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Tuesday, June 16, 2020
CNS Unemployment Coverage Distortion Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

As it did the previous month, CNSNews.com did what it could to prepare readers for even worse unemployment numbers. A May 18 article by managing editor Michael W. Chapman highlighted a prediction that the unemployment rate could reach 25 percent, near Great Depression rates. So when the actual May numbers were released, even Susan Jones was surprised that the rate actually dropped from the previous month:

The jobs/employment report issued today by the Labor Department reflects what was happening in mid-May, and while it remains a grim picture, there are signs of improvement in every category as Americans straggle back to work.

The number of employed Americans increased by 3,839,000 in May to 137,242,000 -- far short of the record 158,803,000 set in December, but a move in the right direction.

The last time this number hovered at the 137M level was in 2000-2003.

At the same time, the number of unemployed Americans dropped by 2,093,000 to 20,985,000 in May, resulting in a lower unemployment rate than last month -- 13.3 percent in May versus 14.7 percent in April.

Even with those numbers, Jones still felt the need to distort numbers. Note the weasel words here: "The jobless rates for teenagers (29.9 percent), Blacks (16.8 percent), and Asians (15.0 percent) showed little change over the month." In fact, the rates for blacks and Asians rose.

CNS also served up the usual sidebars on Hispanic unemployment (declined) and  government jobs (the lowest level in 19 years). It didn't, however, tell readers what the "real unemployment rate" was, even though that U-6 rate (21.2 percent) is much higher than it was under the Obama administration, a time when CNS regularly reported it.

CNS also hasn't told its readers about a statistical aberration that should have made the rate even higher. Due to a misclassification error, the May rate should actually be about three points higher. Buyt that would make things look even worse for President Trump, and CNS is not in the business of making things look worse for Trump.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:33 AM EDT
Monday, June 15, 2020
MRC Tries To Keep CNN Conspiracy Theory Alive
Topic: Media Research Center

Curtis Houck began his June 9 Media Research Center post this way:

Try not to laugh or feel the urge to destroy your electronic devices after reading these quotes. On Tuesday, the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) announced their 2020 award winners, which included the insanely partisan Yamiche Alcindor of taxpayer-funded PBS, the liberal hacks at CNN, and The New York Times

That's right -- it's yet another MRC meltdown over journalists getting awards (though the only electronic devices in danger of getting destroyed are the ones in arm's length of Houck). Thus, we have the usual pained, unhinged exclamations from Houck like "What were the judges smoking?" But the really unhinged thing Houck wrote was this:

In the “Merriman Smith Memorial Award for Excellence in Presidential News Coverage under Deadline Pressure for Broadcast” category, WHCA handed first place to Jeffrey Zucker’s CNN for being parked outside Roger Stone’s Florida home on January 25, 2019 as FBI agents arrived before dawn to arrest him.

CNN has long denied being tipped off and insisted it came from a pure hunch. But no matter what they’ve said and will continue to say, the episode will always leave people skeptical.

That, of course, is the conspiracy theory -- promoted heavily by the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com -- that  CNN happened to be on hand to film Stone's arrest because it was tipped off, possibly by special counsel Robert Mueller himself. Houck himself pushed it back in the day, refusing to believe CNN's claim it followed the story closely enough that it could prepare for an arrest.

Despite the fact that absolutely no evidence whatsoever has surfaced to contradict CNN's explanation, Houck is still embracing the conspiracy theory and insisting there's reason for people to be "skeptical." Of course, "people" in this case means unhinged, irrational CNN-haters like Houck who are paid to hate CNN.

The headline on Houck's piece indicates that he believes any journalist who's not a right-wingher to be a "liberal hack." But his insistence on clinging to a never-proven conspiracy solely because he hates CNN that much demonstrates what a right-wing hack he is.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:50 PM EDT
CNS Presents Discredited Criminal Adulterer As An Expert on Antifa
Topic: CNSNews.com

Dinesh D'Souza is an convicted criminal (albeit a pardoned one) and adulterer who gets beaten down regularly on Twitter for the numerous false claims he makes about American history. No, naturally, CNSNews.com has decided to present him as an expert.

In a June 2 item, CNS managing editor Michael W. Chapman did just that:

While discussing Antifa's role in the riots and looting in U.S. cities, conservative scholar and best selling author Dinesh D'Souza said the organization is the "true descendant" of radical left socialist paramilitary groups, such as Mussolini's Black Shirts and Hitler's Brown Shirts.

He added that Antifa has melded its Marxism with "identity politics," such as "racial" or "gender" grievance, and this has produced a "kind of identity socialism."

When asked about Antifa on The Ingraham Angle on Monday night, D'Souza said, "I think Antifa is the true descendant of the socialist regimes of 100 years ago – Mussolini’s Black Shirts, Hitler’s Brown Shirts. These are paramilitary that these socialist leaders needed in order to achieve political objectives that couldn't be achieved any other way."

Note the error in that last paragraph, in which D'Souza described Hitler and Mussolini as "socialist leaders." In fact, Hitler was not a socialist, and neither was Mussolini's fascist regime. Note that Chapman gave a pass to D'Souza's falsehood.

Further, as has since been proven, Antifa has had only a very small role in the "riots and looting" in the wake  of the death of George Floyd, and at least some of that violence is actually the work of right-wing extremists.

Also note that Chapman made no mention of D'Souza's history of criminality, adultery and getting stuff wrong. Instead, he laughably described D'Souza as a "conservative scholar" and touting him as "the author of numerous books."


Posted by Terry K. at 2:18 PM EDT
WND Touts Even More Coronavirus Conspiracy Theories
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It should surprise nobody that WorldNetDaily has continued to spread conspiracy theories about the coronavirus pandemic. Let's take a look at some of the latest ones.

Michael Schisler wrote in a May 27 column:

What we are witnessing is a resurrection of the Vietnam War era media practice of broadcasting body counts on a daily basis. But now it's being done with a few twists designed to drive a radical left-wing agenda. During the Vietnam War, the media broadcast daily body counts to terrorize the enemy. Today they broadcast daily body counts in order to terrorize Americans.

While the typical American seeks solid information concerning the safety of reopening our businesses and schools, the liberal media feed us unqualified raw body counts. They are fully aware that raw body counts with absolutely no qualifying information terrorizes the American populace, which is exactly why they are doing it. They see that trafficking in fear porn has worked.

The same day, Jim Breslo contributed a column in which he accuses federal scientists Anthony Fauci and Robert Redfield of "exaggerating the seriousness of COVID-19," citing "Michael Fumento, author of 'The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS' and former AIDS analyst for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights." Fumento's book was dismissed by actual scientists when it came out in 1990as being ignorant of AIDS research. In it, Fumento dismissed the impact of coronavirus, decalring that it "clearly is one that almost exclusively kills the elderly."

Meanwhile, WND was pushing conspiracy theories in its sparsely read Whistleblower magazine. Its April issue complained that America's response to the coronavirus pandemic was threatened by "the de facto alliance between an increasingly far-left Democratic Party and establishment news media both pathologically obsessed with destroying the elected president of the United States by any means possible – including weaponizing a genuine mega-crisis." WND seems to have forgotten it was pathologically obsessed with destroying an elected president of the United States by any means possible, including spreading lies and conspiracy theories.

In the May issue, titled "DRUNK WITH POWER," WND asserted that "more and more politicians across the nation are suddenly acting like full-blown dictators" in trying to stop or slow the spread of coronavirus -- though it doesn't mention the word "coronavirus" until the ninth paragraph of its preview.WND also ranted:

There appears to be no limit to either the dictatorial tendencies of many Democrat politicians – or to their hypocrisy. Former President Barack Obama was photographed golfing on a Virginia golf course 40 miles from his Washington, D.C. home, while his wife, former first lady Michelle Obama, was busy recording a robocall sternly urging all D.C. residents “to stay home except if you need essential healthcare, essential food or supplies, or to go to your essential job.” 

As we pointed out when CNSNews.com brought this up, it's nothing more than a cheap, lazy gotcha -- golf courses in Virginia were open at the time. In other words, WND remains as pathologically obsessed with Obama as ever.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:41 AM EDT
Sunday, June 14, 2020
MRC Loses It Over The Fact That Opening Economy Means More People Die of Coronavirus
Topic: Media Research Center

Back when the coronavirus pandemic got into full swing, the Media Research Center had meltdowns over people wanting to protect abortion rights -- even though it defended a man who advocated letting elderly people die of coronavirus in order to save the economy. Since then, the MRC has been pushing another argument under in the same neighborhood.

For months, the MRC has been whining about people who claim that Trump allies who demand that lockdowns and stay-at-home orders end immediately in order to save the economy are putting people's lives in danger. It was so obsessed over this, in fact, that it devoted an April 21 post to compiling 16 examples, with Geoffrey Dickens huffing, "Liberal journalists and hosts exhibited little sympathy for protestors wanting to go back to work as they belittled them as zombies and a 'doomsday cult.' The President and conservatives that shared their concerns were derided as 'reckless and “dangerous.'" Nicholas Fondacaro ranted with his usual hateful bile and unprofessional name-calling in a May 12 post:

In arguably his most toxic diatribe to date, CNN host Chris “Fredo” Cuomo ended Tuesday’s Cuomo PrimeTime by lashing out at Fox News in the vilest of ways: Falsely declaring that they were totally fine with 10,000 more Americans dying from the coronavirus.

“But right now, the American family is in a period of dysfunction, we're estranged and acting strangely. 10,000 more Americans could die by August because so many places are relaxing social distancing? What happened to no man left behind? Now it's 10,000 is okay,” Cuomo asked, in a “closing argument” he draped under the veil of Mother’s Day.

Joseph Vazquez similarly grumbled in a May 21 post that New York Times columnist and economist Paul Krugman was issuing  "disgusting shots at President Donald Trump, Republicans, and ordinary Americans for wanting to reopen the economy: by claiming that "thousands of Americans may be about to die for the Dow," further complaining that "Krugman encouraged readers to speculate about the potential 'blowback — especially, by the way, among senior citizens — if an attempt to restart the economy leads to a new wave of infections.'"

MRC official Tim Graham, meanwhile, served up his own take on this in a May 18 post complaining that writer Molly Jong-Fast wrote an item about Fox News host advocating the roemoval of lockdowns under the headline "Laura Ingraham Wants Your Grandmother to Die." Graham huffed in response: "This has all the nuance and finesse an article headlined “Molly Jong-Fast Wants You to Commit Suicide From Sheltering in Place.” Or "Molly Jong-Fast Wants You to Be Unemployed for the Rest of Your Life." When Jong-Fast pointed out that conservatives advocating the ending of lockdowns are going against science, Graham declared: "That's not right. The conservative media is saying Democrats are claiming to be Science, but what happens when their favorite models and projections do not come true? They haven't been humble about admitting a hypothestis failed  -- like science lovers should."

But Graham and the rest of his science-questioning MRC minions don't want to question the possibility that the lockdowns saved lives and stopped out-of-control spreading of the virus. One study found that lockdowns slowed the infection rate in the U.S. and saved millions of lives worldwide. And it's indisputable that opening up business to restart the economy while there's still a significant risk of coronavirus spread will, indeed, needlessly cost lives if precautions aren't being taken. And, indeed, that's what's happening worldwide.

It's difficult to enjoy economic freedom if you're dead from something that could otherwise be avoidable. The MRC doesn't seem to understand that.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:39 PM EDT
CNS Touted Geraldo's False Claim That Impeachment Distracted Trump From Coronavirus
Topic: CNSNews.com

There was so much pro-Trump stenography and so many bogus claims in CNSNews.com's coverage of the coronavirus pandemic that a couple slipped though the cracks and are worth backing up a bit to note. Like this, in which Craig Bannister wrote in an April 1 post:

Democrats, like Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), who distracted the nation from the coronavirus outbreak threat by leading a media-hyped “faux quest” to remove President Donald Trump from office via impeachment, must ask themselves if the harm they caused was worth their political gain, pundit and commentator Geraldo Rivera said Wednesday.

River tweeted that impeachment-crazed Democrats must eventually face up to how their impeachment media circus distracted the country from preparing for and combating the deadly coronavirus outbreak:

[...]

On Tuesday, Rivera tweeted a timeline of how Democrats’ impeachment efforts coincided with the coronavirus outbreak:

  • “House Dems led by @RepAdamSchiff Impeached @realDonaldTrump on Dec18-as #coronavirus got #Wuhan foothold.”
  • “Senate trial Jan16th to 31st-same day @POTUS imposed #ChinaTravelBan.”
  • “Trump Acquitted Feb 5th”

“Was Trump distracted by Impeachment? Yes! So were you & I & #WaPo #NYTimes et al,” Rivera concluded.

But Bannister failed to tell his readers that the day before, Trump explicitly said that he wasn't distracted by impeachment and would not have reacted any differently to the emerging coronavirus pandemic if he hadn't been impeached.

Then again, fact-checking at CNS isn't important when the goal is to either make Trump look good or his critics look bad.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:16 AM EDT
Saturday, June 13, 2020
MRC's Double Standard On Presidential Coloring Books
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Gabriel Hays was in full hateful-snark mode in a May 8 item:

The timing couldn’t be any better for a sexy-themed adult coloring book featuring former vice president and current 2020 Democrat nominee Joe Biden, right? Actually, don’t answer that.

Unfortunately, it’s not a joke.

The real (and very disturbing) news is that there’s a new adult-themed coloring book titled “Hot Cup of Joe” featuring a buff Joe Biden that will be coming out on June 16, 2020.

 [...]

Sadly, this abomination exists. What might be even more disturbing than the book’s cover illustration, which depicts an “in-shape” Joe Biden wearing a tight T-shirt, aviator sunglasses, and holding a cup of joe (get it?) while standing in an old-school diner, is the book’s creepy tagline.

[...]

Conservative reactions were a mix of disgust and humor.

If you thought Joe Biden was a hard candidate to take seriously, this dials it up a notch.

So having a coloring book dedicated to you makes you a less serious presidential candidate? Don't tell Hays about all the creepy coloring books dedicated to President Trump.

Like this one, for instance, which ridiculously portrays an impossibly buff Trump as Superman, among other scenarios. It's describwd this way:

Acclaimed artist Tim Foley offers colorists thirty-one black-and-white illustrations featuring the classic Donald smirk and that unmistakable (albeit magnificent) blonde swoop. Foley has transposed Trump into classic scenes from history. Whether it’s placing his face on George Washington crossing the Delaware or superimposing it on Mount Rushmore, Foley masterfully incorporates the outspoken Republican nominee, Apprentice star, and New York real estate tycoon into a wide array of famous historical scenes and paintings for you to color. Additionally, Foley portrays the magnate at famous events such as the signing of the Constitution, Muhammad Ali knocking out Sonny Liston, and Superman lifting up a car in his initial comic book appearance.

There are more.But Hays obviously loves Trump too much to snark about them, making his Biden piece nothing but a mean-spirited cheap shot -- you know, the standard MRC output these days.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:41 AM EDT
WND's Brown Still Pretending He Doesn't Hate Gay People
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily columnist Michael Brown loves to pretend he doesn't hate the LGBT community, even while he's expressing that hate -- then gets mad when said hate gets called out. He's been hypocritally flip-flopping again.

In a May 1 column, he lectured CNN anchor Anderson Cooper for raising his newborn son, born through a surrogate, with his ex-partner and without a mot her: "Anderson, a boy deserves his mother, yet if I understand your plan correctly, your son will not be raised together by her and by you. That's what saddens me the most." As usual, he went into I-really-don't-hate-gay-people mode:

To be clear, I don't believe that you simply chose to be gay one day. I don't believe that any more than I "chose" to be straight.

[...]

In many ways, you are private person, and I'm not trying to intrude in your life. And you may simply write me off as a hateful gay basher.

But it is love that compels me to write. What is best for Wyatt Morgan Cooper?

A few days later, Brown was raging against critics who called him a homophobe for that Cooper column and also pointed out his history of linking homosexuality to pedophilia. He denied he was doing so, then tried to justify what was effectively the same comparison:

As for my article, my point was simple. I was comparing "an illogical justification of homosexuality that can just as easily be used to justify pedophilia," namely, that is must be right because someone is born that way.

I also wrote, "What about those who, to the core of their being, struggle with pride? Or anger? Or greed? Or jealousy? What does this prove? It proves that we are a fallen, broken race in need of a Savior. And what about the claims of a violent gene or a selfish gene or an obesity gene?

"Do we therefore celebrate violence, selfishness or obesity, if, in fact, they are genetic? Or, if we have these alleged genetic tendencies, do we work harder to overcome them?"

My purpose was to illustrate how the "born that way" argument for homosexuality is self-defeating, opening the door to all kinds of counter-arguments, including the argument that pedophiles can claim to be born that way.

Brown then justified his support for conversion therapy as having "simply stated my support for the rights of those with unwanted same-sex attraction to receive professional counseling if they desire. That's it."

As the saying goes: If you're explaining, you're losing.

Needless to say, Brown went on to demonstrate his anti-gauy bona fides once again in a May 27 column attacking Pixar for making an animated short featuring a gay lead character, meaning that Disney, which owns Pixar is coming for your children:

To be sure, this is just a 9-minute film, but there's not much of a leap from 9 minutes to 90 minutes.

You might say, "You need to chill! What's the big deal? This is not some full-length release. Plus you can't expect Pixar to quote the Bible."

Well, if it's so insignificant why are gay activists so excited about the film? And why is Disney Streaming, where the film was released, touting it so highly? 

 [...]

The fact is that gay activists have long recognized the importance of influencing children, even if they were doing it with (in their minds) the purest of intentions. In other words, they would say they don't want other kids to struggle the way they did when they were growing up. Or they want other kids to be more tolerant and accepting. Or they want to break down the gender binary, since not everyone fits into it.

Whatever the motivation might be, gay activists have certainly been targeting your children for many years now, from sex-ed curricula in the schools to drag queen reading hours in the libraries, and from Hollywood to social media platforms and beyond.

[...]

Yet here we are, almost 10 years later, and many LGBTQ activists still shy away from admitting that they are trying to indoctrinate or recruit our children. Really?

Brtown never explains why gays must be hated in the way he chooses to do so, or that people must feel that being gay is a bad thing.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:09 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, June 14, 2020 6:03 PM EDT
Friday, June 12, 2020
MRC Pretends To Care About CBS
Topic: Media Research Center

Randy Hall worked up some crocodile tears in a May 29 NewsBusters post:

CBS is in trouble. The network -- including its news and entertainment divisions -- has faced many financial hurdles over the past few years, which eventually led to a merger with the Viacom media conglomerate last December. Even though that combination gave the company access to more resources, the business has still had to deal with financial hardships, which led to a round of restructuring and layoffs on Tuesday.

According to The Wrap, this includes "veteran White House reporter Mark Knoller, Pentagon reporter Cami McCormick and correspondent Dean Reynolds,” among others.

How do we know that Hall's sympathy for one of the MRC's favorite targets is fake? He went on to forward the idea that "other, more highly paid journalists, could have sacrificed for their fellow journalists."

Hall's post might lead you to think that the MRC genuinely cares about the plight of CBS and its employees. It doesn't. Remember that the MRC's goal is to destroy all media that isn't sufficiently right-wing. Remember how gleeful it was when Norah O'Donnell's tenure as CBS Evening News anchor generated low-ish ratings.

The MRC hates CBS so much, it expressed joy over technical difficulties. Nicholas Fondacaro devoted an entire May 19 post to crowing about the "latest embarrassment" in which the Evening News couldn't be broadcastdue to technical issues, going on to mock the technical problem as "painfully ironic" because CBS promotes the newscast as "one voice you can turn to."

This isn't "media research" -- this is a hateful attack for partisan reasons.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:36 PM EDT
CNS Columnist Pushes Bogus Story Of Rolex Store Looting
Topic: CNSNews.com

Howard Husock of the right-wing Manhattan Institute began his June 3 CNSNews.com column (originally published at the institute's City Journal) this way:

Monday night, the looting of New York moved on to the luxury-brand flagships of Manhattan’s Soho and Midtown.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo correctly noted that looters were simply taking this moment to steal, to smash, and grab a Rolex. It may seem self-evident why looters prefer luxury, but it’s still worth pondering.

That basic premise, it turns out, isn't true. As GQ documented, there isn't a Rolex store per se in Soho -- there is a store that is an authorized Rolex dealer -- and would-be looters couldn't "smash and grab a Rolex" because the store had been closed for weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic and any inventory that hadn't been removed previously was stored in a safe, not lying around. A New York Post story pushing the narrative that the store had been looted "2.4 million in Rolexes" were taken is simply not true.

Nevertheless, Husock had his hook on which to do a column, however bogus it may be. Thus he used that to condescending lecture about "why looters like Rolexes," in which he claims that "looters understand the intangibles of brand as status because the people they envy are also seduced by such charms" and that "looters have absorbed the message that such baubles can be confused with actual accomplishment, can substitute for a purposeful life built in small steps, a family nurtured, a child looked after."

Bernie Sanders got blamed as well, for pointing out that the "ultra-rich" have built their fortunes in no small part on the backs of those poorer than them, and that "this logic, filtered down to the street, forgives looting as sticking it to the man."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:24 AM EDT
Thursday, June 11, 2020
McCorvey Film Makes MRC's Anti-Abortion Activists Unhappy
Topic: Media Research Center

Last month, a documentary was released about Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff in the Roe v. Wade case in which the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a right to abortion. In it, she claims that she became an anti-abortion activist in the 1990s because she was paid to do so. Needless to say, that shook a lot of people in the anti-abortion movement -- like those at the Media Research Center.

Alexa Moutevelis wrote in a May 21 post, before the film was released:

The week, a new documentary alleges that Norma McCorvey, aka “Jane Roe” in Roe v. Wade, claimed she was paid to convert to the pro-life position in a “deathbed confession.” Those who knew her in the pro-life movement are skeptical and said she always seemed sincere in her beliefs, pointing to two decades' worth of McCorvey’s pro-life activism as proof. The documentary isn’t even out yet (AKA Jane Roe will be released by FX on Friday) but still pro-abortion activists pounced on the news to indict the entire pro-life movement and Christian right.

She went on to complain that "pro-abortion feminazi" Amanda Marcotte "said [McCorvey's] original pro-life conversion was met with skepticism from pro-aborts."In fact, Marcotte did not use the term "pro-abort" anywhwere in her piece; that's a derogatory term anti-abortion activists like Moutevelis use to attack those who support abortion rights.

Moutevelis then dismissed McCorvey's statements to stay on message: "Whatever McCorvey's true feelings, the fact remains, abortion is not medical care, it's the intentional destruction of human life. We don't need to pay anyone to believe that, embryology textbooks will do just fine."

The same day -- again, before the film was released -- Kyle Drennen complained that ABC "hyped" the bombshell claim from McCorvey, going on to attack correspondent Deborah Roberts: "At no point in the segment did Roberts speak to pro-life activists who worked with McCorvey for years or the Catholic priest who helped guide her conversion to the Church and conducted her funeral, all of whom cast doubt on how the documentary portrayed her." That despite the fact that none of them had seen the film.

The MRC finally got around to reviewing the film in a May 29 post by Rebecca Downs, who predictably panned it because it doesn't advance her narrative, then attacked its makers: "Live Action News pointed out that the documentary was heavily edited. The producers of the film also have pro-abortion ties." We remember when the MRC defended editing when anti-abortion activists tried to run a sting operation on Planned Parenthood, to the point where Tim Graham and Brent Bozell declared that "all video is edited."

Downs tried to spin things by insisting that the it was actually the "abortion movement" that used McCorvey, not her side, with gaslighting asides that "It’s actually the abortion movement doing the exploiting and betraying women." She concluded by huffing: "Nowhere are the lies from the abortion movement fully examined; pro-lifers are the bad guys. The takeaway of the documentary ought to be how misleading and one-sided the abortion industry is, only further propagated by the pro-abortion media."

Stated like someone who has to keep the narrative going no matter what.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:52 PM EDT
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
NEW ARTICLE: MRC Defends Coronavirus Misinformation
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center gets ridiculously upset every time some conspiratorial video or right-wing website pushing potentially dangerous falsehoods about coronavirus gets "censored" on social media. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 9:19 PM EDT
CNS -- Which Loves Taking Liberals Out Of Context -- Complains Eric Trump Was Taken Out Of Context
Topic: CNSNews.com

Patrick Goodenough is not the only CNSNews.com writer who is effectively working for the Trump-relection campaign by penning defenses of the president and his crew by pedantically explaining to us what they supposedly really said. Commentary editor Rob Shimshock provided his contribution to the genre in a May 18 item (accurately marked as "commentary" for once) in which he rushed to the defense of Eric Trump, who claimed in a interview that Democrats will "milk" the coronavirus pandemic until the November presidential election, "and guess what, after November 3rd, coronavirus will magically all of a sudden go away and disappear and everybody will be able to reopen -- they're trying to deprive him of his greatest asset" of speaking before large rallies. Shimshock complained:

But at least a few mainstream media outlets used the Fox News interview as an opportunity to misrepresent Eric Trump's opinions on the pandemic as it pertained to the upcoming presidential election.

[...]

Anyone with a basic understanding of context clues should understand that when the president's son says "magically all of a sudden go away and disappear," he is referencing politicization of the pandemic, not all incidences of the virus itself. He is arguing that, after the election, Democrats will quit advocating for the strictest lockdown policies to combat coronavirus, since there will be no presidential candidate Donald Trump whose speeches they want to squelch.

And yet this was not the mainstream media's portrayal of Eric Trump's remarks.

"Eric Trump Claims Coronavirus Is Democratic Hoax, Will 'Magically' Vanish After 2020 Election," screeched The Washington Post's headline, whereas Time  huffed "Eric Trump Claims Social Distancing Is a Democrat 'Strategy' and COVID-19 Will 'Magically' Disappear After Election." The Raw Story published a similarly deceptive header.

If Shimshock is so concerned about deceptive headlines -- which is basically accurate since Eric Trump's direct words offered no distinction -- he might want to start inside the office of his employer. We didn't see Shimshock being outraged over, for example, a CNS headline like "Joe Biden: ‘I Know a Lot of Weed Smokers’" that aggressively ripped a statement out of context to deliberately hold Biden up to ridicule. And Shimshock apparently had no problem when his employer ripped a comment by Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer out of context to misleadingly portray him as threatening Supreme Court justices.

If Shimshock can't fix his own employer's journalism, he has no moral standing to attack the journalism of other outlets.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:55 PM EDT
Ex-WND Writer -- And Far-Right Extremist -- Aaron Klein Becomes Netanyahu Adviser
Topic: WorldNetDaily

So former WorldNetDaily reporter Aaron Klein has been named an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Most outlets have ignored Klein's extremist past, but the Times of Israel did a mostly balanced story noting his anti-Obama and anti-Hillary activism.

WND, meanwhile, did its own (anonymously written) article on Klein's new job, doing a surprisingly lame job of rehashing his WND history:

Since late 2015, Klein has been the Jerusalem bureau chief for Breitbart.com.

Before that, he covered major developments in the Mideast – as well as in the U.S. – for WND since shortly after the turn of the millennium. In 2005, for example, Klein was embedded by WND as a reporter with Israeli residents of Gush Katif as the Israeli government carried out its controversial Gaza evacuation. Klein, literally on the front lines, reported daily on developments.

“I didn’t leave until the last Jewish resident was evacuated,” said Klein.

Actually, Klein's coverage of the  Gaza evacuation was quite biased, portraying Israelis who fought having to leave Gaza as merely "activists" and only years later admitting they were extremists, and also playing up sob stories about the Israelis who left as allegedly being "lost and homeless" while burying the fact that the Israeli govermnent paid families handsomely to leave.

Most reporting, though, has ignored just how far-right Klein is. As we've documented:

  • He portrayed an AWOL Israeli soldier, Eden Natan-Zada, who had -- unprovoked -- shot and killed four Arabs on a bus in Gaza in 2005, as a victim because Palestinians who witnessed the cold-blooded shootings killed him before authorities could step in. Klein declared that Natan-Zada was "murdered" by a "mob of Palestinians"; Klein never described the soldier's victims has having been "murdered."
  • Klein regularly whitewashed the violent leanings of the far-right Kach/Kahane Chai movement -- outlawed in Israel for their links to extremism -- once describing movement leader Meir Kahane only as among "politicians who in the past raised the possibility of expelling the Palestinian population" who were "largely sidelined by the mainstream Israeli media and general population" without noting that it was a Kahane follower, Baruch Goldstein, who massacred 29 Muslims in Hebron's Cave of the Patriarchs in 1994.
  • Klein sympathetically portrayed one extremist as benign while hiding the fact that he was once a leader of Kahane Chai. Klein also did an interview with him under his Hebrew name (Yekutel Ben Yaacov) and a separate one under his Western name (Mike Guzovsky) without ever explaining the two were the same person.
  • A favorite extremist source for Klein was David Ha'ivri, whom he usually portrayed merely as a West Bank settler; in fact, Ha'ivri is a Kahanist who has organized numerous protests at Jerusalem's Temple Mount, one of which was attended Eden Natan-Zada, the AWOL soldier who slaughtered four people on a bus in Gaza.

You'd think that a man who has repeatedly expressed sympathy for a violent movement that has been outlawed in Israel -- which, by the way, he admitted on his radio show in 2010 -- wouldn't be given an opportunity to rise so far in the Israeli government. Perhaps Netanyahu can explain.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:38 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 10, 2020 11:05 AM EDT
Tuesday, June 9, 2020
In Attack on Twitter, The Propaganda Loop Between MRC, Trump Closes
Topic: Media Research Center

When Twitter attached a fact-check to a tweet from President Trump that falsely fearmongered about mail-in voting, the Media Research Center reacted as expected: by using it boost its failing war against social media for purportedly discriminating against conservatives.

The meltdown started in a May 27 post by Corinne Weaver:

Twitter has long threatened to label certain tweets from President Donald Trump. Now it finally has used the liberal media to fact-check his tweets.

A tweet from the president that discussed mail-in ballots was labeled as an “unsubstantiated claim” by Twitter. When Trump tweeted, “There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent.” A bright blue sentence was added by the social media platform at the bottom of the tweet, which said “Get the facts about mail-in ballots.” The label led to a Twitter Events page, which said, “Trump makes unsubstantiated claim that mail-in ballots will lead to voter fraud.”

The statement continued, “These claims are unsubstantiated, according to CNN, Washington Post and others. Experts say mail-in ballots are very rarely linked to voter fraud.”

Weaver didn't contradict the fact-check, just complained that its sources were "liberal."

Alexander Hall then served up a post hyperbolically headlined "RNC Chair SCORCHES Twitter for Trump Voter Fraud Fact-Check, Citing Liberal Media," in which Ronna McDaniel assailed the Twitter fact-checking system as "a joke" and offered only anecdotal evidence to contradict the fact-check, which didn't bolster Trump's original claim that mail-in voting is "substantially fraudulent." Hall later whined that "liberal journalists from all corners of the internet came out of the woodwork" to support Twitter's fact-check.

Perpetually angry MRC writer Nicholas Fondacaro found a new enemy, huffing that "Twitter’s in-house fact-checker was an anti-Trump activist who had leveled many false accusations against the President" -- in fact, Yoel Roth, Twitter's head of site integrity, didn't do the fact-check -- then complained that evening newscaasts "scoffed" at Trump's "understandably angry reaction."

The MRC then went into to victim mode with a post by an anonymously written post claiming to identify "33 Examples of Twitter’s Anti-Conservative Bias" that began by declaring, "President Donald Trump is right that social media companies have been targeting conservatives." But given that Twitter users post millions upon millions of posts each day, the fact that the MRC could find only 33 examples of "anti-conservative bias" isn't persuasive.

Hall returned to gush that Trump was about to issue an executive order in retaliation for Twitter fact-checking his tweet, softing declaring that "Twitter’s choice to fact-check the president’s genuine concern over the hazards of mail-in voting appear to have been the last straw." Hall then played whataboutism, accusing Twitter of allowing "other forms of Chinese government propaganda to remain on the platform. Hall further gushed over how "working on legislation to strip Twitter of federal protections that ensure the company is not held liable for what is posted on its platform," adding that "social media may be in for a reckoning."

MRC chief Brent Bozell had to weigh in, of course: "President Trump is right. Twitter, Facebook and other Big Tech firms are guilty of censoring conservatives and their protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act should be reviewed." Bozell did not explain how fact-checking Trump had suddenly become "censorship."

All of this inevitably led to a closing of the propaganda loop between Trump and the MRC, as an anonymous writer crowed:

President Donald Trump hit back at Big Tech bias by signing an “Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship” in the Oval Office on Thursday. And he relied on information from the Media Research Center’s TechWatch to do it.

Before Trump signed the executive order that interprets Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA), he showcased a blog by NewsBusters MRC TechWatch staff writer Corinne Weaver headlined “Mueller Report Twitter Moments: 76 Anti-Trump Tweets, Just 1 Pro-Trump.”

Remember: This is all about power and influence and destroying any media outlet or social media platform that isn't sufficiently right-wing.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:25 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, June 9, 2020 9:29 PM EDT

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