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Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Jeffrey Turns His Bad Coronavirus Take Into CNS' Editorial Agenda

Remember when we caught editor in chief Terry Jeffrey pushing the dumb take that churches (in Virginia, where CNS is based but wasn't disclosed in his article) are somehow having their religious freedom violated because some states are restricting church services in the name of stopping the spread of coronavirus? Well, Jeffrey has doubled down on it, making this bad take a key part of CNS' editorial agenda, putting that frame on every story on the subject.

Jeffrey attacked Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam again in a March 30 article, complaining that his executive order "makes it a crime to have a gathering of more than 10 people for a 'religious event' or 'in-person classes and instruction' at an 'institution of higher education.'" Jeffrey dishonestly failed to mention that the goal of these bans are to slow the spread of coronavirus until the fifth paragraph of his article.

Managing editor Michael W. Chapman joined the agenda-pushing the next day in a article touting how "A Texas city north of Dallas quickly amended its 'Mandatory Stay-at-Home Order,' which 'prohibited' in-person religious gatherings, after receiving a letter from the First Liberty Institute detailing how the city order apparently violated CDC guidelines, state law, and the First Amendment Free Exercise Clause." Chapman waited until the 10th paragraph to mention COVID-19, even though it was the basis behind the order.

Jeffrey returned to huff, with bonus personal attack:

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) is threatening to “permanently” close the meeting places of religious organizations that persist in holding services while the city is shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A small number of religious communities, specific churches, specific synagogues are unfortunately not paying attention to this guidance [to close] even though it's been so widespread,” de Blasio said in a briefing on Friday.


De Blasio does not belong to any religious denomination. In a question-and-answer session on Reddit six years ago, he said: “Although my mother was raised a Catholic, she did not bring me up in the Church. I considered myself a spiritual person but unaffiliated, and I was definitely very influenced by the liberation theology movement in Latin America. And BOY am I a fan of Pope Francis!”

Jeffrey is suggesting without proof that De Blasio is motivated by disdain or hatred of religion rather than public health.

Chapman struck a similar misleading tone in an April 1 article:

Because of coronavirus restrictions, Italian authorities permit people to go to the grocery store, the pharmacy, the doctor, and to "essential" work. But if you go to a church to pray -- even with just a few people and widely separated -- you can be cited by the police and forced to disperse. Citations can be as high as 200 euros (about $220) and may involve court appearances, according to Crux, a Catholic news publication online.

Going to church to pray is not considered "essential."

Chapman didn't mention that the Catholic Church in Italy has canceled all Masses and religious services and that even Pope Francis is celebrating Mass daily without a congregation -- and, thus, that one is not required to be in a church to pray.

An April 3 article by Chapman noted how "Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) revised his March 19 executive order in response to the coronavirus to now include "religious services" as "essential services." Chapman included stock photos of vartious religious services, none of which appeared to be taking place in Texas.

CNS even threw in an article featuring President Trump claiming that "he’s disappointed that churches can’t hold services because of social distancing guidelines limiting the number of people allowed at large gatherings to stop the spread of COVID-19."

CNS certainly knows how to commit to an editorial agenda. Too bad it's such a biased and dishonest one.

UPDATE: We missed a couple of other attempts to advance this narrative. Jeffrey devoted his April 1 column to attacking "excessive government" and complaining that some politicians "have used the threat this virus poses to public health to threaten a fundamental liberty," specifically "the free exercise of religion." Jeffrey refused to concede that even the possiblity that public health is more important in this case than freedom of religion, huffing at one point, "While COVID-19 is a threat to human health, excessive government is a threat to human liberty."

That was joined by an article from Melanie Arter detailing pastors violating the law by holding religious services for large crowds.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:03 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, April 10, 2020 8:29 PM EDT
Monday, April 6, 2020
Pro-Trump Sycophancy, Christopher Ruddy Division
Topic: Newsmax

Throughout this national emergency President Donald Trump has repeatedly demonstrated that he’s the right person to lead the nation.

From the beginning we have seen Trump’s best attributes.

Some time ago, the Quinnipiac poll asked Americans about the president’s best attributes.

The public said he was a “strong person” (62%) and that he “is intelligent” (58%).

Both of those attributes of his have been on display during this crisis.

Trump has other arrows in his quiver: He’s calm and doesn’t panic, decisive, and follows the evidence, not the hype.


Trump has been chided for not taking the threat seriously.

But as his congressional opponents focused on a very flimsy impeachment inquiry, he was busy convening a coronavirus task force. And that was back in January.


Throughout the crisis, Trump has remained focused and level-headed.

He defers to the experts at his task force’s daily press briefings, and has kept the nation informed without being panicked.

-- Christopher Ruddy, March 31 Newsmax column

Posted by Terry K. at 9:22 PM EDT
MRC To PBS And NPR: Drop Dead (Of Coronavirus)
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has a pathological hatred of public broadcasting, most recently demonstrated when chief Brent Bozell demostrated he doesn't know how public radio works by cluelessly demanding that there be as many stations running his buddy Mark Levin's right-wing radio show as NPR stations (which all have their own format and schedule and don't necessarily run every NPR program).

And since the MRC isn't one to let a crisis go to waste, it's seizing upon a miniscule appropriation in the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill going toward public broadcasting as an excuse to resurrect its longstanding demand that President Trump defund public broadcasting. Bozell tweeted out what he thought the money could have Bought instead:

Never mind, of course, that those numbers of tests, masks and ventilators aren't even available, and that -- giving the price-gouging currently going on -- even if they were, they couldn't be bought at pre-pandemic prices.Never mind that the $75 million is only a tiny fraction of a $2 trillion bill -- 0.00375 percent, if our calculations are correct. Never mind that Bozell objected to no other specific provision in the bill, though you'd think there would be plenty of pork to object to in a bill that size. Bozell had his talking point, and the MRC flogged it.

The MRC's NewsBusters blog dutifully repeated Bozell's tweet, adding: "Lobbyists for the public broadcasters claim this money will go to "local news and information," "distributing emergency alerts," and "partnering with local and state educational authorities to provide remote learning services for millions of pre-K to 12th grade students." But they use the same talking points about their everyday funding." That's misleading; the bill itself -- as reported by MRC "news" division -- states that the money will also go to "prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus." Which means at least some of that money will pay for mitigating coronavirus exposure among public broadcasting employees.

In other words: It appears Bozell and the MRC would rather see public broadcasting employees get sick and possible die from coronavirus than receive any federal money, simply because it purports to find "partisan information and misinformation," as viewed by "many conservative Americans."

This was followed by the usual letter from Bozell, this time to President Trump, complaining that the money ewas "wasteful," declaring that thte things in his tweet that nobody can actually buy now even if they had the money "are infinitely better uses of taxpayer money than giving it to left-wing outlets like NPR and PBS, both of which attack you and your administration continuously." Bozell, of course, didn't mention that the money would go in poart to coronavirus mitigation efforts -- that would've shown he cared about people's lives or anything greater than his political agenda. Instead, he ranted:

That is why your proposal to eliminate all federal funding for CPB is completely justified. There will undoubtedly be proposals for more stimulus packages going forward. When that happens, we encourage you to push back hard against funding for such entities as CPB. No amount of classical music, Ken Burns documentaries, or “Morning Editions” is worth one saved human life.

Bozell then laughably stated: " Now more than ever, Americans must pull together in a spirit of unity. " He didn't explain how exploiting a crisis to exploit his hateful agenda advanced that "spirit of unity."

The guy who used to write columns under Bozell's name but now has finally been given the keys to it, Tim Graham, channeled his boss and threw in as well with an April 1 column whining that the public broadcasting is "niche broadcasting by liberals for liberals" and attacking PBS journalist Yamiche Alcindor for asking President Trump tough questions during his coronavirus briefings.

Needless to say, Graham didn't menion that the money helps pay for coronavirus mitigation. So it appears Graham would want public broadcasting employees sick or dead than getting the same help much of the rest of the country is getting under the coronavirus relief bill.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:10 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, April 6, 2020 7:43 PM EDT
WND Promotes Doctor's Unverified Claims About Coronavirus Cure
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An anonymously written March 24 WorldNetDaily article stated:

A physician in New York state claims he has used the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and zinc to treat 350 patients for COVID-19 with 100 percent success.

In a video posted on YouTube, Dr. Vladimir Zelenko said he saw the symptom of shortness of breath resolved within four to six hours, the Gateway Pundit blog reported.

Zelenko, addressing his message to President Trump, said he's a board-certified family practioner in the community of Kiryas Joel in Orange County, New York, in the Hudson Valley, about 50 miles north of New York City.

"I'm seeing a tremendous outbreak in this community," he said. "My estimate is more than 60% currently have the infection.

The article downplays the fact that hydroxychloroquine has not been federally approved to treat coronavirus. Further, as fact-checkers have detailed, Zelenko has offer no documentation of his claims about curing patients.

On top of that, Zelenko's claim that residents of the Kiryas Joel community is sufering a "tremendous outbreak" of coronavirus have been debunked by state health officials who called them "unsubstatiated and irresponsible," given that Zelenko was extrapolating from a small amount of tested patients.

Nevertheless, WND touted Zelenko the next day in an article by Art Moore, who gushed that the doctor was "a recent survivor of an extremely rare cancer with a "100% mortality rate" that took one of his lungs" and that he has now been able to "successfully treat at least 500 patients with the coronavirus" and that "he hasn't slept in the past four days." Kovacs does not offer any documentation of anything Zelenko has done.

That was followed by a March 30 WND column by dubious fringe-right AAPS doc Elizabeth Lee Vliet, who cited how Zelenko "has been successfully using the combination of hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, zinc and vitamin C to treat almost 700 patients in the outpatient setting" -- again, no documentation given -- as an excuse to attack politicians who "have no background in infectious disease, medicine, research design, or epidemiology" and "presume to dictate to front-line physicians who are reading the emerging research and caring for patients."

Similarly, a March 31 WND column by Andy Schlafly touted how Zelenko "has treated 699 coronavirus patients with a treatment regimen using the same hydroxychloroquine tweeted by Trump. By giving this inexpensive medication early enough, Dr. Zelenko has successfully kept 695 of his patients out of the hospital, and none of them has died." He too was apparently not troubled by Zelenko's complete lack of documentation of his claims, but was apparently more concerned in using Zelenko as alleged proof that "Trump was right" to push hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment.

Promoting treatements are that clinically proven and 100% safe and effective is highly irresponsible -- but it's par for the course for WND, where a sensational story is more important than the facts.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:32 AM EDT
Sunday, April 5, 2020
MRC Has A Meltdown Over A Nonbinary Superhero
Topic: Media Research Center

We've noted that how nonbinary meltdowns have continued at the Media Research Center. Combine that with the MRC's long tradition of dissing superhero characters who commit the offense of not being heterosexual and right-wing, and you have Gabriel Hays' March 18 freakout over Marvel introducing a superhero who's nonbinary:

Marvel’s most recent comic book isn’t even about superheros this time around. It’s progressive propaganda with a crime-fighting veneer. That’s it.

Even with two years of Marvel discussing token gay characters, or its parent company Disney trying to weave in a subtle lesbian kiss here or there, we were still surprised to learn that the superhero company decided that a “non binary” character named “Snowflake” or “Safespace” would be a cool new edition to the universe inhabited by Captain America.

Nerd culture outlet Bounding Into Comics reported that Marvel repurposed an older Marvel crime fighting team, “The Warriors,” into the “New Warriors.” Creator Daniel Kibblesmith’s description of this reboot destroyed any illusion that these folks were tough heros.

Kibblesmith, who has also written comic books for beloved Marvel characters like Loki and Black Panther, lovingly described his project as a “story of teenage rebels. A lot of the [superhero] names are about teens fighting against labels that are put on them.” Rebelling against labels in 2020? This is going to be weird.

Of course, this means we are getting characters like “Snowflake” and “Safespace,” who are twins.


He then described “Snowflake” who in addition to being poorly named, is “nonbinary and goes by they/them.” The writer added, “Snowflake has the power to generate individual crystallized snowflake-shaped shurikens. The connotations of the word snowflake in our culture right now are something fragile. And this is a character who is turning it into something sharp.”

We’ve come a long way from Peter Parker’s teenage angst, haven’t we?

Hays further whined that "Today’s hero template can’t just include fighting skills and the desire to help the average citizen, it needs woke activism," finally sneering: "Kibblesmith added, 'I wanted to have teen characters who felt as ‘now’ as the New Warriors did in 1990. The New Warriors have been zeitgeist characters from the beginning.' Well, today it seems that 'now' feeling also comes with side effects of nausea and weeping for the culture."

No, Gabe, that's just your reflexive -- and all too predictable -- right-wing hate taking over.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:12 PM EDT
CNS Censors Nunes' Botched Coronavirus Comments

Republican Rep. Devin Nunes was in cleanup mode, but you'd never know it by reading Susan Jones' March 17 article about him:

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) says there's no reason for Americans to be standing in long lines for food when there is no shortage of it in this country.

Nunes blamed the media for stoking panic that produces crowded grocery stores at a time when health experts are urging all of us to avoid crowds:

"These media freaks don't have a clue what's going on out in the real world," Nunes told Fox News's Sean Hannity Monday night.

We have a problem out here because we have people standing in line for 45 minutes at Costco. What I was saying is, you have empty restaurants. You can go through the drive-thru or do take-out. It's a great place to go.

The media freaks can do what they want. They are endangering lives here by continuing this panic when we have no food shortage in this country. The farmers of America produce an abundant food supply. We have more food than we can eat in this country. And We have to stop panicking and ensure that people know they don't have to wait in a line at Costco for 30, 45 minutes. They need to stay calm.

An actual news outlet, meanwhile, reported the context of Nunes' Fox News appearance:

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) on Sunday morning urged people to go to bars and restaurants, even while Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, was on other shows urging the opposite. Trump then on Monday echoed Fauci, saying the administration was urging people to “avoid discretionary travel and avoid eating and drinking at bars, restaurants and public food courts.”

That left Nunes with some cleanup work to do. So he took to the friendly confines of Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, where he tried to suggest he was talking about takeout — not actually eating at the restaurant.

“So what I was saying is you have empty restaurants, you can go through the drive-through, you can do takeout. It’s a great place to go,” Nunes said. “The media freaks can do what they want, but they’re endangering lives here by continuing this panic when we have no food shortage in this country.”

It’s a clarification that might have been nice in the 36 hours between his initial comments and his Hannity interview, but Nunes’s office didn’t respond to multiple requests from The Washington Post for further comment.

It’s also a clarification that doesn’t really hold water.

In his comments on Fox News on Sunday morning, Nunes had this to say: “If you’re healthy — you and your family — it’s a great time to go out and go to a local restaurant. Likely you can get in easy. … Go to your local pub.”

So Jones wouldn't tell you that Nunes was on Fox News in an attempt to clean up earlier remarks. Instead, she acted like a good right-wing apparatchik, seizing on Nunes' "media freaks" diversionary comment to claim that "Examples of media hysteria play out daily on television, especially on the liberal cable networks."

One example of "hysteria" she cited was New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo saying on CNN, "You take any numerical projections on any of the models and our health care system has no capacity to deal with it. We in New York have 3,000 ICU beds. In case you don't understand, intensive care unit beds. We already use 60. We need multiples of that."

Given that Cuomo's predictions have largely borne out, shouldn't Jones apologize to him for falsely accusing him of engaging in "hysteria"?

Posted by Terry K. at 3:10 PM EDT
Saturday, April 4, 2020
What LGBT Stuff Is The MRC Freaking Out About Now?
Topic: Media Research Center

As the world descended into a coronavirus pandemic, the Media Research Center made sure to stay on-message bycontinuing its rich tradition of freaking out over anything remotely non-hateful of the LGBT community.

Alexa Moutevelis was outraged that a reboot of "Walker: Texas Ranger" will give the title character a "gay, conservative younger brother," grumbling that the show undoubtedly "will have plenty of opportunity to explore his gay personal life for audiences to watch" and sneering, "No word yet on if there will be a trans or non-binary character, but you can be sure something like will be a nice little Easter egg in there, too.

The nonbinary meltdowns continued over the show Fox show "Deputy." Rebecca Downs got upset when one character was revealed to be nonbinary and was dedicated to "living one's truth," huffing that the show is spreading "lies about biology in the name of some social justice warrior crusade": "The biology is clear that there are two sexes. There's also no "living one's truth." One is either a man or a woman." A couple weeks later, Downs complained that the show "tried to insert the issue into the series plotline again" and that another character "acted like it's all normal."

Lindsey Kornick huffed that another Disney+ series has "given in to the gay community" and that it "dives headfirst into LGBT propaganda by turning one of its main characters gay." She declared: "The Disney of old used to be about entertaining the masses. Let’s hope it’s not too late to return to that." It's indicative of Kornick's (and the MRC's) anti-gay bigotry that she think the mere mention of gay people is not family-friendly.

Elise Ehrhard played whataboutism regarding another show:

Recently, a prominent married politician was found in a hotel room with a gay male escort. That politician was the Democratic star Andrew Gillum, who almost beat Ron DeSantis in Florida's 2018 gubernatorial race. But in the fevered mind of Hollywood writers, it can only be a hypocritical Christian conservative who has something to hide. 

The latest entry in "hypocritical Christian conservative" tropes appeared in Showtime's series Black Monday, in the episode "Mixie-Dixie," on March 15.


Democrats have provided numerous examples of shocking political sex scandals, from former President Bill Clinton to the recent example of Gillum. Yet for Hollywood writers, the only good sex scandal is one committed by a conservative, preferably a character who professes to be a devout Christian and believer in traditional values.

Kornick complained that the "Amazing Stories" reboot fell into a "propaganda trap by delivering a gay love story," further huffing: "Amazing Stories is supposed to be a show that inspires viewers with uplifting stories by upcoming filmmakers. Instead, it offers more opportunities for leftists to push their worldview on others. Only the most obsessive liberal would find that 'amazing.'" Says someone who's trying to push her right-wing worldview on others.

And Gabriel Hays felt the need to remind us how much he hates drag queens and is utterly gleeful that one of the "silver linings" of the pandemic is that drag shows have gotten shut down along with everything else:

You know, the coronavirus “social distancing” measures don’t have to be all bad. There are silver linings to some of this limbo, one being that the LGBTQ community has to slow down its offenses against our sensibilities.

Both the Hollywood gay lobby (GLAAD) and drag queens have reported hits to their respective lines of work. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation had to cancel its annual awards show because of coronavirus and famous drag queens are lamenting the lack of people coming to their shows because of quarantine.

Hey, at least kids all over the country can be safe from drag queen story hour for a month, and by the grace of God we have a reprieve from listening to another Taylor Swift lecture.


Yeah, well again, maybe a national break from drag queens is a good thing. All the viral videos of them sexualizing kids as young as nine-months-old are proof that maybe from certain perspectives, quarantine might be good.

Wait -- doesn't the MRC hate the idea of people finding "silver linings" from the coronavirus pandemic? More MRC hypocrisy.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:10 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, April 4, 2020 10:05 PM EDT
A Child's Garden of WND Coronavirus Conspiracy Theories
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A more plausible explanation is that the virus was developed by China. At least that's what my Chinese driver told me after picking me up at the airport in Australia.

He told me quite emphatically that COVID-19 was man-made, developed as a weapon by Chinese scientists.

When I asked him where he learned this, he replied, "The internet."

But, he was quick to add, the YouTuber he followed was a former Chinese official with excellent, inside intelligence.

A few days later, a friend of mine in New York City, who is a pastor, shared a similar theory with me.

He said that a well-placed friend, formerly a higher-up in the FBI, told him that China developed the virus to hurt the American economy, thereby hurting Trump. And this was in retaliation against Trump for pushing back against China's trade policies.

-- Michael Brown, March 11 WorldNetDaily column

The Great Coronavirus Panic of 2020 is being breathlessly stoked by Democrats and major media. They are using the panic they themselves induce to attack President Trump, claiming he has failed to adequately address the disease. Where the president has acted, those measures are criticized by Democrats and the media. His request for money was criticized as too little and his travel bans are prompting liberal outrage as xenophobic and too extreme. The left has positioned themselves to collect political dividends no matter what happens with the coronavirus. If the virus becomes a major public health disaster, Democrats can attack the president as incompetent and play see-I-told-you-so. If it amounts to nothing, as many believe it will, Democrats will claim credit for forcing the president to act. In any event, the circumstances are being pushed with few facts to support the draconian measures being taken.


Just as with the Russian collusion hoax, the level of hyperbole and hysteria surrounding the coronavirus panic is masking a lack of specific details that should give pause to those leading the organizations, universities, companies and governments shutting down activity. And it is impossible not to notice those advocating the loudest for the most extreme measures at every level of society have been the most vocal critics of the president. Just as with the legend of Russian collusion, liberal political professionals and members of the media gleefully parse and predict the bounty to be gained by Democrats and the political damage to President Trump as a result of coronavirus and its impact on the economy.

-- Sean Harshey, March 13 WND column

Will anti-Semites, like those in the "Squad," reject a COVID-19 vaccine if it is developed by Israel?


With their obvious hatred of everything Israel, will the women of the Squad reject a vaccine if it is developed by Israel? And by the way, it is looking pretty promising that Israel is on track to do just that.

Will they demand that the United States "boycott" the use of the vaccine and encourage their supporters to do the same? Will their anti-Semitic buddy and Shariah-lover Linda Sarsour follow suit and insist that no Muslim take the vaccine?

This all sounds silly, considering the severity of the coronavirus, but it's not. If these women, who have publicly espoused their contempt for the Jewish nation, are to be consistent, shouldn't this be the path they follow?

-- Brent Smith, March 13 WND column

Many reputable people and organizations have come to the conclusion that this crisis began when a Chinese biological weapons facility accidentally released the COVID-19 virus into the atmosphere.


[W]hy did these spy agencies not alert President Trump at the earliest, after a proper use of surveillance, to the threat posed by this apparent leak in a Chinese biological weapons laboratory in Wuhan?

Could it be that they are either completely incompetent, a real possibility given their failure to confirm the lack of weapons of mass destruction by Saddam Hussein's Iraq, or did they withhold this intelligence to create a crisis that could ultimately cost The Donald reelection in 2020? Given that loyal minions of Obama's intelligence czars John Brennan, former CIA director, and James Clapper, former DNI, are still embedded in these intelligence agencies, the latter is more than mere speculation. Having failed to remove the president as a result of the Russian and Ukrainian witch hunts and ensuing impeachment proceedings, by allowing for a major health crisis to take hold, causing a free fall in our stock market and our economy, this is one way for the Deep State in the intelligence agencies and FBI to accomplish their nefarious ends.

-- Larry Klayman, March 13 WND column

A student from UNC, a senior, explained to me today that he thinks the coronavirus was developed in a lab in Wuhan, China, and set lose deliberately to let world leaders know what China is capable of doing to the world economy. He added that China has other virus strains and is using the threat of releasing them as extortion against the Western world. He thinks the key Western world leaders are all aware.

Would China do that? Would China kill a few thousand of its own people to make its point?

That student had at least 10 pieces of evidence to support his theory. He did exhaustive research. He pointed out how lying to the Western world is acceptable to Communist leaders. Killing their own people is also acceptable. The end justifies the means.


First things first. First we need to get rid of the virus. Then take inventory of the damage to the economy, fix it and then counterattack. Just like in any war. Stop the bleeding; take and fix inventory; counterattack. China cannot be allowed development of bio-chemical warfare.

-- Michael Master, March 19 WND column

Posted by Terry K. at 11:09 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, April 4, 2020 11:10 AM EDT
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

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