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Tuesday, September 15, 2020
CNS Does Damage Control On Allegations That Trump Disrepects The Troops
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com is all too familiar with having to do damage control for President Trump. But that's its job, so it must continue to give up all pretense of being a fair and balanced "news" operation to do so.

So when an Atlantic article accused Trump of disrespecting the troops, the first thing it did is call on Patrick Goodenough to play up Trump's denial and his attacks on the Atlantic for reporting it:

President Trump on Thursday night hit back at an article alleging that he called fallen American soldiers “losers” and “suckers,” saying the magazine’s anonymous sources – if they “really exist” – were “low-lives” and “liars.”

Those behind the article in The Atlantic, he charged, were trying to “influence a presidential election” which, he said, “we’re going to win, and they’re going crazy.”

Speaking at Joint Base Andrews after returning from a campaign event in western Pennsylvania, Trump called the article “a disgrace.”

“And I would be willing to swear on anything that I never said that about our fallen heroes. There is nobody that respects them more.”

“So I just think it’s a horrible, horrible thing,” Trump said of the article in what he called a “never-Trumper magazine,” adding that a great evening had been turned into “frankly a very sad evening, when I see a statement like that.”

That was followed by an article by Melanie Arter stating how Joe Biden "seized on" the Atlantic report,"which President Donald Trump denies to be true."

The damage control kept coming; Sept. 8 article by Arter bashing the Atlantic's use of anonymous sources , featuring former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel saying that those making the allegations shouldn't hide behind anonymity, joined by a second one featuring a governor claiming that Trump has been “extremely respectful” in regard to the military. Both men appeared on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," whose name Arter spelled wrong in both articles.

Arter cranked even more spin from another Sunday show, in an article stating that "VA Secretary Robert Wilkie told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that President Donald Trump should be judged by his actions, and those actions 'have been beneficial for veterans all across this country in ways that we have not seen since the end of World War II.'"

For good measure, CNS also published a column by a guty from down the hall -- Tim Graham of the Media Research Center -- denouncing the Atlantic as a "hyperpartisan outlet."There was no mention of the fact that CNS and the MRC are even more hyperpartisan outlets, and if the Atlantic shouldn't be trusted because of that, neither should CNS.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:05 AM EDT
Monday, September 14, 2020
MRC Mainstreams Another Right-Wing Extremist
Topic: Media Research Center

CNSNews.com stopped talking about Georgia Republican congressional candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene after it was revealed she's an avid believer in fringe QAnon conspiracy theories with a historyof posting extremist racist and anti-Semitic videos on Facebook. CNS' parent organization, the Media Rseearch Center, wants you to think that she's a completely normal conservative -- or at least try to change the subject when it can't do so.

In a July 20 post, Duncan Schroeder responded to a CNN commentator pointing out Greene's QAnon and extremist affinities with a blast of whataboutism: "CNN has promoted multiple 'nonsense' conspiracy theories about Trump including the Russia pee tape, Russia collusion, and the abuse of power allegations which resulted in his impeachment." In an Aug. 15 post, Clay Waters conceded in passing that Greene is a "QAnon acolyte," but he was more angry that the New York Times portrayed QAnon as an outgrowth of the right-wing Tea Party movement.

Alexander Hall, however, went for normalization by portraying Greene in a Sept. 8 post as just another conservative who is being " censored" by social media:

The U.S. House candidate for Georgia’s 14th district appears to have been locked out of her Twitter account after posting about potential voter fraud in her home state. 

Founder and Co-Chairman of Students for Trump Ryan Fournier accused Twitter of censoring a congressional candidate. “BREAKING: Twitter has locked Georgia 14’s next Congresswoman @mtgreenee out of her account!” Fournier wrote on the morning of September 8. He then declared, “Censorship must end! Go follow Marjorie!” Twitter did not respond to inquiry to confirm her lockout, and if so, why it had occurred. At least one post from U.S. House candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene had seemingly been removed from the platform and replaced with the caption “This Tweet is no longer available because it violated the Twitter Rules. Learn more.”

On her Twitter account, she described her views: “Christian, Wife, Mom, Small Business Owner, Proud American, 100% Pro-Life, Pro-Gun, Pro-Trump, #MAGA.” Greene  shared a story claiming that 1,000 Georgians had voted twice in the state’s primary on June 9 as her last post before going silent.

Hall censored the fact that Greene has a history of racism, anti-Semitism and QAnon affiliations.

The MRC loves to mainstream fringe ideologies like QAnon and fringe candidates like Greene and Laura Loomer to further their victimization narrative by social media against conservatives, while hiding the true nature of their extremism.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:34 PM EDT
Newsmax's Ruddy Rushes To Defend Trump Over Allegations of Soldier-Bashing
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax CEO and Trump buddy Christopher Ruddy was sufficiently worried about the fallout for an Atlantic story citing numerous (anonymous) sources who claimed that President Trump had disparaged American troops that Ruddy dedicated his Sept. 5 column -- his first in five months -- to a defense of his friend.

Ruddy began by declaring, "Don't believe anything the Atlantic tells you about President Trump," then went into a lengthy story about Trump called him and said how much he loved the photo of Trump shaking the hand of wounded veteran Michael Verdado that appeared on the cover of an issue of Newsmax's magazine. he fooled that by complaining further about the Atlantic piece:

So, when the Atlantic story made sensational allegations about the President — alleging he claimed fallen American servicemen were "suckers" and "losers" — I was surprised.

[...]

If Donald Trump disliked being seen around amputees, why was he so glad Newsmax published a photo of him with a double amputee on the cover of our magazine?

And why was he so interested in Verardo's story that he thought it was important to share with me?

The answers to these questions are clear to anyone who knows Donald Trump.

The President deeply respects and honors the incredible sacrifice people like Sgt. Verardo have made on behalf of the United States.

 [...]

So you can believe the Atlantic — and outlets like Fox News and the Washington Post that have "confirmed" the original claims  — or you can believe a number of top Trump aides, from supporters like Sarah Huckabee Sanders to detractors like John Bolton, all of whom say the President never made such comments in France or anywhere else.

Frankly, you don't need to believe any of them.

Just believe what Sgt. Verardo says.

Ruddy concluded with an excerpt of an article Verardo wrote praising Trump.

Given that Ruddy is such a Trump sycophant that his previous column before this, at the end of March, falsely gushed that "Trump has remained focused and level-headed" through the coronavirus pandemic and "defers to the experts at his task force’s daily press briefings, and has kept the nation informed without being panicked," maybe we shouldn't believe anything Ruddy says either.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:16 PM EDT
WND's Brown Insists 'Say Their Names' BLM Activists Are Engaging In Witchcraft
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We are not making this up. Michael Brown wrote in his Sept. 2 WorldNetDailiy column:

Is it true that leaders of the BLM movement, including one of the cofounders, are calling on the spirits of the dead? That they claim to receive spiritual power from the deceased? That they talk with these spirits and even give them names? The answer to all these questions is yes. This is now an open secret.

[...]

I documented this phenomenon in my book, "Jezebel's War with America," also arguing that many of the major trends in our society could be traced back to this "Jezebelic" spirit. These include the rise of pornography; the shout your abortion movement; radical feminism; the emasculating of men; the war on gender; the rise of witchcraft and sorcery; and the silencing of the prophetic voice of the church.

With the rise of the BLM movement, we have further evidence of this Jezebelic influence, as the cofounders are all radical feminists, with two of the three identifying as queer. (Please note that I use the initials BLM to distinguish this Marxist-based movement from the important affirmation that black lives do matter.)

We can now trace this demonic influence one step further, with the open, unapologetic statements of two key BLM leaders. I'm speaking about BLM cofounder Patrisse Cullors and professor Melina Abdullah, chair of the department of Pan-African Studies at California State University, Los Angeles, and a co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter.

[...]

"'George Floyd. Asé. Philandro Castille. Asé. Andrew Joseph. Asé. Michael Brown. Asé. Eric Garner. Asé. Harriet Tubman. Asé. Malcom X. Asé. Martin Luther King. Asé.'

"As each name is recited, Dr. Abdullah poured libations on the ground as the group of over 100 chanted 'Asé,' a Yoruba term often used by practitioners of Ifa, a faith and divination system that originated in West Africa, in return. This ritual, Dr. Abdullah explained, is a form of worship."

Yes, this helps fuel the fires of the BLM movement: worship of the dead; calling on the dead; asking the spirits of the dead to empower the living today.

[...]

Let the reader be aware. Fully aware. Calling on the spirits of the dead is a practice you want to avoid at all costs – for your own soul's sake.

Should the reader also be aware that maybe Brown is hopped up on goofballs for pushing this claim?

We'll let Wonkette respond to this (which, in turn, is a response to Brown's complaint that he was being mocked in social media for making this claim):

Making up weird shit about other people is a crappy thing to do. There's nothing wrong with people practicing witchcraft, of course, but it's clear that Michael Brown is not talking about actual witches or pagans doing witchy stuff, he's talking about some imaginary evangelical version of "witchcraft" that no one on earth actually practices. Also, Christians regularly call on the spirits of the dead for stuff. Jesus? Dead. St. Anthony? Also dead. Gotta feel bad for him though. Guy spends his life as a saint, probably never gets laid, figures out how to talk to fish or whatever, and does he get to relax in his afterlife? No, he does not. He's gotta spend eternity going around finding your aunt's car keys. That just doesn't seem fair. But I digress.

Yeah, seems like the response Brown deserves.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:27 AM EDT
Sunday, September 13, 2020
MRC Goes On Hateful Tirades Against Brian Stelter's Fox-Bashing Book
Topic: Media Research Center

Among CNN personalities, the Media Research Center's abject and irrational hatred of media reporter Brian Stelter is surpassed only by that for Jim Acosta. It bizarrely and dismissively likes to refer to Stelter as a "media janitor" for purportedly defending the media too hard and -- more importantly -- being a critic of Fox News' rampant bias and role as the state-TV outlet for President Trump; Tim Graham whined in July that Stelter and his "Reliable Sources" show spent too much time focusing on Fox News and conservative media. So when Stelter wrote a book about Fox News, the MRC was ready to attack its mere existence as well as its author (not that anyone at the MRC could be bothered to actually read the book).

On Aug. 22, Graham conspiratorially declared that Stelter promoting his book on the show of MSNBC host Rachel Maddow meant there was an anti-Fox "tag team of hate":

CNN and MSNBC will form a tag team to try and take down Fox News Channel. On Friday night, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow bizarrely claimed she wasn't into "cable news wars," and then devoted almost 17 minutes of her show to promoting Hoax, the new Fox-bashing book by CNN media correspondent Brian Stelter. She lovingly read long passages for more than nine minutes, and then after an ad break, interviewed Stelter for seven and a half minutes.

Rather than rebutting anything Stelter said, Graham complained that "Stelter's full-time job seems to be ripping into Trump and Fox as insane and dangerous to America."

Two days later, Scott Whitlock grumbled that "hack" Stelter "appeared on another liberal cable channel, MSNBC, on Monday night to plus his new book bashing Fox News" where he said that "One third of the country is disconnected from the normal news system" and into the "conspiratorial extreme place" Fox News has become. Like Graham, Whitlock didn't rebut any claim Stelter made, instead complaining about Stelter's use of anonymous sources.

In an Aug. 25 post, Alex Christy responded to Stelter's claim that "No president has had access to a megaphone like this" the way Trump uses Fox News by effectively "program[ming] the network himself" by regularly "choos[ing] to call in, take over for an hour, you know, rant and rave" by spouting lame whataboutism from the MRC's playbook: "A president like Obama had a plethora of liberal media options, not just one channel." Christy didn't mention that Obama never called up any media outlet to "rant and rave" for an hour the way Trump does on Fox News.

Meanwhile -- as he is with Acosta -- the MRC's cheerleader of irrational hate of Stelter at the MRC is Curtis Houck. He pounded out a massive screed childishly gloating how Fox News' media show gets better ratings than Stelter's:

On Sunday’s Reliable Sources, CNN charlatan, far-left hack, and Fox News-stalker Brian Stelter spent three segments hawking his now-released book Hoax, which appears to serve as an extension of his visceral hatred for Fox News Channel and painting it as an existential threat to not only the free press, but America itself.

However, when it comes to the ratings for last Sunday's show, viewers couldn’t care any less. According to Nielsen Media Research, FNC’s MediaBuzz trounced Reliable Sources by 30 percent in the 25-54 demographic and 67 percent in total viewers. That, folks, was what one would call a blowout.

Sad!

Low ratings are a very on-brand trait for a citizen of Zuckerville, along with the fact that he’s enjoyed his litany of interviews on both CNN and fellow liberal network MSNBC.

Houck's unprofessionalism continued, cheering how Stelter is "the man Greg Gutfeld has dubbed America’s hairless hall monitor," with an added shot at "sidekick" Oliver Darcy as "conservative media’s Benedict Arnold." Houck spends an unseemly amount of time attacking Darcy for leaving the right-wing media bubble to work for CNN.

An Aug. 27 post summed up an episode of Graham's new podcast bashing Stelter's book:

It's selling like hotcakes in the feverish world of Trump haters. Stelter is selling it on his own network, as well as on MSNBC shows, and a 43-minute interview on National Public Radio. Tim takes on the notion that relies so heavily on anonymous sources inside Fox. Why should we trust sources like this in a book by a CNN host ripping into Fox?

Graham won't admit, of course, that by his same standard, nobody should trust the MRC's ripping into Stelter. In the podcast itself, Graham whined that his and Brent Bozell's pro-Trump, anti-media book didn't merit a 43-minute interview on NPR and that he didn't trust Stelter's anonymous sources (he didn't mention that he and the MRC do trust anonymous sources when it suits their purposes).

Graham served up more juvenile Stelter-hating antics in a Sept. 1 post, gloating that during a Stelter appearance on C-SPAN, "Callers were mostly hostile, including a guy who was cut off for calling Stelter "Humpty Dumpty" -- a favorite Hannity nickname," before further complaining that Stelter "lamented conservatives have been "radicalized" by "media-bashing." By NewsBusters! It makes us sound like al-Qaeda." He then added:

The LOL moment of the hour -- the time I probably scared our cats -- was when a Texas caller smartly challenged Stelter's multitudinous anonymous sources in his book, and then asked "How did CNN spiral down to the absolute level of Trump hate that they are?" 

We doubt Graham will ever acknowledge the MRC's spiral down to the absolute level of Stelter-hate he's displaying here.

Graham served up even more juvenile antics in a Sept. 6 post sneering at "Brian Stelter's Candy Land tour of puffball interviews promoting his Fox-trashing book Hoax." When Stelter said he work at Fox News only if he were given a hour to fact-check things, Graham erupted:

That's hilarious. As if Stelter's Sunday hour of Trump-trashing, with guests who suggest Trump is going to kill more people than Hitler, Stalin, and Mao combined? That's the FACT show? 

Stelter clearly is still trying to imply the expired Shepard Smith hour, the hour of trashing everyone else at Fox, an hour of CNN-echoing rebuttal. That's "all about fact-checking."

Graham and the MRC hate Smith for refusing to be a right-wing Trump-bot like the other Fox employees.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:34 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 13, 2020 10:43 PM EDT
Journalistic Malpractice: CNS' Jones Deliberately Gets DNC's Name Wrong
Topic: CNSNews.com

Journalists are supposed to be able to get basic facts straight, such as names. That's apparently not a requirement for being a journalist at CNSNews.com. Susan Jones is such a biased reporter that she deliberately misspelled the name of the Democratic National Convention across numerous CNS stories.

It is standard Republican and conservative practice to use "Democrat" instead of "Democratic" when referring to the Democratic Party and Democratic politicians. The point is simply to be jerks by corrupting the name. Jones is a conservative partisan masquerading as a "journalist," as demonstratedby her flying in the face of facts by referring to the Democratic National Convention as the "Democrat National Convention" during her week of DNC-related coverage.

And not just in one story -- we counted 13 stories from Jones' DNC coverage in which she deliberately got the name wrong:

If you get a name wrong across 13 articles, that's not a typo -- that's deliberately getting a name wrong. It's also maliciously incompetent reporting.

By contrast, Jones' CNS colleague, Melanie Arter, may be a slavish pro-Trump stenographer, but she got the name right in her DNC-related articles that week.

How does Jones still have a job despite demonstrating such deliberate incompetence? One has to wonder.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:31 AM EDT
Saturday, September 12, 2020
MRC's Lord Won't Deny Obama Birtherism Was A Bad Thing
Topic: Media Research Center

In response to President Trump's embrace of a claim that Kamala Harris isn't eligible to be president because her parents weren't U.S. citizens at the time she was born in the U.S., Jeffrey Lord spent his Aug. 15 Media Research Center column ranting that Democrats are the real birthers, invoking discussion about the eligibility provenance of Repubicans from Mitt Romney to Ted Cruz to 19th-century president Chester Arthur (to whom Lord devoted a good chunk of the column). But of the most prominent victim of birther accusations, Lord has this to say:

Over at  Mediaite was this story about the question being asked of President Trump at his press conference on Thursday. He had not heard of the issue and said he would look into it. The Mediaite reporter than says this: 

“Trump infamously pushed the racist Birther conspiracy theory about President Barack Obama for years before finally bowing to reality just two months before the 2016 election.”

The Washington Post dutifully went to the Biden campaign for comment, and happily ran this response from one Andrew Bates, a campaign spokesman. Trump, said Bates, “was the national leader of the grotesque, racist birther movement with respect to President Obama.”

The left wing Talking Points Memo nstantly played the race card, headlining: "Trump Ignites Yet Another Racist Conspiracy Theory, Aimed This Time At Kamala Harris.

The Chicago Tribune chimed in with this: "He (Trump) was a high-profile force behind the so-called ‘birther movement’ — the lie that questioned whether President Barack Obama, the nation’s first Black president, was eligible to serve.”

And on…and on this obsession with playing the race card went across the perpetually race-card playing media.

Note that Lord never actually denounces Obama birtherism as illegitimate the way he did when made against Republican candidates; he only complains that the media claimed Trump had racist intent in pushing it.

Lord has done this before. In 2016, Lord used a CNN appeaerance to deny that Obama birtherism was racist without criticizing Obama birtherism itself while also ranting about, yes, Chester Arthur. That resulted in a fellow guest to respond, "Are you kidding me? Is this a comedy show, Jeff?"

If Lord can't admit that Obama birtherism -- which went on for years -- was as similarly illegitimate as questioning Harris birtherism (which he did deny was an issue), perhaps he should stay out of this discussion.

This is in line with the MRC's semi-birtherism on Obama. As we documented, it wasn't moved to explicitly denounce right-wing birther attacks on Obama from Trump or anyone else until Cruz's eligibility was questioned.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:06 AM EDT
WND Columnist Inserts Herself Into Stockman's Legal Proceedings
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Rachel Alexander remains the greatest champion in the ConWeb of corrupt ex-congressman Steve Stockman. As she has before, she's been trying to get Stockman sprung from prison -- where he's currently residing after getting covicted on a passel of wire fraud and money laundering charges -- due to the coronavirus pandemic, and manufacturing conspiracy theories in the process.

In her Aug. 3 WorldNetDaily column, Alexander complained that one prison released a convicted murderer (not mentioning the fact that murderers are least likely to repeat the crime again), then once again pushed Stockman's sob story:

In contrast, conservative former Congressman Steve Stockman of Texas has been prohibited from leaving prison, despite the fact he is in his 60s and has diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis, asthma and more. Every single inmate over 60 who has diabetes in his federal prison in Beaumont, Texas, has been allowed to leave for home arrest except him. Now he's contracted COVID-19.

Stockman has found out that high-level bureaucrats within the Bureau of Corrections are the ones preventing him from leaving. He is trying to alert Attorney General William Barr to his situation.

Alexander rehashed her conspiracy theory that Stockman is innocent and "was targeted by left-wing DOJ prosecutors in the Obama administration because he was an outspoken conservative who went after Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder and Lois Lerner."

In her Aug. 17 column, Alexander kept up the sob story, repeating her lament that "crooked bureaucrats at the Bureau of Prisons will not allow him to move to home confinement, despite the fact he is over 60 years old and has diabetes and other health problems." She highlighted a Supreme Court appeal Stockman is making of his conviction, then disclosed something interesting:

Many of the same nonprofit leaders and a few others associated with them (including myself) just signed on to an amicus curiae brief from American Target Advertising, written by Richard Viguerie's attorney Mark Fitzgibbons, supporting Stockman's petition. They lay out three clear areas of abuse in Stockman's case.

If Alexander is presenting herself as a journalist -- her WND bio lists her links as an editor for various conservative websites -- why is she personally inserting herself into Stockman's legal proceedings? Seems more than a bit dishonest.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:30 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 13, 2020 11:01 PM EDT
Friday, September 11, 2020
Your Regular Reminder That MRC's Trump-Coverage 'Studies' Are Bogus
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Rich Noyes did what he was paid to do in an Aug. 17 post under the blaring headline "STUDY: 150 TIMES More Negative News on Trump than Biden":

As the pandemic grinds on, the Big Three broadcast evening newscasts are among the highest rated programs on television today — and that means millions of viewers are witnessing the most biased presidential campaign coverage in modern media history.

I’ve been studying the news media and elections for more than 35 years. Trust me — there’s never been anything like it.

A new MRC analysis of all evening news coverage of President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden in June and July found these networks chose to aim most of their attention and nearly all of their negative coverage on Trump, so Biden escaped any scrutiny of his left-wing policy positions, past job performance or character.

[...]

The extra airtime devoted to Trump consisted almost entirely of anchors and reporters criticizing the President. During these two months, our analysts documented 668 evaluative statements about the President, 95 percent of which (634) were negative, vs. a mere five percent (34) that were positive. Using the same methodology (fully described at the end of this article), we found very few evaluative statements about Joe Biden — just a dozen, two-thirds of which (67%) were positive.

Do the math, and viewers heard 150 TIMES more negative comments about Trump than Biden. That’s not news reporting — that’s a negative advertising campaign in action.

As we've repeatedly documented, these MRC "studies" are utterly bogus for these reasons:

  1. It focuses only on a tiny sliver of news -- the evening newscasts on the three networks -- and suggests it's indicative of all media.
  2. It pretends there was never any neutral coverage of Trump. Indeed, the study explicitly rejects neutral coverage -- even though that's arguable the bulk of news coverage -- dishonestly counting "only explicitly evaluative statements."
  3. It fails to take into account the stories themselves and whether negative coverage is deserved or admit that negative coverage is the most accurate way to cover a given story.
  4. It fails to provide the raw data or the actual statements it evaluated so its work could be evaluated by others. If the MRC's work was genuine and rigorous, wouldn't it be happy to provide the data to back it up?

Given that much of the news coverage Noyes presumably looked at for the study -- again, we don't know for sure because he refuses to post the raw data -- involved the coronavirus pandemic and Trump's questionable handling of it, negative coverage was inevitable, and Noyes is not being paid to admit that Trump deserves any of the negative coverage he's getting.

Noyes' attempt to describe the study's methodology doesn't help his case:

Methodology: For this report, MRC analysts reviewed every mention of President Trump and former Vice President Biden from June 1 through July 31, including weekends, on ABC’s World News Tonight, the CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News. To determine the spin of news coverage, our analysts tallied all explicitly evaluative statements about Trump or Biden from either reporters, anchors or non-partisan sources such as experts or voters. Evaluations from partisan sources, as well as neutral statements, were not included.

As we did in 2016, we also separated personal evaluations of each candidate from statements about their prospects in the campaign horse race (i.e., standings in the polls, chances to win, etc.). While such comments can have an effect on voters (creating a bandwagon effect for those seen as winning, or demoralizing the supports of those portrayed as losing), they are not “good press” or “bad press” as understood by media scholars as far back as Michael Robinson’s groundbreaking research on the 1980 presidential campaign.

Noyes is also not going to admit that his determination of whether an evaluative statement is "positive" or "negative" -- remember, he's pretending there are no neutral evaluative statements -- is entirely subjective and is not an objective metric. (Declaring a particular media outlet or story to be "biased" is subjective too, but that's an argument for another day.)

This is not "media research" in any competent academic sense -- it's an attempt to create justification for a political agenda.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:19 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 22, 2020 11:30 PM EDT
CNS Keeps Obsessing Over Everyone's 'Mental Lapses' (Except Trump's)
Topic: CNSNews.com

Doing its job as a Trump campaign surrogate, CNSNews.com has been hammering the dubious claim that Joe Biden is suffering from "cognitive decline" -- a manufactured concern it has expanded to Nancy Pelosi. Since we last checked in late July CNS has continued to highlight misstatements by Biden to bolster that narrative, with articles like:

We're not sure what Susan Jones was trying to push in an Aug. 21 article on Biden's acceptance speech that the Democratic National Convention (which Jones deliberately misnamed the "Democrat National Convention"), headlined "Watch: Biden Raised His Voice, Didn't Smile As Speech Ended," in which she actually complained that "at the end of his speech, delivered live at the Chase Center in Delaware, an unsmiling Biden raised his voice, apparently for emphasis, but he looked almost angry."

CNS is continuing to question Pelosi's mental health too. In an Aug. 27 article, Craig Bannister claimed thate "In the span of about twelve seconds, House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) appeared to suffer two mental lapses as she struggled to find words when answering a question at her Thursday press event." And on Sept. 10, Bannister ramped it up:

Eighty-year-old House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) struggled to finish a sentence, and appeared to bang on her podium in an effort to collect her thoughts, during a press conference on Thursday.

Speaker Pelosi seemed to lose her train of thought, until she rapped twice on the podium, while she attempted to make a point about her climate agenda. But, after recalling the name of her climate bill, Pelosi continued to have difficulty speaking, struggling to finish the words, “return” and “better” as she completed her thought:

CNS even dragged another Democrat into its mental-lapse obsession in an anonymously written Aug. 10 article: "Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.) suffered a mental lapse when appearing on MSNBC on Monday morning saying, as he did so, 'uh, um, uh—I got to remember the words.'"

But when it comes to President Trump's mental lapses, well, that's just a "liberal media" narrative. Jones said as much in an Aug. 5 article on how "Jill Biden spoke for her husband, Democrat [sic] presidential candidate Joe Biden" in a Fox News in which she denied that her husband isn't "competent to be presidentand noted that Joe Biden is only a couple years older than Trump. Jones parenthetically huffed in response:

Liberal activists in the media are now focusing in particular on Trump's mispronunciations ("Yosemite") and twisting his words ("It is what it is") to make it look like he doesn't grasp the severity of the pandemic, for example. The intent is to portray Trump as cognitively impaired.

You mean like what you and your colleagues are doing to Biden, Susan? Heaven forfend!

And in an Aug. 25 article, Jones repeated how Trump boasted how "we're going to end up with 302 great Supreme Court Justices," then had to parenthetically add, "(He meant lower-court judges.)" After all, she's not getting paid to question Trump's "mental decline" the way she and her CNS co-workers obsess over Biden's.

UPDATE: In a Sept. 11 article, Jones made a point of noting that  "Joe Biden would be the oldest person to take the presidential oath -- 78 years old -- if he's elected in November" in writing about how he "tried to laugh off "this idea of, you know, slow Joe." Jones then went in to pro-Trump attack mode:

Concerns about Biden's health focus mainly on his mental acuity, as he has trouble completing thoughts and speaking without notes or prompts.

As for "who's able to move around," until recently, Biden has spent most of his time sheltering inside his Delaware home and giving controlled interviews via video from his basement studio, while President Trump has traveled around the country, taking criticism from Biden and other Democrat/media activists for holding campaign rally after campaign rally amid the pandemic.

Again, Jones was silent about Trump's mental-lapse issues.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:23 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, September 11, 2020 1:11 PM EDT
Thursday, September 10, 2020
MRC Mad Tucker Carlson Called Out For Mispronouncing Kamala Harris' Name
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is very protective of Fox News, a channel on which MRC employees appear to push their (and Fox's) right wing talking points -- even when the channel gets caught doing something wrong. Thus, we have an Aug. 14 post by Ryan Foley complaining that CNN busted Fox News host Tucker Carlson for his apparently deliberate mispronunciation of Kamala Harris' name:

On CNN’s New Day Wednesday, co-host John Berman and his panel obsessed over Tucker Carlson’s mispronunciation of Biden VP pick Kamala Harris’s name. They used a clip of Carlson arguing with Democrat Richard Goodstein about the importance of getting the pronunciation right as an excuse to complain about the constant racism and sexism supposedly faced by Harris, a woman of Jamaican and Indian heritage.

The clip began with Goodstein informing Carlson, who had pronounced Harris’ first name “Kamm-a-la,” that her name was pronounced “Comma, like the punctuation mark, la.”  When Carlson responded to the correction with a “so what,” Goodstein argued that “out of respect for somebody who’s going to be on the national ticket,” pronouncing her name correctly was a “bare minimum.”

At this point, Carlson asked Goodstein a rhetorical question: “I’m disrespecting her by mispronouncing her name unintentionally?” He concluded that “You’re not allowed to criticize Kamala Harris or Kamm-a-la Harris or whatever.”

Carlson’s use of the phrase “whatever” did not sit well with CNN political commentator Angela Rye, one of the panelists on New Day Wednesday. Rye went so far as to smear Carlson as a racist: “It’s not ‘whatever.’ It is about you having to finally face what you have done to this country, to black people, to black women.”

Foley went on to declare that it was "juvenile “journalism” and liberal activism" to point all this out. We weren't aware that expecting people on TV to correctly pronounce someone's name was "liberal activism" -- we thought it was simply being accurate. But then, the MRC is waging war on the very idea of facts, so perhaps this is not surprising.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:16 PM EDT
CNS Unemployment Coverage Distortion Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

August's unemployment numbers were decent enough that Susan Jones' lead article did some aggressive gushing -- while, of course, working in how the economy was great before the pandemic:

Here's some encouraging news heading into the Labor Day weekend:  The number of employed Americans increased for a fourth straight month in August, as 3,756,000 more Americans either returned to or joined the labor force, according to the monthly report produced by the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

After slipping from a near-record high of 158,759,000 in February -- then tanking in April to 133,403,000 -- the number of employed Americans increased in May to 137,242,000; June (142,182,000); July (143,532,000) and now August (147,288,000 employed).

Likewise, the nation's unemployment rate dropped for a fourth straight month in August, settling at 8.4 percent vs. 10.2 percent in July -- and well below the record shattering 14.7 percent in April, as the pandemic-induced shutdown took full effect. As recently as February, the unemployment rate was 3.5 percent, a 50-year low.

Needless to say, Jones made no mention of the "real unemployment rate" metric it loved pushing when a Democrat was president, and she gave a pass for the labor force participation rate being relatively low that she rarely gave though the reason -- retiring baby boomers -- was the same for it being relatively low under President Obama.

CNS also served up the usual sidebars -- Craig Bannister on Hispanic employment and Terry Jeffrey on manufacturing jobs.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:08 AM EDT
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Apologist: MRC Labors To Defend Trump's Payroll Tax Cut
Topic: Media Research Center

For a good example of bhow the Media Research Center serves as a propagandist for President Trump and his administration -- while also reinforcing Trump's anti-media agenda -- it's hard to beatthis Aug. 12 post by Joseph Vazquez.

Vazquez staerted off by unironically accusing MSNBC's Ali Velshi of having "inundated viewers with propaganda by pointing out that "the GOP was 'deceiving Americans' and conforming to a 'conservative fetish about poor people getting freebies and running up the national debt.'" He then retorted: "Saying conservatives have a 'fetish' about 'running up the national debt' is like saying liberals have a 'fetish' about tax cuts."

Vazquez is rather deliberately missing Velshi's point -- conservatives cry poor when it might go to people and causes they disapprove of, i.e., coronavirus relief for poor people, but make sure their supporters get the money they want, and that it makes no logical sense for conservatives to insist there's no more money for coronavirus relief when trillions have already been approved by a Republican Senate and signed by a Republican president.

Vazquez then laboriously explained that a video of Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell was edited to say that there is "essentially ... no" limit to what the Fed will put into the economy to keep it afloat when he actually said there wasn't a "blank check," which "completely undermines Velshi's 'magical money tree' argument." But Vazquez is distorting what Velshi said -- he pointed out that there is a "money tree" for banks and the stock market, but not those who "are unemployed through no fault of their own."

This was followed by Vazquez getting mad at Velshi noting that conservatives didn't care about the debt when they supported a tax cut in 2017. In rebuttal, he cited the right-wing Heritage Foundation -- hardly an objective source -- blaming the debt on Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.

Finally, Vazquez served as an apologist for Trump:

He lambasted Trump’s order to suspend the payroll tax, which he claimed would “hurt Americans more than anything, because it takes money away from Social Security and Medicare.”

This is also misleading. According to liberal outlet Politifact, “While it’s true that the payroll tax provides nearly 90% of the revenues for Social Security, The program’s promise to people exists outside of the funding mechanism.” The outlet rated the claim that “Killing the payroll tax means killing Social Security” as “Half-True.” But as the Yiddish proverb goes, “A half truth is a whole lie.”

Vazquez is being deliberately obtuse here. If it was so easy for Congress to designate another funding mechanism for Social Security outside the payroll tax, it would have done so already. Because it hasn't, and because the payroll tax funds nearly all of the program, cutting the payroll tax will, in fact, take money away from it and Medicare.

Vazq uez is attacking a "half truth" with his own half-truth. By the Yiddish proverb he invokes, that makes him a liar.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:48 PM EDT
The Miseducation of Mychal Massie
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Mychal Massie's Aug. 10 WorldNetDaily column was a tirade against an Illinois state legislator who, in his telling, wants to "effectively abolish history classes in schools" because they foster "white privilege and a racist society … and contribute to the miseducation of Illinoisans." This led Massie to huff:

With that thought in mind, exactly what does Ford know about the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence? The fact that none of these men was black, none of them was homosexual or transgender, and none of them wallowed around Chicago homosexual bathhouses, as one very prominent politician from Chicago is reputed to have done, does not dismiss what they gave to America.

What does [the legialator] suggest be used as history, in place of the 56 (white) men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

Following is the factual history of the 56 "old white men" who signed that document. Chicago is the capital of murder, incestuous corrupt politics, prostitution and debauchery on every measurable level – but how many people identifiable by Ford can claim the following history?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.

Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.

Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists.

Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well-educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson Jr. noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children gone.

If that sounds familiar, it should: Massie copied-and-pasted it almost verbatim from an online essay that goes viral on occasion. And far from Massie's claim that this is a "factual history" of what happened to the signers, it contains no small amount of misinformation, as Snopes documented. Among the falsehoods and distortions:

  • The five signers who were captured by the British didn't die in custody.
  • The nine who died during the Revolutionary War didn't die from "wounds or hardships" inflicted by the British; one actually died in a duel with a fellow officer.
  • Several names are misspelled.
  • John Hart's wife died several weeks before the British overran the area where they lived, and he and his children (most of whom were adults at the time) almost certainly never had to stay in hiding for "more than a year" since the Continental Army recaptured the area a month later.

Despite declaring that "this is the history that [the legislator] wants removed, Massie ironically proved the legislator right by demonstrating that history as it is taught contains misinformation -- and that it should be removed for being so factually wrong.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:18 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 9, 2020 4:52 PM EDT
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
MRC's Houck Tries To Deny Trump's New Favorite Doc Is A Fox News Hire
Topic: Media Research Center

Curtis Houck once again proved his pro-Trump colors in an Aug. 13 article:

On two separate occasions on Wednesday (and on their website), CNN dismissed White House Coronavirus Task Force hire and neuroradiologist Dr. Scott Atlas as merely a “Fox News guest” who’s part of an “echo chamber” that’s murdering “tens of thousands of Americans.”

Along with a CNN.com article, the segments totaled five minutes and 42 seconds, which was five minutes and 42 seconds more than they gave Janice Dean being removed from testifying before New York lawmakers about losing her in-laws to the coronavirus.

[...]

Starting with the second segment, CNN Tonight host Don Lemon rudely ignored Atlas’s distinguished career and instead boiling him down to a talking head: “[I]n the middle of the worst public health crisis in the middle of a century, Trump is turning to Fox News guest for medical advice instead of Dr. Fauci.”

Lemon refused to inform viewers that not only has Atlas been with Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, but he spent over a decade as a professor and chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center, edited a leading textbook on the topic, and been a leading global expert in using MRI’s to diagnose and treat brain and spine conditions.

[...]

Like she did on TV, [Kaitlan] Collins employed anonymous White House sources to trash Atlas and undercut his credentials as a way for Zuckerville to imply Atlas was not only unworthy of being taken seriously, but heard[.]

Houck is so desperate to defend Atlas' alleged medical bona fides that he neglected to point out that Atlas' specialty, neuroradiology, has noting to do with viral treatment or epidemiology, knowledge of which is needed to speak authoritatively about coronavirus. He also failed to explain that the Hoover Institution is a conservative think tank, not a medical organization that provides Aglas with any sort of relevant expertise.

Meanwhile, Houck completely censored the fact that Atlas hasn't praticed medicine for eight years and has made wrong predictions about coronavirus, and he certainly won't concede that the most logical explanation for Atlas coming to Trump's attention is that he has appeared on Fox News.

There will also be no follow-up post from Houck on the fact that because Atlas' views on coronavirus, such as promoting "herd immunity," are so out of sync with actual medical experts that even the coronavirus conspiracy-mongers at WorldNetDaily have criticized him, Fox News -- the channel that brought Atlas to Trump fame, reportedly won't book him on its news shows.

Houck concluded his post with a mini-rant showing the depths of is irrational hatred of non-Fox media: "In other words, CNN continued its poisonous march on Tuesday to divide the American people and crush their wills to hope for a better tomorrow and making clear that it all but views those against their anti-reopening, anti-hope, mental health-crippling, and pro-lockdown worldview as mortal enemies."

Soundds like the one whose mental health has been crippled is Houck, damaged by his years of Bozellville indoctrination.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:52 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 8, 2020 9:38 PM EDT

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