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Monday, June 14, 2021
MRC Defends Vaccine Misinformation
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has previously defended right-wing anti-abortion site LifeSiteNews' troubles with Facebook by falsely framing a suspention of the website's page as an attack on conservatives -- its usual narrative -- when it was actually about LifeSite publishing deliberate misinformation about coronavirus. When Facebook banned LifeSiteNews for good, a May 7 post by Kayla Sargent hyped the bogus "censorship" narrative, though she did finally give notable placement to the misinformation stuff:

Facebook quietly unpublished a pro-life page as the tech world focused on former President Donald Trump. The platform’s Oversight Board had an upcoming decision on the former president’s Facebook suspension when LifeSiteNews lost its page.

The LifeSiteNews Facebook page was removed on May 4 in what appeared to be the platform’s latest attempt to silence any dissent about COVID-19 vaccines.  A representative from LifeSiteNews told the Media Research Center in an email that Facebook had removed the page “for publishing this piece based on official government data.” The email included a link to an article titled “COVID Vaccines Can Be Deadly for Some.” The article explained: “[P]eople who have previously had COVID-19 will be at greater risk of adverse events if they receive Covid vaccination.” However, LifeSiteNews continued: “To be clear, this is a theory based on an understanding of immunology.”

LifeSiteNews has encountered Big Tech censorship before. “Much like when LifeSite was removed from YouTube, this comes with little surprise,” LifeSiteNews Marketing Director Rebekah Roberts said in a statement from the organization. “We have known this day was coming for months now.”

Sargent is hiding the nature of the misinformation that LifeSiteNews published. The article in question was republished from an apparently anti-vaccine website called The Dark Side of Vaccines and dishonestly used the government's Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System to falsely link adverse effects reported to it as solid evidence that the vaccine is killing people.In fact, many of the adverse effects reported to VAERS are incidental, there is no actual evidence linking the vaccine to deaths, and anti-vaxxers are misusing VAERS to fearmonger about the COVID vaccine.

Still, she devoted a paragraph to letting LifeSIteNews defend its misinformation:

LifeSiteNews also claimed that its content was based on evidence. Roberts continued: “Our LifeSiteNews Facebook page has been removed simply because we have shared reports of doctors, nurses, expert researchers, and even the former Pfizer VP speaking out against the COVID shots. We’ve also been tagged for the numerous articles we have shared making the connection between the COVID shots, and really all vaccines, and aborted baby cell lines.”

Sargent later updated her post to quote Ilyse Hogue of "the pro-baby killing National Abortion Rights Action League Pro-Choice America" cheering the ban because LifeSiteNews "are primary purveyors of some of the most toxic disinformation out there." strangely, she didn't a more formal statement by NARAL, Media Matters, GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign noting that the groups had compiled "more than 100 posts that proved LifeSiteNews’ repeated violation of Facebook’s related policies" -- which means she would have to admit that violation of Facebook's terms of service, and not purported targeting of conservatives, is why LifeSiteNews got banned.

This isn't the only source of vaccine misinformation Sargent has defended. The day before, she cheered -- under the misleading headline "Fight for Free Speech" -- how anti-vaxxer group Children's Health Defense is suing Facebook over an "alleged First Amendment violation" of "censorship." Unilke with LifeSiteNews, though, Sargent actually calls CHD's misinformation what it is, noting that it "falsely claimed on its website that 'vaccines can and do cause injuries including autism and many other adverse health outcomes'" and has spread wacky conspiracy theories abaout 5G technology -- but one can presume that it was because she also got to highlight that the group "was established by its leftist president, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr." -- thus trying to link liberals to vaccine conspiracy theories.Sargent made s=no such statement about LifeSiteNews.

Nevertheless, Sargent went on to whine that "Facebook has the power to choose who can participate in debate in the public square." She failied to mention that if you spread lies and misinformation in a civilized society, as LifeSiteNews and CHD have done, you forfeit your right to take part in that debate.

And as long as the MRC is continuing to defend fringe misinformers, it's coming close to forfeiting that right as well.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:18 PM EDT
WND Can't Quite Give Up On Election Conspiracy Lawyer
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've documented how WorldNetDaily loved lawyer Sidney Powell's uncorroborated claims and gushed over the "Kraken" lawsuit that was supposed to blow the election results wide open -- but soured on her after she withdrew that lawsuit in mid-January after facing actual and threatened defamation lawsuits from election tech companies like Dominion. 

It took a while, but WND is learning to love Powell's conspiracy theories again. In a March 1 article, Bob Unruh touted a claim she made on an obscure podcast that there is "more than enough evidence in the public now to more than reverse the election in at least five states." Unruh then made this curious claim: "Powell had promised in the aftermath of the Nov. 3 election to 'release the Kraken,' with lawsuits that would blow up the claim that the vote count was legitimate. Her lawsuits were rejected on prodecural grounds, however, and her claims never got traction."

Wrong -- Unruh apparently missed WND's own report that Powell was the one who withdrew the "Kraken" lawsuit and was not "rejected on procedural grounds."

Unruh gave Powell play again in a May 5 article:

One of the lawyers who fought, without a lot of success, to have evidence of fraud in the 2020 presidential election reviewed by the courts in America has delivered a harsh verdict on the state of the nation under President Joe Biden.

Sidney Powell, a former federal prosecutor, worked on cases that, had they succeeded, would have been to the benefit of President Trump.

They argued various state election systems mishandled mailed ballots, absentee ballots and even suggested fraudulent ballots, with huge dumps of votes all for Biden sometimes appearing in the dark-of-the-night hours.

She was interviewed on The Talk of Pittsburgh radio, the Rose Unplugged show.

"The world is absolutely upside down because this country is upside down," she charged. "They're feeding lies to the American people very single day. Just the fact that they're saying Biden is president is a lie because we've still got to resolve the election issue."

Unruh didn't mention that Powell is the one who has effectively admitted feeding lies to the American people. In a response to the Dominion defamation lawsuit, Powell's lawyers argued that she should not have been trusted in spinning her  conspiracy theories because "no reasonable person would conclude that the statements were truly statements of fact."

Unruh again claimed that Powell's "lawsuits over the election were closed down," failing to mention that Powell was the one who withdrew at least one of those lawsuits.

Unruh loves to peddle factually dubious reporting on the election -- even at a time when WND needs factually accurate reporting to pull itself of its ongoing financial black hole.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:25 PM EDT
CNS Gives Discredited D'Souza A Platform

Craig Bannister gives Dinesh D'Souza a plug in a May 4 article:

Identity socialism has taken hold of America by dividing people based on identity groups and creating new classes of heroes and villains, conservative Author and Filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza explains in a PragerU video.

In his video titled “What Is Socialism?” D’Souza says that identity socialism promotes division by defining who is “in” and who is “out” in American society:


Identity socialism has employed a long-term strategy to perpetuate itself, D'Souza says. By turning radical students into radical professors who teach its ideology to impressionable students, Identity Marxism could permeate American society to the point that “Even big business, the hated capitalist class itself, would succumb”:

Bannister offered no balanced, opposing view to D'Souza -- which means he failed to tell readers that D'Souza has a well-documented history of being wrong on so many things, to the point that historian Kevin Kruse effectively has an unpaid part-time job debunking D'Souza's numerous falsehoods. Because he's hiding the truth about D'Souza, Bannister also doesn't explore how it reflects on PragerU to give a fabulist like D'Souza prominence as one of its so-called educators.

Bannister is acting as a PR person for D'Souza and PragerU -- not a journalist. That's not a good look for an organizaiton that insists on calling itself "news."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:20 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: Whitewashing The Capitol Riot
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah has been working to minimize political damage on Donald Trump from the Capitol riot, portraying a dead protester as a victim and a dead police officer as a propaganda tool. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 8:57 AM EDT
Sunday, June 13, 2021
Superpowered Whining: MRC Can't Handle 'Batwoman' Addressing Current Events
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center really despises the TV series "Batwoman" for being somewhat reflective of current societal issues (as much as a superhero show can get away with, anyway). For instance: In 2019, it raged that Batwoman is the first lesbian superhero on TV, then whined last year that this has contined to be noted on the show.

Lindsay Kornick is the MRC's designated hate-watcher of "Batwoman," and this season she's been triggered by the show tacking racial issues -- and we know how the MRC hates TV shows, and superhero shows in particular -- that don't handle racial issues like the good little right-wingers they're supposed to be -- and a black character, Ryan Wilder, inheriting the Batwoman outfit. In a Feb. 21 post, Kornick complained that the show dared to be critical of the police, which apparently is forbidden:

The February 21 episode “Gore on Canvas” has both the new Batwoman aka Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie) and the private security firm known as the Crows working to find and recover a black-market painting. This painting, it turns out, can decipher the location of where a group of assassins is holding the previous Batwoman, Kate Kane. Unfortunately, Ryan has a visceral hatred for the Crows after a previous experience with them, and she makes that clear to the Crows' leader Commander Kane (Dougray Scott).


The Crows may be a private security firm, but the show is clearly using them as a stand-in for the police, from the ACAB acronym to the demand to “burn it all down.” ... A private security firm going rogue and hurting people in a city with a superhero who dresses like a bat is far from representing what’s going on with the police in our country. However, that falls perfectly in line with all the fiction we’ve come to expect from BLM.

In a Feb. 28 post, Kornick whined that "After demonizing the police, CW’s racial justice Batwoman has now jumped to demonizing doctors. Somehow, I doubt a world without either would improve the black community." Kornick went on to blame the show for causing black people to be afraid of getting the coronavirus vaccine: "Considering we’re currently in a country desperate to vaccinate all its citizens with black people among the most hesitant, the last thing TV shows should do is demonize doctors trying to do their jobs. Yet Batwoman can’t help but call hospitals racist for the sake of scoring social justice points. Even people’s lives don’t seem to matter to this superhero series. Thank goodness she’s not our hero.

On March 28, Kornick went after a superhero show for not fawning over the police: "In case it wasn’t clear before, CW’s Batwoman really doesn’t like the police. As a little reminder, the latest episode for the caped crusader promotes more Black Lives Matter propaganda for 2021, this time with a 'Defund the Police' message," further whining: "Batwoman is hardly the best arbiter of justice. Now I doubt that Batwoman even knows what justice is."

Kornick complained in an April 11 post:

CW’s Batwoman has gone from peddling Black Lives Matter lines to peddling Black Lives Matter conspiracy theories. If the past few episodes weren't bad enough, attacking private prisons and gun owners takes it to a whole new level.


It turns out the mastermind behind these crimes is the wealthy CEO of a private correctional facility. According to Batwoman’s research, he uses criminals from his prisons to target community centers and rewards them with time off their sentences. The reason he targeted the community centers is because they have successful programs helping at-risk youth. And according to Batwoman, "These programs keep kids from falling through the cracks, but you know who profits from the kids who do? Prisons."

Sounds like some terrible BLM prison abolition conspiracy theory come to life. And it only gets worse when Batwoman confronts CEO Ellis O'Brien on his crimes.


Fortunately, he’s later arrested, so justice is served, except for the fact that this is a nonsensical argument for the BLM goal of abolishing prisons. If you're forced to resort to insane conspiracy theories to have the moral high ground, then perhaps you’re not as right as you think.

But Kornick also isn't as right as she thinks. Research has shown that the presence of private prisons in a state tends to induce judges to give longer prison sentences in order to keep the facilities filled.

On May 16, Kornick grumbled that "It’s clear at this point that CW’s Batwoman’s mission is not to fight crime but to fight the police." After complaining about the storyline's events, she huffed:

The next episode promises to dive into this budding Black Lives Matter moment, but back in reality, we have to acknowledge the truth. Contrary to what this show believes, black people are not routinely shot or arrested for simply being black or pulling out cell phones. This show can make up whatever anti-police story it wants, but it can’t change facts. Unfortunately, this will probably not be the last time I have to say that this season.

Well, yeah, because the MRC is paying her to say that. Which brings up to her June 6 post featuring more of the complaining she's being paid to do:

Well, we can’t say we weren’t warned. CW’s Batwoman followed up its last blatant Black Lives Matter propaganda episode with an even more blatantly BLM-biased episode this week.

The June 6 episode “Armed and Dangerous” picks up right where we left off following Luke (Camrus Johnson) being shot by the private security team the Crows basically for being black. Unfortunately for him, his life hangs in the balance as he’s placed in a coma after losing too much blood. Meanwhile, Ryan/Batwoman (Javicia Leslie) tries to get to the bottom of the shooting to find justice for her friend and hopefully help save his life.

Of course, the episode makes it abundantly clear that Luke is only in this situation because he’s black and because the Crows, the show’s regular police stand-in, are racist. In fact, the Crows even let the real white suspect in a crime run away because they were too engrossed with shooting Luke. Even worse, they cover their tracks by falsifying bodycam footage of the shooting.


Contrary to this scene, nobody believes shooting victims deserve it simply because they are black. Also, contrary to the scene, Luke does survive, but Ryan is unable to find the real video to clear his name.

Nevertheless, Jacob Kane (Dougray Scott) follows Ryan’s advice to “burn it down” by formally disbanding the Crows and charging the Crows agents with assault with intent to kill. If you are confused as to how a system that needs to be burned down would still trust a police precinct to investigate and arrest people, don’t hold your breath. The show does not and probably will not explain it.

Just like Kornick never explains why nobody is allowed to criticize the police.

UPDATE: A June 13 post by Kornick raged against the latest episode: "With only two episodes left in the season, Batwoman’s in a race against the clock to squeeze in this propaganda, so it looks like they’re opting for the completely false route with their politics now." Kornick responded with more right-wing narratives: "The overwhelming majority of police shootings involve armed suspects or people resisting arrest, so police shootings don't just happen for 'no reason.' And talk of gunmen getting out of jail free makes sense if Luke is referring to the inner-city crime and gang bangers shooting people and getting turned back on the street thanks to lax bail laws."

Posted by Terry K. at 6:05 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, June 14, 2021 11:03 AM EDT
Rabbi Spero's Hypocrisy On Holocaust Comparisons

Loopy right-wing rabbi Aryeh Spero ranted in an April 9 column:

One would expect the commemoration of something as tragic and sacred as the Holocaust to be done in a respectful manner and not be manipulated for political goals. Such was not the case this week with Nancy Pelosi’s statement sent out on Holocaust Remembrance Day, known in Israel as Yom Ha’Shoah<. Instead, she exploited the murder of six million Jews by Hitler and his regime, using it to create a manifesto of Democrat false talking points and the demonization of millions of Americans associated with conservatism and who voted for President Trump. It was sacrilege and shameful.

The first principle regarding the Holocaust is as follows: It was a unique, once-in-history, genocidal plan to exterminate an entire race of people, Jews, across the globe simply because of who they were at birth. Unlike conventional warfare where antagonists may wish to eliminate those they are fighting, Hitler planned the systematic murder of those not only at war with him but those beyond the confines of the battle lines, searching for Jews worldwide even though they were not in the way of his territorial ambitions. They were murdered not for what they did or their conduct, but for simply being born into a people. While he did kill others during the war, the grand plan of Final Solution was specific to eradicating the Jewish people, no other group, from the face of the earth, leaving no trace of their ever having existed.


How dare she!! Invoking the Holocaust and the hate of Jews by Hitler when describing the Jan.6 protest in D.C. is blatantly dishonest, disrespectful of those murdered by Hitler, and propaganda at its worst. This is low even for Nancy Pelosi, the godmother of today’s political viciousness, a Deep State game plan of lies which politicizes everything, crushing the soul of those things noble for political gain, slashing and burning so as to achieve one-party rule.

But when extremist Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene last month ludicrously compared mask mandates to the Holocaust, Spero was silent. We could find no outrage from Spero over Greene committing "sacrilege" by likening a trivial event to the Holocaust, at CNS or anywhere else.

Note that Spero referred to the Jan. 6 insurrection only as a "protest." He went on to falsely insist that "virtually all" of the insurrectionists merely "slowly walked through the Capitol." He also served up a revionist take on the "Charlottesville lie" lie:

Pelosi talks of “Charlottesville,” the oft used Democrat talking point condemning President Trump for “siding with Nazi protesters." This is one of the great lies in American history, reminiscent of Goebbels, who taught: ”If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." President Trump immediately condemned the neo-Nazis marching in Charlottesville, but he rightfully argued that in the streets that day were other groups, not neo-Nazis, with valid concern over the toppling of statues of heroes to many in the South. President Trump was correct, and courageous and honest, in differentiating between neo-Nazis (white supremacists) and those feeling warmth and devotion to their history below the Mason-Dixon Line. Loving your native history does not automatically make one a “white supremacist."

In fact, a protest against removal of Confederate statues that Trump praised was organized by a group calling itself American Warrior Revolution, which considers itself a militia and later effectively blaming liberal counterprotester Heather Heyer for her own death in getting mowed down by a car driven by white supremacist James Fields Jr.

That's not the only bit of loopiness Spero has served up lately. In his April 27 column, he offered up a prayer to "help us stop those deliberately confusing children as to their natural God-given gender and forcefully pushing them to explore and even affirm sexual practices that are anathema to the innocence of childhood, that most precious and sacred phase of their life," adding, "Do not allow the so-called “woke” to teach our children to despise themselves."

Spero served up a similar prayer in a May 14 commentary that is supposedly about "Israel under attack":

But Lord, you have forewarned us in Scripture that “the wages of sin are sin” and that one sin begets another sin. Let us ponder this. It is inevitable that a side and outlook whose so-called “values” disregard the life of the unborn is indifferent to the holiness embodied in traditional marriage, often mocks biblical Christian observances, pushes to confuse our children regarding their God-given gender,  demonizes people born white, labels patriotic nationalism as something “extreme” and our country’s “greatest threat," that is ashamed of America’s founding principles and heroes, and labels its Caucasian citizens as systemically racist would necessarily, also, pressure Israel, question its sovereignty over Jerusalem, and cozy-up to Iran, and financially support Palestinian Arab terrorism. Yes, it is inevitable and predictable.

The socialists proudly call this “intersectionality,” linking all these vices into one, unified outlook. We, however, know it for what it really is: a repudiation of the biblical Judeo-Christian outlook. It is simpatico with evil and a rejection of that which is wholesome and noble. In the timeless, never-ending battle of Godliness vs. that which is Demonic, intersectionality has chosen the Dark Side.

In short: Spero is just as loopy and as right-wing as ever.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:58 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, June 13, 2021 3:59 PM EDT
Saturday, June 12, 2021
MRC Complains About Its Graphic Getting Fact-Checked
Topic: Media Research Center

As much as it loves to attack fact-checkers, the Media Research Center can't stand it when its own claims get fact-checked. (That's why MRC employees have blocked or muted us on Twitter.) So when the Associated Press fact-checked a graphic the MRC posted on Facebook -- you know, the place where MRC content does phenomenally well despite all the purported censorship of right-wing views -- Kayla Sargent devoted an April 22 post to complaining about it, mainly that the AP busted the MRC for making overblown claims that lack context:

Facebook’s fact-checkers are covering for the left’s huge election power grab in H.R. 1. A far left AP fact-checker spent 850 words trying, and failing, to debunk a graphic about the bill. 

AP News fact-checked a graphic from the Media Research Center on Facebook and claimed it was “missing context.” In reality, the AP fact-checker, far-left reporter Terrence Fraser, just didn’t like the language that the graphic used. 

The first point that the graphic made was that H.R. 1 would “OVERRULE Voter ID laws in place in 36 states.” Fraser responded by saying that the bill would allow “voters to affirm their identity using only their signature, but the proposed legislation only applies in federal elections.” But, as The Daily Signal pointed out, “states obviously can’t enforce their voter ID requirements if federal law says they have to allow anyone who just signs a form to vote.” 

Whether state Voter ID laws would, technically, remain on the books if H.R. 1 passes is irrelevant, particularly in states where a state election is held at the same time as a federal election.


Essentially, Fraser’s “fact-check” simply adds Democratic spin to the items in the social media post being reviewed. None of his points disproves any aspect of the post. The only way to avoid an opening for AP to claim the post is “missing context” would have been to include every one of the thousands words of the massive bill in the social media post, and even that likely wouldn’t have stopped AP from working with Facebook to discredit this post.

Ah, yes, "context" -- the thing the MRC loves to bust others for omitting but denounces when it comes to fact-checks of itself and its friends. If a statement requires caveats to be accurate, it's not an accurate statement -- and because of that, the AP dispantled Sargent's assertion that the post wasn't "disproven."

As if whining about getting busted for context issues wasn't enough, Sargent personally attacked the fact-checker for purportedly being "far-left":

Fraser’s biased analysis of MRC’s graphic is typical for far-left “journalists.” His bio on AP’s own website said that he “has worked for VICE Media, The Marshall Project and ProPublica,” three very liberal organizations. The Marshall Project has published articles such as “How Biden Can Reverse Trump’s Death Penalty Expansion” and “Why Is It So Hard To Prosecute White Extremists?”

Another bio from the Ida B. Wells Scholar program said that Fraser’s dream job is “to write for The Nation or do documentary videos for The Intercept.” Two more leftist journalism operations.

By the same standard, Sargent and her MRC colleagues fail ther objectivity test for being so utterly partisan. But Sargent will never bring that little fact up while attacking the alleged "liberal bias" of others -- indeed, she wants you to think that the MRC is not biased at all, a laughable fantasy.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:11 AM EDT
WND's Lively Melts Down Over Caitlyn Jenner
Topic: WorldNetDaily

There comes a time in every season of moral decline when "slippery slope" arguments become moot, because all of the terrible things you predicted on the long downward slide have come true and you find yourself in the stinking swamp at the bottom of the hill, covered in mud and surrounded by rats and snakes.

That's where we Americans are today with the normalization of transgender insanity. And by insanity, I mean the old-school looney-tunes, climb-on-the-table-in-your-birthday-suit-and-declare-that-you're-Napoleon kind of crazy. The keeping up with the Kardashians attention-whore kind of crazy where absolutely anything can be rationalized if it keeps you in the public spotlight. The Bruce-Jenner-as-a-drag-queen-version-of Ronald-Reagan running for governor of California kind of crazy. That's the bottom of the slope, folks – here we are.


Transgenderism is both a mental health problem and a behavioral disorder. There is no healthy version of it. It is by definition pathological. (Bruce Jenner is no more a woman than "Worf" of "Star Trek" was a Klingon.) To hold otherwise is to reject self-evident reality that any rational human can confirm by observation of male and female bodies – so perfectly complementary in design and function it is as if they were created for the purpose of becoming "one flesh" for the bearing and raising of children in families. That is of course, what the Bible teaches, but as Paul notes in Romans 1, the creation itself teaches that truth so clearly that those who fail to recognize it – and the Creator Himself in His Creation – have NO EXCUSE!

Here at the bottom of the slippery slope where there is no deeper depth of moral insanity to warn against – only more of the same in ever more grotesque variations as transgenderism morphs into transhumanism – there is no excuse for the conservative movement to mollycoddle the "loser conservative" traitors who helped get us here by falling into line with the left. There is no benefit to compromising with the crazy people or trying to win their approval by virtue signaling. The level of insanity is beyond affecting with strategy or guile. It's like fighting the undead, now: They can't be reasoned with because they have lost connection with reality.

The only thing left to do is fight like the Host of Heaven for truth and righteousness – and there is no more important target to defeat in that process than the walking political disaster formerly known as Bruce Jenner. No "conservative" should be allowed to support this deeply disturbed fake woman without serious push-back from the rest of us. Can we finally say enough is enough?

-- Scott Lively, May 10 WorldNetDaily column

Posted by Terry K. at 12:18 AM EDT
Friday, June 11, 2021
Newsmax Host Embraces Dubious Kerry-Iran Story
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax TV host John Bachman wrote in an April 27 Newsmax column:

Let's talk about Climate Czar John Kerry and his friends.

Kerry appears to be a lot more comfortable with people like Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif than people like Donald Trump.

Kerry's now in a bit of trouble after a three-hour conversation between Zarif and an Iranian economist Leaked out to the press.

A recording of that conversation - reportedly includes Zarif saying Kerry told him about roughly 200 Israeli attacks on Iranian interests in Syria.

As we've documented, this story is highly dubious, since Israel attacking Iranian assets has been public knowledge for years and it's unclear when, exactly, this conversation took place, given that Zarif appears to mostly be whining about being out of the loop in Iranian affairs.

Bachman went on to rant about Kerry once calling the Vietnam War "the biggest nothing in history," but this story that Bachman has embraced despite its lack of veracity -- for no other apparent reason than to engage in some lazy Kerry-bashing -- would also seem to be right up there.Indeed, nothing has c ome from the story since, telling us there's nothing to see here.

Will Bachman apologize to his viewers for getting them worked up over a bogus story? Doubtful.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:51 PM EDT
The MRC's Ridiculous 'Big Tech Report Card'
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's war against "Big Tech" has always been a partisan exercise because conservatives need an additional enemy. Now it fancies itself high-tech schoolmarms now by issuing a "big tech report card" that suspiciously reflects the MRC's political agenda:

By almost any measure, the first three months of 2021 were the worst ever for online freedom. Amazon, Twitter, Apple, Google, Facebook, YouTube and others proved to the world that the Big Tech censorship of conservatives is a reality. And they did so in disturbing, authoritarian ways that highlight their unchecked power over information and our political process.

At least 10 separate tech platforms silenced then-sitting President of the United States Donald Trump over the speech he gave in Washington, D.C. the day of the Capitol riot. Both Google and Apple pulled Parler from their app stores. Amazon Web Services also cancelled its contract with Parler, shutting the burgeoning social media site down for more than five weeks. Google removed LifeSiteNews from its advertising programs, and YouTube shut down its channel. YouTube demonetized Steven Crowder’s channels. Amazon removed Ryan T. Anderson’s book examining transgender ideology, and it also removed a Clarence Thomas documentary while continuing to sell at least 270 hate items.

That consistent assault on free speech makes 2021 an ideal time to track the biases and failures of Big Tech. Starting with this quarter and going forward every three months, the Media Research Center’s Free Speech America operation will grade the top Big Tech companies, including social media, search media and others that form the backbone of our online lives.

This quarter, Big Tech earned a collective “F.” Every one of the Big Tech companies reviewed got an “F” in free speech. That’s simply appalling. The quarter began with unparalleled restriction of the president of the United States. It was unquestionably the low point for online freedom since the creation of the internet.

Did anyone expect anything else from the MRC? All the grades are subjective, of course, and even then, the number of D's and C's on the "report card" should have brought things down to something higher than a overall F rating -- but who cares about accurate math when the entire thing is a fabrication?

Of course, while the MRC is perfectly happy to rant about right-wingers getting suspended or banned from social media, it's much less enthusiastic about explaining why they happened -- which means the MRC is effectively defending Trump inciting the Capitol riot, Steven Crowder's homophobia, Parler users' violent threats and LifeSite's coronavirus conspiracy theories.

There was also no mention of private property rights. Twitter, Facebook, et al, are private companies who have the right to do with their platform as they choose and to enforce their terms of service. The MRC doesn't believe that the property rights other businesses have apply to social media firms.

Needless to say, the MRC would never subject right-wing-biased social media platforms to the same harsh treatment. Indeed, they refused to do so, copping out by claiming they're too new while also vociferiously defending Parler:

Because these platforms are so new, there was not much data on how these platforms will moderate content. Parler’s guidelines already explained that it does not allow certain kinds of speech, despite what the leftist narrative has pushed. It also outlined a community review system where a group of users who were trained on what is and is not acceptable must have a majority vote in order for content to be removed. Parler also instituted a point system, which it has been transparent about, that can ultimately lead to users being suspended or banned from the platform. It has not really been the “Wild West” that the leftist media would have you believe.

Given the newness of these alternative platforms, the new platforms were not evaluated in this report card. As more data become available on what sort of content these platforms are removing and how they are handling user complaints, the new platforms may be added to future report cards. New free speech oriented platforms that will be monitored include Parler, Gab, Rumble, MeWe, Clapper, Telegram, Locals and CloutHub.

Also needless to say, the MRC again failed to disclose the conflict of interest that chief Parler funder Rebekah Mercer is also the biggest single funder of the MRC.

So committed, however, is the MRC to this ridiculous, meaningless "report card" that after Facebook reaffirmed its suspension of Trump, Heather Moon wrote a May 6 post headlined "Facebook Oversight Board Confirms MRC Big Tech Report Card with Trump Decision." It complained about Facebook's alleged lack of transparency in suspending Trump; but the MRC used to have comment sections on its NewsBusters post in which posters were banned for less-than-transparent reasons (like, say, pointing out inaccuracies in posts or not reinforcing right-wing narratives).

Moon never admitted that Trump used social media to incite the Capitol rioit -- she's not getting paid to do that -- but she whined that the "international makeup" of the Facebook oversight board supposedly played a role in keeping Trump suspended, though she offered no evidence to back this up. It doesn't matter that Facebook has bent over backwards to accomodate conservatives -- or that the MRC itself touts how well its right-wing content does on Facebook -- the narrative must always be followed, truthful or not.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:25 PM EDT
Fake News: WND Touts False Story Of Election Database Deletion
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Bob Unruh breathlessly wrote in a May 13 WorlNetDaily article under the headline "Maricopa bombshell!":

A letter from the president of the Arizona state Senate, which is conducting an audit of the 2020 presidential election results in Maricopa County, has a bombshell: County officials apparently erased an election database from a computer just before turning it over, under subpoena, for the audit.

"We have recently discovered that the entire 'Database' directory from the D drive of the machine 'EMSPrimary' has been deleted," the letter from Senate President Karen Fann to the Maricopa Board of Supervisors, and its chairman, Jack Sellers, notes.

This removes election related details that appear to have been covered by the subpoena. In addition, the main database for the Election Management System (EMS) Software, 'Results Tally and Reporting,' is not located anywhere on the EMSPrimary machine, even though all of the EMS Clients reference that machine as the location of the database," the letter says.

"This suggests that the main database for all election related data for the November 2020 General Election has been removed. Can you please advise as to why these folders were deleted, and whether there are any backups that may contain the deleted folders?"

None of that is true. As fact-checkers have pointed out, the Board of Supervisors denied any databases were delated, and indeed they never were -- a screw-up on the audit investigators' part simply hid them:

Snopes obtained a May 17 technical memo, prepared by the Maricopa County Elections Department in response to Fann’s letter and other speculation. In it, the department explained that, roughly speaking, those who received the server in question, on behalf of the state senate investigators, appear to have erred when using software to reconstruct those directories.

This in turn created the mistaken impression that the underlying databases and files had been deleted, when in fact they were merely inaccessible because of those errors. Backups of the original server still contained the databases and files in question, according to the Maricopa County Elections Department.


On May 18, after this fact check was originally published, one of the investigators tasked by the Senate with conducting the audit admitted that he had access to all the databases in question. At a special hearing on the audit, Ben Cotton, founder of CyFIR, told Republican state senators “I have access to that data,” and “I have the information I need from the recovery efforts of the data.”

As of this writing, WND has not corrected the article's false information -- suggesting that WND no longer cares about facts, though it sorta did for a time earlier this year.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:27 PM EDT
CNS Joins MRC Parent In Criticizing Trump's Continued Facebook Suspension

Since is more and more just the Media Research Center's agenda in inverted-pyramid format, CNS followed in its parent's footsteps and attacked Facebook's decision to keep Donald Trump suspended from the platform in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

In CNS' first story on the continued suspension, Susan Jones curiously waited until the sixth paragraph to mention exactly why Trump was suspended: for offering "praise or support of people engaged in violence" and "creat[ing] an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible." That was followed by Craig Bannister supplying a bit of whoredom for his boss, uncritically quoting MRC chief Brent Bozell huffing that the suspension means Facebook "gets its first opportunity to interfere with the 2024 election.” Bannister waited until the fifth paragraph to mention why Trump was suspended.

Melanie Arter went into her usual stenography mode, uncritically quoting former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows decrying the continued suspension as "a sad day for America" during a Fox News interview. Neither Arter nor, apparently, Meadows mentioned the reason why Trump was suspended.

Bannister returned to tout Trump's rant against his continued suspension. This time, Bannisteromitted any mention of the reason why Trump was suspended;' instead, he promoted Trump's then-new blog "to voice his opinions regarding important, national issues."

Arter followed up with a compliation of how "Conservative groups condemned Facebook Oversight Board’s decision Wednesday to continue to block former President Donald Trump’s Facebook page and Instagram account as “un-American” and an “obscene” abuse of power, pointing out that if it treated liberals like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) the same way, people would be outraged." Arter did not mention the reason why Trump was suspended, but the uncritically quoted Jenny Beth Martin ranting that Facebook's "claim that President Trump’s rhetoric contains ‘a serious risk of violence’ is laughable."

That was followed by another article from Arter:

Social media platforms “have a responsibility related to the health and safety of all Americans to stop amplifying untrustworthy content, disinformation and misinformation especially related to COVID-19, vaccinations and elections,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday in reaction to Facebook’s Oversight Board’s decision to continue to the suspension of former President Donald Trump’s Facebook page and Instagram account.

As reported, the board decided “it was not appropriate for Facebook to impose the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension” on Trump’s account.

Again, Arter failed to mention why Trump was suspended, even though it's the central issue.

On May 6, CNS published a commentary by Heritage Foundation president Kay Coles James attacking Facebook's decision to suspend Trump as "the wrong one, and one that all Americans, regardless of political affiliation, should be concerned about." She did not mention the incitement of violence that got Trump suspended in the first place.

The same day, Arter touted a Fox Business interview in which host Maria Bartiromo played whataboutism with  Democratic Rep. Debbie Dingell after calling for social media regulation to try and stop bullying and misinformation.

On May 7, Bannister promoted a (biased) Rasmussen poll in which "voters were asked about Facebook’s editorial decision to permanently ban Republican and Former President Donald Trump from its platform." Bannister offered no evidence that Rasmussen told readers that Trump was suspended for inciting and endorsing violence -- which, again, is central to the issue of his suspension.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:52 AM EDT
Thursday, June 10, 2021
MRC's Houck Extends War On Psaki (And Man-Crush On Doocy) To Media Profiles
Topic: Media Research Center

Media Research Center writer Curtis Houck has repeatedly demonstrated his unhinged hatred of White House press secretary Jen Psaki, and his concurrent man-crush on Fox News repoter Peter Doocy for his near-daily hostile questioning of Psaki. That same wild bias surfaced again regarding media profiles of the two.

Houck devoted a May 5 post to ranting about a magazine profile of Paski that didn't hate her as much as he does:

On Wednesday, Washingtonian magazine came out with a nearly-2,220 word profile of White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki that could best be described as a slobbering love letter that hailed her as a fact-based saint who refuses to play to the cameras, plays and works well with reporters, and represented a break from the belligerence and back-talking of the Obama and Trump administrations.

And unsurprisingly, the piece treaded carefully on extended criticism and pushback on Psaki and her administration colleagues until paragraph 22 out of 30. But before that? Plenty of phrases and words like “competence porn,” “personality that exudes from the podium,” “pleasant,” “unflappable,” and “well-qualified.”


Doing her part to laud Psaki, Goldstein contrasted her “measured” and “warm” tone that asked reporters how their families were doing with Trump press secretaries being “Trumpites” having “gleefully performed belligerence on camera.”

“Psaki succeeds by arguably doing the impossible: Her face and voice beam out of our screens on a regular basis, and she rarely draws attention to herself,” she later added.


On this theme of warmness, this was also a lie. Psaki caused a kerfuffle when she mocked the Space Force (and refused to apologize), dismissed the lack of action from Vice President Harris on the border, laughed at Peter Doocy's phrasing of the border crisis, questioned Kristin Fisher’s humanity as a mother and person, and was angered by the notion that Biden contributed to “systemic racism.” We could go on.

Yes, Houck certainly could -- hating Psaki is his job, after all. The Space Force "kerfuffle" is something Houck helped manufacture for no other reason to have a reason to attack Psaki. He's certainly never to to acknowledge Paski's humanity. And, of course, nobody is allowed to ever be critical of his man-crush.

Houck even managed to take some time away from his anti-Psaki rage to work in a tribute to his man-crush:

Though falsely treated by leftists as a carnival barker worse than even Jim Acosta, Fox’s Peter Doocy showed himself to be a far better man than the actual characters like Acosta and Brian Karem that Trump spokespeople had to deal with when he told Goldstein that Psaki has run “a very low-blood-pressure briefing room.”

If only we call could aspire to that level of civility in the face of nonsense.

Reminder: Spewing hatred at Acosta because he dared to ask questions of the Trump adminstration was Houck's main job in the Trump years.

Which brings us to a May 7 post, in which Houck complained that a Politico profile of Doocy wasn't man-crushy enough and spent too much time (which is to say, any time) likening him to Acosta:

Christopher Cadelago’s feature “Is Fox’s Peter Doocy Just Asking Questions — Or Trolling the White House” led with the build-up to President Biden’s March 25 press conference and what ended up not being “a titanic collision between” Biden and Doocy as Biden chose not to call on him.

Cadelago described Doocy as someone who had “positioned himself as the chief foil to the administration in the press room” and developed a journalistic decorum that was “courteous, crisp, [and] oppositional” yet had offered “laconic yet spring-loaded questions” to Psaki in early briefings.


Adding that the news cycle “can be seen as a distillation, in a single reporter, of the challenge facing Fox in the Biden era,” Cadelago said that Doocy has become “a smooth yet aggressive, social media-savvy correspondent who might feel like a fresh face on TV, yet is indisputably of, by and for Fox.”

And in the world of the liberal media where Fox is the enemy, that’s almost always going to be seen as a bad thing.

Cadelago even compared Doocy to carnival barker Jim Acosta of CNN, but said Doocy “rarely raises his voice” “jump[ed] into loud, heated sparing matches.”

Later in the piece, he’d return to this implicit comparison, saying Doocy’s “relentless jousting with the Biden administration has drawn more criticism from the left and even from some journalists at other networks” with complaints that “his approach” has been “intentionally provocative, in service of his own image and the network’s, as Fox tries to make its oppositional stance clear.”

No mention, of course, of Doocy pushing fake news by asking Psaki about a false story involving Kamala Harris' book purportedly being given to immigrant children (which the MRC later stealth-edited out of an item he wrote on the exchange). Houck grew increasingly perturbed that Doocy was likened to the despised Acosta, even bizarrely lashing out yet again at CNN's Oliver Darcy and descending again into Acosta Derangement Syndrome:

Conservative media Benedict Arnold and CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy was also predictably, insisting Doocy bears more resemblance to a divisive pundit than an actual journalist: “Doocy’s line of questioning fits neatly into the messaging pushed by Fox’s conservative newscasts and propagandistic primetime shows.”

Again, Doocy’s not someone who’d equate media criticism to death threats, meltdown over a period when briefs were audio-only or when he wasn't called on, stage a book signing, tweet a picture of himself looking at himself in the mirror, but that’s just us.

In response, a Fox News spokesperson told NewsBusters: “If you want to predict what CNN will cover, watch FOX News — it’s a good indicator of what their partisan activists will spend hours attempting to misconstrue for relevance and ratings.”

Actually, it is pretty much just you, Curt -- the fact that you can't let your rage against Acosta go appears to be some sort of mental issue. How does Houck know for sure that Doocy's not like Acosta? That's just wacky man-crushing. And why did Houck think he needed to get a comment from Fox News to respond to the Politico piece? It's almost as if the MRC is part of Fox News' PR department.

Houck concluded with one last bit of man-crushing:

Cadelago closed with an important tidbit that Doocy has largely stopped tweeting to better focus on his job and, not surprisingly “disputes the characterization of his job as one big troll.”

And perhaps most importantly, he makes clear that he’s not looking for his next break or job (even though Psaki’s tried and failed to help Resistance-types make Doocy look bad)[.]

Again, Houck doesn't know any of that. And when Doocy inevitably gets rewarded for his hostile questioning of Psaki with his own Fox News show, will he lash out at Doocy the way he did at Acosta when the same thing happened to him?

Posted by Terry K. at 8:36 PM EDT
WND Promotes Tucker Carlson's COVID Vaccine Misinformation
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily just can't stop pushing bogus claims about the coronavirus pandemic and vaccines as  "news" when it ought to be reporting facts to its readers. This happened again in a May 6 article by Art Moore:

Fox News host Tucker Carlson prompted a sharp reaction from critics Wednesday night after addressing the issue of how many people have died after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

Carlson explained he is "completely in favor of vulnerable people taking vaccines" (The CDC profile is a person older than 70 with an average of 2.6 "comorbidities," such as diabetes and heart disease). But he argued that the vast majority of the population, with a survival rate of more than 99%, should have as much information as possible to make a risk assessment.


Between late December 2020 and April 23, a total of 3,362 people were reported to have died after receiving COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S., an average of 30 people every day, according to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System, or VAERS.

VAERS is managed by the CDC and the FDA, Carlson noted, and "has received a lot of criticism over the years, some of it founded."

It's not unti lthe eighth paragraph that Moore finally gets around to mentioning that an actual doctor (which Carlson and Moore are not) pointed out that Carlson is wrong and that a fact-checker also discredited Carlson's claim -- adverse effects reported to VAERS do not constitute an established cause-and-effect, and that no death, let alone 3,362, has been found to be directly attributable to the vaccine. But Moore wants you to believe Carlson, not the experts:

However, Carlson pointed out in his segment that some critics have argued that VAERS undercounts vaccine injuries.

He cited a report submitted to the Department of Health and Human Services in 2010 concluding that "fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse events are reported" by the VAERS system.

"So what is the real number of people who apparently have been killed or injured by the vaccine?" Carlson asked. "Well, we don't know that number. Nobody does, and we’re not going to speculate about it.

"But it's clear that what is happening now, for whatever reason, is not even close to normal. It’s not even close to what we’ve seen in previous years with previous vaccines," he said.

Moore then called on Andrew Bostom further attacking thte VAERS system. But we've caught him falsely and maliciously blaming a measles oubreak on the entire Islam religion, so maybe his word shouldn't be trusted.

Moore then took then-candidate Kamala Harris out of context in trying to bolster Carlson's argument that getting the COVID vaccine should be a personal choice:

Last September, during the presidential campaign, a CNN reporter asked Kamala Harris whether she would be willing to take the coronavirus vaccine once it became available.

"Well, I think that's going to be an issue for all of us," she replied. "I will say that I would not trust Donald Trump."

A month later, at the vice presidential debate, Harris was more emphatic.

"If Donald Trump tells us we should take" the vaccine, she declared, "I'm not going to take it."

Actually, Harris went on to say that "If Dr. Fauci, the doctors, tell us that we should take it, I'll be the first in line to take it"  -- thus making her argument that Trump could not be trusted given that he was dangling a vaccine as a ploy to get re-elected, not an argument about individual choice.

Such dishonest reporting -- not Big Tech conspiracies -- is the reason nobody trusts WND.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:33 PM EDT
CNS Gets On Board With Anti-Cheney Narrative -- But Wasn't Quite Sold On Her Replacement

Despite its Media Research Center parent's insistence that it wasn't news, did, in fact, cover the story of Liz Cheney getting kicked out of House Repuiblican leadership for criticizing Donald Trump.

On May 7, Craig Bannister touted how "The union representing the nation’s border agents is endorsing Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) to replace Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) as chairwoman of the House Republican conference." Bannister didn't epxlain why CNS suddenly thinks it's OK for a labor union to speak out on partisan political issues, given its heavy anti-union record.

In a May 10 article, Susan Jones pushed criticism of Cheney from another GOP congressman and tried to make the case against her:

Cheney, the highest ranking woman in Republican leadership, does oppose the Biden agenda. But she disagrees with Banks and other Republicans on the future of the post-Trump Republican Party.

She infuriated her fellow Republicans when she voted to impeach Donald Trump for incitement of insurrection following the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Since then, she has called Trump's claim that the election was stolen a "big lie."

Cheney has made it clear she does not and will not have anything to do with Donald Trump, and unlike Banks and other Republican leaders, she rejects Trump’s influence on her party.

Jones did note that the congressman, Jim Banks, had to backpedal a bit from Trump's "Big Lie" about the election being stolen from him: "As for Cheney’s 'big lie' criticism of Trump, Banks on Sunday said, 'I've never said that the election was stolen. I've said I have very serious concerns with -- with how the election was conducted in last November because of COVID rules that loosened voter identification laws.'"

In a May 12 article, however, Jones was fully on board with the approved right-wing narrative and mad that the Cheney story drew attention from "activist media" (as if CNS is not "activist media"):

House Republicans say good riddance to Cheney, who voted in February to impeach Donald Trump, whom she accused of trying to steal the election and inciting insurrection. Many House Democrats used Cheney's own words to support their case for impeaching Trump a second time.

Meanwhile, the leftist, activist media is portraying Cheney as a hero, even a martyr to the anti-Trump crusade that still fills the airwaves and cable channels. For weeks, Democrats and the leftist media have showered Cheney with praise, using her to further split and weaken the Republican Party. 

Cheney, defiant, delivered a not-so-subtle message to House Republicans leaders last month, when she was seen fist-bumping President Joe Biden on his way into the chamber to deliver a speech to a sparsely attended joint session of Congress.

In another article that day, Jones served up even more right-wing talking points:

As Congressional Democrats seek to consolidate their power by attempting to federalize elections, make D.C. a state, pack the Supreme Court and end the filibuster -- moves that would squelch Republicans for years to come -- it was surprising to hear a defense of the two-party system coming from liberal pundits on MSNBC this Wednesday morning.

The conversation revolved around the anticipated ouster of House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney, whom Democrats and media activists are hailing as a hero, a woman of true integrity, for her outspoken anti-Trump stance.

Jones also boosted the anti-Cheney narrative in a third article, quoting Republican Rep. Jim Jordan saying that "You can't have the Republican Conference chair reciting Democrat talking points, especially when gas prices are up 50 percent, there's a crisis on the border, and Democrats are trying to federalize election law and pack the United States Supreme Court."

Bannister, meanwhile, returned to uncritically repeat Trump's insults of Cheney as "a bitter, horrible human being." And an anonymously written article complained that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement calling Cheney "a leader of great courage, patriotism and integrity. ... those values are unwelcome in the Republican party."

While CNS ultimately fully embraced the dump-Cheney narrative, it wasn't thrilled at first about her replacement, Elise Stefanik. An anonymously written May 10 article noted that Stefanik "boasted on 'CBS This Morning' in 2018 that she was among the 10 percent of House members who were most bipartisan in their voting." And managing editor Michael W. Chapman grumbled in a May 14 article:

Although Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wy.) from the GOP's No. 3 leadership post and replace her with Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), the ratings of Congress members by the American Conservative Union (ACU) show that Stefanik held a 44% rating.

In addition, the ACU ratings show several GOP women in the House hold far higher conservative ratings than both Stefanik and Cheney.

The ACU ratings, which are made by the organization's Center for Legislative Accountability, were started in 1971 and are considered the "gold standard" in showing how closely a lawmaker adheres to conservative principles. 

An anonymous article that day portrayed Stefanik as a flip-flopper: Rep. Elise Stefanik (R.-N.Y.), who was elected on Friday to replace Rep. Liz Cheney (R.-Wyo.) as the chair of the House Republican Conference, voted for the pro-transgender Equality Act when it came up for a vote in 2019. ... When it came up for another vote this February, she voted against it."

But CNS seemed to finally approve of Stefanik by May 17, when an article by Melanie Arter featured her attacking Cheney as "looking backwards" when Republicans must look forward and perpetually attack President Biden and his supposedly "radical agenda."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:18 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, June 10, 2021 3:42 PM EDT

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