AIM Roots for The Media To Die To ... Save It? Topic: Accuracy in Media
Accuracy in Media has pretty much fallen off the radar of the ConWeb, mostly by making itself irrelevant. AIM got rid of the main reason it became irrelevant -- Cliff Kincaid -- a few years back (though it has never publicly explained why its biggest-profile employee behind founder Reed Irvine departed the organization), but since then it's been adrift, with Reed's grandson Spencer Irvine getting drafted into pumping out (decidedlylame) content and hiring a guy from the malicioius and credibility-challenged Project Veritas to try and create some buzz.
Right now, AIM is trying out that old, sad staple, the online petition. A couple weeks ago, it posted an item asking readers to "Take a stand against the media bailout!" The tepid argument:
Last week, a coalition of media companies wrote to Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader McConnell asking for a bailout.
These industry groups are so upset that we’re not supporting the mainstream media that they’d like to use the power of government to take our cash by force.
Saving the media would destroy the media.
Americans could never trust journalists to accurately cover the elected officials who voted against their funding.
Journalism is essential in a free society, but many of today’s journalists do a poor job of educating the public. They focus on lies and smears rather than facts and details.
Unpopular news outlets should be allowed to fail so that they might be replaced by better news outlets. There’s no reason to prop up media companies that Americans do not support.
I oppose any media bailout.
"Saving the media would destroy the media"? That's some twisted logic right there.It reeks of the "we had to destroy the village to save it" attitude that became notorious during the Vietnam War.
Meanwhile, the concept that "Unpopular news outlets should be allowed to fail so that they might be replaced by better news outlets" has never been followed by the conservative media, which has used deep-pocketed conservative financiers (Sun Myung Moon, Richard Mellon Scaife, Rupert Murdoch, et al) to prop up conservative newspapers that would have never survived had the owners let the market decide, even when the newspaper industry was doing well. We doubt that AIM was arguing for market forces to work their magic then.
Like any good right-wing, pro-Trump group, AIM simply wants to destroy the media it doesn't like and doesn't actually care about the consequences. Railing against a media bailout with a meaningless online petition is more about appealing to what little right-wing base it has rather than any reasoned considerations.
NEW ARTICLE: The Refugee Racket At CNS Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com has spent years freaking about the number of Muslim refugees admitted into the U.S., particularly under President Obama -- but largely censored the fact that the total number of Christian refugees has always been higher. Read more >>
Questioning Trump Makes Weijia Jiang An Enemy Of The MRC Topic: Media Research Center
Joining Jim Acosta, Yamiche Alcindor and Peter Alexander on the Media Research Center's enemies list for asking tough questions at coronavirus press briefing that send President Trump into a rage -- not that the MRC would ever describe it that way -- is CBS White House correspondent Weijia Jiang.
On April 3, Curtis Houck complained that Trump moved from the "manufactured nonsense" of Acosta to Jiang (needless bolding in original):
Jiang came four questions later and wondered why senior adviser Jared Kushner referred on Thursday to “the federal stockpile” (containing Personal Protective Equipment and ventilators) as “our stock pile,” as if to suggest states wouldn’t have access.
Trump also diagnosed this attempt at creating controversy. Repeatedly groaning about her “gotcha” question, he explained that Kushner clearly meant the United States had access to it when he said “our,”but it would be dispersed at the federal government’s discretion.
Jiang didn’t accept his explanation, so the President called her out and moved on[.]
In fact, as Jiang pointed out in her questioning (per the transcript that Houck didn't otherwise quote from), Kushner served up a very different definition of the the national stockpile that what has been traditionally accepted, and after Kushner made his statement, the Department of Health and Human Services website page on the stockpile was altered to align with Kushner's new definition. But in Houck's eyes, Trump is perfect and Jiang is evil and biased for daring to question Dear Leader.
In an April 20 post, Houck showed how deeply he has drunk of the anti-media, pro-Trump Kool-Aid the MRC has on tap (more lovingly needless bolding in original):
During Sunday’s White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing, President Trump clashed with two usual suspects in CBS’s Weijia Jiang and CNN’s Jeremy Diamond after loaded, snarky questions on behalf of their fellow liberal media firefighters, acting with supposed bravery and perseverance.
Things ended poorly for both with the former being told to be “relax” and stop shouting and the latter being called “pathetic,” having questionable levels of brainpower, and working for a “fake news” network with “terrible ratings.”
Starting with Jiang, she sunk herself by fretting that while Trump expressed anger with China for not doing enough at the onset, many Americans are saying the exact same thing about you that you should have warned that the virus was spreading like wildfires through the month of February instead of holding rallies with thousands of people.”
“Why did you wait so long to warn them?And why did you not have social distancing until March 16,” Jiang added.
Eventually, Trump began by talking about the China travel ban, Jiang griped that it didn’t also ban American citizens.
Jiang continued to interject, so Trump told her to “keep your voice down, please.” Yikes.
Houck should have been saying that about Trump's embarrassing, hostile display, but he and the MRC can't get enough of Trump's embarrassing, hostile media-bashing. They share a fantasy world in which Trump is never wrong and the media is never right to challenge him.
They get paid well to push this partisan nonsense, and Houck's hyperbolic language and overenthusiastic bolding suggest he may be getting a thrill from it that borders on the sexual.
WND, Western Journal Don't Understand How Journalism Works Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily published an April 11 article by Johnathan Jones of the Western Journal:
For a few minutes Thursday, a number of establishment media outlets reported the truth by accurately noting that Senate Democrats had blocked a Republican proposal to offer further assistance to small businesses during the coronavirus shutdown.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell attempted to pass a White House-backed $250 billion relief package aimed at helping small businesses Thursday by unanimous consent -- as most lawmakers are currently not in Washington.
Republicans sought to increase funding for the Paycheck Protection Program from $350 billion to $600 billion.
Democrats, seeking to add an additional $250 billion for pet projects and double the amount Republicans were seeking, made sure nothing got done.
Sadly, that all changed when, one by one, four news outlets updated their headlines to portray the failure in helping American workers as a bipartisan one -- thus absolving the Democrats of being held accountable for their obstructionism.
CNN covered the congressional news and published a story headlined "Democrats block GOP-led funding boost for small business aid program" at 10:36 a.m. Thursday.
By 11:15 am, the headline on the story was adjusted to read, "Senate at stalemate over more COVID-19 aid after Republicans and Democrats block competing proposals.”
Sadly, for a country in need of the truth, CNN wasn’t the only outlet that quickly reverted to reporting fake news after initially reporting the facts.
Bloomberg, NBC News and Politico all quickly followed CNN’s lead by updating their headlines regarding the Senate story in ways that portrayed Democrats in a better light.
For all of their blatant lies and sensational headlines meant to paint Republicans as the bad guys, CNN and the others couldn’t surrender to the truth for a single day.
Jones is so eager to dunk on the "liberal media" that he won't tell youthat the reason all these media outlets changed their headlines is that the story was updated. As CNN noted, after Democrats blocked the effort to boost Paycheck Protection Program funding, "Republicans blocked an alternative proposal put forward by Democrats" to create "additional funding for hospitals and state and local governments."
It's not "fake news" to acknowledge this development; it's reporting facts in context. Jones is the one who's the blatant liar here, and WND -- which puports to report news -- happily perpetrated his blatant lie.
Publishing such blatant lies isn't helping WND's continuing credibility issues.
Misplaced Priorities: MRC Sad That False Coronavirus Claims Are Getting 'Censored' Topic: Media Research Center
It's a sign of the Media Research Center's failing war on social media -- and its decision to be a pro-Trump mouthpiece regarding medications he has promoted -- that it's mad at Twitter for blocking false claims regarding coronavirus and trying to make the right-wing luminaries who made those false claims into victims.
Twitter was reportedly very eager to take down any tweets about hydroxychloroquine and coronavirus. But now that the FDA has approved the drug for the treatment of coronavirus, will Twitter restore some of the tweets it censored?
A tweet from President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani and another tweet from Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk were removed from Twitter on March 27. Both tweets talked about hydroxychloroquine, a drug used to treat malaria. The treatment was recommended by Trump in a press conference. He said, “I sure as hell think we ought to give it a try.”
The FDA announced on March 29, 2020, that hydroxychloroquine was acceptable to treat coronavirus. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that the drug was acceptable to administer to adults and teenagers.
Guiliani’s tweet said, “Hydroxychloroquine has been shown to have a 100% effective rate treating COVID-19. Yet Democrat Gretchen Whitmer is threatening doctors who prescribe it. If Trump is for something- Democrats are against it. They're okay with people dying if it means opposing Trump.” His tweet was in response to Democratic Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who challenged Trump in a press conference on March 26, 2020.
Kirk tweeted a similar sentiment. He said, “Fact: Hydroxychloroquine has been shown to have a 100% effective rate treating COVID-19[.] Yet Democrat Gretchen Whitmer is threatening doctors who prescribe it[.] If Trump is for something -- Democrats are against it[.] They’re ok with people dying if it means opposing Trump[.] SICK!”
Weaver misled about the nature of the FDA's approval of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine. It was approved under an Emergency Use Authorization, which is used during public health emergencies to approve treatments without the rigorous testing normally required in the regular FDA approval process. Indeed, in the Politico article to which Weaver linked to tout the approval, HHS chief Alex Azar describes the medication as only "potential therapeutics," and it's noted that there is no serious evidence that hydroxychloroquine works against coronavirus.
Weaver made no effort to look into what Giuliani and Kirk were referring when their astroturf posts claimed that hydroxychloroquine had a "100% effective rate treating COVID-19." That's obviously false, and Weaver should have admitted it. Instead, she played whataboutism, bizarrely complaining that "New York Times contributor and University of North Carolina professor Zeynep Tufekci said that the CDC and the World Health Organization misinformed the public."
Fox News host Laura Ingraham ran afoul of Twitter’s new Coronavirus rules, and was punished for it.
Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) tweeted: "Lenox Hill in New York among many hospitals already using Hydroxychloroquine with very promising results. One patient was described as ‘Lazarus’ who was seriously ill from Covid-19, already released." Ten days later, on March 30, Twitter demanded that tweet be removed.
A Twitter spokesperson explained that the tweet was removed due to a violation of its new policy regarding tweeting about COVID-19.
In the very next paragraph, though, Moon conceded that Twitter might have a case for removing Ingraham's tweet, noting that "A Fox News story about the Ingraham segment that this tweet referred to does carry a correction that the guest does not work for Lenox Hill and that his views are his own." Moon didn't mention that Ingraham was the one who falsely represented the "guest" as being employed by Lenox Hill Hospital.
Moon followed in Weaver's footsteps by declaring that "It is also the case that the FDA approved the treatment on March 29, the day before Twitter demanded that the 10-day-old tweet be removed." Of course, Moon didn't explain that the approval was for emergency use and was not an endorsement of its efficacy; instead, she huffed: "There are critics who do not believe that the FDA should have issued the emergency approval for the treatment without more rigorous testing. Could it be that Twitter is siding with critics over the FDA instead of allowing for a discussion from both sides of the argument?"
There isn't an "argument" here about which we need to hear "both sides" -- either the medication works, or it doesn't. Unsubstantiated anectodal claims are not the same as serious medical research. But then, facts aren't the point here;as with everything else the MRC does, adhering to Trump talking points is the only thing that matters.
CNS Forgets It Promoted Dr. Drew's Bogus Coronavirus Claim Topic: CNSNews.com
On March 3, CNSNews.com managing editor Michael W. Chapman devoted an article to touting how Dr. Drew Pinsky, M.D., said the liberal media are "over-reacting" to coronavirus, do not know how to report on it, and have created a 'hysteria,'" and that "the measures taken by President Trump, the CDC, and Dr. Anthony Fauci are 'appropriate' and should be heeded." Chapman added how Pinsky dismissed coronavirus as little more than the flu:
On Feb. 27, in a follow-up interview, Sam Schacher spoke with Dr. Drew on the telephone and asked if he was still as passionate about his view on the coronavirus.
Dr. Drew said, "Well, let me frame it this way: we have in the United States 24 million cases of flu-like illness, 180,000 hospitalizations, 16,000 dead from influenza. Why is that not being reported? Why isn’t the message: get your flu shot?"
Chapman quietly added that Pinsky is "a specialist in addictive medicine, and a popular TV personality," though he didn't mention that this gives him no particular expertise on virology, which is where coronavirus study is concentrated.
A month later, CNS finally did some clean-up work for Dr. Drew. An April 6 article by Craig Bannister featured Pinsky's walkback on the whole coronavirus-is-the-flu thing:
Dr. Drew Pinsky, M.D. is apologizing for understating the coronavirus threat by previously comparing it to influenza.
“I was wrong about comparing influenza and coronavirus,” Dr. Drew says in a video apology posted on his Twitter page. Dr. Drew repeatedly owns up to his mistake and apologizes, adding that he has now embraced “the aggressive measures” advocated by the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and the Trump Administration:
Dr. Drew says that he “adjusted course” when Dr. Fauci declared that the coronavirus is much worse than the typical flu. Now, Dr. Drew says, he’s wearing a mask and adhering to the recommended precautions – and, “It’s paying dividends”:
Curiously, Bannister didn't mention that his boss promoted Dr. Drew's previous coronavirus-is-the-flu assertions a month earlier. Further, Chapman's article is still live and uncorrected on the CNS website.
This is perhaps not the best say to demonstrate journalistic accountability at a "news" operation. Certainly CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, would be relentlessly attacking a "liberal media" outlet if it did the same thing.
Questioning Trump Makes Jim Acosta An Enemy Of The MRC Topic: Media Research Center
We've already documented how the Media Research is so in thrall to President Trump that it has embarrassingly gushed over Trump's needless bashing of PBS' Yamiche Alcindor and NBC's Peter Alexander during his daily briefings that osensibly about the coronavirus. But there's plenty more where that came from.
Curtis Houck got particularly worked up when Trump attacked his favorite enemy, CNN's Jim Acosta. "Trump NUKES Acosta for ‘Nasty, Snarky Question’ Looking Back, Not Forward on Virus" Houck screeched in his headline, and the post contained more of the Acosta Derangement Syndrome Houck is known for:
On Monday, CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta stepped back in the ring for Monday’s White House Coronavirus Task Force daily briefing and, as usual, he made a fool out of himself.
Fortunately for our collective sanity, the ordeal lasted less than two minutes and ended with President Trump torching Fake News Jim for his “nasty, snarky question” about the President’s past statements at what was then a disturbing but evolving pandemic.
The President didn’t initially fire Acosta into the sun. Instead, he chose to answer the question, noting that he still does believe the coronavirus will go away, that Americans should “stay calm,” and that everyone’s “doing a great job.”
“[W]e're going to have a great victory and it's people like you and CNN that say things like that, that it's why people just don't want to listen to CNN anymore. You could ask a normal question,” Trump added.
Taking a jab at the wider notion of intentionally causing panic (e.g. much of CNN’s coverage), the President quipped that, if he wanted to, he “could cause panic much better than even you” that’d make the CNN carnivalbarker “look like a minor league player.”
It's indicative of the MRC's highly skewed sense of politics that Houck dropped a reference to "Real Clear Politics White House correspondent Philip Wegmann (who’s a real reporter)" -- never mind that Weghmann has a history of writing for biased conservative outlets such as the Daily Signal and the Washington Examiner and is very much a conservative operative, having received the 2018-19 Tony Blankley Fellowship for Public Policy and American Exceptionalism from the conservative Steamboat Institute. Blankley was the onetime editorial page editor for the conservative Washington Times.
Houck served up more Acosta derangement -- and held tight to pro-Trump talking points -- in an April 3 post:
Acosta inquired at 6:03 p.m. Eastern about the whereabouts of the NIH’s Dr. Tony Fauci, likely seeking to follow up on a CNN report flashing as a chyron during the briefing that Fauci had been purposefully sidelined from appearing.
Trump clearly sensed what Acosta was up to and promptly drove a stake through the heart of the manufactured tension, lamenting that “every time you ask a question,” reporters think there’s “a problem.” In reality, Trump replied that there’s “no problem” and< “we’re doing great together.”
Fake News Jim gave up and asked if he could change subjects, which Trump quipped: “We're covering a different subject? Okay, go ahead, Jim. Try another one.”
Acosta used his second chance to further ram down our throats the media-fed notion that the Trump administration’s failures to deal with the pandemic date back at least a year.
Get work, Jim. Trying to place blame on the U.S. when the blame should belong to China (and only China).
Houck further showed that Acosta lives rent-free inside his headby dedicated yet another post to Trump unable to handle Acosta's questioning (not that Houck would ever admit that of course), pervertsely proud that he could violent metaphors that Trump "nuked" and "obiterated" Acosta:
It was Good Friday, but the White House Briefing Room saw quite the duel when President Trump nuked CNN chief White House correspondent and opposition party figure Jim Acosta for taking issue with what he felt was too much hope and optimism amidst the coronavirus pandemic and not enough negativity.
At one point, the President obliterated Acosta with the seemingly obvious, which is that these briefings are “not happy talk” “sad talk” and “the saddest news conferences that I’ve ever had” because “this is the real deal” having to deal with matters of life and death.
Starting at the beginning, Acosta started not with a question but an opinion that CNN “hear[s] from a lot of people who see these briefings as sort of a happy talk briefings” and that really no hospital or state has even close to what it needs.
Trump asked for names and when Acosta couldn’t answer after a tense back-and-forth, Trump called CNN’s coverage “fake news” to Acosta’s dismay. Trump added that of course Acosta’s hearing nothing but negativity because guests “always say that because otherwise you're not going to put them on.”
The President then turned on the afterburners, trashing Acosta’s nonsense and putting in perspective how difficult this has been and will continue to be, including the fact that “this is the real deal” and finding the safest time to reopen the economy will be “by far the biggest decision of my life”[.]
Houck also inserted pro-Trump talking points here too, declaring that "Obviously, Trump said he would listen to [experts], but he had to repeat it over and over so as to debunk the liberal media notion that Trump would put money over lives."
Houck's Acosta obsession continued even when he didn't appear at the briefing. In a April 14 post, Houck sneered that Acosta is a "liberal hack" for pointing out Trump's obvious distractions from criticism over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and self-aggrandizationabout his performance that was so blatant that Acosta called him "Baghdad Bob"-- which, of course, only served to incense Houck even more, actually claiming that he had "sided with communist China" by pointing out Trump's distractions.
That's the state of "media research" at the MRC these days -- if you don't hand out unquestioning praise of Trump, you're a dirty commie.
WND's Favorite Failed Politician Laments The Death Of Expertise (To Which He Contributed) Topic: WorldNetDaily
You might remember Art Robinson as a favorite of WorldNetDaily, where managing editor David Kupelian has repeatedly endorsed his repeated runs for Congress in Oregon -- in which he has been repeatedly stomped by Democratic incumbent Peter DeFazio (16 percentage points in 2018 alone). Robinson seems to have finally gotten the message; after having lost five times in a row to DeFazio, he started a sixth run only to abandon it last month and run instead for a seat in the Oregon state senate.
The reason we bring this up now is that Robinson wrote an April 3 WND column complaining that, as a scientist, scientific expertise has become devalued. Not by conseratives, of course, even though no less than President Trump has attacked the very idea of expertise; rather, "politico's [sic] have hijacked our name – "scientist." They have used false 'facts' that they say are 'scientific' to generate fear with which to manipulate voters."
The climate denier Robinson suggested that scientists backing the idea of climate change are the ones who are devaluating the idea of scientific expertise. he went on to grouse:
When we put "scientist" on our campaign flier, we were thinking of doing a public service by correcting some of these lies in the minds of our state legislators. We are thinking of true facts about the physical world. Yet, many voters are suspicious. People calling themselves scientists have been insisting that those voters live in ways that they do not want to live – and probably should not live.
There are now three political classes of "scientists" (based on their formal college degrees) having opinions on "climate change."
Most scientists belong to a group that avoids any comment at all. They do not want to have their careers and work endangered by this controversy. There is a second much smaller group that argues publicly against the false statements about climate that are being made to manipulate the voters with fear.
And, there is a third group (the smallest of all) that promotes false statements about climate change for notoriety and personal and professional gain, taking tax-financed grants and other perks. The socialist media promote this group.
We were able to convince 31,000 scientists from the first two groups to sign our mail petition against the false representations of the third group – in order to negate their claim of a "scientific consensus" in their favor. Scientific truths are not determined by polling.
Yeah, about that petition ... as we've pointed out, only a handful of its signatories have any demonstrated expertise in the relevant discipline of climate science, and the total number of signatories -- which hasn't grown much, if at all, in years -- is a miniscule fraction of people who have science degrees.
One could argue Robinson is the one who's cheapening the value of science by trying to turn it into a political issue through invoking it on a politically driven petition.
MRC Takes A Ride On Trump's Chloroquine Train Topic: Media Research Center
When President Trump began hyping chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as possible treatments for coronavirus -- even though its alleged benefits have yet to be proven beyond unscientific anecdotes -- it was sadly predictable that the pro-Trump echo chamber that is the Media Research Center would quickly clamber about the chloroquine train and attack anyone who points out the inconvenient fact that research is lacking on its efficacy against coronavirus.
Alex Christy complained that MSNBC's Rachel Maddow "accused Trump of spreading misinformation and false hope" by pushing the scientifically unproven drug," further spinning: "Maddow was technically correct that the FDA has not approved the drug for coronavirus treatment, but she misled her own viewers when she accused Trump of spreading misinformation, because it wasn't that simple."
Tim Graham proclaimed that anyone who criticized Trump's aggressive pushing of an unproven drug, like CNN's Brian Stelter, was squashing hope:
Hydroxychloroquine offers hope that some coronavirus cases will avoid going down the dark road to long, scary hospital stays with end-stage trauma with ventilators. As Trump said in his "dangerous" talk, he wants to do whatever keeps patients off ventilators. Many Americans would prefer little suggestions of hope, or good news to come. It's obvious CNN just wants everyone perennially angry that Trump is president.
The talking point of Trump as the Reaganesque purveyor of hope was picked up by Kristine Marsh, who grumbled that "ABC spent Tuesday morning ripping President Trump for expressing hope about a promising drug shown to help patients fighting COVID-19.
Leave it to The New York Times economist Paul Krugman to continue to infuse his wacky partisan theories into an ongoing pandemic.
Krugman retweeted lefty CNN Analyst Keith Boykin’s one-sided quip over Assistant to the President and economist Peter Navarro and Dr. Anthony Fauci’s reported dispute concerning the efficacy of the hydroxychloroquine drug. Krugman then used the story to spew nonsensical hyperbole attacking conservatives. He babbled, “May be relevant to note that there is a long, close association between right-wing activism and medical quackery.”
Vazquez, however, didn't dispute Krugman's "babbling" about the association between right-wing activism and medical quackery, even as he quoted from Krugman.
Nicholas Fondacaro contributed as well, clinging to the "Wuhan virus" moniker to describe coronavirus that even Trump has abandoned while grousing that "the evening newscasts of ABC, CBS, and NBC have spotlighted and hyped all sorts of possible treatments for the deadly virus, including treatments that wouldn’t be ready for months" while "bashing antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which was promoted by the President and had strong anecdotal evidence that it was effective.
Graham ultimately took the cake, however, embarrassing himself by proclaiming hydroxycholorquine to be Trump's personal "miracle drug":
As many liberal journalists suggest Fox News Channel should be sued for discouraging people from taking the coronavirus seriously and endangering lives, Fox News is offering hopeful stories that almost every liberal outlet refuses to touch.
Take Michigan state Rep. Karen Whitsett, a Democrat from Detroit, who came down the coronavirus, and credits her doctor prescribing hydroxychloroquine – and President Trump touting the anti-malarial drug on TV – for saving her life. Whitsett told her story onThe Ingraham Angle on Monday night.
Even after that appearance, there has been nothing on ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, NPR, and PBS. Associated Press, The New York Times, and The Washington Postwere also AWOL.
Graham doesn't seem to understand that Ingraham is a highly biased Fox News host who was looking to exploit a woman's illness to support her favorite president.
The MRC also rushed to distance Trump from a couple that had taken a poisonous aquarium cleaner that contained a form of chloroquine, one of whom died. Drennen claimed one reporter's "top priority was finding a way to hold Trump responsible," declaring, "At no point and in no way did the President ever recommend, suggest or imply that anyone should ingest fish medication to prevent COVID-19 infection. When the New York Times accurately reported that he couple had ingested a "form of chloroquine," Clay Waters huffed: "A 'form of chloroquine'? The couple ingested fish tank cleaner. The death can hardly be laid at Trump’s feet."
CNS Goes Into Cleanup Mode For Trump Yet Again Topic: CNSNews.com
As loyal Trump sycophants, CNSNews.com has to regularly go into cleanup mode for President Trump whenever he deviates from his own narrative, insisting that he didn't really say what he said. When President Trump strongly suggested during a Fox News town hall in March that he would cut entitlements like Social Security and Medicare, White House aide Kellyanne Conway went on Fox News to clean up, and CNS' Melanie Arter dutifully repeated her party line.
The first thing Arter made sure to do is not call this cleanup, even though Fox News host Ed Henry pointed out it was in his interview with Conway. The second thing she did was immediately deflecting by stating that Trump "suggested he would cut entitlements but then followed those comments with a tweet on Friday saying he promised to protect Social Security and Medicare."
The third thing Arter did is write her story from Conway's point of view, even bashing a usually protected Fox News host by claiming that "Henry pointed to Trump’s remarks at the town hall, saying that he said the opposite." After that, five of the following six paragraphs are lengthy quotes of Conway, including her ridiculous claim that Henry was "misquoting" Trump.
But then, Arter is verymuch the chief of pro-Trump stenography at CNS, so this is not surprising. Just don't call it journalism.
MRC Again Tries To Parse Away Reagan's Mississippi Campaign Speech Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Brad Wilmouth loves to try and lamely parse to deflect from sins committed by conservatives; witness his attempts to deny that Donald Trump supported the death penalty for the ultimately exonerated Central Park Five. Wilmouth tried to tackle two of them in an April 2 post:
On Tuesday's Amanpour & Co. on PBS, NPR All Things Considered weekend host Michel Martin did an interview with Stuart Stevens, one of those GOP strategists who became red-hot Never Trumpers. Stevens insisted "the original sin of the modern Republican party is race," and Martin used that to rip into Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
Martin agreed that "race has been used by the Republican party for an awfully long time" She not only incorrectly claimed that it was the 1988 Bush campaign that ran "the Willie Horton ad" in 1988, but she also repeated the discredited myth that candidate Ronald Reagan announced his candidacy for President at the site where three civil rights workers were murdered in Mississippi.
In fact, Reagan didn't announce a campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi, and certainly not where activists were murdered. The claim used to be it was his first stop after the Republican convention in 1980. That is also wrong. In fact, the Gipper spoke at the same Neshoba County State Fair where some Democratic presidential candidates, including Michael Dukakis, also spoke over the years, because it was a good place to reach many voters.
Anyone old enough to remember 1988 knows the Bush campaign never ran a Willie Horton ad (a pro-Bush PAC did). They did air a commercial on the weekend prison-furlough program of Governor Dukakis.
This is a slight change from Wilmouth's previous defense of Reagan's Mississippi appearance, when he insisted that the county fairgrounds weren't actually in Philadelphia, Miss., and the civil rights workers weren't actually murdered in town.Still, it's highly unlikely that Reagan didn't know about that history, or that his reference in the speech to "states' rights" -- which is what the controversy over the speech is ultimately about, though Wilmouth doesn't mention it -- was not a dog-whistle reference that white Southerners would understand. We suspect those Democratic presidential candidates didn't talk about "states' rights."
While it's true that the Bush campaign didn't actually create the notorioius Willie Horton ad, the campaign did benefit from it to the point that Bush's 1988 campaign manager, Lee Atwater, said that "By the time we’re finished, they’re going to wonder whether Willie Horton is Dukakis’ running mate." Which makes Wilmouth's attempt to distance Bush from the ad rather absurd.
WND's Jack Cashill Is A Seth Rich April Fool Topic: WorldNetDaily
It's fitting that this column by Jack Cashill was posted at WorldNetDaily on April 1, since it's a cruel joke of a piece that endeavors to perpetuate discredited Seth Rich conspiracy theories.
Cashill begins by citing the notoriously unreliable Gateway Pundit, who was quoting Ty Clevenger, who we've pointed out is a gadfly Clinton-hater; one reason right-wing conspiracy-mongers have latched onto the Seth Rich story is because of their pathological hatred of all things Clinton. Hew then referenced "veteran news analyst Ellen Ratner," who reportedly forwarded the idea that Rich leaked Democratic emails to WikiLeaks, insisting she "had no reason to make this up." But as we noted, the only evidence linked to this is a video fellow conspirator Ed Butowsky tweeted out of Ratner in which she said nothing about Rich.
Nevertheless, Cashill writes, "Seth Rich and his brother, Aaron, were responsible for releasing the DNC emails to WikiLeaks," [WikiLeaks leader Julian] Assange reportedly told Ratner, and she in turn told Butowsky. Butowsky made this claim in a complex, multi-party defamation lawsuit filed in July 2019." Cashill didn't mention that there's a separate lawsuit in which Aaron Rich is suing Butowsky and others for falsely claiming that he was involved in the theft of the DNC files, which has already resulted in the retraction of a Washington Times column making that claim and an apology from conspiracy-monger Jerome Corsi -- who, as we've reported, knew that the core conspiracy theory he and WND were promoting about Rich giving the DNC emails to WikiLeaks -- was false at the time he and WND were promoting it.
Cashill then defended the alleged honor of the "well-intentioned" Butowsky:
In fact, Butowsky was not a reporter but an occasional Fox News contributor on economic issues. He was not "concocting a story about Seth Rich's death" but attempting to solve a genuine mystery.
He had information that the major media did not, including Ratner's testimony and unfiltered conversations with Rich's parents.
NPR reporter David Folkenflik had less interest in solving Rich's murder than he did in slandering Butowsky. He dug into the educational background of this amateur investigator more aggressively than NPR had ever dug into Barack Obama's.
Other alternative journalists, most notably the irrepressible Matt Couch, faced similar legal and media harassment.
Eventually, Fox News was sued into silence. This widespread suppression would have had some justification if major media journalists knew anything about Rich's murder, but they did not.
Cashill doesn't mention that Fox News has plenty of legal firepower and could stand by its bogus Seth Rich story had it chose to; instead, it was retracted.He also doesn't mention that the Mueller Report showed that the DNC emails were hacked by Russians and that Julian Assange was lying when he perpetuated the story of Seth Rich's purported involvement.
And, as we noted the last time Cashill claimed this, Couch is less "irrepressible" and more a fellow empathy-devoid conspiracy-monger who is also getting sued by Aaron Rich for defamation.
As with his fellow conspiracy-mongers like Butowsky, Clevenger and Couch, the conspiracy is always -- always -- more important than the facts for Cashill. And he doesn't care who gets hurt in the process as long as the conspiracy is perpetuated.
MRC Fact-Checks 'Daily Show' Satire (And Fails) Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center loves to freak out every time someone fact-checks a satire piece from the right-wing Babylon Bee, but it has its own history of fact-checking satire as well. The latest came in a reaction to a couple videos put out by "The Daily Show" showing President Trump and Fox News downplaying the threat of coronavirus.
In a March 12 post, Tim Graham took offense to the fake "Daily Show" trailer called "Pandumbic," which featured Trump's downplaying. Graham went on a word-parsing tirade to shield his favorite president from blame, led by his lame insistence that Trump's likening of coronavirus to the flu is "not ridiculous, technically":
1. Trump is shown saying "This is a flu. This is like a flu." This is not ridiculous, technically: "COVID-19 and the flu are both contagious viruses that cause respiratory illness." They left off the rest of his sentence: "And this is a much different situation than Ebola." This footage is from a February 26 press conference, when CNN reported the number of confirmed cases in the USA was 60.
2. Then came "the dumbest person alive" on screen, and after we hear CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota say there are "732 confirmed cases," Trump says "we're going to be pretty soon at only five people and we could be at just one or two people over the next short period of time."
Camerota's case number comes from March 10. Trump's sentence is from February 26, but the audience would assume they occurred at roughly the same time. Trump wasn't discussing confirmed cases, he was talking about people recovering from illness.
3. They noted the Centers for Disease Control recommended people avoid shaking hands, then showed footage of Trump shaking hands at an airport. At least this was a time match. Yahoo flagged the contrast on March 9, as Trump shook hands with supporters in Orlando.
4. After the words "no credentials," they showed Trump touring a CDC facility noting his Uncle John taught at MIT and was a "supergenius." Fact check: Trump's Uncle John was an MIT professor of electrical engineering for more than 40 years. This mockery is just cheesy, because Obama and Biden have "no credentials" in epidemiology.
A few weeks later, when "The Daily Show" issued "Heroes of the Pandumbic," featuring further downplaying from Trump and Fox News, the MRC called in the big gun ... Sharyl Attkisson?
In an April 6 post, Graham touted how "Attkisson smelled a rat" and claimed that "liberal sources and public health officials have said the very same things without being criticized." But Graham won't tell you that Attkisson played fast and loose with context in her rebuttal. As an actual news organization reported:
Journalist Sharyl Attkisson, a former CBS News reporter and frequent critic of the mainstream media, published a lengthy piece Sunday responding to a viral video from the “Daily Show,” which highlighted some of these wayward pronouncements by Fox, Trump and Trump allies. Attkisson offers each of the quotes from the video and then, under each one, lists a bunch of quotes from other sources that she argues are similar.
One thing conspicuously missing from the piece, though? Any dates on the quotes. A review shows that every quote she is defending is either from late February or March; many of the quotes she cites as being comparable, though, are from January or early February, when the virus still hadn’t penetrated much in the United States. Other, more recent statements she cites aren’t nearly as definitive as the ones they’re being compared with.
Instead, Graham's goal is to give his friends at Fox News a pass: "It's not hard to apply the old metaphor that hindsight is 20/20 and Fox News stars for saying coronavirus is just like the flu. Attkisson lays out how many people said that. But the Hindsight Machine of the late-night comedians is tilted, as always.
Attkisson is too -- but Graham won't tell you that.
CNS Dismisses 'Impish' Zoom Bombers (Who Post Porn And Racism) Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com commentary editor Rob Shimshock wrote about "impish" Zoom "bombers" -- people who impede unauthorized on other people's Zoom meetings -- in an April 2 op-ed:
With quarantine in full effect for much of the nation, meetups spanning from college classes to Alcoholics Anonymous have migrated into the digital sphere, hosting sessions on audiovisual platform Zoom. But these calls are receiving some unexpected participants, with churlish netizens disrupting meetings en masse, hurling anything from acerbic japes to vile invective and using the app’s screen-share tool to portray content ranging from Guitar Hero to crude Microsoft Paint sketches of certain regions of the anatomy.
The New York Post starts a piece entitled “FBI warns of hackers hijacking online Zoom meetings, classes” by claiming that “even working from home isn’t safe!”
That’s right; online trolling is on the same tier as a murderous virus.
Over the past half-day, I’ve sat in on a few of these trolling sessions — in a purely journalistic capacity! Users are finding Zoom room numbers and passwords through publicly accessible venues like Twitter. Such information is often posted pseudonymously and accompanied by messages such as “raid my math class tomorrow,” suggesting that mischievous students and members of other groups are hoping some anonymous prankster will raise hell on their behalf during a tedious lecture or briefing.
In short, joining these calls unsolicited is just as much a “hack” as taking your dog to a public park is an “invasion.”
But in dismissing the Zoom bombing as merely "impish" pranks, Shimshock is ignoring the more malicious aspects of it. Pornography is one of them; one school district online Zoom class with elementary school students got interrupted by porn. People using racial slurs bombed a college meeting of black students.
it's strange that Shimshock would dismiss porn-related Zoom bombing, since it has been praisingstates for claiming that pornography is a "public health crisis," and a day after Shimshock's column appeared, his boss, managing editor Michael W. Chapman, cheered Utah -- ironically, the state where the porn-bombing of the elementary students occurred -- for requiring warning labels on porn. We're less surprised about the racist stuff, given that CNS commentary section that Shimshock runs continues to publish the column of Michelle Malkin, who has been leaning hard lately into white nationalism and anti-Semitism.
Shimshock does point out that Zoom adjusting program settings will block the bombers, but he framed it as "a good ol’ dose of personal responsibility."
Questioning Trump Makes Peter Alexander An Enemy Of The MRC Topic: Media Research Center
In the Media Research Center's gaslighting narrative, President Trump has behaved perfectly throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and any reporter who asks him even a remotely challenging question during his daily press briefings is a hateful liberal who's trying to showboat and tout his or her own ego (as if they could be more egomanical than Trump).
One victim of this biased, fanciful portrayal is NBC's Peter Alexander. Here's how Kyle Drennen described his reasonable March 30 questioning of Trump, under the hyperbolic clickbait headline "Trump SMACKS DOWN NBC’s Alexander for Being ‘Terrible Reporter’":
During Friday’s coronavirus press conference at the White House, NBC correspondent Peter Alexander decided that it was more important to get into an argument with President Trump than actually keep the American people informed about the global pandemic. The reporter began his nasty line of questioning by accusing the President of spreading “false hope” – until Trump shut him down.
“Is it possible that your impulse to put a positive spin on things may be giving Americans a false sense of hope by misrepresenting the preparedness right now?,” Alexander hurled at the President, referencing experimental medical treatments for COVID-19. Trump sarcastically remarked, “Such a lovely question,” before explaining: “Look, it may work and it may not work....I feel good about it, that’s all it is, just a feeling.”
Moments later, still seemingly upset by the President’s sense of optimism, Alexander decided to play on people’s fear to create a headline: “What do you say to Americans who are scared, though, I guess. Nearly 200 dead, 14,000 who are sick. Millions, as you witnessed, who are scared right now. What do you say to Americans who are watching you right now who are scared?”
The President had clearly had enough and let Alexander have it:
None of those questions were actually about eliciting important medical or safety information for the American people. The only purpose of those questions was to point fingers of blame and start a fight with President that would make good television.
In other words, Drennen is complaining that Alexander wouldn't be a stenographer for Trump and push whatever the talking point of the day was.
In case you didn't really believe that the MRC thinks that merely questioning Trump makes a reporter a liberal egomaniac, a post the same day by Curtis Houck cited Alexander as the purveyor of "another embarrassing display of self-centeredness by groaning journalists about how President Donald Trump doesn’t like them,"going on to sneer that "there’s no profession that loves itself more than the liberal media" and "many journalists are incredibly thin-skinned when presented with criticism from outside their Statist bubbles in New York and Washington D.C."
Houck, of course, is ensconced in his own right-wing media bubble in which any journalist who isn't a Trump shill is an enemy.
Never mind that Alexander was tossing Trump a softball question, as he pointed out later, "an opportunity to reassure the millions of Americans, members of my own family and my neighbors and my community and plenty of people sitting at home." That Trump's response was as unhinged as it was, Alexander wrote, showed that "this is a president whose experiences in life are very different than most Americans across this country right now," not someone who has ever worried about finances or his future or paying bills.
That, of course, did not go over well at the MRC either. Drennen complained that Alexander's statement "implied that Trump is too rich to relate to people."
Nicholas Fondacaro, meanwhile, lost it when CNN's John King called Trump's unhinged behavior against Alexander a "bullshit attack," going on to huff that "Alexander’s question was an underhanded attempt to accuse the President of spreading “false hope” in a time of crisis. As things got heated, Trump responded by accurately noting Alexander was engaging in sensationalism." Fondacaro went on to sneer: "Without evidence, [CNN's Dana] Bash also suggested Alexander was an 'objective reporter,'" then touted a profanity-laced attack on Alexander by right-wing Fox News commentator Brit Hume, who huffed, "Legitimate question my a**. It was the kind of bullsh*t gotcha question which hack WH reporters have been asking for decades." Fondacaro laughably claimed that Hume was "bringing a taste of reality back to the situation."
When reporters challenge Trump, they are presumed to be brilliant. NBC’s Peter Alexander asked about potential drug treatments to inhibit the virus: “Is it possible that your impulse to put a positive spin on things may be giving Americans a false sense of hope by misrepresenting the preparedness right now?” Trump admitted he was talking about “a feeling” he had. Then Alexander insisted “Nearly 200 dead, 14,000 who are sick. Millions, as you witnessed, who are scared right now. What do you say to Americans who are watching you right now who are scared?”
Alexander claimed this was a “softball,” but it clearly exaggerated the number of “sick,” since thousands have recovered, and not every “confirmed case” even gets symptoms. That’s when Trump called him a “terrible reporter.” Alexander’s question was loaded, and so was the aftermath. NBCNews.com posted this headline: “Trump, promoting unproven drug treatments, insults NBC reporter at coronavirus briefing.”
That's the story the MRC has to tell themselves and their followers: Every question that sets Trump off is "loaded," and Trump is always right to be set off.