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Monday, August 16, 2021
WND Brings Back Longtime Misinformer To Misinform About COVID Deaths
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Leo Hohmann was one of the most dishonest reporters WorldNetDaily has ever employed (and that's saying something given the motley crew of writers it has had over the years. He's best known for being an Islamophobe and for forcing WND to stealth-edit articles he wrote to remove claims in which he falsely accused yogurt maker Chobani of importing Muslim immigrants to work at a manufacturing plant in Idaho.

Despite this spotty history, WND has welcomed Hohmann back as a writer -- or, more accurately, republishing articles that first appeared on his own website.But it's clear that Hohmann has not changed his ways. He wrote in a July 20 article:

Attorney Thomas Renz filed a lawsuit in federal court in Alabama on July 19 that alleges a massive government cover-up of vaccination-related U.S. deaths that number “at least 45,000.”

The suit, filed on behalf of America’s Frontline Doctors in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, is based on a sworn statement by a government insider under federal whistleblower protection.

Speaking at the Re-awaken Tour event held July 17-18 in Anaheim, California, Renz made the bombshell announcement he says is based on a whistleblower with access to government computers and can prove that “at least 45,000” Americans have already been killed by the three COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use by the FDA.


The CDC’s own reporting system, called the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS, provides numbers of people, updated weekly on Fridays, who have been reported as having died or been injured by vaccines in the U.S.

The COVID vaccine deaths reported to VAERS stood at just under 11,000 as of last Friday, July 16. This represents more deaths reported from all other vaccines combined since the VAERS system was established in 1990.

Hohmann didn't bother to fact-check anything, of course. But an actual fact-checker did and found that it's yet another deliberate misunderstanding of how the VAERS reporting system works, and that reports of adverse effects and deaths are not verified and cannot be used to establish a definitive link between vaccines and those alleged adverse effects:

The number tracks back to a woman who did not reveal her method for calculating the figure and who has not been publicly identified. She based her calculations on reports of deaths in VAERS, according to a lawsuit. But the number does not align with data contained in VAERS — and even the reports of death entered into that system do not prove that those people died as a result of receiving a vaccine. VAERS is an open system that contains reports that can be submitted by anyone and are not verified.

Finally, the claim was part of a lawsuit by America’s Frontline Doctors, a group that has peddled many false and conspiratorial claims about COVID-19 and vaccines.

We rate this claim Pants on Fire!

Hohmann went on to uincritically quote more misinformation from Renz:

The injections from Pfizer have an 80% failure rate in Israel, Renz said.

“They don’t work. The absolute risk reduction of these vaccines is 1 percent,” he said.

Renz was referring to the Pfizer and Moderna clinical trials, which showed the absolute risk reduction for those getting the vaccine was 1% less of getting a severe case of the virus compared to those who got a placebo.

In fact, the Israel data lacks context and is being used in a misleading manner:

Misleading posts on social media are now twisting data from Israel to falsely claim the country’s vaccination program is a failure due to the number of breakthrough cases of COVID-19 among the vaccinated.Medical professionals say Israel’s vaccine program is making remarkable progress against the virus.


Experts say the country’s high vaccination rates are keeping case numbers down and reducing hospitalization and deaths even as the delta variant is provoking an uptick in infections. Data from Johns Hopkins University shows Israel documented 1,118 new cases on July 21 -- which is less than a tenth of the 11,934 new cases the country had at its peak on Jan. 27, before vaccines were widespread.

“It doesn’t mean vaccines don’t work,” Dr. Robert Cyril Bollinger, Johns Hopkins University professor of infectious diseases, said about Israel’s data. “They have very low rates after vaccination versus where they were before vaccination.”

Others, meanwhile, have pointed out that the Israel numbers are outliers that are based on a small numbwr of cases, which raises question about their accuracy.

Spreading lies does not seem like a good use of the money WND just raised to keep itself alive. Apparently, WND believes its audience wants to be lied to and misled.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:41 AM EDT
Sunday, August 15, 2021
MRC Psaki-Bashing, Doocy-Fluffing Watch
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Curtis Houck loves it when reporters are as hostile and biased as Fox News' Peter Doocy -- but only if they, like Doocy, advance right-wing talking points. So he was pretty darn happy when writing about the July 20 White House press briefing:

Tuesday’s White House Press Briefing was a welcome reprieve as Fox News’s Peter Doocy found himself with more than a few colleagues willing to join him in grilling Press Secretary Jen Psaki as ten reporters (including Doocy) lobbed one question after another about Texas Democrats fleeing Austin for Washington D.C. and triggering a superspreader of coronavirus cases.

By the time Doocy spoke, he was the third reporter to inquire about how Texas Democrats have spread COVID on both Capitol Hill and in the White House. Doocy, however, went where his colleagues wouldn’t with the use of the word superspreader.

“More than 10 percent of the traveling party with these Texas Democrats now claim to have a breakthrough case. Is there any concern that this trip that was intended to advocate for voting rights is now a superspreader event in Washington,”he asked.

An abrasive Psaki griped “that’s not a characterization we’re making from here,” but rather insisted that these “breakthrough cases” among unvaccinated individuals was proof that vaccines work in preventing from “death,” “hospitalization,” or even “serious illness” (which is entirely correct).

Note that Houck couldn't simply admit that Psaki was right about something; he also had to smear her as "abrasive," something we're pretty sure he never said about Kayleigh McEnany. Also, calling the coronavirus cases among Texas Democrats leaving the state to slow down a voting-restriction bill a "superspreader event" comes straight from Republican leadership, so Houck may as well be congratulated for adhering so close to partisan messaging (as well as exposing himself as a blindly partisan hack).It's also not accurate; all the Democrats who caught the virus were fully vaccinated, which is actually a lesson about how transmissible the Delta variant iseven among vaccinated people.

On July 22, Houck cheered that "Thursday’s White House press briefing gave us another welcome surprise as Press Secretary Jen Psaki found herself under the gun from not just Fox’s Peter Doocy, but a variety of reporters on issues such as Covid cases inside the administration, Critical Race Theory, Hunter Biden’s artwork, and masking." And, as usual, Doocy got special attention -- and whitewashing how he got owned by Psaki:

Doocy came next and things didn’t get any easier for Psaki. First, he wanted to know whether the Education Department will ensure that a pro-critical race theory group isn’t included in school curriculums seeing as how they had claimed its inclusion in new guidance was a mistake.

Psaki tried to minimize it, saying it was one small footnote and insinuated Doocy was lacking the full context.

Here's how that exchange actually went down:

Doocy asked if the Biden administration “will follow up with school districts to make sure that the Abolitionist Teaching Network material is not in lesson plans.”

Psaki replied, “Just to be clear, for the context, because I know you love context of what you’re asking about here, what you’re referring to is a citation in a report of which there were a thousand citations, so I’m quite impressed with your researchers for finding one of a thousand citations.”

Psaki went on to say that “it was an error in a lengthy document to include this citation. The specific site does not represent the administration’s view and we don’t endorse the recommendations of this group and I believe it’s been removed or is in the process of being removed.”

Doocy’s network has been covering outrage over CRT and its tenets extensively.

Houck is not going to admit Psaki won that exchange, nor will he admit that Doocy was parroting his employer's agenda. He didn't even bury the transcript in the item -- he simply censored it. 

That's the bias -- and hostility to anyone not as right-wing as he is -- Houck brings to his so-called reviews of Psaki's press briefings.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:04 PM EDT
CNS' Hot Pestering Intern Summer, Round 6

The sixth round of interns' ambush questions to members of Congress were perfect gotcha questions -- they called for a yes-or-no answer on a complex issue, one where a yes-or-no answer benefits Repubican narratives, which is the entire point of this exercise. The subject this time was immigration with two questions:

  • “Should illegal aliens be given a pathway to citizenship?”
  • “And is our southwest border secure now?”

CNS hit up a lot of the usual suspects again:

One Democratic senator, however, called the gotcha nature of the questions, and that didn't do down well with the questioner:

Asked whether the U.S. southwest border is secure, Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) said, “We’re certainly making every effort to make sure that is it,” but refused to answer the question directly.

At the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, CNS News asked the senator, “Should illegal aliens be given a pathway to citizenship?”

Senator Peters said, “That’s part of comprehensive immigration reform. We’re gonna have to take a look at all that.”

In a follow-up question, CNS News asked, “And is our southwest border secure now?”

“Is it secure? We’re certainly making every effort to make sure that it is,” he said.

CNS News asked again, “And is it?”

Senator Peters said, “How do you define that? Yeah, I’m not going to play that game with you.”

But playing games is also part of this exercise as far as CNS is concerned -- to annoy Democrats by demanding yes-or-no answers on complex issues. For questioning the premise, Peters was given an unflattering stock photo illustrating his article.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:09 AM EDT
Saturday, August 14, 2021
MRC Melts Down Over Captain America's Verson Of The American Dream
Topic: Media Research Center

At the Media Research Center, superheroes are not allowed to talk about anything but superhero-ing -- especially if that involves talking about things that don't reinforce right-wing narratives. So when Captain America said some non-jingoistic things about the American dream, Abigail Streetman was there to smear him as a commie in a July 6 post:

The Marvel Commies have struck again. This time they’re attempting to indoctrinate the readers of “The United States of Captain America” by telling them that the American Dream “isn’t real.” In the first issue of the comic written by Christopher Cantwell, the patriotically dressed Avenger promotes an anti-American view of our country on the weekend of Independence Day. 

The left-wing propaganda packed comic book was released on June 30. Marvel’s website then published an articlempromoting the new comic on July 3 titled “Spend the Fourth with these Captain America Reads.” They described the series as a celebration of “the character’s incredible legacy.”

The story begins with the hero going on a journey to find his stolen shield and running into everyday people or “Captains” who have been protecting their communities by taking on the identity of "Captain America." However, the story that is actually told is one of divisiveness and politically charged commentary. 

What did Captain America actually say that got Streetman so riled up? Well, she chops up his words and takes them out of context for full rant value, but he said that the "white picket fence" version of the American dream is a lie because it lies outside of the reality for many Americans, and that his version of the American dream is centered around freedoms for all. Streetman somehow translated this into right-wing rage-speak:

The more than 5.5 million family-owned businesses in the U.S. may have something different to say about that. Releasing this kind of hateful rhetoric on the weekend of Independence Day is one of the most anti-American acts to come from the publishing company, and Marvel seems to be constantly promoting left-wing insanity. 

The character continues to promote the biased viewpoint by discussing the “white picket fence” view of America and insists that this does not actually exist. According to the comic, the existing version of America is one that “doesn’t get along nicely with reality. Other cultures. Immigrants. The poor.” The Captain then says “a good dream is shared. Shared radically. Shared with everyone. When something isn’t shared, it can become the American lie.”

No, Marvel. That's called equity. That is the false utopian belief that's constantly pushed by deranged leftists. The true American dream is equality of opportunity for everyone and the promise that if you work hard you will achieve great things.

One of the characters portraying a version of "Captain America" continues to manipulate the readers even further, saying, "A while back, we told the world they could come here for a better life. But too often we turn our backs on them."

Freedom of thought is slowly being destroyed by companies like Marvel that push fallacies onto unsuspecting citizens. We now have to question comic books because the left-wing nuts can’t help but insert their radical beliefs into places where they don’t belong - like a comic book that's supposed to appeal to a mass audience.

Defund Marvel.

It seems that Streetman is making stuff up so she has something to write about. How else to explain her insisting that calls for full equality for all Americans as "left-wing insanity"?

Ranting for ranting's sake appears to be more important than making sense, apparently.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:16 AM EDT
WND Columnist Wrongly Rants About Things
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Rohini DeSilva ranted in a July 22 WorldNetDaily column:

Remember how they rioted during President Trump's 2020 GOP Convention? How they put him under a guillotine and called for his death? How the rioters set fires, pulled down statues, set fires to a historic church, tried to break down the fence and trash the White House? How they sneered when President Trump was moved to the basement for his safety? How they physically attacked attendees leaving, including Sen. Rand Paul and his wife? How, to confuse us, they used social media as their agents to delete all photos from the internet and pretended it never happened?

Now, Biden calls all Trump supporters "worse than slave-owning Confederates" (even though it was Democrats who owned slaves and fought to prevent their emancipation.) Then Biden demonized all Trump supporters by calling them "insurgents."

It has become clear that Biden is using the FBI and CIA as his personal Communist Gestapo. They are betraying our country while breaking the law, violating our constitutional rights and spying on us with impunity. Remember how immediately after Jan. 6 the FBI ordered Bank of America to hunt through everybody's credit card files and locate who bought tickets to D.C. and who purchased anything in D.C. during that time? Then the feds used Google's facial recognition software to hunt down Trump supporters, broke into their homes and jailed over 500 Trump supporters, without charges and without attorneys, some for over six months. Remember? Yet, for the past year, this same FBI was unable to track down a single Antifa/BLM rioter!

No, Biden did not call all Trump supporters "worse than slave-owning Confederates." That direct quote does not exist -- ROhini took that out of misleading right-wng paraphrases of what Biden actually did, which was point that unlike Confederate forces, the Jan. 6 rioters never breached the Capitol.

Also, hundreds of people were arrested in last summer's protests but very few of them were associated with extremist groups.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:47 AM EDT
Friday, August 13, 2021
MRC Returns To Promoting Rep. Greene -- And Hiding Her Extremism
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center spent months portraying Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene as a victim of "Big Tech" while censoring the fact she's a far-right politician who faced sanctions from social media for her extremism. It appears that the MRC believes enough time has passed since her extremism was so exposed that even the MRC couldn't hide it that it can revive the victim narrative for her again. Alexander Hall wrote in a July 20 post:

Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) returned from her recent Twitter suspension to compare the Big Tech platform to totalitarian censors in China.

“Twitter said on Monday that it was suspending Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene from its service for 12 hours after she posted messages that violated its policy against sharing misleading information about the coronavirus,” The New York Times reported July 19. After her suspension was over, Greene claiming, “[it] banned me for 12 hrs, censoring me, & violating my freedom of speech.” She then compared Twitter’s leadership to state censorship by “CommunistChina.”

A Twitter spokesperson explained to the MRC that “[w]e took enforcement action on the account you referenced (@mtgreenee) for violations of the Twitter Rules, specifically the COVID-19 misleading information policy (Tweets here and here).”

The spokesperson linked to Twitter’s so-called “ COVID-19 misleading information policy” page.

First: It's not a "so-called" policy -- it's a real policy with a real name. Second: Not only did Hall censor Greene's extremist background, he didn't even quote the offending Greene tweets -- perhaps out fear that the false claims would get the MRC into trouble as well -- he simply links to them.The first tweet falsely claimed there have been "6,000 vax related deaths," and the second conspiratorially referred to COVID vaccines and masks "human experimentation."

Instead of telling his readers the truth, Hall acted as Grteene's PR rep, touting how "Greene made it clear in a Newsmax interview that Big Tech censorship is one of her core political talking points." Perhaps Greene -- and Hall -- should be making it clear that they care about truth more than false partisan talking points.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:42 PM EDT
WND Misleads Again About COVID, This Time In Sweden
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Serial COVID misinformer Art Moore wrote in a July 22 WorldNetDaily article:

Last year, London's Guardian newspaper called Sweden's laissez-faire approach to the coronavirus pandemic – generally allowing the coronavirus to run its course while the population reaches herd immunity – a "catastrophe" in the making, while CBS News said the Scandinavian nation had become "an example of how not to handle COVID-19."

But unlike its European neighbors, Sweden is welcoming visitors while businesses and schools are open with virtually no restrictions and there are no mask mandates, points out the Foundation for Economic Education.

And data show the seven-day rolling average for COVID deaths on Wednesday was zero, which is where it has been for about a week.

Sweden’s overall mortality rate in 2020 was lower than most of Europe, FEE added, and its economy suffered far less.

"Meanwhile, today Sweden is freer and healthier than virtually any other country in Europe."

You will not be surprised to learn that this claim is misleading as well. PolitiFact has looked into claims about Sweden and found they were not quite as rosy as right-wingers love to portray it:

In April 2020, in the weeks after the outbreak was declared a pandemic, we looked at two claims that touted Sweden’s more hands-off approach as superior to lockdown policies imposed in Europe and the U.S. We found that infection rate cited in one of these claims was not a reliable indicator of how a country was doing, given that it depended on how much testing was being done; and that Sweden’s COVID-19 death rate was higher than two of its neighbors. 


By April 2021, there were signs that Sweden’s approach had flaws. At that point, the New Yorker reported, Sweden’s per-capita case counts and death rates were many times higher than any of its Nordic neighbors, all of which imposed lockdowns, travel bans and limited gatherings early on.

The latest figures show Sweden’s COVID-19 death rate is lower than in the European Union and the U.S. — but it has more than doubled in the past 10 months.


Overall, Sweden’s COVID-19 death rate of 142.5 per 100,000 population is well above neighbors Denmark (43.89), Finland (17.84), Norway (15.03) and Iceland (8.3), according to Johns Hopkins University.


Sweden has imposed fewer restrictions than other countries and had few deaths in July, but its COVID-19 death rate has been above the U.S. and the EU at various times during the pandemic. Sweden has had more COVID-19 deaths per capita than its neighbors, and infections are rising.

So Moore didn't tell the truth about this either. Is anyone surprised?

Posted by Terry K. at 2:32 PM EDT
CNS Took A Subtle Swipe At Simone Biles

We highlighted how waged an attack on Olympic gymnast Simone Biles that was apparently so nasty, it felt compelled to delete it soon after it was published. But it also took a subtler swipe at Biles' withdrawing from several gymnastics events for mental reasons that remains live. Craig Bannister wrote in a July 29 "flashback" article:

A Japanese gymnast at the 1976 Olympics chose to continue to compete even though he had shattered his knee during the opening floor exercises, helping his team to win the Gold medal by a mere four-tenths of a point.

Despite the pain, Japanese gymnast Shun Fujimoto decided keep his injury a secret and to perform in both the pommel horse and ring exercises, both of which are scored, in part, on the quality of the gymnast’s dismount.


Fujimoto’s teammates had to help him onto the stage for the awards ceremony, where he says, “I started crying, because I had a responsibility for all of us; we cried together.”

Bannister's unspoken implication, of course, is that Biles shjould have toughed it out the way Fujimoto did, even though she could have seriously injured herself in the process.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:06 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, August 13, 2021 1:08 AM EDT
Thursday, August 12, 2021
Loki Is Not Heterosexual, And The MRC Is Not Happy About It
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has long been oncerned that superhero shows feature characters, and even main characters, were not heterosexual. After obsessing over DC Comics characters, it's Marvel's turn to be the target in a June 7 post by Abigail Streeman:

In a predictable turn of events, Disney+ has released a short teaser video for the new Loki series that announced the sex of the main character as “fluid.” Marvel has consistently been outdoing itself with the woke leftist propaganda being shoved into every possible aspect of its movies. This one depicts Loki, the God of Mischief, as the protagonist who has to travel through the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in order to save the world’s timeline. It wasn't enough to just add a “gender fluid” character, they must glorify it as well. 

In Norse mythology Loki is a “cunning trickster” who is seen shapeshifting from male to female forms but is referred to most often as a male (and he’s Thor’s brother in both the comic books and movies.) Still Disney saw the opportunity to push its agenda once more. 

The term “gender-fluid” is best described as someone who does not believe that they have one fixed gender. Scientists have pointed towards genetic, hormonal, and environmental exposures and influences during the formative years of childhood as a likely cause of gender dysphoria. This is certainly not the case with the God of mischief, so why is Marvel forcing this and putting mental illnesses on a pedestal?

So if you're not heterosexual, you're suffering from "mental illness"? That's hjow much the MRC hates LGBT people.

And when this actually showed up in thte show, Alexa Moutevelis was there to complain in a June 24 post:

Fresh off the announcement that Loki is gender fluid, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has now officially made the character bisexual, to the delight of LGBTQ activists in and outside the media.

Loki’s coming out of the closet came in the third episode of the eponymous Disney+ show, which was released on Wednesday and titled “Lamentis.”

In the episode, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and his variant Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) are stuck on a moon that is about to be destroyed and must team up to escape. In one scene, as the two travel on a train, the conversation turns to their pasts and that’s when the big bisexual reveal occurs.

She concluded by whining: "LGBTQ propaganda is EVERYWHERE, it hardly needs to be further celebrated and encouraged, especially on Disney+."Only at the MRC is it "propaganda" for a character not to be heterosexual.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:44 PM EDT
No, Michael Brown, Twitter Did Not Shut You Down For 'Sharing A Historical Truth'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Michael Brown spent his July 21 WordNetDaily column complaining that Twitter flagged one of his tweets:

Back over at Twitter, a pastor with the last name Mather, making him a distant descendant of the early American Christian leader Cotton Mather (1663-1728), responded to my tweet. He pointed out that Cotton Mather believed in the integration of science and faith, getting vaccinated himself. (I would supply the direct quote with a link to the tweet except that, well, I can't, since I can't access my account.)

In response I tweeted, "@jjmather Interestingly, Jonathan Edwards died in 1758 as a result of the smallpox vaccine he received."

That was it. Nothing about COVID (obviously). Nothing about vaccines today. No misinformation. No conspiracy theories. Nothing in violation of Twitter guidelines at all. Not a word.

I simply related an interesting and relevant historical fact in response to the comment about Cotton Mather.


Can anyone tell me how posting a factual comment about the death of Jonathan Edwards in 1758 is in violation of any of these terms? Would any rational human being assume that I was saying, "I'm warning you not to get the COVID vaccine in 2021 seeing that Edwards died 263 years ago from a failed vaccination attempt"? (Does anyone think that medicine and technology have not advanced dramatically since 1758?)

The problem is that Edwards did not die from a "smallpox vaccine," and it is factually inaccurate to claim that he did. Brown seems to recognize this, as he admitted in a parenthetical aside:

(To be specific, Edwards died of a small pox inoculation rather than vaccine. As explained on the Historical Horizons website, "Edwards embraced the new science of his day, especially new techniques being used to combat diseases. When small pox swept into Princeton, New Jersey during the winter of 1757-58, Edwards, the local college's newly minted president, got a shot from a reputable doctor. Thirty-seven days later Jonathan Edwards was dead from the shot." And, "Actually it was not a shot. The accepted procedure involved rubbing matter removed from a pustule into a small incision made between the thumb and index finger.")

BioLogos further explained:

Inoculation with smallpox (variola) involved deliberately exposing oneself to smallpox pus or scabs, via a skin incision or nasal inhalation, with the hope that the resulting disease (expected to last days to weeks) would be milder than naturally-acquired smallpox, and confer protection from future illness from smallpox. Inoculation carried significant risks—death from smallpox and/or spreading smallpox to others—but it was known to be less risky than naturally-acquired smallpox, and had been practiced for centuries in Asia and Africa before it was introduced to Europeans in the early 1700s.


The safe and effective method of vaccination, for smallpox and a myriad of other diseases, was not broadly adopted until the 20th century, during a period in which public faith in institutions, including science and medicine, were at a high.

Inoculation -- effectively giving yourself a live dose of a disease in the hope you survive it and not catch other variants of it -- is not the same as today's vaccination procedures, but Brown's comment suggested it was.That's why he got flagged. But Brown is too much of a self-promoter not to portray himself as a victim of "Big Tech":

But today, it appears that even posting historical facts that are deemed inconvenient is a challenge to Big Tech's iron grip.

Perhaps the cause of Edwards' death will now be scrubbed from our history books too. (The History Extra website ran an April 2020 article titled, "Rewriting the past: the history that inspired Orwell's '1984.'")

Because I only have 42,800 Twitter followers, it was not urgent that I was able to access my account again. And so, for sake of principle (and as a teachable moment), I chose to appeal the ruling. (As I write, about 12 hours later, there has been no response from Twitter, other than to acknowledge my appeal.)

That being said, because the tweet in itself was not vitally important to me, should Twitter drag its feet in responding, I'll likely remove the tweet and reactivate my account. For me, this tweet is not a hill worth dying on.

But unless Twitter fails to apologize to me in writing, saying that this was an error on their account, we now have yet another example of the degree to which dangerous lines are being crossed.

Not only are dissenting opinions not welcome. Inconvenient historical facts are banned as well.

To quote Orwell's "1984," "Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past."

this is not a guy who cares about getting things right. He simply wants to hitch a ride on the victimization bandwagon because that's what all the cool right-wing kids are doing.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:25 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, August 12, 2021 4:39 PM EDT
Topic: Media Research Center
While the Media Research Center is hurling the "whore" slur at networks engaging in the common practice of promoting happenings by its corporate siblings, the MRC's "news" division writes press releases promoting MRC chief Brent Bozell. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:57 PM EDT
CNS' Hateful Pride Month Meltdown
Topic: led up to Pride Month by freaking out over plastic bricks and cereal. The rest of its Pride Month content was unsurpisingly just as anti-LGBT.

A June 1 post by Julie Johnson complained that "The U.S. Embassy to The Holy See (the Vatican), tweeted a photo of its building draped with a large gay-rainbow flag on Tuesday, the beginning of Gay Pride Month," making sure to add that "The Catholic Church teaches that homosexual acts – not the same-sex inclination – are 'intrinsically disordered.'" This was followed the next day with an anonymously written article grumbing that "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) put out a statement on Tuesday—the beginning of LGBTQ Pride Month—to express her commitment to serving the LGBTQ community in the United States."

Johnson returned on June 7 to cheer that "A Pentagon spokesperson told reporters on Friday that they will not allow any 'unofficial flags,' including the Pride month rainbow flag, to be displayed on military installations in the month of June or any month thereafter. This is in keeping with a July 2020 policy regarding the display of any such flag." The same day, she groused that "GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel sent a tweet wishing everyone a 'Happy #PrideMonth!'" adding that "The tweet was criticized by both the political right and the political left." A June 16 column by Star Parker complained about McDaniel's Pride Month tweet, declaring that it meant "she essentially waved a white flag, declaring Republican Party neutrality on a key issue of our cultural conflicts."

CNS saved its really hateful stuff for the end of the month, though. Craig Bannister huffed in a June 28 article:

In a video celebrating Pride Month, the National Football League (NFL) declares that football is all things LGBTQ.

On Monday, the NFL posted a video to its official Twitter page proclaiming in capital letters that “FOOTBALL IS,” among other things:

  • "GAY”
  • “QUEER”

Bannister further complained taht the NFL invited people "to visit the website of a charity supported by the league’s first openly-gay active player, Carl Nassib."

On June 29, Elizabeth Nieshalla was outraged that a public library in Virginia "offered a 'Drag StoryBook Hour' on June 26 with a target audience of 'babies and toddlers, preschoolers, and school age children.'"

She went on to insert the right-wing narrativef on LGBT history in a way designed to demean LGBT people and their "lifestyle":

According to the Library of Congress, "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month is currently celebrated each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. The Stonewall Uprising was a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States."

According to PBS, at the time of the so-called Stonewall Uprising in 1969, when gay patrons fought back against a police raid, the Stonewall Inn was owned and operated by the Mafia. The homosexual bar was well known as a site for sexual immorality and general debauchery. 

Today, the Stonewall Inn is a national monument that celebrates and promotes the LGBTQ lifestyle.

Nieshalla does not explain what the "LGBTQ lifestyle" is or is supposed to be.

It wouldn't be a Pride Month if homophobic managing editor Michael W. Chapman couldn't call on his favorite fellow homophobe to say a few words, though they (and Chapman's article) came days after the month was over:

In a message noting the end of June's "Gay Pride month," Rev. Franklin Graham said the month was set aside to celebrate what God defines as "sin," and is therefore similar to setting a month aside to celebrate other sins, such as "lying, adultery, or murder." In the Word of God, it is all sin.

In a July 3 post on Facebook, Rev. Graham wrote, "Gay Pride month has come to an end. BBC reported last week 'Pride has gone mainstream.'"

"This is an entire month set aside to celebrate a lifestyle that God defines as sin," said Graham.  "It’s like setting a month aside to celebrate lying, adultery, or murder (which includes abortion), or anything else that God says is sin."

Did anyone expect CNS to cap Pride Month any other way?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:06 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, August 12, 2021 1:08 AM EDT
Wednesday, August 11, 2021
MRC Abandons The Right-Wing Lawyer It Helped Create
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center regularly attacked Michael Avenatti, whom it loved to tag as a "creepy porn lawyer" for the ofense of representing porn star Stormy Daniels (whom the MRC also attacked) in her accusations that Donald Trump had an affair with her -- an accusation that was seemingly proven by the fact that Trump paid her hush money. When Avenatti got in trouble with other extralegal shenanigans, the MRC was even happier to bash, continuing to tie him to the "liberal media" though it had long abandoned him. When Avenatti was sentenced to prison in July for his misdeeds, the MRC was ready to rehash his story yet again:

Of course, the MRC built up its own favored attorneys as well ... and then went silent when they went bad. Last September, we argued that John Pierce -- whom the MRC had lionized as the attorney for Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager who shot and killed two people during a protest in Kenosha, Wis., last year -- was a right-wing Avenatti who had engaged in financial shenanigans and hostile and threatening behavior toward his ex-wife, serving as Rittehouse's defense attorney while also running a foundation paying for Rittenhouse's legal fees. Our last update on Pierce noted that he had left the foundation, but the story didn't end there. In December, Pierce was barred from representing Rittenhouse as a defense lawyer in  Wisconsin (Pierce is based in California) because of his financial shenanigans -- which include "the collapse of Pierce's law firm earlier this year 'under a cloud of debt,' and several lawsuits alleging Pierce defaulted on hundreds of thousands of dollars in business and personal loans" -- and because he continued to use the foundation to fund-raise for Rittenhouse' legal defense. Pierce then withdrew as Rittenhouse's criminal attorney but stayed on to pursue civil cases against media outlets who had purportedly defamed Rittenhouse.

In February, Rittenhouse fired Pierce from even that bit of representation, suggesting it was because Pierce opposed setting up an independent trust for Rittenhouse. And around the time the MRC was obsessing over Avenatti yet again, it was reported that Rittenhouse's family and current attorney accused Pierce of still trying to siphon away money raised for Rittenhouse and keep control of the $2 million that was raised.

Since then, we have an even more apt candidate for the MRC's Avenatti. Back in 2019, the MRC was cheering attorney L. Lin Wood -- who, it so happens, operated that defense fund along with Pierce -- for planning to file nuisance lawsuits for needlessly large amounts against media outlets for supposedly defaming high school students (best known as the Covington kids) caught up in a protest while visiting Washington, D.C. Curtis Houck gushed over Wood's "incredibly-detailed" $250 million lawsuit against CNN, while Nicholas Fondacaro made a point of noting that a similar lawsuit against the Washington Post was "lengthy."

When Wood reached confidential settlements with a couple of the media outlets it sued -- which suggest that Wood likely got llittle more than token going-away money for his student clients -- the MRC nevertheless insisted there were massive victories despite there being no public retraction as part of the settlement, and Kristine Marsh even gushed over "eagle-eyed lawyer" Wood for freaking out over such speculation over the settlements.

By August 2020, the MRC was cheering Wood joining Rittenhouse's legal team, with Alexander Hall touting one media outlet "recounted how Wood is a battle-hardened veteran of America’s recent culture wars, and Corinne Weaver complained that Wood was briefly "suspended from Twitter on September 1 for 'glorifying violence.'" Wood then joined Donald Trump's post-election team attempting to turn over the election; Weaver complained in one November post that a Wood tweet was "censored" -- it wasn't; Twitter simply flagged it as pushing dubioius claims about election fraud.

The trail ends there for Wood at the MRC; he got only two passing mentions after that. But the rest of us know what happened next: Wood drunk deep from Trump's bogus conspiracy theories; implicated himself in possible voter fraud by suggesting he voted in Georgia despite living in South Carolina; has had his law lilcense challenged and was ordered to undergo a mental evaluation as part of it; argued that Mike Pence shoiuld face a firing squad, which even the "free speech" folks at Parler objected to; annoyed GOP officials by running for the chairmanship of the South Carolina Republican Party; President Trump ultimately distanced himself from Wood; tried to defend himself against disbarment in Michigan by arguing that he had nothing to do with legal filings there despite his name being all over them; posted a video clip of those proceedings on Telegram despite being ordered not to; and blames communist conspiracies, not his own behavior, for his current legal woes.

Lin Wood is the man the MRC helped build, and they no longer want anything to do with him. Double standard, anyone?

Posted by Terry K. at 11:29 PM EDT
CNS Deletes Attack on Simone Biles Without Explanation

On July 27, published a commentary by Fiona Moriarty-McLaughlin that began like this:

When an athlete is named the “greatest of all time” (GOAT), you never expect them to fail, let alone quit. U.S. gymnastics star Simone Biles, who currently holds the title, proved the opposite with her formal exit from two major events at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, a perfect example of GOAT privilege.

We presume it gets worse from there, attacking Biles for withdrawing from events to preserve her mental and physical health after being struck with a case of the "twisties," in which a gymnast loses control over her body while performing and cannot determine how it will react to gymnastic moves or where it will land.

We can only presume, though, because CNS removed the article shortly after publication -- so quickly, in fact, that it could not be archived by the usual places that do such things, like Google Cache and the Wayback Machine. The link to the commentary on CNS returns only a error saying "the requested page could not be found." MuckRack archived only the first paragraph of her commentary, but that's it.

If Moriarty-McLaughlin's name sounds familiar, that's because she was involved in a bit of infamy last year: A supposed online influencer who had previously worked for right-wing outlets like Campus Reform, she took part in what the New York Post called a "tone-deaf photo-op" in which "she pretend[ed] to board up a storefront from looters, before dashing back to a Mercedes and driving away." That stunt cost her a job at the Washington Examiner, where she had been working as a commentary intern. Like any good right-wing writer would, she ran to Fox News to proclaim herself a victim of "cancel culture" and that she quickly left after her photo-op because she "felt threatened" when she saw she was being filmed.

CNS' silence on the issue also covers why it chose to give a writer with such a reputation a second chance. Given that CNS quickly had second thoughts about Moriarty-McLaughlin's hit piece so soon after publication, it may be a good while before she pops up in conservative circles again.

UPDATE: CNS has posted another commentary by Moriarty-McLaughlin, a July 1 piece complaining that Anthony Fauci has appeared on TikTok in an effort to encourage young people to get the coronavirus vaccine,  huffing: "This is not about health with Fauci; it's about clout: Views, likes, garnering popularity with young people, and ultimately building a fanbase consisting primarily of the Generation Z TikTok crowd." She also tried to feed unproven claims that COVID vaccines affect fertility and fearmongered about breakthrough infections.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:29 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, August 12, 2021 12:23 AM EDT
Newsmax's Black Keeps Sucking Up To Trump (And Nixon Too)
Topic: Newsmax

Conrad Black -- notorious sucker-upper to Donald Trump -- spent part of his July 8 column complaining that historians ranked Trump's presidency too low:

President Trump’s status at number 41 is utterly nonsensical.

His achievements in reducing illegal immigration by 95%, eliminating unemployment, generating higher percentage income gains in the lowest rather than in the highest income brackets, solid advances in Mideast peace, taming North Korea, and shaping up the NATO alliance will eventually be seen as far more important than stylistic infelicities when the current tide of partisan zeal and snobbery has ebbed.

He then declared Trump would be in his second tier of presidents, which he deemed "above average."

Black followed up in his July 29 column, complaining that reporter Carl Bernstein criticized Trump's presidency:

This past Sunday, Bernstein solemnly asserted to the porcine CNN Trump-hater Brian Stelter, that Trump is "an American war criminal operating within his own country," and that "when we’re talking about Trump, we’re obviously talking about a kind of delusional madness."

On a gentle probing from Stelter, Bernstein elaborated that his status as a war criminal consists of his "crimes against humanity" which "he has perpetrated upon our people, including the tens of thousands of people who died because of his homicidal negligence in the pandemic."

Naturally, the fact that Trump probably saved millions of lives around the world with his facilitation of an early vaccine went unmentioned and his homicidal contact was not remotely identified.

Bernstein continued, saying Trump’s "actions in terms of fomenting a coup in which to hold onto office and which the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has now compared . . . to Hitler . . . to brownshirts, to the Reichstag fire."

This is unspeakable and demented nonsense; certainly the chairman of the Joint Chiefs should be fired.

But Trump wasn't the only ex-president whose reputation Black wants to rehabilitate. He wrote of Richard Nixon in his July 8 column:

Gradually, as cant and emotionalism subside, historians take note of the fact that there is still no conclusive evidence that Nixon himself broke any laws, though some people in his entourage did.

And on revisiting his presidency, each year the Watergate controversy will be less important in comparison with his achievements in normalizing relations with China, negotiating and signing the greatest arms control agreement in history with the Soviet Union, extracting the United States from the Vietnam War while maintaining a non-Communist government in Saigon.

Nixon also worked to end school segregation while avoiding the bussing of tens of millions of schoolchildren out of their neighborhoods as the courts had ordered, founded the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ended the draft, and ended the violent demonstrations that plagued the country relentlessly in the last year of his predecessor Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration.

This record will eventually put Nixon in the top 15 presidents, up from 31 in this survey, and about 40th in 2001.

Black placed Nixon in his highest tier of presidents that he deemed "unusually capable."

In his July 29 column, Black demanded that Nixon receive "balanced historical treatment":

He must, of course, take principal responsibility for the disgrace and embarrassment of Watergate; he permitted, and at times encouraged, a tawdry atmosphere within the White House in which legalities were often treated a bit casually and Nixon rather self-servingly applied the Truman-Eisenhower latitudinarian version of national interest and the president’s practically unlimited right to define it.

These were terrible tactical errors and no one can deny that Nixon paid heavily for them.

But against that, and despite the fact that he was the first president since Zachary Taylor in 1848 to take office with neither house of Congress in the hands of his own party, Nixon enjoyed one of the most successful single terms in the history of the U.S. presidency.


He extracted the United States from the Vietnam War while maintaining a non-Communist government in Saigon which would have had a chance of survival if the Watergate crisis had not prevented him from resuming aerial bombardment of the North when that country, as had been expected, violated the peace agreement and resumed its invasion of the South.

These are the reasons, and not any minor political skulduggery, that President Nixon was reelected by 18 million votes in 1972, a plurality that has not been approached in the subsequent half-century even though the electorate has grown steadily larger.

He then attacked Bernstein and his former journalistic partner Bob Woodward, complaining that "the absurdly antagonistic and muckraking treatment that they have frequently inflicted on some of Nixon’s successors must reflect on the credibility of their coverage of the Watergate affair that so durably influenced public and international opinion about Nixon," dismissing most of what they got from "Deep Throat" -- later revealed to be FBI official Mark Felt -- as nothing more than "malicious gossip prompted by the source’s failure to be elevated to succeed J. Edgar Hoover as director of the FBI."

Posted by Terry K. at 3:00 PM EDT

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