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Monday, March 29, 2021
NEW ARTICLE -- CNS Unemployment Reporting: The Pandemic Flip-Out, Part 1
Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com's reporting on employment numbers has been aggressively pro-Trump, but even it couldn't hide reality when the coronavirus pandemic caused rates to skyrocket. Plus: CNS' double standard on reporting the "real unemployment rate." Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 2:29 PM EDT
WND And Its Dubious Docs Tout Another Dubious COVID Treatment
Topic: WorldNetDaily

As if hydroxycloroquine wasn't enough, WorldNetDaily and its columnists found another dubious treatment for coronavirus to embrace: ivermectin. The dubious fringe-right docs at the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons -- who touted hydroxychloroquine -- were another the top backers:

  • In September, Elizabeth Lee Vliet listed ivermectin among "cheap, safe, FDA-approved medicines" that could treat coronavirus, even though none of them has ever received FDA approval for that particular purpose.
  • AAPS president Jane Orient touted how "Many scientific papers have been written in the past 40 years about the antiviral effects of many antimicrobials" like ivermectin, though again, they have not been approved for coronavirus treatment.
  • Vliet repeated in October her claim of "cheap, safe, FDA-approved medicines"like ivermectin that can treat COVID.
  • Orient, in a December column, cited "Early at-home treatments, including hydroxychloroquine, antibiotics, corticosteroids and ivermectin," though emphasizing early treatment ignores the fact that coronavirus infection is often asymptomatic in its early stages.
  • In a January column, Marilyn Singleton clainmed that "Other countries are using ivermectin, a safe antiparasitic used to treat scabies." Singleton links to an anonymous website purporting to list studies that claim ivermectin is effective -- but like other similar websites, the people behind them won't make themselves known, and they might actually be secretely operated by AAPS.
  • The same month, Orient touted "re-purposed old drugs" like "ivermectin and antimalarials such as hydroxychloroquine."
  • In a March 16 column, AAPS member Joel Hirschhorn complained about "the rigorous, time-consuming and expensive randomized clinical trials that so many experts say is the gold standard for evaluating drugs," adding that "This absence was used by the government to condemn and block the use of drugs such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin."

Non-physician WND columnist Dennis Prager declared on Feb. 8 that "I put my medicines where my mouth is. I have been taking hydroxychloroquine and zinc (as well as vitamin D and selenium) on a regular basis for half a year, and ivermectin for the past three months," adding, "Given how safe hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin are, what could we have possibly lost by allowing millions of people to take these medicines?"

WND writer Art Moore has also contributed to the pro-ivermectin propaganda. In December, he cheered how a doctor in a Republican-led Senate hearing on COVID treatment claimed that "another blocked drug that is inexpensive and widely available, ivermectin, prevents infection and saves lives." Later that month, Moore claimed to cite "many health experts who decry the politicization of COVID-19 treatments such as the cheap, proven and widely available drugs hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin." Moore then gushed in a Feb. 25 article:

A new, peer-reviewed study finds that one of the cheap, widely available drugs that has been dismissed by the left, establishment media and many in the health establishment as a treatment for COVID-19 reduces infections, hospitalizations and deaths by about 75%.

Ivermectin, in more than 30 trials around the world, causes "repeated, consistent, large magnitude improvements in clinical outcomes’ at all stages of the disease," according to the study, which will be published in the U.S. journal Frontiers of Pharmacology, DailyMail.com reported.

The evidence is so strong, the researchers believe, the anti-parasitic drug should become a standard therapy everywhere, hastening global recovery.

But Moore has yet to report what happened next: A week later, the journal withdrew the article before actual publication, stating that it contained unsubstantiated claims and violated the journal’s editorial policies.

The study was manufactured by something called the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance, which was formed to push unapproved treatments like ivermectin. The journal that ultimately rejected the study noted that the authors, who are key officials at FLCCC, "promoted their own specific ivermectin-based treatment which is inappropriate for a review article and against our editorial policies."

Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration has taken a pretty solid stance against ivermectin absent genuine, objective research:

There seems to be a growing interest in a drug called ivermectin to treat humans with COVID-19. Ivermectin is often used in the U.S. to treat or prevent parasites in animals.  The FDA has received multiple reports of patients who have required medical support and been hospitalized after self-medicating with ivermectin intended for horses.

[...]

The FDA has not reviewed data to support use of ivermectin in COVID-19 patients to treat or to prevent COVID-19; however, some initial research is underway. Taking a drug for an unapproved use can be very dangerous. This is true of ivermectin, too.

There’s a lot of misinformation around, and you may have heard that it’s okay to take large doses of ivermectin. That is wrong. 

Even the levels of ivermectin for approved uses can interact with other medications, like blood-thinners. You can also overdose on ivermectin, which can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hypotension (low blood pressure), allergic reactions (itching and hives), dizziness, ataxia (problems with balance), seizures, coma and even death.

But that's not what WND wants to hear, unless that opposition can be twisted into an anti-government stance. The narrative is more important than the truth at WND.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:35 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, March 29, 2021 1:56 AM EDT
Sunday, March 28, 2021
MRC Forgets It Tried To Cancel Dr. Seuss First
Topic: Media Research Center

"Cancel Culture Comes For Dr. Seuss," intoned the headline on Lindsey Kornick's March 1 Media Research Center post, attacking a newspaper columnist who argued for rethinking Dr. Seuss. Kornick said of the columnist, "Imagine someone in the world finding 'One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish' offensive" -- even though the columnist never mentioned that book, let alone expressed offense at it.

Kornick also repeated a bogus attack claiming a Virginia school district "took steps to “cancel” Dr. Seuss in their annual “Read Across America” event on Dr. Seuss' birthda" before walking it back.she then huffed: "This ignores the fact that Theodore Geisel was a liberal Democrat in life and supported many left-leaning policies and causes including in his books (read: The Lorax) which should deem him anything but 'racist.'"

Thus, Kornick inadvertently admitted that the MRC are the ones who have been trying to cancel Dr. Seuss.  She linked to a 2012 MRC post raging against a movie version of "The Lorax" because if offered environmental tips for children alongside the film, thus appeasing "thousands of left-wing zealots." (The MRC also complained that the movie indulged in "liberal indoctrination" for pointing out that plastic water bottles are wasteful.) But that's not the only attempt: In 2019, the MRC tried to blame Dr. Seuss for a massacre in El Paso because the alleged shooter referenced "The Lorax" in a manifesto.

But that has to go down the memory hole because it currently serves the MRC's political agenda to portray Dr. Seuss as a victim. For instance, Curtis Houck whined that Biden press secretary Jen Psaki wouldn't give a straight answer addressing "the woke mob’s canceling of Dr. Seuss."

But the MRC also got a little defensive about the whole Seuss thing. Alex Christy complained that NBC's Seth Meyers pointed out conservatives' obsession with culture war issues, adding, "If conservatives are detached for merely responding to the left's culture war offensive, what does that make Meyers' fellow leftists, considering they are now also trying to cancel Dr. Seuss?"

Christy followed by grousing that "MSNBC Live host Stephanie Ruhle on Wednesday smeared conservatives for caring about cancel culture, calling it unimportant" and pointing out that it was Seuss' publisher and the Seuss estate that agreed to pull six lesser Seuss books (out of the dozens he published) for outdated racial imagery. He retorted, "While Ruhle is correct that it was Dr. Seuss' publisher that suspended the books, they did so because left-wing culture warriors have saying for years that some of his books are racists."

Houck returned to rant that "Thursday’s ReidOut featured more radicalizing rhetoric meant to send MSNBC viewers into a fury of hatred against anyone on the right, falsely claiming the Fox News Channel and the GOP are exclusively obsessed with cancel culture and controversies surrounding Mr. Potato Head and Dr. Seuss." But Houck offered no evidence that anyone said Fox News was "exclusively obsessed" over Dr. Seuss, citing as evidence the claim was false a thread from his Twitter account featuring various random screencaps from Fox News talking about other things. But when Reid pointed out that Fox News had done "33 segments since Monday on Dr. Seuss" -- which has a basis in fact -- Houck offered nothing in rebuttal.

Tim Graham similarly complained in his March 5 column: "The hottest theme in liberal punditry is mocking conservatives for their objections to Woke Culture doing its long march through American entertainment conglomerates. It's not 'real news.'"Needless to say, Graham didn't mention the times it tried to cancel Dr. Seuss over "The Lorax."

Graham complained further: "This debate needs more precision, not less. What pages in the Dr. Seuss books are objectionable? TV stories on it won’t show any images. Some images of African savages clearly seem like antiquated stereotyping, but others are more debatable. You can’t debate it if no one will show it." Well, nothing's stopping the MRC from publishing those images. And doesn't the MRC operate a "news" division, CNSNews.com, that also played the "cancel culture" card on this story while not showing any of the actual images in question? Yes, it did.

Gabriel Hays touted how usually-despised late-night host Jimmy Kimmel "warned that cancel culture’s current destruction of once-thought innocent pop culture staples like Dr. Seuss, Mr. Potato Head and The Muppets will get Trump elected a second time." Like his boss Graham, hays didn't mention that his employer played the cancel-culture card on Dr. Seuss first.

Duncan Schroeder ranted in a March 8 post where he was defensive about the conservative obsession over this, while also falsely blaming President Biden for it:

On Friday night’s CNN Tonight, host Don Lemon joined in with the liberal media’s obsession with bashing Republicans and Fox News for defending Dr. Seuss after books were cancelled by woke leftists. Lemon unspooled a five-minute commentary freaking out over House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) tweeting out a video of himself reading Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham that went viral.

Lemon lunged to complain that the Democrats had nothing to do with Dr. Seuss. (McCarthy didn't say they did.) "It has nothing to do with Democrats. Nothing at all. As a matter of fact, that particular one by Dr. Seuss is still in distribution. So none of it makes any sense. They’re playing you. Are you going to fall for it? He is trying to stoke the fake outrage machine."

[...]

“The President” does indeed have something “to do with” the cancellation of Dr. Seuss because Biden left Dr. Seuss out of his “Read Across America Day” proclamation, which is celebrated every year around March 2 because March 2 is Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Furthermore, it is a false liberal media narrative that Fox is “covering every single angle” of the cancellation. Lastly, it is objectively false that “nothing is being canceled about Dr. Seuss” because they pulled six of his books from the sales shelf.

Schroeder is the one with the fake outrage here. As we've noted, Biden didn't metnion Dr. Seuss because Dr. Seuss is no longer exclusively associated with Read Across America Day -- the contract giving the Seuss estate exclusivity for the event ended in 2019. And, of course, Schroeder didn't mention the MRC's attempts to cancel Dr. Seuss.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:50 PM EDT
CNS' New Anti-Trans Narrative: Describe Trans Women As 'Biological Males'
Topic: CNSNews.com

Is CNSNews.com bucking for a social media ban it can exploit?

On Feb. 3, CNS published a column by its favorite dishonest Catholic, Bill Donohue, raging that Twitter temproarilty blocked the account of right-wing Catholic "news" outlet Catholic World Report because reporter Matt Hadro (a former staffer at CNS' parent, the Media Research Center) referred to transgender Biden HHS nominee Rachel Levine as ""biological man identifying as a transgender woman." Apparently taking inspiration from that -- and furthering its hateful transgender freakout -- CNS has used "biological male" phrasing in many of its transgender-related articles, when it didn't before:

  • A transgender "woman" is, in reality, a biological male (XY chromosomes), and does not have a real vagina or a uterus. -- Emmy Riley, Feb. 11
  • Transgender "female" (biological male) soccer player Mara Gomez. -- Michael W. Chapman, Feb. 22
  • Transgender "female" soccer player Maria Gomez, who is a biological male. ... Transgender "female" cyclist Rachel McKinnon, a biological male. ... Transgender "female" Rachel Levine, a biological male and President Biden's nominee for Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services, testifies before her confirmation hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee in Washington, DC, on February 25, 2021.-- Michael W. Chapman, Feb. 26 (as with the previous item, all these accompany file photos obtained from Getty Images, who we're willing to wager didn't describe them as "biological males" in the captions they supplied)
  • Nadler made the remark in response to a speech that Rep. Greg Steube (R.-Fla.) had delivered in opposition to the Equality Act, which would force schools to let biological males play on girls’ sports teams and use girls’ locker rooms, restrooms and dressing rooms.-- "CNSNews.com Staff," March 1
  • In a speech opposing the Equality Act, which would force public schools to allow transgender “women” (biological males) to play on real girls’ sports teams and use their bathrooms and showers, House Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) said that claiming a gender that does not match one’s natural anatomy is “gender confusion” and a “clear rejection of God’s good design.” ... Rachel McKinnon, a transgender female (biological male) cyclist. -- Michael W. Chapman, March 4
  • Miss. Governor Plans to Sign Bill to Protect Women’s Sports From Transgender ‘Females’ (Biological Males) ... The Mississippi House voted (81-28) on March 3 to ban transgender “females” (biological males) from competing in real women’s sports in the state’s public schools and universities.-- Quinn Weimer, March 5 (who also added a photo of "U.S. gymnast Gabby Douglas, a real, biologically female athlete")
  • Rachel Levine, a transgender "female" (biological male) nominated by President Joe Biden to be assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services. ... Actress Elliot Page, a transgender "male" (biological female). ... Nats Getty, right, the great-granddaughter of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, is a transgender "male" who had her breasts removed to appear more like a man.-- Michael W. Chapman, March 8
  • To combat President Joe Biden's executive order mandating that schools permit transgender "women" (biological males) to play on girls' sports teams and use their bathrooms and showers, House Rep. Mary Miller (R-Ill.) introduced a bill to "protect women and girls" from the Democrats' "radical gender ideology." --= Michael W. Chapman, March 9 (who repeats the phraseology in captions for pictures of Levine and McKinnon)
  • On Feb. 25, a Senate confirmation hearing was held for Dr. Rachel Levine, a transgender “woman” (biological male) nominated by President Biden to be assistant secretary of Health and Human Services. -- "A. Kim," March 16
  • Their testimony explained why competing against biological males (transgender “females”) is unfair and likely will destroy women’s sports. ... In practice this would mean, among other things, that transgender “females” (biological males) would be allowed to play on girls’ sports teams and use their bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers. ... Transgender "female" (biological male) athletes transgender Andraya Yearwood and Terry Miller. -- Emma Riley, March 19
  • Although South Dakota GOP Gov. Kristi Noem, who promotes herself as a firebrand conservative, strongly implied she would sign legislation barring transgender "females" (biological males) from participating in real girls' sports -- and using their bathrooms, locker rooms and showers -- she delayed last week, did not sign the bill, and now wants changes that would essentially gut the legislation, according to the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). ... The ADF currently represents three high school girls in a lawsuit against rules that allow transgender females (biological males) to compete in girls' sports. -- Michael W. Chapman, March 22
  • As many other state legislatures are doing, GOP lawmakers in the North Carolina General Assembly introduced legislation this week to protect girls' sports by prohibiting transgender "females" (biological males) from playing on girls' teams.-- Michael W. Chapman, March 24
  • S.D. Gov. Kristi Noem's (R) office now claims that conservative criticism of her veto of a bill to protect girls' sports from transgender "females" (biological males) is "uninformed cancel culture" from the right. In response, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) said that exposing bad decisions and "criticizing Gov. Noem for caving to woke corporations is not cancel culture. It’s accountability." -- Michael W. Chapman, March 25 (whcih also included a photo of "Real girls playing field hockey")
  • Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) signed legislation into law on Mar. 25 that prohibits transgender "females" (biological males) from joining real girls' sports teams at the high school and collegiate level. -- Michael W. Chapman, March 26 (he repeated the "Real girls playing field hockey" photo but somehow shlipped in failing to identify McKinnon as a "(biological male)")

So far, it appears social media hasn't taken CNS' bait, depriving it of an opportunity to play victim to boost its right-wing anti-trans cred.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:19 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, March 28, 2021 12:29 PM EDT
Saturday, March 27, 2021
MRC's Graham: Anti-Biden Claim Isn't 'False,' It Just 'Isn't ... Very Factual'
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Tim Graham thought he had a pretty good gotcha in a Feb. 26 post:

The reputation of PolitiFact as an "independent fact-checker" just doesn't rest on their factual accuracy. It rests on whether their selection of which facts to check demonstrate an ideological tilt (it does). Conservatives were mocking their tweet from Thursday night: 

Beware of Facebook posts blaming Joe Biden for insulin price hikes. Experts said any recent price changes facing individual patients are likely due to the way insurance works, not the Biden administration.

"Beware of Facebook posts blaming Joe Biden" is what PolitiFact is specializing in right now.

Bill McCarthy was taking exception [to] a Facebook post that claimed "Insulin went from $60 to $500 with the swipe of creepy Joe’s pen..." A Facebook post with 1,100 shares is more dangerous, apparently, than national media outlets that mangle the facts for millions of Americans.

But then Graham had to concede that PolitiFact's fact-check was correct. He wouldn't go so far as to admit the claim is "false," of course, instead setting for "isn't ... very factual":

Let's stipulate that this isn't a very factual assertion. Last summer, President Trump ordered that insulin prices be reduced in the Medicare program for seniors, but it wasn't set to be implemented until January 22, and Biden suspended it (temporarily) in his wave of Trump-reversing executive orders.

That turn of phrase reminds us of Graham's attempt to dismiss Trump's barrage of falsehoods during his presidency: He's not a liar, he just has "a casual relationahip with the truth."

In most non-MRC settings "isn't ... very factual" is the same thing as "false." But in Graham's fevered, hate-filled brain, proving that a claim about Biden is no different than being on the Democratic Party payroll, so he went on to whine that "PolitiFact underlined that the fact-checker community as a bloc was rushing to defend Biden,"further complaining:

Even so, this has not been a TV story. A quick search of transcripts in Nexis for “Biden” and “insulin” since January 20 on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and MSNBC found no mention of Biden’s freeze on Trump's insulin price order. There were eight stories with these two words, all of them on the cable channels, and five of the eight were about the prospect of Texans caught without insulin in the winter storm.

Yes, that's what Graham is whining about -- that PolitiFact stopped a lie in its tracks before it could gain traction in the larger right-wing media sphere. Not that Graham and the MRC would have ever told its readers this was false absent this whining about PolitiFact. (Also note that Fox News is suspiciously absent from his Nexis search.)

This is the problem with Graham's war on fact-checking -- he doesn't actually care about facts, only in pursuing right-wing gotchas that gets clicks. The fact that he left this post up tells us he doesn't understand what an utter failure this attempt was. Then again, he's failed before, so he's apparently used to the feeling.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:27 AM EDT
WND's Farah Still Hates Brett Kavanaugh
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah has had a messy history with Brett Kavanaugh. He has been vocal in thte past in attacking Kavanaugh's role in purportedly botching the investigation of the death of Vince Foster while working for Ken Starr (by not charging anyone with murder in Foster's suicide, apparently) -- but when Kavanaugh was nominated to the Supreme Court, Farah went silent, only to rage about him again once he was safely on the court.

So when Kavanaugh was on the majority side in deciding not to hear a complaint of fraud in Pennsylvania in the 2020 presidential election, Farah -- who's been spinning bogus conspiracy theories about the election, eternally unable to accept that Trump lost fair and square -- ranted again in his Feb. 24 column:

The Supreme Court sold out once again Monday morning in a failure to hear a review of a Pennsylvania case in Election 2020.

Perhaps the Supreme Court had something more important to do than hear the case. Perhaps a majority of the court was just too sensitive about how it would be viewed as a politicization of the judiciary. Perhaps there were some members too eager to get along with their colleagues. 

There is one justice on the court I was quite sure would never have the guts to do the right thing.

[...]

No, the one person I KNEW would disappoint me was one I had understood so well for years – Brett Kavanaugh. Back in 2018, I begged that he not be the one selected for the high court. However, I sat through his anguishing confirmation process and actually gained sympathy for him while he was repeatedly beaten up without so much as any evidence over an alleged sexual assault of Christine Blasey Ford 38 years earlier. He won the hearts of conservatives because of the insanity of the opposition. That was just the Democrats doing their thing – much like they would do in the 2020 election!

There are six Republican justices – of a total of nine!

Only Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch sought to hear the case. Shocking! There are three Democrats that always vote as Democrats. It's in their blood. It's in their DNA. It's in their genes.

[...]

How are Americans to believe in the sanctity of elections when Supreme Court justices don't! This election had all the makings of a fraud without most people paying attention to the details.

OK, how did I know? What gave me a bad feeling about Kavanaugh – worse than a bad feeling?

I was sure he would disappoint us just as surely as all the other Republican squishes had done so – Earl Warren, Warren Burger, David Souter, Anthony Kennedy and Sandra Day O'Connor.

How did I know that Kavanaugh would betray Trump?

Simple deduction: His former mentor did the same thing to Ronald Reagan – namely Kenneth Starr.

Farah then once again rehashed his bill of goods against Kavanaugh. The problem, of course, is that there was no real case to begin with -- as we've noted, election law experts have said everything went down legally in Pennsylvania.

It should be no surprise that Farah doesn't care about the facts, since not caring about the facts has been WND's calling card for much of its existence.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:26 AM EDT
Friday, March 26, 2021
MRC's Houck Gets A Chance To Crush On McEnany Once More
Topic: Media Research Center

We've documented Media Research Center writer Curtis Houck's massive crush on Trump White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany -- in whom he can see no flaws and who performed her job perfectly as far as he's concerned -- so when McEnany resurfaced for a Fox News appearance on March 2, Houck predictably gushed over his crush once more and uncritically treated her biased complaints as the indisputable truth:

In her first interview since the end of the Trump administration, former White House Press Secretary and newly-minted Fox News contributor Kayleigh McEnany spoke Tuesday about what she viewed as a “disparate” and “unfair” treatment from liberal journalists who refused to give her “a modicum of respect,” while current Press Secretary Jen Psaki had been able to skate by relatively unscathed.

Speaking with Harris Faulkner, McEnany said that, when asked to evaluate how she was treated in the briefing room, it was “disparate, unfair in the sense of....a Democrat woman standing at that podium would never have had a Playboy reporter in the back of the room shouting at her as she left, and nor should a Democrat woman ever have to face that, and nor should a Republican woman.”

Building on having name-checked carnival barker Brian Karem, McEnany added that there should be “a modicum of respect that I think reporters and those at the podium in a political role should have for one another,” but was sullied by “reporters who were more interested in being political operatives, let’s say, than journalists.”

McEnany left viewers to conjure up which reporters she was talking about and, in contrast to many of the reporters she dealt with, she took the high road by making clear that “there are some incredible reporters who, to this day, represent the kind of journalism I think is good.”

McEnany's attack on Karem is part of a grudge against him that dates back months.

What McEnany (and Houck) don't seem to understand is that respect has to be earned, and because McEnany spent her sporadic press briefings attacking reporters who ask reasonable questions and telling them lies starting from her very first day on the job, she didn't.

Houck also gave McEnany a pass for shirking her job at the end: "The interview also touched on how McEnany had wanted to give a final briefing to recap the administration’s many, many successes, but the events of (and the fallout from) January 6 inhibited that." There was nothing stopping McEnany from doing her job in the final two weeks of Trump's presidency;' instead, the day after the pro-Trump Capitol riot on Jan. 6, McEnany read a brief statement, refused to take questions, then fled the room, never to be seen again. She could have answered questions about the Trump administration's response to the riot -- which might have earned her a modicum of respect -- but she chose not to do her job.

But that doesn't matter to Houck. As for as he's concerned, McEnany is perfect in every way, especially in their shared loathing for journalists who refuse to parrot right-wing narratives.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:22 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, March 26, 2021 6:33 PM EDT
WND's Zumwalt Is Still Ranting About Election Fraud
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily columnist James Zumwalt is still writing about election fraud conspiracy theories -- something you'd think WND would let him do given that the last time he did it, he allegedly committed libel against a employee of election-tech company Dominion, who has sued other right-wing outlets on defamation charges for doing the same thing. (Zumwalt's potentially libelous column strangely remains live and uncorrected despite it opening WND to legal jeopardy; which appears real given that the Dominion employee recently beefed up his lawsuit with new claims.)

But Zumwalt remains either undaunted or oblivious, clinging to his bogus conspiracy theories. In his Feb. 17 WND column, he starts by complaining about former President Trump's impeachment trial, then dove right in to ranting about "massive election fraud":

Unsurprisingly, every Democratic senator voted to convict; surprisingly, they were joined by seven Republican senators, apparently drunk on anti-Trump kool-aid. But, the entire impeachment exercise was, and always has been, overshadowed by an issue yet to receive its due in the form of a congressional investigation: Did massive voter fraud occur during the 2020 presidential election?

When allegations swirled after Trump's 2016 election victory that he had colluded with Russia, Democrats believed the claim true and were ready to impeach him, ultimately insisting on an investigation. Years and millions of dollars later, despite a line-up of pro-Hillary Clinton investigators, the investigation proved the claim false. More recently, Democrats clamor for an investigation into the Jan. 6 Capitol building riot as they believe Trump was responsible for inciting the attack. In light of Trump's acquittal, they probably will get one.

Yet, despite nearly half of all voters believing massive voter fraud occurred in the Nov. 3, 2020, presidential election, no effort has been undertaken to investigate the matter. Instead, we are falsely told by a liberal media no basis exists to support such a claim. But evidence offered by independent experts refutes this media narrative. If voter trust in the election process is to be restored, a fair and independent investigation is needed.

As the article of impeachment had accused Trump of making "false claims" of voter fraud, one had hoped the issue might be raised during the Senate impeachment trial. That hope came close to reality after the Senate voted to call witnesses. However, once Democrats learned Trump's defense counsel intended to call Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a witness, Democrats reversed< their decision so she would not be put on the hot seat about security related matters for which she was responsible. Thus, no witnesses were called, leaving the fraud issue unresolved.

The disinterest in an investigation leaves American voters wondering whether Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) has so affected Congress that it has opted to take an ostrich-like approach to the voter fraud issue, burying its collective head in the sand.

Zumwalt also weirdly pushed the idea that Trump should have "issued himself and his family members preemptive pardons" because he "could have spared himself a lot of his current legal misery."

Zumwalt rehashed his conspiracy theories in a March 17 column ranting against an election reform bill:

The 2020 election triggered numerous lawsuits and claims of voting fraud. Since all the cases to date have been dismissed, Democrats see no evil, despite the fact no case has yet been heard on the fraud evidence but were decided on procedural grounds.

The 2020 presidential election, due to the numerous substantive discrepancies Democratic leaders ignore, has shaken voter confidence to the core (39%) – not only among Republicans but Democrats as well. This should cause responsible legislators to investigate what happened in order to fix and re-instill voter confidence in the system.

With Democratic majorities in the House and Senate and their party holding the Oval Office as well, it would be fairly easy to launch such an effort. But this will not happen as evidenced by the course of action Democrats have embarked upon in the form of H.R. 1. In a nutshell, what this bill does is, among other things, memorialize the chaos that brought Democrats victory in 2020, reflected by the strict party-line vote the bill received in the House. Unbelievably, it is all being done without fully understanding what may have gone wrong in 2020.

If voter confidence is shaken to the core, as Zumwalt insists it is, that's due in no small part to people like Zumwalt who continue to spread bogus conspiracy theories about election fraud.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:10 PM EDT
CNS Took 2-Month Break Between COVID Death Count Updates
Topic: CNSNews.com

We've documented how CNSNews.com -- mostly reporter Susan Jones -- spent much of 2020 laboing to put a pro-Trump spin on coronavirus case and death numbers. But as deaths surged after the November election that Trump lost, CNS' interest in doing them dwindled to the point that it hadn't done one since December. But when COVID deaths in the U.S. passed the 500,000 mark, CNS grudgingly marked the occasion.

An anonymously writen Feb. 22 article noted that "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) issued a statement on Monday expressing her sorrow for the reported 500,000 lives that have been lost in this country as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic." Even then, the anonymous writer nitpicked the count by highlighting that "TheJohns Hopkins University website on Monday was reporting that the total number of U.S. deaths as a result of COVID-19 was 499,186."

CNS piublished this with the deliberately vague headline "Nancy Pelosi: ‘Every Life Lost is a Profound Tragedy’" -- which hid the actual context of the article -- and illustrated it with a file photo of Pelosi holding a baby, an apparent potshot at Pelosi's support for abortion rights, a partian political statement that was also irrelevant to the article's subject matter.

Jones returned to action on her abandoned beat in an article the next day, which she began by highlighting an even lower number:

Since January 2020, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has kept weekly counts of "COVID-involved" deaths in the United States, based on death certificates that are submitted on a lagging basis to CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.

As of Feb. 22, CDC's official COVID death toll was 467,585. CDC also counts 3,715,704 "deaths from all causes" since January 2020.

Jones then seemed to be complaining taht she had to do this article at all, claiming that marking the death toll was making it"politicized" before ultimately explaining while the CDC number is so low:

So the 467,585 COVID-involved deaths are 12.58 percent of total deaths from all causes. (CDC defines COVID-involved deaths as those with "confirmed or presumed COVID-19, coded to ICD–10 code U07.1.")

Almost every death, from whatever cause, brings pain and sorrow. But COVID deaths have been politicized to the point where they get special mention and attention, as they did Monday night when President Joe Biden and his wife marked a moment of silence for those killed by the virus.

Biden was marking the occasion of at least 500,000 U.S. deaths attributed to COVID. (The CDC count lags other tallies, based on when death certificates are received.)

Jones forgot to mention that she spent the past year politicizing COVID death numbers, downplaying summer and fall surges by comparing them to the initial surge last spring -- or that a CNS article the previous day dishonestly politicized a statement by Pelosi.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:59 AM EDT
Thursday, March 25, 2021
MRC's Double Standard on Politician's Sexual Harassment Charges
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has published dozens of articles referencing allegations of sexual harassment against Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo., with the usual whining that news networks that aren't Fox News aren't covering it enough (which, as far as the MRC is concerned, should be the lead story every single day). Many of these articles are written by Nicholas Fondacaro, who has a pathological hatred of the entire Cuomo family (he constantly denigrates Cuomo's brother, CNN host Chris Cuomo, with the childish nickname "Fredo"). But non-right-wing channels covering the story still wasn't sufficient for the MRC; it managed to complain that the non-Fox nets devoted too much time to harassment claims relative to claims that Cuomo allegedly caused coronavirus deaths in New York nursing homes by moving COVID patients out of hospitals to nursing homes during the initial surge of pandemic cases (even though it's hard to nail down a direct cause and effect). Sheesh, make up your minds, guys.

But as with the MRC's obsession with linking nursing home deaths to Cuomo, its obsession with Cuomo's sexual harassment accusations has a double standard.

More than 20 women have accused Donald Trump of sexual harassment -- and as we've documented, not only has the MRC largely ignored them, the women they didn't ignore were mocked and denigrated. E. Jean Carroll, who accused Trump of sexually assaulting her, was dismissed by the MRC as "weird," "bizarre" and "scatterbrained."

Back to Cuomo: A March 13 post by Tim Graham highlighted a claim that the first woman who accused Cuomo of sexual harassment faced a "smear campaign." This is hypocrisy, of course; in addition to its smears of Carroll, the MRC ran a campaign of denigration against the women who accused Brett Kavanugh of sexual misconduct after his nomination to the Supreme Court -- even bizarrely portraying the women as part of some vast conspiracy (literally; a column by Graham and Brent Bozell was actually headlined "The Vast Anti-Kavanaugh Conspiracy").

The MRC doesn't really have the high moral ground here, and we know that holding Republicans accountable for their sexual harassment scandals is simply in its DNA.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:23 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, March 25, 2021 9:38 PM EDT
WND Wants You To Think Its Fellow Violent Conspiracy Theorists Are 'Center-Right'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The February issue of WorldNetDaily's sparsely read Whistleblower magazine has the theme "Democrats' New 'War on Domestic Terror'," and this is the thesis:

However, this new crusade is not aimed at known, ultra-violent anarchist/Marxist revolutionary groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter, which spent much of 2020 rioting, burning, vandalizing, looting, assaulting and killing throughout America’s major cities.

Instead, the new war on terror is focused squarely on the millions of American citizens who enthusiastically supported Donald Trump’s re-election, attended his rallies, exercise their constitutional rights, believe the election was rife with fraud, and are critical of the radical policies being implemented rapid-fire by the new Biden-Harris administration.

That’s right. The "comprehensive threat assessment" of "domestic violent extremism" Biden ordered shortly after being sworn in as president – conducted jointly by the FBI, DHS and Director of National Intelligence – targets Trump conservatives, who are lumped in with the January 6 rioters, and even likened to terror groups like al-Qaida.

The cover went on to portray these Trump supporter as "normal, patriotic, center-right American." That, of course, is a lie: There is nothing "center-right" about leading an armed insurrection against the government or promoting Trump's bogus election-fraud conspiracy theories. And there is certainly nothing "center-right" about WND -- it's trying to move the Overton window to make its far-right extremism look mainstream and anything remotely liberal look extreme.

WND has indeed been hammering this theme. A Jan. 29 column by John Zawistowski ranted:

Make no mistake about it: This Biden "War on Domestic Terrorism" is nothing more than political posturing, and anyone in the administration or mainstream media that claims to believe otherwise is flat out lying to you.

No, a few hundred nut jobs storming the Capitol is not a "serious, ongoing national security threat"; however, the Democratic Party's inference about nearly half the country being linked to "insurrectionists" and "white supremacists" certainly is.

It is a fact that the FBI only finds and prosecutes less than 200 "domestic terrorists" per year. There is not, as this administration appears to want America to believe, a domestic terrorist or "white supremacist" hiding behind every tree. The FBI with all its resources could only find 183 of them last year out of 330 million Americans. Why, then, did the federal government order 26,000 troops to protect Washington in the days before and after the Biden inauguration?

The Biden administration's exploitation of this event to once again wrongly accuse the former president of things he clearly did not do, as well as to demonize and targeted Americans who did not vote for them and do not support their agenda for America, is reprehensible.

WND managing editor David Kupelian pushed this dishonesty further in his lead essay for the magazine, published Feb. 22 at WND:

The plain truth is, today’s ruling elite – which encompasses not just the Biden administration and Democrat-controlled Congress, but also the “mainstream media,” Big Tech monopolies and Washington’s massive, permanent “deep state” bureaucracy – are afraid of the 75 million American voters who supported Donald Trump, believe both the election and their nation were stolen from them, and consider the Democrats’ governing agenda to be deranged and destructive to the nation they love.

[...]

For one thing – although saying this is strictly forbidden by today’s ruling elite – it’s essential to realize that November’s presidential election was indeed rigged. Fraud was encouraged, aided and abetted in multitudinous ways, including, for example, the wanton disregard for, and flouting of, the constitutional rules governing how state elections are held in several pivotal states; this is simply indisputable. Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, dissenting from the majority, have just warned the nation of "catastrophic" consequences if the high court doesn't address the issue of state authorities "changing the rules in the middle of the game."  In fact, Thomas said, "The refusal to do so is inexplicable."

Moreover, all of the various species of election fraud came on top of Big Tech’s censorship of negative news about Biden, including the sensational – and entirely accurate – New York Post story on Hunter Biden’s laptop just days before the election. Likewise, Big Media refused to press Biden on any tough, substantive questions about his family’s epic corruption, his history of entirely fabricating stories, his serial plagiarism, his habit of radically changing his policy positions to their opposite (i.e., fracking) during the presidential campaign, and so on.

In a word, the 2020 election was stolen, and what’s more, the progressive oligarchs know it was stolen. (That’s why Trump had to be continually compared to Hitler, because cheating to defeat someone like Hitler is not only acceptable, it’s a moral imperative.)

We will remind Kupelian once again that his WND repeatedly likened President Obama to Hitler and other Nazis, so we can assume that was done to justify spending eight years lying about Obama and where he was born, since lying to defeat Hitler is not only acceptable, it’s a moral imperative, right, David?

Kupelian then went on to huff:

There’s more. Like all nascent totalitarian regimes, today’s Democrats feel compelled to conjure up a universally loathed and feared “enemy” for the purpose of uniting their voting coalition, one made up of wildly disparate, discontented and demanding factions with little or nothing uniting them – except a common enemy. It’s the classic strategy autocratic leaders have used throughout the ages to unite their subjects against an outside foe – and distract them from their leaders’ own malfeasance, hypocrisy and plunder.

For years, the “enemy” of choice was Donald J. Trump. But now that Trump is gone, the progressive ruling class is zeroing in on what was arguably the real enemy all along. Superficially designated “Trump supporters,” they comprise, more broadly and fundamentally, a gargantuan swath of normal, traditional-values, red-blooded, flag-saluting, Constitution-honoring, Bible-believing Americans.

Kupelian is engaging in pure projection here. Every Democratic president was the "enemy" in the eyes of him, Joseph Farah and the rest of WND, and his anti-Biden rants show how WND's editorial agenda is to denigrate Biden to a point where he will stripped of his humanity and, thus, allow even more vicious attacks that Kupelian will justify as what needs to be done to destroy the enemy.

Kupelian then laughably defended truth:

This is what undergirds this growing totalitarian impulse to crush free speech in America – to de-platform conservative voices from social media, to stage destructive riots to prevent conservative personalities from speaking on campus, to demonize conservatives as dangerous “extremists” and as a “threat to democracy.” Very simply, they represent the truth the left hates – and with which they are engaged in daily, internal mortal combat.

They literally can’t stand to hear the truth. It’s more painful than they can bear, like sunlight to a vampire; they feel as though it’s going to burn them up. They just can’t stand it.

This is more projection. We've caught Kupelian and WND spreading lie after lie after lie.

We are not afraid of the truth. But Kupelian and WND are.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:55 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, March 25, 2021 5:57 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: When The Story Turns, The MRC Hides The Truth
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center loves pushing right-wing narratives. But when those narratives get overtaken by the facts and make right-wingers look bad, the MRC either gets defensive or refuses to correct the record at all. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:24 PM EDT
CNS Dishonestly Floods The Zone On Dr. Seuss
Topic: CNSNews.com

When Dr. Seuss became a news item, mostly for the Seuss estate deciding to pull a few of his many books out of print due to their racist imagery that didn't age well in the decades since they were first drawn, CNSNews.com did its best to flood the zone. Craig Bannister started things in an article that got a separate but related story wrong:

The educational arm of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has bullied a Virginia school district into cancelling any mention of beloved children’s book Author Dr. Seuss on a pro-reading day established by National Education Association (NEA) to honor his birthday.

Every year since 1998, schools have celebrated “Read Across America Days” on Seuss’ birthday, March 2. But, the Loudon County, Virginia school system will snub Seuss this year, bowing to the demands of SPLC’s “Learning for Justice” activists, the Daily Wire reports[.]

In fact, as we've noted, Read Across America has de-emphasized Dr. Seuss and played up more diverse children's literature after the Seuss estate's contract with the National Education Association, which runs Read Across America, ended in 2019 -- which is the story the school district has told. The district also pointed out in response to bogus right-wing media stories like the one that Bannister relied on that Dr. Seuss has not been "canceled," only de-emphasized.

A March 2 article by Emma Riley on the Seuss estate's decision to no longer publish those offensive books was surprisingly balanced, though she repeated the false claim that the school district "made the decision to shun Read Across America Day after a push from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Learning For Justice Activists."

Riley also wrote: "In his Proclamation on Read Across America Day, President Biden made no mention of Dr. Seuss. Former President Bill Clinton, former President Barack Obama, and former President Donald Trump all paid tribute to Dr. Seuss in their Read Across America proclamations." She failed to mention the fact that the reason Biden didn't reference Dr. Seuss is because the Seuss estate is no longer contractually linked to Read Across America.

Riley also transcribed a Tucker Carlson rant  complaining that "They're banning Dr. Seuss not because he was a racist, but precisely because he wasn’t." She did not fact-check to point that the vast majority of Dr. Seuss' work remains in print and, thus, is not being "canceled."

Bannister returned to disingenuously complain further:

While today’s Cancel Culture is denouncing Dr. Seuss, alleging his work contains racist content, both then-President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have celebrated Seuss’ beloved children’s books and encouraged young Americans to learn the lessons they teach.

On Monday, CNSNews.com reported that six of Seuss' books have been discontinued due to complaints by those who suddenly find the books offensive.

But, at a White House gathering in 2015, Pres. Obama, an African-American, said that “pretty much all the stuff you need to know” about how to treat others can be learned from Dr. Seuss, Fox News reports:

No, Craig, people didn't "suddenly find the books offensive"; they were always offensive, and if Bannister had bothered to actually read the Riley article he linked to about rthe Seuss estate discontinuing publication of the books, he would have known why. And the Obamas' praise for Dr. Seuss for the majority of his work doesn't change the fact that those books do, in fact, contain racist imagery.

This sort of dishonest "news" content is why CNS appears to have little credibility.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:17 AM EDT
Wednesday, March 24, 2021
MRC Hides Facts To Defend GOP Governor's Abysmal COVID Death Rate
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Nicholas Fondacaro spent a Feb. 28 post complaining that "Face the Nation moderator Margaret Brennan singled out Republican Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota to be the target of her ire because of her fair handling of COVID in her state." But as we've come to expect from Fondacaro, he's being dishonest in his defense of Noem.

Fondacaro asserted that "Brennan mischaracterized Noem’s CPAC speech and whined about people cheering" -- but he never identified what, exactly, Brennan "mischaracterized" about the speech in which she took a shot at Anthony Fauci. Fondacaro sounded more like Noem's press secetary and less like the "media researcher" he purports to be as he jumped to her defense:

When Noem finally appeared on the show, she wasted no time in schooling Brennan on her lies. “Well, I’d like to respond to something that you said. You indicated I ignored medical advice, I didn't listen to my health experts. And I most certainly did,” she shot back. “In South Dakota, we took this virus very seriously. What I did though was tell my people the truth.”

Decrying how Noem refused to destroy small businesses and harm students with isolation via lockdowns, Brennan tried to distort reality by citing the state’s deaths per capita. “As of today, the CDC says your state has the eighth-highest death rate per capita in the U.S. That’s the rate of deaths per 100,000 residents. Don't you think your decisions as an executive contributed,” she sneered at her guest.

Looking at the numbers according to The New York Times, South Dakota had less than 2,000 deaths from COVID. And only seven on Saturday.

Fondacaro's claim that Brennan "distort[ed] reality" by citing per-capita deaths is quite hilarious when you know that three months earlier, the MRC's Kristine Marsh cheered Noem for citing per capita statistics as a way to "put the journalist [George Stephanopoulos] in his place" when he noted rising coronavirus cases and deaths in South Dakota. Only in the world of the MRC where Republicans must be protected at any cost would "less than 2,000 deaths from COVID" be considered something to cheer about.

Fondacaro went on to rant that "At one point, Brennan accused her of being personally responsible for seeding nearly every case in the Midwest, as if it couldn’t have come from anyplace else." But Brennan was specifically citing the annual motorcycle rally last August in Sturgis, S.D., attended by hundreds of thousands of bikers. Researchers say the rally may have been responsible for as many as 266,000 new cases of coronavirus at a public health cost of more than $12 billion. (State officials claim to have found only around 300 cases it could link to the rally.)

Fondacaro then played New York whataaboutism in an attempt to take the heat off Noem:

Back in reality, we know that New York had seeded most of the country as residents fled the state because of the lockdowns. And COVID deaths in New York nursing homes (roughly 15,000) greatly overshadowed the deaths in all of South Dakota. That’s not to mention that New York also spawned a new virus variant that’s worrying researchers.

Fondacaro provided no evidence to back up his claim that New York "seeded most of the country" with coronavirus. Also, he failed to concede that deaths in an entire state as big as South Dakota should not be competing with deaths in the close quarters of nursing homes (where, as much as he deseprately wants to, Fondacaro can't blame them all on Andrew Cuomo), let alone the entirety of New York, which has a much higher population than South Dakota.

This is yet another example of how the MRC tries to ensure the right-wing narratives it pushes trumps the facts.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:42 PM EDT
What Crazy Stuff Is Dick Morris Ranting About Now?
Topic: Newsmax

Discredited political pundit Dick Morris has been using his safe space at Newsmax to spout conspiracy theories and other craziness. What's he been doing lately?

In a Feb. 22 Newsmax TV appearance, claiming that the Supreme Court's failure to take up a dubious election fraud case shows that, as Brian Truesdell wrote, "the Supreme Court has been so intimidated by Democrats' threats of adding justices, it is ruling to preserve its own prestige." Morris then served up his alternative-facts version of the Pennsylvania case at hand: ""The Constitution says that the state legislatures shall set the rules, the legislature did, the [Pennsylvania] secretary of state violated them, they carried out the secretary of state's orders, congressmen sued, and they won't take the case." In fact, election law experts have said that the executive branch has the authority to decide how to implement election law, and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld the secretary of state's decisions.

In a March 1 column, Morris forwarded a nasty right-wing narrative in ranting about how purported senile President Biden is:

Can we begin to discern the opening salvos that could precede the unprecedented use of the 25th Amendment to oust or sideline a sitting president?

Joe Biden’s dementia has only gotten worse.

Recently, at a virtual appearance before the Munich Economic Forum he had a total brain freeze. "The most important thing . . . ," he began and then repeated, "the most important thing . . . " With added emphasis.

And then… a blank stare.

He forgot what he was saying.

Then followed five tortuous seconds of total gibberish, as he tripped over his words, about milestones and such that made no sense.

And this is the man who has his finger on the nuclear button?

[...]

If Biden shows further signs of dementia — and he will — this process could pick up steam.

And where is Vice President Kamala Harris in this possible coup d’etat?

An interesting question.

Morris pushed that sleazy narrative again in a March 9 TV appearance, summarized in an article by Truesdell:

Former presidential adviser Dick Morris suggested Tuesday that Democrats are "moving in [the] direction" of seeking to invoke the 25th Amendment that would remove President Joe Biden from office for being "unable" to carry out his responsibilities.

[...]

With growing frequency, more and more observers have pointed to Biden's confusion – such as identifying Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin as Sen. Austin, his statements as incoherent, and his failure to take questions from reporters since taking office has only fueled speculation his staff fears having to put him before a crowd where he could be embarrassed.

Earlier Tuesday, a Rasmussen Reports poll showed half of the American public thought that Biden was not "mentally and physically" able to be president.

Of course a Rasmussen poll would say that -- it skews right. Truesdell didn't tell his readers that, though.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:20 PM EDT

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