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Wednesday, March 24, 2021
CNS Serves Up Anti-COVID Relief Bill Talking Point Twice In Two Days
Topic: CNSNews.com

We've documented how CNS Loves to push the exact same talking point across multiple articles, sometimes within a few days of each other. That has happened again courtesty of CNS' managing editor, Michael W. Chapman. As part of its attacks on the coronavirus relief bill (attacks it didn't do when a Republican was president), Chapman wrote in a March 9 article headlined "U.S. Catholic Bishops Oppose $1.9T 'Relief Bill' Because It Uses Tax Dollars to Pay for Abortion":

Because the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill, the American Rescue Plan Act, does not include prohibitions against taxpayer-funding of abortions in the United States and abroad, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has urged lawmakers to vote against its passage.

[...]

The president of the USCCB, Archbishop Jose Gomez, also issued a statement on March 5, urging Congress to insert the traditional pro-life protections into the bill -- the Hyde Amendment and the Helms Amendment. 

"As a result, should this bill pass, our tax dollars will be used to destroy unborn human lives through elective abortion," said the bishops in their letter.  "The many important and life-affirming provisions in this bill are now greatly undermined because it facilitates the destruction of unborn human life."

Two days later, after President Biden signed the bill, Chapman did basically the same article again, under the suspiciously similar headline "U.S. Catholic Bishops Denounce COVID Bill: 'It Funds the Destruction of Life'":

After the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill passed the House on Wednesday, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, headed by Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, denounced the legislation because it does not prohibit funding for abortions and thus will fund "the destruction of life, which is antithetical to its aim of protecting the most vulnerable Americans in a time of crisis."

President Joe Biden, a pro-abortion Catholic, signed the legislation into law on Thursday, March 11.

[...]

"There are provisions in this bill that will save people from extremely desperate situations and will likely save lives," they wrote. 

“However, it is unconscionable that Congress has passed the bill without critical protections needed to ensure that billions of taxpayer dollars are used for life-affirming health care and not for abortion," said the bishops. 

"Unlike previous COVID relief bills, sponsors of the American Rescue Plan Act refused to include the longstanding, bi-partisan consensus policy to prohibit taxpayer dollars from funding abortions domestically and internationally," reads the statement.

Chapman even inserted similar gratuitously grisly corpses of aborted fetuses in his articles. It's not sure who he's trying to impress by doing so beyond his fellow militantly anti-abortion activists.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:38 PM EDT
WND Gets Texas Freeze Story Wrong By Falsely Attacking Wind
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh was in a stenographic mood in a Feb. 16 article:

Fox News host Tucker Carlson is blasting the "green energy" components of the Texas power grid for catastrophically failing in this week's cold weather, leaving nearly 4 million homes without electricity.

The windmills that generate a good portion of the electricity used to heat homes were frozen.

"Who saw that coming in Texas?" Carlson said.

"If there's one thing you would think Texas would be able to do, it's keep the lights on. Most electricity comes from natural gas and Texas produces more of that than any place on the continent. There are huge natural gas deposits all over the state. Running out of energy in Texas is like starving to death at the grocery store: You can only do it on purpose, and Texas did."

[...]

Carlson said the Democrats' "Green New Deal" has "come, believe it or not, to the state of Texas."

But the Green New Deal does not exist in law anywhere in America, so it cannot possibly have "come to Texas." Nevertheless, Unruh continued to uncritically quote Carlson:

He pointed out that rather than Texas depending on its own "vast natural resources," politicians "took the fashionable route and became recklessly reliant on so-called alternative energy, meaning windmills."

He said the change has come over the last few years, and it was all working just fine "until the day it got cold outside."

"The windmills failed like the silly fashion accessories they are, and people in Texas died."

As we've pointed out, wind turbines in northern states operate just fine during the winter, so there was obviously another issue: failure on the part of Texas' power companies to properly winterize their wind turbines. Further, natural gas-fueled power plants also failed because they too weren't properly winterized. So Carlson (and, thus Unruh) blaming wind power alone for Texas' power issues is utterly false.

Unruh actually did note that -- but not until the very end of his article, which he then tried to mitigate by adding, that "some of the closures were because power had been cut to the facilities." He apparently didn't ask why a power plant wasn't using some of the power it generated to keep itself running.

Unruh also made an error of fact that apparently had nothing to do with Carlson, claiming that "Windmills make up about 25% of the state's energy production at this time of year." Infact, as an actual news outlet reported, only 7 percent of the forecasted winter capacity at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages most of Texas’ grid, was wind.

Is it time for WND to issue yet another correction? It would seem so.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:11 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, March 24, 2021 12:14 AM EDT
Tuesday, March 23, 2021
MRC Hypes Cuomo Nursing Home Scandal -- But Censors News Of GOP Official Who Killed A Guy
Topic: Media Research Center

For months, the Media Research Center has been hyping claims that Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo caused deaths from coronavirus in the state's nursing homes by ordering COVID patients early in the pandemic to be discharged from hospitals to the nursing homes (though it usually hid the fact that it was done to open up space in hospitals during that early surge of COVID patients), and then manipuated data to hide it. It has been assisted by Fox News weatherperson Janice Dean, who has a personal vendetta against Cuomo because in-laws in New York nursing homes died early in the pandemic -- never mind that nursing-home coronavirus deaths were not necessarily caused by hospital patients transferred there, or that it's highly unlikely that the deaths of Dean's in-laws couldn't be blamed on such transfers.

The MRC even called in Donald Trump's dubious pollster, McLaughlin & Associates, to conduct a poll with the goal of blaming the "liberal media" for not covering this story in a way that drove up Cuomo's negatives to levels that the MRC and it sfellow right-wingers desired to see.

Given the MRC's rampant bias, you will not be surprised to learn that it has completely censored news of a Republican state official who actually did kill a guy, then tried to cover it up.

South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg struck and killed a man with his car on a dark highway last summer. He claimed at the time that he thought he hit an animal and didn't realize he struck a man until the next day when he returned to the scene. But it was later revealed that Ravnsborg had been browsing websites on his phone just before the crash, and the victim's broken glasses were found inside Ravnsborg's car. Ravnsborg has pleaded not guilty, and critics are asking him to resign, but he has so far refused.

Imagine how the MRC would have treated Ravnsborg if he was a Democrat -- it would be demanding that the "liberal media" give wall-to-wall coverage to this case the way it has done regarding Cuomo. But because Ravnsborg is a Republican, it has remained silent. The MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, has also refused to report on this story.

That's the protection you get from the MRC if you're a Republican.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:47 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, March 23, 2021 9:53 PM EDT
Newsmax Columnist Rants Falsehoods About Dr. Seuss Controversy
Topic: Newsmax

Kenny Cody ranted in a March 8 Newsmax column:

Now, the left-wing mob has gone so far as to cancel one of the most influential authors in American Literature ever in Theodor Geisel, otherwise known as Dr. Seuss, on his birthday, no less.

Usually, the first week of March aims at celebrating American literature and Dr. Seuss, especially for his contributions to the education system through "Read Across America" Week.

For years, notable guests travel from class to class, reading books by Seuss to children to symbolize the importance of literacy to children in the education system.

This week, that celebration has taken a backseat to the mob coming after yet another historical figure.

Dr. Seuss is the same man lauded for inspiring generations of young writers, illustrators, and teachers in prioritizing how important it is to teach students and imagination when they are learning.

He has led students in our country's education system to being energized about going to class, inspired to be participative in reading, and motivated to pick up a book and start learning something new.

Alas, all of these critical educational lessons have been tossed aside for the sake of awarding a vast minority of the population a win in canceling one of the most beloved American authors ever.

As we all know, it wasn't a "left-wing mob" but Dr. Seuss' own estate - which owns the rights to his books -- that decided to take six of the author's minor books out of print because they contain racist images. The author has not been "canceled" because the rest of his books remain in print.

Cody also falsely linked Dr. Seuss' de-emphasis in the Read Across America program to the decision:

This week should be about championing Dr. Seuss, who was trite and right about his anti-racism and his passion for inspiring students of all ages to embrace the beautiful nature of English language arts.

Instead, now all you can find on an internet search during "Read Across America" Week is a dismal demonization of a man who has done more for education and society than the ones that are trying to cancel him had ever dreamed of.

In fact, the contract between Dr. Seuss Enterprises and the National Education Association, which puts on Read Across America, ended in 2019, with the NEA deciding to promote more diverse book.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:46 PM EDT
WND On Philip Haney Death: Less Conspiracy, More Conflict of Interest
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Last year, WorldNetDaily reacted to the death of anti-Muslim activist Philip Haney -- initially described by authorities as a suicide but later walked back pending a full autopsy report -- by peddling conspiracy theories suggesting that Haney was murdered;  according to far-right then-congressman (and racist) Steve King, this was "because of all he knew of Islamic terrorist cover-ups. He insured his life by archiving data that incriminated the highest levels of the Obama administration." Well, it's been more than a year since Haney's death, and no autopsy has been released. But WND marked the anniversary of his death with a Feb. 19 article by Art Moore rehashing much of its earlier reporting on him.

Surprisingly, Moore stayed away from invoking WND's usual enthusiasm for conspiracy theorires, repeating that "Family members and friends who were with him and spoke to him in the last week of his life said Haney was happy and looking forward to getting married" but also that a county sheriff's official pointed out that "Everything we saw on-scene is consistent with somebody putting a gun to themselves and pulling the trigger." Moore also included links to purchase Haney's WND-published book "See Something, Say Nothing" in paperback and e-book formats -- but at Amazon, not the WND online store.

Moore didn't disclose that WND published Haney's book. And he barely disclosed another conflict of interest: that he co-wrote that book. It occurred only in a passing reference noting that Haney "published a bestselling book with this writer, 'See Something, Say Nothing: A Homeland Security Officer Exposes the Government's Submission to Jihad.'"

Journalistic ethics frown upon reporters writing "news" stories about someone with whom they have had such a close relationship with, even if it is disclosed. That's not the sort of thing WND should be doing if it's trying to build credibility for its WND News Center nonprofit.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:31 PM EDT
CNS Bashes CPAC For Not Hating LGBT People, Atheists
Topic: CNSNews.com

The star of CNSNews.com's coverage of this year's Conservative Political Action Conference was former President Trump, whom CNS refused to fact-check despite finding "3 errors in 12 seconds" from President Biden a week or so earlier. But CNS' CPAC coverage was bookended by attacks on the conference for not being far-right enough.

A Feb.23 article by Craig Bannister complained that "Log Cabin Republicans, which bills itself as 'the nation’s largest Republican organization dedicated to representing LGBT conservatives and allies,' will exhibit at this week’s 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)." The next day, managing editor Michael W. Chapman hectored CPAC for allowing -- gasp! -- atheists to take part, launching into a petulant lecture:

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which occurs annually, bills itself as the “largest and most influential gathering of conservatives in the world.” Yet one of the exhibitors at this year’s conference in Orlando, Fla., is Atheists for Liberty, a group that rejects God and His permanent moral order, the natural law, which are fundamental to conservatism.

As Thomas Jefferson, a deist, wrote – and which is paraphrased on the Jefferson Memorial – “[C]an the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep forever.”

The liberties of a nation are a gift from God. Without God, there is no liberty. This is an essential tenet of conservatism. Its genesis can be traced back to Plato and the Old Testament.

[...]

If we reject God and act contrary to our nature, then our own liberty dissipates. The state or government that rejects God will similarly see its liberty diminish and eventually disappear. Recent historical examples of nations that rejected God and slid into genocidal tyranny include the Soviet Union and Communist China.

There is no liberty without God. Conservatives know this.

Atheists for Liberty is preposterous, like Racists for Equality. It doesn’t make sense. And it is not conservative, which could explain why the group is exhibiting at the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference.

After the conference ended, Chapman attacked CPAC again for giving an award to an "openly gay" man. And he was in a complaining mood once more, going on to rant about how Trump didn't hate gay people enough as much as he does:

Although CPAC is the "conservative" action conference, it does not hesitate to recognize and promote homosexuality. In addition to honoring Scott Presler, CPAC, as it has done for many years, permitted the Log Cabin Republicans to exhibit their materials at the conference. 

[...]

Although the issue did not get a lot of press during President Trump's term in office, it is no secret that he is a strong supporter of the LGBT community and made efforts to hire and promote homosexuals in the federal government. 

For instance, President Trump named Richard Grenell as ambassador to Germany. Grenell, who is gay, lives with his long-time partner Matt Lashey.  Trump later promoted Grenell to acting director of the Office of National Intelligence. Grenell also served as Trump's senior adviser on LGBTQ outreach, an initiative in 2020 called Trump Pride.

On Twitter, Grenell praised Trump as "the most pro-gay president in American history."

Trump supports same-sex marriage. As president, he pushed a policy to help end the criminalization of homosexuality worldwide. He also made it possible for uninsured gays to get a pre-HIV medicine for free. 

In addition, Trump nominated lesbian Mary Rowland to the federal bench in Illinois; she was confirmed by the Senate. Trump judicial nominee Patrick Bumatay, who is gay, was confirmed by the Senate.

CNS has previously attacked Grenell's appointment on the basis of his being gay, as well as repeatedly bashing Bumatay for failing to be heterosexual. And, of course, Chapman has a well-established record of using his CNS "news" platform to spew hate at the LGBT community.

UPDATE: Nearly a week after the conference ended, Chapman served up one more attack, featuring in a March 5 article how "During a breakout session at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Feb. 27, pro-life activist Abby Johnson chastised the event for doing little to promote conservatism's inherent ties to religious faith, for not defending traditional marriage, and for permitting morally subversive groups like the Log Cabin Republicans and Atheists for Liberty to exhibit at the conference."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:36 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, March 30, 2021 12:49 AM EDT
Monday, March 22, 2021
MRC Whines That False COVID Claims Are Being 'Censored'
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has a bad habit of defending false or extreme claims by right-wingers in order to advance its bogus narrative that social media sites are exclusively "censoring" the views of conservatives out of purported "liberal bias." Kayla Sargent did this again in a Feb. 22 post:

YouTube has, once again, cracked down on testimony that it decided was “misinformation” about COVID-19. 

The video-sharing platform removed a video featuring testimony from Thomas Renz, an attorney for the anti-lockdown advocacy group “Ohio Stands Up!” Renz spoke before the Ohio House State and Local Government Committee in support of House Bill 90, which would “establish legislative oversight” over the state’s COVID-19 response.

“Google and YouTube censored Mr. Renz, a licensed attorney testifying before the Ohio Legislature on a matter of great public importance regarding how the COVID-19 response has been a failure from the beginning in Ohio and throughout the United States because it has always been more about money and power than an appropriate response to a disease,” said the advocacy group in a blog post.

Renz testified that “no child under the age of 19 has died from this disease in Ohio,” and he further stated that “every single action the governor has taken has apparently been based on political science rather than real science.” The Ohio Capital Journal, however, found that “Data from the Ohio Department of Health shows [11] children in the age group have died of the disease during the pandemic.”

Despite the fact that Renz specifically offered to provide further information about his claims “under oath,” YouTube simply would not allow the testimony to remain on the platform.

Sargent disproves the premise of her post -- that YouTube had arbitrarily "decided" what was misinformation in Renz's testimony -- by acknowledging that Renz made an indisputably false claim that wasn't going to be fixed by his offering to testify "under oath." But that wasn't all; the Ohio Capital Journal article Sargent cited noted a host of other dubious claims Renz made:

While it’s unclear which specific COVID-19 misinformation from Renz sparked YouTube’s decision, there’s a lot to choose from.

Renz’s testimony was a firehose of COVID-19 conspiracy theorizing: He said unspecified entities “provide funding for people to find a COVID-19 death;” the ODH “whitewashes” its coronavirus data; that PCR testing, which public health officials consider to be a premier diagnostic, is “garbage” or “absolutely useless.”

He claimed the lockdown orders of the spring to be “the most drastic curtailment of rights ever taken in American history.” The statement was made without acknowledgement to the enslavement of Black Americans, the mass detention of Japanese Americans to internment camps during World War II, the forced relocation of Native Americans, or any number of national atrocities through American history.

While Sargent described him as an attorney, the Capital Journal also noted Renz's dubious background "His 'about me' page for his website lists no prior legal experience besides serving as a clerk on the Indian Supreme Court. However, in a prior interview, he said he did not remember when he served on the court and said he did not speak Hindi."

This sketchy guy full of false and misleading claims perhaps shouldn't be the kind of person the MRC goes to the mat for if it wants to be taken seriously.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:38 PM EDT
Joseph Farah's Biden Derangement Syndrome
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah isn't just spinning election fraud conspiracy theories -- he seems to have also come down with a full-fledged case of Biden Derangement Syndrome.

In his Jan. 25 column, Farah touted how "Mike McCormick, the author of 'Joe Biden: Unauthorized,' said the president is now at '50 percent' of mental capacity. 'He's not capable of sitting down with Chinese President Xi Jinping,' McCormick said." He didn't mention that Biden is a hostile writer -- his other major work is a book called "15 Years A Deplorable" -- whose alleged biography was self-published.

Two days later, Farah had a childish (and crazy) response to Biden declaring he would bar the federal government from using the term "China virus" to describe COVID-19:

China Virus. China Virus. China Virus. China Virus. China Virus. China Virus. China Virus.

I figured I better get that out of my system while I still can.

I've been calling the coronavirus the China virus from the start. So was Donald J. Trump. So were millions of other Americans.

[...]

It indeed originated there. It was also intentionally spread by China as an attack on the United States and elsewhere. These are facts. It's why Donald Trump first stopped travel from China specifically.

Is Biden mad? Is he losing his marbles?

[...]

He's gleefully and willfully working with Communist China to ban the name of a virus begun by China, likely for the express purpose of spreading the disease throughout the world as a bio-weapon!

Is this guy for real? Is this still the United States of America? Is he really the president of the United States, or is this a nightmare?

On Jan. 31, Farah ranted about Biden signing so many executive orders in his first days in office: "Joe Biden, who said during the campaign he didn't believe in executive orders, actions and directives as a way of governing, signed 40 of them, in just his first nine days. In other words, he's acting like a dictator, criticized by no less the New York Times." In his Feb. 8 column, Farah declared that "the fix is in" on a federal investigation of Hunter Biden because a lawyer hired by federal officials to work on it came from the same law firm as Hunter's defense attorney.

On March 7, Farah melted down over Biden referring to Taxas and other states relaxing restrictions whilie the coronavirus pandemic is still raging as "Neanderthal thinking":

Perhaps you think Neanderthals are extinct, or that they bred their way into the line of humans to the tune of 2-3% – or maybe, like me, you don't even believe Neanderthals ever existed.

But Biden clearly does.

He believes human beings existed 40,000 years ago, 300,000 years ago, maybe 1 million years ago. In other words, he believes in evolution – not because he is educated, but because he trusts scientists to know things they cannot possibly know. He also does not trust God when he clearly tells us all life – human and animal – began less than 6,000 years ago when He created Adam and Eve. I've never heard anything that could cause me to doubt that fact.

[...]

And to top it off, Neanderthals were supposed to be an inferior race which developed in Africa before moving into the Middle East and Europe! Once a racist, always a racist.

What is the definition of a racist? To believe in inferior races. Isn't that right? If you believe in inferior races, you must believe in a superior race.

Does that not make Joe Biden a "white supremacist?"

Farah embranced the "Biden is senile" narrative again -- mixed in with his election fraud conspiracy-mongering -- in his March 10 column:

Donald Trump had it right when he said Joe Biden was shot. "He's gonzo, folks."

More specifically, what he meant was Joe Biden had seen better days. He was cognitively challenged. He was not the man he once was – and that's not saying much.

This is a serious matter.

The world is a dangerous place. We have enemies. It's not Trump. It's not "domestic terrorists." It's not white supremacists.

This week Biden forgot, if he ever knew, the name of his secretary of defense, Lloyd Austin. He was standing right next to him at the time. He never recalled it. So he referred to him as "the guy who runs that outfit over there." In other words, he forgot his title too.

[...]

Now we know for certain that the Democrats pulled off one of the greatest con-jobs in the history of the world – keeping Joe Biden hold up throughout the 2020 "campaign" and reserving enough "votes" to give him the greatest victory ever in the annals of U.S. elections – generally called "The Steal."

So what's the administration going to do – or should I say Chief of Staff Ron Klain or Barack Obama or whoever the shadow president is?

This is as serious as a heart attack – and there is no one prepared in the wings if Joe Biden fails. You can't keep this going much longer – even though Kamala Harris is playing president, meeting foreign dignitaries, trailing Joe Biden everywhere.

Now we know why Harris was selected for this assignment. She did not have any achievements in her political career to warrant it – but her inexperience, coupled with her radicalness, was made to order for the Democrats who care about nothing other than getting their way.

This is one scary scenario.

What is to become of the greatest land the world ever knew?

God help us!

It seems that Farah is more deranged about Biden than he has portrayed Biden himself as being.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:45 PM EDT
CNS Follows MRC In Pushing Anti-Wind Turbine Narrative In Texas Until It Can't
Topic: CNSNews.com

Like its Media Research Center parent, MRC "news" division CNSNews.com started its coverage of severe cold weather in Texas that shut down electric power to millions by pushing the usual right-wing narrative in favor of fossil fuels and attacking alternative sources like wind and solar. Susan Jones did her duty in a Feb. 16 article:

Coincidentally, but right on cue, the generator-supplied power went out in the home of former Texas Governor and former Trump Energy Secretary Rick Perry Monday night, just as Perry began his interview with Fox News's Tucker Carlson.

Carlson said the power outage was "proving the point that we're making" -- that it's the government's responsibility to provide reliable power during life-threatening cold snaps, and green energy is not up to the job.

"So the point is, you need to have a diversity of energy sources, no matter where you are, and it couldn't be a greater example of that in the State of Texas right now," Perry said.

"We've got massive amount of wind farms out in West Texas that are frozen up, they are just like a propeller on an airplane, they froze up last night, no wind out there. All of that wind energy was lost."

This was followed by an article from Craig Bannister touting how far-right Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert "urged followers to watch a video clip she posted of Fox News Host Tucker Carlson 'exposing the green energy scam and how bad policy hurts people'" and claiming that "frozen wind farms in West Texas caused power outages in the state when temperatures fell to one degree Fahrenheit in Dallas (no mention, of course, that Boebert is an extremist who has praised QAnon and the Proud Boys thugs). Melanie Arter joined with stenography on how "Texas’s reliance on green energy in light of the recent power outages illustrates how “the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal” for the United States, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told Fox News’s 'Hannity' on Tuesday" -- never mind that the Green New Deal doesn't actually exist -- and that "our wind and our solar got shut down, and they were collectively more than 10% of our power grid, and that thrust Texas into a situation where It was lacking power in a statewide basis."

But that narrative quickly got overtaken by facts, as even CNS admitted. It published a Feb. 18 column by an analyst from the conservative Heritage Foundation admitting the problem wasn't wind turbines freezing -- after all, they work just fine during the winter in northern states -- but that the turbines weren't winterized, and that natural gas generated power failed as well: 'Equipment not hardened for such cold temperatures froze along fuel supply infrastructure and at multiple generators, and natural gas resources were diverted from generating electricity to supplying heat."

The same day, Arter did some stenography for the Biden White House,  featuring how "White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said it was failures in coal and natural gas that is to blame for the state’s power outages, not wind and solar despite the state’s wind turbines freezing over," also quoting Psaki saying that "the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the state’s power grid, have gone so far as to say that failures in wind and solar were the least significant factors in the blackout."

Even though that narrative became inoperative, CNS still found things to complain about. Bannister groused that "As Texas residents continue to suffer power outages and dangerously cold temperatures, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is assuring the public that illegal aliens being detained in the state still have heat, food and water," and Arter was similarly annoyed that "Former Democratic presidential candidate and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) on Thursday blamed Texas Republicans for the blackout that left millions without power in the state."

Bannister, however, tried to put a twist in the narrative, however, quoting Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert claiming that "Texas officials knew they needed to winterize the state’s power plants in preparation for severe cold. But, instead, they chose to spend Texas’ financial resources on developing less-reliable energy sources that couldn’t stand up to severe weather." Gohmert and Bannister offered no evidence that this was the case.

Bannister also gave space to a Texas mayor who may or may not have quit his job and "told citizens the city and county owe them nothing and they should fend for themselves as they were freezing in extreme cold without power."


Posted by Terry K. at 1:21 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: WND's Election Fraud Conspiracists
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's columnists went wild promoting baseless claims that the election was stolen, and a few even suggested overturning the election and appeared to encourage violence. Here are the worst examples. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 8:56 AM EDT
Sunday, March 21, 2021
MRC's Double Standard on Section 230
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has long railed against Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which gives immunity from liability to internet services on which users post something illegal. But the MRC and other right-wing activists have created the narrataive that social media is deliberately and solely "censoring" conservatives merely for posting conservative things, which has never been proven. Last fall, the MRC cheered the Trump administration's efforts to overhaul Section 230 to counter what Alexander Hall claimed "the unchecked power of Big Tech companies,"even encouraging readers to use "the MRC’s FCC contact form to alter Section 230." It also hailed a Republican-pushed bill to alter Section 230 that would purportedly "provide more accountability for Big Tech companies," uncritially quoting one Republican congressman claiming without evidence that social media is trying to "censor content that deviates from their beliefs."

MRC chief Brent Bozell ranted in a letter to Congress that "Section 230 gives social media platforms, such as Facebook, undeserved protection from liability. Facebook is an ideologically driven publisher of editoralized content that used its dominating market power to deliberately and successively swing the election in favor of its preferred presidential candidate, Joe Biden. ... ... Given their massive market dominance and power, if Facebook’s unfair protection from liability under Section 230 is not severely curtailed, Americans will no longer vote for their elected representatives — Facebook will decide who our political masters are." The MRC's Free Speech America project (which doesn't actually believe in free speech because it's blocked us from following its Twitter account) is demanding that Section 230 be altered in an apparent attempt (based on what the MRC has criticized over the past few months) to allow conservatives to spread false claims -- regarding election fraud and coronavirus conspiracies, whcih the MRC has portrayed as "conservative content" that must not be "censored" -- with impunity. The MRC even gushed over then-President Trump's threat to veto a defense funding bill if it did not completely repeal Section 230; Congress quickly overrode Trump's veto, so it was ultimately a hollow, meaningless effort.

(If you want to find out exactly how the MRC had been lobbying the Trump administration to change Section 230, however, you're somewhat out of luck -- it threw a tantrum at a fellow conservative group for filing a Freedom of Information Act request seeking copies of email communications between the MRC and administration officials, insisting that they are "private.")

But when non-conservatives offer thoughts on Section 230 -- and, worse, point out how bogus the MRC's narrative is -- the MRC melts down over that, as Hall did last October:

Democrat [sic] Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) condemned Trump’s “propaganda parrots” on Fox News and his fellow conservatives for “peddling a myth” at a Big Tech hearing. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation October 28. Markey undermined the core idea of the “Does Section 230’s Sweeping Immunity Enable Big Tech Bad Behavior?” hearing by suggesting that “anti-conservative bias” at Big Tech is a “false narrative.” 

[...]

Markey contrasted the problems he considers to be real while gaslighting conservatives that their concerns about Big Tech bias are invalid:

“Here’s the truth, violence and hate speech online are real problems. Anti-conservtive bias is not a problem,” Markey suggested.

When Democrats called for a review of Section 230 following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot -- inflamed in large part by false claims about election fraud promoted on social media by Trump and others -- Kayla Sargent took exception:

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act has been a hot topic for quite some time, and now, the left appears to be using the liability shield as an excuse to attempt to further regulate free speech online. 

Democrats in Congress and the Senate may be placing Section 230 under the microscope following the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol building.

“Social media continues to be a concern. The amount of radicalization on both ends of the political spectrum done by social media and the so-called Section 230 exemption needs to be reviewed,” said Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) in an interview with Greta Van Susteren on Full Court Press.

During the interview, Warner paid lip service to the notion of being pro-First Amendment, while simultaneously arguing that some speech should not be allowed to be amplified.

Ssrgent did seem to be happy, however, that President Biden "told The New York Times Editorial Board that Section 230 should be 'revoked, immediately.'"

Sargent also attacked a Democratic-led attempt to reform Section 230, claiming that "it will do far more harm than good" because it "would cut liability protections for providers on paid-for speech like ads, which could encourage platforms to censor even more content to avoid liability." Sargent repeated the MRC's meaningless narrative that "Twitter censored former President Donald Trump 625 times between May 31, 2018 and January 4, 2021. President Joe Biden was not censored at all during the same time span." As before, Sargent provided no evidence that Biden violated Twitter's terms of service 625 times the way Trump did, thus earning being "censored" by Twitter.

On Feb. 22, the MRC gave its paid apparatchik Dan Gainor a platform to fearmonger that "Every aspect of technology is now being closed off to the conservative movement" -- a claim that's ridiculous on its face.He made this claim at an event hosted by something called the "Repeal and Replace Section 230 Coalition," where he was joined by "congressmen, industry experts and religious figures."

We couldn't find much about this coalition, but it turns out that Gainor's fellow presenters at the eveng included far-right congress woman Marjorie Taylor Greene -- just a couple weeks after the MRC finally denounced her extremism after months of portraying her as a mainstream conservative -- Jim Garlow, a right-wing evangelist who was an aggressive supporter of Trump; Dikran Yacoubian, a conservative activist who got a funder to give $2.5 million to right-wing org True the Vote in an attempt to find election fraud in the presidential election (none was found, so he wants his money back); and Mark Masters, who currently runs the radio syndicator founded by his father, accused cult leader Roy Masters.

These are the people the MRC is hanging out with to push its anti-Section 230 crusade.

UPDATE: Jeffrey also devoted a Feb. 24 column to complaining that the National Endowment for the Arts was getting money from the relief bill: "Did federally funded artists produce any great masterpieces in this period? Did American taxpayers get their money's worth? Should we now use a bill allegedly designed to fight COVID-19 to pay the NEA an additional $135 million?" Apparently, Jeffrey apparently believes that artists weren't affected by the pandemic. He also gratuitously complained that theater group "based in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco congressional district" once got a grant to stage "a groundbreaking trans and queer examination of American masculinity's deep roots in Trouble."


Posted by Terry K. at 6:20 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, March 21, 2021 9:40 PM EDT
After Giving Trump A Pass On Deficits, CNS Eagerly Blames Dems For COVID Relief Bill Price Tag
Topic: CNSNews.com

We've documented how CNSNews.com, led by supposed deficit-hawk editor Terry Jeffrey, almost entirely refused to hold President Trump and Senate Republicans accountable for the deficit spending created by coronavirus relief bills (though it usually found a way to blame Democrats for them despite controlling only half of Congress). With Democrats now in control of both the White House and Congress, CNS is unsurprisingly showing its bias bybeing much more vocal in complaining about allegedly wasteful spending in the latest COVID relief bill -- and in calling out Democrats while doing so.

Jeffrey declared in his Jan. 27 column that "The $1.9 trillion relief bill that President Joe Biden wants Congress to pass now as his response to the COVID-19 pandemic would cost Americans more than the entire federal government cost in fiscal 1981." Jeffrey did not make that comparision about last year's main relief bill, the CARES Act, even though it cost $2.2 trillion. Meanwhile, only now that Trump is safely out of office is Jeffrey criticizing him by name for running up the deficit:

Last March, President Donald Trump signed a $2.3 trillion spending law to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

In December, Trump signed another spending law that included $900 billion targeted toward COVID-19 relief.

Now Biden wants to spend another $1.9 trillion.

[...]

When Biden took office as President Barack Obama's vice president on Jan. 20, 2009, the federal debt stood at $10.6 trillion. Eight years later, when Donald Trump was sworn in as president on Jan. 20, 2017, it stood at $19.9 trillion. By Jan. 20, 2021, when Biden was sworn in as president, it had risen to $27.7 trillion.

In just the last two presidencies, the federal debt has risen by $17.1 trillion — or about 161%.

The COVID-19 pandemic was caused by a lethal virus this nation has sacrificed much to control. Our runaway federal government is caused by politicians we do not control enough.

Over the following weeks as the relief bill was debated, CNS went on to blame Democrats for the supposedly wasteful spending in the bill, mostly by uncritically repeating Republican and conservative attacks on it:

CNS' op-eds also raged against the bill:

Jeffrey returned in a March 10 column in which he declared that it is axiomatic that the relief bill "will use tax dollars to pay for abortions" because it contains no Hyde Amendment-style clause prohibiting it. He identifed no federal program or funding mechanism receiving relief bill money through which that might actually happen.

CNS couldn't be bothered to produce an article on Biden signing the bill into law.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:11 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, March 21, 2021 4:13 PM EDT
Saturday, March 20, 2021
MRC Helps Anti-Abortion Website Plays Dumb On Why Its YouTube Channel Got Shut Down
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Kayla Sargent quickly went Godwin in a Feb. 10 post:

The YouTube censorship Gestapo has struck again. 

YouTube has reportedly entirely banned the pro-life group LifeSiteNews from the platform in its latest attempt to silence conservative voices. 

“YouTube just completely removed the LifeSiteNews YouTube channel. This isn’t a temporary ban; every single one of our videos is completely gone. Thankfully, we have backups of all our videos, but this means hundreds of thousands of people have lost access to our truth-telling content,” the pro-life organization said on its website.

“Being completely removed from YouTube means we’ve lost access to more than 300,000 followers,” LifeSiteNews continued.

Sargent went on to play dumb by claiming that "The specific reason that YouTube suspended LifeSiteNews is unclear, as YouTube did not respond to a request for comment at the time this piece was published." In fact, it probably wasn't that hard to figure out; the next day, Vice got the scoop from YouTube (which likely correctly surmised that the MRC is hostile media and wouldn't treat it fairly):

YouTube has banned LifeSiteNews, an anti-abortion outlet that bills itself as the “#1 pro-life news website,” for repeatedly sharing videos that spread misinformation about COVID-19 and the vaccines against it.

“In accordance with our longstanding strikes system, we terminated the channel LifeSiteNews Media for repeatedly violating our COVID-19 misinformation policy, which prohibits content that promotes prevention methods that contradict local health authorities or WHO,” Ivy Choi, a YouTube spokesperson, told VICE News in an email.

[...]

In November, YouTube took down a LifeSiteNews video featuring a doctor who called the coronavirus pandemic “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on an unsuspecting public,” according to LifeSiteNews. The doctor also called both masks and social distancing “useless” when it came to stopping the spread of the deadly virus.

The Centers for Disease Control disagrees. New research from the agency, released Wednesday, found that when people wear two snug masks, they can reduce the coronavirus’ transmission by about 95 percent compared to being unmasked. 

Then, in late January, LifeSiteNews earned a second strike from YouTube for a video about the alleged links between abortion and the coronavirus vaccines. This is a popular topic among anti-abortion advocates, who are increasingly divided over whether they should take take COVID-19 vaccines that may have been developed with the use of fetal cells.

LifeSiteNews has spread numerous other coronavirus conspiracies as well. LifeSite presumably knew about YouTube issuing strikes against its content, which it could have told Sargent about. Instead, it knew that Sargent would be a sympathetic writer who would help LifeSite forward the bogus right-wing narrative that "conservative speech" is being "censored" on social media.

(A Feb. 12 article at the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, did admit that YouTube banned LifeSite for coronavirus misinformation, but published it under the deceptive headline "YouTube Bans Pro-Life LifeSiteNews, Shuts Out 300,000 Followers." Sargent never bothered to update her article to tell readers the real reason LifeSite was banned.)

But LifeSite knows where to go so its claims of victimization will not face much scrutiny. Thus, Alexander Hall was the willing stenographer for it again in a Feb. 23 post:

LifeSiteNews said they have been financially kneecapped by Google.

LifeSiteNews author Gualberto Garcia Jones stated that “thanks to our conference on the morality, legality and science behind the covid vaccines, Google has completely banned our website from Google Ads and Google Ad servers” in an Feb 23 email to the Media Research Center. Jones explained further that the financial blacklisting by Google has massive implications: “[U]nfortunately, our advertising agency used Google ads as it is the industry standard. In addition, Google has banned us from Google News and Google discover.” 

LifeSiteNews explained in its reporting on the censorship, that Google had “cit[ed] alleged ‘dangerous or derogatory content’ the company declined to identify.” The outlet also said it “received an email notifying us that LifeSiteNews ‘is not currently in compliance with our AdSense Program policies and as a result, ad serving has been disabled on your site.’"

LifeSiteNews said that the only example Google provided was “a February 4 LifeSite article detailing an interview former University of Virginia school of medicine profesor Dr. David Martin gave on mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines and the distinction between vaccination and gene therapy.”

Given that LifeSiteNews deliberately hid from Sargent the real reason it got kicked off YouTube, it's entirely likely that it's obfuscating about why it Google blacklisted it. Certainly it knows that its COVID conspiracy-mongering is problematic, but it's obvious that it will never admit to spreading lies.

Hall would know that as well if he could be bothered to do anything beyond stenography. Instead, he uncritically repeated Sargent's claim that "YouTube has reportedly entirely banned the pro-life group LifeSiteNews from the platform in its latest attempt to censor speech online," without bothering to explain that YouTube was not "censoring speech" but shutting down lies. 

Neither Hall nor Sargent explained why LifeSite should be allowed to spread lies without consequence. This is yet another example of the MRC embracing peddlers of fiction masquerading as fact in an attempt to own the libs.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:46 AM EDT
Another WND Columnist Pushes 'Mark Of The Beast' Narrative On COVID Vaccine
Topic: WorldNetDaily

As oart of documenting WorldNetDaily's copious amount of bad takes on the coronavirus pandemic, we've documented two WND commentators pushing the idea that a coronavirus vaccine (before one was even available) would be the equivalent to the Biblical mark of the beast. Brian Sussman contributes to this strain of literature witha Feb. 24 column provocatively headlined "Coming 'COVID-19 passports' – mark of the Beast?" And Sussman certainly works hard on making that case:

So what's going on here?

Digital-format immunity passports would eventually likely normalize digital-format proof-of-status documents.

Advocates of COVID passports visualize a world where we can't pass through a door to a plane, workplace, school, or restaurant until the gatekeeper scans our credentials. In no time the public would be conditioned to submit to these demands.

This digital system could easily be expanded to check not just a person's immunity status, but any other bit of personal information a gatekeeper might deem relevant, such as banking information, age, pregnancy, HIV status, or criminal history; and all data – your data – could be accumulated into one database.

And could we really trust those overseeing the databases?

Of course not.

The next step in this plan will move from smartphone apps to invisible barcode-like tattoos stamped on the body of those who have been vaccinated. This would accommodate those without cell phones and prevent hackers from stealing personal information. The tattoo plan is funded by Bill and Melinda Gates. The easily applied invisible tattoos would likely be placed on the hand or forehead.

Students of the Bible will immediately recall the mark of the Beast from the New Testament's book of Revelation:

"He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave,to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads,and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast. …" (Revelation 13:16-17)

But after that conspiratorial setup, Sussman bailed out at the last minute and denied he was doing what he was doing:

No, I'm not claiming the vaccine is the mark of the Beast, but I am emphasizing that society is moving very quickly into a brave new world, especially in the realm of personal privacy and information security.

Our government was designed to protect our liberties, not recklessly allow them to be abused.

So much for having the courage of one's conspiratorial convictions.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:19 AM EDT
Friday, March 19, 2021
MRC's Houck Can't Stop Gushing Over Doocy's Hostile Questions
Topic: Media Research Center

Media Research Center writer Curtis Houck's abject hatred for Biden press secretary Jen Psaki -- and man-crush on Fox News reporter Peter Doocy -- is continuing apace.

On Feb. 22, Houck attacked Psaki's appearance on a Sunday talk show, effectively accusing her of incompetence: "Along with struggling to answer basic questions during White House press briefings, Press Secretary Jen Psaki found herself paddling the struggle boat on Sunday with ABC’s This Weekas chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl inquired about then-candidate Joe Biden’s affection for scandal-ridden Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY)." The next day, Houck gushed over Doocy under the headline "Doocy Demolishes Psaki on Biden WH’s Immigration Double Standard":

A day after struggling with questions about embattled OMB Director nominee Neera Tanden, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki found herself being torched Tuesday by Fox News’s Peter Doocy about the administration’s immigration policies and specifically the reopening of a detention center both President Biden and Vice President Harris derided as an abomination under the Trump regime.

Worse yet for Psaki, Doocy drew follow-ups from CBS’s Ed O’Keefe (who asked an excellent question earlier in the briefing about the Keystone XL pipeline) and McClatchy’s Francesca Chambers. Later on, she faced stiff questions from New York Post’s Steven Nelson on drones and government surveillance.

Houck served up more gushing over Doocy and sneering at Psaki in a Feb. 24 post:

After making his mark during Tuesday’s White House press briefing, Fox News’s Peter Doocy again tussled Wednesday with Press Secretary Jen Psaki over illegal immigration, wondering whether the term “kids in containers” was more apt for the detaining of illegal immigrant children since Psaki was turned off (read: triggered) by the description of “kids in cages.”

Doocy started with this: “We spoke yesterday about immigration and this facility — HHS facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas for migrant children. And you said it is not kids in cages. We’ve seen some photos now of containers. Is there a better description? Is it kids in containers, instead of kids in cages? What is the White House’s description of this facility.”

Clearly not amused, Psaki insisted she would “give a broader description of what’s happening here&rdquo where they were not and would not “separate” and “rip” kids “from the arms of their parents at the border” but instead “expand and open additional facilities, because there was not enough space in the existing facilities — and if we were to abide by COVID protocols, that’s the process and the step.”

She added how children were also having access to an education and medical care, so it was different than whatever the Trump administration did. Coincidentally, in-person education is something younger American citizens haven’t been able to get for almost a year thanks to teachers unions.

Houck then complained that "Psaki went personal by wondering if Doocy was concerned about being accurate with viewers." Never mind, of course, that Houck's beloved Trump press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, regularly attacked reporters, as did Houck for using the same aggressive tone with McEnany that Doocy is using with Psaki.

Under the ridiculous headline "Doocy Smash," Houck's Feb. 25 post gushed even more over Doocy:

Clearly on a roll since returning to the White House Briefing Room rotation on Tuesday, Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy continued his streak Thursday of asking the tough questions to Press Secretary Jen Psaki. This time, Doocy was dogged in seeking comment on the nursing home scandal and sexual misconduct allegations against Biden ally and Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY).

Despite the fact that ABC had ignored it through Thursday morning (while ABC, CBS, and MSNBC waited until then with CNN first noticing in the noon Eastern hour), Doocy began his questions by invoking former Cuomo aide Linsdey Boylan’s claims in light of Cuomo chairing a virtual meeting of the National Governors Association with President Biden.

Doocy wondered if, given Boylan’s disturbing claims about Cuomo, the White House was “worried about this becoming a distraction from an important meeting about COVID response.”

Psaki’s answer was standard for a spokesperson in that she insisted Biden “has been consistent in his position” that “[w]hen a person comes forward, they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect” and “[t]heir voice should be heard not silenced and any allegation should be reviewed.”

Ruling? Pants on fire, Jen. Sure, one could say anyone and everyone should be “heard,” but as we’ve seen with Tara Reade versus Christine Blasey Ford, not all allegations are actually heard in the public square. Psaki might as well have followed up with the adage about a tree falling in the forest.

Houck is not going to mention that he and the rest of his MRC crew smeared and disrespected women who accused Donald Trump of sexual assault and harassment and care about Tara Reade not as a woman but as a tool with which to bash Biden, so Houck may not want to beg comparisons here.

Again, Houck imputed sinister motives to Psaki's side of the exchange, claiming that "a peeved Psaki insisted that Doocy of routinely engaging in disinformation." Given that Fox News is very much a disinformation mill masquerading as a "news" channel, that concern is well founded.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:32 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, May 14, 2021 10:01 PM EDT

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