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Sunday, November 1, 2020
SHOCKER: WND Adds Correction Admitting Conspiracy-Obsessed Virologist Has Been Discredited
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily -- remaining true to its conspiracy-theory-driven nature -- got a lot of mileage recently out of a Chjinese virologist named Li-Meng Yan and her claims that the COVID-19 coronavirus was created in a laboratory:

A Sept. 11 article breathlessly wrote how Yan "says she has evidence COVID-19 is man-made and plans to publish it soon." On Sept. 16, WND hyped how Yan appeared on Fox News to claim that "the Chinese Communist Party manufactured and intentionally released the COVID-19 virus that led to mass shutdowns and deaths around the world."

An Oct. 6 item repeated a claim from unreliable fringe-right webstie ZeroHedge that Yan "says that the Chinese Communist Party has arrested her mother." The same day, a column by Andy Schlafly went into full victimization and conspiracy mode for Yan:

Though downplayed in the media, suspicion grows that COVID-19 was produced in a lab in Wuhan, which makes it a weapon of mass destruction different from past pandemics. Li-Meng Yan, a Chinese virologist who was a researcher at the Hong Kong School of Public Health, has explained why she believes the virus was made in a military laboratory by combining two bat coronaviruses.

If you have not heard of Dr. Yan, then it is probably because Twitter has censored her, too. As reported by Newsweek, Twitter suspended her account in mid-September without public explanation, despite her nearly 60,000 followers.

The Communist Chinese have recently arrested her mother as retaliation. But Joe Biden and Democrats are silent about this human rights abuse and remain unwilling to hold China accountable for causing so much harm.

Just one little problem: Yan's claim -- which runs counter to what actual experts have said for months -- keeps getting discredited, culminating in a summarization at CNN of howYan is linked to ex-Trump adviser (and current arrested criminal) Steve Bannon and finding that her research was "built on what appears to be the same theories, similar passages and identical charts presented by an anonymous blogger whose writings were posted on a website linked to Bannon months earlier," and that "three co-authors of Yan's paper used pseudonyms instead of their real names, a practice frowned upon in scientific and academic work."

So much so, in fact, that even WND has grudgingly admitted it. On Oct. 11, WND added an editor's note to its Sept. 11 article:

Appearances by Dr. Li-Meng Yan on media outlets in Britain and the United States have come under fresh scrutiny in connection with her own pre-print (an unpublished draft of a science paper) on the website Zenodo claiming to provide evidence that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, was created in a laboratory and is not of natural origin. Yan's pre-print, which was not peer-reviewed by other experts in the field, claims that some unique characteristics in the SARS-CoV-2 genome prove that the virus is man-made. However, experts disputed Yan's pre-print for being flawed and containing unsubstantiated claims. The exact origin of the SARS-CoV-2 virus remains unknown. Dr. Yan claims to prove that the SARS-COV-2 virus originated in a lab, but a careful analysis of her pre-print actually shows this claim is unsubstantiated.

Unfortunately, WND did not feel this was a serious enough correction to do an entirely new article about how Yan has been discredited, nor did it append this correction to its other articles on Yan, nor did it otherweise call attention to the correction. So unless you stumbled across this article, which had long since disappeared from WND's home page, you wouldn't know of WND's half-hearted attempt to correct the record.

Well, it's a start -- if 23 years after its founding constitutes an appropriate learning curve for how to handle errors -- for a "news" organizaiton that usually doesn't publish corrections unless a lawsuit has been threatened.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:12 PM EDT
MRC's Double Standard On Presidential Candidates' Alleged Cognitive Decline
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center, like its "news" division CNSNews.com, loves to question whether Joe Biden is all there mentally:

  • Tim Graham complained: "Just as CNN's Brian Stelter lurched from attacking President Trump's "mental fitness" to defending Joe Biden's, Yahoo News politics editor David Knowles located three Trump-bashing psychologists to demonstrate the same partisan reflexes. The March 5 article was headlined 'Trump's mental state — not Biden's — is the real concern, mental health professionals say.'"
  • Mark Finkelstein declared that a "more balanced view would be that Biden's recent outbursts against voters are indicative of someone who—lacking the cognitive resources to respond substantively when challenged—resorts to schoolyard slurs."
  • Nicholas Fondacaro insisted that questions about Biden's cognitive state are "a serious concern for a man Biden’s age" and declared that a Fox News reporter was "fair enough" in asking Biden about it.
  • Jeffrey Lord hyped "the constant stories of Biden experiencing “cognitive decline” -- aka dementia."
  • Michael Dellano huffed of MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell and Joy Reid: "The fact that Reid and O’Donnell just glossed over Biden’s obvious cognitive decline is sickening."
  • Christian Toto asserted that "Biden’s own cognitive skills are clearly in decline, another subject comics are loath to mention, let alone mock."
  • When Biden gave an answer to a question about cognitive decline that the MRC didn't like, Scott Whitlock retorted that "journalists have a responsibility to follow up on this and ask more questions about Biden and cognitive decline."
  • Fondacaro grumbled that a reporter "did his job of defending Biden from accusations of cognitive decline by ignoring how Biden had misremembered how many grandkids he had."

But, like CNS, they get really mad when President Trump's mental state is question. In July, Duncan Schroeder was mad that "CNN co-hosts John Berman and Alisyn Camerota shed their poor guise of being objective journalists in order to seek political revenge against President Trump and deflect questions about Joe Biden's cognitive ability," ranting that minor verbal taffes showed that Biden was the real candidate in cognitive decline:

If Berman cared about being a journalist and not just campaigning for Biden, he would have discussed Trump’s very reasonable concerns about Biden’s cognitive state. He forgot the words to the Declaration of Independence, twice said that the long-deceased Margaret Thatcher condemned Trump, said that “poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids,” couldn't even remember the number for donating to his campaign, told an autoworker that he was “full of s***” and that he did not need an “AR-14,” said that “you ain’t black” if black Americans do not vote for him, said that coronavirus has killed 120 million Americans, and that gun violence has killed another 150 million.

In an Oct. 9 post, Kyle Drennen ranted that questions about cognitive decline are politically motivated ... when they're made about Trump:

On Friday, all three network morning shows decided to do the Democratic Party’s dirty work as they hyped House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s wild claims that President Trump was in an “altered state” due to coronavirus medication and her push to create a so-called “Commission on Presidential Capacity” to promote the false partisan narrative.

NBC’s Today show co-host Craig Melvin touted the attack line as he spoke to White House correspondent Hallie Jackson: “...the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, she’s also making some headlines this morning, bringing up the 25th Amendment.” Jackson eagerly touted the ridiculous and blatantly political stunt:

[...]

As much as left-wing politicians and media activists claim they believe in science, they’re happy to push wild, fact-free claims about the President’s health if they think it will hurt him in the upcoming election.

Needless to say, Drennen did not admit that his co-workers' repeated questioning of Biden's mental state was similarly "sleazy" and "false" just as much of a "ridiculous and blatantly political stunt."


Posted by Terry K. at 4:32 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, November 1, 2020 7:23 PM EDT
CNS' Debate Bias, Part 2: Still Nitpicking Biden, Giving Trump A Pass
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com covered the final presidential debate the way it covered the first one: fact-checking, rebuttals and snark for Joe Biden, while President Trump got stenography and no fact-checking, even though it made a headline out of a false Trump claim.

Patrick Goodenough enthusiastically attacked Biden in his usual way that he won't do to Trump, obsessing over how Biden said the U.S. should move to net-aero emissions by 2025, point out how that’s a quarter of a century earlier than the target date set in the Paris climate accords," then adding how "around four minutes later, Biden offered different dates – 2035 for “net-zero” emissions in the energy sector, and 2050 as the goal to achieve net-zero emissions overall." Melanie Arter followed by making a big deal out of Biden denying that he opposes fracking and to "show the tape" of him saying otherwise, then touting how "Trump obliged" by "tweet[ing] a video montage of Biden saying he would eliminate fracking."

Susan Jones meanwhile, highlighted how "Democrat [sic] presidential nominee" Biden wouldn't rule out future shutdowns to slow the spread of coronavirus, then let Trumprebut him by touting how he said that "'99 percent of people recover' from COVID, including him." Jones also rebutted Biden's claim that he has never taken money from foreign sources by rehashing the Hunter Biden "scandal" that CNS and right-wing have been pushing for weeks, though she offered no evidence that proves Joe Biden profited in any way.

Trump, of course, got no such scrutiny from CNS. Jones gave space to Trump to reframe Biden's statement that he would transition away fromoil as a claim he would "destroy the oil industry," then topped it off with a post-debate comment from a Republican congressman that "Russia and China and India are happy because Joe Biden is going to destroy our economy in the name of saving the environment."

Jones uncritically repeated Trump's claim to Biden that he ran for president in 2016 "because of you. I ran because of Barack Obama, because you did a poor job"-- failing to note that Trump is on the record as saying he did it for himself and his business. Arter, meanwhile, did a piece with the headline claim "Trump: Only ‘Those with the Lowest I.Q.’ Might Come Back to Immigration Court":

President Donald Trump defended his decision to end the practice of catch and release in the last presidential debate in Nashville, Tenn., on Thursday against claims by Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden that illegal immigrants who are released and given a court date show up for immigration court.

“The catch and release. Do you know what he's talking about there? If in fact you had a family that came across. They were arrested. They in fact were given a date to show up for their hearing. They were released, and guess what, they showed up for a hearing,” Biden said.

[...]

The president said he terminated catch and release, because it was “a disaster.”

“It just shows that he has no understanding of immigration of the laws. Catch and release is a disaster. A murderer would come in. A rapist would come in. A very bad person would come in. We would take their name. We have to release them into our country, and then you say they come back. Less than 1% of the people come back,” Trump said.

“Not true,” Biden interjected.

“We have to send ICE out and Border Patrol out to find them. We would say come back in two years, three years. We're going to give you a court case. You need Perry Mason. We're going to give you a court case. When you say they come back, they don't come back, Joe. They never come back. Only the really, I hate to say this, but those with the lowest I.Q., they might come back,” Trump said.

Arter didn't tell her readers that Biden was right -- Trump's claim isn't true at all. According to the Department of Justice, more than half of immigrants return for court hearings, far more than the 1% Trump claimed, and there's no evidence intelligence is a factor.

That's how CNS' bias works.

UPDATE: We forgot to note that CNS also did a highly biased pro-Trump run-up to the debate. It devoted an entire Oct. 20 article by Jones to regurgitating the Trump campaign's whining about the changes the debate commission made for the final debate -- which included the ability to mute a candidate -- even reproducing the entirety of the "lengthy letter" campaign chairman Bill Stepien sent the commission. Stepien claimed that "the final debate was supposed to focus on foreign policy," but the debate commission never said it would be the sole focus -- an important fact Jones failed to tell her readers.

The same day, Arter uncritically repeated how Trump "criticized the moderator of the upcoming last presidential debate NBC White House Correspondent Kristen Welker, telling Fox News on Tuesday that she’s worse than C-SPAN’s Joe [sic: Steve] Scully, because she has ties to the Democrat [sic] Party." And Goodenough chimed in by claiming that Trump "had a small foretaste" of getting muted at the debate when his microphone went out during a rally, going on to rehash previous Trump campaign criticism of the decision.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:19 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, November 4, 2020 10:44 PM EST
Saturday, October 31, 2020
MRC Whines That Newspaper Focused On Scandal-Ridden GOP Candidate's Scandals
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Rich Noyes complained in a Sept. 21 post:

One of the closest congressional contests in 2020 is the race for Utah’s 4th district, pitting freshman Democrat Rep. Ben McAdams against former NFL player and businessman Burgess Owens. A poll conducted in late July by the Hinckley Institute of Politics andThe Deseret News found it to be an absolute tie, with each candidate garnering 35 percent of the vote, and another 24 percent saying they didn’t know for whom they’d vote.

But The Deseret News has, through its news coverage, created a favorable environment for the Democratic candidate and his message, even as it repeatedly hammers the Republican on an array of personal controversies, according to a study by the Media Research Center.

Noyes' clief complaint: that the Deseret News reported that Owens has some notable scandals, while McAdams had none:

Owens has been repeatedly targeted with negative stories, while McAdams has escaped scrutiny.

Owens’ coverage included multiple negative topics:

■ whether or not he was too extreme for the 4th District (mentioned in six stories, in a total of 23 paragraphs);
■ his initially-mixed messaging on renewed nuclear testing (six stories, 20 paragraphs);
■ his appearance on a radio show linked to QAnon conspiracists (four stories, 15 paragraphs);
■ allegations that he plagiarized portions of his book (one stories, seven paragraphs).

 [...]

During these same weeks, there were essentially no negative topics about McAdams, but rather an assortment of positive stories which reinforced his campaign themes of independence and service on behalf of Utahns.[.]

But Noyes offered no evidence that McAdams did any scandalous things that warranted negative coverage.

Noyes seemed to concede that the negative coverage of Owens is legitimate, and that he "needs to demonstrate he’s an acceptable choice to voters who would be inclined to vote Republican." But still he blamed the newspaper for reinfocing McAdams' "campaign objectives," adding: "Unlike opinion-based journalism, campaign news coverage should inform voters so they can make up their own minds, based on their own values and preferences. It should not steer voters toward one side or the other. In this case, the news pages of The Deseret News are violating that standard."

Noyes is hiding a big secret, though: the Deseret News is not part of the "liberal media," despite his efforts to portray it as such. It's actually owned by a division of the Churst of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- a.k.a. the Mormons -- and its bias, as detected by both Media Bias Fact Check and AllSides, is conservative, not liberal.

In other words, Noyes is attacking a conservartive newspaper for not being conservative enough. We call that Heathering, which the MRC loves to do.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:32 AM EDT
Your Weekly Mychal Massie Meltdown
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joe Biden is a pernicious liar and an arrogant, bigoted buffoon who fancies himself a tough guy bully chiefly because he hasn't eaten anyone's fist lately. He threatens people at campaign rallies even as he has cursed at others. Such behavior is not consistent with a winning protocol when he is a candidate for the Oval Office with literally fewer than 20 people showing up for those campaign rallies he is actually able to leave his basement to attend.

[...]

The Collier County, Florida, GOP compiled a list of President Trump's accomplishment at of Jan. 14, 2020. This list omits his successful leadership in combatting the spread of COVID-19. Specific to that fact is that liberal governors in New York, California and many other poorly run Democrat strongholds praised President Trump for his quick and decisive action in response to their pleas for help.

Somehow this is overlooked, as Biden, Pelosi and other wicked druid princesses of darkness, like the horrid Obama woman, blame President Trump for people dying. Once again they expect We the People to divest ourselves of all memory of the aforementioned facts, simply because they are now telling the lie that President Trump is evil.

We've seen evil – and it is Biden enjoined by Kamala Harris. The latter has lied and boasted of sleeping with married power-broker(s) to arrive at the place she now finds herself.

She is churlish, common and boorish, which speaks to the lack of good taste those men possess that she boasts of using to ascend the political ladder.

--Mychal Massie, Oct. 12 WorldNetDaily column


Posted by Terry K. at 12:10 AM EDT
Friday, October 30, 2020
MRC Went After Presidential Town Hall Moderators Too
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's working-the-refs strategy of lashing out at debate moderators if they -- from the MRC's biased, highly skewed right-wing perspective -- dared to be too mean to President Trump or too nice to Joe Biden also extended to the moderators of the dueling town halls done by Trump and Biden in lieu of the second debate that was canceled when Trump caught coronavirus.

The MRC's biased agenda was laid out in an Oct. 15 post by Curtis Houck and Rich Noyes: "If fairness still counts for anything in 2020 (which we know is asking a lot), those networks will treat each candidate similarly to how they treated their rivals in previous town hall sessions."Of couse, since neither Houck nor Noyes would know fairness if they met it in a dark alley, they demanded the moderators be as biased as Fox News, with bullet points like "Most of the questions should challenge Biden from the right" and that ABC's George Stephanopoulos, who moderated the Biden town hall, "should paint Biden as a failure."

The MRC skipped the usual pre-debate ref-working against Stephanopoulos, but after the debate Houck went on a two-post tirade. In the first, he huffed that "ABC News cowardly [sic] refused to engage in even the most basic, adversarial journalism, refusing to ask former Vice President Joe Biden during their 90-minute town hall about his son Hunter Biden’s latest reported acts of corruption" and declared the event to be an "in-kind donation to the Biden campaign" -- ironic, since Houck and the rest of the MRC are in-kind donations to the Trump campaign. Houck ranted in the second:

Thursday’s dueling town halls between Joe Biden and President Trump couldn’t have yielded a greater contrast with Biden receiving a rhetorical warm blanket for 90 minutes from ABC. Seeing as how they refused to bring up recent bombshell reporting on Hunter Biden, it was an abject failure. Making matters worse, ABC greased the skids with eight audience questions from the left, one neutral, and two from the right for a total of 11.

[...]

Unsurprisingly, ABC didn’t take the advice Rich Noyes and I laid out Thursday morning as to how they should have conducted themselves.

Meanwhile, a pre-debate post by Geoffrey Dickens lashed out at NBC's Savannah Guthrie, moderator of the Trump town hall, huffing:"Savannah Guthrie is NO fan of Donald Trump, and if her recent attacks on him are any indicator — look for the NBC Today show co-host to pepper the President with nasty questions at tonight’s Trump townhall event," then claiming to list what he called her "most liberal outbursts."

After the townhall, MRC ragebot Nicholas Fondacaro whined under the headline "We Called It!"

On Thursday morning, NewsBusters deputy research director Geoffrey Dickens predicted that NBC's Today co-host Savannah Guthrie would “go nuts on [President] Trump” in the town hall later that evening. And he was spot on with his prediction as she directed 25 liberal questions, comments, and other such biased interactions at the President.

That was in contrast to her nine neutral interactions and ZERO right-leaning interactions with Trump. But the audience questions were more balanced with three left-leaning questions, five neutral, and two right-leaning.

Not only did Guthrie have more interactions with Trump (compared to ABC chief anchor George Stephanopoulos having 19 with former Vice President Joe Biden in his concurrent town hall), but they also drug out as the town hall would devolve into a debate and even some shouting matches.

Bill D'Agostino complained that "Guthrie was several orders of magnitude harder on Trump than Lester Holt was on Biden last week" and that she "was combative right out of the gate."

The MRC concluded with a post by Scott Whitlock criticizing CBS for pointing out how badly Trumo wanted to be on TV after the debate got canceled:

CBS This Morning journalist Major Garrett on Friday could not resist an arrogant tone as he recapped Thursday’s presidential town hall events. He mocked Donald Trump as “desperate” and returning “on bended knee” to get on NBC. 

Talking to Gayle King, Garrett jeered, “President Trump did not agree to do the second debate, and then he realized he would be without a television audience to rival Joe Biden. So what did he do? He went on bended knee to that thing he hates the most in American journalistic life, the mainstream media.” 

The mocking continued: “Yes, he went back to his old familiar network NBC. He had to go back there to basically get an audience to compete with Joe Biden.”

At no point did Whitlock dispute the accuracy of Garrett's perspective.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:51 PM EDT
Fake News: WND Pushes Hunter Biden Attack From Non-Existent People
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has a grand tradition of publishing fake news, and it's not about to let its severe financial problems get in the way of that (even though it helped cause said financial problems).

NBC News reported how a nonexistent investigative firm headed by one Martin Aspen -- who does not exist; his alleged photo was created by an artificial intelligence face generator -- issued a dossier that claims to detail Hunter Biden's dealings in China. It was further forwarded by a blogger and professor named Christopher Balding, who had been quoted as saying "I want to strongly emphasize I did not write the report but I know who did" but later admitted he did some writing for it.

NBC noted that, despite its dubious origins, the report had gained "virality in conservative and conspiracy communities," where "hyperpartisan and conspiracy sites like ZeroHedge and WorldNetDaily led the pack."

Of course it did. An Oct. 23 WND article repeats and links to an item on the report from ZeroHedge, a far-right blog that, like WND, loves to push conspiracy theories.

As is par for the course, WND has yet to acknowledge the completely shady origin of the report it promoted, let alone apologize and correct the record.

So, it's business as usual, telling us that perhaps WND doesn't deserve to live.

UPDATE: Shortly after we posted this, WND's Art Moore wrote a piece noting the NBC story abut the bogus dossier -- then spun it as an attempt by the "establishment media" to discredit the right-wing media's overall Hunter Biden narrative. He did not acknowledge that WND had promoted the bogus story.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:38 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, October 30, 2020 8:40 PM EDT
CNS' On-Again, Off-Again Interest In Chicago Crime Is (Briefly) On Again
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com is only sporadically interested in weekend crime figures in cities like Chicago -- mostly when it serves its right-wing agenda to be. After a spate of concern over weekend shootings as social justice protests spread in late spring and early summer, CNS started losing interest when the protests died down.

CNS feigned concern through July and August in a transparent attempt to help boost President Trump's re-election. But nearly all of those articles were written by a CNS summer intern; when he left, the stories stopped. But after a month and a half of silence -- and, not coincidentially, a few weeks before the presidential election -- an Oct. 13 article (yes, by an intern) resumed the body-count interest:

Although the national media largely ignore the rampant gun violence in the Windy City, the local media in Chicago reported that 53 people were shot, five fatally, over this past weekend (Oct. 9-12).

Five of the people wounded in the shootings are juveniles, according to CBS2 Chicago.

Interestingly, that was it. it seems that CNS decided the crime story wasn't a winner for its agenda and its interns could be better deployed elsewhere -- say, on Hunter Biden articles.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:49 AM EDT
Thursday, October 29, 2020
NEW ARTICLE: Down With The Sickness
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center and its "news" division, CNSNews.com, lavished sympathy on President Trump after his coronavirus diagnosis -- and CNS even tried to distance Trump from the fetal cell-derived antibody cocktail he took to recover from it. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 2:43 PM EDT
MRC's Double Standard On Unidentified Partisans
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center loves attacking media outlets for their screw-ups -- except when those screw-ups interfere with the MRC right-wing narratives, as they did when CBS' "60 Minutes" screwed up a story on the Benghazi attack. The MRC ordinarily loves to bash the show, but it went completely silent on this chance to dunk on it.

The MRC just did it again. But first, let's start with Curtis Houck ranting in an Oct. 16 post:

Chick-fil-A is delicious, Jesus is Lord, the sky is blue, water is wet, and town hall questioners are covert liberal activists. As FoxNews.com reporter Tyler Olson found on Friday, two of ABC’s Biden town hall “had ties to high-profile Democrats, including one questioner who previously worked as a speechwriter in the Obama administration.” 

And, no, that didn’t include the fact that ABC chief anchor George Stephanopoulos was a Bill Clinton lackey in the early 1990s.

This came on the heels of how, just within the last month, ABC had liberal partisans in their September 15 Trump town hall and NBC featured “undecided voters” that were Biden supporters in their October 5 confab.

[...]

Despite the fact that liberal networks will continue lying to their viewers about the make-up of their town hall audiences, actual journalists and media observers shouldn’t change their approach in fact-checking the backgrounds of the questioners. 

Rather, they should redouble their efforts in light of the irresponsible and shameful lying on the part of the networks that claim to be working on behalf of the public interest.

OK, so the MRC believes that unlabeled partisans in what is supposed to be an unbiased forum is a bad thing. So when the New York Times did pretty much the same thing, Houck and Co. should be pouncing on it, right?

Well, not so fast -- because of who the subjects were. Last week, the Times published a story by reporter Elaina Plott on how "white suburbanites" in the Atlanta area are supporting President Trump for re-election. The Problem? Plott identified one woman as "an interior decorator, married with two children and a University of Georgia alumna" when she was, in fact, a Republican political consultant, and another source who leads the Georgia branch of the Republican National Lawyers Associationwas identified only as "an attorney in Atlanta."

The MRC not only didn't slap a "Deceptive" headline on this story -- even though this story first surfaced nearly a week ago, it has completely ignored by the MRC, despite the fact that it employs a writer, Clay Waters, whose sole job is to write about the New York Times.

But the subject matter isn't the only reason the MRC won't touch this. As with Lara Logan, the "60 Minutes" correspondent who screwed up the Benghazi story, there's a conservative-friendly reporter to defend: in this case, Times reporter Elaina Plott. She's enough of a conservative that she wrote for National Review, where she was a  William F. Buckley Jr. Fellow. National Review still considers enough of a fellow ideologue that it gushed about how Buckley "loved it when his people could go 'mainstream.'"

The MRC likely doesn't want to draw such attention to its ideological fellow travelers, even when they're as biased as the purportedly "liberal" reporters they lash out against every day.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:42 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, October 29, 2020 12:31 PM EDT
CNS Slobbers Over Trump's Minor Israel Peace Deals
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com reporter Patrick Goodenoughused to be a relatively unbiased repoerter (by CNS standards, anyway). Over the past couple years, he's been sliding toward pro-Trump hagiography and anti-Democratic attacks. His articles drooling over President Trump's deals with minor Arab countries to recognize Israel is one more step down for him.

On Aug. 31, Goodenough gushed over "the first commercial flight between Israel and the United Arab Emirates" and how "White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien both expressed optimism Sunday that other Arab countries would follow the UAE in normalizing relations with the Jewish state" after thte USE ended a boycott of Israel.

A week later, after Kosovo did something similar, Goodenough was sounding like a Trump White House press release:

It took more than four decades for the first two Muslim-majority countries to recognize and normalize ties with Israel, and now that number has doubled in less than a month, with Kosovo’s decision to follow the United Arab Emirates in taking the step.

Making that observation at the White House on Friday, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien called it “a very remarkable breakthrough.”

Never mind, of course, that neither country was ever at war with Israel.

Goodenough was in press-release mode again in a Sept. 11 article, declaring that "President Trump on Thursday portrayed himself as a Middle East peacemaker, pointing to breakthroughs between Israel and Arab states, looming U.S. troop drawdowns, and apparent signs of progress in Afghanistan." A few days later, he was the willing scribe for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who "repudiated House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s jibe that President Trump’s  progress in the Middle East is a “distraction” from the coronavirus crisis. He also warned that "opponents" like "The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Code Pink, and dozens other organizations are planning to protest near the White House during Tuesday’s signing ceremony."

Goodenough was in full stenography mode for the signing ceremony:

As President Trump on Tuesday presided over first diplomatic agreements between Israel and Arab nations in 26 years, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu urged naysayers to “rise above” political divides and to “put all cynicism aside.

“Despite the many challenges and hardships that we all face, despite all that, let us pause for a moment to appreciate this remarkable day,” he said at the White House ceremony.

[...]

The signing took place on the exact spot where, 27 years and two days earlier, President Clinton oversaw the signing of the interim Oslo accords between Israel and the PLO.

The interactions between the principals – even despite the coronavirus-related absence of handshaking – seemed considerably warmer and less awkward on Tuesday than they were on that day in 1993.

Goodenough didn't all the hagiography fun; Susan Jones uncritically repeated National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien obsequiously declaring that Trump "will be known as a peacemaker. And an op-ed from wacky pro-Trump rabbi Aryeh Spero slobbered that "This is yet another outstanding achievement by President Trump regarding Israel and the Middle East and demonstrates our president's unique abilities to bring to life that which has eluded other leaders. This is truly a manifestation of 'The Art of the Deal.'"

Last week, when a deal was announced between Israel and Sudan, Goodenough was on hand to gush again:

Another foreign policy achievement weeks before the election?  President Trump tweeted Monday that the U.S. will remove Sudan from its list of state-sponsors of terrorism, once Khartoum pays $335 million as agreed to U.S. terror victims. As a kicker, Sudan may then become the third Arab country in two months to normalize relations with Israel.

The news of the first part of that reported deal came in the form of tweet from the president:  “New government of Sudan, which is making great progress, agreed to pay $335 MILLION to U.S. terror victims and families. Once deposited, I will lift Sudan from the State Sponsors of Terrorism list. At long last, JUSTICE for the American people and BIG step for Sudan!”

[...]

If that materializes, it would be another example of the type of unorthodox deal-making, which last month delivered Israel another Muslim-majority diplomatic partner, Kosovo, as part of a broader U.S.-brokered economic normalization agreement between Kosovo and Serbia. (As a bonus, both Balkan countries also reportedly agreed to locate their embassies in Jerusalem, rather than Tel Aviv.)

This was followed by an Oct. 26 attempt to dunk on John Kerry for no reason other than that he's shilling for the Trump campaign:

The Trump administration now appears to be doing something that former Secretary of State John Kerry said could never be done.

In late 2016, Kerry told a think tank audience, “There will be no separate peace between Israel and the Arab world.”

[...]

Kerry is a top foreign policy adviser to Democratic presidential nominee’s Joe Biden’s campaign.

[...]

After years of following that conventional thinking and frustrated attempts by a series of U.S. administrations to secure an Israel-Palestinian accord, President Trump’s team took a different tack. It marginalized the Palestinian leadership – while undercutting its diplomatic initiatives at the U.N. – and focused on encouraging Arab states to make separate deals with Israel.

If Goodenough was ever an objective reporter, he certainly isn't one anymore -- he's been fully assimilated into the right-wing CNS borg.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:47 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, October 29, 2020 2:45 PM EDT
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
MRC Takes A Slightly Different Approach To Attacking Debate Moderators
Topic: Media Research Center

Contrary to its usual debate ref-working, the Media Research Center largely declined to attack the moderators of this year's presidential and vice presidential debates -- perhaps because they didn't feel they needed to for a couple of them. The first moderator, Chris Wallace, is a Fox News employee and once gave Paul Ryan a birthday cake, so he's obviously right-wing-friendly and they loved his work as a 2016 debate moderator (occasional Heathering aside). When he was annouced as the first moderator, the MRC's Kristine Marsh cheered that it would be "a Fox News journalist, and not a CNN hack." Further, the MRC highlighted criticism from media figures complaining that Wallace said he wouldn't try to fact-check the candidates in real time during the debate, and it bashed CNN's Brian Stelter for "poisoning the well against Wallace" by pointing out the indisputable fact he's a Fox News employee.

After the debate, though, the MRC didn't have many kind words for Wallace, since he failed to be a total shill for Trump. Nicholas Fondacaro devoted a post to bashing Wallace because he "blamed President Trump for the raucous nature of the debate, and complained that Trump 'put his foot' in the 'beautiful, delicious cake' Wallace and his researcher put together" -- apparently oblivious to the fact that this could be construed as an admission of pro-Trump bias that Trump stupidly failed to avail himself of.

Jeffrey Lord, meanwhile, embraced a completely opposite interpretation by laughably insisting that Wallace was pro-Biden: "Wallace somehow failed to grasp that Joe Biden's constant interruptions came from his 2012 bag of tricks, and that Donald Trump somehow how ruined his 'beautiful cake' by not letting Biden dominate the debate with his contempt for Trump."

Vice presidential debate moderator Susan Page similarly escaped an MRC pre-debate hit job. While she may work for the hated USA Today, she also hosted a party at her house for Trump's Medicaid and Medicare administrator, Seema Verma. But after the debate, Scott Whitlock trashed her for not tossing softballs to Vice President Mike Pence:

USA Today Washington bureau chief Susan Page failed on Wednesday night. On one of the most consequential questions of the age, whether Democrats in a Biden White House and in the Senate would change 150 years of precedent and pack the Supreme Court, the vice presidential debate moderator NEVER brought the topic up. MRC analysts reviewed every single question Page asked. We found she also never asked about Antifa riots, but instead wondered how a victorious Biden/Harris administration would forcibly evict Donald Trump from the White House. 

[...]

The American people deserve to know where the Biden/Harris campaign stands on issues like court packing. But journalists like Susan Page have and continue to refuse to do their jobs and demand answers.

Tim Graham followed up by devoting a column to attacking Page for not being harsh enough to Kamala Harris by giving her "little-league questioning," concluding by whing, "We need more balanced moderators. We’re not getting fair and equally accountable debates." And MRC chief Brent Bozell complained that Page "outrageously refused to force Kamala Harris to explain whether the Democrats would pack the Supreme Court."

Meanwhile, the second debate was canceled after Trump's coronavirus diagnosis. The would-be moderator, C-SPAN's Steve Scully, about whom the MRC had nothing bad to say, at least until he admitted to lying about his Twitter account being hacked. And when changes were made for the final debate in part because of Trump's repeated interruptions during the first debate, Nicholas Fondacaro was suddenly concerned about tradition:

Traditionally, the final presidential debate questions focused on foreign policy. But on Friday, the Commission on Presidential Debates and moderator Kristen Welker of NBC spit in the eye of that precedent and decreed the final debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden be on a variety of topics (including climate change). And then on Monday, the commission upended things once more and announced that the microphones would be muted while candidates answered initial questions.

As if to make up for giving Wallace and Page a pre-debate pass, the MRC went after Welker by parroting the right-wing New York Post's attack on her parents because they donated to Democrats (despite finding no similar link with Welker herself). Curtis HOuck huffed: "Predictably, the liberal media circled the wagons around Welker after the story dropped even though, if Welker’s parents were Trump donors, the same media hyenas would have been calling for Welker’s ouster (and not just from the debate, but her job at NBC as well)," further justifying the hit job and dragging her family into it:

When the four debate moderators were announced, Welker was always the one that conservatives, Trump supporters, and impartial observers had reason to be most concerned about.

Not only has she left a long on-air track record of having been a liberal partisan for MSNBC and NBC, but her family conflicts of interest have made her selection another embarrassment for the Debate Commission."

Welker won't be confused with Jim Acosta, April Ryan, or Stelter, but her record and partisan ties cannot be ignored, regardless of whether it hurts people’s feelings.

That was followed by another hit piece from Scott Whitlock purporting to detail "Welker’s most biased moments over the years."Whitlock struck again by attacking a media person who called out Trump's MRC-esque pre-debate attack on Welker.

The MRC even attacked the head of NBC/Universal for having donated money to Democrats, though it offered no evidence that he ever dictated editorial policy at NBC. And Bozell chimed in with questions he demanded Welker ask Biden; he didn't offer any questions that should have been asked of Trump.

Unsurprisingly, the MRC attacked Welker after the debate, with Whitlock whining that Welker delivered "embarrassing, pro-Biden talking points, assisting the Democrat on climate change and avoiding awkward topics like packing the Supreme Court and Antifa violence" and groused that she equivocated the manufactured Hunter Biden controversy with Trump's long history of conflicts of interest.He further whined: "You know what question NEVER came up? Packing the Supreme Court." Perhaps because it's only an obsession with conservatives and it would not be an issue at all if Trump hadn't rammed Amy Coney Barrett's nomination through Congress.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:03 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, October 28, 2020 10:28 PM EDT
Newsmax Columnist Thinks Trump's COVID Brought 'Transformation' In Him
Topic: Newsmax

One has to wonder in what parallel universe Wendy Patrick observed this behavior from President Trump in an Oct. 13 Newsmax column:

Not only did the world learn President Trump had contracted COVID-19, they witnessed the transformation.

Appearing pale and much less energetic than his usual self-confident countenance, the president allowed the public to observe his infirmity — which was visually apparent in a video message he recorded from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

He wore a suit jacket — but did so uncharacteristically, without a tie.

Research reveals how these observations can impact us as well.

The thing is, Trump is not known for compassion, empathy and vulnerability, and his coronavirus diagnosis did not bring him any.Indeed, he remains such a bully that he's trying to destroy the son of his political opponent, mainly because he can.

The bulk of Patrick's column is how people can feel compassion for people who have caught coronavirus and how it shows our "shared humanity," which 'strikes without regard for demographics or politics." But shse doesn't explain why one must feel compassion toward a man who is so clearly lacking in that quality.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:10 PM EDT
Anita Hill Derangement Syndrome Continues At The MRC After All These Years
Topic: Media Research Center

After nearly three decades, Anita Hill continues to live rent-free inside the collective heads of the Media Research Center. This year alone, Tim Graham -- the MRC's chief Hill obsessive -- ranted aboiut Hill when he was pushing Tara Reade's unproven sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden, and the MRC attacked her again in September when it was again pushing Reade.

Kristine Marsh was on Hill patrol for the MRC in an Oct. 9 post:

Anita Hill was warmly welcomed to The View on Friday, where she was immediately asked about her endorsement for Joe Biden. But the hosts refused to press her on the hypocritical nature of the #MeToo advocate endorsing the candidate who has been accused of sexual assault.

In fact, the hosts completely ignored Tara Reade, just like CNN and CBS did when they hyped Hill’s Biden endorsement. Instead, co-host Joy Behar asked the Clarence Thomas accuser how she could endorse Biden, given he “wasn’t really on her side” during the Supreme Court Justice's confirmation hearings in 1991[.]

Marsh further grumbled that "The hosts spent the rest of the interview talking about the activist's work combatting sexual harassment in the entertainment industry with the non-profit she chairs, The Hollywood Commission. " She then dismissed the segment as "ABC's work helping Democrat candidates get the approval of left-wing activists," though she failed to identify what, if anything, is "left-wing" about Hill.

True to form, Graham unloaded on Hill yet again in his Oct. 22 column bashing NPR's Nina Totenberg, huffing that she "made Anita Hill a legend with sexual harassment allegations against Clarence Thomas that were never proven. It was the very definition of a 'politically driven event,' a story leaked to Totenberg by Senate Democrats to sabotage the Thomas nomination. No one at NPR said that was an unvetted waste of time, a 'pure distraction.'" Graham is not going to admmit that his framing of Hill's accusations of Thomas as"never proven" also means they were never disproven.

One didn't even actually have to be Anita Hill to be trashed like her. Right-wing film critic Christian Toto attacked actress Kerry Washington because she "speaks out on political matters, campaigns on behalf of Democratic candidates and stars in projects with overt progressive agendas," citing her "starring role in Confirmation as Anita Hill" as an example.

What does it say about the stagnant research skills of the MRC that it remains so triggered by a woman who credibly made a sexual harassment charge against a conservative icon?


Posted by Terry K. at 2:33 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, October 28, 2020 2:36 PM EDT
WND Columnist Labors To Distance Trump From His Fetal Cell-Tested COVID Treatment
Topic: WorldNetDaily

CNSNews.com wasn't the only ConWeb outlet laboring to distance President Trump from the fetal stem-cell origins of the Regeneron antibody cocktail he was given to help him recover from coronavirus. Michael Brown devoted his Oct. 12 WorldNetDaily column to fretting over this:

How should pro-life Trump voters respond to these concerns?

Let's say that Regeneron was actually developed with the help of fetal tissue. Does anyone actually think that doctors came to Trump and said, "Mr. President, we have an experimental drug that was tested and developed using tissue from an aborted baby from the 1970s. How do you feel about using this?"

Only the most hardened anti-Trumper could imagine such a scenario. In the world of reality, the very thought of it is absurd. And, even if the fetal tissue charges are true, who knew about this? Was this something that any of the doctors would have been aware of? I very seriously doubt it, especially when, as we shall see, Regeneron itself denies the charge.

It is therefore completely ridiculous to claim that Trump is being hypocritical in using Regeneron, as if he knew the alleged history of the drug.

Like CNS, Brown invoked people with the anti-abortion Charlotte Lozier Institute to further distance Trump from any fetal-cell links, concluding: "I'm not a medical doctor or a scientist, but it seems clear from these descriptions (and from what I could glean from Regeneron's technical article published in the journal Science, also cited above) that there is hardly a direct connection between the drug and an aborted baby." Brown then spun further on hypocrisy claims:

My answer to those accusing the president with hypocrisy is threefold. First, as stated here, it's unlikely in the extreme he had any idea of the alleged abortion connection. Second, scientists from Regeneron deny any connection to human fetal cells, and Trump would presumably take them at their word. Third, if Regeneron had been developed with the help of an aborted baby, there would then be a serious ethical debate as to its use.

Still, with all that being said, it is grasping at straws to question the pro-life commitment of these organizations (along with that of President Trump). That's because we are comparing the willful killing of more than 60 million babies in the womb, often out of convenience, with the possible, distant connection of a life-saving drug to a baby aborted in the 1970s. Who would seriously make such a comparison?

Brown -- an incessant Trump apologist and excuse-maker -- concluded:

My answer to those accusing the president with hypocrisy is threefold. First, as stated here, it's unlikely in the extreme he had any idea of the alleged abortion connection. Second, scientists from Regeneron deny any connection to human fetal cells, and Trump would presumably take them at their word. Third, if Regeneron had been developed with the help of an aborted baby, there would then be a serious ethical debate as to its use.

Still, with all that being said, it is grasping at straws to question the pro-life commitment of these organizations (along with that of President Trump). That's because we are comparing the willful killing of more than 60 million babies in the womb, often out of convenience, with the possible, distant connection of a life-saving drug to a baby aborted in the 1970s. Who would seriously make such a comparison?

Who would seriously argue that voters should ignore the sleazy, amoral person Trump is and vote for him anyway because he panders to evangelicals, which has been Brown's defense of the man for the past few years?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:38 AM EDT

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