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Sunday, February 16, 2020
CNS Unemployment Coverage Distortion Watch

There was plenty of not-so-good news in January's employment numbers -- which CNS would have led its coverage with if the president was a Democrat. But because the president is a Republican, Susan Jones dowmplays them in her lead article:

President Donald Trump never misses an opportunity to plug the strong employment picture for which he takes credit, and today he earned more bragging rights:

The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics said the economy created 225,000 jobs in January, well above estimates. BLS says notable job gains occurred in construction, in health care, and in transportation and warehousing.

The number of employed Americans dipped in January to 158,714,000 -- down 89,000 from December's record high.

The unemployment rate ticked up a tenth of a point to 3.6 percent in January.

But the labor force participation rate reached a Trump-era high of 63.4 percent, up from 63.2 percent in December, because the civilian labor force increased by 574,000 in January, after accounting for annual adjustments to population controls, BLS said.*

The asterisk leads to a note that the end of the article that explains the labor force participation rate change seems to be driven by statistical changes.

Similarly, the headline on Craig Bannister's sidebar on Hispanic employment would have focused on the unemployment rate increasing if it was being written under a Democratic president. But because it's Trump, it reads "Hispanic Employment Sets Record, Labor Force Participation Rate Highest Since March 2010 in January."

Still, there was bad news even CNS couldn't paper over. A sidebar by editor in chief Terry Jeffrey actually began with the fact that manufacturing jobs declined by 12,000, but he was quick to  spin that the U.S. "has gained a net of 26,000 manufacturing jobs" and that since Trump's election "manufacturing jobs have increased by 495,000."

Another sidebar by Jeffrey -- a loyal government-hating conservative -- conceded that The number of people employed by government in the United States grew by 177,000 from January 2019 to January 2020." But he made sure not to mention the name "Trump" in this article.

Even as CNS had to admit all this bad news about the economy, it had to pretend it wasn't the case when it came to reporting Nancy Pelosi's comments about the employment numbers. Bannister went into spin mode again:

Despite creation of 225,000 jobs, a 3.6% unemployment rate, a 3.1% increase in earnings over the past year, and extension of the longest economic expansion in U.S. history, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) declared the January employment numbers “the rot at the heart of the Trump economy.”

Because manufacturing pro-Trump spin is more important at CNS than fully reporting the truth.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:34 PM EST
Updated: Friday, January 29, 2021 9:48 PM EST
Saturday, February 15, 2020
MRC Serves Up Evidence-Free Hypocrisy
Topic: Media Research Center

A Jan. 30 Media Research Center post by Joseph Vazquez complained:

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough decided it was a good idea to tout an attack ad against Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) made by the anti-Trump group The Lincoln Project just days later.


MSNBC’s The Morning Joe ran a Jan. 29 segment showing the entirety of The Lincoln Project’s hyperbolic attack ad “Martha McSally Is A Trump Hack.” Scarborough used the clip segment as an opportunity to go after McSally for calling out liberal reporters. Scarborough bloviated: “[McSally’s] going to get on another corrupt president’s good side by yelling at reporters who play it down the middle.” [Emphasis added.]

Scarborough appeared to be referencing McSally calling CNN reporter Manu Raju a “liberal hack” Jan. 16, for asking her if “new evidence” would be allowed into the Senate trial of President Donald Trump’s impeachment.

MSNBC tweeted out Scarborough’s segment Jan. 29 touting the ad. The outlet’s tweet stated, “A new ad from the conservative group Lincoln Project criticizes Sen. McSally for supporting President Trump and calling a reporter a ‘liberal hack.’”

"Reporters who play it down the middle"? Really, Scarborough? Is he referencing the same liberal Manu Raju who pressed Democrats on CNN’s The Situation Room May 8, asking: “If we are in a constitutional crisis, why not pursue impeachment; why are you resisting?” That was months before the Trump/Ukraine issue broke headlines (the lynchpin of the liberal media’s impeachment crusade).

As we detailed when it first defended McSally's attack on Raju, the MRC has never proven that Raju is a "liberal hack." The example Vazquez provides is simply Raju asking a logical question of Democrats (he never identified exactly who was asked that question, since the MRC item he links to as evidence doesn't either, instead baselessly interprets the question as an example of "impatient reporters ... pushing for impeachment") who insisted that Trump has brought the national to what they called a "constitutional crisis." As much as Vazquez would like to think otherwise, it's a straightforward question that actually tried to pin down Democrats on what they believe.

Vazquez then engaged in another bit of hypocrisy:

An August 2019 study found that “CNN and MSNBC host Democratic Representatives and Senators seven times more frequently than their Republican counterparts.” Specifically, across three randomly-selected weeks of coverage, CNN overwhelmingly favored giving interviews to Democratic members of Congress over Republican members by a four to one ratio (136 vs. 29). Talk about playing it “down the middle.”

As we pointed out at the time the MRC issued this "study," the MRC is dishonestly trying to have it both ways -- it attacks CNN and MSNBC for not having on enough Republican members of Congress at the same time it praises Republican members of Congress for refusing to appear on CNN and MSNBC over their purported "liberal bias."

Vazquez and the MRC would never criticize Fox News for having enough Democrats on, nor would it praise Democrats for refusing to appear on the channel over its well-documented right-wing bias.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:28 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, February 16, 2020 2:39 PM EST
WND Loves Limbaugh's Coronavirus Conspiracy Theory
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily, as we all know, loves a good conspiracy theory, so it quickly jumped on the one Rush Limbaugh is peddling, courtesy of a republished Jan. 29 Western Journal article by Carmine Sabia:

Conservative radio personality Rush Limbaugh sounded the alarm on the origins of new diseases as well as older ones that were thought to be eradicated but are making a comeback.

All of these diseases are coming from leftist communities, both in the United States and abroad, Limbaugh noted.


On his program Friday, Limbaugh talked about the coronavirus outbreak as well as other diseases that have been hitting the state of California hard. Those include typhoid fever, typhus, hepatitis A, staph and tuberculosis.

“Where are all of these deadly viruses coming from?" the host asked, according to the transcript on his official website. "Communist countries. This latest virus that’s got everybody scared to death, where is it coming from? The ChiComs.

"What’s happening in all of these homeless tent cities in California? Medieval diseases that had been eradicated are starting to crop up."

Limbaugh continued, "Do not doubt me when I tell you that liberalism, left-wingism, socialism, communism, whatever, folks, it destroys.

Despite this being a supposed "news" article, Sabia piled on with biased opinion, rating that cities trying to help homeless people "is not compassion; it is lunacy," with an added side swipe at "cities' welcoming policies toward illegal aliens." Sabia finally concludes: "If people want to get serious about fixing the homeless crisis and the diseases it brings, they have to get to the root of the issue. Leftism."

The slow apparent merger between WND and Western Journal doesn't seem to have altered WND's basic editorial agenda one bit.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:51 AM EST
Friday, February 14, 2020
What? Donohue Approvingly Cites Cosby, Weinstein Lawyers To Defend Catholic Priests

If you're talking pointers from the defense lawyers for Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein in order to find ways to defend Catholic priests against claims of sexual abuse, well, that's simply not a good look. Yet that's exactly what Bill Donohue in his Jan. 23 column, which really does begins this way: "One does not have to like Bill Cosby or Harvey Weinstein (I fought with the latter for decades) to like what their lawyers are saying in their defense. There are some lines of defense that are not only persuasive, they have direct application to accused priests."

Donohue goes on to approvingly cite Cosby's and Weinstein's defense lawyers for blaming the "public panic" and "hysteria" sparked by the #MeToo movement on the sexual abuse charges against their clients and for attacking their accusers as willing participants whose backgrounds must be attacked. And, yes, he totally goes there:

Everything that these lawyers have said about their clients is true of accused priests these days. Even more so.

A moral panic has indeed arisen in cases of clergy sexual abuse. It is fed by a hostile media, late-night talk-show hosts on TV, cable outlets like HBO, and others. Old cases of abuse are presented as if they are new, leaving the false impression that the scandal is ongoing. Pernicious generalizations about priests—and sick jokes—are made with abandon. Movies spread lies about the Catholic hierarchy. And so on.

This has less to do with the #MeToo movement than it does with vintage anti-Catholicism. It is no secret that the cultural elites harbor an animus against Catholicism. These kinds of atmospherics make it difficult for accused priests to get a fair trial. Add to this the cherry picking of accused priests by state attorney generals, and the table is set for conviction.

What Weinstein’s lawyer says about women accusers is certainly applicable to priest accusers. Some are telling the truth but others are lying through their teeth, seeking revenge against an institution they despise. And just as Weinstein is a “powerful guy” who is easily exploited because of who he is, the Catholic Church is a “powerful” institution that is also easily exploited.

It would do the Catholic Church wonders if more aggressive attorneys such as those employed by Cosby and Weinstein were hired. No priest should be a sitting duck for rapacious victims’ lawyers.

Donahue added with apparent pride that Weinstein defense lawyer Donna Rotunno "is a Chicago lawyer who went to a Catholic college."

Even we can't believe Donohue took this stance.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:55 AM EST
Updated: Friday, February 14, 2020 8:58 AM EST
Thursday, February 13, 2020
MRC's Right-Wing Propagandists Upset Right-Wing Propaganda Is Pointed Out
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Nicholas Fondacaro began a Feb. 2 post this way:

In exercising projection, CNN’s so-called “Reliable Sources” sought to decry President Trump’s “imperial presidency” on Sunday by emphasizing how there was no such thing as “right-wing media” vs. “liberal-media,” but, in fact, it was a “propaganda apparatus” vs. a “media apparatus.” 

So weird that Fondacaro sounded so much like a projecting right-wing propagandist appalled that his propaganda was being pointed out for what it was. And his right-wing propaganda continued as he sneeringly called "Reliable Sources" host Brian Stelter a "media janitor":

Meanwhile, back here, in reality, the Department of Justice inspector general found that FBI investigators in the Russia probe had lied to the FISA court to get warrants to spy on Trump campaign aide. And, as a recent Media Research Center study found, the evening network newscasts were stacking the deck against the President’s legal team.

Fondacaro is referring to this "study," which like all so-called MRC studies stacks the deck against the media outlets it criticizes by cherry-picking the coverage using an exceedingly narrow methodology to make its targets' coverage look as biased as possible, then refusing to make its data public so the rest of us can judge its accuracy.

Meanwhile, Fondaaro stayed in propaganda mode, further sneering that CNN guest Sam Donaldson was "irrelevant " and a "washed-up journalist" who offered "cheesy advice for young journalists" that was purportedly "accented by a head turn and a smile."

By the way, Fondacaro never denied that his employer and fellow travelers in the right-wing media offer propaganda; instead, he took the whataboutism route, attacking CNN for having random guest who criticized Trump. For propaganda, it was pretty lame.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:22 PM EST
CNS Remains Mum About Dershowitz's Epstein Ties
Topic:, like its Media Research Center parent, has endeavored to hide the ties betwen Alan Dershowitz, its favorite allegedly liberal Trump defender, and Jeffrey Epstein, the notorious pedophile whom Dershowitz represented in getting a sweetheart deal that resulted in only a short prison sentence for his crimes.Dershowitz has also been accused by one of Epstein's victims of sexual improprieties, which he has denied.

With Dershowitz's return to prominence as part of Trump's defense team at his Senate impeachment trial, CNS is even more reluctant to talk about it than the MRC is.

A Jan. 21 article by Susan Jones touted the Fox News appearance of Triump's lawyers, including Dershowitz, who was quoted forwarding the argument that you don't judge a president "by looking into the depths of his mind and trying to figure out whether somewhere in the back of his mind he was trying to get some advantage to his electability." Jones also uncritically repeated Trump's claim that "there's a lot of talk" that then-Vice President Joe Biden "stopped the prosecution" of Biden's son and the Ukrainian company he worked for by getting the prosecutor fired without mentioning the important fact that the prosecutor was actually fired for not investigating corruption.

That was followed by a Jan. 22 article by Craig Bannister touting another Fox News appearance by Dershowitz, in which he insisted that if  Trump is acquitted, "the impeachment disappears."

When the president's defense team swung into action at the trial, CNS was giving them copious space, including four -- count 'em! -- articles dedicated to Dershowitz's arguments:

As perusual, none of these articles mention Dershowitz's links to a convicted pedophile, even though CNS has a eye for detail when it wants, such as telling us (twice!) what dating app Pete Buttigieg met his husband on.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:46 AM EST
Wednesday, February 12, 2020
MRC Bogus Study Watch
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center added to its litany of bogus studies on impeachment coverage with a Jan. 29 piece by Nicholas Fondacaro:

Before the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump was gaveled into session, Chief Justice John Roberts presided over a swearing-in ceremony where all 100 senators pledged to be impartial jurors. The liberal media zeroed in on that pledge and decried Senate Republicans who seemed to be siding with the President.

But a Media Research Center study of broadcast evening news coverage of the opening arguments of both sides, found ABC, CBS, and NBC did not live up to the standard they demanded of Republicans. They gave Democrats double the airtime and showered their arguments with mostly praise, while expressing only criticism of the President’s legal team.

As usual, the MRC's exceedingly narrow methodology is at play here: examining only neetwork evening news, and then only a tiny sliver of that with "evaluative statements," and the complete exclusion of neural coverage and the refusal to make its data public so the rest of us can judge how biased the "study" is.

Curiously, Fondacaro didn't disclose the methodology in his piece. Instead, he seemed to be more interested in serving as a member of Trump's defense team:

The networks would roundly tear down the arguments Trump’s legal team was making despite the evidence they would present. When Trump lawyer Michael Purpura argued with evidence that the President was long interested in burden-sharing when it came to Ukraine’s defense, CBS chief congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes tried to shoot it down by saying, “Those claims run counter to witness testimony.” A common assertion by the networks.

Fondacaro offered no evidence to rebut Cordes' statement that defense lawyers' arguments "run counter to witness testimony."

Fondacaro further complained that "With the liberal media’s demand that Republicans be impartial in hearing the case, it was clearly more of a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ suggestion." He failed to note how his employer's "news" division,, offered even more biased coverage of impeachment trial arguments.

But CBS complained to the MRC about the study, and the MRC's response dismissing it in a editor's note at the bottom of the piece, showed just how narrow and ideologically driven its methodology is:

A spokesman for CBS News contacted NewsBusters to insist that the minutes-and-seconds count for CBS did not mention CBS had the only interview with a group of Trump-defending House members.

The study was about the relative coverage of the two Senate presentations -- one by the House managers, one by Trump's legal team. The numbers are therefore accurate, and this is explained in the article. As NewsBusters readers were already informed by Nicholas Fondacaro, anchor Norah O'Donnell interviewed the four GOP House members (not legal team), but she also interviewed four Democrat House managers. That's not included in the CBS count either, since it aired prior to the study period.

Funny how anything that might have made CBS look less biased is conveniently excluded from the MRC's study. It's almost as if the methodology was drawn up to reach a pre-determined conclusion in order to fit an agenda.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:50 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, October 8, 2020 10:23 PM EDT
WND Promotes Poll That Wildly Inflates Black Suport For Trump
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An anonymous WorldNetDaily writer gushed in a Jan. 31 article:

A new Rasmussen poll shows black voter support for President Trump has doubled in the last year to an astonishing 42%.

In November, polls by both Rasmussen and Emerson showed Trump had a remarkable 34% approval rating among black voters, compared to the 8% he received from blacks in the 2016 election.

Actual journalists, meanwhile, report something WND won't tell you: that the Rasmussen number has nothing to do with reality. The Washington Post explains:

Blacks have been the most solidly Democratic demographic bloc for decades. Polls show that Republican presidential candidates rarely get more than 10 percent of their votes. Trump did not break that pattern in 2016, with estimates of his black support ranging between 6 percent and 8 percent.

Republicans know that these abysmal figures constitute a huge head wind against any chance for Trump’s reelection. Blacks compose significant shares of the voting population in the key swing states of Florida, North Carolina, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Even Wisconsin’s small black population could be decisive given how finely balanced that state is.


As a result, many Trump backers have seized on anecdotal or cherry-picked evidence to show such a surge is happening. They note that some polls show Trump’s job approval rating among blacks to be as high as 34 percent, while contend Trump’s support from high-profile blacks such as Kanye West is helping him make inroads. A new book — “Coming Home: How Black Americans Will Re-Elect Trump” — making the conservative rounds argues that Trump received 21 percent of the black vote in Pennsylvania in 2016, and that he will receive 15 percent to 20 percent of that vote in 2020. Conservatives desperately want to believe this is true, and thus all too credulously accept these claims as fact.

Here’s what the facts really show: Trump’s job approval rating among blacks averages a mere 13.3 percent in three of the most recent polls that release breakdowns by race. Trump received an average of only 9 percent of the black vote against Joe Biden in surveys in four key swing states conducted by the New York Times and Siena College in November. And a recent Washington Post/Ipsos poll of blacks found Trump’s position to be even worse. This poll is the only recent public poll that interviewed only black voters, and thus has a lower margin of error for them than the other polls mentioned above. It foundTrump had only a 7 percent job approval rating and gave him only 4 percent of the vote against Biden.

And another Post article pointed out: "More than 8 in 10 black Americans say they believe Trump is a racist and that he has made racism a bigger problem in the country. Nine in 10 disapprove of his job performance overall."

The Rasmussen poll is off in fantasy land -- but then, that's where WND is too.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:58 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, February 12, 2020 1:59 AM EST
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
NEW ARTICLE: The MRC's Ratings Game
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center and its "news" division pushed the dubious spin that Trump impeachment proceedings were illegitimate because they didn't get as high of TV ratings as, say, the O.J. Simpson trial. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 6:52 PM EST
CNS' Jeffrey Ignores Millions Watching On TV To Claim Basketball Game Outdrew Impeachment Trial

The Media Research Center has pushed the narrative that the impeachment process against President Trump is illegitimate because it hasn't generated the TV ratings of, say, the O.J. Simpson trial -- a narrative that was echoed by its "news" division, CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey tried to take that further, but only ended up with possibly the dumbest take on this narrative.

"High School Basketball Game Outdraws Senate Impeachment Trial" was the headline on Jeffrey's Jan. 31 "news" article -- this was labeled as Washington "news" and not opinion -- and, yes, that's the take he's going with:

The varsity basketball game between the Gonzaga Eagles and the Good Counsel Falcons that was played in the Gonzaga gym—about a one-mile walk from the U.S. Capitol--drew a larger crowd on Thursday evening than the Senate impeachment trial did.

That was the case even though the Gonzaga-Good Counsel game drew a modest crowd--as Gonzaga won 79-55.

According to Gonzaga Athletic Director Joe Reyda, there was a crowd of about 200 at the varsity basketball match that started at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.

A count of the people in the Senate galleries, taken between 7:46 p.m. and 7:50 p.m. by this writer, indicated there was a total of approximately 131 people in the galleries at that time.

This included Capitol staff and security personnel as well as reporters and visitors.

Jeffrey was silent about the utterly obvious that that the impeachment trial was broadcast live on TV across the country, meaning that one did not need to travel to Washington and go through however many levels of security to sit in the Senate chamber and watch the trial in person.And he's certainly not going to mention the fact that the first day of the trial drew 11 million viewers, more than has ever watched a single high school basketball game. Viewership may have declined an the trial went on, but the audience was still in the millions and still towered over the basketball crowd.

By contrast, the basketball game in question was not broadcast on national TV and was almost assuredly not broadcast on TV even in the Washington, D.C., area where these schools (as well as Jeffrey) were located, meaning the gym was the only place one could have seen that game. Further, the security level for spectators was likely much less onerous than at the gym.

Jeffrey deliberately ignored the interest of millions of viewers of the impeachment trial across the U.S. to cling to this incredibly stupid talking point in an attempt to discredit impeachment. Perhaps he should instead focus on making his website's news coverage less biased.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:19 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, February 11, 2020 12:22 AM EST
Monday, February 10, 2020
MRC's Double Standard On Authors Selling Books
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center went into a defensive panic when it was revealed that former Trump national security adviser John Bolton's proposed memoir revealed what he knew about President Trump's attempt to coerce Ukraine into giving him dirt on Joe Biden, with much of the rancor centered on how all of this was in a book Bolton wanted to sell.

  • Kyle Drennen huffed, "In an effort to aid Democrats in prolonging the Senate impeachment trial, on Monday, all three networks seized on a supposed “bombshell” – though unverified – claim in former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s upcoming memoir. All the sensational coverage clearly designed to turn up the pressure on Republican senators to call witnesses."
  • Gabriel Hays grumbled under the shouted headline "SO STUPID" about the "unverified, hearsay New York Times anecdote taken from an excerpt of John Bolton’s unpublished book," calling it "the least serious thing Bolton has ever said (if he said it)."
  • Nicholas Fondacaro fawned over the "fact-based arguments for acquittal" coming from  Trump's lawyers and complained that some media outlets "chose to disregard the defense in favor of pouncing on reported allegations made in the conveniently timed leak of former national security advisor, John Bolton’s yet to be released book." Fondacaro also baselessly called Bolton's book "dubious."
  • Clay Waters complained of the Bolton book excerpt: "Wow, the timing of this leak is at a terrible time....just as it was engineered by the Times and their leaking pals."Kathleen Krumhansl dismissed the Bolton book as nothing but "today's talking points."
  • Drennen returned to approvingly highlight one commentator "criticizing Bolton’s motivation for not sharing his account of what happened with Ukraine earlier in order to sell a book."
  • Curtis Houck groused about "the latest (and clearly coordinated) leak by The New York Timesof details in John Bolton’s book" and that one TV host said "Bolton was like Tom Cruise in The Firm."

By contrast, when a conservative (well, one that hadn't crossed the Trump-MRC machine, anyway) has a book to sell with some juicy dirt in it,  the MRC will happily join the sales team.

It served up a raft of posts touting allegations in right-wing author Peter Schweizer's anti-Clinton book "Clinton Cash" -- which got traction through, yes, an article in the New York Times, the outlet the MRC is currently bashing for reporting on the Bolton book excerpts -- and defending its quthor. Houck, for instance, gushed that the "bombshell" book was "damning" and complained that Schweizer was accurately identified as a conservative. The MRC even attacked ABC's George Stephanopoulos for committing the offense of asking tough questions of Schweizer duyring a TV interview (while praising Fox News' Chris Wallace for serving as a Schweizer surrogate) and pretended to be aghast that Stephanopoulos -- accurately, one might add -- "suggested Schweizer was merely writing this book to help Republicans go after Hillary for political reasons." The MRC then attacked Stephanopoulos for having donated to the Clinton Foundation.

Schweizer's reporting was wobbly, however, but that didn't matter to the Clinton-deranged MRC. Fondacaro even made excuses for it in a 2016 post: "Although author Peter Schweizer did admit that he didn’t have the hard evidence that he would like, he has stated that a goal of his book was to get officials involved since that have the legal authority to investigate farther than he can. 

Posted by Terry K. at 5:09 PM EST
WND Republishes Article Slobbering Over Melania's Wardrobe
Topic: WorldNetDaily

On Jan. 26, WorldNetDaily published an article by Laura Stewart of the Western Journal -- into which WND appears to be slowly subsumed by -- in which she takes pro-Trump sycophancy to a new and embarrassing level by repeatedly gushing over Melania Trump's wardrobe:

First lady Melania Trump wowed as the epitome of elegance over the weekend as she joined her husband President Donald Trump at the 45th G7 Summit in Biarritz, France.

Global leaders from the United States, France, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada and Japan were joined by their spouses as they gathered in Biarritz. The event was highly publicized, with press continually photographing both the diplomats and their better halves.

Melania Trump has been called a fashion icon -- something the U.S. hasn't seen in the White House since Jackie O. -- and she more than lived up to the title the past few days.

The president and first lady arrived at the summit on Saturday, with FLOTUS sporting a summery mango-colored midi dress with fuchsia and white tie-dye detailing. The Calvin Klein frock was accessorized with black sunglasses and what appear to be sky-high fuchsia Christian Louboutin pumps based on their red soles.

Stewart's source that Melania Trump is a "fashion icon" is another Western Journal article in which ... the term "fashion icon" does not appear.

Stweart follows this with paragraph after tedious paragraph of what Melania wore at various summit events; despite her headline, she offered no evidence that anyone but herself was "wowed." She finally concluded: "As always, the first lady demonstrated class and poise, both in her fashion choices and in her diplomacy."

Republishing such lame and biased content isn't exactly helping WND gain back its ruined credibility.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:34 AM EST
Sunday, February 9, 2020
MRC Again Pushes Lousy-Ratings Narrative On Impeachment
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center apparently liked the narrative it pushed late last year that the Trump impeachment hearings were illegitimate because the TV ratings were bad -- as if popularity was related to justice -- that it glommed onto it again.

Rich Noyes wrote in a Jan. 24 post:

The ratings are in for the first day of the Democratic House Managers impeachment arguments in front of the Senate, and the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS and NBC) collectively lost about three million viewers who would have been expected to watch their normal fare of daytime soap operas.

According to preliminary Nielsen data posted on, just over 4 million people watched the first day of the Democrats’ opening arguments on Wednesday on the broadcast networks, who handed over vast swaths of their daytime programming to the impeachment trial. Among the Big Three, CBS saw 1.52 million average viewers, followed by ABC and NBC, with 1.29 million and 1.26 million, respectively.

These numbers are actually down from the 5.1 million average viewers who tuned in these networks for Tuesday’s tedious debate about the rules for the Senate trial.


By suspending regular programming and joining cable news in providing hours of live coverage, the broadcast networks are signaling that viewers should consider the Senate trial a momentous, historic occasion. But viewers aren’t buying it.

On an average weekday, ABC, CBS and NBC run daytime dramas that attract far more viewers than tuned in to the supposed history of the Senate trial.

Noyes added that "some loyal soap opera fans are venting their anger at the decision to run the same event that’s available on all of the cable news networks," adding anonymous potshots from a comment thread. (Wait, doesn't the MRC hate anonymous sources?)

A Jan. 30 post by Randy Hall crowed that Fox News is the "most-watched cable news network," adding, "January, of course, was the impeachment trial. Apparently, Americans just don't to watch the liberal CNN's spin on the Senate trial." The next day, Hall fully embraced the narrative:

Common complaints during the first seven days of the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump were that the broadcasts went on far too long, and the hearings were boring in part because the coverage usually ran from 1 p.m. through primetime and sometimes into the early morning hours.

With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that ratings for coverage of the hearings fell sharply among the “Big Three” after CBS attracted an average of only 1.52 million viewers, followed by ABC with 1.29 million and 1.26 million for NBC.

The MRC even extended the narrative to social media, with a Jan. 26 post by Tim Graham chortling about how the trial had lower engagement than the hearings: "Isn't it obvious that viewers might see the trial as a repeat? The House managers literally played a pile of clips from the House hearings. And who builds TV ratings when everyone knows this show will be canceled -- by an acquittal?"

None of these MRC writers explained the link between popularity and justice they imply exists.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:04 PM EST
Updated: Monday, February 10, 2020 5:57 PM EST
CNS Criticizes Fellow Right-Wing Outlet's Anti-Semitism, Hides That It Previously Promoted Its Interviews
Topic: does a lot of things wrong journalistically -- specifically, its extreme pro-Trump bias -- but it occasionally does the right thing, for which it deserves at least some credit. Managing editor Michael W. Chapman wrote in a Jan. 23 article:

The news outlet TruNews, whose host Rick Wiles  describes Jews as "deceivers" who "plot" and "lie," and who have orchestrated a "Jew coup" against President Donald Trump, was invited to cover the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland by the White House, according to Wiles.

"We just want to thank President Trump and the White House for extending the invitation to be here today and throughout the week," Wiles stated in a Jan. 21 report from Davos. (The World Economic Forum runs Jan. 21-24.)

In addition, CNN's Jake Tapper tweeted on Wednesday, "The White House Correspondents' Association (@WHCA), which does *NOT* make credentialing decisions, confirms to me that the White House credentialed the anti-Semitic TruNews. WHCA says it is raising this issue with the WH."

Chapman even added at the end that " contacted the White House press office by telephone, Twitter, and email and asked if it had given press credentials to TruNews. The White House did not respond before this story was published."

Chapman, however, gets only partial credit here. Why? Because he has promoted interviews Wiles has conducted, since they share many of the same values, anti-Semitism aside:

  • A June 2015 article by Chapman touted a Wiles interview with Billy Graham's daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, who said that "God’s judgment on America is at the 'tipping point' because of our abandonment of Israel, the killing of 60 million babies by abortion, and the legal recognition of gay marriage."
  • In March 2016, Chapman cited how gun activist Larry Pratt said on Wiles' show that then-Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland has consistently voted against “an individual right to keep and bear arms” and is a moderate only in the sense that the “Kremlin” has some “moderates.”
  • In June 2016, Chapman promoted a Wiles interview with North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who ranted that two prominent newspapers in the state are “are two of the most liberal rags in the country right now” because it criticized a new state law "that says men and women must use the bathroom and shower that matches their sex at birth.
  • A September 2016 article by Chapman repeated a Wiles interview with former Republican Rep. Paul Broun declaring that the family is being destroyed through "political correctness and through the homosexual rights agenda."

Chapman didn't tell his readers that he has previously promoted Wiles' interviews.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:37 AM EST
Saturday, February 8, 2020
MRC Complains TV Characters Aren't Shamed For Having Abortions
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center wants women to feel forever stigmatized for having an abortion -- even make-believe characters on TV shows.Despite the fact that abortion is a common and safe medical procedure that has been legal for decades, Rebecca Downs spent a Jan. 24 post fretting that TV shows have "normalized abortion":

While television networks largely celebrate abortion, it’s worth noting that a celebration of life is taking place, with the annual March for Life on January 24. Whether networks will finally give these peaceful pro-lifers their due in media coverage, after for years neglecting them, remains to be seen. Meanwhile, liberal television networks, from news shows, to actress spokespersons, to television dramas, continue to promote abortion to the public.

Here’s a look at some of the most memorable abortion moments on television from the past year.

Downs' definition of "promoting" abortion is when a female character is not shamed or stigmatized for having one. For instance, she complains that one character's admission that she had an abortion as a teenager is an example of how "teen abortions are pushed." She even attacked shows with more instances of non-judgmental treatment of abortion as "repeat offenders."

Downs also complains that anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers are criticized on TV:

Crisis Pregnancy Centers are a valuable resource enabling women facing unplanned pregnancies to choose life for their children. Sometimes this means choosing adoption, sometimes parenting. They’re not meant to judge, but to help women. You’d never know that from how the liberal networks address CPCs, mostly as “fake clinics.”

In fact, it's been documented how CPCs do judge, do coerce and mislead women. Downs is pushing a fantasy by pretending that doesn't happen.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:51 AM EST

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