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Wednesday, March 10, 2021
It's Time For WND, Cashill To Retract And Apologize For Seth Rich Conspiracy Theories
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The Seth Rich conspiracy theory has almost completely fallen apart, and WorldNetDaily -- which heavily promoted it out of a desire to put its personal animosity against Hillary Clinton ahead of reporting facts -- won't tell readers about it.

Last November, Fox News settled with Rich's family -- reportedly for seven figures -- over a false story it published on its website pushing the conspiracy theory that Rich, a Democratic staffer who was murdered in 2016, was killed because he leaked Democratic emails to WikiLeaks. WND censored this story, telling its readers nothing about it. Since then, there's been another settlement, as CNN reported:

"I take full responsibility for my comments and I apologize for any pain I have caused," the businessman, Ed Butowsky, said in a statement retracting his previous comments. "I sincerely hope the Rich family is able to find out who murdered their son and bring this tragic chapter in their lives to a close."

"Today we retract and disavow our statements and we offer our apology to Mr. Rich and his family," said the fringe internet activist, Matt Couch, in a separate video posted online. "I take full responsibility for my actions ... and would like to apologize to Mr. Rich and his family."

The retractions came as part of a settlement Aaron Rich, Seth Rich's brother, reached with Butowsky and Couch over a lawsuit he filed against them in March 2018. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed. The Washington Times, a conservative news outlet that was also sued, also retracted its claims and settled with Aaron Rich in October 2018.

[...]

Seth Rich was fatally shot in Washington, DC, in July 2016. Police have said evidence indicates he was the victim of a botched robbery, but in the wake of his death, far-right activists and media organizations suggested something far more sinister.

Without real evidence, these far-right activists peddled a conspiracy theory that posited Seth Rich leaked a trove of DNC emails to Wikileaks and was killed in retribution for the supposed leak. The theory was convenient for some on the right as they disputed allegations Russia hacked the DNC, something President Donald Trump had disputed.

That was in mid-January. WND has censored this story as well. That silence is strange, because Butowsky played a key role in WND's reporting on Rich. WND touted Butowsky as "a Texas businessman who hired a private eye to look into Rich’s murder" -- Rod Wheeler, who was amajor source for WND's early stories on Rich. (Wheeler later tried to sue Fox News for making up quotes from him in the notorious false story, which was thrown out of court.)

The empathy-devoid conspiracy-mongerer Couch, meanwhile, was promoted by WND columnist conspiracy maven Jack Cashill in an attempt to perpetuate the bogus conspiracy theories. in December 2019, Cashill repeated a claim by "independent journalist" Couch that discovery in a Rich-related lawsuit was kept under seal: "Isn't that interesting, America?" Cashill quoted Couch as saying. (Fact-check: discovery had not been sealed).

Then, in April 2020, as we documented, Cashill gushed that Couch was "irrepressible"; he also tried to defend Butowsky as "well-intentioned" and declared that one reporter had "less interest in solving Rich's murder than he did in slandering Butowsky." So it seems Cashill should be required by WND to issue a retraction as well.

And don't forget that WND knew or should have known that the Seth Rich conspiracy was bogus all along. We've documented how reports showed that then-WND reporter Jerome Corsi knew as early as August 2016 -- less than a month after Rich's death in what police investigators believe was an apparent botched robbery attempt -- that Russian hackers, not Rich, gave those emails to WikiLeaks.

We know WND is capable of correcting a story when it turns out to be false. If it has any genuine despire to be treated as a credible news source (not to mention head off a defamation suit by Rich's family that they are more than entitled to file), now is the time for WND (and Cashill) to fully embrace what it means to set the record straight and fully retract and apologize for all the Seth Rich conspiracy theories it promoted since 2016.

If not, all the tiny walbacks it does won't make a difference because they will never erase WND's notorious reputation for pushing fact-free conspiracy theories.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:06 AM EST
Tuesday, March 9, 2021
MRC: Psaki Busting Fox News Reporter For Selective Quoting Is 'Revisionist History'
Topic: Media Research Center

We've documented how Media Research Center writer Curtis Houck's new delcared enemy is Biden press secretary Jen Psaki -- in no small part because she replace his beloved Kayleigh McEnany.  Houck's goal is to warp reality to make Psaki look bad. Filling the new role fo Houck's beloved is Fox News reporter Peter Doocy, whom he cheered once again in a Feb. 8 post for allegedly socking it to Psaki again:

Making his return to the White House Briefing Room on Monday for the first time since January 26, the Fox News Channel’s Peter Doocy sparred Press Secretary Jen Psaki over concerns about laid off energy workers and then a possible Biden administration directive to bar ICE from deporting illegal immigrants for crimes such as DUI and simple assault.

Doocy didn’t mince words, first asking Psaki about “when is it that the Biden administration is going to let the thousands of fossil fuel industry workers, whether it’s pipeline workers or construction workers who are either out of work or will soon be out of work because of a Biden, when it is and where it is they can go for their green job” seeing as how it’s “something the administration has promised.”

Psaki had zero remorse, seeming to suggest that such workers were concocted by Doocy’s imagination: “Well, I certainly welcome you to present your data of all of the thousands and thousands of people who won't be getting a green job, maybe next time you're here you could present that.”

Despite Twitter’s attempted clean-up on aisle 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Doocy came prepared.

Along with quoting AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka from his Axios interview and numbers on job losses from the axing of the Keystone XL pipeline, Doocy laid out the facts, but left Psaki exhibiting nothing but signs of disgust (click “expand”):

Houck then pulled a little trick: burying the contentious questioning in a partially obscured blockquote -- which hid the fact that Psaki busted Doocy on taking Trumka out of context:

DOOCY: But you said that they would be getting green jobs, so I'm asking when that happens. Richard Trumka, who is a friend — longtime friend of Joe Biden, says about the day one Keystone deal, he said “I wish he,” the President, “had pared that more carefully with the things that he did second by saying, here's where we're creating the jobs.” So, there's partial evidence from Richard Trumka. 

PSAKI: Well, you didn't include all of his interview. 

DOOCY: Okay. How about — okay —

PSAKI: Would you like to conclude the rest? 

DOOCY: — so, so, how about this, the Labor International Union of North America said the Keystone decision will cost 1,000 existing union jobs and 10,000 projected construction jobs. 

PSAKI: Well, what Mr. Trumka also indicated in the same interview was that President Biden proposed a climate plan with transformative investments in infrastructure and laid out a plan that will not only create millions of good union jobs but also help tackle the climate crisis. And as the President indicated when he gave his primetime address to talk about the American Rescue Plan, he talked about his plan to also put forward a jobs plan in the — in the weeks or months following. And he has every plan to do exactly that.

Not only did Houck not quote from the exchange in the body of his item, he then tried to claim that others who pointed out Psaki busting Doocy's context-ripping were engaging in "revisionist history":

Afterwards, Twitter’s far-left curators sided with Psaki, offering up some revisionist history: “White House press secretary Jen Psaki corrected Fox News journalist Peter Doocy after he truncated a quote from AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka while questioning her about Biden’s plan for ‘green jobs.’”

Someone have spa workers on hand to account for all the Twitter leftists (such as serial leftist hack Aaron Rupar) twisting themselves into pretzels for having through the above exchange was one of Psaki’s finest hours. Take that as a good sign that Doocy’s questioning was spot on.

Houck offered no evidence that Twitter's news curators are "far-left," beyond its failure to reinforce his far-right narrative.

It's clear that the only person engaging in revisionist history here is Houck.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:52 PM EST
WND's Lively Feeling Persecuted Again For Hating LGBT People
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Conservatives who walk the walk understand that the common denominator of first responders, military heroes and America's founders is their willingness to pay the price for liberty. The price of liberty is sacrifice – risking your life, your assets and your reputation in the gamble, not the certainty, that freedom will prevail over tyranny as a result.

[...]

In my most recent WND column, I implored President Trump to stop endorsing the destructive LGBT agenda and blamed his expulsion from the White House by the election-stealing Biden campaign on that grave spiritual error.

That column triggered an email inquiry from a Newsweek reporter: "Do you have any comment about Right Wing Watch's comments on you proclaiming that Donald Trump was too pro-gay for God to allow him to win the 2020 presidential elections? Do you agree with the Southern Poverty Law Center's assessment of your past words and actions? Lastly, were you aware that most national and international LGBTQ rights organizations consider Trump to be the most anti-LGBTQ president of all time?"

I responded thus: "Both Right Wing Watch and the SPLC are extreme left-wing hate groups incapable of honesty on anything related to the LGBT agenda. And 'most national and international LGBTQ rights organizations' are equally leftist and thoroughly dishonest about Trump. Politically speaking, President Trump has struck a fairly smart balance on LGBT issues by showing basic respect for people with same-sex attraction disorder, and honoring relatively conservative 'gays' like Ric Grenell with appointment to high office. Honest secular-minded people see past the liberal propaganda and know that Trump is pretty much a moderate on those issues. 

"From the spiritual perspective of Bible-believing Christians and Torah-faithful Jews, however, any endorsement of homosexual sin by national leaders whom God has anointed (as we believe Trump was) – sin clearly defined in Leviticus 18:22 and Romans 1:26-27 – carries with it a specific curse detailed in Leviticus 18:26-28: that 'if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it spewed out the nations before you.'

"This curse was prophetic in the conquest of Israel and then Judah by the Assyrians and Babylonians, respectively, and in my article I analogized Trump's expulsion from the White House by the far-more morally offensive Joe Biden, to those biblical stories as a way to explain why God did not grant Trump the second contiguous term so many Christians believed he would serve."

In consequence of Newsweek's implied threat of a political hit piece on both me and President Trump, the first Tennessee speaking invitation I've received from a "conservative" group was abruptly rescinded last week. I had expected better from the Bible Belt, but I guess no part of this nation is immune from the slippery slope of "talk the talk" conservatism.

What type of conservative are you, dear reader? Will liberty survive your watch?

-- Scott Lively, Feb. 1 WorldNetDaily column


Posted by Terry K. at 4:14 PM EST
AIM Mad The Truth Was Told About Limbaugh
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Ella Carroll-Smith complained in a Feb. 17 Accuracy in Media post:

Rush Limbaugh, one of the most influential voices in the history of conservative talk radio, died Wednesday following a year-long battle with lung cancer. HuffPost immediately jumped at the opportunity to run this headline: “Rush Limbaugh, Bigoted King of Talk Radio, Dies at 70.”

The “obituary”, which reads more like a hateful tirade, goes on to claim that Limbaugh “saturated America’s airwaves with cruelty bigotries, lies and conspiracy theories for over three decades.”[...]

Even now, after his death, the media still can’t help but pile on their hatred of Limbaugh. NBC ran with this as the subhead for his obituary: “The Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree outraged critics with his long history of sexist, homophobic and racist remarks.”

NowThis reported that “[d]uring his decades-long media career, he used his platform to promote racism, Islamophobia, misogyny, and conspiracy theories.”

The Washington Post, which famously described ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as an “austere religious scholar” upon his death, covered Limbaugh as a man whodeployed comic bombast and relentless bashing of liberals, feminists and environmentalists to become a cultural phenomenon and lead the Republican Party into a politics of anger and obstruction.”  

All of this is but a small sampling of the hateful rhetoric that’s making its way across mainstream news outlets Wednesday.

At no point, however, did  Carroll-Smith dispute the accuracy of any of those "hateful" descriptions of Limbaugh -- perhaps because she can't. He indisuputably was bigoted and promoted racism, Islamophobia, misogyny, and conspiracy theories. Which means that this AIM post is all about being mad that the truth was told about Limbaugh.

Nevertheless, AIM created an action alert over this:

We lost a titan of the conservative movement. But within hours of his passing, radical left-wing “journalists” began to smear Rush Limbaugh.

HuffPost called him the “Bigoted King of Talk Radio.”  Rolling Stone ran the headline, “Rush Limbaugh Did His Best to Ruin America.”

Rush stood up for our beliefs throughout his entire career.

I hope you’ll take just a minute out of your day to stand up for Rush.

Use the box on this screen to send one prewritten message that goes to the editors of these publications, as well as the board of directors of their parent company. Or modify our message and send your own.

We should be able to respectfully disagree about politics in America. There’s no reason for them to use hateful rhetoric to smear a dead man.

Again, AIM does not dispute the accuracy of those descriptors of Limbaugh. Again, AIM is mad that the truth was told.

Also, it's rich to hear AIM declaring that "We should be able to respectfully disagree about politics in America" given that a key AIM employee for decades was Cliff Kincaid.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:00 PM EST
CNS' Impeachment Coverage Largely Ignored The Actual Trial
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com reflexively returned to pro-Trump defense mode as the House impeached him after the Capitol riot, then continued to grouse about impeachment as the Senate trial moved closer. The week before the trial, kept pushing the pro-Trump takes:

By contrast, CNS published only three articles on the pro-impeachment side -- two of which quoted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and the third misleadingly framed Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy as agreeing with Rand Paul while burying the fact that he also said that "I come to a different judgment."

When the actual trial started on Feb. 9, CNS had no interest in covering what was actually being said and done on the Senate floor -- perhaps because its editors knew that the evidence did not look good for  Trump. So it sought to distract attention from it; one early story by Craig Bannister on a Rasmussen poll carried the headline "Only 36% of Voters Will Watch Most or All of Trump’s Impeachment Trial – And, Pres. Biden Isn’t One of Them." Instead, it covered what (mostly Republican) politicians said outside the trial being critical of it:

By conbtrast, only three articles that week focused on the case against Trump:

The three above articles followed by asterisks are the only ones of the 15 CNS published during the week of the trial that directly reported testimony given during the actual trial.

CNS was also making sure to highlight the Republicans who voted against Trump. A Feb. 10 article by Susan Jones complained that "Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana on Tuesday joined five liberal Republicans (Collins, Romney, Sasse, Toomey, and Murkowski) in voting to proceed with President Trump's second impeachment trial on constitutional grounds." When the Senate ultimately voted to acquit, the anonymously written three-paragraph article announcing the decision devoted one of those paragraphs to listing the Republians who voted for conviction. That was followed by an article by Bannister claiming that Trump "issued a statement of thanksgiving, encouragement, hope – and warning" after the trial, which also listed the seven Republicans who voted for conviction.

And it wouldn't be CNS if it couldn't work an anti-LGBT angle into things. Thus, we have an anonymously written article complaining that "Rep. David Cicilline (D.-R.I.), who is now serving as a House Impeachment Manager in the Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, also serves as the chairman of the 'Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus.'" No explaination was given as to why CNS felt the need to inform readers of this or what relevance it has to impeachment.

It was only after Trump was safely acquitted that CNS felt it could publish numerous articles critical of him on Feb. 15, two days after the end of the trial:

Only one impeachment-themed article published that day defended the acquittal, and it quoted Trump-friendly attorney Alan Dershowitz.

Unlike Trump's last impeachment, CNS largely restrained itself from presenting ridiculous defenses with a straight face. But because it knew Trump's actions were indefensible, it apparently decided that its coverage would be as minimally impactful as possible. Which, of course, still makes CNS a pro-Trump shill, not the "news" organization it proclaims itself to be.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:00 AM EST
Monday, March 8, 2021
MRC Tries To Revive Coronavirus Conspiracy Theory
Topic: Media Research Center

Last year, at the beginning of the pandemic, we documented how various places on the ConWeb pushed the idea that the novel coronavirus was developed by the Communist Chinese in a laboratory in Wuhan, China -- even the Media Research Center was sad that a far-right conspiracy blog was suspended by Twitter for pushing the bogus claim. Now, the Media Rsearch Center's Nicholas Fondacaro is trying to revive the conspiracy theory as a way to attack the World Health Organization. He wrote in a Feb. 9 post:

In the early days of the pandemic, the World Health Organization was caught covering for the murderous Chinese regime by pushing false information about how the virus spread. And ever since, the liberal media have been trying to downplay their lies, even going so far as to tout how China was shipping supplies around the world (they were defective), and complained when then-President Trump withdrew the United States the WHO.

But on Tuesday, ABC and CBS pushed a WHO claim that the coronavirus didn’t originate from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The assertion was dubious at best considering we knew that WHO scientists were only recently allowed into the country (over a year after the virus started spreading), they were being closely watched and followed by Chinese officials, and China had been trying to rewrite the fact the virus came from their country.

And according to a Fox News Channel segment on Special Report, there were no American scientists on the WHO team and even some Biden administration officials weren’t buying their findings.

While there are questions about how much meaningful access WHO officials looking into the coronavirus' origin in China have had, they aren't idiots or CCP dupes as Fondacaro would like you to believe -- they are medical experts, unlike right-wing propagandist Fondacaro. WHO virologist Marion Koopmans, who was on the team that went to Wuhan, has said that while the exact source of the coronavirus may never be pinpointed, "we have not been able to find any credible link" between the virus and the Wuhan lab.

But the truth doesn't generate clicks for Fondacaro and the MRC; peddling conspiracy theories and right-wing hate does.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:02 PM EST
Newsmax Lets Opinion Writer Do 'News' Article Defending Corrupt Texas AG
Topic: Newsmax

For a Feb. 15 article, Newsmax let opinion writer Michael Dorstewitz -- whom we've caught spouting election fraud conspiracy theories -- try his hand at "news." Unsurprisingly, Dorstewitz's "news" article reads not unlike an opinion piece, desperate to deflect corruption allegations against Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is the subject of another witch hunt — which he has repeatedly been targeted with almost from the moment of his initial election to that post in 2014 as a tea party candidate.

This time the Lone Star State's top prosecutor is accused of accepting a bribe.

Specifically, in exchange for helping a political donor with his business affairs, Paxton is accused of accepting remodeling work on his home, and obtaining a job for an alleged girlfriend, according to court documents obtained The Texas Tribune.

His accusers are four former senior aides Paxton had fired from the attorney general's office.

They allege he used his office to help Austin real estate developer Nate Paul settle a lawsuit and investigate his business rivals. Paul donated $25,000 to Paxton's 2018 re-election campaign.

The four aides who sued Paxton in November after being fired are: James Brickman, David Maxwell, J. Mark Penley, and Ryan Vassar.

They claim the firings were retaliation for reporting Paxton's activities to federal and state law enforcement agencies, alleging Paxton was abusing his power to help Paul.

A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday on the matter, which Paxton described as "false allegations" that were brought by "rogue employees."

Dorstewitz misleads by dismissing the whistleblowers as "aides"; in fact, they were senior attorneys in the office, most of whom were suspiciously fired around the time they made their allegations against him. (Paxton's attorneys deny any connection but have offered no details explaining why the attorneys were fired.)

Dorstewitz declared that "The lawsuit itself appears long on accusations but short on details," and that "It might also be an uphill battle for Paxton's accusers." He then pushed a Paxton-friendly recounting of the case:

Although Paul admitted Paxton recommended the alleged girlfriend to him, he said that was all it was — a recommendation and not a quid pro quo.

Political donors make recommendations to elected officials all the time. So what is the crime?

As it turns out, the woman is a former staffer of Paxton's wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton.

On the remodeling issue, the lawsuit states, "In mid-2020, some of the Plaintiffs received information suggesting that Nate Paul, either personally or through [a] construction company he owns and controls, was involved in the project."

However, the filing also admitted Paxton's $1 million Tarrytown, Texas, neighborhood home, which he purchased in 2018, underwent renovations in 2020, "although permitting records in Travis County could not be located."

The accusers again offer no evidence of any wrongdoing.

In fact, the alleged wrongdoing is that Paul renovated Paxton's house and hired Paxton's girlfriend in return for Paxton's office hiring an outside attorney to look into claims Paul made of alleged mistreatment when his home and business were raided by the FBI, after attorneys in Paxton's office found "no credible evidence" that Paul's rights were violated.

Dorstewitz then suggested that Paxton was being persecuted because he was a Trump supporter, even though the controversy started well before the 2020 presidential election:

Paxton has long supported President Trump and conservative causes.

When Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin exploited the COVID-19 pandemic by using widely distributed mail-in ballots, ignoring their own state election laws during the 2020 election, Paxton's Texas led a lawsuit he filed with the U.S. Supreme Court.

He alleged, states like Texas were denied equity under the Constitution, since they abided by voting rules set down by his state's legislature, whereas other states made up rules.

Dorstewitz did a fine job of playing the victim card for Paxton.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:30 PM EST
NEW ARTICLE: The MRC's Parler Game
Topic: Media Research Center
There's a big reason the Media Research Center has given a lot of attention to alt-right Twitter alternative Parler: key MRC funder and board member Rebekah Mercer also funds Parler. Not that it will tell you that, of course. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 3:23 PM EST
WND Pushes Yet Another Bogus COVID Claim
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily writer Art Moore has had to walk back an article or two in recent weeks after getting busted for pushing false and misleading information. And it looks like it's time for him to walk back another one. He wrote in a Feb. 10 article:

A peer-reviewed study contends the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention violated federal law by inflating Coronavirus fatality numbers.

The figures were inflated by at least 1,600%, according to the Public Health Initiative of the Institute for Pure and Applied Knowledge, which published the study, titled "COVID-19 Data Collection, Comorbidity & Federal Law: A Historical Retrospective."

The study asserts that the CDC willfully violated multiple federal laws, including the Information Quality Act, Paperwork Reduction Act and Administrative Procedures Act, reported the National File.

 [...]

Among the notable findings in the study is the conclusion that the CDC "illegally enacted new rules for data collection and reporting exclusively for COVID-19 that resulted in a 1,600% inflation of current COVID-19 fatality totals," the watchdog group All Concerned Citizens said in a statement provided to National File.

"The research demonstrates that the CDC failed to apply for mandatory federal oversight and failed to open a mandatory period for public scientific comment in both instances as is required by federal law before enacting new rules for data collection and reporting," the group said.

Moore's biggest mistake here is trusting the National File, which is a right-wing conspiracy site that has been busted for publishing lies and currently being sued by a senator after publishing photos it falsely claimed were him in a Hitler costume.

The falsehoods start right off the bat with Moore's claim that the study was "peer-reviewed." As one fact-checker pointed out, the journal in which it was published "did not show up in rankings designed to measure how often journals are cited or used," and its editor also happens to run the Institute for Pure and Applied Knowledge. And the institute has been busted for false information on coronavirus in the past, as PolitiFact detailed:

PolitiFact has previously fact-checked a false claim by the institute’s leader James Lyons-Weiler. A study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information also debunked Lyons-Weiler’s claim that the virus behind the ongoing pandemic was created in a lab.

On top of that, the other fact-checker noted, Lyons-Weiler has ties to the anti-vaccine movement. And even then, the study does not say what National File claims it says, according to PolitiFact:

In this case, the study does not definitively say that the CDC inflated COVID-19 deaths. Rather, it calls into question guidelines the CDC issued in March 2020 that were designed to more accurately capture mortality data related to the coronavirus. The study’s authors called the guidance "a capricious alteration to data collection has compromised the accuracy, quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of their published data." 

[...]

Ultimately, the study’s ten authors — at least one of whom is not a medical expert — conclude that "further federal investigation is justified." They do not prove or conclude that the CDC inflated COVID-19 death data or violated federal laws.

Additionally, experts who study the data say that it is far more likely that official counts of coronavirus deaths are too low.

Further, Moore parroted the National File's reference to a "watchdog group" called All Concerned Citizens. A Google search turned up no evidence of the existence of the group outside of that reference, but yet another fact-checker noted that a Facebook post referencing the alleged organization identifies as its spokesman one of the authors of the study -- self-dealing at its worst and most unethical.

In short: This is a bogus story all around. When will we see that walkback, Mr. Moore?


Posted by Terry K. at 1:32 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, March 13, 2021 10:23 PM EST
Sunday, March 7, 2021
MRC's Favorite Right-Wing Fact-Checker Is Spinning Facts Again
Topic: Media Research Center

According to the Media Research Center, the only real fact-checkers are the ones with a right-wing bias, which is why the MRC and its "news" division CNSNews.com love Just Facts and its leader, James Agresti. We've previously documented the bias and logical flaws in Just Facts' "facts," and they struck again in a Feb. 5 item published by the MRC. Agresti brought his nitpicky approach to  a single protester at the Jan. 6 Capitol riot:

A PolitiFact article written by Bill McCarthy declares “there’s no proof that” a left-wing anti-Trump activist named John Sullivan incited rioting at the U.S. Capitol. As a result of this claim, Facebook flagged and reduced distribution of a post which accused Sullivan of doing so.

However, video footage indisputably proves that Sullivan encouraged people to storm and vandalize the Capitol. Moreover, Sullivan was subsequently arrested and charged with “violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds” and “interfering with law enforcement” during the riot. In the wake of these revelations, PolitiFact “updated” its article twice but has not changed its conclusion despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

What Agresti is doing here is an alternative verson of the ConWeb argument that Sullivan's arrest somehow disproves that the Jan. 6 riot was a right-wing-driven event -- despite the fact that hundreds of those arrested are clearly right-wingers and Sullivan is apparently the only non-right-winger to have been arrested.

Indeed, Agresti goes on to complain that PolitiFact claims that "claims there is “no credible evidence” that the crowd that stormed the Capitol was 'infiltrated or led by antifa activists in disguise.'" But Agresti identifies nobody other than Sullivan and his accomplice who has been identified among the hundreds of rioters.

Agrestic also sounded like a defense lawyer in offering a very narrow defense of Donald Trump over accusations he incited the riot:

In contrast to PolitiFact’s claim that Sullivan’s calls to “storm” and “burn” down the Capitol don’t constitute incitement, PolitiFact has not fact-checked any of the hundreds of Congressional Democrats who declare in their mpeachment resolution that President Trump incited the riot. This is in spite of the fact that Trump didn’t call for violence and emphasized in his speech on that same day that people should go “to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”

Yet, the impeachment resolution alleges that Trump is guilty of “inciting violence against the Government of the United States” because he stated in his speech: “if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” This quote is taken out of context, as Trump used the word “fight” 20 times in the speech, making clear that he was speaking about legal, not physical, fighting. For example, he said that Rudy Giuliani has “guts, he fights.”

Agresti also engaged in some context-ripping, as the resolution also noted that "In the months preceding the Joint Session, President Trump repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the Presidential election results were the product of widespread fraud and should not be accepted by the American people or certified by State or Federal officials. Shortly before the Joint Session commenced, President Trump, addressed a crowd at the Ellipse in Washington, DC. There, he reiterated false claims that 'we won this election, and we won it by a landslide'" -- thus making it clear the incitement wasn't confined to what Trump said immediately before the riot.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:27 PM EST
Not Meeting In The Middle: CNS Attacks Springsteen Over Super Bowl Ad
Topic: CNSNews.com

Quinn Weimer spent a Feb. 8 CNSNews.com article ranting at Bruce Springsteen over a Super Bowl ad for Jeep that implored Americans to meet in "the middle":

Rock-and-roll star Bruce Springsteen called for a “ReUnited States” in a sentimental Jeep commercial broadcast during the Super Bowl. "The Boss,” who wishes for Americans to meet in “the middle” socially and politically, has a long history of radical views, including support for abortion, socialized medicine, and allowing transgender biological males into girls' restrooms.

[...]

Despite his call for Americans to meet in the middle, Springsteen himself has repeatedly endorsed and supported left-wing causes such as allowing transgender “women” (biological males) into girls’ bathrooms and supporting abortion across the board.

At an Obama rally on Oct. 24, 2012, Springsteen claimed he was very grateful for “universal healthcare” (socialized medicine), a “more regulated Wall Street,” and added, “I’m concerned about women’s rights and women’s health issues around the world.”

“I don’t have to tell you the danger to Roe v. Wade,” said Springsteen. “I’m also concerned about the growing disparity of wealth between our best-off citizens and our everyday citizens.”

Springsteen has an estimated net worth of $340 million.

Regarding transgenders and bathrooms, Springsteen canceled a 2016 show in Greensboro, North Carolina because the state passed the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, which designated bathroom use based a person’s biological sex, and prohibited transgender “women” (biological males) from using real women’s restrooms.

Weimer apparently believes that meeting in the middle requires liberals to abandon all their sincerely held beliefs and become right-wingers like her, and that she is not required to adjust her views at all. Meeting in the mddle requires compromise, and Weimer clearly doesn't think she has any obligation to do so.

How ironic that Weimer twisted a plea for compromise into a partisan political attack -- declaring any view that doesn't align with her right-wing worldview to be "radical" -- and a nasty personal attack on the person who made it.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:49 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, March 7, 2021 11:50 AM EST
Saturday, March 6, 2021
MRC Repeats A Lie To Attack Fact-Checkers
Topic: Horowitz

As is his wont, the Media Research Center's Alexander Hall spent a Feb. 4 post complaining about fact-checkers and their attempts to push for a more factual discourse:

There is no greater or more ironic threat to free speech than liberal journalists and fact-checkers. PolitiFact Editor-in-Chief Angie Drobnic Holan’s piece for Poynter is a great example.

“We’ve entered an intense period where false words are inspiring violent deeds,” Holan exclaimed in the opening remarks of her piece condemning free speech. “Opinion: To control online misinformation, we need real-world solutions,” published Feb. 2 expressed repeated outrage over conservatives questioning the 2020 election and the Capitol riot. Holan’s righteous condemnations conspicuously ignored mentioning this past summer of left-wing terror and years of the phony leftist Russia collusion narrative. She went on to call for a solution for misinformation from “every sector of society,” particularly “from technology companies and government.”

Her prescription for this crisis of truth, in true left-wing fashion, was to purge speech. Her first suggestion was for Big Tech companies to “be more consistent in their penalties for spreading misinformation.” Being “consistent” here was not about restricting left-wing conspiracy theories. Her goal was to restrict the speech of anti-establishment “politicians and candidates” with the same penalties used on a common citizen.

Of course, if Hall had bothered to read the Mueller report, he would have found that "leftist Russia collusion narrative" was not "phony," it simply didn't rise to a prosecutable level. He also seems to have forgotten that "conservatives questioning the 2020 election" is one of the things that instigated the Capitol riot. And, of course, "left-wing terror" is just a Trumpian code word used to push the right-wing narrative that all racial justice protesters are violent.

Hall went on to devote a paragraph of alleged "Antifa" and "Black Livews Matter" crimes (while refusing to acknowldging the crimes of his fellow right-wingers at the Capitol riot). On example he gave: "Tucker Carlson claimed that Smash Racism DC had '[broken] his oak door and one person mentioned a pipe bomb, as heard on a security video,' USA Today summarized." Funny how the supposely irredeemably "liberal media" outlet USA Today is suddenly credible when it's uncritically quoting a conservative, eh?

Just one problem with that story, though: There's no evidence that Carlson's door was damaged duyring the protest at his house. As we documented the last time the MRC pushed this story, Washington Post media reporter Erik Wemple actually went to Carlson's house after the attack and found that the front door "appeared to be in working condition," and that a person he talked to at the house offered no evidence of damage. A week later, Wemple pointed out again that the door "seemed sturdy and fully intact. A woman who answered a knock looked it up and down and appeared to conclude it was in fine shape," and the police report on the incident mentioned no damage to the front door. Protesters also agreed that nobody in their number damaged the door.

But Hall was simply not into reporting facts, even when criticizing a fact-checker. He went into guilt-by-association mode, declaring that "The Poynter Institute has gained well over a million in donations from liberal megadonors such as George Soros’s Open Society Foundations (OSF) and The Omidyar Network in the past." Which has nothing to do with anything, especially if he can't be bothered to get his own facts straight.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:56 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, March 7, 2021 8:34 PM EST
WND's Cashill Still Caught In The Throes of Obama Derangment Syndrome
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've documented WorldNetDaily columnist Jack Cashill's continuing obsession with the Obamas, even though they left office four years ago. With the publication of Barack Obama's presidential memoir, Cashill was on Obama patrol yet again.

IN a Nov. 18 column, Cashill whined that the book "reads as though Ward Cleaver had written it about winning a seat on the Mayfield City Council," repeating his discredited claim that Bill Ayers ghost-wrote Obama's first book "Dreams From My Real Father." On Dec. 2, Cashill approvingly cited Dinesh D'Souza's even more discredited book "The Roots of Obama's Rage," declaring that "Although I have dissented in the past from D'Souza's thesis [that Obama's hold anti-colonial "rage"], Obama left enough clues in "Dreams" and elsewhere to make that thesis viable." He pushed the idea that Obama's father was little more than a sperm donor, then went to conspiracy territory by adding, "As some suspect, Barack Hussein Obama may not even have been that."

Cashill devoted his Dec. 9 column to whitewashing Obama birtherism pushed by the likes of WND and Donald Trump:

In March 2019, an attorney familiar to those who follow the "birther" movement softened the ground for Joe Biden's candidacy with a lengthy salvo in The Atlantic.

Bob Bauer used the pretext of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen's House committee testimony to launch his attack on the president.

"Trump repeatedly hawked the lies that Obama was born in Kenya," wrote Bauer. This was false. Trump did question the mystery surrounding Obama's origins, but despite their digging, the media could find no instance in which he claimed Obama was born in Kenya.

Cashill touted Philip Berg's 2008 efforts to push the birther issue, then suggested that it was Obama's fault the birther issue festered by waiting until 2011, when Trump made it an issue, to release his "long-form" birth certificate: "If it was all so easy, one has to wonder why Bauer did not get a copy when Berg first brought suit." Perhaps because the original birth certificate Obama released was legitimate and even the long-form certificate didn't stop WND and others from pushing the birther lie.

In his Dec. 16 column, Cashill huffed that "Obama has been ridiculing Trump for challenging election fraud," but he launched his political career by gettinghis opponents thrown off the ballot for a congressional race by challenging the signatures on petitions to get them on the ballot -- nevert mind that petition signatures and ballots are two very different things. Still, Cashil whined, "If they gave a Nobel Prize for hypocrisy, that is one award Obama would actually deserve."

Cashill returned to the Bill Ayers angle in his Dec. 30 column, still suggesting the bogus ghost-writing claim, though he shunted any purported evidence to that effect into a book plug: "To learn more about Ayers' involvement in "Dreams," please read my new book 'Unmasking Obama: The Fight to Tell the True Story of a Failed Presidency.'"

Cashill used his Jan. 27 column to bizarrely suggest that if Trump could be impeached after  leaving the president for inciting the Capitol riot, Michelle Obama could be impeached for unrest after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014 because ... she once told a story of a Target shopper asking for her assistance as if it was assumed she was an employee.Cashill went on to try and deny Barack Obama's experience as a black man: "To seem more like an authentic African American, he has been inventing racial grievances all his adult life."

On Feb. 24, Cashill ranted against Barack Obama's podcast with Bruce Springsteen:

In Springsteen, Obama has found the perfect partner, someone whose life is as inauthentic as his own. Obama claims that he and Springsteen have "a shared sensibility about work, about family and about America."

The shared sensibility about work is that neither has ever had a real job. According to Time, Springsteen labored for a few weeks at age 18 as a gardener. And that was it.

[...]

What the two grifters do have in common are multiple houses, including massive shore homes: Springsteen a 378-acre horse farm in Colts Neck, New Jersey, and Obama, a $12 million waterfront estate on Martha's Vineyard.

Maybe they can do one of their unifying podcasts on the effect global warming will have on the resale value of beachfront property. I am sure the rest of us yahoos will identify.

Maybe Cashill needs to seek some treatment for his Obama Derangement Syndrome.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:38 AM EST
Friday, March 5, 2021
MRC Can't Stop Defending Melania Trump
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center was such a safe space for Melania Trump that it couldn't get outraged over the surfacing of her nude photos, which would likely have gotten her labeled as a slut had she not been married to a Republican presidential candidate (and later president). On her way out the door, the MRC was defending her -- and it still is.

Gabriel Hays whined in a Feb. 1 post:

Former First Lady Melania Trump can’t ever catch a break. According to a new poll, Donald Trump’s wife has been labeled the least popular first lady in history. Of course we all know it has much less to do with Melania than with a media whose unhinged hate for her husband sloshed over the entire family.

The CNN poll, published in January, found that only 42% of people polled found favor with the First Lady at the end of her tenure. Not only was that the lowest approval rating of her time under the title, but according to the outlet, it was the lowest rating among First ladies in the history of the poll. 

According to popculture.com, which published the findings of the CNN survey, Michelle Obama departed the White House with a 69% favorable rating, Laura Bush at a 67% favorable rating, and Hillary Clinton at a 56% favorable rating. Compared to those numbers, Melania’s measly 42% meant she practically left the White House in disgrace.

But the real story is that Melania received  much the same press treatment that painted her husband as the literal worst president in American history. This hostility, which she herself has called “shameful,” no doubt contributed to her low favorability. Most first ladies who’ve kept as low a profile as Melania haven’t been targets. (Hillary Clinton, elected to nothing at the time, stepped into the policy arena in the first year of her husband’s administration. Michelle “I’ve never been really proud of my country before” was the lefty media’s fantasy FLOTUS.) 

As Fox News Contributor Joe Concha said, Melania was “treated the worst of any first lady we’ve seen in the modern era.”

Hays whined that Michelle Obama got more fashion shoots than Melania did, not-so-subtly suggesting that Melania deserved it more because she's better-looking:

Another over-the-top display of bias towards Melania Trump involved fashion magazines like Vogue snubbing the former supermodel from its cover shoots, but putting First Ladies like Michelle Obama on the cover of its fashion magazine on multiple occasions. InStyle acknowledged that Obama graced the cover three times over the years, though reported that the Vogue’s editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, admitted they’d never put Trump on the cover in the near future.

Of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but when Michelle Obama gets Vogue three times during her time as First Lady and a former supermodel-turned First Lady can’t get even a spread in Home & Garden, then you know the media has it out for her. It’s fair to say that making the beautiful Melania look bad in the public eye was their goal and the poll proves they tried their damndest. 

Of course, Hays gets paid to make non-conservatives like Michelle Obama look bad in the public eye, so he's just projecting here.

Tim Graham similarly whined in his Feb. 19 column:

Melania Trump began her tenure as First Lady behind the Eight ball. First, the liberal media always adores First Ladies who are Ivy League-educated lawyers or career educators, not just – ick – wives. Second, Melania Trump’s beauty was deployed against her: she was seen as “arm candy,” a “trophy wife.” She resisted any attempt at public affection for the cameras. Comedians mocked their marriage, insisting she wanted to claw out of it, like it was a prison. She didn’t go for magazine cover articles or go “out and about in Washington” for fear of all the poison pens.

The same media outlets who treated the Trump marriage as a cynical ongoing negotiation lunged to portray Bill and Hillary Clinton as an inspiring romance, a baby-boomer Belle and the Beast.

Of course, part of the MRC's right-wing agenda over the past few decades was to denigrate both Hillary and Michelle, so he's projecting too.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:27 PM EST
WND Won't Fact-Check MyPillow Guy's Bogus Election-Fraud Film (But Will Promote It)
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We know WorldNetDaily is capable of fact-checking when it wants to -- but it's also gotten caught publishing false information that it's had to sheepishly walk back. WND writer Art Moore -- who's had to do some of that walking back of late -- presumably doesn't want that to happen again. So he was stuck in bland PR stenography mode with minimal bnackground information in a Feb. 5 article:

One of President Trump's most fervent supporters, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, released on Friday a two-hour video documentary titled "Absolute Proof" presenting the claim that fraud and irregularities affected the outcome of the 2020 election.

It's available on a website Lindell created and was scheduled for airing on the One America News cable network three times on Friday, at 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Eastern time.

"Everyone needs to share it with everyone you know, because anyone that sees it, even if it's nine Supreme Court justices, everyone will say, 'Wow, this is an attack on our country,'" Lindell said in an interview Wednesday with The Revival Channel on YouTube.

"Once you guys see what I've seen you're gonna be so excited," he said.

OAN has put a disclaimer on "Absolute Proof" stating it is paid programing and "opinion only."

Following threats of a lawsuit, the network, along with Newsmax TV and others, has distanced itself from claims that equipment by Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic USA were designed for fraud and were manipulated to steal the election from President Trump.

As he has before, Moore refused to do a fact-check of Lindell's film, just promoted its existence -- even though fact-checks are out there that prove the film is filled with lies. Moore undersold the disclaimer OAN put on Lindell's video, which was much lengthier than he described.

Moore also repeated a falsehood in claiming that Lindell saw the "withdrawal of his products by several major retailers in response to his claims of election fraud. The consumer organization Media Action Network launched a boycott of Bed, Bath & Beyond, which saw its stock plunge 36% in one day of trading last week." As we've documented when Moore first reported it, the boycott had nothing whatsoever to do with the stock drop.

A few days later, Moore still couldn't be bothered to do a fact-check, but he did do an article on Dominion officials saying that Lindell's film has basically invited a lawsuit. The closest thing to a fact-check he referenced was a note that "Larry C. Johnson, a former analyst for the CIA and the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism, outlined what he saw as the strengths and weaknesses of Lindell's documentary in a post for the Gateway Pundit blog on Monday." But Moore didn't mention that Gateway Pundit is one of the most discredited far-right websites out there, or that Johnson is best known for discrediting himself by promoting a hoax that there is somewhere out there a secret tape of Michelle Obama using the word "whitey."

Moore also noted that "Newsmax TV and others also have distanced themselves from claims that Dominion and Smartmatic systems were designed for fraud and were manipulated to steal the election from Trump" -- but he didn't mention that WND has left itself open to a lawsuit because of a column by James Zumwalt repeating an apparently false and inflammatory attack on a Dominion official (which somehow is still live and uncorrected on WND's website despite the fact that the Dominion official has sued others for publishing it).


Posted by Terry K. at 1:06 PM EST

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