CNS Lamely Defends Pompeo Over Georgia Visit Topic: CNSNews.com
Patrick Goodenough wrote in a Dec. 7 CNSNews.com article:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo swatted away criticism Monday over his plans to deliver a speech this week in Georgia – where crucial Senate runoff elections are looming – suggesting that no-one had raised flags when his predecessors had domestic engagements during their tenures at the State Department.
Pompeo, already under scrutiny for activity deemed inappropriately political during the recent election campaign, is due to speak at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta on Wednesday, on “the China challenge to U.S. national security and academic freedom.”
Interviewed on “The Guy Benson Show” on Monday evening, Pompeo laughed off the criticism.
“I’m just chuckling,” he told Benson when asked about the kerfuffle. “I promise you, when Secretary [of State John] Kerry traveled to Massachusetts or Secretary [of State Hillary] Clinton traveled to New York, those were coastal elite states – those were all fine for secretaries to travel to.”
But Goodenough waited until much later in his article to reveal that what Pompeo's doing and what he accused Clinton and Kerry of doing are, well, not quite the same thing:
A non-exhaustive review of travel by Pompeo’s two Democratic predecessors at the State Department finds that Kerry delivered occasional speeches in Massachusetts (including one at Harvard in 2015 and another at MIT in early 2017) and visited a wind technology testing center in Boston with his British counterpart in 2014.
Clinton took part in numerous events in New York City while serving as secretary of state from Jan. 21, 2009 to Feb. 1, 2013 – not including those relating to the United Nations – delivering speeches at policy institutions, schools, galas, benefits, award dinners, and other events.
Goodenough offered no evidence that any of those Kerry and Clinton speeches he referenced took place in a state with an active major political contest going on at the same time.
And it wasn't until the very last paragraph of his 17-paragraph aticle that Goodenough conceded one major mitigating factor: "Kerry and Clinton did represent Massachusetts and New York respectively during their U.S. Senate careers."
That's right -- Kerry and Clinton actually lived in those "coastal ellite states" they gave speeches in. (And Goodenough never explained what, exactly, was relevant about Pompeo's sneering at "coastal elite states.") By contrast, Pompeo is from Kansas, not Georgia.
CNSNews.com's efforts to spin November's unemployment numbers began early, with a Dec. 1 article by Melanie Arter that "More than half of the 22 million jobs lost in March and April due to COVID-19 shutdowns have been regained, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell told the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee on Tuesday." Arter uncritically repeated Powell's claims that the Federal Reserve Board took "forceful actions to provide relief and stability, to ensure that the recovery will be as strong as possible, and to limit lasting damage to the economy."
When the numbers for November came out a few days later and looked, well, not very good for CNS' pro-Trump purposes, Susan Jones started off with an unusually downbeat main story:
As COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths rise in this country, the nation's labor force awaits mass vaccination. In the meantime, some states are now ordering another round of business shutdowns, a burden that falls heavily on bars, restaurants and other small businesses that have had to lay off workers.
The monthly jobs report issued today shows a less robust improvement than we've seen in recent months.
The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics says the economy added 245,000 jobs in November, the smallest number since April.
And after six straight months of post-pandemic employment gains, the number of employed people in this country dropped by 74,000, to 149,732,000 in November.
Jones even had to concede that while the unemployment rate dropped, it was because people dropped out of the labor force.
The number of manufacturing jobs -- the focus of editor in chief Terry Jeffrey's usual sidebar -- showed anemic growth, so much so that Jeffrey didn't outright state what that number was and instead touted how "The United States has added 764,000 manufacturing jobs since jobs in that sector hit a pandemic-era low in April of this year." Craig Bannister's sidebar was the only that that was upbeat, proclaiming that "The unemployment rate for Hispanics and Latinos improved for the seventh consecutive month in November as the nation’s businesses continued reopening from the coronavirus-prompted shutdown."
But that clearly wasn't enough pro-Trump rah-rah for CNS. That would seem to explain Jeffrey's cherry-picking follow-up article desperately spinning the numbers by comparing them to, um, Obama's first term:
The 6.7 percent unemployment rate that the United States had in November was lower than the unemployment rate for any month during President Barack Obama’s first four years in office, according to the data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In fact, the unemployment rate never dropped below 7.7 percent in Obama’s first term in office, and was climbing upward as that term came to an end.
In January 2013, when Obama was inaugurated for his second term, the unemployment rate was 8.0 percent.
In September 2012, as Obama’s first term approached an end, the unemployment rate finally fell below 8 percent, hitting 7.8 percent.
But then by January 2013, it had risen again to 8.0 percent. By the end of 2013, the first year of Obama’s second term, it had dropped to 6.7 percent—the rate it saw in November of this year during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jeffrey failed to acknowledge that there is a huge difference between a major recession and a pandemic-driven shutdown.
CNS Sends Interns To Pester Members of Congress With Anti-Trans Gotcha Question Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com has long been obsessed with hating transgendered people, particularly the idea that a boy who identifies as a girl might be allowed to use girls' locker rooms and restrooms -- and that President-elect Joe Biden supports transgender rights. For instance:
In an August column, editor in chief Terry Jeffrey mocked Republican John Kasich for saying his conscience led him to support Biden, sneering: "Under Biden's rule, a human being who God and nature made male will be allowed to play girls sports and use the female bathrooms and locker rooms. But Kasich's 'conscience' is driving him to support this candidate."
Another August article highlighted that Kamala Harris, Biden's running mate, "co-sponsored the Equality Act, a bill that would require schools to allow biological male athletes who identify as transgender to play on female sports teams and use female locker rooms and showers."
An unbylined Oct. 28 article (but apparently posted by Jeffrey, according to CNS' search engine) warned that "Biden is promising that on his first day as president he will order schools to let biological males, who consider themselves female, to have 'access to sports, bathrooms, and locker rooms in accordance with their gender identity.'"
On Nov. 9, Jeffrey declared that "Joe Biden also supports letting biological males who are 'transgender' claim to be females on government identity documents—and to play on girls’ sports teams and use girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms," suggesting that Biden wasn't a true Catholic for supporting this.
In his Nov. 18 column, Jeffrey listed among the purportedly "evil" things Biden will dois "force public schools to treat biological males as females and biological females as males," adding that "Under Biden's plan, an 18-year-old boy who says he is a girl can play on the girls' field hockey team and use the girls' locker room."
Now, Jeffrey is forcing CNS' fall interns to act out his biased anti-trans agenda. As it likes to do, CNS regularly sends its interns to Capitol Hill to pester members of Congress with gotcha questionsdesigned to push its right-wing narratives. This is summed up in a Dec. 1 article:
When asked about Joe Biden’s intent to order public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms, locker rooms, and sports teams of their choice, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said that he does not think Biden “has the power” to force such a unilateral change and that he would “like to hear from the schools.”
Graham also said he did not know if it was a good idea or not to allow transgender “women” (biological males) to play on real women’s sports teams and use their locker rooms.
At the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, CNS News asked Senator Graham, “Joe Biden said that on his first day of office he will mandate through Title 9 that all sports teams, locker rooms should be open to transgender students according to their gender identity. Do you think he has the power to unilaterally do this at all federally funded schools and do you agree with this?”
“No, I don’t think he has the power,” Graham said, “and I don’t know if that's a good idea or not, I’d like to hear from the schools.”
From there, the CNS gotcha-question conga line continued, with overly long headlines to push the narrative:
All of the articles -- yes, it pestered eight members of Congress with this question -- copy-and-paste Biden's policy; most of the articles added pictures of what it claims are transgender athletes with "woman" and "female" in scare quotes to describe them.
With transphobic Jeffrey at the helm, CNS will keep spreading anti-trans hatred and use it as a cudgel to bash Biden.
CNS Touts Extremist GOP Candidates, Hides Their Extremism Topic: CNSNews.com
Last summer, we documented how CNSNews.com touted then-Republican House candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene's pro-gun fanaticism while hiding the fact that not only is Greene a fan of the QAnon conspiracy theory, she spouted racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in videos she posted on Facebook. CNS stopped promoting Greene when that information became public. But now that Greene won her House race and will become a member of Congress, CNS feels it can start promoting her again -- while still censoring her extremism.
In a Nov. 20 article, Melanie Arter promtoed an appearance by Greene on Fox Business:
When asked what her priorities will be when she takes office, Congresswoman-Elect Marjorie Greene (R-Ga.) said Friday that she wants to fight back against Big Tech’s censorship of conservatives and end abortion, because she believes it’s “completely evil” and taxpayer dollars shouldn’t have to pay for it.
“I absolutely support President Trump 100 percent, and he inspired me to run. I got frustrated throughout his presidency watching Big Tech censor conservatives, so I’ll be fighting back on that, because everyone has the freedom of speech,” Greene said in an interview with Fox Business’s “Mornings with Maria Bartiromo.” “You know if my 17-year-old son can run across porn on Twitter, then I believe our conservative voices should be able he to be heard and not censored,” she added.
Arter made sure not to mention Greene's love of QAnon or her hateful Facebook videos.
But Greene is not the only extreme GOP candidate CNS is trying to mainstream. Managing editor Michael W. Chapman wrote in a Nov. 24 article:
Colorado Republican Lauren Boebert, who was elected to Congress on Nov. 3, reportedly has asked what the rules are to carry a gun on Capitol Hill and in her congressional office.
Boebert, 33, is from a largely conservative district in western Colorado. She is a defender of the Second Amendment and operates a restaurant called Shooters Grill, in Rifle, Colorado. She is sometimes seen sporting a Glock pistol on her hip.
Incoming House Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) supports Boebert on the gun issue.
Like Arter, Chapman was also censoring information from his reader: Boebert, like Greene, has been a follower of QAnon.
That's not all. In articles on Nov. 5 and Nov. 18, Susan Jones listed both Greene and Boebert among newly elected "pro-life Republican women" in Congress without disclosing their QAnon extremism.
And on Nov. 12, Lucy Collins reported that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was asked "about two new members who were subject to controversy and ties to QAnon" but refused to identify them as Greene and Boebert.Collinsuncrfitically reported McCarthy's statement that "both of them have denounced QAnon," which is not true; while Boebert has since tried to distance herself from QAnon, Greene has not.
CNS Promoted 'Unmasking' Claims -- But Was Silent When They Were Debunked Topic: CNSNews.com
As part of its being a loyal pro-Trump media outlet, CNSNews.com uncritically promoted claims from President Trump and his supporters that the process of "unmasking" -- the process of revealing what U.S. person is being communicated with by a foreigner who is being monitored by U.S. intelligence -- was a bad thing and used as a political weapon against Trump:
A February 2018 article touted how "Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit today seeking all documents involving former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power who reportedly sought to unmask more than 260 Americans in that election year.
A May 2018 item quoted a Mark Levin rant: "How about unmasking? How about unmasking of individuals in Trump world and leaking their names to the media?"
A July 2018 column by Tim Graham and Brent Bozell complained that "Obama intelligence officials were spying on the Trump campaign in 2016, unmasking identities in a search for dirt to bury him. "
In a December 2018 article, Susan Jones wrote of Michael Flynn that "Flynn's defenders note that he was the victim of illegal surveillance and unmasking by members of the Obama administration, but so far, no one in that orbit has been held accountable."
In May, Jones wrote about how then-acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grennell would be releasing "the names of the Obama administration officials who requested the unmasking of people being surveilled by FISA warrants," adding, "As Ken Starr noted, the unmasking isn't the problem: 'The key is, who leaked the classified information? ...That is the crime. That's the very serious crime.'" The day after that article was published, Jones wrote another one quoting Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham demanding, ""The question for us as a Congress is, did the Obama administration use unmasking as a political weapon? That's the question that I want to answer."
That was followed by an article by Melanie Arter doing stenography for Trump: "Former Vice President Joe Biden can’t say he knew nothing about the unmasking of Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn if he was one of the unmaskers, President Donald Trump said Wednesday. Biden was one of several Obama administration officials whose name appears on the declassified list of officials who requested the unmasking. Also listed are former FBI Director James Comey, former CIA Director John Brennan, and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper."
CNS cranked out more unmasking-related articles in the following days:
Jones again touted how Former Vice President Joe Biden was among the many Obama administration officials who requested the unmasking of an American citizen who turned out to be Gen. Michael Flynn," adding that Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz called this "bad news for Joe Biden ahead."
Jones stated that "Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) says Congress must investigate the "simply stunning" revelation that the Obama administration apparently interfered with the transition of power to the legitimately elected Trump administration," adding as she did in her previous article, "There is nothing illegal about unmasking names. But leaking those names, which is what happened to Flynn, is illegal."
Jones then reported that "Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told CNN's John Berman on Thursday he doesn't remember why he requested the unmasking of a name that turned out to be that of incoming National Security Director Michael Flynn."
In yet another article, Jones wrote, "Recently released documents show that 16 Obama administration officials requested to know the name of the American citizen who was mentioned anonymously in foreign intelligence reports. That unmasked person turned out to be incoming National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, whose name was leaked to a Washington Post columnist."
Jones then complained that "there was no follow-up" from an interviewer after Biden denied knowledge of an investigation into Flynn, adding that "Biden's name appears on the long list of Obama administration officials who requested the unmasking of an American citizen who turned out to be Michael Flynn.
But a few days after that flurry of articles, it was revealed that Flynn's name was never masked in regard to his phone call with the Russian ambassador, meaning talk of it being "unmasked" is moot, and that talk of "unmasking" regarding Flynn likely didn't involve that conversation. Jones and CNS censored news of that finding.
Neverthesss, CNS had apparently decided that "unmasking" was a thing -- probably because the Trump White House decreed that it was. Jones excitedly wrote in a May 28 article:
U.S. Attorney John Durham, as part of his investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia case, has been looking into the issue of unmasking.
But now, U.S. Attorney General William Barr has ordered a separate review, Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec told Fox News's Sean Hannity Wednesday night[.]
This was followed by Arter writing that "Former Deputy Assistant General Rod Rosenstein was either complicit in wrongdoing in signing off on the FISA applications that led to the surveillance and eventual unmasking of former National Security Adviser Gen. Michael Flynn or Rosenstein’s performance of his duties 'was grossly negligent,' Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said Wednesday."
On June 12, Graham complained: "When it broke that Biden, in his last days as vice president, joined a list of other Obama officials requesting the 'unmasking' of an American who turned out to be incoming Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn — which led to a smear about the former Army major general being a Russian pawn — the story drew merely 62 seconds of coverage: 55 seconds on ABC, 7 seconds on CBS, and none on NBC. Voters who rely on these cynics for 'news' wouldn't even understand the Big Picture: that Team Obama improperly spied on the Trump campaign and was still trying to ruin Trump's presidency during the transition."
Needless to say, Jones, Arter and Graham all failed to tell their readers that Flynn's name was never masked.
Finally, CNS' agitation got the results it was looking for, as detailed in a July 28 article by Arter:
Attorney General Bill Barr told the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that he has named U.S Attorney John Bash to investigate the issue of unmasking.
At the oversight hearing, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) asked, “Thirty-eight people unmasked Michael Flynn's name, 48 times in a two-month time frame. Several people at the Treasury Department unmasked Michael Flynn's name. Is this an issue that Mr. Durham is looking into?”
“I’ve asked another U.S. attorney to look into the issue of unmasking, because of the high number of unmaskings, and some that do not readily appear to have been in the line of normal business,” Barr said.
And that's pretty much the last any CNS reader heard of the alleged unmasking "scandal." Why? Because that investigation turned out to be a bust. As an actual news outlet reported on Oct. 13:
The federal prosecutor appointed by Attorney General William P. Barr to review whether Obama-era officials improperly requested the identities of individuals whose names were redacted in intelligence documents has completed his work without finding any substantive wrongdoing, according to people familiar with the matter.
The revelation that U.S. Attorney John Bash, who left the department last week, had concluded his review without criminal charges or any public report will rankle President Trump at a moment when he is particularly upset at the Justice Department. The department has so far declined to release the results of Bash’s work, though people familiar with his findings say they would likely disappoint conservatives who have tried to paint the “unmasking” of names — a common practice in government to help understand classified documents — as a political conspiracy.
Bash’s team was focused not just on unmasking, but also on whether Obama-era officials provided information to reporters, according to people familiar with the probe, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive investigation. But the findings ultimately turned over to Barr fell short of what Trump and others might have hoped, and the attorney general’s office elected not to release them publicly, the people familiar with the matter said.
You will not be surprised to learn that CNS devoted no article to the unmasking probe being a failure, let alone question why Barr refused to publicly release the report. In fact, the only mention of the probe's failure at CNS in the two months since it was first reported (by others) came in passing in an Oct. 22 article by Arter, buried deep in a transcript in which CNN host Chris Cuomo noted that "the DOJ passed on its latest investigation in terms of bringing any charges about unmasking."
How Is CNS' Jones Spinning Skyrocketing COVID Rates Now? Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com -- mainly Susan Jones -- reported on coronvirus after the presidential election pretty much the way it did before the election: downplaying the number of cases and deaths in an attempt to make President Trump look good.
Jones' Nov. 10 article started ominously: "The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention counts a total of 9,913,553 COVID cases in this country since January, with 105,142 new cases reported on Monday alone." But then she went into her usual bogus downplaying: "As the number of COVID cases escalates, deaths are nowhere near the record set in mid-April."
The next day, Jones attacked Dr. Michael Osterholm, a member of President-elect Joe Biden's COVID-19 advisory board (not that Jones was ready to identify Biden as presient-elect, mind you) for predicting the U.S. could see 200,000 cases by the Christmas holidays because "he is on record as advocating another lockdown." She then tried to deflect by throwing out per-capita coronavirus numbers:
According to the latest data from the federal Centers for Disease Control Prevention, 122,910 new COVID cases were reported in the past 24 hours, or 34.6 cases per 100,000 people in the last seven days.
Total deaths, based on death certificates submitted to CDC, stand at 237,731, or 0.3 per 100,000 people in the last seven days.
But Osterholm's prediction has turned out to be correct: the number of new cases has averaged more than 200,000 over the past week.
An average of 4,256 people died of COVID in September, about the same as the average 4,206 who died in June. Those two months mark the low point so far for COVID deaths in this country.
According to NCHS, the 3,982 COVID-involved deaths for the week ending September 26 -- the most recent time period for which the data is fairly reliable -- is 76.69 percent below the mid-April peak, when 17,087 COVID deaths were reported; and 51.51 percent below the second peak of 8,213 COVID deaths in early August.
By Dec. 1, however, Jones had to admit a little bit reality about rising case and mortality numbers, while still desperately invoking the higher April numbers for comparison:
"COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths across the United States are rising," the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says on its website.
Based on the most recent death certificates submitted to CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, COVID-involved deaths in recent weeks are indeed rising, but they remain far below the record 17,089 deaths counted in the week ending April 18.
But in a Dec. 10 article, Jones was back in hard-spin mode even as cases and deaths skyrocket by focusing on an age group with the lowest fatality rate:
The number of COVID-involved deaths in this country -- 15,594 in the last seven days -- is now reaching levels not seen since the mid-April peak, according to the official tally maintained by the National Center for Health Statistics, which is part of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But of the 261,530 COVID-involved deaths recorded by NCHS as of Dec. 9, fewer than one percent (2,450 or 0.93 percent) involved people age 34 or younger. This includes school-age children forced to learn remotely; and college-age people who, along with the rest of us, are discouraged -- and in some cases barred by executive order -- from patronizing bars and restaurants indoors.
People aged 35-44 -- this includes prime working age people -- account for 4,917 of total COVID deaths so far, or 1.88 percent.
According to death certificates submitted to and recorded by NCHS on a rolling basis, at least 7,367 people (2.81 percent) ages 44 or younger had died of COVID as of Dec. 9.
That's the kind of spin that keeps one employed at CNS.
NEW ARTICLE: CNS' 2020 Election Bias, Part 2 Topic: CNSNews.com
More bias in action: Not only did CNSNews.com uncritically promote Trump's election fraud conspiracy theories, its editor whined that Joe Biden's victory speech interrupted his football game. Read more >>
CNS Is Still Censoring Pro-Trump Columnist's Ties to Trump Topic: CNSNews.com
Earlier this year, we documented how CNSNews.com published pro-Trump columns by Ken Blackwell while largely censoring the fact that he was an adviser to, and surrogate for, President Trump's re-election campaign. That lack of disclosure never really stopped as the election drew near.
In an Aug. 10 column, Blackwell gushed that "Everything changed with the election of Donald J. Trump, who has kept his promise to rebuild American manufacturing as part of his plan to Make America Great Again," adding, "The record is crystal clear — no other president has done more to strengthen Ohio manufacturers than Donald Trump. The future of our state is brighter than ever before." The end-of=column bio stated: "Ken Blackwell served as the mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio, the Ohio State Treasurer, and Ohio Secretary of State. He currently serves on the board of directors for Club for Growth and National Taxpayers Union.." No mention of Blackwell's role as a Trump surrogate and adviser."
A Sept. 15 column carried the headline "Trump's Labor Department Seeks to Remove Potential for Left-Wing Abuses of Pensions." The bio stated that Blackwell "served as Treasurer of State of Ohio and as a member of the U.S. Department of Labor Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans. He is a trustee of the Institute for Pension Fund Integrity."
An Oct. 7 column contained advice for Vice President Mike Pence in an upcoming debate with Kamala Harris and insisted of Trump's nonexistent health care plan : "Coverage of pre-existing conditions will not be an issue if Trump is re-elected. The president has made it clear that all pre-existing conditions will be covered under his plan." The bio described Blackwell only as "the former treasurer of the State of Ohio."
In an Oct. 9 column, Blackwell demanded that Joe Biden answer the single most important question in this election: Whether Biden would pack the Supreme Court with additional seats, forever transforming our Constitution’s three-branch form of government into a two-branch system." The bio described Blackwell as "a Senior Fellow for Human Rights and Constitutional Governance at the Family Research Council."
Blackwell followed up on Oct. 13 by ranting that "Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are redefining the words “court packing” in a manner worthy of George Orwell’s "1984," ironically previewing how a packed (i.e., expanded) Supreme Court would redefine the Constitution’s words, abolishing our democratic republic as it has existed for more than 200 years." He was described only as "a distinguished fellow with The American Constitutional Rights Union." and "advisor to the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C."
In a Nov. 10 column, Blackwell cheered Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar for "implementing the president’s healthcare agenda and improving the way health-insurance companies operate by requiring more price transparency," adding, "Who said President Donald Trump didn't have a health plan?" That one identified him as "a Senior Fellow for Human Rights and Constitutional Governance, at the Family Research Council" and "a member of the board directors of the Club For Growth."
On Nov. 23, Blackwell went all-in on Trump's election fraud conspiracy theory: "The 2020 election was stolen because leftists were able to exploit the coronavirus pandemic to weaken, alter, and eliminate laws that were put in place over the course of decades to preserve the integrity of the ballot box. But just as importantly, it was stolen because those same leftists had a thoroughly-crafted plan, and because they were rigorous in its implementation and ruthless in its execution." The end-of-column blurb was a potpourri of his previous posts -- "former Secretary of State of Ohio," "Distinguished Fellow for Human Rights and Constitutional Governance, at the Family Research Council," " United States Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission from 1990-1993" -- but no mention of his Trump advisory job.
Blackwell's rant is highly ironic since, as Right Wing Watch noted, he was accused of overseeing voting irregularities during his stint as Ohio secretary of state that allegedly gave the state to George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election.
There were only two mentions of Blackwell's ties to Trump in an end-of-column blurb. The first came in an Aug. 19 column claiming that "President Donald Trump has an opportunity to secure his legacy with regard to Iran. It is an opportunity to put the U.S. on the moral high ground, encourage millions of Iranians who have been suffering under the ayatollahs’ yoke, and send a shiver down the spine of the tyrants ruling Iran," which did identify him as "on the Advisory Board of Trump-Pence 2020." The second came in a column defending Trump's attempt to overturn the election results under ludicrous headline "Gov. Wolf And His Legion of Darkness Must Be Stopped in Pennsylvania"; that one also identified Blackwell as "a member of the Board of Advisors of the Trump-Pence 2020 Campaign." Also, Blackwell did state in a Nov. 3 column defending the Electoral College that "President Trump’s bipartisan Election Integrity Commission, which I served on from 2017-2018, concluded that a tyranny of the majority or extant voter fraud has yet to manage to swing a presidential election."
CNS' continued failure to consistently identify Blackwell's conflict of interest is another bit of journalistic malpractice from the Media Research Center's "news" division -- and highly ironic given the MRC's eagerness to call out non-right-wing news sources that do something similar.
Susan Jones is not the only CNSNews.com writer who has been continuing to entertain President Trump's baseless claims of election fraud with barely a criticism.
Managing editor Michael W. Chapman used a Nov. 18 article to tout a poll claiming that "66% of Republicans believe that the Trump-Biden presidential race was 'not' a 'free and fair election.' In addition, 72% of all registered voters who thought the race was unfair think 'mail-in voting led to widespread vote fraud.'" Chapman did not mention the utter lack of evidence to support claims of "widespread vote fraud."
The next day, Melanie Arter claimed that "Trump attorney Sidney Powell, who is part of the legal team investigating allegations of voter fraud," had "laid out what she called 'the most unpatriotic acts I can even imagine' involving the Dominion voting system." In grand Arter tradition, it's all stenography, no fact-checking. On Nov. 20, Craig Bannister similarly regurgitated an anti-media rant from Trump attorney Jenna Ellis "regarding the campaign’s election integrity lawsuits."
An anonymously written Nov. 18 article, meanwhile, was pure stenography: "Tom Fitton, president of the government watchdog group Judicial Watch, said in a statement that 'Joe Biden is not "president-elect"' despite what the liberal media claim, and they do not have the constitutional authority to declare the winner of a presidential election. ... On Election Day, President Trump had the votes to win the presidency. These vote totals were changed because of unprecedented and extraordinary counting after Election Day."
On Nov. 23, Chapman reported that "President Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said that lawyer Sidney Powell is "not part of the Trump Legal Team," and is "not a lawyer for the president" -- never mind that his reporter definitively described Powell as a part of the Trump legal team just four days earlier. He didn't mention that, nor did he explain exactly why the Trump campaign distanced itself from Powell: increasingly unhinged claims of election fraud. Instead, Chapman repeated "conservative talk-radio host and constitutional scholar Mark Levin" dubiously vouching for Powell.
Jones returned on Nov. 30 to eagerly report how Trump "expressed frustration on Sunday with the FBI and the Justice Department for apparently failing to investigate voter fraud and for failing to bring charges against former officials of those agencies." Like her colleagues, she censored the fact that no claims by the Trump campaign have held up in court thus far.
On Dec. 1, Arter reported how Attorney General William Barr said he had seen no evidence of widespread voting fraud; the next day, Bannister gave a platform to Trump-adjacent attorney L. Lin Wood to respond to Barr. Bannister was silent on the controversy involving Wood in Georgia in which he told voters not to take part in the Senate runoff that will determine control of the Senate. Arter also gave space to a rant on Fox News from White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany that "Democrats have been trying to undermine the U.S. election system for years by allowing illegals on the voting rolls and fighting against signature matching."
However, there finally -- finally -- appeared to be evidence on the part of CNS to tell both sides of the story. A Dec. 1 article by Jones noted Republican state officials in Georgia defending the integrity of the election there and criticizing "the amount of misinformation that continues to flow"over the election. Of course, Jones won't admit that she and CNS are responsible for amplifying such misinformation. On Dec. 3, Jones quoted Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham urging Georgia voters to vote in the Senate runoff despite what Powell and Wood had said. And on Dec. 7, Jones quoted another Georgia state official, a Republican, pointing out that any vote fraud uncovered in the state so far is minor and won't affect the election result.
In between, however, Jones did a total stenography job on the "46-minute videotaped message he posted directly to Facebook, bypassing the hostile White House press corps," in which he made numerous unsupported claims of election fraud. She framed those pointing out Trump's falsehoods not as speaking truth but, rather, coming from "the partisan Democrat media":
Notably, the speech was not well-received by the partisan Democrat media. Trump predicted this, saying, " Even what I'm saying now will be demeaned and disparaged, but that's OK. I just keep on going forward because I'm representing 74 million people and in fact, I'm also representing all of the people that didn't vote for me."
Indeed, CNN refused to play any of Trump's speech, calling it "lies" and "propaganda." And here are the Thursday morning headlines from two major newspapers:
"Trump, in White House Video, Delivers Falsehood-Filled Diatribe" (New York Times online edition); "Trump escalates baseless attacks on election with a 46-minute video rant" (Washington Post online edition).
Jones did not explain why the media's judgment could not be trusted, nor did she link to any fact-check of Trump. Instead, she transcribed the entirety of Trump's rant -- which, of course, is more CNS' speed as loyal pro-Trump sycophants.
CNS Remains Hypocritically Obsessed With Logan Act Topic: CNSNews.com
Last year, we documented how CNSNews.com promoted accusations from President Trump that former Secretary of State John Kerry violated the Logan Act -- a law that prohibits unauthorized American citizens for negotiating with foreign governments, under which nobody has ever been successfully prosecuted -- for communicating with the Iranian government, but pooh-poohing the Logan Act when ever-so-brief national security adviser Michael Flynn was accused of violating it in his communications with Russia before President Trump took office in 2017. That hypocrisy has continued.
A May 2019 article by Patrick Goodenough amplified Trump's assertion that Kerry violated the Logan Act and quoting current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying that he would "leave to the Department of Justice to make decisions about prosecutions." In a Feb. 18 article, Goodenough repeated that Kerry "met privately with the Iranian foreign minister on several occasions after he left office, prompting Trump to charge, more than once, that Kerry had violated the Logan Act." Goodenough even included a screenshot of the act, though he did note that "no-one has been convicted for violating the act."
The next day, Goodenough declared again that "President Trump on Wednesday accused Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) – and former Secretary of State John Kerry – of violating a two century-old law by holding meetings with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif," including once again a full description of the act, while also admitting that "Only two individuals have ever been charged under the act, both in the 19th century, and neither was convicted."
But when the discussion returned to Flynn, the Logan Act was portrayed as something sinister. Susan Jones wrote in an April 30 article:
General Michael Flynn's attorney Sidney Powell late Wednesday released handwritten notes, reportedly authored by then-FBI Counter-intelligence Director Bill Priestap, that show "abuse of...authority at every turn," as Flynn's attorney put it.
The note reads in part:
"What's our goal? Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired? If we get him to admit to breaking the Logan Act, give facts to DOJ & have them decide. Or, if he initially lies, then we present him [redacted] & he admits it, document for DOJ, & let them decide how to address it."
Jones repeated the quote in twoother articles that day, portraying the alleged attempt to get Flynn to admit violating the Logan Act as "entrapment."
On May 8, Melanie Arter uncritically quoted White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany ranting about this: "Having found no evidence of Russian collusion, the FBI came up with a new, absurd theory that Flynn might have violated the Logan Act, a statute from 1799 that, in its 200 years of existence, had never been used to convict an American citizen, but it was resurrected in the case of lieutenant general Michael Flynn. Michael Flynn didn't violate the Logan Act." Jones returned on May 13 to quote Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham complaining that the Logan Act was discussed regarding Flynn.
Jones complained the next day that "Washington Post columnist David Ignatius reported that Flynn had called Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak “several times on Dec. 29, the day the Obama administration announced the expulsion of 35 Russian officials as well as other measures in retaliation for the hacking.” Ignatius mused on whether Flynn had violated the 'spirit' of the Logan Act." She went on to quote Republican Sen. Mike Lee declaring that "you've got what appears potentially to have been an effort by one administration to interfere with the next legitimately elected administration's ability to conduct foreign policy by threatening or at least investigating with an attempt perhaps to threaten -- a violation of the Logan Act of all things. This is simply stunning."
On May 14, Jones huffed that "Someone leaked Flynn's unmasked name to the Washington Post's David Ignatius, who published a column on Jan. 12, 2017, disclosing Flynn's conversation and musing about whether Flynn had violated the obscure Logan Act."
On June 3, Arter transcribed a hypocritical rant by Republican Sen. Ted Cruz: "[T]he predicate for all of this is the Logan Act, which you know perfectly well is an unconstitutional law that no one has ever been prosecuted under in the history of the Department of Justice and should have been laughed out of the room. n any responsible Department of Justice if someone had suggested we’re going to go after the incoming national security advisor for violating the Logan Act, which says an American citizen can't talk to a foreign leader, I guarantee you today, right now John Kerry is violating the Logan Act. Now fortunately, It's an unconstitutional law, so who cares?" Jones transcribed a similar Cruz rant he made on Fox News.
In an Aug. 6 article, Jones went after testimony from former deputy attorney general Susan Yates regarding Flynn and the Logan Act and Graham's response:
Yates told the committee she has a "vague memory" of FBI Director Comey mentioning the Logan Act at the Jan. 5 meeting. The Logan Act, passed in 1799, forbids private citizens from engaging in unauthorized communication with foreign governments.
Graham told Yates he doesn't understand why the Logan Act came up at the meeting:
"You had one administration leaving in two weeks and you had a new administration coming in, urging them, don't escalate. To anyone who thinks that is a violation of the Logan Act, that is stunning as hell -- you cannot hit the ground running."
Jones continued to flog this in an exceedingly lengthy Nov. 13 article:
Democrat Joe Biden is taking calls from various foreign leaders as he prepares to become president.
But no one is suggesting that he may be violating the Logan Act, an archaic federal law that bars unauthorized American citizens from negotiating with foreign governments.
However, when President Trump’s incoming national security Adviser Michael Flynn spoke to the Russian ambassador twice in late December 2016, the Logan Act was raised a short time later at a Jan. 5, 2017 White House meeting attended by President Obama, Vice President Biden, FBI Director James Comey and others.
“The Logan Act was not used as a basis to go after General Flynn,” Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe told the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this week.
But was it used as a reason to keep the Flynn case open, just as FBI agents were about to close it?
For an "archaic" law that nobody has ever been successfully prosecuted under, Jones is sure obsessed with it.
How CNS Spun Coronavirus For Trump Before The Election Topic: CNSNews.com
As the presidential election drew closer in late October, CNSNews.com's Susan Jones -- who has been workingformonths to spin coronavirus infection and death rates to make President Trump look good -- seriously ramped up that pro-Trump spin by comparing numbers to the initial surge in April.
Jones served up more pro-Trump stenography in an Oct. 22 article headlined "Trump: On Cable News, 'All You Hear Is COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID, COVID'." After uncritically transcribing a rant from Trump, she added, "As CNSNews.com reported, the number of COVID cases is accelerating, but with better treatments available, the death count,based on death certificates submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, resumed" -- then strangely cut off. Either that was an editing error, or oerhaps Jones herself was getting bored with spinning so hard.
An Oct. 27 "news" article by Jones was even more aggressively serving as a Trump campaign press release:
"The Fake News Media is riding COVID, COVID, COVID, all the way to the Election. Losers!" President Donald Trump tweeted on Monday.
But the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionshow that the number of people dying from COVID-19 in the United States dropped approximately 73 percent from its peak in the week that ended April 18 to the week that ended on September 5 (the latest week for which the CDC has relatively complete numbers).
Certainly, many partisan activists holding anchor/reporter jobs at CNN and MSNBC, to name a few liberal outlets, are hyping what they dub a second coronavirus surge.
According to CNN's "New Day" on Tuesday morning: "Twelve states are seeing record hospitalizations. Five states reporting a record increase in new cases. The U.S. is now averaging nearly 70,000 new cases a day."
But liberal media outlets omit the fact that deaths from coronavirus are not rising exponentially -- they're falling. In fact, weekly COVID deaths have never again come close to the record 17,077 deaths recorded in the week ending April 18, which was six months ago.
Deaths from COVID, as recorded by death certificates filed with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have been falling since a second peak in the week ending August 1, based on preliminary data.
Rounding out the top ten for COVID deaths are Texas (17,660); California (16,483); Florida (15,948); New Jersey (14,494); Pennsylvania (8,796); Illinois (8,357); Massachusetts (8,169); Georgia (6,670); and Michigan (6,518).
At least four of those states are mentioned as swing states in next week's election, which explains the liberal media's focus on the pandemic and the effort to blame Trump for mismanaging it.
President Trump says cases are up "because we TEST, TEST, TEST. A Fake News Media Conspiracy," he tweeted on Monday. "Many young people who heal very fast. 99.9%. Corrupt Media conspiracy at all time high. On November 4th, topic will totally change. VOTE!"
On Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted: "Until November 4th., Fake News Media is going full on Covid, Covid, Covid. We are rounding the turn. 99.9%."
Jones got in one final bit of pro-Trump spin in a Nov. 3 article, the day of the election:
COVID-involved deaths in recent weeks are well below the numbers recorded this past summer, based on death certificates submitted to the National Center for Health Statistics, which is part of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For the week ending September 26, 3,809 COVID-involved deaths were reported to NCHS on a preliminary basis.
That is 30.31 percent below the 5,466 COVID deaths recorded in the week ending August 29; 53.01 percent below the 8,106 deaths recorded in the week ending July 25; roughly equivalent to the 3,791 deaths reported for the week ending June 27; 37.76 percent below the 6,120 deaths recorded in the week ending May 30; and 77.70 percent below the record 17,082 COVID deaths recorded for the week ending April 18.
Since mid-April, COVID-involved deaths have mostly trended down, with brief exceptions in early July and possibly in early October.
Jones managed to avoid mentioning Trump's name in the article, but there was no doubt for whose benefit she wrote it. And she waited until the final paragraph to note information that contradicted her spin: "CDC says cases are spiking in many states -- particularly in the upper West/Midwest (Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin) and in Rhode Island."
Meanwhile, an anonymously written Oct. 14 CNS article served up its own very familiar pro-Trump and anti-media spin: "While the liberal media are doing all they can to try to discredit Dr. Scott Atlas, M.D., a special adviser to President Donald Trump and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, he has released five simple facts about COVID-19 to lucidly explain 'what the science tells us about this virus.'" CNS didn't say when this email was sent or to whom, though it did uncritically transcribe the email. Nor did CNS mention the fact a couple weeks earlier, CDC leader Dr. Robert Redfield expressed concern that Atlas was misinforming the public on a variety of cornavirus-related issues. For instance, Atlas stated in his email that "Children and Young Adults Are at Extremely Low Risk for Serious Illness or Death from COVID-19," while Redfield pointed out that one-fourth of new infections were among young adults ages 18 to 25.
Terry Jeffrey Trump Deficit Blame Avoidance Watch Topic: CNSNews.com
Has CNSNews.com editor in chief Terry Jeffrey continued to complain about the federal deficit while refusing to call out his fellow Republicans for their key role in running it up? Of course he has. From a Nov. 12 article:
The federal government set an all-time record for the amount of money it spent in the first month of a fiscal year, when it spent $521,769,000,000 in October, the first month of fiscal 2021, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement released today.
Before this year, the most the federal government had ever spent in the first month of a fiscal year was in October 2009, when it spent $483,357,690,000 in constant October 2020 dollars.
This October’s record of $521,769,000,000 was $38,411,310,000—or 8 percent—more than that.
That is the second largest deficit the federal government has ever recorded in the first month of a fiscal year. The largest-ever deficit in the first month of a fiscal year came in October 2008, when the deficit hit $285,160,410,000 in constant October 2020 dollars.
As per his pattern, the words "Trump" and "Republican" are nowhere to be found, despite the fact that Republicans control the presidency and the Senate and, thus, are in control of federal spending. He also omitted context: Not only did Jeffrey not mention the coronavirus pandemic as the key reason federal spending exploded this year, he didn't mention that a major recession was the reason for increased deficit spending in 2008 and 2009.
And, as usual, Jeffrey's choice of a file photo -- featuring Trump, Mike Pence, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer -- falsely implies equal blame for the deficit when Trump is the president and has the ultimate veto power over the budget.
Again, a blurb at the end notes that "The business and economic reporting of CNSNews.com is funded in part with a gift made in memory of Dr. Keith C. Wold." Somehow, we doubt Wold's memory is being well served by such shoddy reporting, especially as done by a man who's the head of the "news" operation that's getting the money.
Uber-Catholics At CNS Suddenly Doesn't Want To Talk About Predatory Bishop Topic: CNSNews.com
When former Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was defrocked after revelations of sexual abuse of children came to light, the uber-Catholics at CNSNews.com worked to try and tie McCarrick to Democratic politicians -- ignoring the fact that he also had ties to Republican politicians as well. Curiously, both of the stories in which CNS tried to tie McCarrick to Democrats have been mysteriously deleted without explanation.
Still, CNS continued to use McCarrick's behavior as a cudgel, this time to attack Pope Francis, whom those CNS uber-Catholics see as too liberal:
In a March 2 article, managing editor Michael W. Chapman touted how far-right Archiishop Carlo Vigano "alleged that Pope Francis knew about the homosexual abuse of teen boys and seminarians by then Cardinal Theodore McCarrick but stayed silent; Pope Francis even allowed McCarrick to carry out diplomatic and fundraising missions for the church."
On April 23, Chapman restated that in claiming that "In 2018, Vigano publicly called on Pope Francis to resign for allegedly ignoring the homosexual abuse practices of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick."
In touting a pro-Trump rant by Vigano on June 8, Chapman again noted that he "called on Pope Francis to resign in 2018 for reportedly covering up the sexual abuse history of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick."
In a June 17 column, dishonest right-wing Catholic Bill Donohue declared McCarrick to be the church's "poster boy for sexual abuse crimes," then complained: "What Catholics want to know is not one more anecdote about McCarrick's homosexual adventures—which is all the story offered—they want to know who knew what and when about his behavior. The Catholic clergy and laity have been waiting for more than two years for the Vatican report on him. Why the delay? Never once do the reporters mention this."
CNS even snuck in a stealth attack in an Oct. 22 article stating how much the Catholic Church is supposed to hate gay people while omitting the context of Pope Francis expressing his support for same-sex civil unions (which CNS was in mid-meltdown over) included a file photo of the pope "reaching out to hug" McCarrick (which not referencing McCarrick's scandal).
Well, that Vatican report on McCarrick finally came out last month, and nobody looks particularly good, least of all Pope John Paul II, who elevated McCarrick to archbishop despite warnings about his behavior. Pope Benedict XVI -- like John Paul, a conservative-leaning pope in line with what CNS thinks a pope should be -- removed McCarrick as archbishop but not from ministry and did not do a full investigation into claims about McCarrick. Even Vigano doesn't come off well, with the report finding that he didn't investigate McCarrick when ordered to by the Vatican in 2012, and that he invited McCarrick to event while serving as the papal nuncio to the U.S.
In other words, there's a lot here that's worth reporting, especially to the Catholics who run CNS. But that didn't happen -- CNS devoted no news article to the McCarrick report. The only mention of the report at CNS came in a Nov. 11 column by Donohue -- who was not interested in discussing what was in it:
Having read the 449-page report by the Holy See on former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, and having completed a manuscript on the subject of clergy sexual abuse (it is scheduled to be published later next year), I am in a position to assess its findings. That will be done soon.
My immediate interest is in assessing the Report's critics. They are a mixed bag. Some are reasonable, others are not.
So, yeah, that's pretty much it. It seems that the uber-Catholics at CNS have decided that if they have to admit that their preferred popes and their favorite pope-basher were also complicit in letting McCarrick get away with his predatory behavior for decades, they weren't going to talk about it at all.
NEW ARTICLE: CNS' 2020 Election Bias, Part 1 Topic: CNSNews.com
The pro-Trump and anti-Biden bias CNSNews.com was blindingly obvious in the run-up to the election. Reporting only on polls that made Trump look good was just the start. Read more >>
Again Defying Its MRC Parent, CNS Finds Another Pandemic Silver Lining Topic: CNSNews.com
Remember when the Media Research Center went hypocritically nuts over people found silver linings to the coronavirus pandemic -- i.e., reduced pollution and a healthier environment -- while its own "news" division, CNSNews.com, was touting its own silver linings (i.e., increased spirituality)? Well, CNS is pushing the double standard again. A Nov. 12 column by John Stonestreet and Shane Morris is positively giddy at the idea that divorce rates have gone down during the pandemic:
Divorce rates in the United States have declined, and marriages have grown stronger — during the pandemic.
Predictions of a COVID-induced divorce surge never materialized. And according to Dr. Bradford Wilcox, director of the University of Virginia’s National Marriage Project, divorce filings in five states that display them in real time are down between 10 and 20 percent since last year. While Wilcox admits that these numbers may also reflect “deferred” divorces, unhappy couples unable to get to the courthouse during lockdown, more and more data trickling in suggests trends more surprising and encouraging than initially assumed.
Last year, according to the American Family Survey, 40 percent of married Americans surveyed reported their marriages were in trouble. This year, that number is down to 29 percent. According to the same survey, 58 percent of married people between the ages of 18 and 55 report that their appreciation for their spouse has increased during the pandemic. Also, 51 percent report a deepened commitment to their marriage during COVID, while only 8 percent report a weakened commitment to their marriage.
For instance, during the pandemic, fathers have spent more time at home and have helped out more with household chores. The marital benefits of a father’s presence go far beyond the division of labor. Wilcox believes that the increased time men spend engaging in home life makes an incredible difference relationally with both spouse and children. Even more, for many during this pandemic, the home became the center of work, play, meals, and even worship, a trend far more significant than it sounds. In effect, COVID has at least temporarily reversed a long-term trend in which the home has been largely de-centered from modern life.
As Aaron Renn, a researcher with the Institute for Family Studies, pointed out back in March, pre-industrial families organized shared lives around shared labor, shared meals, shared recreation, and shared education. During the pandemic, however, families were forced to stop treating their homes as nothing more than shared bunk spaces and food repositories. As Renn predicted, many families have now rediscovered what he calls “the productive household.” And as Wilcox believes, a backyard garden, renovations, cleaning the garage, family projects, and even board games can re-center families.
And, maybe, instead of just leaving when conflict started, couples were forced to stay together. Maybe they experienced the long-term relational and personal improvements that comes when conflict is faced and resolved, as opposed to running away from each other.
Stonestreet and make sure to ignore that in some areas, the divorce rate has increased during the pandemic. So, maybe not the total silver lining they're touting.