MRC Bogus Study Watch Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's signature work of "media research" is a study purporting to gauge how "negative" coverage of conservatives and their causes in the "liberal media" whose methodology is so shoddy and narrowly constructed that it seems to have been devised to create a preordained result. And the MRC was sure to trot it out again as it works to defend President Trump over the ongoing impeachment inquiry.
MRC analysts have reviewed all coverage of President Trump and his administration on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts since 2017. Following the beginning of the impeachment inquiry on September 24, this coverage has been even more hostile than normal: Out of 684 evaluative comments included in these broadcasts, a whopping 96 percent have been negative, vs. a meager four percent that have been positive.
As we've repeatedlypointed out, this study, like earlier ones in this genre, 1) focuses only on a tiny sliver of news -- the evening newscasts on the three networks -- and suggests it's indicative of all media; 2) pretends there was never any neutral coverage of Trump by explicitly rejecting neutral coverage in favor of dishonestly tallying only "explicitly evaluative statements"; 3) fails to take into account the stories themselves and whether negative coverage is deserved or admit that negative coverage is the most accurate way to cover a given story; and 4) fails to provide the raw data or the actual statements it evaluated so its work could be evaluated by others.
What the MRC measured cannot be extrapolated into an evaluation of coverage across the entire broadcast meda -- it excluded cable news, and the MRC never does these kinds of studies on the work of Fox News -- it can't even be extrapolated into an accurate evaluation of the coverage on the three networks since, again, it cherry-picks "explicitly evaluative statements" and ignores all other coverage.
Noyes went on to complain about specific subjects about which Trump received especially "negative" coverage -- impeachment, of couse, as wellas Trump's withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, about which he groused that "journalists routinely framed it as “abandoning” an ally (the Syrian Kurds) in the fight against ISIS."
But fair and accurate reserach isn't what this report is about; using those dubious numbers to get attention from Fox News empire is. Thus, MRC chief was granted twoappearances on Fox Business -- to push those bogus numbers, which he talked about only as "coverage" and the narrowly tailored, cherry-picked numbers from selected sources they are in reality, falsely asserting at one point, "Almost 100 percent of the media coverage is against Donald Trump." Similarly, the MRC's Nicholas Fondacaro referenced the study's finding of "96 percent negative coverage" without the numerous qualifiers that would have made that statement accurate, as did Joseph Vazquez in a later MRC post.
Needless to say, Bozell and Tim Graham devoted their Nov. 13 column to the findings, lying that the numbers reflected the "tone of overall coverage" when it did nothing of the sort; they too omitted a complete listing of the study's bogus methodology.
The latest version of this stock study shows once again that at the MRC, the facts aren't important -- the narrative is.
UPDATE: Speaking of perpetuating the narrative, the MRC's "news" division CNSNews.com contributed to it by devoting an article to a glowing review of the study by the MRC's favorite right-wing radio host, Mark Levin, who absurdly gushed that the the MRC is "a solid organization, come hell or high water." Did the MRC pay Levin to say that?
CNSNews.com is so slavishly devoted to the pro-Trump narrataive on impeachment that it's just lazily rehashing the same Republican talking points.
For instances, an Oct. 31 article by Melanie Arter is headlined "McCarthy: This Is an Attempt to Undo the Last Election and Influence the Next One" and states:
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Thursday the impeachment is not just an attempt to undo the last election, it is an attempt to influence the next one as well.
Speaking on the House floor, McCarthy said “elections have consequences” and Americans “used their vote to choose who will work for them.”
“It is about the integrity of our electoral process. Democrats are trying to impeach the president, because they are scared they cannot defeat him at the ballot box. That's not my words. That's the words of my colleagues from the other side of the aisle that has offered impeachment three different times,” McCarthy said.
“This impeachment is not only an attempt to undo the last election, it is an attempt to influence the next one as well. This is not what Democrats promised when they entered the majority 11 months ago,” he said.
Then, on Nov. 4, Susan Jones wrote an article headlined "McCarthy: Democrats Trying to Change Outcome of 2016 Election and Influence the Next One," stating:
The Democrats' impeachment inquiry is a partisan effort to undo the last presidential election and influence the one coming up, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday.
"Never in our history have we ever moved through with what's such a partisan impeachment movement. This is unheard of," McCarthy said.
"And what they're trying to do -- remember, what is today? November 3. We are exactly one year away from Americans going to the polls to vote for the president. They're trying to change the outcome of 2016 and influence the next one."
That's right: CNS devoted two articles five days apart to pushing the same exact talking point by the exact same Republican politician, albeit in two different places.
That's some serious dedication to pushing a narrative. Or is it just that CNS editors don't actually read the website they work for before posting stories to it?
Alveda King Now Shilling for Trump Over Impeachment Topic: Newsmax
We'vedetailed how anti-abortion activist Alveda King is desending into pro-Trump worship and outright shilling. She went further down that path in her recent Newsmax columns. On Oct. 25, she wrote:
Blessings to Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina for his stand for justice in the case of the current unfair impeachment efforts against President Trump.
Yesterday, Senator Graham introduced a resolution denouncing the current impeachment inquiry into President Trump. He said impeachment is "very dangerous to the country," and that is true.
Please join the battle for justice in support of this effort. Support Sen. Lindsey Graham’s resolution by doing three things:
First, pray that what is being done in secret will be exposed in the light.
Next, get on all your social media platforms and post your support of the resolution and for your support of due process for President Trump.
And, put a call in to your Senators and Representatives, let them know they must honor the rule of law, to put the impeachment proceedings to a vote and for your support of SR 378. Assure them of your support.
She repeated more pro-Trump talking points: "The illegitimate impeachment proceedings lack due process for the president and transparency, as standing members of Congress have been shut out of the hearings, and U.S. citizens are being denied facts while POTUS is denied due process.
I am in Atlanta today with President Trump and it’s been a great day for the president.
There is a lot of support for Trump in Atlanta. We all need to love, forgive, and support our leaders. Through loving our enemies we can all get along. We can have the greatest nation on the planet.
Today we rolled out the “Black Voices for Trump” coalition. There is a lot of energy and excitement in the air. President Trump spoke to a large crowd of supporters along with Vice President Mike Pence and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson.
In his run for the presidency in 2016, in asking for the Black vote — "What do you have to lose?" Since that day, with many promises kept, POTUS has consistently shown us what we have to gain. Now, 3 years later, not only did Blacks not lose anything but we have gained a lot with the unemployment rate being at historic lows and the establishment of opportunity zones to help revitalize struggling neighborhoods. He has also been the most prolife president we have ever had, protecting all life from the womb to the tomb. With Blacks accounting for about a third of all abortions, that’s a lot of Black babies our president is protecting.
So, please pray for us! God is good.
King's prayer for Trump included this bit of worship: "God bless humanity and America with four more years with Donald J. Trump in your hands as our president."
In her Nov. 14 column, King bizarrely framed the impeachment in biblical terms:
This most recent bloodthirsty demand for impeachment, a drive based on lies, secrecy, and hearsay reminds one of a passage in 1 Kings 18.
Let’s examine the passage through 21st century “woke” lenses.
“Then the Truth-seekers said: Let the haters seek impeachment. Let them lay it out on their altar — but don’t ignite it. We will take the truth, lay it before the people. And wait; neither will we light the fire. Now you do your worst; we will do our best. You fan the media furor, we will pray to GOD.
The one who answers with fire will prove to be, in fact, God.
A Challenge from Truth Seekers to America:
“How long are we going to sit on the fence? If GOD is the real God, follow GOD; if it’s the politicians, follow them. Make up your minds!”
Immediately the fire of GOD fell upon the altar of the truth seekers and burned up the offering, the wood, the stones, the dirt, and even the water in the trench. All the people saw it happen and fell on their faces in awed worship, exclaiming, “GOD is the true God! GOD is the true God!
Truth seekers arise. We don’t worship government, we worship God. Overcome impeachment with truth. Pray for America.
It's almost cute how King thinks that an inveterate liar like Trump is a "Truth Seeker."
MRC Defends The Honor Of A Politically Motivated Investigation Topic: Media Research Center
A while back, Attorney General Robert Barr assigned U.S. attorney John Durham with the quest of investigating the origins of the investigation that resulted the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller to look in to possible Russian collusion with the Trump presidential campaign among other possible crimes -- part of the Republican conspiracy theory machine, complete with blatantly obvious political motivation. But the Media Research Center wants you to believe it's all on the up and up and totally not politically motivated.
It is a common refrain on MSNBC in the age of Trump that nobody is above law and to raise questions about investigations into high ranking officials is damaging to our institutions, unless of course that investigations is looking into alleged misconduct during the Obama years, then it is the investigation that is the threat to institutions. Such, was the argument that Andrea Mitchell made on her Monday show alongside former Obama officials Wendy Sherman and Ned Price in a segment that also torched plenty of strawmen in an attempt to described John Durham's investigation into the origins of the Russia probe.
Christy then pointed out that the investigation has the Fox News stamp of approval, since that channel's Bret Baier reported that "John Durham [is] expanding his investigation, the timeline, getting more federal agents, more resources. He then defended Durham's honor insisted the probe was necessary:
Durham, a prosecutor respected by both Republicans and Democrats alike, is not looking into whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election, just about everybody accepts that they did. What Durham is looking into is whether the investigation into an opposition campaign, that eventually led to a special counsel, was justified. Considering that despite years of work, the only indictments that came out of the Mueller probe were either procedural crimes or pre-dated the campaign and that the country was forced to spend two years talking about such salacious and discredited things as "pee tapes," wanting to know if any corners were cut by anti-Trump partisans such as John Brennan and Jim Clapper is perfectly reasonable.
Christy didn't mention that the conservative-lauded Whitewater investigation into President Clinton during the 1990s found no wrongdoing by the Clintons regarding titular land deal, and it wasn't until the investigation moved far afield from its origins that Clinton was busted for lying about sex.
A few days later, Mitchell dismissed the Durham probe again, and this time Kyle Drennen was on board for the lecture and Fox News shout-out:
On her 12:00 p.m. ET hour on Friday, MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell derisively dismissed the Justice Department’s criminal investigation into the origins of the Russia probe as a politically motivated inquiry that was “elevating what had been widely denounced as a conspiracy theory.”
During the panel discussion that followed, Mitchell teed up a clip of former Justice Department official David Laufman accusing the investigation into the Russia probe of having a “political taint.” She then seized on his assertion as she also took a jab at Fox News: “...the whole question that David Laufman raised last night about the taint on this because of all the politics involved and all the conspiracy theories that have been promulgated by one network and by the President.”
It’s pretty stunning that Mitchell would have the audacity to attack Fox, since journalists there have been properly covering the investigation, while she and her liberal media colleagues have either been ignoring the story or downplaying it. In fact, FNC’s Special Report anchor Bret Baier has called out other news organizations for refusing to cover the expanding inquiry into how the Russia investigation began.
Obviously if the origins of the Russia probe were “universally-accepted” there would be no need for an investigation.
The same day, a column by Jeffrey Lord attacked MSNBC's Rachel Maddow for calling Durham's probe "embarrassing":
This, mind you, from the MSNBC conspiracy-theorist-in-chief who has spent the last two years insisting on the Trump-Russia collusion fairy tale. Now, confronted with the real possibility of criminal wrongdoing by the Obama administration and the use of the FBI, CIA and Department of Justice to target an Obama/Clinton political opponent - Donald Trump - Maddow gulps and, but of course, accuses the Trump Justice Department falsely of doing exactly what the Obama Justice Department actually may have done.
It is safe to say that we are in for a series of “breaking news bombshells”, and that based on their performance thus far, the Trump-hating media will be out there frantically trying to discredit them. Not to mention, as those stories out of theTimes and MSNBC indicate, will Attorney General Barr and U.S. Attorney Durham now be dragged through the mud and slimed with charges of doing what in fact Obama officials appear, to have actually done.
Buy the popcorn and settle in.
The MRC is as invested in this probe the way it loved to claim liberals were invested in the Mueller investigation.
WND's Lively Pushes Bogus Film Topic: WorldNetDaily
Scott Lively wrote in a Nov. 4 WorldNetDailiy column:
Years ago I spoke at a Bible conference in Bournemouth, England, which opened numerous doors to missionary adventures for me. One was an area of personal study and travel that greatly expanded my understanding of how Satan and the demonic realm accesses and operates in the physical world. That door was opened during a break in the conference when one of my hosts played "The Rape of Europe," a documentary by British evangelist David Hathaway. The title frames the Greek myth of the rape of Europa by Zeus as a metaphor for the cultural rape of Europe by Islam. That myth, depicted on the euro currency, features Zeus/Satan in the form of a bull with crescent shaped horns being ridden by a woman, Europa.
The Rape of Europe (2002) is a work of compelling scholarship, carefully documenting the demonic origins of the European Union, framed as the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Released before the Soros Open Borders agenda became overt globalist policy, it is also prophetic of today's geopolitical realities.
The film includes commentary about the two primary exhibits of Berlin's Pergamum Museum. The first is the Pergamum Altar, called Satan's Seat in Revelation 2:13. The second is Babylon's Ishtar Gate, historically called the "Gate to Hell" because it is decorated with 337 images of Marduk, the serpent god: 337 being symbolic of Sheol (hell) in Hebrew numerology. In demonology, Marduk (aka Bel, aka Baal, aka Zeus) is Satan, and Ishtar (aka Astarte, aka Ashteroth, aka Europa) is Satan's female consort.
Hathaway argues persuasively that Germany, or more specifically it's political creation called the European Union (established through the Treaty of Rome), is the reemergent Roman Empire predicted in the "four kingdoms" prophecy of Daniel 2. Few Christians today realize that Adolf Hitler's "Third Reich" was the third iteration of the Holy Roman Empire in Europe. Nor is it widely known that the plans for the EU were originally drawn up by Hitler.
Lively also appended a link to the film on YouTube.
Actually, the film that Lively claims is "a work of compelling scholarship" ... isn't. One reviewer wrote: "Unfortunately, nearly everything in the video is untrue—both historically and biblically. There are some facts in the presentation—it is nearly impossible to talk for over an hour without some facts slipping in—but the way it is put together makes us look at the wrong direction."
The reviewer, Marko Joensuu, pointed out that there's "very little if no historical evidence" to support the film's claim that the Pergamum (or Pergamon) Throne is the "Satan's Seat in Revelation 2:13." He then wrote regarding the film's references to the rape of Europa:
First, this kind of mixing of Christian imagery with Greek mythology is deeply problematic, and it has to be justified, as it easily leads to accepting ‘revelation’ from false—even demonic—sources. This kind of mixing of sources has been the Achilles heel of the modern-day prophetic and charismatic movement.
Second, Hathaway’s interpretation completely ignores what is clearly presented in Revelation 17.
Third, it is not historically accurate.
About the Lively-embraced claim about the Pergamum altar, Joensuu wrote:
It is problematic to use Hebrew numerology in prophecy, as it is the study of the occult meanings of numbers. Don’t let the word ‘Hebrew’ in Hebrew numerology deceive you, as it really is an Assyro-Babylonian-Greek system adopted by the Jews that has very little to do with the Bible and a lot more to do with horoscopes and occultism.
But that doesn’t really matter, as the Ishtar gate isn’t actually decorated with 337 snakes at all! Instead, the wall and the gate are decorated with dragons, lions and snakes, symbolising the major gods of Babylon.
Joensuu also blows apart the film's argument that Hitler's third Reich and the European Union were extensions of the Holy Roman Empire:
The historical problem Hathaway faces is the apparent discontinuation of the Roman Empire, as it was destroyed by the Germanic tribes. He solves this problem by claiming that the Roman Empire was in fact never discontinued but that, essentially, any form of German government after the destruction of the Roman Empire presents the continuation of the Roman Empire.
This leads Hathaway to another problem—somehow, he has to link Rome and Babylon with Germany.
Also, Hathaway places the timing of the feet’s destruction with the 2nd coming of Christ, rather than the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus.
But how sound is that interpretation? Not very sound.
To begin with, Daniel would have called any Germanic empire the fifth kingdom rather than the fourth, as that’s the logic of his narrative—one empire taking over another, with their territories overlapping.
Joensuu went on to write that "There are so many historical errors and falsehoods in Hathaway’s presentation that it seems clear that his main sources have been the internet conspiracy theorists." Lively, of course, loves his conspiracy theories, especially anti-gay ones -- he did, after all, write a WND-loved book that bizarrely portrayed the German Nazi Party as "a neo-pagan, homosexual cult" -- so this film is very much up Lively's alley.
Indeed, he highlights the postwar period in Germany "when the United States had de facto ownership of the Seat of Satan as the dominant power of the Allied occupation of Germany until the Berlin Wall went up," adding: "That 1945-61 window is precisely when America was shifted by our Supreme Court under the control of anti-Christian Justice Hugo Black from a biblical to a humanist foundation, and an army of freshly legally empowered militant atheists began systematically dismantling our Judeo-Christian infrastructure from coast to coast."
Yeah, totally not a surprise that Lively would embrace this film.
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.