No, MRC, Demonitization Of Piers Morgan Column Is Not 'Censorship' Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center loves to describe things as "censorship" that are not censorship at all. Casey Ryan took that to a new level by complaining in an Aug. 4 post:
Talk about Olympic-sized censorship. Google admitted that the platform demonetized a column from former talk show host Piers Morgan that merely criticized Olympic gymnast Simone Biles for abandoning her team at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
In a column for the Daily Mail headlined “Free speech is dying and woke Google is helping to dig its grave,” Morgan said Google demonetized a column he wrote critical of Biles only eight hours after it was published. “This meant they banned all adverts from appearing alongside it, so the Mail would receive zero revenue from the column appearing on Google,” Morgan wrote.
He emphasized that the platform’s censorship was “a big deal” because “Google and Facebook have a virtual monopoly on online advertising revenue, hoovering up 80% of the entire market between them.” In a response to MRC Free Speech America, Google admitted to demonetizing Morgan’s column.
Google did not accuse Morgan of making a racist or bigoted remark, but accused readers leaving comments under his column of racist activity. “Our systems detected racist content in the comments under a recent MailOnline article from Piers Morgan so we blocked ads from showing against the article in accordance with our policies. The article remains on MailOnline, but advertisers using our ad tech will not see their ads running alongside it while those comments remain,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.
This was not "Olympic-sized censorship." Indeed, it was not "censorship" at all. Nobody was prevented or even mildly inconvenienced from reading Morgan's column. No commenter was prevented or inconvenienced from commenting. The column is stil available. The Daily Mail -- a notoriously biased and inaccurate newspaper -- just can't make any money from people's eyeballs. And the last time we checked, private companies still have the choice to not associate themselves with content they find offensive.
Nevertheless, Ryan continued: "No website appears safe if Google is willing to censor stories with anonymous comments." Again: Morgan was not "censored," and the comments section was not "censored." Ryan never called out the Daily Mail's responsibility to run a comments section that's properly moderated and free of racism and bigotry, or that perhaps Google's demonitization of Morgan's column might nudge the Daily Mail toward accepting that responsibility.
THe MRC and its Free Speech America project will continue to discredit themselves if it continues to false describe any criticism of a conservatve "censorship."
Priest At CNS Issues Right-Wing Lecture Against Welfare Topic: CNSNews.com
It's not often you get a right-wing lecture against welfare from a Catholic priest, but that's what Rev. Michael Orsi served up in a Aug. 9 CNSNews.com column headlined "Quit Misinterpreting Jesus: Free Food Isn’t Free."
Orsi began by recounting Jesus' miracle of the loaves and fishes, then deciding that Jesus leaving the scene rather than letting the crowd crown him king had a political intent: "Was this the Lord’s way of showing He didn’t want people to become dependent on government?" Unlikely, and Orsi knows it, going on to add: "Forgive me for letting my political predilections carry me away. Sometimes I just can’t help myself."
Of course, interpretation of Scripture should have nothing whatsoever to do with the reader's political predilections, but that didn't stop Orsi from sounding more like he was reciting Republican talking points instead of being a helpful interpreter. He decided to interpret Genesis as saying "We need to work, to develop ourselves, physically and intellectually, to gain a sense of virtue," then sounded even more like a Republican by rehashing how bad the Soviet Union was. Then came the lecture against welfare and even meaningful pandemic assistance from the government:
Now, to be sure, the lockdown hit plenty of people, and it hit them hard. Jobs were lost, businesses closed. And of course, there are those who would be incapable of supporting themselves, regardless of the pandemic. We have assistance programs for good reasons.
But there are plenty of other people who are perfectly capable of working — and who could readily find work at the many companies currently recruiting desperately — but who have gotten used to being taken care of by “Uncle Joe” in the White House.
Businesses all over the country are reporting unfilled positions. But people are responding to the perverse incentive to lay back on the stimulus checks. And so jobs go begging.
This has consequences. As it’s often been said, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” When you do nothing good, you’re likely to do something bad.
And so we’re seeing an increase in drug overdoses. People are dying as a direct result of these government checks and the excessive, unhealthy leisure that money has brought. With no meaningful way to spend their time, no sense that their survival and the welfare of their families depend on them, people are destroying themselves.
Nothing is free. There’s always a price to pay.
Government handouts are not a blessing. At best, they are a temporary expedient to address a short-term emergency need. But as an ongoing way to operate a society, they don’t work. And the proof of that has been seen everywhere. They’ve failed in Russia, in Cuba, in Venezuela. And the signs of failure are appearing here as well.
Meanwhile, in reality, Americans aren't lazy, and they have used the expanded unemployment benefits to hold out for better jobs with better pay. Orsi seems to think that Americans must accept whatever job is open, regardless of the pay, the danger (and exposure to coronavirus is very much a danger) or their suitability to the position.
Orsi further lectured that welfare is a failure "because they encourage us to act in that less-than-human way. And so we become less than human." He said nothing about the responsibility of employers to provide a safe, welcoming environment with pay that is commensurate with the risk involved.
Newsmax Tries To Blame Obama Party for Martha's Vineyard COVID Spike Topic: Newsmax
Sandy Fitzgerald wrote in an Aug. 14 Newsmax article:
Martha's Vineyard is experiencing a COVID-19 spike with 74 people testing positive for the virus after hundreds of people converged on the wealthy enclave to dance and party — maskless — at last Saturday's bash celebrating President Barack Obama's 60th birthday.
Last Saturday, hundreds of guests flew in from around the country to party under tents on his estate in Edgartown, but in the nights before the celebration itself, Obama also met with friends Thursday at the Barn Bowl & Bistro and then Friday at the Winnetu Oceanside Resort.
The party continued Sunday when Obama enjoyed a brunch at the Beach Road restaurant under a marquee that was built for him by the water in Vineyard Haven.
But even as Fitzgerald was writing that, she (or he) was also admitting that there was no evidence to back it up:
Health officials are pointing out it is still too early to know if the cases were related to the workers and guests who gathered for Obama's weekend extravaganza, The Daily Mail reported in an exclusive Saturday.
Even before the week celebrations, though, Martha's Vineyard was already having a surge of cases, with 48 people falling ill in the week before the party. Of those people, about half had gotten their vaccinations, said health officials.
Indeed, even the right-wing Washington Examiner has admitted that the COVID surge on the island has nothing to do with Obama's party.
As political attacks go, this one lame, not to mention completely false. It doesn't help Newsmax's efforts to be seen as a legitimate "news" source.
WND's Farah Is Still A Proud Obama Birther Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah reminded us he's still a proud Obama birther in his Aug. 3 column:
Do you know what today is?
It's supposedly Barack Obama's birthday.
Do you recall all of the contention about his birth certificate?
Have you ever seen a birth certificate cause as much controversy?
We considered it very important. You might want to re-examine some of the articles on the subject in case you missed them. This was "Birth Certificate Central" during the Obama years. It was akin to the only place to find Hunter Biden laptop stories in the New York Post during the presidential election. Of course, that was before Big Tech ran the Internet like the secret police.
Why was it relevant then? Because Obama would become president of the United States, a position that absolutely required him to be a "natural born citizen" according to this nation's Constitution. Was he? Let's review a few facts.
He claims he was born in Honolulu in late August 1961, to Ann Dunham, a 17-year-old high school student, and Barack Obama, a visiting student from Kenya.
Biographers agree without objection that Ann Dunham moved her son from Hawaii to Seattle within three weeks of his birth. It is doubtful that either a visiting student from Kenya or a minor from Hawaii could confer "natural born" citizenship on their son.
That was the BIG question, the mystery – which has never been resolved or answered.
Actually, it has -- the mere fact that Obama was born in the United States to an American citizen mother makes him a "natural born citizen." Farah will never admit that, of course, or the fact that the birther stuff was always -- always a partisan political attack. Farah proved that in 2016 when he gutlessly punted on the issue of whether Ted Cruz was a "natural born citizen" despite the fact that his longstanding assertion of what te phrase meant to him would have disqualified Cruz, his preferred presidential candidate that year, who was born in Canada to a non-citizen father.
Farah then tried to make his obsession relevant to today: "Of course, since then, the Democrats have run another presidential candidate that stretches the boundaries of the Constitution. Both of Kamala Harris' parents were foreign born – her mother was an immigrant from India and her father was born in Jamaica." He didn't mention Cruz, of course -- or that Harris was born in the U.S., making her a natural born citizen.
Farah went on to tout Jerome Corsi's birther book, though he never identified on exactly what chart it was ever a "No. 1 bestselling book":
All of this was thoroughly documented in WND and in Dr. Jerome Corsi’s No. 1 bestselling book published by WND Books, "Where's the Birth Certificate?" In fact, it was of significant interest by Donald Trump.
The stories in WND continued for several years, beginning with Obama's candidacy for president in 2008 until the book hit the No. 1 bestseller ranks and an Obama "birth certificate" in April 2011 was finally produced. It’s worth noting that even Democratic Hawaiian governor Neil Abercrombie was perplexed at not being able to find a birth certificate or "any slip of paper" designating the birth of Obama.
You may recall that it was the Democrats' favorite law firm, Perkins Coie, which was assigned the task of defending against Republican challenges to Joe Biden's "immaculate" election of 2020, that also finally discovered the long lost "birth certificate," not to mention the discredited Steele Dossier it helped Hillary Clinton produce.
Farah appears to be lying here. A Google search revealed no instance outside of Farah's column in which Abercrombie said he could not find "any slip of paper" designating the birth of Obama. To the contrary, Abercrombie said the certificate existed in the state archives -- which was irrelevant anyway because the certificate Obama originally released was a certified state document.
We covered WND's lies and misinformation about Obama's birth certificate every step of the way (scroll down for our complete list of articles). Farah has never challenged anything we published about it -- so he knows he was lying and won't admit it. And he is continuing to lie to this very day.
MRC Gets Mad When Cuomo's Sexual Harssment Likened To Trump Topic: Media Research Center
In our summary of how the Media Research Center was gleefully dancing on Andrew Cuomo's political grave, we overlooked one instance in which the MRC got all huffy about Cuomo's sexual harassment scandal being likened to Donald Trump's long history of sexual harassment. In an Aug. 4 post, Alex Christy complained that for PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor, "one of the takeaways is that, unlike Republicans, Democrats have no tolerance for such behavior":
Repeating that Cuomo has no intention of resigning, she declared:
He is someone who thinks he can hold on and when I'm talking to people, Democrats, they are also pointing to people like former President Trump who held on after dozens and dozens of women accused him of sexual harassment, of abuse and rape he was able to continue to still be president and now has a lot of power in the Republican Party, that's in some ways what Andrew Cuomo is trying to hang on to power and act a bit Trumpian here.
According to Alcindor, the analogy falls part because, "Democrats don't seem to have the same appetite for this sort of behavior that the GOP has."
Mitchell agreed, "Yeah, 21 women and also holding on after the Access Hollywood tape was revealed when he was first running for office. So that is the playbook to just outlast the outrage, if he can."
At this point, we will remind you that the MRC went on a huge whataboutism kick regarding the "Access Hollywood" tape, playing the Clinton Equivocation card, and also that the MRC denigrated the women who made claims of sexual harassment (and worse) against Trump.
If you guessed that Christy would follow MRC tradition in attempting to rebut Alcindor, you would be correct. Cue the whataboutism and Clinton Equivocation:
For the media, it's as if Bill Clinton and his impeachment never existed. Liberal hero Sen. Ted Kennedy, "the lion of the Senate," left a woman to drown after a car accident, and, with fellow liberal Sen. Chris Dodd, allegedly sexually assaulted a woman in the infamous 1985 "waitress sandwich."
So no, Democrats do not have the moral high ground and it is easy for them to say Cuomo should resign when they know that the blue state governor will be replace [sic] by another Democrat.
Yes, Christy has to go all the way back to 1998 and 1985 and 1969 to deflect from Trump's actions in the much more recent past. And Cuomo eventually did resign under pressure with nobody on any side defending that behavior -- something that can never be said about Republicans and Trump, even though a resigned Trump would have been replaced by another Republican.
Christy never mentioned Trump again, by the way, so perhaps he was conceding that Trump is terrible to women -- he just doesn't want to have to say the words out loud.
It Wasn't True, And It Didn't Happen In August Topic: WorldNetDaily
On July 23, WorldNetDaily columnist Craige McMillan -- who has spread conspiracy theories about the election -- wrote a column headlined, "What if it's really true, and it all happens in August?" In it, he pushed a mishmash of QAnon and other right-wing conspiracy theories about Donald Trump returning to power in August:
The question I'm asking is, what if there has always been fire in the midst of all the smoke being blown about by big media huffing and puffing, Big Tech censorship and big government "we're gonna do it anyway" career civil servants?
Early in President Trump's term of office, amidst a room full of military brass and their wives, Trump referred to that particular moment in time as, "The calm before the storm." A reporter immediately followed up: "What storm, Mr. President?" The only response was, "You'll find out."
I'm ambivalent about Taylor Swift, but her song "August" was released on July 24, 2020. Her lyrics came up during a search for "August folklore." The month itself is named after the Roman Emperor Augustus.
Since the 2020 election there have been persistent rumors (smoke) that the election was stolen through absentee ballots (expanded for use during COVID-19) and electronic voting machines. This evidence is said to consist of packet captures from voting machines (that were not supposed to be connected to the internet).
There is no question that packet capture is a real thing. The amount of data for an entire election would have been enormous, and would have required access points (to connect the equipment) and a way to sort through the packets coming and going throughout the election. My thought is that only the military or an intelligence agency could execute such an operation. Big Tech, possibly. Hackers? I'm dubious.
Having set the stage, let's finally get to the real question. What happens if:
The U.S. election was stolen;
conclusive evidence to prove that it was stolen exists; and
our military or an intel agency gathered evidence of the real vote counts?
At that point, the calm before the storm will be over. The storm will be upon us.
McMillan went to argue this could result in military rule: "If the evidence shows a foreign actor conspired to aid the Democrats in the presidential election, we're looking at a period of military rule, not only nationally (D.C.) but in most large cities as well. This will have to happen while the bad actors are removed from their positions and punished for their crimes."
Of course, none of this happened. Mike Lindell's "cyber symposium" ended up demonstrating that "packet captures" were a bust, proving absolutely nothing about the election, let alone that it was stolen.
Needless to say, McMillan felt no need to apologize for being so wrong. His Sept. 3 column is a weird fantasy on the theme, "If you were God, would you save America today?" One gets the feeling he's rooting for that answer to be no ... simply because his beloved Trump lost.
Like many other WND employees and writers, McMillan is living in a fantasy world, unable to accept the reality that Biden legitimately won the election. He will continue to embarass himself by writing about his delusions (provided WND survives long enough to continue publishing them).
UPDATE: By contrast, an Aug. 9 WND column by Michael Brown admitted that no matter what proof Mike Lindell might offer in his then-upcoming cyber symposium (and he didn't offer any), "Trump will not be reinstated to the presidency this month":
That should be self-evident, since President Biden is not about to be arrested and imprisoned, and the military (or any other power) is not about to restore Trump to the White House. All the dates predicted thus far for the big shift, be it by pro-Trump prophets or QAnon conspirators, have come and gone, and none of the predictions have come to pass.
On that score, the ship has sailed, and it is high time to move on (really, well past high time).
MRC Has Lost Its Love For Lindell Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center spent the first part of the year inserting MyPillow guy Mike Lindell into its "censorship" victimization narrative because of his wseirdly aggressive defense of Donald Trump and his promotion of the never-proven conspiracy theory that the eleciton was stolen. The last time we checked in April, the MRC was gushing over the idea that Lindell planned to launch his own social media platform, as well as comtinuing the victim narrative by complained that Lindell's falsehood-filled video "Absolute Proof" got pulled from a couple video platforms, claiming he faced a "constant barrage of Big Tech censorship." Of course, if Lindell and other right-wingers want to live in "a world without the constant barrage of Big Tech censorship," they should stop telling lies and respect the terms of service of social media platforms.
The MRC continued to promote Lindell's ventures. An April 13 post by Joseph Vazquez touted how Lindell "is launching an online store to combat Big Tech giant Amazon’s hold over e-commerce," which Lindell insisted would be “a patriotism-themed e-commerce platform.” The site has apparently launched, though we haven't heard much about it since; Lindell was planning to launch an IPO for the operation, but claimed that his getting sued by Dominion Voting Systems for $1.3 billion over false claims he allegedly made about the company supposedly put those plans on hold. Still, Vazquez went on to rehash Lindell's victimhood bona fides:
Just recently, both YouTube and Vimeo removed Lindell’s documentary Absolute Proof. The documentary called the results of the 2020 presidential election into question.
The Washington Post celebrated Dominion Voting Systems launching a lawsuit against Lindell for his election claims in a news item that read like a venom-spewing op-ed: “Mike Lindell made his bed with Trump’s bogus conspiracies. Now, he gets to lie in it.”
In January 2021, Twitter banned Lindell from the platform “due to repeated violations of our Civic Integrity Policy,” a spokesperson told MRC Free Speech America.
But Lindell’s election claims are not the only reason why he’s been attacked by the far left. His faith as a Christian has also come under heavy fire.
On April 15, Alexander Hall promoted the launch of Lindell's social media operation:
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell chose to take matters into his own hands after Twitter banned him in January. He has now created a new social media platform called “Frank” that is reportedly close to launching for conservatives seeking to speak their minds in a more wholesome atmosphere.
Lindell explained the idea behind the platform in a short video on the FrankSpeech website before its limited April 16 opening: “This is gonna be a platform like no other. It's kinda like a YouTube-Twitter combination.” Lindell made sure to assure viewers: “We’re going to be attacked, but I have my own servers and everything,” he explained. “We’re not gonna be worried about Amazon taking it down or YouTube or Google or Apple.”
Lindell also explained that his plan for a more family-friendly platform was a feature, not a liability: “You don’t get to use the four swear words: you know, the c-word, the n-word, the f-word or God’s name in vain,” he explained. “Free speech is not pornography. Free speech isn’t, ‘I’m gonna kill you.’”
Well, actually, it kinda is. If you block certain kinds of speech you find objectionable, -- even to create "a more wholesome atmosphere" -- you're no longer a "free speech" operation.
Hall didn't bother to do any follow-up on the issues it had at launch that prevented people from actually signing up (which Lindell blamed without evidence on a "massive attack" against the operation), or about the event promoting the operation in a half-empty Corn Palace in South Dakota.
In a May 7 post, Vazquez got some amusement out of the Democrats allegedly compiling an opposition-research file on Lindell in case he does something political in the future: "Allies of President Joe Biden are apparently so worried about his political future that they decided to compile an entire opposition file on MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell." Actually, that's smart political work, because it's a good idea to be prepared for anything in the political arena.
That, however, was the last post dedicated to Lindell (he received passing mention in twoposts in August). The Frank platform appears to have not caught fire (unless you count the dumpster fire of its launch) -- the MRC seems to have put its rhetorical chips on GETTR, the site run by former Trump aide Jason Miller (which also has its dumpster-fire aspects). And it may be that Lindell has become too crazy for the MRC -- which would be an achievement given the kind of extremists it has portrayed as mainstream conservatives who are being "censored" by "Big Tech" in order to pad its victim narrative. The MRC did not promote last month's "cyber symposium" hosted by Lindell, and it didn't even note that Fox News "censored" Lindell by refusing to run ads for it, causing Lindell to pull all his MyPillow advertising off Fox News.The abject failure of the symposium made Lindell look even worse than he already did.
Too crazy for the MRC? Not exactly a pillow-soft landing for Lindell.
MRC's Double Standard On One-Day Dow Drops Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center -- proving that it's a partisan political organization and not a "media research" one -- lovestoembrace whatever the Republicans' anti-Biden talking point du jour is, only to abandon it when it proves to be overblown or outright false (while not explaining that fact to readers). Joseph Vazquez gave it the ol' biased try in a July 19 post trying to exploit a large one-day stock drop to blame it on President Biden:
CNBC had the spin on the massive stock market sell-off story so fast it was as if the outlet was just waiting to protect the Biden administration from any bad news.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell a whopping 725.81 points July 19 as “anxiety mounted over the spread of the Delta coronavirus variant and its potential impact on the global economy,” The Wall Street Journal reported. It was the “worst session since October” for the index.
But CNBC seemed to already know how it would spin the story at 10:42 a.m. when the market was in the heat of its nosedive: “Stock market volatility can be an opportunity for investors. Here’s why.”
CNBC pulled the nothing-to-see-here angle from its back pocket and pontificated how “[w]hile volatility can be troubling for investors, experts caution against any hasty selling when markets fall.” Really?
The outlet ran two subheadings in its piece that were just as absurd given the extent of the market downturn. The first was “Volatility is common.” The second was “Volatility can be your friend.”
Vazquez went on to insinst that "CNBC’s gaslighting of the potential effects of the market’s drop made the news outlet’s irresponsible behavior toward the stock market news all the more egregious."
Later, Curtis Houck complained that "the “big three” networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC played the role of PR professionals for the White House" becuase it didn't sufficiently report on "the pitiful day on Wall Street."
But the MRC never brought up this attack again. Why? Because the very next day, the Dow increased 549 points -- and by the end of that week on July 23, the Dow had increase more than 1,000 points from the July 19 close. In other words, CNBC was right about stock market volatility, and Vazquez's attack was bogus.
As one can assume, the MRC has a double standard on this. In 2019, the MRC complained that the media covered an 800-point Dow drop -- a much bigger drop than the one Vazquez fearmongered over because the Dow average was lower at the time -- and even quoted CNBC's Jim Cramer to demand that the media "dial back the hysteria." Vazquez and Houck didn't pick up that lesson, apparently.
MRC's Bozell Give Trump Jr. A Pass On Cashing In On His Father's Presidency Topic: Media Research Center
In July, Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell sat down for an interview with Donald Trump Jr. (And we though the MRC hated softball interviews.) An excerpt posted to NewsBusters featured Don Jr. spouting the MRC's anti-"Big Tech" narrative against "censorship" of conseravatives online (though no proof was offered that mainstream conservatives are solely being targeted), but the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, was given a clip of Don Jr. unironically accusing Hunter Biden of trying to cash in on his father's presidency:
“People have to wake up; they have to get their news from alternative sources,” Donald Trump, Jr. tells Media Research Center President Brent Bozell in an exclusive interview discussing the left-wing media’s bias and hypocrisy when it comes to the treatment of presidents’ family members.
The former First Son explains that, while his father was in the White House, the liberal media would never have allowed him to claim to be an artist and sell paintings for half a million dollars to anonymous buyers, as President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, is doing.
Even some Picassos sell for far less than what Hunter is charging, and yet the media looks the other way, Trump, Jr. says:
“I take that one pretty personally, because I went through a lot. What do you think would happen, Brent, if for, I don’t know, for example, Donald Trump, Jr. started finger-painting, like Hunter Biden, and started selling them to unknown buyers for half a million dollars?
Bozell positioned this issue in an incredibly softball way, effectively playing T-ball with Don Jr. He made no mention of the fact that Don Jr. did, in fact, cash in on his father's presidency to perhaps an even greater degree than Hunter Biden was accused of doing.
The big one was that the Republican National Committee bought $300,000 worth of copies of Don Jr.'s book -- a massive bulk purchase that dishonestly put the book on the bestseller list. Interestingly, Don Jr. self-published his book, so gets all to keep that RNC money for himself. Bozell even plugged the book in question, "Liberal Privilege," during the interview, but at no point did he acknowlege it becamae a best-seller because the RNC bought a bunch of copies -- the epitome of cashing in on a presidential father's fame.
But there's more: In 2019, Don Jr. made $50,000 for giving a single speech, and as Business Insider summarized: "He also works at his father's company, overseeing the business empire since his father took up the presidency. Most of his present-day media profile comes from discussing his father and his presidency."
No MRC employee is ever going to call out Bozell for his softball interview of Don Jr. -- not if they want to keep their job, that is.
MRC Falsely Labels Film It Doesn't Like As A 'Hollywood Film' Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Gabriel Hays ranted in a July 13 post headlined "Filthy Hollywood Film With Lesbian Nuns and Virgin Mary ‘Dildo’ Makes Waves at Cannes":
Surprise! A French shock Jaques director hates the Catholic Church and has created a movie calculated to outrage the faithful and win plaudits from the elites. Showgirls director Paul Verhoeven's latest flick is an anti-Catholic porno.
Benedettais a profane trash heap about 17th century lesbian nuns that’s full of violence and extremely gratuitous sex scenes between women whose vocations are supposed to involve a life of dutiful chastity before God. Supposedly it’s based on a true story. And of course this kind of disgusting, subversive content sets just the right mood for the foreign film fest circuit, and apparently Benedetta is all the rage at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
One little problem with Hays' rant: "Benedetta" is not a "Hollywood film." According to Wikipedia, the film was shot in Europe in the French language. The film's two main producers, Said Ben Said and Jerome Seydoux, are Tunisian-French and French, respectively. A third producer, Michel Merkt, is also French.
This is simple stupidity on Hays' part, making a lazy assumption that all films are "Hollywood films." People in other parts of the world make movies too, but Hays is apparently too ideologically nearsighted to realize that. And apparently the MRC has no editors (or at least none who do anything meaningful), so Hays' lazy mistake slipped right on through, even though it's right there in the headline.
MRC Is Weirdly Obsessed With Insisting Mormon-Owned Paper Is 'Liberal' Topic: Media Research Center
Rich Noyes devoted a July 20 post complaining that the editor of the Deseret News, a local newspaper in Salt Lake City, says his paper doesn't have a "leftist agenda." After noting that the editor cited "quasi-scientific sources" to prove his contention about the paper lacking ideological bias, Noyes huffed in response:
Bottom line: these charts may satisfy the Internet’s desire for a quick side-by-side comparison of news sources, but they don’t offer any substantive examples to back up their grades. Just trust them.
That’s not how we study media bias here at NewsBusters. Our daily output consists of endless examples, with transcripts and embedded video so everyone can see the coverage themselves. Our empirical studies focus exclusively on content, rigorously examining all coverage on a specific topic, from one or more designated news sources, for a specific period of time. In my 30+ years of experience, that’s the only way a study’s conclusions have merit.
But the MRC's approach is even less "quasi-scientific" than the bias monitors he dismisses. Yes, the MRC loves cranking out anecdotal examples, but they are used to push partisan narratives, not support legitimate "media research." Further, the MRC always starts with the conclusion -- the non-right-wing media has a "liberal" bias -- and searches for evidence to support that claim while ignoring everything else that might disprove it, as we documented with the methdology its uses in many of its "studies" of "bias" (a subjective measure), which focuses on a tiny sliver of all coverage, ignores neutral coverage, won't make the raw data public and completely refuses to apply the same standards to Fox News.
Noyes then wrote:
And as it happens, I’ve managed two studies of the Deseret News, and both showed coverage skewed pretty heavily against conservatives.
In 2013, our analysis showed the Deseret News tilted 6-to-1 (24 stories vs. four) against Utah Senator Mike Lee and other conservatives’ strategy of holding up government funding as a way to oppose ObamaCare. This wasn’t as lopsided as coverage at the neighboring Salt Lake Tribune, which tilted 41 to zero against the conservative strategy, but it’s hardly a “lean right” result.
Then last year, we looked at coverage of the 4th Congressional District race between incumbent Democrat Ben McAdams and Republican challenger Burgess Owens. Our analysis showed Owens, the conservative, received significant negative coverage, while McAdams faced none. That’s not the work of a paper that “leans right,” either.
As it happens, we critiqued both of those alleged studies at the time. The underlying premise for both -- as it is for much of the MRC's "media research" -- is that any criticism of a conservartive, no matter now newsworthy or justified, is ipso facto evidence of "liberal bias." For the 2013 study, we noted that Noyes was admitting false balance by conceding that public opinion was largely against Lee's strategy of forcing a government shutdown as leverage to defund Obamacare, meaning that the two newspapers were at least somewhat accurately reflecting public opinion. For the 2020 study, Noyes was complaining that several scandals involving Owens were being reported by the News -- even though he seemed to concede that the negative coverage was justified -- while not offering any evidence of scandals involving McAdams that should have been reported but were not.
And in both cases, Noyes censored the fact that the Deseret News is owned by a division of the Churst of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- a.k.a. the Mormons -- meaning that it has little genetic incentive to be a "llberal" media outlet. Nevertherless, Noyes insisted:
To be clear, I do not think the Deseret News is on the same level as a woke/progressive/leftist newspaper like the New York Times. But when we’ve analyzed their political coverage, it reads more like Democratic talking points than a “leans right” newspaper.
The fact that Noyes has determined that the Deseret News is nothing but a "Democratic talking points" based solely on two tiny, highly flawed "studies" done seven years apart tells us all we need to now about just how "quasi-scientific" the MRC's methodology really is. That, and the fact that he apparently believes that "woke," "progressive" and "leftist" mean exactly the same thing.
How Is The MRC Freaking Out About George Soros Now? Topic: Media Research Center
Joseph Vazquez is the Media Research Center's designated George Soros-hater, and he's continued to crank out the hate since the last time we checked in.
A February post by Vazquez listed Soros as among a group of "America’s most notorious liberal billionaires" who are purportedly targetingFox News host Tucker Carlson, though he (and apparently Carlson) never stated how, exactly, Soros is targeting Carlson. Vazquez kept up the piling on of hyperbolic accusations:
Vazquez even tried to blame Soros for things he had nothing to do with. On August 2, he pushed a salacious story under the headline "SICK: 6 Women Sue Soros ‘Right-Hand Man’ After BDSM in His ‘Sex Dungeon'.' In fact, the person in question, Howard Rubin, hadn't worked for Soros Fund Management since 2015. Vazquez also sourced his claim largely from the notoriouslyunreliable Daily Mail, which offered no evidence to back up its claim that Rubin was ever Soros' "right-hand man,'" and from the New York Post, which has a notorious right-wing bias.
In June, Vazquez complained that a "A U.K.-based fact-checking outlet financed by liberal billionaire George Soros tried as early as February 2020, to swat down the idea that COVID-19 had leaked from a laboratory in communist China." In fact, there is still little proof to substantiate that theory (though that's in no small part because the Chinese have been less than cooperative), and it remains at least as likely that it is a naturally occurring virus and was not genetically altered in the Wuhan lab.
We've previously noted the MRC trying to blame a "Soros-funded group" for what it called a "flawed" study of Facebook being used as a platform for misinformation, and Vazquez attacklng Swiss financier Hansjörg Wyss as the next Soros in the "evil liberal billionaire" sweepstakes. We also caught Vazquez cheering a ProPublica report on how little in taxes rich people play when it exposed Soros -- only to flip-flop a few days later to condemn that very same report because it exposed the financial info of non-liberal rich people.
CNS Deflects Trump From Blame Over His Deal With The Taliban Topic: CNSNews.com
As the U.S. pullout from Afghanistan led to the unexpectedly quick takeover of the country, CNSNews.com knew what it had to do, besides blaming President Biden: absolve and deflect President Trump from blame for his role, given that he negotiated the peace and withdrawal deal with the Taliban that Biden was carrying out.
In an Aug. 13 article, Patrick Goodeneough -- who has been CNS' leader in defending Trump after his departure from office -- touted a Trump statement in which heclaimed that “I personally had discussions with top Taliban leaders whereby they understood what they are doing now would not have been acceptable,” then tried to defend Trump's Taliban deal:
In fact, the U.S.-Taliban agreement did make the withdrawal of U.S. forces by May 1 contingent on the Taliban meeting certain obligations: It declared as “interconnected” and “interrelated” the timeline for the troop withdrawal on one hand, and on the other a Taliban commitment to “prevent the use of the soil of Afghanistan by any group or individual against the security of the United States and its allies.”
The agreement did also call for a “permanent and comprehensive ceasefire,” but to be negotiated and agreed upon in “intra-Afghan” talks. Those talks have yet to produce an agreement.
On Aug. 15, Goodenough highlighted how "Chuck Todd pointed out that Biden has walked away from other decisions he inherited from the Trump administration that he considered 'bad,'" then hyped a right-wing activist dragging Barack Obama and Benghazi into the argument:
Pushing back at the blame-Trump talking points, Heritage Foundation vice president for foreign and defense policy studies James Jay Carafano said Biden “can make all the excuses and spin all the narratives he wants, but a narrative can’t stop a bullet.”
“The situation did not collapse until he withdrew troops – and it is impossible not to conclude this happened because of what he decided.”
Carafano placed the decision in the broader context of the “Obama-Biden foreign policy,” recalling the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq at the end of 2011 – and resulting rise of ISIS – and a response to the Libya crisis which, he said, included “the spiraling decline in the security situation until our diplomatic facilities in Benghazi were smoking ruins.”
Susan Jones did more of her usual editorializing in an Aug. 16 "news" article:
From the moment he took office on January 20, President Joe Biden began signing a flurry of executive orders to undo or reverse many of the policies instituted by President Trump.
But Biden did not scrap Trump's plan to withdraw all remaining troops from Afghanistan. And in a statement on Saturday, Biden -- who has not been seen since his departure for Camp David on Friday -- blamed Trump for the mess he "inherited."
Jones then uncritically repeated Trump and then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defending the peace deal with the Taliban and excluding the Afghan government from taking part.
Later that day, Jones complained that Republicans Ben Sasse and Liz Cheney criticized Trump's role in setting up the situation in Afghanistan, and that Cheney reminded people that Trump had at one time invited the Taliban to meet with him at Camp David.
In a speech on Monday, President Joe Biden blamed his predecessor, Donald Trump, and the Afghan people, for his administration’s botched withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and the rapid takeover of the country’s capital by Taliban forces.
As a candidate, however, Biden repeatedly promised that, if elected, he would “take responsibility” and not blame others.
In fact, Biden said in the speech that "I stand squarely behind my decision," adding that "Nor will I shrink from my share of responsibility for where we are today and how we must move forward from here. I am President of the United States of America, and the buck stops with me." Meaning that he did, in fact, take responsibility for how the withdrawal played out, which does not preclude him for pointing out that Trump felt the need to negotiate with the Taliban.
Two days later, Bannister was back defending Trump's Taliban deal:
The Taliban committed to honor five conditions stipulated in the agreement it signed with the United States on February 29, 2020 regarding the planned U.S. withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.
As the Associated Press reported at the time, in the deal struck by President Donald Trump’s State Department, the Taliban promised to oppose terrorist threats to the U.S. and thwart efforts by terrorist groups seeking to establish a safe have in Afghanistan, while the U.S. agreed to withdraw its troops by May of 2021:
Bannister later touted how "On Tuesday, Trump said that President Joe Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan will go down as one of the most disastrous evacuations in world history." His article was weirdly illustrated with a file photo of Trump awkwardly hugging a flag.
Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley equated negotiating with the Taliban to negotiating with the devil, but “you have to negotiate with the devil from a point of strength,” and the United States has no leverage with the Taliban right now, she told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
“Well, I think let's be clear, President Trump very much wanted to see soldiers come out of Afghanistan, so it's not about soldiers coming out. It's not what you do. It's how you do it. He would never have pulled our soldiers out without making sure Americans and all of our equipment and our weaponry was out beforehand,” Haley said.
“He would never have allowed the Taliban to take over Afghanistan without conditions. So anyone that wants to say this was already set in motion, it's not what was going to happen. It was how it happened, and this happened in the most embarrassing, humiliating way that has-- really angers soldiers like my husband and all those that-- that sacrificed,” she said.
Arter followed up on Aug. 26 with an article claiming that Biden "said Thursday that he bears responsibility for what “happened of late” in the Afghanistan withdrawal, but he blamed former President Donald Trump for making a deal with the Taliban in the first place to withdraw U.S. forces from the region by May 1," repeating an exchange Biden had with biased Fox News reporter Peter Doocy.
In a Sept. 1 article, Bannister uncritically repeated claims by retired general and Fox News talking head Jack Keane that "Biden not only misrepresented former Pres. Trump’s conditions-based deal with the Taliban, but also 'blew off those conditions, just like he blew off the military advice and intelligence advice,' in order to set an arbitrary withdrawal deadline of August 31."
We at the Media Research Center and NewsBusters are sad to report that veteran journalist and MRC employee Randy Hall passed away on July 16, 2021 at the age of 66. Hall suffered a stroke in 2020 and had been dealing with health issues since last October.
Randy spent the bulk of his career at MRC serving as a writer and editor for the CNSNews.com news division, where he covered a broad range of political, cultural and human interest issues. A versatile writer, Randy produced every type of content for CNSNews.com, from quick, breaking news posts to hard-hitting, meticulously researched investigative stories.
From March of 2007 to October of 2020, Hall was a contributing writer for NewsBusters.org. He often wrote about conservative media figures fighting back against the left.
In actuality, he was a biased writer, dating abck to his days as a CNS reporter, according to the ConWebWatch archives:
In 2005, he reported on then-President George W. Bush's recess appointment of John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations without mentioning the fact that the reason Democrats had blocked his appointment was bacuase of the Bush White House's refusal to turn over documents related to Bolton.
In 2007, he pushed bogus right-wing talking points about a proposed hate-crimes law and weirdly described LGBT peopole as "individuals who engage in homosexual behavior."
Hall repeated unsourced claims about a critic of a right-wing college professor who blamed biased college officials for denying him full professorship.
He also hyped a sex scandal involving a Kansas attorney general, but ignored apparent improprieties involving the previous, Republican attorney general.
His work for NewsBusters largely involved parroting whatever right-wing blather needed amplification, but he had its share of bias and misinformation as well:
He promoted then-Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren gushing over Sarah Palin's return to Fox News after a yearlong absence without any mention whatsoever of certain notable conflicts of interest: that Van Susteren's husband served as a Palin adviser or that Van Susteren herself played media handler for Palin's husband.
He whined that Nancy Pelosi called then-President Trump and Republicans "enemies of the state" -- but he had no problem portraying the media as the enemy by falsely blaming Rachel Maddow in part for a shooting of Republican congressmen.
He gloated that a film about Fox News' sexual harassment scandals bombed at the box office, but ignored that a film pushing anti-media narratives that falsely smeared a real-life reporter bombed even harder.
He insisted that Fox News anchor Bret Baier was impartial -- but didn't mention hisf alse hit job on Hillary Clinton before the 2016 election (which the MRC also heavily promoted but still hasn't corrected the recored).
It's unfortunate that Hall has passed away, but the MRC will likely have no problem finding someone at least as biased to take his place at NewsBustesrs.