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Friday, April 3, 2020
MRC Censors Fact That Trump Himself Discredited Its Latest Anti-Media Narrataive
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Kyle Drennen complained in a April 2 post:

Since Tuesday, liberal journalists on CNN and MSNBC have been teaming up with elected Democrats to shoot down the notion that their collective obsession with impeaching President Trump slowed the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The biased coverage argued the “talking point” was “dangerous” and predicted that it would not “pick up much traction.”

During an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell leveled the charge: “[Coronavirus] came up while we were tied down in an impeachment trial. And I think it diverted the attention of, uh, the government, because everything every day was all about impeachment.”

On CNN’s The Situation Room that evening, White House correspondent Jim Acosta fretted: “Top Republicans are pushing back on the notion that the President failed to prepare the nation for the crisis, arguing he was tied up with the impeachment trial.” He then attempted to offer a supposed fact-check: “But hold on, here’s the reality. The President was acquitted on February 5th, five days before he declared at a rally that the virus would quickly disappear.”


For journalists at CNN and MSNBC to not even be willing to entertain the idea that the massive amount of time they devoted to the Democrats’ futile impeachment crusade might have distracted the country from the spread of COVID-19 throughout China and the world in December, January, and early February is astonishing.

Reporters should always be skeptical – of both our leaders and themselves.

But Drennen didn't tell MRC readers that this narrative was completely undermined by none other than President Trump himself:

On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump said he wouldn’t have acted more swiftly in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic even if he hadn’t been impeached, blowing up Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) defense of him.

“Did it divert my attention? I think I’m getting A pluses for the way I handled myself during a phony impeachment,” Trump said during his daily press briefing on the coronavirus.

He told reporters that even though he “certainly devoted a little time thinking about it,” House Democrats’ impeachment of him in December did not affect how he dealt with the outbreak.

“I don’t think I would have done any better had I not been impeached, okay?” Trump said. “And I think that’s a great tribute to something, maybe it’s a tribute to me, but I don’t think I would have acted any differently, or I don’t think I would have acted any faster.”

Drennen surely knew that Trump said this -- after all, he did so more than a day before Drennen's item was posted -- yet he chose not to include it in his item. Why? PRobably because he wouldn't have had an item otherwise.

For this hiding of inconvenient facts to advance a political agenda, reporters and non-reporters alike should be always be skeptical of anything the MRC does.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:37 PM EDT
Bias: CNS Continues To Try And Make Biden Look Silly

We've documented the template for covering Democratic presidential candidates: attack them relentlessly if they start to gain momentum among voters. Joe Biden was the most recent to get that rush of negative coverage. Even as coronavirus has become the story of the year, CNS has not stopped writing about Biden with spin to deliberately make him look bad.

An anonymously written March 13 article took a Biden comment on coronavirus out of context to up the ridiculous factor with the headline "Joe Biden Advises Americans to Stop Hugging Each Other."That was joined by another anonymous article claiming that Biden "is promising as part of his 'education' plan to send what he calls “child development specialists” into the homes of Americans who have young children. The program was initiated under Obamacare." Ooh, scary!

A March 16 article by Susan Jones went for old-fashioned right-wing scare tactics with the headline "Biden Would Immediately End All Deportations, Except for Felons." That was followed by another anonymously written article which focused on Biden having "vowed that he and Sen. Bernie Sanders 'share a common vision.'"

From there, it was a group of articles by Jones that vascillated between making Biden look either ridiculous and scary:

Jones' intent to mock and smear was made even more clear in which she made an awkwardly worded quote from Biden the headline: "Biden: Trump 'Has to be Able to Provide For Providing Significantly No More Masks'." (originally headlined "Even Looking at Written Prompts, Biden Doesn't Make Sense"; CNS did not disclose to readers that the headline was changed, let alone explain why). We can't recall Jones or CNS giving President Trump the same editorial treatment even though there's no end to the strange and confusing things he says.

Then it was back to anonymity for an April 2 article complaining that Biden issued a tweet in Spanish urging people to complete their census forms. The anonymous writer huffed: "Biden did provide an English version of his tweet for Americans who do not know Spanish. But he did not send out the Tweet in Ukrainian or Chinese--or any other languages other than Spanish and English," but did not explain why Biden should issue his statement in every possible language.

It's abundantly clear that CNS has no interest in reporting fairly on Biden, just as it has no interest in reporting critically on President Trump.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:44 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, April 3, 2020 8:56 PM EDT
Thursday, April 2, 2020
MRC Bashes Media Outlets For Noting Coronavirus Silver Lining -- But Not Its Own
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has regularly complained whenever anyone noted a side effect of the coronavirus pandemic being a reduction in pollution and emissions:

  • A March 13 post by Brad Wilmouth complained that "Christiane Amanpour echoed climate alarmists who have suggested that the Coronavirus has been good for the climate by depressing human activity as she suggested there has been a 'silver lining' for the environment in China."
  • On March 19, Scott Whitlock huffed: "Talk about tone deaf. CBS This Morning on Thursday attempted to report the upside to a global pandemic that is killing thousands" being lower emissions.
  • Joseph Vazquez complained on March 23: "Multiple liberal outlets have capitalized on the coronavirus outbreak to push climate change propaganda. The essential message: Hey, at least pollution is down." He added, "The liberal media’s taste for infusing climate change propaganda into a global pandemic apparently knows no bounds."
  • Kyle Drennen groused on April 1: "NBC weatherman Al Roker joined some of his other liberal media colleagues in trying to find a 'silver lining'amid the coronavirus pandemic, namely that the deadly disease was improving the climate by forcing people to stay home.," adding; "Even as thousands around the world continue to suffer and die from COVID-19, liberal journalists can’t help pushing their environmental agenda."

By contrast, the MRC's very own "news" organization,, has been similarly touting silver linings to the pandemic -- reframed as "blessings." Michael W. Chapman wrote in a March 23 article:

In her spiritual message for March 23, Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of the late Pastor Billy Graham, said there may be a "blessing in the coronavirus" in that God is perhaps using the pandemic "to get our attention so that we will listen to His message," and that this will spark a "national spiritual renewal."

"It’s time to pray! It’s time to turn away from our sin, self-centeredness and secularism, and turn to God in faith and trust. Now," said Anne Graham Lotz.


"Could the silver lining in the black cloud of the coronavirus be this?" asked Graham. "That it causes America to look up and listen to what God has to say, and therefore becomes the trigger for a national spiritual revival? May it be so!"

The same day, CNS published a column by Rev. Michael Orsi headlined "Sex Trade Slowdown and Other Blessings Behind the Fear," in which he claimed that "If we look behind the fear of coronavirus currently gripping the nation, we can spot a few genuine blessings," listing among them that it "has provided an occasion for us to reflect on life and death — and some of the big issues related to those. We should think about what it means to be human, how we should be living as a community, what we owe each other as neighbors, and what we really believe," adding that "those who come through may see new value in human existence. They may rediscover faith. They may come to a new relationship with God."

The next day, a CNS column by Hannah Harrison carried the headline "Quarantines Remind That He Is Still God" and declared: "Maybe this mania is a wake up call to the soccer mommas, the workaholic daddies, the busy kiddos, and the on-the-go college student. Two weeks, two months, or two years is nothing compared to the eternity we must behold with our Savior above. Instead of worrying what tomorrow will bring, maybe a quarantine is a head start exalting the One who is one the throne both today and forever."

If only the MRC held its own "news" division to the standards it tries to enforce on the "liberal media."

Posted by Terry K. at 7:33 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, April 2, 2020 9:10 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: The Great CNS Pile-On
When a Democrat or liberal commits a politically exploitable peccadillo, floods the zone. It doesn't do that for negative stories about conservatives. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 2:06 PM EDT
Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Is Wayne Allyn Root Disappearing From Newsmax?
Topic: Newsmax

It's been a bad month for Newsmax TV host and columnist Wayne Allyn Root.

He started relatively strong with a couple of attacks on Joe Biden, the latter pushing the right-wing smear that Biden has purportedly "suffered possible diminished mental capacity and cognitive decline," not to mention "senility, or early onset dementia." He wrote another column that began, "I’m the ultimate positive thinker. I’m also very cynical. You can be both. My favorite saying is, 'Expect the best, prepare for the worst.'"

But Root may not have prepared for what happened to him over the past couple weeks.

Media Matters caught Root downplaying coronavirus as "no different than the flu" on his Newsmax TV show, and he has used his TV and radio platforms to promote a scammy "therapeutic silver solution" that he and its manufacturer have suggested cures coronavirus.A few days after that revelation, the newspaper in his hometown of Las Vegas dropped his column, and the New York attorney general ordered Root to cease and desist from making misleading medical claims.

It appears he has lost his Newsmax platform as well. Media Matters' Eric Hananoki reported that Root's show had disappeared from the Newsmax TV scheduled; since then, the Newsmax TV page on Root's show has gone blank. Root hasn't published a column at Newsmax since March 20, despite articles continuing to appear on his personal website. (A post-Newsmax column appeared at the Gateway Pundit, illustrating how far he's falling.) He appears to still have his radio show as of this writing, syndicated by USA Radio Networks.

Neither Root nor Newsmax appear to have made a public statement about the apparent dissoluton of their relationship, but all evidence so far indicates it's over between them.

We've noted his aggressive Trump-o-phila, as well as his extreme hatred of President Obama, in his work at Newsmax.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:20 PM EDT
MRC's Graham Attcks Doc That Exposes Right-Wing Conspiracy Theories (That The MRC Helped Advance)
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Tim Graham is a terrible media critic. The main tell is that whenever anyone criticizes the conservative media that he works in, he quickly descends into deflection and whataboutism rather than responding to the criticism itself.

Case in point: Graham's March 20 post on "After Truth," the HBO documentary produced by villainous (in the MRC's eyes, anyway) CNN host Brian Stelter that examines largely right-wing conspiracy theories propagated through conservative media:

Anyone who heard Brian Stelter was producing a documentary on "fake news" for HBO titled After Truthcan imagine what they would receive. Anyone watching it finds nothing in it that’s very surprising. Stelter’s employers (current and past) at CNN and The New York Times are the Verifiers of Fact, fighting against a shameless “right-wing” army of misinformation profiteers.

Large chunks of time are devoted to the most notorious “right-wingers,” toxic Alex Jones of InfoWars and the unscrupulous duo of Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl, often battling with Oliver Darcy, Stelter's CNN colleague. They are far more interested in being notorious than getting it right. But if all they want is attention – isn’t HBO aiding them in seeking infamy?

I’m with Julio Rosas in noting what Team CNN/NYT didn’t want to discuss: “nothing about the media's role in putting out false narratives like with the Steele Dossier, the Covington Catholic kids, their terrible reporting with Kavanaugh's accusers, and propping up people like Michael Avenatti.” (Who pushed a Kavanaugh accuser, of course.)

The Covington counterpoint is obvious because it emerged from the same social-media swirl they're ranting against, only from the Left. 

The Covington story was corrected within a day and is a non-issue everywhere but the MRC can't stop using it as a cudgel to push its agenda (not to mention the Covington kids' money-hungry lawyers suing everyone in sight for alleged defamation).

Note also that Graham, instead of responding to anything stated in the documentary, complained that he didn't follow his agenda. That's classic whataboutism.

Graham tried for whataboutism later in his post: "HBO might want to look in the mirror on spreading hateful conspiracy theories. Trump's going to declare martial law? Doesn't Bill Maher sound like Alex Jones distorting Jade Helm on that one?"

One: Maher is a talk-show host, not a journalist. Two: You really wanna go there on Jade Helm, Tim? Because your employer treated it as a real thing.

In May 2015, Ken Shepherd complained that MSNBC host Chris Matthews opened his "Hardball" show with "a 12-minute segment denouncing "The Politics of Paranoia," referring to some Republican elected officials from Texas who have voiced concerns about a U.S. military training exercise in the Southwestern United States codenamed Jade Helm." A few days later, Tom Johnson appeared to approve of a writer for the liberal journal The Nation stating that the Jade Helm conspiracy theory "validates the paranoia" of right-wingers and drives conservative vorter turnout, so it doesn't even matter if it's true. A couple days after that, Melissa Mullins referenced "Jade Helm 15 – a military training exercise taking place in Texas.  There’s been a conspiracy theory, most notably by InfoWars’ Alex Jones, that Jade Helm 15 was actually the beginning stages of initiating martial law in the United States. The conspiracy theory started to spiral and raise suspicion when several politicians began voicing concern."

None of these writers bothered to tell readers there was nothing to the Jade Helm conspiracy theory (which we had pointed out the month before). The MRC tacitly let it stand without comment, apparently in the hope that anything was worth advancing if it hurt President Obama and liberals in general.

That's not the only tacit endorsement of right-wing conspiracy theories ther MRC has done. It passively promoted Obama birther conspiracies (at least until the birther conspiracies came to Brent Bozell's preferred 2016 presidential candidate, Ted Cruz), and effectively signed onto Seth Rich conspiracies by attacking advertisers who dropped their sponsorship of Sean Hannity's Fox News show because he pushed them.

No wonder Graham is so desperate to change the subject -- he and his employer are complicit in the things Stelter's film documents.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:27 PM EDT
WND Falsely Claims Researcher Revised Coronavirus Death Estimate
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Art Moore wrote in a March 26 WorldNetDaily article:

The lead author of a dire coronavirus study cited by the White House, Downing Street and other governments in their decisions to urge or impose unprecendented lockdowns and "social distancing" has drastically revised the estimated death toll of the pandemic in the U.K.

The study by Imperial College of London published March 16 estimated that 2.2 million Americans and 500,000 Britons could die.

Now, lead author Neil Ferguson has testified to a parliamentary committee that the U.K. death toll is unlikely to exceed 20,000 and could be much lower, reported the website New Scientist.

And more than half that number would have died anyway by the end of the year, because of their age and underlying illnesses, he told the panel on Wednesday.

The massive revision has significant implications for how governments are handling the pandemic.

But that's not true. As an actual news organization reported, Ferguson's high death estimate was based on no government action against coronavirus and still stands; the new estimate is based on restrictions in the U.K. that have now expanded into a full lockdown of the country. Ferguson himself explained it on Twitter.

Thing is, Moore knows that. But he led with the false revision claim and waited until the 13th paragraph to note Ferguson's tweets and claim that he was issuing a "clarification." But Moore then quoted a right-wing blogger to assert that "no one in the U.S. or the U.K. was advocating at the time that no measures be taken to control the spread of the virus."

WND is well into its third year of financial crisis, and it still hasn't apparently learned its less on about publishing misleading and fake news.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:47 AM EDT
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
MRC Flails In Defending Fox News Against Charges It Pushed Coronavirus Misinfomation
Topic: Media Research Center

In a Feb. 27 post, NewsBusters blogger Randy Hall gushed over how "Primetime was a great time for Fox News in February, when the channel drew its highest ratings ever and attracted an average of 3.5 million viewers during the second month of 2020.... the 44th consecutive month the FNC has been the most-watched channel in all of basic cable and a 218-month streak as the most-watched cable news network."

Since then, the Media Research Center has steadfastly defended Fox News against charges that the channel has put out misinformation on the coronavirus in service of its pro-Trump agenda -- not by refuting the charges, mind you, since they're basically true, but by playing a lot of whataboutism. Typical of that approach was Kyle Drennen's March 13 post: "MSNBC was eager to exploit the coronavirus to bash cable competitor Fox News, accusing the rival network of spreading “misinformation” about the disease and even endangering the lives of its viewers. The discussion took place on the same show that labeled the virus President Trump’s “Chernobyl” on Thursday.

A March 17 post by Curtis Houck engaged in more juvernile name-calling:

Between Monday night and early Tuesday morning, CNN political commentator Joe Lockhart and MSNBC/NBC legal analyst Glenn Kirschner rhetorically molded and mounted on their heads matching tin-foil hats, insisting that the Fox News Channel and President Donald Trump should face “criminal” and “serious liability” for misinforming the public on the deadly nature of the coronavirus. In the latter’s case, he compared the President to murderers in Washington D.C. he threw in prison.

As a reminder, Lockhart was a Clinton White House Press Secretary while Kirschner was a longtime federal prosecutor and Army JAG officer. And now both offer takes that belong on a liberal equivalent of InfoWars. My how the mighty fall.

Houck added: "Someone alert Lockhart to what the likes of primetime host Tucker Carlson and straight-news reporters like Bret Baier, Shannon Bream, Bill Hemmer, Ed Henry, and Martha MacCallum. He probably views them all the same as the equivalent of news anchors on TASS, but you can’t fix ignorance." But Houck made no effort to reverse that alleged ignorance by citing any actual examples of their work.

Scott Whitlock complained on March 19:

Socialist MSNBC anchor Lawrence O’Donnell on Wednesday night kicked off his prime time show by snarling that competitor Fox News is “endangering your life” with Coronavirus “lies.” The Last Word host, who has himself politicized the virus, insisted that “Fox now takes the pandemic seriously.” But “the sudden switch to taking the pandemic seriously at Fox proves that Fox was lying about it deliberately for weeks and weeks when they were lying in the way they believed Donald Trump wanted them to lie.”

Whitlock didn't counter the claim, nor did he explain why he felt the need to label O'Donnell a "socialist" in a post that had nothing to do with the subject.

The next day, Whitlock served up more whataboutism at another MSNBC host:

Brian Williams is angry at “freaky” Fox News, deriding the network for thinking we’re all “stupid.” The MSNBC late night host, a man who lost his NBC job for lying, on Thursday night attacked Fox for not being honest in its past coverage of the Coronavirus. Talking to Michael Steele, Williams ranted, “The other attempt to tell us what we ourselves saw and heard or did not see and hear really has, at its core assumption, that we must be stupid.”

After playing six words from the March 9 Hannity, in which Sean Hannity used the phrase “bludgeon Trump with this new hoax,” Williams marveled at “the speed with which the entire [Fox] crowd turned around just days ago.” The ex-Nightly News anchor, who falsely claimed his helicopter was shot down over Iraq,  added, “And awoke with new seriousness, Fox coverage changed along with the President's verbiage. It was freaky to watch.”

As before, Whitlock failed to explain what bringing up Williams' long-ago sins -- twice! -- had anything to do with anything now beyong gratuitous piling on. He did, however, attempt a weak defense by pointing out that Hannity said other things on that show that didn't downplay the virus. Which, of course, doesn't exactly refute the fact that he did.

But in a March 27 column, Tim Graham effectively admitted that Fox News pushed misinformation, which he reframed as not buying into alleged hype about the virus from the "liberal media":

The liberal pack is prosecuting Fox for supposedly shoving Americans off a coronavirus cliff with “misinformation.” Then they equate “misinformation” with the argument that the pandemic gave the liberal media a new rationale to cripple President Trump politically.

That’s not “misinformation.“ It’s rock-solid, bank-on-it information.

Yes, it’s factually true that the president and the conservative media were suspicious of all the Worst Case Scenarios and expressed skepticism about the threat. Many of us were initially reluctant to be dragged into a massive government intervention. Then Italy happened.

Of course, that worst-case scenario basicaly came true. Don't expect an apology for that.

Graham and the rest of the MRC will never explicitly admit that Fox News did misinform -- that would require actual research, after all, and we know the MRC would never do anything in-depth on Fox News.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:03 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, May 3, 2020 6:44 PM EDT
CNS Hides An Important Fact In Reporting On Rand Paul's Coronavirus
Topic: has long been fans of Sen. Rand Paul over the years -- for instance, we've noted its insistence on quoting Paul on things like Syria, about which he's not necessarily known to have expertise, and we caught CNS writing around criticism of Paul to highlight his (bogus) defense of President Trump during the impeachment saga.

So when Paul announced he has tested positive for coronavirus, CNS served up sympathetic coverage -- with a certain peculiar angle. An anonymously written March 22 article made sure you know that Paul as "asymptomatic," putting it in the headline and twice in the brief article.

The next day, another anonymously written article made that claim again in stating that Paul, "who—although asymptomatic--has tested positive for the coronavirus, put out a statement this afternoon explaining that he had taken the test because he is at higher risk of complications from the disease because his lung was damaged a few years ago when he was attacked by a neighbor." It went on to quote Paul (twice) saying he was asymptomatic.

There's just one problem with that emphasis, though: A person can spread the coronavirus while asymptomatic, and it's entirely possible that Paul did just that before his diagnosis, since he failed to self-quarantine while waiting for test results to come back. Paul was defensive about it, insisting that he "did not meet the criteria for quarantine," then lectured, "Instead of hounding people who got tested and then quarantined themselves, perhaps we need to broaden the testing and quit the finger-wagging."

CNS didn't mention any of that stuff, of course; the latter article simply repeated his insistence that he didn't meet the quarantine criteria.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:53 AM EDT
Monday, March 30, 2020
AIM President Puts Fake News In Rant Against Fake News
Topic: Accuracy in Media

It's never a good look when your rant against "fake news" contains fake news. But Accuracy in Media (ironic!) president Adam Guillette pulled off that feat in his March 17 column:

The mainstream media is desperate to turn the coronavirus scare into President Donald Trump’s Hurricane Katrina. What does that mean? It means they’re motivated to overhype this story simply so they can pile as much pressure as possible onto the president.

As just one example, CNN is calling the outbreak a “pandemic”.  Neither the World Health Organization nor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have defined COVID-19 as a pandemic, but why should facts stand in the way of a media narrative?

In fact, WHO declared coronavirus a pandemic on March 11 -- six days before Guillette's column was posted. It's not clear that the CDC even issues such a declaration.

Guillette went on to defend President Trump against criticism of his reaction to the coronavirus outbreak, declaring that "Trump is the head bureaucrat, not the head of medicine. Would you expect him to be toiling away in the West Wing in desperate search of a cure?"

For all of his ranting over "fake news," Guillette didn't actually cite any examples; even if he had, it's a certainty that Fox News' downplaying of the threat wouldn't have been mentioned. Still, he was eager to try and politicize the situation: "If we’re lucky, fake news will kill demand for nationalized health care. These bureaucratic bozos can’t get testing kits into the hands of doctors; they can’t manage a supply chain of face masks and Lysol. Would you really trust them if your loved one had cancer?"

Posted by Terry K. at 7:53 PM EDT
MRC Attacks Abortion During Coronavirus -- But Defended Man Who Advocated Letting Elderly Die
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's already strident rhetoric against abortion has only gotten more so as the coronavirus pandemic spread. In addition to obsessing over whether a public health expert was identified as a former Planned Parenthood official despite that being irrelevant to the issue, the MRC has freaked out over the following:

  • Alexa Moutevelis melted down over an Abortion Provider Appreciation Day earlier this month, denying the humanity of abortion doctors as she called them "monsters" who have "more in common with supervillain Thanos."
  • Moutevelis returned to attack family planning proponents as the "Death Lobby" that wants to make abortion to be considered an essential medical service during the pandemic (of course, in Moutevelis' highly biased and hataeful take, they're "making sure they can keep killing preborn babies in a timely manner"). She further complained; "There is a genuine disconnect between doctors trying to save the weak and vulnerable elderly that coronavirus seems to target most in one room while killing the weak and vulnerable in the womb that abortion targets in another," adding, "At a time when there’s death and destruction all around us, let’s do everything we can to save lives instead of take them."
  • In another post, Moutevelis slandered abortion rights proponents as "blood-thirsty" and "monstrous" for complaining about provisions in the stimulus bill, huffing that "at a time when our country is shut down to protect the weak and vulnerable members of our society, some want to keep open the abortion clinics that kill the weakest and most vulnerable of all humans, the unborn, asessential businesses."
  • And Gabriel Hays mocked the idea that abortion clinics should be allowed to stay open: "Ah, yes, killing kids is as essential as the ER doctor saving lives. This is just a dark Orwellian leftist game. The notion that someone wanting an abortion (A CHOICE) is an equal emergency to someone’s imminent death from coronavirus or a heart attack is not convincing."

But when someone actually advocated letting the sick and elderly die from coronavirus as an expeditious way to save the economy,  the MRC ran to his defense.

In a March 26 post, Curtis Houck complained that a man who advocated letting the elderly and infirm die during the pandemic since they are "not productive" and are "generally expensive to maintain" had a Washington Post article done about him. At no point does Houck express offense at the man's views, despite his employer's pro-life; he merely calls the "harsh and unpopular." The greater offense, according to Houck, is that aPost reporer called the man's elderly parents for their views on the subject:

If The Washington Post and senior editor Marc Fisher want Americans to stop calling the press “the enemy of the people,” a place to start would be not publishing stories like Fisher’s March 25 item trying to tear down a man who, as of Wednesday night, had less than 400 Twitter followers.

The thought crime committed by La Mesa, California lawyer Scott McMillan? Offering a harsh and unpopular take about the coronavirus and senior citizens.

In response, Fisher penned a 1,786-word piece entitled “He urged saving the economy over protecting those who are ‘not productive’ from the coronavirus. Then he faced America’s wrath.”

On Twitter, most of the brutal but well-deserved scorn came with Fisher tweeting how he not only wrote about McMillian, but he called his parents:


So, a few points. One, anyone surprised by Twitter’s vitriol must either not have an account or be living under a rock. Two, perhaps forcing McMillan to relive the past few days isn’t the best for his well-being. And three, why did Fisher decide to further bring attention to this poor soul’s life again?

Yep -- according to Houck, the "poor soul" and victim here is the man getting criticized for expressing an unpopular opinion -- despite it being one that he and the MRC should be opposed to as supposed "pro-life" activists. And Houck's concern that theperson's life was being "ruined" for expressing said opinion rings hollow considering that he very much wants to ruin the life of the Post reporter for the supposedly "unpopular" action of calling the guy out. Some targets are much more acceptable than others, it seems.

It's doubly hypocritical given that the MRC has come out against the view the tweet expressed elsewhere -- albeit only when media figures accused conservatives of supporting it.  A March 23 post by Scott Whitlock complained that "the hard left in the media" like MSNBC's Chris Hayes are accusing President Trump and conservatives of being "ready to kill a 'million' senior citizens as a way of saving the economy from the coronavirus" (while making sure to note that Hayes is "a staunch supporter of abortion"), while a March 26 post by Whitlock accusing MSNBC's Joe Scarborough of claiming conservatives support "the mass death of the elderly population" to presreve "Boeing's corporate earnings."

So is it cool to let the elderly die, or nah? The MRC should perhaps get on the same page on that.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:29 PM EDT
Bad Coronavirus Takes: Prisoners Make Great Guinea Pigs!
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It's still early, but we may already have a winner in our nascent Bad Coronavirus Takes sweepstakes. In a March 25 WorldNetDaily column, lawyers Richard Kibbey and David Lamos not only advocate using prisoners as guinea pigs for prospective coronavirus treatments, they cite World War II Japan and the Nuremberg Trials not as cautionary tales but as guidelines for what you can get away with:

As the clock ticks, the number of new COVID-19 infections rise. While promising theories are emerging over potential vaccines and drug treatments, the stark reality is that without large-scale human experimentation of those new medications, the public will remain at risk. State and federal prisoners may hold the key to finding a cure for this pandemic.


To be sure prisoner volunteers would have to give informed consent of potential health risks and side effects before they are included in a test group. Current federal rules governing prisoner use for scientific experimentation allows it so long as the testing exposes the prisoner to "minimal risk" of harm. That regulation can easily be waived or modified by Congress or the Bureau of Prisons in the case of emergencies, which COVID-19 would seem to present.

Historically, the testing of prisoners to find cures for disease is not new. Gen. Douglas McArthur, the supreme commander for Allied Powers in Japan, readily accepted for the benefit of the United States the scientific results achieved by the Japanese in their human testing on conquered people during World War II. The ethics and legality of human testing of prisoners was also the basis for the Nuremberg Code, which set out guidelines for medical research experimentation on prisoners. Chief among those guidelines is informed consent and that the risks be justified by the anticipated benefits.

It is anticipated that prisoners would readily volunteer to be included in testing in return for a reduction in, or commutation of, their sentences of imprisonment. Commutation can be fast-tracked by state governors or the White House.

There would be no shortage of prisoner applicants for testing. According to the Prison Policy Initiative, in 2019 the United States had nearly 2.3 million citizens incarcerated in state and federal prisons. In those prisons are inmates who possess medical and nursing degrees – perfect candidates to assist in the experiments and testing. Dr. Samuel Mudd, convicted and imprisoned for aiding John Wilkes Booth after the assassination of President Lincoln, received a presidential pardon for his medical assistance in stemming the outbreak of yellow fever plague in his prison.

Yep, they went there. Even by WND standards, that a pretty callous column.

We'll start working on the award to give them.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:56 AM EDT
Sunday, March 29, 2020
MRC Silent On Management Turmoil At Its Media Partner
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center brags that "Since late January of 2012, the Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard has once a week featured a 'Mainstream Media Scream' selection in his 'Washington Secrets' column." That gives the Examiner protection from criticism by the MRC -- it touted stories from the Examiner that used anonymous sources despite regularly attacking other media outlets for their reliance on anonymous sources, it gave a pass to an Examiner writer who posted a nasty tweet about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and it's certainly never going to critique Bedard himself for being a pro-Trump shill.

So -- just as it did with similar turmoil at Fox News --  the MRC has chosen to remain silent about management turmoil at the Examiner, driven by complaints of sexual harassment and abusive behavior.

Last month, Toby Harnden was forced out of his job as Examiner managing editor after being accused of mistreating staffers and making sexist and homophobic comments about employees, documented through email and recorded conversations. Ironically, they were documented by an editor who had been fired the week before for sending a lewd video to colleagues. That editor also exposed some winghut welfare at the website, including one editor who gets a salary plus a $40,000 "sweetener" from a conservative nonprofit and another editor who is not terribly productive.

Then, earlier this month, another top editor quit the Examiner, citing how Examiner leadership enabled Harnden's abusive behavior, specifically citing current Examiner editor in chief Hugo Gurdon for doing nothing about it, and failing to conduct a promised internal investigation after Harnden's departure. The editor also cited a graphic purporting to identify "rape victims" at the top of a "privilege pyramid."

The Examiner also apparently stopped doing stories on Fox News that could be considered negative in an effort to get the network to reverse a ban on Examiner writers appearing on it.

This is whom the MRC is partnering on content with. No wonder they won't say a word about it.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:08 PM EDT
CNS On Coronavirus: Blame China!
Topic:'s coverage of the coronavirus has largely reflected the talking points on it from the Trump White House. so when Trump focused on blaming China for the virus, CNS did too:

A March 17 article by Melanie Arter touted a Republican congressman "demanding reparations from China for putting the United States through the adverse health effects and financial fallout from coronavirus."

The same day, a blog post by Craig Bannister promoted a poll by the Trump-friendly Rasmussen in which "One in four U.S. likely voters say that it should be considered an act of war, if China goes through with its threat to restrict U.S. access to critical drugsduring the coronavirus outbreak."

Arter internalized the Trump-mandated "Chinese virus" description in a March 18 article in which she uncritically repeated Trump's false statement that "I always treated the Chinese Virus very seriously."

Managing editor Michael W. Chapman gleefully repeated this bit of propaganda from dear leader: "After a reporter asked President Trump why he refers to the coronavirus as the 'Chinese Virus,' adding that this seems 'racist,' Trump replied, 'Because it comes from China.'" 

Patrick Goodenough highlighted how "a senior State Department official on Wednesday evening contrasted China’s response to how U.S. authorities dealt with the H1N1 'swine flu' outbreak 11 years ago," complete with a "partial timeline" of events.

Chapman added an item similar to his earlier one: "On Wednesday, CNN's chief congressional correspondent Manu Raju asked Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) if it was okay for President Trump to refer to the coronavirus as a 'Chinese virus,' to which Graham said yes because 'it came from China.'"

Later on March 19, Chapman complained that "the liberal media continue to scold President Trump for calling the coronavirus the "Chinese Virus," and that one reporter "took the issue a little further by reporting that it is "a bat virus" and "not a China virus." He then lectured:

In the fall of 2014 there were several cases of Ebola diagnosed in the United States. One of the patients, a Liberian national visiting the United States, died from the illness. According to the CDC, "Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since then, the virus has been infecting people from time to time, leading to outbreaks in several African countries."

Despite its origin in Africa and its designation as the Ebola virus, the liberal media did not criticize then-President Barack Obama or his administration for using that label: Ebola virus.

Chapman did not note that if Trump was actually following that nomenclature, he'd be calling it the "Wuhan virus," not the "Chinese virus,"nor did he ask why Obama and other officials didn't blame the entire country where the Ebola virus originated by calling the "Democratic Republic of Congo virus."

CNS' commentary side also reinforced the talking point: A column by Steven Mosher was headlined "Remember that the Coronavirus Was 'Made In China'," followed by Ben Shaprio's similarly headlined column "For the Last Time, Coronavirus Is the 'Chinese Virus'." CNS contributed to the rah-rah by touting a poll showing that "55% of Americans approve of the way President Donald Trump is handling the response to the coronavirus pandemic."

Meanwhile, biased pro-Trump coverage continued elsewhere. A March 18 item by Jones using the coronavius crisis to promote her political agenda is headlined "Democrats Use Coronavirus Crisis to Push Their Political Agenda." Arter did her duty by uncritically repeating treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin declaring that "the United States is “still the greatest place to invest” despite the current stock market crash amid the coronavirus pandemic."

Speaking of pushing a political agenda -- as well as serving up a unlabeled press release from his employer -- Bannister touted how "the Media Research Center released an open letter to President Donald Trump on behalf of 39 leaders in the conservative movement demanding "a more formal investigation to uncover the truth"behind the origins of the coronavirus that came from Wuhan, China and specifically the actions of the Chinese government."

Posted by Terry K. at 5:41 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, March 29, 2020 8:16 PM EDT
Saturday, March 28, 2020
MRC Pretends Selectively Editing Videos Isn't Manipulation
Topic: Media Research Center

Most people understand that selectively editing videos to take them out of their intended context is a form of manipulation. The Media Research Center thinks differently -- at least when the video editors are conservatives and the video's target is a Democratic presidential candidate -- and is laboring hard to split hairs in order to prove it.

We've already noted that MRC tech blogger Alexander Hall is upset that Facebook pointed out that a misleadlingly edited edit of Joe Biden tweeted out by Trump was, in fact, misleadingly edited and had flagged it as such.In a March 9 post criticizing Twitter for similarly pointing out the video's misleading nature, Hall's case for claiming the video isn't misleading comes from... the Trump operative who originally posted it:

An embarrassing clip of Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden stammering during a speech has been spun by liberal media as “manipulated media.”

Former Vice President Biden was caught on video seemingly endorsing President Donald Trump for re-election. Liberal media outlets condemned the video as deceptively edited misinformation in order to cover for the Democratic primary frontrunner. Twitter followed up by labeling the video as “manipulated media.” When reached out to for comment, Twitter staff replied that “this Tweet was labeled based on our Synthetic and Manipulated Media policy.”

The clip, posted on March 7 by White House social media director Dan Scavino, showed Biden stammering: “Because we can not get re-elect, we can not win this re-election. Excuse me, we can only re-elect Donald Trump.”

Trump retweeted Scavino's proclamation that “The video was NOT manipulated,” and has also retweeted other variations of the video in question.

It's laughable that Hall is treating Scavino as an objective observer of what is and is not video manipulation, given that he has a personal and professional vested interest in the outcome. Also note that Hall is again focused on Biden allegedly "stammering" in the video being the non-manipulated part, not the deceptyive edit.

Hall then played whataboutism:

Donald Trump, Jr. retweeted multiple conservative commentators who were calling out Twitter for allowing a Biden campaign video which itself appears to be deceptively edited in that it claimed that Trump was calling the coronavirus a hoax. A Politico article featuring this same claim was fact-checked on Facebook, at the behest of the Daily Caller, a move which outraged members of the liberal media. Former ThinkProgress editor-in-chief Judd Legum questioned, “The bigger question is why Facebook allows The Daily Caller to make judgments about Politico's reporting.”

Hall then invoked a tweet from right-wing writer Ryan Saavedra -- who also has a ideological interest in the debate -- attempting to parse between "selectively edited" and "manipulated" to make the same whataboutism point.

One cannot escape the feeling that Hall is trying to redefine words to protect the Trump campaign and advance a political agenda.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:23 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, March 29, 2020 5:44 PM EDT

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