered an "opinion" taht differed from the Trump narrative Trmp-conforming while Volker spoke factually:
Sen. Graham also rebuked journalists for ignoring key testimony in favor of anti-Trump opinions – such as reporting that U.S. Ambassador Gordon Sondland changed his testimony to say he now “presumed” that Trump was offering a quid pro quo to the president of Ukraine during a phone call, while ignoring the fact that U.S. Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker testified that Trump did not[.]
Of course, Sondland is not "anti-Trump" -- he donated $1 million to Trump's inauguration committee, which presumably earned him his current post as U.S. ambassador to the European Union.
MRC Tries to Portray GOP Sit-In Stunt As Something Other Than A Stunt Topic: Media Research Center
When Republican members of Congress barged into a closed hearing room with the goal of disrputing a Democratic-led closed-door impeachment inquiry, the Media Research Center was quick to cheer it -- and to defend it against charges it was nothing more than a stunt.
Nicholas Fondacaro framed criticism of the stunt as "an attempt to force House Democrats to hold public hearings for their impeachment investigation" and that those in the "liberal media" who criticized it "were appalled by the idea of transparency for Democrats." Fondacaro also played whataboutism, complaining that "The networks used to be all for dramatic sit-ins that disrupted the business of Congress. But in those days it was to support the Democrats." He linked to a 2016 post of his about a House Democrat sit-in to protest the Republican stalling of gun-control legisation, about which he huffed, "Many are calling their actions a publicity stunt, and they seem to be right." Fondacaro did not cite an example of the "many" who allegedly said that.
Fondacaro rehashed his particular narrative in another post:
Calling for transparency in the impeachment investigation of President Trump, several House Republicans stormed the conference room being used for the hearing and staged an old-fashion sit-in. Transparency was apparently something only demanded of Republicans because the liberal media spent Wednesday decrying the GOP tactic.
It’s interesting what CNN was willing to denounce as a publicity stunt because they fell in love with congressional sit-ins when Democrats were obstructing business for gun control.
It's also interesting that Fondacaro is so desperate to reframe this is something other than a publicity stunt, but he can sure throw around that word when Democrats do it.
In a separate post, Fondacaro expressed his support for the stunt as a way to protest "the shady way House Democrats were conducting their partisan impeachment crusade," the complaing that networks "ignored and minimized their efforts."
Other MRC writers served up something similar:
Kristine Marsh wondered why a commentator who argued that the Republicans should be "criminally investigated" -- not out of line, since the GOP stunt did violate House rules, at the very least -- "didn’t recommend the same harsh punishment for Democrats, who’ve done similar 'stunts.'"
Brad Wilmouth decided that to point out this was a stunt was to be "negative."
Tim Graham took particular offense to one commentator who said "This looked like a Klan group assembled outside a jail trying to get the sheriff to let them in so they could deliver justice to somebody who was inside," fretting that the comment was "mudslinging sleaze." Somebody tell Graham that his boss once likened President Obama to a "skinny ghetto crackhead."
Nobody at the MRC is actually denying this was a stunt; they just don't want it called that.
WND's Zumwalt Mad That Some Won't Credit Trump for Al-Baghdadi's Death -- But He Denied Obama Credit for Bin Laden's Death Topic: WorldNetDaily
James Zumwalt used his Oct. 30 WorldNetDaily column to complain that President Trump wasn't being given enough credit for thte death of ISIS leader al-Baghdadi:
While Democrats and the media rejoiced over the news Osama bin Laden had been killed, giving high praise to then-President Barack Obama, there has been no similar response over the news of Baghdadi's death. The House Democrats forming "The Squad" have refused to give Trump any credit. The media softened headlines, describing Baghdadi not as the mass killer he was but rather an "austere religious scholar"! It is incredible a media source like Newsweek would compare Trump to Hitler while we see no similar comparison made to Baghdadi.
As Kellyanne Conway noted in the wake of media comments putting Baghdadi in a more favorable light than Trump, "The media is angry at the president of the United States for getting rid of the world's worst terrorist. It's like, who is he to interfere while we're trying to impeach him?" Clearly, the media refuse to give Trump a "win" on the Baghdadi raid. Nowhere was this more evident than one pundit arguing it was inappropriate for Trump to call Baghdadi a "coward" since the Muslim madman chose to blow himself up – along with three children. Even the most minor of issues are flagged by the media, which even give space to a claim by Obama's White House photographer the Trump Situation Room photograph was staged. Meanwhile, some Hollywood stars have jumped onboard the anti-Trump bandwagon.
There is something wrong with Democrats and a media refusing to see the fact Baghdadi no longer breathes the same air the rest of us do as a win for Trump in making the world safer. Perhaps a more accurate Genesius headline about Russia investigating whether "any Democrats have ties to the United States" would have been to add in the media as well.
Zumwalt won't tell you that he refused to give President Obama credit for the death of Osama bin Laden. In a May 2018 column, Zumwalt groused that Obama was taking too much credit:
This week marks the seventh anniversary of the raid that killed mass murderer Osama bin Laden. On the evening of May 2, 2011, President Barack Obama announced the Islamic terrorist had been located in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and a U.S. Navy SEAL team sent there had killed him. In what was to be a capture or kill operation, a SEAL opted for the latter when bin Laden resisted, "bravely" using his wife as a shield as he reached for a weapon.The SEALs disposed of bin Laden's body at sea to deny his supporters a land-based memorial to worship.
During his announcement, Obama gave some credit to our special operations forces but seemed to give much more to himself. When he finished, one was left with the impression, based on the extensive number of first-person references made, Obama had been an army of one, obtaining intelligence on bin Laden, locating him, painstakingly organizing the raid and ordering its execution. One was surprised to hear Obama actually did not accompany the SEALs on the operation!
Zumwalt went even further in a January 2017 column, whining that Obama "takes credit for the bin Laden kill, simply for being in the right place at the right time," adding, "While the bin Laden raid provided Obama with a great photo opportunity to look decisive, he has done little to actually be decisive in making the world safer from Islamic terrorism."
If it's somehow un-American to give Trump credit for the death of al-Baghdadi, why isn't Zumwalt un-American for denying credit for bin Laden's death?