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Friday, October 2, 2020
Abortion-Obsessed CNS Editor Slams Ginsburg Upon Her Death
Topic: CNSNews.com

It took nearly a day for CNSnews.com to do a story on the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. And because highly biased editor in chief Terry Jeffrey wrote it, the story -- illustrated with an ominous-looking photo of Ginsburg -- had no interest in looking at her groundbreaking career but, rather, was focused on a single subject he could bash her on:

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who defended what she argued was a constitutional “right” to partial-birth abortion, passed away on Friday night. She was 87 years old.

In the 2000 case of Stenberg vs. Carhart and the 2007 case of Gonzales vs. Carhart, Ginsburg made clear her view that the U.S. Constitution protected a “right” to abortion (as the court had ruled in the 1973 case of Roe vs. Wade and the 1992 case of Planned Parenthood vs. Casey) and that this right extended to the practice of partial-birth abortion.

Even though the story was ostensibly about Ginsburg, Jeffrey included an excerpt from Clarence Thomas' minority opinion in Stenberg v. Carhart in which he described in detail the "partial birth abortion" procedure for no apparent legal reason but apparently for shock value.

But Jeffrey wasn't done attacking a dead woman. In his Sept. 23 column, he huffed that "Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ought to be remembered for two things: her attacks on the right to life and her attacks on religious liberty." He rehashed his earlier attacks on Ginsburg's stances on the abortion-related cases -- and again repeated Thomas' gratuitious description of the abortion procedure in question, gushing at his "clinical clarity" even though Thomas is not a doctor, ranting, "How could any rational person conclude that the government had an interest in stopping doctors from jamming scissors into the skulls of partially born babies?

Jeffrey then complained that Ginsburg issued dissenting views in cases on whether employers had to cover contraceptives and "abortion-inducing drugs," grousing that in one case, "In Ginsburg's view, the federal government had a duty to force Catholic nuns to violate their religious beliefs in order to make sure their lay female employees did not have to pay for their own contraceptives."

Even the CNS editor in chief can't help but violate the "news" operation's mission statement to "fairly present all legitimate sides of a story."


Posted by Terry K. at 1:43 AM EDT
Thursday, October 1, 2020
NEW ARTICLE: Extremism Looms At The MRC
Topic: Media Research Center
Media Research Center employees dismiss right-wing extremist Laura Loomer as crazy on their personal social media, but that doesn't translate to their employer, where she's just another Muslim-hating "free speech" martyr. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 3:46 PM EDT
CNS Aggressively Defends Trump From His Own Words In Woodward's Book
Topic: CNSNews.com

The Media Research Center's "news" division, CNSNews.com, went into an even more aggressive damage-control mode than its parent over Bob Woodward's book exensively quoting President Trump, who gave Woodward 18 hours worth of interviews and admitted he publicly downplayed the threat of coronavirus to the U.S. while knowing it was much more serious.

CNS kicked things off with a denial from Press Seretary Kayleigh McEnany: "WH: Trump Never Lied to the American People About COVID." Melanie Arter, who wrote that article, followed up with one quoting Dr. Anthony Fauci: "Fauci: ‘I Didn't Get Any Sense’ That Trump Was Distorting Anything on COVID-19." Then the serious, lengthy spin came from Susan Jones:

If Americans listened to and/or read what President Trump said about the emerging coronavirus in late January and early February, they knew back then that the virus was contagious, that it had "severe manifestations," and that it was a "serious public health threat," particularly for "older adults and people with underlying health conditions."

Moreover, a look at public statements issued by the World Health Organization in late January also informed the world that "all countries should be prepared for containment, including active surveillance, early detection, isolation and case management, contact tracing and prevention of onward spread of 2019-nCoVinfection."

WHO issued that statement on January 30 -- one day after President Trump announced the formation of the President’s Coronavirus Task Force "to work to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus."

Following yesterday’s release of Trump’s recorded comments to author Bob Woodward, the president's many Democrat/media critics are now literally portraying him as a murderer for allegedly concealing the severity of the emerging coronavirus crisis. ("Donald Trump says he didn't want Americans to panic. No, he just wanted to sit by and watch them die," said MSNBC's Joe Scarborough on this Thursday. See his full screed below)

But a look at the public record tells a different story.

The following is a partial timeline of the many remarks, announcements and proclamations issued by Trump as the coronavirus emerged, as health experts learned more and more about it, and as the economic repercussions of the shutdown took effect.

Needless to say, Jones didn't mention all the times Trump publicly downplayed the virus or said it would magically go away.

This was followed by Arter doing her usual Trump stenography by letting him spin what he said to Woodward and an article from Jones featuring Vice President Mike Pence defending Trump. After that came a potpourri of defenses and attacks:

Jones returned to spin mode in a Sept. 22 article complaining that Joe Biden was still talking about Woodward's book when other things were happening:

Heading into the election, Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden wants Americans to stay angry and continue grieving for lives lost to the coronavirus -- around 200,000 according to some estimates.

Biden has made the pandemic a centerpiece of his campaign to portray Trump as callous and incompetent. However, the death of Associate Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the looming fight over her successor now competes with coronavirus as a major concern for the electorate.

Jones linked to her earlier timeline to bolster her claim about "the actions taken early on by President Trump and his administration, before anyone in this country had died." Again, she ignored all the times Trump downplayed the virus.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:30 AM EDT
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
MRC Covers Woodward Book of Trump Interviews By (Of Course) Attacking Woodward
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center was in the midst of pro-Trump damage control over an Atlantic article about President Trump disparaging U.S. troops when it had a new crisis to contend with: Bob Woodward's book based on hours of interviews with Trump. Naturally, the MRC went into shoot-the-messenger mode, attacking Woodward as biased even if it couldn't dispute that he was directly quoting what Trump told him.

The MRC's first post on Woodward's book was, oddly, from Gabriel Hays focused on the reaction of "Hollywood Twitter." But he was already defending Trump's remarks to Woodward about publicly downplaying the coronavirus threat when he knew it was more serious, declaring that the remarks "occurred during the early stages of the Trump administration’s Chinese virus response (when people like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and former Vice President Joe Biden sat on their thumbs, badmouthing the president’s xenophobic actions)."

Tim Graham complained that Trump was criticized for talking to Woodward, making sure to portray Trump as the real victim: "So, to review: Trump is stupid to grant all his interviews to Sean Hannity and Fox. And now he's stupid to grant interviews to Bob Woodward. These leftists will criticize the president no matter which decision or direction he takes. The only consistency they show is that they always want Trump defeated, removed, finished."

Curtis Houck churned out another gushing piece on Kayleigh McEnany,  huffing that "Acela corridor-based journalists... tried (and failed) to browbeat Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany over claims that Trump 'lied to the American public' about COVID-19’s threat to America and was therefore complicit in having murdered nearly 200,000 people. And yes, that actually was the narrative these vile hacks peddled."

Alex Christy groused that people on MSNBC "came together for some Monday morning quarterbacking on President Trump's handling of the pandemic, with Woodward's Washington Post  colleague Phillip Rucker using the book to blame Trump for 190,000 COVID deaths," adding, "It's one thing to criticize Trump, but it is unscientific nonsense to say that he is responsible for 190,000 deaths from a novel virus."

Mark finelstein grumbled about MSNBC host Joe Scarborough's "grim, paternalistic, pursed-lip approach to the anti-Trump coronavirus spin coming out of the latest Bob Woodward book."

Scott Whitlock complained: "It’s Bob Woodward, so it must be another Watergate scandal, right? That’s the thinking on CBS This Morning on Thursday as Gayle King and John Dickerson compared the leaked quotes in the latest Woodward tome Rage to the 1970s scandal that brought down Richard Nixon."

Kristine Marsh touted Meghan McCain's spin that "the media has an agenda against Republicans so if you talk to them you’re guaranteed to 'look bad,'" ignoring the fact that Woodward has his Trump interviews on tape.

Kyle Drennen insisted that "Dr. Anthony Fauci completely dismantled the anti-Trump narrative being pushed by Bob Woodward regarding the President’s handling on the coronavirus pandemic" by claiming that Trump didn't mislead the public, playing the victimization card by claiming that "Any evidence, like Dr. Fauci’s comments, that runs counter to the narrative the leftist media wants to push will simply be censored or downplayed in a desperate attempt to damage Trump."

Nicholas Fondacaro huffed that CNN's Jake Tapper interviewed Joe Biden in footage that featured him "going off on President Trump and Tapper slow pitching him excerpts from Bob Woodward’s new anti-Trump book."

Houck returned to bizarrely turn the story into anti-Biden spin: "On Thursday afternoon, President Trump continued to distinguish himself from Joe Biden on access with another White House press conference that featured snarky, Jim Acosta-like questions from ABC’s Jonathan Karl (even though he’s written about his disdain for Acosta’s style) and far-left Washington Post reporter and MSNBC contributor Phil Rucker as they both accused him of having lied to the American people about the severity of the coronavirus pandemic."

Graham devoted an entire column to deflecting from Trump's words by blaming the media and playing whataboutism: "Let’s put aside the nagging question of why Republican presidents grant interviews to this liberal Watergate war horse. Let’s focus instead on the nastiness of blaming hundreds of thousands of deaths on the president. Imagine, for a minute, that President Hillary Clinton was in power when the coronavirus arrived from China. Would the press place a single death at the White House door?" Well, Graham certainly would.

Geoffrey Dickens registered his own complaint: "A Bob Woodward book with so-called embarrassing details about a Republican president is like catnip for the DC/NY media crowd. ... If it all sounds familiar, it is: the commotion over the leaks and Woodward interviews follows a pattern when it comes to his previous books that bash GOP presidents."

Finally, Graham ranted about an interview Scott Pelley of "60 Minutes" did with Woodward:

How stupid does Scott Pelley think we are? Can we really be told after five years of fire-breathing televised Trump hatred that we live in a world where reporters stick to reporting, not editorializing? 

[...]

Pelley touted Woodward as a destroyer of presidencies, the man whose "first investigation, reported with Carl Bernstein, led to the resignation of Richard Nixon." But there it was near the end of Sunday night's interview, Pelley claiming reporters are "not supposed" to reach "editorial conclusions" about presidents!

[...]

The only conclusion that can be reached here in this discussion between two gray-haired retirement-age journalists that this is simply a shameless infomercial, using the antiquated notion of journalistic objectivity to add shock value and sell more books for Simon and Schuster, another affiliated Viacom-CBS property. The corporate synergy requires this kind of con artistry. 

Graham cranked out another column dismissing Woodward as "the most overpraised journalist in Washington ... who is the same age as Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden but is still trotted out with great fanfare as the conquering hero of Watergate."

Anything to avoid having to discuss what Trump actually said to Woodward, eh?


Posted by Terry K. at 9:54 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, October 1, 2020 12:34 AM EDT
Newsmax Laughably Claims Pro-Trump Writer's Show on Trump Is 'Unbiased'
Topic: Newsmax

We're mildly sorry we missed this on Newsmax TV:

On Saturday, Newsmax TV will air "Trump and Me: A Conversation with Ron Kessler," an original new documentary that takes you behind the scenes of the Trump presidency to reveal the true story of how Donald Trump became leader of the world’s most powerful nation — and how he made it great again.

For over 20 years, famed journalist Ron Kessler had almost unlimited access to Trump as he made him a subject of multiple books.

For the first time, Kessler shares his private and most candid thoughts about the billionaire-turned-president.

[...]

In< "Trump and Me," Kessler describes how Trump worked his way up the ladder of success, graduating from the prestigious Wharton School to help run his father's real estate business, eventually turning it into a multibillion-dollar enterprise.

Kessler looks at Trump's uphill battle in Washington to reform the bureaucracies of the FBI, CIA, VA, and other agencies that are in desperate need of fresh blood and renewed ethics.

And he discusses Trump's efforts boost the economy, reign in trade agreements, end poverty, and fight bigotry.

"He was very prepared for becoming president because he had a grasp on a lot of world issues and a grasp of conservative approaches to the government — and he simply implemented them," Kessler says in "Trump and Me."

He adds, "Trump really cares about his country. He is a patriot."

Kessler also reveals Trump's most personal side, including his relationship with his wife Melania, family, and his staff.

Kessler has long been a pro-Trump hagiographer and, when he was Newsmax's White House correspondent, was promoting Trump's presidential prospects there as early as 2011, at one point gushing (in writring about flying on Trump's commercial-size private jet) that Trump "is younger, thinner, and blonder than in his photos."

Which makes Newsmax's claim that Kessler's special is "an unvarnished, unbiased look at Trump that you will not find anywhere else" particularly hilarious. We don't doubt that you won't see this anywhere else, but based on the above description, the show appears to be quite varnished and most definitely biased, coming from a highly biased pro-Trump writer.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:17 PM EDT
WND Touts Bogus Hydroxychloroquine Study Pushed By Fringe Group
Topic: WorldNetDaily

From an anonymously written Sept. 22 WorldNetDaily article:

With media solemnly spotlighting the passing of the 200,000 mark in deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the United States, a physicians assocation has a question.

"Why is the death rate about 75 percent lower in many countries?" asked Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.

The reference is to a country-based analysis updated Sept. 20 that shows a gap between countries that treat COVID-19 early or prophylactically with hydroxychloroquine and those that, like the U.S., discourage or prohibit its use.

That link to the "country-based analysis" goes to an anonymous website, HCQTrial.com, featuring a bogus study. Lifehacker points out that the results on the website are "not a study, but it’s definitely packaged to look like one":

What it actually is, is an anonymous website with many of its sources credited to also-anonymous Twitter accounts. But it wears the garb of science: The charts mirror the style of other epidemiological graphs that have been floating around; the typography smacks of certain scientific journals’ style.

But what’s even sneakier is the way it co-opts the language of science and deliberately misuses words. The phrasing has changed after criticism, but at one point the site claimed to describe a “country-randomized trial” of literally billions of people.

[...]

As many actual epidemiologists have pointed out, all these folks did was to look at COVID-19 death rates in a handful of cherry-picked countries and conclude that the countries that made a “strong decision” in favor of hydroxychloroquine usage had lower death rates.

The Science-Based Medicine website details further that "There’s no such thing as a 'country-randomized trial'. It’s a meaningless term. Subjects were not 'randomized by country'. They couldn’t have been. This is a retrospective study," concluding that HCQTrial.com "is obvious pseudoscience to anyone who has any expertise in epidemiology and/or clinical trials, but unfortunately it has spread far and wide faster than experts could debunk its disinformation."

It also theorizes (since the site's operators are anonymous and the domain owner has been hidden form public view) that Orient's AAPS may be affiliated with this website, but admits that this and an apparently affiliated website, c19study.com, "are simply useful repositories of disinformation for AAPS to use. Either way, it’s clear that these sites are all related and that they are all spreading the same sort of disinformation."

Indeed, in a WND column published the same day (and also published at Newsmax), Orient made a similar claim about hydroxychloroquine having a "75% lower mortality rate," but this time linking to c19study.com, which is just a list of HCQ-related studies with a similarly anonymous provenance.

In that column, Orient also wrote about how "Epidemiologist Harvey Risch of Yale University estimates that 100,000 people may have lost their lives needlessly because of governmental agencies obstructing the use of HCQ." But Science-Based Medicine argued that Risch was employing "bad science" in trying to defend HCQ through the use of cherry-picked studies and positively referencing Vladimir Zelenko, who made numerous unverified claims about HCQ's efficacy (debunked by state health officials) that WND promoted earlier this year.

Orient went on to argue that "the authorities' cherished dogmas about viral diseases in general are wrong," citing what is effectively an opinion piece in the AAPS' own journal by one Dr. Lee Merritt, who concluded by likening "a corrupt, and yes murderous, vaccine industry" to "the murderous and corrupt Soviet regime." Merritt is not an epidemiologist; she's an orthopedic surgeon. She was also formerly known as Lee Hieb, a past president of AAPS who is, as we documented, an anti-vaxxer who's more than a little factually challenged.

WND continues to publish misinformation and falsehoods from a fringe group that's known for doing so -- even though publishing misinformation is one big reason that WND has been teetering on the edge of existence for the past couple years. It hasn't learned anything.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:01 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, October 7, 2020 2:55 PM EDT
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
MRC Goes Into Full Defense Mode Over Allegations Trump Disparages Military
Topic: Media Research Center

Because the Media Research Center is the media arm of the Trump campaign, it acted like an extension of the White House press secretary in trying to stamp out an Atlantic story citing numerous people claiming that President Trump privatedly dismissed fallen U.S. soldiers as "losers" and "suckers."

Curtis Houck complained that the Atlantic piece was anonymously sourced and that its editor is a "liberal," attacking media outlets for reporting it: "And because conducting journalism isn’t what they do, they also couldn’t be bothered to mention both the excerpt of John Bolton’s book on the day in question that made no mention of these comments and a White House e-mail also debunking them."

Tim Graham dismissed the Atlantic as "the exquisitely partisan source of today's anonymously-sourced anti-Trump hit piece" on Trump.

Houck returned to gush that "White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany continued the full court press from the Trump administration and campaign to debunk, deny, and dispose of Thursday’s Atlantic hit piece against President Trump from liberal hack editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg, calling it 'conspiracy-laden  propaganda' and 'fake news' that abandoned 'all journalistic integrity.' And in a true mic drop moment, McEnany read the roughly four-minute statement and left the podium without taking questions." Houck doesn't seem to understand that a denial from the White House is not the same as a "debunking." (The MRC loves to gush over McEnany.)

Alex Christy was mad that the Atlantic's sources chose to stay anonymous, declaring that "without names, it looks like a combination of confirmation bias (Goldberg, in his article, cited Trump's feuds with veterans and their families where he has gone too far) and political gossip" and adding that "some accusations are so serious, in order to run them they need more than Twitter-fearing anonymous sources commenting on an event from 2018."

Graham joined the whining about the Atlantic's anonymous sources, then went on to whine about "Brian Stelter's anonymous sources for his Fox-bashing book Hoax. If they've left Fox News for greener pastures, why don't they show some guts and go on the record?"

(The MRC is only selectively concerned about anonymous media sources.)

Graham later grumbled that "the traveling/groveling Biden press corps" wasn't asking if "The Atlantic article trashing the president for allegedly trashing our war dead was coordinated with the Biden campaign."

P.J. Gladnick complained that "CNN's Chris Cillizza hyped the Atlantic magazine smear upon President Donald Trump" but "never even mentioned the one very prominent non-anonymous source that came forward to upend that story, namely John Bolton." Actually, Bolton has said, "I’m not saying he didn’t say [the remarks] later in the day or another time."

Kristine Marsh huffed that ABC's George Stephanopulos "badgering" Sarah Huckabee Sanders over the Atlantic story and "spent the majority of the interview arguing with her over whether or not President Trump hates the military." In another post, Marsh touted how "several named witnesses have shot down the story told in the Atlantic as false." In fact, few of the "named witnesses" can credibly deny the story in full.

Houck came back to whine:

Atlantic editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg must have thought early Tuesday evening that he was making matters better when he appeared on CNN’s The Situation Room to discuss his hit piece against President Trump, but despite host Wolf Blitzer’s gushing praise for his “amazing” “bombshell” we all should be “grateful” for, he continued to undermine the central claims of his tale.

Throughout the eight-minute-and-35-second segment, Goldberg faced no real challenge from Blitzer, showed us how he’s long been a go-to messenger for what some call the Deep State, and illustrated why he was a reliable flack for the Obama regime.

Graham devoted an entire column to denouncing the Atlantic as a "hyperpartisan outlet" (ironic, since Graham is a hyperpartisan critic). Graham also devoted a podcast to attacking the Atlantic piece.

Jeffrey Lord devoted an entire column to hyping a claim from a right-wing blog post written by onetoime NewsBusters blogger Rusty Weiss claiming that Atlantic editor JeffreyGoldberg admitted the story was "shoddy." Weiss has since softened and recast his original claim.

It's as if the MRC was being paid by the Trump campaign to do this.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:08 PM EDT
CNS Reporter Fact-Checks Biden, Gives Trump, GOP A Pass
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com reporter Patrick Goodenough has been quite the Biden fact-cheker of late. A few examples:

But given the opportunity to fact-check President Trump or other Republicans, Goodenough has refused to do so.

Goodenough actually wrote around one falsehood in an effort to avoid having to report on it. In an Aug. 26 article, he wrote on the Republican National Convention speech of Madison Cawthorn, gushing over how the wheelchair-bound Republican congressional candidate ended the speech "by hauling himself out of his wheelchair, standing to recite an adaptation of the pledge of allegiance." Goodenough went on to write that "Earlier in the speech, Cawthorn noted how young some of the great men of American history were at the time they were making an impact, citing George Washington, James Madison and Abraham Lincoln."

That's a dishonestly generous paraphrase of what Cawthorn actually said; he said that "personal favorite" James Madison "was just 25 years old when he signed the Declaration of Independence." In fact, Madison did not sign the Declaration.

In a Sept. 1 article, Goodenbough uncritically repeated Trump's assertion that Black Lives Matter is a "Marxist organization" (it's not). He then responded to Trump's claim that "Money is coming from some very stupid rich people that have no idea that if their thing ever succeeded – which it won’t – they will be thrown to the wolves like you’ve never seen before" with this lame bit of affirmation: "Amid protests that erupted across the nation after a white police officer killed George Floyd in Minneapolis last May, some of America’s biggest corporations – including Nike, Google, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon – announced donations to Black Lives Matter and other organizations focused on social justice for black communities."

Goodenough provided no evidence that any money from these corporations are funding protests or violence, either directly or indirectly. He also wrote this:

Trump recounted that a person flying “from a certain city” to Washington to attend the Republican National Convention had been on a plane that “was almost completely loaded with – with thugs wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms with gear, and this and that.”

He wouldn’t reveal the name of the city the plane came from, saying the matter was “under investigation,” but added that along with a handful of people heading to the RNC, “a lot of people were on the plane to do big damage.”

If Goodenough had bothered to look into it, he might have found that Trump's story sound susiciously familar to a similar (and bogus) claim circulating in right-wing circles in June. Or it could be a right-wing congressman who freaked out about sharing a plane with Black Lives Matter activists flying to Washington, D.C., for the anniversary of the March on Washington.

Goodenough served as a Trump stenographer in a Sept. 17 article touting how "President Trump said Wednesday distribution of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine to prioritized recipients could begin as early as next month, but by November or December at 'the latest,' and suggested a speedier rolling-out to the broader population than that suggested earlier in the day by CDC Director Robert Redfield." He made sure not to mention that Trump's promise of a vaccine before the election is widely viewed as a ploy to get votes and to distract from his mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic.

We've noted how Goodenough's reporting at CNS has evolved from relatively straight to unambiguously pro-Trump and anti-Democrat.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:15 AM EDT
Monday, September 28, 2020
MRC's Houck Dishes It Out, Can't Take It
Topic: Media Research Center

Curtis Houck is among the most vicious of the Media Research Center's writers. He routinely slings personal insults at CNN personnel -- he has called CNN employees "deranged" "lemmings," smeared another as "immature" with an "incapacity to behave like an adult" (one of his favorite attacks against CNN) and was absolutely giddy that pro-Trump protesters heckled the network. And that's just at NewsBusters, where he serves as managing editor; on his Twitter account, he obsessively bashes CNN's Oliver Darcy as a "conservative Benedict Arnold," whatever that means, accused another CNN personality of having "sold her soul" to join "Zuckerville," insists that "liberal media" like CNN are "the enemy of the people," has ranted that CNN and other outlets "want vaccines to fail and don't see any problem with people going full anti-vaxxer" to spite Trump and smeared the channel as "bad people. They're purposefully spreading fake news, but they don't care. Why? Because if you don't agree with their hysteria-filled way of doing things, they hate you."

But it seems Houck can dish it out, but he can't take it. Responding to a snarky tweet from CNN official Matt Dornic,  Houck served up his usual nastiness: "CNN's 'head of strategic communications' reminding us that CNN should come out and endorse Biden. Because if you're not a liberal and actually want to vote for Trump, CNN and people like Matt probably think you're racist, stupid, and just not that smart." Dornic -- clearly aware of Houck's history of responded unhinged invective -- responded in kind: Your gaslight game has improved significantly, Curtis. [clapping emoji]  If I didn’t know better, I‘d blame your tweet on an actual personality disorder rather than a desperate plea for attention and approval.

Suddenly, Houck decided to play the victim: "Actually, I've suffer [sic] from depression and attempted suicide, so nice of you to invoke mental illness as a joke to try and attack me instead of respond to the merits of CNN's hatred for people who disagree with them." Houck wrote in a separate tweet: "CNN PR lead joking about mental illness to someone who's battled depression and attempted suicide. That would be me."

Now, we don't attack people on the basis of their mental health, and we have never criticized Houck on that basis. But for Houck to hide behind his mental health issues (which, by the way, are not a secret; he has a thread regarding them pinned to the top of his Twitter page) as a way to change the subject and avoid engaging with people taking issue with his repeated nastiness is unfair, not to mention little more than a way to avoid responsibility for one's own words.

We are very much sympathetic to Houck's mental health struggles -- we'd be happy to talk with him about it sometime (though, in another attempt to evade criticism for his work, he's muted us on Twitter). But he doesn't get to hide behind them to keep from being called out on his nastiness. And if it's his job that makes him so vicious toward CNN that it feeds into such issues, maybe he should find another line of work.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:28 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, September 28, 2020 9:33 PM EDT
Reagan-Loving Activist Now Advocating For Corrupt Ex-Congressman's Release From Prison
Topic: Newsmax

Looks like WorldNetDaily and WND columnist Rachel Alexander aren't the only ones trying to embrace conspiracy theories to get former right-wing congressman and convicted felon Steve Stockman out of prison. Self-proclaimed presidential historian Craig Shirley -- who basically makes his living these days writing hagiographic books about Ronald Reagan -- devoted his Sept. 18 Newsmax column to making Alexander-esque arguments to claim that Stockman should be released from prison.

Shirley insisted that Stockman was targeted because he was the leading voice in exposing Obama's IRS commissioner, Lois Lerner's purported scheme to use the IRS as a cudgel against conservative nonprofit groups" and "called for Lerner to be arrested."This bit of right-wing victimization conveniently ignores the fact that progressive noprofit groups were also targeted at the same time. But Shirley doesn't care about facts, he cares about playing the victimization card, insisting this directly led to "a five-year long investigation costing taxpayers millions of dollars and led to a ham-fisted 10-year sentence in federal prison in 2018."

While Shirley was ranting about "the Obama case against Steve," he obscured the fact that Stockman was convicted of 23 felony counts of fraud and other financial crimes in 2018 -- more than a year after Obama left office -- and by a jury in a courtroom in Texas, generally not seen as friendly to anything associated with Obama. The U.S. attorney whose office that prosecuted the case and the trial was appointed by President Trump and said that "corrupt officials like former congressman Stockman make it harder for the honest ones to do their jobs."

Shirley then handwaved Stockman's crimes as business as usual:

The Obama case against Steve stems from a grand total of $915,000 he raised for nonprofits he worked for from a pair of donors. The donors knew what their money was being utilized for, never once complaining to Steve or any authority figures about it.

The money was intended for various educational and philanthropic projects, some of which never panned out (which, trust me, happens often in the nonprofit business).

But prosecutors claim this is proof Steve defrauded his donors, even though, again, the donors knew where the money was going and that not every project was going to necessarily come to fruition.

Add to that the fact Steve paid himself a salary, and suddenly you’ve got an airtight case for fraud apparently.

Shirley then ranted about purported trial irregularities that "This may sound like a B-Grade spy novel, but unfortunately this all happened right here in the United States. This is the kind of thing Vladimir Putin does every other Thursday." He concluded with one final rant:

Steve Stockman is no criminal; he’s a patriot who was shedding light on the illegal actions of Eric Holder’s Department of Justice (DOJ).

The Obama cronies who put Steve away now toast happily while he wastes away in a prison cell. The only things he did wrong was call, rightfully, for Lois Lerner’s to be held to account, and for Holder’s impeachment.

Like the strongmen they vehemently claim to abhor, corrupt Democrats decided that, as in the tin pot dictatorships of the globe, the opposition had to be silenced.

Free Steve Stockman. Now.

The 12 jurors who unanimously decided that Stockman was guilty probably feel differently.

Shirley didn't disclose that he is among the right-wing signers of an amicus brief filed by a direct marketing company arguing for Stockman's release from prison.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:34 PM EDT
WND Columnist Coronavirus Conspiracy Theory Du Jour
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Over the past few years, first, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned about a pandemic that would happen in "President Trump's first term," then Bill Gates parroted the coming of "Disease X" throughout 2018. Finally, the World Health Organization (WHO) sold pandemic bonds last year. The most conspicuous type of predictive programming, however, came from the WHO's newly formed Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB). Last September, months before the first people showed up sick with the strange pneumonia in Wuhan hospitals, the GPMB published its first annual report, "A World At Risk."

[...]

In the lead-up to the actual coronavirus epidemic emanating out of Wuhan, China, the pandemic players worked overtime to condition the public about the near future outbreak. Another finding in the Rockefeller Foundation report pointed to people surrendering rights in exchange for public safety, even when some states enacted strict draconian measures.

Welcome to 2020.

Today, with the novel virus waning, with herd immunity established in parts of Europe, New York and California, among other places, talks of lockdowns continue to populate the news. Why? It makes little sense in light of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) revising its data on deaths due to COVID alone, down to 6%, or roughly 10,000 deaths in the past six months. Add the much-maligned and misused PCR-test, in which 90% of the "positive cases" either picked up low viral loads that can't be transmitted or different strains of other viruses. Death counts and cases need to be revised downward.

In effect, the pandemic is over.

Then why do Anthony Fauci, Bill Gates, the CDC and the WHO's Director-General Tedros Adhanom continue to predict a more virulent second wave of COVID coming this fall?

[...]

Then there are rumors about brucellosis poisoning the food supply from at least two different sources – with no evidence. If the brucella bacteria were used as a bioweapon, several questions are raised. How would it be deployed? Who would be the target? What would be the desired outcome the terrorists want to achieve?

If they use a bioweapon in the weeks running up to the volatile election, it would be an ideal time to launch such a stealth attack. With the news media and people's attention glued to the riots, fires and looting, delivering a Trojan horse aimed at children and young adults – the main demographics left untouched by COVID – would create instant chaos and confusion, and a perfect smokescreen for a coup.

[...]

Today, with CRISPR snipping technology, with Dr. Anthony Fauci offshoring gain-of-function research to the Wuhan Bioweapons Lab in China, among other Southeast Asian nations, brucellosis could be weaponized. Imagine inserting Bat-SARS strands, GP-120 spike proteins and HIV elements, while reducing the lab-modified germ's incubation period to a few days. Aerosolized, the corona-brucella bioweapon could be exported to the United States and, in a relatively straightforward step, be sprayed onto foods in unprotected production plants before being frozen or blended with dairy products.

[...]

With all of the focus on vote-by-mail fraud post-election, suddenly, thousands of people who want to vote in person on Election Day are discouraged from doing so, scared away, quarantined, or caught up in the new rounds of lockdowns.

In this war game scenario, a coup to steal the election wouldn't occur after Election Day, but many weeks prior. By using a Trojan horse to carry the food-borne attack, no one would know what hit them. At least, not until well after the election. By then, it might be too late to overturn results.

Naturally, such an event would give Fauci, Gates and Tedros ammunition to boast that they warned America about the return of a devastating second wave of COVID. Like 9/11, in the aftermath of a brucella attack more civil rights would be lost and stolen.

Thus, the first tell that a war game is on would be when clusters of children fall ill.

This fall, keep your eyes open.

-- James Grundvig, Sept. 11 WorldNetDaily column


Posted by Terry K. at 3:49 PM EDT
Sunday, September 27, 2020
MRC's Graham Demands False Equivalence On Fact-Checking
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Tim Graham keeps trying to dunk on fact-checkers, and he continues to fail. He ranted in a Sept. 4 column:

Apparently, the proper role of the "independent fact-checker" during today's presidential campaign is to present the consistent opinion that Joe Biden is a force for truth and light, and President Donald Trump is a rampaging liar who never says anything true.

No one should suggest that these "fact-checker" groups need to parcel their rulings out in a completely even fashion so everyone gets a participation trophy for being half-right. But the dramatic tilt in these "fact-checkers" betrays an obvious partisan bias.

Just look at PolitiFact's Truth-O-Meter rulings for Biden for the month of August: Mostly True, Mostly True, Mostly True, Mostly True, Mostly True and Half True.

Now let's compare that to Trump's August Truth-O-Meter rulings: one Half True, two Mostly False, 11 False and four Pants on Fire.

[...]

Overall, from the start of 2019 through August 2020, Trump has gotten 197 Truth-O-Meter ratings, and Biden has only gotten 64. Trump rated Mostly False or worse in 156 of them (79 percent). He was only Mostly True or True in 17 ratings (8.6 percent). By contrast, Biden rated Mostly True or True in more than half: 33 of 64 (52 percent), and then there are 29 Mostly False or worse (45 percent).

Does anyone less partisan than Brian Stelter think these "fact-checkers" should boast of their "independence"?

As usually happens when he makes this complaint, Graham offers no evidence that Biden tells falsehoods at the same rate as Trump, or that there's any reason to fact-check Biden at the same rate as Trump other than his demand for false equivalence. Nevertheless, he continued:

Some might suggest this is just about a serious aversion to Trump's casual relationship with the truth. So let's take a broader view. Take the dates of the party conventions, from the start of the Democratic one, on Aug. 17, to the aftermath of the Republican one, on Aug. 28. Over those 12 days, PolitiFact checked Republicans and their affiliated PACs and pundits 32 times and only checked Democrats and their equivalents 11 times. The disparity of checks alone implies a partisan tilt.

Again, Graham offered no evidence that Democrats told falsehoods at an equivalent rate to Republicans. The only thing being "implied" here is that Graham cannot be bothered to do even the most basic research to lend any kind of factual basis to his biased, partisan rantings.

Desperate to spin away any suggestion, no matter how well documented, that Trump is an inveterate liar, Graham spent a Sept. 13 MRC post whining that Trump's claims of mail-in voting being massively fraudulent were being fact-checked. In devising a new spin on Trump falsehoods, he insulted a Washington Post fact-checker as not smart enough to tell the difference between a fact, and a prediction," going on to huff: "This is one of the most annoying dirty tricks of the 'fact checking' trade. Smear your target as a 'liar' because you don’t like the predictions they’re making."

There is a long history of mail-in voting not being fraudulent, but Graham doesn't want to talk about that. He still in campaign-style spin mode as befits the MRC's status as themedia arm for the Trump campaign:

That's not to say that everything Trump says about mail-in voting is impeccable. Constantly predicting the election will be "rigged" or fraudulent is inflammatory, but it's in the future, so it's not factual/unfactual. Rizzo and his bosses don't care. They want the "fusillades of falsehood" headline and all the clicks that come from the trash talk. 

The Post and other Democrat-helper media outlets have an emotional investment in crushing anyone claiming mail-in voting could be problematic.

Graham clearly has an emotional investment in trying to discredit fact-checkers because they threaten Trump's re-election by telling the truth about the president.

Graham managed to appear even more desperate in a Sept. 17 appearance on the right-wing safe space that is Newsmax TV:

NewsBusters Executive Editor Tim Graham appeared on Newsmax on Wednesday night to hammer the liberal media for fake and misleading fact checking. Talking about the grilling Donald Trump endured during his Tuesday night town hall on ABC, Graham dismissed the efforts of host George Stephanopoulos as “I'm a Democrat. I'm going to stick up for the Democrats.” 

He zinged, “It's not fact checking. It's just playing the Democratic Party rebuttal.”

That's not a "zing" -- that's flailing spin from someone who might as well be on the Trump campaign payroll (if he isn't already).


Posted by Terry K. at 11:12 PM EDT
CNS Is So Pro-Trump, It Won't Even Bash His Pro-Gay Leanings
Topic: CNSNews.com

How extreme is the pro-Trump bias at CNSNews.com? Its resident gay-hater can't even be bothered to criticize a Trump endorsement from a gay politician.

Managing editor Michael W. Chapman is virulently anti-LGBT, to the point that until now, his pro-Trump agenda stopped only when Trump didn't hate gays to his satisfaction. But the current CNS policy is publish no negative Trump coverage whatsoever, so when former German ambassador and former acting director of national intelligence Richard Grenell -- who, when he was appointed to the DNI position earlier this year, CNS made sure (via anonymously written articles) grumbled that he was "a gay man with a same-sex partner" and that he claimed "you can be gay and be a Christian" -- issued a full-throated endorsement of Trump last month, Chapman didn't seem to know what to make of it and, surprisingly, just repeated what Grenell said (presumably through clenched teeth):

In a video distributed by the Log Cabin Republicans, former Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell states that Trump is the "most pro-gay president in American history." In a Twitter response to the video, Trump declared, "My great honor!!!"

Grenell, who is gay, served as the U.S. ambassador to Germany (2018-20) and as Acting Director of National Intelligence (2/20/20 - 5/26/20) under President Trump.  The Log Cabin Republicans "is the nation’s largest Republican organization dedicated to representing LGBT conservatives and allies," according to its website.

[...]

"I know firsthand that President Trump is the strongest ally that gay Americans have ever had in the White House. Donald Trump is the first president in American history to be pro-gay marriage from his first day in office. ..."

In response to the video in an Aug. 20 re-tweet, President Trump said, "My great honor!!!"

It's telling that Chapman spends about half this article bashing and lecturing Joe Biden -- and not Trump -- over his evolving stance on gay rights. He fleshed out Grenell's statement that "Joe Biden said gay people couldn't receive security clearances because we would be a security risk" by admitting Biden said it in 1973 -- nearly 50 years ago, though it's likely that Trump had that same stance at that time -- then huffed that Biden's views have "evolved" and that he now "supports the LGBT agenda and even officiated at a gay 'wedding' at his home in August 2016," adding that "Biden's support (and votes) for homosexual behavior and so-called gay marriage are in direct conflict with the teachings of the Catholic Church, of which he is a member."

But a week later, when the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce endorsed Biden, Chapman was back to his usual gay-bashing ways, devoting three paragraphs to complaining that "Biden would mandate that biological males who identify as females would be allowed to compete in real women's sports and use facilities created for real females." And he complained again that "Biden, a pro-LGBT Catholic, officiated a gay 'marriage' at his home in 2016." Chapman did not mention Trump at all in this article, let alone Grenell's endorsement of Trump.

The same day, CNS published an anonymously written article uncritically touting how "President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign has posted a background paper arguing that Joe Biden’s record on LGBT issues is 'nothing to be proud of' because Biden, in the past, was often not an aggressive champion of the LBGT cause."

That's the power of CNS' pro-Trump stenography right now.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:28 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 27, 2020 11:33 AM EDT
Saturday, September 26, 2020
MRC Mad GOP Congressman Got Caught Editing A Video (Not At The Edit)
Topic: Media Research Center

In addition to defending the worst people in the name of "free speech," the Media Research Center gets mad when their fellow conservatives get busted messing with video clips, apparently believing that the right to manipulation is "free speech" as well. Kayla Sargent complained in an Aug. 31 post:

Twitter has, once again, bowed to pressure from the left to silence conservatives. 

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) reportedly removed a video from his Twitter account on Sunday after the platform flagged the video as having been “manipulated.” 

The video featured Ady Barkan, a man with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), in an interview with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden discussing police reform. Barkan speaks with the help of computerized voice assistance. 

In the original video, Biden discussed his plans for police reform, and Barkin asked “But do we agree that we can redirect some of the funding?” Biden then replied, “Yes, absolutely.” 

The Scalise video had reportedly added the words “for police” to the end of Barkin’s question, according to Fox News. As Fox reported, “The context of the original exchange made clear that Barkan was talking about redirecting police funding, but the edit drew strong criticism nevertheless.”

No, Twitter is not trying to "silence conservatives"; it's trying to shut down manipulated images and videos. If Scalise had not manipulated the video, this would not be an issue. Sargent and the MRC are simply mad that Scalise got caught doing it -- and to someone it had dismissed as a "radical-left activist" just a month earlier and as a "far-left activist" a couple weeks earlier when he spoke at the Democratic National Convention. (No explanation, of course, of what exactly makes Barkan "radical" or "far-left"; he must be demonized no matter what).

The MRC, meanwhile, is certainly not going to tell readers what Barkan had to say a couple days later about conservative media outlets like the MRC who bolstered Scalise's misleading video:

Scalise has since conceded the video “shouldn’t have been edited” in an interview on Fox News — even as he attempted to claim there was an underlying truthfulness to the message. That isn’t the same as an apology to me, or, more important, the more than 2 million people in this country who communicate using assistive technology like I do.

It’s specifically insulting to witness actors with the worst intentions hijack the technology that has allowed me to speak to try to speak for me, but this duplicity also exposes the broader information crisis in our society. When President Trump claimed, as he did in the run-up to the 2018 election, that a “migrant caravan” threatened the safety of the United States, he was bolstered by a vast conservative media that runs coverage amplifying his claims from morning to midnight. The inauguration crowd size, the repeated lies about voter fraud, claims about wiretapping, all of it is part of an attempt to shear one half of America away from the other by creating an alternate reality for Trump’s supporters.

[...]

In that context, “deepfakes” such as the one Scalise posted aren’t missteps. They’re disinformation test balloons that should put every single one of us on alert. If they can without consequence make it seem as though I said something I didn’t, what else can they do? What else will they do? What fearmongering words can they put in Biden’s mouth in a video doctored to tip the election?

Nope, the MRC definitely does not want to have that conversation.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:23 AM EDT
Your Weekly Mychal Massie Meltdown
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It's one thing to be an ideologue; it is another thing to be a pernicious liar, foolish to the point that you believe everything belched from your mouth is sacrosanct. It's another thing to be such a fool of narcissism that you think everyone else believes whatever you say, simply because you said it. That, however, is the mindset of Democrats.

The news media aired around the clock programming of Obama doing everything but lifting his skirt as he curtsied and bowed low to terrorist dictators. The Obama media praised his condemnation of America in 2019, when he told a gathering of globalists in Europe "Europe was better than the United States." (See: "Obama Insults America On Foreign Soil And It Is Worse than Ever," Carmine Sabia, The Federalist Papers, April 7, 2019.)

In Strasbourg, Germany, Obama condemned America as arrogant. A speech the Heritage Foundation called "one of the most damaging, if not the most damaging speech by a U.S. president on foreign soil in modern times." (See: "Worst Than Jimmy Carter," Nile Gardiner, Ph.D. The Heritage Foundation, April 30, 2009.)

Obama is responsible for homosexuality introduced in grades K-5. He is responsible for putting our wives, our daughters, our mothers, at risk because of his edicts ordering women's bathrooms and shower facilities be open to any man who claimed to be a woman and vice versa. This proved to provide government-protected hunting grounds for the lowest forms of humanity.

[...]

Thankfully Obama is no longer in office; but his co-commander in deconstruction of America, Joe Biden, wants us to believe that he can lead America forward better than President Trump.

My question is: based upon what evidence? Biden has a nearly 50-year record of unprecedented failure on every quantifiable level. This is not hyperbolism; it is cold facts, and there are video records of Biden in his own words that stand as monuments to his incompetence and corruption.

Biden is non compos mentis. He is clearly of an unsound mind.


[...]

But, somehow that doesn't apply to Democrats. Hillary Clinton screamed like a skanky old banshee exuding a musky smell of perspiration and stale-urine body odor: "What difference does it make" – and the pathetic sycophants on hostile news programs saw nothing wrong. After all, it was only Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Tyrone Woods, Sean Smith and Glen Doherty. Just four Americans she and Obama sentenced to death because of their tacit refusal to provide lifesaving assistance.

-- Mychal Massie, Aug. 31 WorldNetDaily column


Posted by Terry K. at 2:39 AM EDT

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