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Tuesday, August 3, 2021
Trump's New Spokesperson Is A Former CNS Reporter
Topic: CNSNews.com

The Media Research Center loves to whine about the "revolving door" between the media and politics -- but only when it involves the "liberal media," not Fox News and the Trmp administration, and most definitely when it involves its own "news" division, CNSNews.com. We've documented how the revolving door works at CNS, and its current editor, Terry Jeffrey, is a former political operative, having worked for Pat Buchanan's presidential campaigns in the 1990s.

The current beneficiary of that revolving door is Liz Harrington, Donald Trump's new spokesperson and former spokesperson for the Republican National Committee. But from 2011 to 2013, Harrington was a reporter for CNS.

We've caught Harrington pushing bias during her tenure. She was one of the original reporters who added right-wing spin to CNS' unemployment data reporting, and she wrote several articles suggesting that any government money spent on researching LGBT-related issues was a waste.She also ambushed Sandra Fluke with a question about vulgarities used against Sarah Palin while censoring the fact that Rush Limbaugh used vulgarites against Fluke, and she misleadingly wrote about light bulb efficiency standards. We also busted her pushing a highly misleading claim about the number of food stamp recipients and putting words in a government official's mouth (more than once).

So, yeah, there's a fundamental dishonesty there that makes her a perfect spokesperson for the fundamentally dishonest Trump. Just don't expect the MRC to mention this the next time it rants about "revolving doors."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:22 AM EDT
Monday, August 2, 2021
MRC Mocks Toobin's Return, Silent On Fox News Host Accused Of Sleazy Sexual Behavior
Topic: Media Research Center

When legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin returned to CNN following a leave of absence after he got caught masturbating on a Zoom call with colleagues at the New Yorker, the Media Research Center was all too eager to make hay from it. Curtis Houck declared in a June 10 post that didn't skimp on details (which we don't feel the need to repeat):

CNN showed its aversion to decency, ethics, and journalistic principles on Thursday afternoon as the Jeffrey Zucker-led network officially welcome back chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin for an absolutely cringeworthy interview seven months after he was caught masturbating on a Zoom call with fellow journalists.

[...]

And with a “I’m trying” from Toobin, Camerota’s nearly 14-minute-long interview from hell was over.

And in the process, CNN made clear that while Fox News is the news outlet without shame, the WarnerMedia outfit has shown the world that, if you’re the right person who holds left-wing political views, all can be forgiven, no matter the sin.

Houck also rehashed Toobin's return in the NewsBusters podcast the next day, including regurgitating his lament of CNN portraying Fox News as"is the news outlet without shame."

Funny you should mention Fox News and its lack of shame, Curt. We've documented how the MRC largely censored the story of accusations of sexual harassment against Fox News hosts and executives; indeed, so lacking in decency was the MRC that it not only gave Bill O'Reilly space to respond to harassment charges against him, Tim Graham appeared on the final episode of what was Bill O'Reilly's Fox News show.

More importantly, the MRC completely censored all mention of charges of disturbing behavior against Fox Newshost Charles Payne; former right-wing talking head Scottie Nell Hughes accused him of coercing her into a sexual relationship with him. It was serious enough that Fox News suspended Payne for a couple months, but he was allowed to return. As we also noted, not only did the MRC omit mention of his suspension and return, it was so completely lacking in decency that the MRC's Joseph Vazquez did a suck-up softball interview with Payne that made no mention of the sexual allegations against him, and Vazquez declared afterward that it was "an honor and privilege of mine" to do the interview.

While the MRC is nonplussed by Payne's disturbing personal life, it feels free to mock Toobin for his:

  • A June 18 post by Abigail Streetman claimed a politician almost went the "full Toobin."
  • A June 23 post by Mark Finkelstein declared Toobin was "continuing his comeback tour after his Zoom-masturbation suspension."
  • On July 2, Alex Christy called Toobin a "disgraced" analyst.
  • Brad Wilmouth reminded us on July 16 that Toobin "masturbated on a Zoom call, but wasn't fired by CNN."
  • Finkelstein asserted on July 20: "Will it ever be possible to hear the name "Jeffrey Toobin" without you-know-what coming to mind?"

Meanwhile, Payne's sleazy sexual behavior isn't keeping the MRC from treating him as an honored elder statesman.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:16 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: WND's Ivermectin Chronicles
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily reporter Art Moore misleadingly promoted a dubious study from a pro-ivermectin group touting the drug's alleged effectiveness against COVID-19 -- and he pushed misinformation and fearmongering about vaccines. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 3:43 PM EDT
CNS Mindlessly Attacks School Board For Letting Parents Know About Child Tax Credit
Topic: CNSNews.com

We documented how CNSNews.com intern Elizabeth Nieshalla followed marching orders and churned out an article pushing right-wing narratives against a Virginia school board discussing "pro-transgender" policies for its students (without any mention of the fact that CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, helped incite the volatile atmosphere at one board meeting). A few days later, Nieshalla attacked the school board again for no real reason at all:

Two days after their controversial June 22 school board meeting, Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) sent out an email to families detailing and promoting President Joe Biden’s Child Tax Credit under the American Rescue Plan, which was signed into law in March of this year.

The LCPS School Board has been under harsh criticism by many parents who are concerned about the implementation of many of the board members’ progressive ideologies, such as a transgender policy that requires the illogical use of pronouns in reference to a person’s selected gender, as well as concerns about the anti-American Critical Race Theory and its variants.

Neishalla didn't explain why the school board informing parents about a new child tax credit is so offensive. Nor did she explain what the child tax credit has to do with the other initiatives that right-wingers have targed the school board for.

(She also didn't explain how critical race theory is "anti-American" either or why referring to a student by their preferred pronoun is "illogical," but then, she's just regurgitating right-wing talking points.)

Informing parents of a benefit they may be able to take advantage of is a responsible act by a school district, not a partisan act. The use ot a photo of a woman holding up a sign declaring "Education Not Indoctrination" is quite illogical in this instance, because the child tax credit is not tied to anything the school district does, and information is not indoctrination.(Not hating transgender people and informing students of racism in American history isn't either, but again, Nieshalla is all about right-wing narratives, not facts.)

Articles like this may help get Nieshalla find a job at a right-wing website, but legitimate news outlets would likely stay far away from someone who puts such blatant partisan propaganda before facts.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:05 AM EDT
WND Pushes Unproven Claims About Arizona Audit
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah has endorsed the dubious Arizona ballot audit and hid its many issues from readers, so it's no surprise that WND's "news" operation is following along. Bob Unruh wrote in a July 15 WND article:

The state Senate audit of the Maricopa County, Arizona, 2020 presidential election results has taken, so far, months, and the first stunning numbers were released on Thursday.

It was during a Senate hearing to listen to the auditors, from Cyber Ninjas, the company hired for the review, which revealed that, according to election records, more mail-in ballots were counted than were mailed out.

A lot more. In fact, 74,243 ballots were counted for which there is no corresponding record that they were mailed out.

[...]

Officials from Cyber Ninjas also said there were 3,981 people who voted who were registered to vote after an Oct. 15 deadline, there were 11,326 people who voted who were not on the rolls on Nov. 7, but were on Dec. 4, and some 18,000 voted, but were removed from the rolls after the election.

[...]

Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan explained, "Based on the data we’re seeing, I highly recommend we do the canvassing because it’s the one way to know for sure whether the data we’re seeing are real problems."

Meanwhile, a fact-checker found that there are questions about where its numbers came from, and that Logan would not explain:

A spokesman for Logan would not explain how he reached his 74,000 figure. But the number appears to have come from a lack of understanding of the data contained in early voting reports that state law requires counties to provide to political parties. Counties must provide two reports: EV32 reports, which show daily early ballots requests from voters, and EV33 reports, which show early ballot returns by day.

State law only requires counties to provide EV32 reports through the deadline for requesting early ballots by mail, while they must provide EV33 reports through Election Day. Some counties continue providing reports on early ballot requests after the deadline, but Maricopa County cut them off at the Oct. 23 deadline, said Sam Almy, a strategist with the Democratic campaign consulting firm Saguaro Strategies.

The EV33 reports would show the returns for all early ballots cast in-person at early voting centers through Election Day, but in Maricopa County there were no corresponding reports showing which voters requested early ballots at those centers after Oct. 23, Almy said.

Unruh went on to complain that "While Democrats up and down the ladder of government influence have tried to close down the audit, the media has not been on the sidelines. The Associated Press has characterized the Arizona state Senate's audit of 2020 presidential election ballots in Maricopa County as an effort prompted by the 'fraud fantasies' of Republicans." He didn't tell readers that a hosts and reporters for the right-wing One America News channel have been raising money to pay for the audit, which places right-wing media directly on the playing field in a much more active way than Unruh accuses the Associated Press of being.

Unruh has not corrected his article, nor is there an update on the audit correcting the misinformation anywhere at WND.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:50 AM EDT
Sunday, August 1, 2021
PROPAGANDA: MRC's Websites Aggressively Promote Levin's New Book
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has always been buddy-buddy with right-wing radio host Mark Levin -- a reliable promoter and defender of his work and reliable hider of his messes -- but the weekend of July 9-11 was a full-on Mark Levin Weekend at the MRC.

Levin had just released a new book, "American Marxism," your typical right-wing polemic against anything that's not pro-Trump conservativsm. But someone decided the book needed a publicity boost, and the MRC was amenable. Cue MRC chieef Brent Bozell doing an interview with Levin. A clip of the interview first surfaced at the MRC's NewsBusters on July 9, in which "Levin cautioned about the censorship of those who would dare oppose the modern-day Gestapo." (Gee, we thought the MRC believed that Nazi references were too over-the-top.) This was followed about three hours later with another clip, in whic "Bozell asked Levin about his chapter on "Propaganda, Censorship, and Subversion," adding that "You can read Bozell's positive book review at Breitbart, where he called it Levin's most important book ever."

A half-hour after that, were were graced with "the FULL discussion between Bozell and Levin, in which the two discuss the book, the propagandistic media, and the threat to our nation" -- which clocks in at a little under 15 minutes, so it's not all that extensive. Bozell was in full gush mode, touting Levin as a "wise man" who engages in "full scholarship," frothing over the book as "so timely, so important, so thorough." Ironically, the embedded video of the interview came from YouTube, which the MRC wants you to think is constantly censoring conservatives for everything. Apparently not.

And then an interesting thing happened: That interview remained the top story at NewsBusters all weekend, even though the website normally rotates new articles in the top spot as they are published. And that's not the only place in the MRC-verse where that happened.

Over at CNSNews.com -- which devotes dozens of "news" articles each year to uncritically repeating thet pearls of wisdom that pour forth from Levin's mouth -- a July 9 article by Craig Bannister featured a clip from the Bozell-Levin interview, followed by a link to the entire interview -- which sycophantically called Levin "The Great One" in the headline and embedded the YouTube version of it -- and that remained the top story there all weekend.The same day, CNS republished Bozell's fawning Breitbart review of the book (which, given what we know about the MRC's history, was probably ghost-written by Tim Graham). Then, MRCTV -- the MRC's video-focused website, posted (the YouTube cliip of) the Bozell-Levin interview and made it its main story all weekend as well; it also posted a separate item from Gabriel Hays touting another clip from the interview.

We contacted the MRC for an explanation of the unusual promotion and whether Levin's publisher paid the MRC for the privilege, but it never responded.

That wasn't the end of the MRC's aggressive promotion of Levin and his book:

  • A July 12 CNS article by Ashilanna Kreiner plugged Lein plugging his own book on his Fox News TV show.
  • A July 14 CNS article by Craig Bannister gushed that "Former President Donald Trump is praising Constitutional Scholar and Author Mark Levin’s new book, 'American Marxism,' for pulling the veil off the Marxist ideology being deceptively peddled in the U.S. - not just by Democrats and the Biden Administration - but by schools, media, corporations and entertainment." Bannister didn't mention, however, that Trump's plug was largely a copy-and-paste of the publisher's promotional copy (as he is wont to do).
  • MRC executive Tim Graham dedicated his July 16 column to rhapsodizing over Levin's bnook and whining that CNN's Brian Stelter criticized it.
  • Both NewsBusters and CNS published columnist David Limbaugh's endorsement of the book.

It's ironic that a book claiming to be about Marxism is being promoted by the MRC in such a Marxist way, in which we are told what to believe about the book, no criticism of it is allowed and those who offer any are attacked and denounced.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:12 PM EDT
CNS' Hot Pestering Intern Summer, Round 4
Topic: CNSNews.com

For its fourth round of gotcha questions to unsuspecting members of Congress, CNSNews.com interns asked them, "Should public schools and colleges be able to mandate that students be vaccinated for COVID-19?" The senatorial targets this time:

Of course, the point of this exercise is to give an opportunity for Republican senators to virtue-signal against mandates while excoriating Democrats who support local decisions and reliance on what the science shows.

Some of these articles added fearmongering about the vaccine: "Since April 21, 2021, over a thousand cases of myocarditis and pericarditis, heart inflammatory diseases, have been reported in young people after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, as is reported on the CDC’s website. However, the CDC is still encouraging children 12 and up to get the vaccine, claiming the benefits outweigh the risks."

Ambushing politicians with gotcha questions might be a good way to pad an intern's resume, but they don't learn much about fair and objective journalism by doing this.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:23 PM EDT
Saturday, July 31, 2021
The MRC Is Ready To Rumble
Topic: Media Research Center

Just as it has with Gab and Parler, the Media Research Center has been promoting another new "free speech" platform -- with "free speech" actually meaning "friendly to far-right activists."

A November post by Kayla Sargent claimed that "Just as many conservatives are leaving Facebook and Twitter for Parler, some have also begun to leave YouTube for a different video-sharing platform," adding that Rumble," adding that "has experienced massive growth in the weeks following the election." In December, Alexander Hall touted how far-right TV outlet One America News "proclaimed that it will switch to Rumble, a free speech alternative to YouTube," going on to claim that YouTube "has actively undermined OAN as a news organization" by "violating YouTube’s COVID-19 misinformation policy and for expressing concern about alleged presidential election problems.

Of course, that requires translation from right-wing-speak as well.Hall linked to previous posts noting that OAN was dinged for uploading a video promoting a false cure for the COVID-19 virus, and OAN videos falsely claimed that "Trump won."Hall also claimed that YouTube had "undermined OAN as a news organization" by stating that it "does not consider OANN an authoritative news source" -- which, of course, is a statement of fact that Hall made no effort to counter in any of those posts.

In January, a post by Sargent began with the lie that "The left is trying hard to shut down free speech-oriented social media platforms like Parler and Rumble," then touted how Rumble was suing Google for not giving it special treatment in its search engine. In February, Casey Ryan highlighted how "Donald Trump Jr. decided to lead the charge in combating Big Tech by joining YouTube alternative Rumble," going on to claim that YouTube has "increasingly cracked down on conservative content in recent months." But as with its other attacks on "Big Tech," Ryan never proves that YouTube has ever exclusively targeted mainstream conservative content.

It took both Sargent and Michael Morris to write what was essentially an April 23 press release for their employer (which some people might call whoring):

In response to Big Tech's continued onslaught of censorship against conservatives, the Media Research Center has decided that we've had enough and so we've created a channel on Rumble to promote the use of free-speech-oriented platforms.

Rumble, an established video platform as a free-speech-oriented alternative to YouTube, will be yet another avenue for conservatives to see the work of the MRC.

MRC founder and President L. Brent Bozell said about the move: “I am proud to announce that the Media Research Center is officially on Rumble. As Big Tech uses its monopolistic grip over speech to silence conservatives, it is ever more important to adopt and support social media platforms that defend our freedom of speech. Starting now, you can find MRC’s video content on Rumble. Follow us and help us fight back against Silicon Valley’s leftist agenda!”

While Sargent and Morris declared that "Rumble is important because YouTube’s censorship is particularly egregious," no evidence was again offered that YouTube is exclusively "censoring" mainstream conservative content.

On May 20, Sargent touted investment from rich right-wingers in Rumble (not that she bothered to identify their ideology in her piece):

Free speech-oriented alternatives like Rumble have grown in popularity as Big Tech companies like YouTube have increasingly censored conservative voices. And Rumble’s newfound popularity has particularly attracted the attention of a couple notable investors.

PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance have both made investments in the free speech-oriented video platform Rumble. Thiel and Vance’s investments have appeared to garner support from other conservatives and right-leaning groups for the platform as well. The Wall Street Journal (The Journal) reported: “The investment is being led by Narya Capital, a Cincinnati-based venture-capital fund co-founded by Mr. Vance and Colin Greenspon, and by Mr. Thiel, who is also a Narya investor, in a personal capacity. Colt Ventures, the family office of Dallas investor and former Trump adviser Darren Blanton, is also part of the investment group.”

[...]

Rumble saw a massive increase in downloads in November following the presidential election. The Media Research Center (MRC) also joined Rumble in April in response to Big Tech’s continued onslaught of censorship against conservatives. Rumble has established its video platform as a free speech-oriented alternative to YouTube. 

In a June 27 item, Autumn Johnson giddily squealed in her headline, "He's BACK!":

Former President Donald Trump has joined YouTube alternative Rumble.

Trump’s account is verified and has just one video so far, an upload of Saturday’s rally in Ohio.

Several prominent conservatives have also joined Rumble. Charlie Kirk, Sean Hannity, Dan Bongino, and Donald Trump Jr. all have accounts.

YouTube suspended the former president’s official YouTube channel in January.

Johnson went on to declare, "YouTube has been a long-time enemy of the former president." How does YouTube enforcing its terms of service, which every user of the platform must follow, make it an "enemy"?


Posted by Terry K. at 10:51 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, August 1, 2021 3:38 PM EDT
How Is WND (And CNS) Columnist Ilana Mercer Being A White Nationalist These Days?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It's been a while since we checked in on WorldNetDaily (and CNSNews.com) columnist Ilana Mercer -- and we see she's continuing her slide into full-blown white nationalism. She ranted in her May 6 column:

Institutionalized, systemic anti-whiteness, yoked to white-hot hatred of whites: That is the creed that is fast becoming entrenched across state and civil society in the U.S.

Chiseled down, these are also the building blocks of Critical Race Theory, a specious, sub-intelligent concoction, originated by sub-par intellectuals.

The Critical Race project now pervades private and political life.

A further twist of the screw (or the shrew) was delivered recently by Vice President Kamala Harris, who insists on yammering about white America's historic racism.

In practice, whites are being singled out for a punishing, institutionalized program of reeducation, subjugation and continued intimidation.

She went on to invoke her native South Africa, complaining that "As an organizing principle, however, South Africa's political, economic and social institutions are firmly anti-white. They imperil whites as a principle." She conveniently omitted mention of South Africa's decades of apartheid, when the country's political, economic and social institutions are firmly anti-black. (Remember, Mercer is trying to have it both ways on apartheid, denouncing it as a racial tool but making an intellectual case for it as an anti-communist tool.)

In her May 27 column, Mercer continued her argument that critical race theory must be stopped to save white people:

Nobody will utter the words "anti-white," or articulate the "anti-white" essence of Critical Race Theory. CRT is always euphemized as things other than a hatred of whites and a resolve to blacken them. Always.

White kids are Critical Race Theory's innocent targets in schools. Yet not one of the anointed critics of the critical-race bile has stated the obvious, and that is that, while white kids are brow-beaten, black and brown kids are buoyed by Critical Race Theory. They come up smelling like roses and punching like knock-out game champions.

Not one of Critical Race Theory's conscientious objectors has said, "Whites. White kids": The true victims of the critical race miseducation are white kids, as they are the sole repository of hate and aggression in this critical-race blitzkrieg.

[...]

Critical Race Theory's central project is to make whites accept dhimmitude, not socialism. (If the practitioners of anti-whiteness, who already practice capitalism as consumers and producers in a market economy, were converted to theoretical capitalism – would their anti-whiteness dissipate? Naturally not.)

"Dhimmi" -- a word that refers to the ancient Muslim practice of allowing those to decline to convert to Islam to live -- is a word almost exclusively invoked today by anti-Muslim activists to suggest that the practice is going on now to some extent. Here, Mercer's use of the word is weirdly suggesting that CRT advocates want to make white people second-class citizens -- or, as she continued to huff, "Differently put, white lives matter less."

In her June 10 column, Mercer raged against a psychiatrist named Aruna Khilanani -- who she renamed "KhilaWhiteMan" because "It's apropos – and 'white privilege' makes it hard for me to pronounce her name" -- expressing a fantasy to kill white people:

For her murderous fantasies against the pigmentally deficient, Dr. KhilaWhiteMan ought to have been criminally profiled by the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit. This primitive reptilian brain might be a danger to the community waiting to happen.

Instead, morality has been inverted. Rather than being hobbled by her deviant views and disgusting demeanor, Dr. KhilaWhiteMan has been approved and elevated at every step of her privileged romp through America's institutions.

Someone in authority invited such scum of the earth to give a talk to the nation's top university, Yale, an intellectual s**thole, really.

Someone high-up approved of, even liked, the topic of this vile woman's address, which was, "The Psychopathic Problem of the White Mind."

A system designed to marginalize white Americans selected Khilanani to train as a healer, a psychiatrist, ministering to vulnerable others.

This mental pigmy, whose expressed aspiration is to terrorize whites, has been put through America's professional ringer. Khilanani is a proud product of America: She has emerged from an educational system that has approved of her at every step of the way. Prestigious medical bodies and institutions have given her the go-ahead to ply her profession.

Remember, Mercer hangs out with the likes of VDARE -- which published the preface to her book "Into the Cannibal's Pot."

In the meantime, Mercer has posted videos of interviews she did with right-wing British blogger and politician David Vance --  who was kicked off Twitter last fall for a history of racism. The company you keep and all that.

UPDATE: In her June 17 column (also published at CNS), Mercer cheered that Charles Murray -- a social scientist who's best known for pushing the racist idea that other races are inferior to whites -- allegedly confirmed the "analytical truths" in her book. She declared that "generalizations about certain group characteristics are, in aggregate, valid," then rehashed an August 2020 WND column in which she wrote that "Systemic racism is most certainly not 'the only plausible explanation' for the lag in the fortunes of African-Americans, although, as it stands, systemic racism is inferred solely from one single fact: In aggregate, African-Americans trail behind whites in assorted academic and socio-economic indices and achievements." She concluded: "It is what it is. Aggregate group differences in achievement, athleticism and inhibition-control are here to stay."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:48 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, August 1, 2021 6:26 PM EDT
Friday, July 30, 2021
MRC Psaki-Bashing, Doocy-Fluffing Watch, Holiday Edition
Topic: Media Research Center

It was a slow week for the Media Research Center's Curtis Houck after Independence Day -- he didn't have Peter Doocy to man-crush over at the White House press briefints, which seemed to make him less interested in full-out bashing of Jen Psaki. So his offering for the July 6 White House press briefing could be summed up this way: I can't man-crush on Peter Doocy, but I can spew hate at other reporters!

With Fox’s Peter Doocy away from Tuesday’s White House press briefing, interest shifted elsewhere for NewsBusters and, thankfully, CNN political analyst and Grio correspondent April Ryan beclowned herself with questions from the left on civil rights, voting, and white supremacists. This included the insane assertion from Ryan to Press Secretary Jen Psaki that voting rights have “collapsed” with GOP laws and the failure of the For the People Act.

Houck's only other entry for that week was for the July 9 briefing, where he did latch onto other right-wing reporters:

Friday’s White House press briefing featured an important and welcome surprise as CBS senior White House correspondent Weijia Jiang used her front-row spot in the Briefing Room to repeatedly question Press Secretary Jen Psaki about the administration’s role in the upcoming sale of Hunter Biden’s art collection in New York City.

And besides Jiang, the other notable questioners were less surprising (but nonetheless equally important) as Real Clear Politics’s Philip Wegmann asked about critical race theory and the origins of the coronavirus while the New York Post’s Steven Nelson asked about the extent to which President Biden was involved in his son’s shady business dealings.

Houck went on to complain about a "far-left voting rights question," though he never equivalently identified Wegmann or Nelson as "far-right."

Life is apparently dull for Houck when he can't man-crush on Doocy.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:27 PM EDT
WND Touts Retracted, Discredited Study On COVID Vaccines
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An anonymously written July 4 WorldNetDaily article stated:

Those mask mandates imposed for the COVID pandemic could be hurting kids, and the vaccines could be killing them, according to a new Just the News report that cites several medical journals and studies.

"Measured carbon dioxide content in 'inhaled air,' observed in a study of masked German schoolchildren, was at least three-fold higher than German law allows, according to a research letter published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics," the report said. And, "Last week, the journal Vaccines, affiliated with the American Society for Virology, published research that estimates every three COVID-19 deaths prevented by vaccination are offset by two deaths 'inflicted by vaccination,' using Israeli and European data."

Masks and vaccines -- and lockdowns -- have been among America's main responses to the virus that likely originated with a Chinese lab in Wuhan that works with the Chinese Communist Party's military.

Those defensive strategies were adopted over treatments with ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine that some studies have suggested are effective against the virus.

[...]

The report said the review in Vaccine estimated the "number needed to vaccinate" (NNTV) to prevent one COVID-19 death, using a million-person Israeli field study and "the most prominent trial data from regulatory phase 3 trials."

It looked at fatal side effects and more.

"Simply put: As we prevent three deaths by vaccinating, we incur two deaths," according to the paper, though looking at phase 3 trial data alone, the "optimum case" is four deaths caused and 33 lives saved by vaccines, Just the News reported.

WND soft-pedaled questions about the Vaccines study, stating only in the final paragraph of the article that "The publication days after releasing the results expressed doubts about what it documented, and said it was investigating." In fact, the fallout has been much more devastating.

Several vaccinaologists and virologists resigned from the journal's editorial staff in the wake of the study, with one of them pointing out that "The data has been misused because it makes the (incorrect) assumption that all deaths occurring post vaccination are caused by vaccination." It was also noted that none of the paper’s authors is trained in vaccinology, virology, or epidemiology. The journal retracted the paper on Julyi 2 -- two days before the WND article was published -- agreeing that data was misinterpreted. Fact-checkers have noted how thehighly flawed paper is being used by anti-vaxxers (like, you know, WND) to spread fear about COVID vaccines.

Again, all this happened before WND's article was published -- meaning that WND was simply too lazy to do any actual reporting and just copied-and-pasted the 3-day-old report from the dubious right-wing operation Just the News. As of this writing, the WND article has not been corrected, and there's no correction anywhere else on the website.

But there's someone else that comes off just as bad, which WND also copied from the Just the News report:

Jane Orient, chief of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, said the Vaccine paper "is an excellent and much needed analysis."

But she thinks the risk-benefit ratio is likely to be "much worse" than the paper's authors estimate.

Yeah, that didn't age well. Neither has the idea that WND wants people to pay for the privilege of reading such shoddy journalism. It's especially embarassing (or it would be if Joseph Farah was capable of shame) as WND begs yet again for money to keep it alive.

UPDATE: Oh, about the other study promoted in the article, which claimed that the carbon dioxide levels in the inhaled of masked German schoolchildren? That one's been retracted too:

In the retraction notice, the journal editors cited "numerous scientific issues," that also included questions over the applicability of the CO2 measurement device and the validity of the study conclusions.

"In their invited responses to these and other concerns, the authors did not provide sufficiently convincing evidence to resolve these issues, as determined by editorial evaluation and additional scientific review," the notice read. "Given fundamental concerns about the study methodology, uncertainty regarding the validity of the findings and conclusions, and the potential public health implications, the editors have retracted this Research Letter."

The study quickly fell under criticism after it was published. Joseph Allen, MPH, DSc, who studies the impact of carbon dioxide on human health at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, called the study "terribly flawed" and predicted on Twitter that it would be retracted. His key complaint was that the study failed to account for the outside air that would flood in when the children inhaled.

So WND has gone 0-for-2 on bogus reporting in a single article. Needless to say, it has not told this to its readers. Instead, it also promoted the bogus German study in a July 9 article by Bob Unruh.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:01 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, July 30, 2021 4:25 PM EDT
MRC Flip-Flops, Trashes Tax Study It Had Praised When It Criticized Soros
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's designed Soros-hater, Joseph Vazquez, served up more hate in a June 9 post:

Liberal billionaire George Soros signed an open letter in 2019 calling on 2020 presidential candidates to adopt the infamous “wealth tax” on the rich. But he reportedly paid no federal income tax three years in a row.

Soros-funded outlet ProPublica published a report exposing how “Soros paid no federal income tax three years in a row.” A Soros spokesman reportedly told ProPublica: “‘Between 2016 and 2018 George Soros lost money on his investments, therefore he did not owe federal income taxes in those years. Mr. Soros has long supported higher taxes for wealthy Americans.’” But as The Dan Bongino Show’s Matt Palumbo noted, “the performance of Soros Fund Management, the fund responsible for Soros’ massive wealth, gained 5% in 2016, 8.9% in 2017, and 0.9% in 2018. Where exactly is the loss that they’re speaking of?”  [Emphasis added.]

Soros signed an open letter in 2019 calling on presidential candidates to adopt a wealth tax on the top one-tenth of one percent. The letter reeked of left-wing propaganda: “Those of us in the richest 1/10 of the richest 1% should be proud to pay a bit more of our fortune forward to America’s future. We’ll be fine — taking on this tax is the least we can do to strengthen the country we love.” In essence, it appeared Soros was being hypocritical.

Vazquez and Palumbo, however, offer no evidence that Soros Fund Management is the same thing as Soros' personal wealth -- indeed, Soros Fund Management is in the business of managing other people's money, not Soros' money aloone -- and Soros advocating for higher taxes while taking advantage of current tax laws to shield his money from taxes is not hypocritical, just good business sense. If Donald Trump is allowed to take tax deductions for financial losses on investments -- which the MRC had no problem with -- why not Soros?

Vazquez also falsely suggested that the story was only about Soros -- it actually looked at the tax returns of several other prominent billionaires as well, such as Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett. (He also glossed over the fact that it says a lot about ProPublica's editorial integrity that the "Soros-funded outlet" was willing to take on Soros.)

So it was strange to see that a mere nine days later, Vazquez was trashing this very ProPublica study because it, um, exposed how billionaires not named George Soros weren't paying taxes, pulling his usual trick of invoking biased right-wing economists to back him up:

CATO Director of Tax Policy Studies Chris Edwards joined Fox Business to dismantle a leftist argument from the Soros-funded ProPublica that the rich don’t pay their fair share in taxes.

Edwards ripped ProPublica’s recent report that used selective data to claim that “[e]xperts have long understood the broad outlines of how little the wealthy are taxed in the United States.” He retorted on the June 17 edition of Kudlow: “ProPublica summarized data on just 25 tax returns of selected wealthy people, but they were unrepresentative of the broader group of wealthy people in America.” Edwards lambasted the outlet for being “very selective in what they’re releasing here.”

[...]

Edwards also tore apart other misleading claims from ProPublica. “ProPublica’s claim that if you add in payroll taxes, people in the middle pay higher tax rates than the 25 taxpayers at the top is totally wrong,” Edwards rebuked. “There’s Congressional Budget Office data [that] shows that people at the top pay more than twice as much in income and payroll taxes than people in the middle.” 

Fox Business host Larry Kudlow chimed in that ProPublica was blurring the line between income and wealth in its analysis and accused ProPublica of “chicanery.” Edwards agreed: “Capital gains is not income. It’s a separate thing. So, for example, in the national income or GDP accounts, capital gain is not included in income.” He continued: “No country in the [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] — all 35 or so countries — no country taxes capital gains on a so-called accrual or mark-to-market basis like ProPublica is sort of claiming that we should.”

Edwards argued that ProPublica’s policy prescription, based on its confusion between income and wealth, was nonsensical. “Taxing people on fluctuating asset values, like ProPublica is implying, makes absolutely no sense for many reasons,” Edwards said. Kudlow then accused ProPublica of having “jimmied” the numbers.

Vazquez didn't mention he had praised this very same report nine days earlier for exposing Soros. Does he think that only Soros should have to pay his fair share in taxes while other non-liberal billionaires get away with it?

That wasn't the only flip-flop at the MRC. The same day Vazquez praised the report for attacking Soros, Scott Whitlock ranted that "Super wealthy CBS This Morning co-host Tony Dokoupil channeled his inner socialist on Wednesday as he hyped a likely illegally-obtained ProPublica report that exposed the IRS documents of the 25 wealthiest Americans. At no time did the mega-rich Dokoupil worry about the ethics of how this were done or mention if he’d like his tax filings revealed." He then cited the right-wing Heritage Foundation to hiss that "The foundation of the ProPublica report is false."


Posted by Terry K. at 2:38 PM EDT
CNS-Mark Levin Stenography Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

In our last bimonthly summary of CNSNews.com's stenography for right-wing radio host Mark Levin, we noted that CNS stopped doing its Levin stenography for more than a month, apparently because of a lack of interns to perform the drudgery. A May 11 article by Craig Bannister touting how Levin would be taking part in "a virtual event paying tribute to the nation’s 2021 graduating class of high school seniors planning to enlist in the U.S. military" was CNS' first Levin reference since April 1. But it wasn't until the summer interns were fully on board in late May that the Levin stenography fully ramped up. Here's what was published for the May-June period:

That's just eight stenography articles for both May and June, bringing the total to just 29 articles for the year -- well off the pace of previous years.

You'd think Levin would have more pull at the MRC to not have his pearls of wisdom left to the mercy of interns.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:40 AM EDT
Thursday, July 29, 2021
MRC Embraced Lame Hit Piece On Harris
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Scott Whitlock tried his best to sell a hit piece on Kamala Harris in a July 1 post:

During the entire Trump administration we saw journalists leap on any anonymous leak or gossip about infighting inside the administration. Yet, when Politico on Wednesday unleashed a damning 2200 word expose on Kamala Harris and the alleged toxic, "abusive" environment inside the Vice President’s office, ABC, CBS and NBC on Wednesday night and Thursday morning censored the claim that working for the VP is a “place where people feel treated like s---.” 

Despite a total of 90 minutes on the evening newscasts and six hours combined on ABC’s Good Morning America, CBS This Morning and NBC’s Today, the networks had no interest. It’s not as though there wasn’t time.

Here's some of the fluff coverage that DID make it: CBS devoted five minutes of air time to a popular podcast. GMA showcased the best protection against bug bites and NBC’s Today spent almost seven minutes previewing holiday travel options for the Fourth of July. 

The Politico piece, written by Christopher Cadelago, Daniel Lippman and Eugene Daniels contained much of the same anonymous quotes that reporters loved during the Trump Era. This nameless individual complained about “feeling like shit.”

[...]

The Politico writers gossiped, “Harris’ team is experiencing low morale, porous lines of communication and diminished trust among aides and senior officials.” They touted the “22 current and former vice presidential aides” who talked for the story. Yet, unlike with Republican political leaders, this story has so far drawn no interest from fellow reporters. 

[...]

The corrupt politicians posing as journalists at ABC, CBS and NBC are doing their best to bury the dysfunction, incompetence and unhappiness swirling around the Vice President.

Funny how Whitlock touts the Politico piece as "gossip," despite having dismissed people writing about the inner workings of the Trump administration as gossip-mongers. And by his own rule, the Politico story was unworthy of attention by Whitlock and the MRCbecause the sources were anonymous -- none of those "22 current and former vice presidential aides" spoke on the record. But then, ther MRC has always been hypocritical about anonymous sources -- they're not credible when criticizing a Republican but utterly unimpeachable when criticizing a Democrat.

Whitlock's biggest problem, however, is that there's really no there there. As Mediaite's Tommy Christopher noted in citing observers who read the Politico piece, the harshest accusations come down to Harris being hard to get access to -- as if limited access to a vice president is unexpected or even a bad thing -- and that some staffers were not in the loop on one particular trip by Harris -- again, not that big of a deal.

Nevertheless, the MRC thought it had a winner here. Another post the same day by Kristine Marsh complained that the hosts of "The View" accurately noted how small a story it actually was:

While journalists ignored the brutal expose, The View co-hosts on Thursday leapt to Kamala Harris’s defense, after current and former aides complained about an abusive workplace to Politico.

Despite cheering on the “whistleblowers” in the Trump White House, the liberal hosts completely trashed the anonymous complaints from twenty two of Harris’s current and former staff saying things like they felt they were “treated like s---.”

Moderator Whoopi Goldberg repeatedly downplayed the report as petty complaints. She asked co-host Sunny Hostin, “Is it possible that this is the -- the functioning of politics or is it just, you know, come on and get with the program young folks? Is it me being an old lady going, ‘get off my lawn?’”

[...]

Meghan McCain agreed with Hostin that there was probably some “gender bias.” She brutally mocked whoever the anonymous leakers were for “running to Politico like a little bitch.” At least McCain is consistent in her hatred for leakers in both Republican and Democrat administrations, unlike her co-hosts.

Spurred on by the common consensus, Goldberg got more bold in mocking the anonymous staffers. She asked Joy Behar, “So Joy, is it time for us to say, ‘hey, grow a pair?’”

As you might expect, Behar had the most ridiculous response to the expose. She suggested it was a set up from the right-wing, who apparently attack Harris way more than they attack Biden because the president “looks like their base.” Clearly she doesn’t read conservative media outlets very often.

Marsh didn't mention the MRC's double standard on anonymous sources.

This story even led to even more man-crushing from Curtis Houck on his favorite Fox News reporter. He used a a July 2 post to gush that "Fox’s Peter Doocy came prepared Friday afternoon" to tout "negative stories about Vice President Kamala Harris’s staff" at Jen Psaki's White House press briefing:

Rewind to the beginning of Doocy’s spot and he led off with a series of stories in establishment, liberal media publications about the reportedly disorganized, haphazard, and toxic work environment associated with the Vice President.

Psaki, who worked at CNN prior to joining the Biden team, refused to engage because “I try not to speak to or engage on anonymous reports or anonymous sources” as Harris “has a challenging job, a hard job, and she has a great supportive team of people around her.”

Houck just hates it when Psaki won't engage with an obviously hostile Doocy. And he offered no evidence to back up his claim that Politico is as "liberal media publication."

And that was the end of the MRC trying to exploit that story, as we could find no other reference to it. Apparently, it finally realized how lame it actually was.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:58 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, July 29, 2021 9:00 PM EDT
WND's Moore Tries To Create A 'Censhorship' Victim Over Ivermectin
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Art Moore took the victimization route to promoting the dubious drug ivermection as a treatment for coronavirus in a June 30 article:

YouTube censored one of the most popular podcasts in the country because it mentioned the drug ivermectin as a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19.

Bret Weinstein, an evolutionary biologist who was a professor at Evergreen State College, told Fox News' Tucker Carlson on Tuesday night YouTube has blocked "The Darkhorse Podcast" from generating ad revenue, which is how he makes a living.

YouTube said it will not allow any channel to discuss "[c]laims that ivermectin is effective in treatment or prevention of COVID."

Moore offers no evidence that Weinstein's podcast has any level of popularity, let alone "one of the most popular podcasts in the country," but that's the least of the issues here; he's misrepresenting how Weinstein's YouTube channel was demonitized. As Vice documented, YouTube doesn't demonetize people for the mere "mention" of ivermectin as a treatment for COVID, as Moore claims; it's presenting it as a cure while failing to mention that there's little credible evicence to back that up that got Weinstein in trouble.

But Moore doesn't care about the facts -- he has an old and discredited narrative to push:

Worldwide, more than 50 peer-reviewed studies have shown the effectiveness of ivermectin as a treatment and prophylaxis against COVID-19. A recent study by the American Journal of Therapeutics that analyzed 18 randomized controlled treatment trials found ivermectin elicited "large, statistically significant reductions in mortality, time to clinical recovery, and time to viral clearance" in COVID patients.

But as Vice also noted, a new meta-analysis and systemic review of studies that investigated ivermectin found that the highest quality studies, known as randomized controlled trials, showed that ivermectin had little if any effect and that it "is not a viable option to treat COVID-19 patients." Unsurprisingly, WND has published no article about this study.

As we've already noted, Moore uses this article to falsely claim that ivermectin advocates published "in February" a study in the American Journal of Therapeutics claiming the drug's effectiveness. In fact, the study was provisionally accepted in February by the journal Frontiers of Pharmacology, which ultimately chose not to publish it because of the clear promotional function of it and the low quality of the studies it cites; it was published by the American Journal of Therapeutics a couple months later.

Medical fact-checker David Gorski summed up the right-wing craze around ivermectin: "Ivermectin is the new hydroxychloroquine. It’s been promoted the same way and by the same people. The same conspiracy theories have sprung up around it as the scientific evidence supporting its use is weak at best, negative at worst." Don't expect Moore or anyone else at WND to report that truth.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:32 PM EDT

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