CNS Spent 2021 Obsessing A Little Less Over Bette Midler Topic: CNSNews.com
We'venoted how CNSNews.com bizarrely cares so much about what Bette Midler tweets that devotes numerous articles to them. Surprisingly, CNS has restrained that obsession; after devoting 40 articles in 2020 to Midler's musings, it cranked out only six articles on her in 2021:
Even more surprisingly, there was a seven-month gap in which CNS decided not to obsess over Midler statements, from March 1 (the Cruz tweet) to Oct. 14 (the "conservative Christians" tweet). There was a seventh related article, a Dec. 22 article about someone from West Virginia responding on Fox News to Midler's West Virginia tweet.
In another surprising development, CNS' obsession with Cher tweets dropp3ed as well, from 14 articles in 2020 to just three in 2021:
CNS has not explained publicly why its Midler and Cher output declined so much in 2021, or why it has devoted so much press to them in the first place, given their lack of relvance to today's popular culture. Perhaps it's mandated by its Media Research Center parent .which has been similarlyobsessed with her.
If there's one consolation, it's that Mark Levin shouldn't feel so alone at being relatively neglected by CNS.
MRC Defends Fox News Against Chris Wallace's Departure Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center loved to attack Chris Wallace for not being enough of a right-wing shill like the rest of his Fox News co-workers, so it wasn't exactly broken-hearted when Wallace announced last month he was leaving Fox News to join CNN's new streaming operation. Nicholas Fondacaro alluded to that in his Dec. 12 post on Wallace's departure: "Wallace’s recent years with the network were a bit of a mixed bag. In October of 2020, Wallace complained on Fox News Channel about former President Trump’s conduct during the debate he moderated, equating it to Trump stomping on his cake."
The MRC will brook the possibility that Wallace left Fox News because of the channel's increasing far-right extremism -- its belief is that Fox News is always right and any critic of it is always wrong -- so the MRC's narrative moved away from criticizing Wallace to defending Fox News. On Dec. 14, Clay Waters whined that a New York Times article on Wallace's departure was "as a springboard to attack Fox News. Waters first played whataboutism -- "The paper wasn’t nearly so concerned about liberal black filmmaker Spike Lee spreading conspiracy theories, claiming 9-11 was an inside job in a documentary for HBO and joining the 'fire doesn’t melt steel' brigade -- then cheered that the Times "had to admit that Fox’s (honest) turn to opinionizing is filling a desire among the viewing public."
Tim Graham devoted his Dec. 13 podcast to Wallace's departure, first mocking him for leaving Fox News for CNN as being like leaving a Super Bowl champion for a minor-league version of the Detroit Tigers, then complained that every departure from Fox News is described as a "major loss." He then lashed out at journalist Julia Ioffe for noting on CNN that the Fox News "crazy sauce" is becoming more concentrated:
Excuse me? Julia, speaking of crazy sauce, this chick, this infobabe. she went on CNN, wshe ent on Jake Tapper's show and she proclaimed that Donald Trump -- this is the quote -- radicalized more people than ISIS. ... Who's boiling down the crazy sauce? Get off the burner!
This was followed by a rant against anyone who's not right-wing describing right-wingers as extreme:
Left-wing media outlets oughta just -- if we want to talk about pretending, stop pretending that somehow you get to judge what's extreme. These people all run around and call themselves mainstream media. Guess what? You're losing. The mainsrream is not moving your direction.Biden is falling apart, the Democrats' numbers are bad. Who's mainstream? It doesn't seem to be you.
By that same measure, the MRC has no right to put a label on the purported ideology of anyone to his left -- it's faulty, given Graham's bizarre description of the "mainstream media" as "left-wing." The fact that Graham adamantly refuses to admit that Fox News is right-wing is even more reason not to trust his judgment on anything.
CNS Gushed Over Trump's Christmas Message -- But Was Slow To Report Biden's Topic: CNSNews.com
In an echo of its earlier disparate treatment of Veterans Day messages from the current and former president, CNSNews.com served up a minor version of that for Christmas. Managing editor Michael W. Chapman gushed in a Dec. 23 article:
Speaking at First Baptist Dallas church on Sunday, former President Donald Trump stressed that the great achievements in America are due precisely to the Judeo-Christian beliefs and practices of its citizens.
"[N]one of this could’ve ever happened without Jesus Christ and His followers and His church. None of it," said Trump.
First Baptist Dallas, founded in 1868, has an estimated 14,000 members and is headed by Pastor Robert Jeffress, 66. Jeffress served on Trump's Evangelical Advisory Board and White House Faith Initiative.
“More than 2,000 years ago ... an angel of the Lord appeared to humble shepherds and proclaimed the reason for our Christmas joy," said Trump in his remarks. "'For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.'"
"Our country needs a savior right now and our country has a Savior -- and that’s not me," said Trump. "That’s somebody much higher up than me. Much higher up."
Chapman expressed no concern about Trump's speech possibly violating federal law the way CNS did a couple months earlier when Vice President Kamala Harris recorded a video to be played in churches. Nor did he mention that Jeffress is a homophobe who's also a bit anti-Semitic. (Then again, Chapman is cool with homophobia.) Chapman did snarkily add: " Commenting on Trump's remarks, Rev. Franklin Graham tweeted, 'Do you miss him? I do.'" Chapman didn't expl;ain why he, Graham or anyone else should miss the presence of a thrice-married adultererewho sleeps with porn stars in a position of high power.
By contrast, CNS' treatment of President Biden's Christmas message was much differenbt. First of all, it wasn't published until Dec. 27, two days after Christmas. Secondly, it didn't even merit a reporter's byline -- it was anonymously written.Third, it was simple straight quoting from Biden's message without editorial comment -- though, actually, that's probably a good thing considering CNS' abject loathing of all things Biden.
Still, this is yetanotherexample of CNS treating Trump much better than Biden for doing basically the same thing.
Newsmax Film On Capitol Riot Pushes Right-Wing Narratives, Conspiracy Theories Topic: Newsmax
WorldNetDaily wasn't the only ConWeb outlet pushing a dubious "documentary" on the Jan. 6 riot. Newsmax made its own -- and it appears to be just as biased. A Jan. 7 article promoting it starts off by insisting that the film is fair and accurate, the devolves into demonstrating at it's ... not:
“Day of Outrage” was produced by Newsmax to accurately and fairly detail the events related to the Capitol siege of Jan. 6.
The film includes powerful video footage of the protests and riots that took place on that fateful day, as well as a careful examination of events that led up to it.
The program includes exclusive interviews with Greg Kelly,who is the host of "Greg Kelly Reports";Sebastian Gorka,former strategist to President Donald Trump; Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene,R-Ga.; Rep. Louie Gohmert,R-Texas; retired Marine gunnery Sgt.Jessie Jane Duff;senior analyst for strategy at at the Center for Security Policy J. Michael Waller; Ashli Babbitt’s mom Micki Witthoeft; Babbitt’s husband,Aaron; Jan. 6 detainee Kenneth Harrelson’s wife,Angel; former detainee Chris Worrell’s fiancée,Trish Priller,and business owner Roberto Minuta.
Any film climing to depict the riot "accurately and fairly" would have included people who are not angry right-wingers with axes to grind; none are listed above. The article went on to hype that the film was made by "award-winning filmmaker Jack Thomas Smith," whose actual filmmaking expertise is in horror movies.
The article -- and the film, apparently -- gets more conspiratorial from there:
Unbridled violence across the nation, a disputed election, distrust of the mainstream media, and a sense that hypocrisy was everywhere among elected officials — all helped set in motion the events of Jan. 6, 2021.
In the aftermath of this day — when laws were clearly broken and behavior was at best uncivil and at worst violent — the media and Democrat politicians have advanced a disputed narrative of “insurrection.”
“Jan. 6 started as a peaceful protest that became unruly and at times violent,” says Jack Thomas Smith. “But it was not an insurrection. The protesters didn’t seek to overthrow the government and did not bring firearms into the Capitol.”
Smith notes that acts of violence did occur and says the film makes clear that the people who committed crimes that day “should be held accountable for their actions.”
But he also adds that these protesters are entitled to due process. “The mistreatment of the Jan. 6 detainees is outrageous,” he said.
“Day of Outrage” reveals what some have described as cruel and unusual punishment against some protesters following their arrests. “They are being treated worse than terrorists in Gitmo,” Smith said.
Newsmax has not made "Day of Outrage" available for streaming, so we have to read some tea leaves from the article and the film trailer attached to it. It appears that the film will hype violence in protests over racial justice in an attempt to downplay the riot; indeed, the film trailer begins with footage from those protests, and there's much less footage of riot footage inside the Capitol. A clip of an unidentified talking head makes this tactic more apparent: "What BLM/Antifa did was actually much more akin to insurrection. January 6 was a trespassing incident that got out of hand." The film apparently also pushes the right-wing martyrdom narrative of domestic terrorist Ashli Babbitt, with footage of Babbitt's widower declaring that she was "executed ... assassinated ... murdered," followed by another clip of Newsmax host Sebastian Gorka declaring, "This is an attempt to criminalize conservatives."
Smith did an interview with Gateway Pundit -- another sign that the film should not be trusted -- and made that excuse-making even more explicit:
I sat on my couch watching it on TV, just like a lot of people, most people. Initially, I thought, ‘They shouldn’t be doing this.’ But then, the media kept that narrative going to calling them, insurrectionists. We have the footage of the police officers, allowing people in the Capitol building, footage of protesters walking peacefully through the rotunda who were just looking around and taking selfies. They were a praying in the Capitol building — they certainly were not insurrectionists.
If these were insurrectionists, don’t you think someone would have brought a firearm into the building? When you see the mainstream media claim these people were trying to overthrow our government – I mean, that’s absolutely ridiculous. They weren’t not trying to overthrow our government. They were upset with the results of an election.
If we compare what’s happening here to how socialism and communism started and ultimately destroy other countries –Venezuela, Cuba, China, and the Soviet Union — the similarities are striking. If you look at the cultural revolution in China during the 1960s and 70s, you see what’s happening today in the United States. Then, if you look at how socialism infiltrated Venezuela, the similarities are really uncanny.
The article concludes: "It is noteworthy that Gateway Pundit contributor Cara Castronuova has been credited as a “consultant” on this documentary." Duly noted.
The film's trailer concludes with someone saying, "Just because some talking head calls it an insurrection doesn't mean it's one ... unless there's a campaign to make it look like one." Similarly, just because someone made a highly biased film claiming that it wasn't an insurrection doesn't mean it isn't one -- and that film is part of the campaign to pretend it isn't one.
Joel Hirschhorn COVID Misinformation Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
Notorious COVID misinformer JoelHirschhorn is back to promoting dubious treatments for COVID. In his Dec. 8 column, he hyped a study claiming that high levels of vitamin D could help fight off a COVID infection. While the study appears to be legitimate, other studies have found different results. But because Hirschhorn is a conspiracist at heart, he began his column by huffing that "There seems to be an endless refusal by the public health establishment to fight the pandemic with the best science-based tools. Instead, they keep pushing vaccines" -- as if vaccines were a bad thing -- then went on to rant:
As the U.S. approaches 800,000 COVID-related deaths it is reasonable to believe that perhaps hundreds of thousands of lives could have been saved if the government had strongly supported vitamin D blood testing and supplementation if needed. But in the absence of such a COVID policy, people have good reasons to use D supplements if they are not routinely exposed to sunlight without using sunscreen products.
Sadly, we cannot count on the public health establishment to take a science-based, aggressive policy on using vitamin D supplements as an alternative to COVID vaccines or expensive medicines. Its up to individuals to protect their own lives by being well informed and proactive.
For his Dec. 16 column, Hirschhorn returned to his first dubious medication love, ivermectin:
Ivermectin has been attacked by pro-vaccine interests despite it being a cheap, safe and proven medicine for COVID-19 treatment and prevention. Despite a mountain of clinical and test evidence showing that it really works, Big Media, Big Pharma and Big Government have stubbornly fought its use. Its use in a number of countries, notably India, has proven its effectiveness against COVID.
As the following examples show, the medicine has been found lifesaving for critically ill, hospitalized patients with little chance of survival when government-approved protocols are used. Family members have requested hospitals use IVM as patients' face probable death, often to no avail. In response, some gutsy people have used the judicial system to get hospitals to do what is justified by medical science: save lives by using ivermetctin.
In Illinois it took a court to force a hospital to capitulate to family demands to give a very sick elderly patient IVM. The hospital had used the approved ways to treat the patient without success. These included the proven unsafe and very expensive drug remdesivir, intubation and ventilator use for a month in the ICU. None of it worked, and the patient was given only a 10 to 15% chance of surviving.
Hirschhorn continued to hype that case, claiming that the patient "showed signs of improvement almost immediately" after being given ivermectin. He didn't mention that part of the legal fight involved the fact that the doctor who wanted to use ivermectin on the patient was himself not vaccinated, or that the hospital has said the patient was improving before treatment started.
He also hyped fellow WND columnist Wayne Allyn Root's claim of having beaten COVID in 48 hours with ivermectin -- bui, of course, was silent about the rfact that Root was running around doing a book tour while hiding from people that he had an active case of COVID, potentially spreading the virus to -- and sickening and maybe killing -- unsuspecting people.
Hirschhorn touted ivermectin again in his Jan. 5 column, laughably headlined "Praise the Lord and pass the ivermectin":
Hospitals have become killing machines, places where the kiss of death is a protocol following government guidelines. Despite wide COVID vaccine use, deaths in hospitals because of late-stage viral infection remain at a high level. Difficulty in getting COVID testing quickly and often probably contributes to the high death rate. Too many people do not get their COVID infection addressed early. There remains too little use of monoclonal antibodies early for infected people. So their infection progresses to serious lung and breathing problems. That is the beginning of the end.
And it will be a long time before the new antiviral drugs from Pfizer and Merck are broadly available, and there will be more information ascertained on whether or not they are really safe and effective for all diverse types of people.
In a few successful court actions, such late-stage COVID patients were given the cheap, safe generic ivermectin and – much to the astonishment of hospital doctors – have walked out of the hospital, completely recovered.
And there is considerable medical research literature supporting such use of ivermectin, principally because of its anti-inflammatory property. As just one example, a published medical 2021 hospital study found nearly a 50% reduction in deaths for patients with severe pulmonary involvement, the typical late-stage COVID death-bed patient condition. The many doubters of ivermectin should pay more attention to the medical science literature.
But published medical articles are ignored by the medical and public health establishments.
Time to let those who want to use ivermectin in an attempt to save their life get it. It is medically and morally the right thing to do.
With now a long record of hospital protocols for late-stage COVID utterly failing to save lives, how can the medical profession justify not using a generic medicine that both research and clinical results justify and explain its ability to save lives?
Families trying to find a lawyer and a friendly court face a very, very difficult race to save their loved one stuck in the ICU just like a prisoner sentenced to death.
Is it COVID killing these people or the medical profession and their hospital employers? Worth pondering as you keep watching mounting COVID death numbers.
Hirschhorn found a new way to praise ivermectin in his Jan. 19 column:
Moving beyond words is a new vote of confidence in using ivermectin to fight COVID with an innovative injectable product.
There is good reason to have hope for a new way to deliver ivermectin to millions of people to fight COVID variants. It offers a very sound alternative to vaccines. And everyone should understand that after omicron could come lethal COVID variants.
With all of the considerable controversy about using ivermectin for treating and preventing COVID, something has slipped the attention of its supporters and critics. A relatively small French company has spent the past year or more developing an injectable product of ivermectin for prophylactic use that lasts in the body for months.
One can imagine that this innovative product could be just like annual flu vaccines in how it is administered to large numbers of people in a multitude of places, including medical offices, drug stores and supermarket pharmacies. And it would be wonderful if medical insurance covered it like it does flu shots.
Hirschhorn didn't mention that injectible ivermectin already exists ... for animals, as a parasiticide. There's nothing terribly novel going on here. It's also worth noting once again that COVID is a virus, not a parasite.
But, again, Hirschhorn is a conspiracist, so he concluded the column by arguing that "The question to be followed is if and how Big Pharma takes actions to stymie" development of the injectible ivermectin.
How Is The MRC Freaking Out About George Soros Now? Topic: Media Research Center
He may have diverted some of his attention to other donors to non-right-wing causes, but it's clear that hating George Soros remains the designated task for Media Research Center writer Joseph Vazquez. Let's see how Vazquez has been piling up the hyperbolic attacks on Soros (and anything that can be tangentally linked to him, no matter how tenuous) since the last time we checked in:
We've already noted how Vazauez and the MRC played the Soros card on Gigi Sohn, President Biden's nominee to the FCC, and that it has also complained that criticism of Soros has been portrayed as anti-Semitic -- despite the MRC's history of using anti-Semitic "puppet-master" tropes to attack Soros. (Speaking of which: The MRC censored all mention of its friends at Fox News publishing a cartoon last month using that exact same "puppet-master" trope.) Vazquez also went after Soros as part of what he probably imagines to be a League of Evil of liberal donors in an Oct. 27 post, bashing them for funding a company designed to "fund new media companies and efforts that tackle disinformation."
Vazquez's biggest project, however, was a Jan. 10 post that was an extended attack on Soros for committing the offense of fuding educational causes he likes:
Billionaire George Soros said he is working to “bend” the arc of history “in the right direction.” In Soros’ case, that direction is far to the left. To do it, he donated over $32 billion to his Open Society Foundations since 1984, to further leftist ideology and activism well beyond his own lifetime. Soros has committed a combined sum of more than $2.3 billion to create a global university network to push his extreme ideology.
At 91, Soros hasn’t slowed down his radical agenda to inundate the American people — and the world — with propaganda involving leftist academia and racial strife. He recently launched a $1 billion initiative to create a “global university” network to indoctrinate the next generation with his extremist “open society” worldview.
His tremendous wealth gives him the ability to try to influence every aspect of American life — from political campaigns to drug policy. Instead of letting the foundations shut down upon his death, he guaranteed conservatives will be fighting his agenda for decades to come.
Of course, from the hard-right perspective of Vazquez and the MRC, anything that's not ideologicallhy in lockstep with them is going to be viewed as "leftist" or "radical" or "extremist."And he's really angry that Soros and peoplewho have received money from him have dared to criticize Donald Trump, whom he appears to believe is above any criticism.
(There's also the irony of someone whose paycheck depends on the largesse of right-wing moneybags Rebekah Mercer attacking how some other wealthy person spends their money.)
Vazquez went on to repeat criticism of Soros by Hungarian leader Viktor Orban, implicitly praising him for attacking Soros for purportedly "backing mass illegal immigration in the country" for smearing Soros as running "an extensive mafia network," as well as for forcing a Soros-backed "leftist university" to leave the country. Unsurprisingly, Vazquez didn't mention that Orban is a right-wing authoriarian who is working to censor free expression, even as the MRC praises him for trying to censor social media operations by ludicrously framing that as "free speech."
Nevertheless, Vazquez continued to rant:
It is clear from Soros’ massive funding of leftist causes that he has worked tirelessly to cement his ethos in global society. His funding of billions to foment racial strife and shape global education is proof of this. Soros’ vision to mainstream his thinking on a worldwide scale through his global university network and his racial politics spending impact every American citizen.
American exceptionalism and capitalism have consistently been primary targets for Soros’ throughout his decades-long career of trying to undermine them. With his new global university network and racially-charged groups flushed with his cash, Americans will be battling against his ideas for many years to come.
This was followed by a Jan. 15 post touting MRC chief Brent Bozell touting this hit job on his buddy Mark Levin's radio sho, who gushed that it was "a great service" to "the nation," weirdly adding that "Soros is making sure that his money goes exactly where he wants it to go so from the grave he can reach out and try and destroy America."
Vazquez wants you to think he's doing real "media research" here, but like most of the MRC's work, it's a partisan hit job -- the word "radical" appears nine times, the word "leftist" appears 19 times, and the word "extremist" appears nine times. That's the motivation of every single attack on Soros he has penned -- and gets paid by Rebekah Mercer to pen.
WND's Schlafly Whines About Insurrection-Related Texts Being Released Topic: WorldNetDaily
Andy Schlafly continues his love of insurrectionists with a Dec. 14 WorldNetDaily column that not only resumes his whitewashing of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot -- which he declares was just an exercise by "First Amendment-exercising Americans" -- he predictably lashed out at the House committee looking into the insurrection:
As it votes to hold President Trump's top aides in contempt of Congress, the Democrat-controlled House showed its own contempt for the separation-of-powers doctrine that makes a presidency co-equal rather than subservient to it. Contrary to the grandstanding congresswoman Liz Cheney, President Trump had no obligation to remove First Amendment-exercising Americans from the Capitol building on Jan. 6.
Cheney selectively released some private texts and emails involving Trump's former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and quickly distorted their meaning. She falsely insists that they show "supreme dereliction of duty" by Trump even though he was not the recipient of the communications.
Cheney, who is no longer recognized as a Republican by her own Wyoming Republican Party, is illustrating why feeding the Never-Trumpers by giving them texts and emails is a mistake. In generating some headlines in the liberal media, Cheney exaggerated their significance and violated privilege.
Cheney asserts that there were "dozens of texts" to Meadows on Jan. 6, but the smattering of texts Cheney improperly read to the public show nothing illegal. Cheney should release to the public her own private communications against Trump, which would show how unfit she is to sit on a committee that falsely pretends to be impartial.
Cheney also released some private texts by a Trump family member and Fox News commentators, while concealing the identity of fellow lawmakers who texted Meadows. Apparently, Cheney does not want to incur further wrath by Republicans for breaching their privacy, but she is fine with invading Trump family privacy.
We don't recall Schlafly having a problem with Republicans invading Peter Strzok's privacy by releasing his private texts, so he's being a total hypocrite here. But never mind that -- Schlafly is on to his other mission of absolving Trump of any responsibility for the insurrection:
"The text messages leave no doubt that White House knew what was happening," Cheney blustered, as though a building itself can have knowledge. Cheney-the-lawyer surely realizes that knowledge by one person is not imputed to another, and what Meadows knew is not proof of what Trump knew.
Moreover, Trump did not command the Capitol police force, or act as a custodian for House members who are fully capable of dealing with political protests without hand-holding by a president. Cheney is well-connected with liberals who run the House and could have taken action herself to stifle the protests as she now insists Trump should have done.
Cheney ranted on Monday about texts sent to Meadows concerning the rally on Jan. 6, but there is nothing objectionable in those communications. A few wanted Trump to intervene in the rally in the Capitol, but that is not the job of a president.
Schlafly also whined again that insurrectionists were being treated like the criminals they are instead of the liberators he imagines they are: "None of the distortions by Never-Trumpers Cheney and others has worked against Trump, and none will. Nearly a year after the Jan. 6 political rally, many Americans are angry at how Democrats and the Deep State continue to whine about it and even imprison peaceful participants without a trial."
Because the real problem here is not that a violent mob tried to overthrow the government, it's that "Democrats and the Deep State" remind people of that fact.
CNS' Catholic Priest Spreads More Right-Wing Conspiracy Theories Topic: CNSNews.com
Michael P. Orsi, the Catholic priest who'sputtingmore emphasis on right-wing activism than being a Catholic priest, continued to mix politics into his religion in his Dec. 15 CNSNews.com column, headlined "How Would John the Baptist View Wokeness?":
If ever there were a time that called out for John’s intercession, it’s today, an age that seems devoted to obscuring truth and promoting confusion. The indications are everywhere.
I recently read an article about law school admissions that described how one New York law school asks its applicants to specify their genders, choosing from among 13 different designations. Mind you, this is an institution that trains attorneys, a profession supposedly dedicated to identifying truth and clarifying facts.
In the spirit of “wokeness” prevalent in higher education right now, the school has apparently abandoned reason, moving beyond the simple, observable reality that God made human beings either male or female.
But it’s on display in more than just sports, and involves more than just sex and gender. Virtually all academic subjects have been infected with the spirit of “wokeness.”
By now, everybody has heard of how critical race theory is being applied to history, literary analysis, and the rest of the humanities. But even scholarly fields thought of as fact-based are yielding to ideological interpretation.
Believe it or not, there’s such a thing as “woke” mathematics. The idea is that schools ought not to insist that everybody achieve the same result when working through a mathematical calculation.
Such “woke” nonsense would be laughable, except that it’s harmful. In particular, it’s harmful to young people, whose minds are no longer being trained to reason, to assemble and analyze facts, and to arrive at logical conclusions — to live their lives competently.
It seems Orsi would rather that young people be trained to hate anyone different from them.
Orsi served up more of the same in a Jan. 5 column headlined "Channel the Wise Men to Fight Secular Tyranny":
Shamefully, the dominant class in our own country seems to have embraced the idea that it can demand everyone’s loyalty and direct everyone’s thinking.
Consider the censorship of religious ideas and moral opinions taking place on social media. In case you’re not aware, Christian writers are being “cancelled” left and right.
Add to that government edicts — issued in the name of public health — to restrict worship services and faith-related events, as well as efforts to circumvent religious reservations about mandated vaccinations.
And don’t forget the pressure being exerted on pastors against upholding the traditional understanding of sex, and defending moral standards of behavior. That pressure is often expressed in direct or implied threats about removal of church tax-exempt status.
Such things are happening more and more, and they have practical consequences.
Religion invites us to focus on the transcendent. And in the eyes of worldly rulers, nothing must transcend their assumed position of all-knowing leadership.
They’ve been highly successful in persuading people to accept their assumptions. Religious influence has declined markedly, as polling numbers demonstrate.
It could also be argued that the desire of religious figures like Orsi to cloak their politics behind religion is another reason religious influence is declining, as well as drawing calls to withdraw the tax-exempt status of churches.
Reflecting more of his anti-vaxxer attitudes, Orsi actually equated wanting to follow the science on COVID to following a pagan religion -- which was followed by a paranoid depiction of it as a tenet of the "New World Order" right-wingers like to warn us about:
Others search the Internet for new versions of ancient pagan religions with which to identify themselves, and give meaning to their lives. Some actually take part in shamanistic rituals, or embrace the cultic practices of the ancient Druids.
This reflects a basic emotional need of human beings for the transcendent, for some kind of “higher knowledge.” And you don’t have to experience the solstice sunrise at Stonehenge to observe it.
At the everyday level, you can see it in the devotion to “following the science” that’s become an obsession of the pandemic. On a more exotic plane, it’s expressed in the growing fascination with so-called “trans-humanism,” or with psychology-based “religions” such as Scientology.
There are rich and powerful people who see increasing the secularist character of society as conducive to their vision of extending monopolies, introducing new currencies, and tightening centralized control over the flow of wealth.
This vision is referred to by several terms, including the “Great Reset” and the “New World Order.” And it’s being promoted by many elements: the tech firms, the media, the sports and entertainment companies, the banks and financial institutions, the pharmaceutical giants.
(There’s good reason to assume that mandates, quarantines, vaccination passports, and other concepts to emerge from the pandemic are being exploited as means to advance this vision. That makes sense, since they bring our lives more thoroughly under official scrutiny.)
It’s obvious that all of this involves extensive coordination.
What can maintain such a high level of control? Who can direct it?
Is there a Herod of our day? Is there a central entity totally obsessed with raw power — and thus willing to distort the reality God has created — working diligently to overwhelm traditional Faith with a tsunami of secular influences?
A Catholic priest who spouts anti-vaxxerism and far-right conspiracy theories should not -- and cannot -- be treated as a serious religious or leadership figure. CNS clearly believes otherwise.
MRC Mad That Its Agenda Of Using Jussie Smollett To Delegitimize Media Is Called Out Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's coverage of the trial of actor Jussie Smollett over his apparent false claim that he was the victim of an assault by a MAGA mob largely consisted of rehasihng attacks on media outlets that originally reported his claims before questions were raised about them. Typical was a Nov. 29 post by Kristine Marsh, who baselessly asserted: "Smollett's fake story wasn’t believable to any reasonable person from the beginning, but the media still ran with it because it fit their narrative." That sort of tone continued:
For an organization that loves to attack other for pushing "fake news," the MRC has promoted a surprising amount of fake news. The most notorious of them, of course, was its promotion of the fake 2016 Fox News storyabout Hillary Clinton's purportedly imminent indictment, which it embraced harder that any outlet it has based for reporting on Smollett's original assault claim -- and which it still, after five years, has not told its readers was fake news.There are a few others as well:
It also hyped the idea that a Border Patrol agent was skilled by an undocumented immigrant, but still hasn't told readers that an investigation found that the agent apparently died in an accidential fall.
Fondacaro and fellow MRC writer Curtis Houck falselyaccused some media outlets of reporting that "whips" were used by Border Patrol agents on horseback against a group of immigrants, despite never quoting them using that word.
Don't look for the MRC to apologize for spreading all of that fake news -- the MRC never apologizes for any of its screw-ups.
Meanwhile, CNN's Oliver Darcy -- mortal enemy of Houck for ceasing to be the right-wing hack he remains and turning into a real journalist -- called out Fox News (and, by extension, the MRC) for using the media's early reporting of Smollett's story to discredit the media as a whole (bolding in original):
The tactic is dishonest, yet simple: Take an actual act of deception, in this case one that was perpetrated by an actor and covered heavily by the press, and then use it to suggest that anything reported by mainstream sources cannot be trusted. Everything is a hoax.
Propagandists know that their power increases substantially when they can convince their audiences not to trust other sources of information. And so, Smollett's case is very valuable to them. They can hold up Smollett's guilty verdict and then attempt to extrapolate it onto other stories which are politically inconvenient for them.
When you cannot argue on the facts, it is much easier to dismiss a story in its entirety and go after the credibility of the press for reporting on it. It's the timeless play — one that played on repeat during the Trump administration — and one that is only growing more and more popular in right-wing media...
Unsurprisingly, Tim Graham spent an entire Dec. 11 post whining about it:
When Jussie Smollett was convicted on five of six counts for his hate-crime hoaxing in Chicago, CNN's "Reliable Sources" newsletter Thursday on the media didn't spend some time eating humble pie about being swindled. Instead, Oliver Darcy turned the occasion into an attack on Sean Hannity and the right-wingers. Like nothing demands CNN humbly examine themselves. Everything that happens calls for an attack on the right-wingers.
This is mildly funny when his cohort Brian Stelter wrote an entire book on Fox News titled Hoax, which quite obviously attempts to convince their audience not to trust that source of information. So is he a "propagandist"? Or are all propagandists conservative? Did everyone who hammered the false Smollett narrative escape the term "propagandist"?
Note that Graham doesn't deny that's what Fox News is doing -- instead, he goes straight to whataboutism by attacking yet again Stelter's book (and doesn't address, let alone rebut, its content).
When Darcy went on to cite Trump and Russia, COVID and the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection as other examples of the right-wing media trying to reframe a story that's counter to the facts, Graham took offense to that as well by slinging more whataboutism:
CNN never admits that its dominant narrative of the Trump era -- that Trump colluded with the Russians to steal the 2016 election -- did not turn out to be true. CNN's Democrat minions energetically spread conspiracy theories funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign, starting with the phony Steele dossier.
Darcy wasn't going to engage on what CNN did to argue against conservatives as Smollett's story collapsed. After the guilty verdicts, conservative Twitter replayed Brian Stelter's attempts to suggest "we may never know" the truth, which doesn't seem like the proper pose for journalists who boast of being "pro-truth."
The "CNN Media Unit" should be doing an examination right now about how the "mainstream media" that endlessly proclaims it is "pro-truth" should have been more careful. It should not have immediately rushed to judgment when someone cried "hate crime in MAGA hats," without confirming basic facts. Instead, it's all Fox News is terrible, Trump is terrible, and we have never done anything wrong, ever.
Again, no defense is offered for the tactics used by Fox News or even his own employer. He may as well be officially acknowledging that Darcy is correct, and that delegitimizing the media is the MRC's (and Fox News') goal. C'mon, Tim, say the quiet part out loud.
Farah Sounding More Desperate To Keep WND Alive -- But Still Won't Admit Reality Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah is stillrefusing to take personal responsibility for the fact that his website is going down the drain (again). As he has since the start of WND's current funding crisis -- sparked by the end of a ad-hosting business deal with Google -- Farah has falsely framed this as a conspiratorial "de-monetization" and won't concede Google's business decision was based on the extremist content and outright misinformation WND publishes on a regular basis. Farah played the victim again in a Nov. 22 column:
A few years ago, we were one of the most successful sites in the world. But Google began punishing us relentlessly in 2016 when we began fairly covering Donald Trump's campaign. It was the beginning of a nightmare. For 20 years, we were on top of the world – doing extensive, intrepid investigative reporting and having a great time with an outstanding team of professionals.
In three years, Big Tech ruined our traffic, our reputation and our revenues.
They began calling WND "extremist" with "dangerous or derogatory content" and "unreliable and harmful claims."
This month, Google demonetized us – adding insult to injury.
Farah doesn't deny that WND is WND "extremist" with "dangerous or derogatory content" and "unreliable and harmful claims" -- he simply begs for money from readers.
You know what Donald Trump accomplished as our 45th president.
I would say he has been a Godsend to America.
But there are powerful forces still trying to eliminate his influence, even bring him down.
It's the same with WND. Beginning with the president's victory in 2016, WND and others in the independent media have faced a scorched-earth assault on our traffic and revenues from Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Twitter, et al. – the Speech Code Cops, the Digital Cartel, the most powerful media monopoly on the planet.
How did they do it? As the internet's gatekeepers, they have developed power through search engine technology and social media technology to starve us of traffic, most of which comes through their portals. They have also starved us of advertising revenues, of which they control at least 75% in the digital marketplace – leaving us with the scraps.
Why did they do it beginning in January 2017? It was an effort to go after Trump by attacking media that were fair to him or supportive to him, to hinder his sweeping policy changes and deprive him of reelection in 2020, if they couldn't see him impeached and removed from office before that.
Farah offered absolutely no proof to support that bit conspiracy-mongering, of course. He then played the religion card:
Today I'm not just asking for your financial contributions, I'm asking for your fervent prayers. Because this is very much a SPIRITUAL WAR, not just a matter of corrupt, politically motivated crony monopoly capitalism at its worst.
We at WND serve a Power higher than this cartel. And we ask for your prayers to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob through Jesus of Nazareth, the One and Only Mediator and the Coming King.
It's doubtful that God approves of the lies, hate and misinformation WND publishes, so the focus of those prayers seems to be misdirected.
As the new year came, though, Farah's pleas began sounding a little less conspiratorial and a lot more desperate -- evidence, perhaps, that reality is slowly registering on Farah. He spent his Jan. 10 column rehashing his life story from self-proclaimed "left-wing radical" to Christian and Reagan acolyte, which ultimately led to him running a paper in Sacramento, Calif., where Rush Limbaugh was a then-local radio host he convinced to write a daily column: "Suddenly, our circulation lines were ringing off the hook. Thanks to a hometown hero who literally owned the market, the subscription scheme was red-hot! People called in from all over Northern California where KFBK was heard – not just Sacramento." Actually, as we documented, the paper's circulation dropped during Farah's editorship.
Farah wouldn't give up the conspiracy-mongering completely, of course:
To say WND was a hit from the start, and for at least the first 20 years, would be a gross understatement.
And then, GOOGLE BECAME A MONSTER – and Facebook and the rest of Big Tech. I've told enough of the story about that – even obsessing about it, crying about it, nearly giving up hope over it.
But that will never happen. Even a series of five strokes could not get me to quit. We here at WND have contracted from a high of $15 million in revenue a year to about $1 million now – completely de-monetized by the Internet Cartel, basically running on fumes.
Why did they decide to go after us? Two words: DONALD TRUMP! It started in 2016 when he ran for president. The attacks started gradually, but I could see what was happening. The site was first trashed, called racist, demeaned and defamed. At first I believed I could handle it, but soon I was overwhelmed by it.
Farah concluded by again begging for prayers and money.
I didn't want to write this letter. I really didn't. It is tough for me to write.
Many people counseled me against it.
So, I prayed about it. And then prayed some more.
And here's the message I finally got.
"My Son allowed Himself to be humiliated, beaten, tortured, marred more than any other man and nailed to a cross. He did this knowing He would be resurrected. Do you have that kind of faith?"
What could I say?
Here's the thing: I have enough faith in the God of Israel to die for Him. After all the miracles He has performed for me – personally and professionally – I am not afraid to suffer, to go to jail, or even to die.
But, I have been afraid to FAIL.
And because of that fear of failure and what the world tells us about business, I have avoided sharing something with you, the very people who have, with God's help, provided the sustenance for this very first pioneering, alternative, and yes, Christian online news site, now in its 25th year of publishing.
The something I have failed to tell you, until now, is this: WND faces the very real threat of … FAILING.
I won't go into all the details for a number of reasons. Some might sound like excuses. WND has been an important opposition voice. People have clung to it. They have wanted to hear the truth. And they still do.
Now, in a climate of wall-to-wall lies, WND is needed more than ever, but we are profoundly hurting.
But WND doesn't tell readers "the truth" --it lies and misinforms, potentially hurting those readers who insisting on clinging to it. WND is contributing to that "climate of wall-to-wall lies" -- and Farah unironically repeated some more in the middle of this. After rehashing his Google conspiracy theory, he wrote, referencing his own health:
Then the other shoe dropped: I had a series of five strokes that left me unable to speak at all. I'm just now getting my speech back, but I'm not the same person. I have a long way to go for full recovery.
But at least, we all figured, we still had Trump.
He was making America successful! And we figured he would help find a solution to Big Tech's total war against the free press – sooner or later. We were confident he would easily win reelection in 2020. After all, he was running against a nasty, senile man who never left Delaware, couldn't draw a crowd of more than a couple hundred people, and failed in every conceivable way – yet who suddenly received more "votes" than any other presidential candidate in the history of the republic – by far!
Indeed, I could relate countless examples of how God has pulled us through when I didn't see any hope. Now I'm hoping God's Holy Spirit will move upon the hearts of His people to pull us through. I'm still praying. But it's not guaranteed we'll still be here.
This is a tough letter to write because so many of you have already done so much for WND over the years. I know you will answer the call the best you can, because you always do. But this letter is also intended to prick the hearts of those many people who quietly cheer WND on, but don't support us financially.
By the way, there's so much more we could be doing in these trying times. That's part of my frustration. I want this enterprise to grow, not just survive.
But WND will never grow or survive in its current form.The only Farah has a chance of saving WND is if he repents of, and earnestly corrects, the decades of lies and misinformationthat are the real reason for WND's current extinction-level event. He needs to ask God for forgiveness for all those year of deceiving his readers by putting ideology and conspiracy theories before facts.
But however "tough" that last money-beg was for his to write, Farah will never truly repent. He will never admit he was suckered by a lie, and that he has lied to others -- a history that is well-documented here, no matter how loudly he insists that WND publishes "truth." To do so would be to admit that the past few decades of his life have been a hollow waste -- a pursuit of political and ideological power that squashed any journalistic mission he claimed to have -- and he's clearly not ready to handle that truth.
MRC Whines At The Idea That Anti-Vaxxers Should Face Consequences Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center doesn't want anyone who refuses to get a COVID vaccine to face consequences for their behavior (outside the increased risk of hospitalization or death if/when they do catch COVID, anyway). Witness Mark Finkelstein's Dec. 15 freakout over political strategist David Frum's suggestion that hospitals move unvaccinated people to the end of the line for treatment:
Frum wasn't merely proposing that the unvaccinated be given emergency care last only for Covid, but for ALL emergencies. Gunshots, car accidents, etc. — unvaccinated to the back of the line.
There was pure malice and vindictiveness in Frum's suggestion that hospitals do this "quietly." If Frum actually wanted there to be a public benefit, he would have proposed that hospitals prominently announce their intention. That might encourage some to get vaccinated. His proposal reveals a malicious desire to covertly punish the unvaccinated with an inordinate death rate.
Brianna Keilar repeatedly expressed understanding, if not necessarily agreement, for his proposal. But when she expressed sympathy for his desire to to "shake someone into the realization of what they can do for themselves and for others," she conveniently ignored Frum's proposal that hospitals deprioritize the unvaccinated "quietly." So no one would be shaken. They would simply die in disproportionately greater numbers.
To her credit, Keilar did ask Frum to defend the morality of his proposal: "How is it moral to propose that?" Frum defended: "I wasn't writing a management treatise on hospital emergency rooms. This was a tweet where I was trying to give voice to the [inaudible] frustration that people who have been doing the right thing feel toward people who are doing the wrong thing..."
Frum also accused politicians and media figures who express doubts over vaccine of sending their followers out on "suicide missions." And he claimed that they also are intentionally trying to keep the pandemic going as long as possible to hurt Biden, and Democrats at large, politically.
Frum isn't some harmless mutterer. He is actively wishing potential death upon millions of people.
Note that Finkelstein doesn't criticize the defiantly unvaccinated for refusing to do their part to help the country during a health crisis or argue that they should face some kind of consequence for their refusal. No, he bashed Frum for suggesting that they do face consequences. He does not criticize the purveyors of COVID misinformation -- which include his fellowMRC writers -- for "actively wishing potential death upon millions of people" through their misinformation; he attacks Frum for criticizing that misinformation.
NEW ARTICLE -- CNS Unemployment Reporting: Back To The Future Topic: CNSNews.com
As the unemployment rate dropped under President Biden, CNSNews.com reverted to an old Obama-era tactic by cherry-picking a different statistic to emphasize. Read more >>
MRC Continues Fake Concern Over Manchin, Sinema Being Targeted By 'Crazed' Protesters Topic: Media Research Center
A while back, we noted how the Media Research Center was serving up fake sympathy for two Democratic senators who were facing aggressive protests over being roadblocks for Democratic initiatives -- even though it never complained when anti-abortion activists used those very same protest tactics against abortion clinic employees. Scott Whitlock tried to keep that hypocritical narrative alive in a Dec. 20 post:
Joe Manchin on Sunday likely doomed Joe Biden’s massive $2 trillion spending plan and the media reaction was predictably hyperbolic. There were audible gasps on ABC when the news that he would vote no broke.
The New York Times on Monday’s front page accused him of “deserting” the President. Incendiary talk by liberal journalists has been amplified by real-world bullying of Manchin and his fellow moderate Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.
So the question must be asked: Do journalists care about the safety of Manchin and Sinema? For the last few months, the two centrists have endured an escalating series of incidents in which leftist protesters follow them, yell in bathrooms, and show up at their homes. What has the response from ABC, CBS and NBC been? They've mostly buried the abuse.
Needless to say, the MRC has never reported on the "abuse" of abortion clinic workers by anti-abortion protesters using those exact same tactics, let alone refer to those protesters as "crazed" or "unhinged," the epithets it has used against the anti-Manchin and Sinema protesters. The MRC clearly believes that if you work in the abortion business, you deserve that kind of abuse. The most notorious of that abuse, of course, is the murder of abortion doctor George Tiller inside a church by an anti-abortion protester; at the time, the MRC and the ConWeb wanted to pretend that Roeder wasn't a "mainstream" protester and fretted more about how bad the murder made the anti-abortion movement look than about the tactic of harassing Tiller in church.
Also needless to say, no major MRC website -- NewsBiusters, CNSNews or MRCTV -- has reported to their readers how a fire that destroyed a Planned Parenthood clinic in Knoxville, Tenn., has been ruled an arson.
Whitlock concluded by huffing: "Now that the moderate Manchin is a 'no' on spending an extra $2 trillion, you can assume that the harassment and bullying will only escalate. So, to the question, 'Do journalists care about the safety of Manchin and Sinema?,' the answer, it appears, is no." By the same standard, the MRC does not care about the safety of anyone who works at an abortion clinic, and we can assume that, by its silence on what happened to that Planned Parenthood clinic, it also approves of arson as a legitimate protest tactic.
S.D. Governor Hates Transgender Athletes, Returns To CNS' Good Graces Topic: CNSNews.com
Last year, CNSNews.com fell out of love with Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, displaying its anger that she woulddn't immediate rush headlong with her fellow right-wingers in spewing hate at transgender athletes by banning them from sports. It's been a slow climb back for her to return to CNS' good graces.
After the transgender kerfuffle, CNS didn't devote an article to Noem for five months. A Sept. 8 article by Craig Bannister praised Noem for serving up right-wing red meaty on a different culture-war issue:
On Tuesday, Republican South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem signed Executive Order 2021-12, directing the state’s Department of Health to establish rules preventing telemedicine abortions in South Dakota. The executive order also restricts chemical abortions in the state.
The executive order is one step in her effort to protect the unborn from the Biden Administration’s efforts to thwart state pro-life measures and make abortions easier to obtain via telemedicine, Gov. Noem says in a statement released on Tuesday:
Two days later, an article by Susan Jones listed Noem among Republican governors who were virtue-signaling by "threatening to sue the Biden administration for its 'blatantly unlawful overreach' on COVID vaccination." In a Sept. 20 article, Melanie Arter complained that former Food and Drug Administration leader Scott Gottlieb singled out Noem for uniquely terrible handling of COVID, resulting in "one of the highest death rates per capita."
Arter returned for a Nov. 5 article praising Noem for more right-wing virtue-signaling on vaccines:
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said Thursday that President Joe Biden doesn’t have the authority to force people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or risk losing their job, and he doesn’t have the authority to compel weekly testing for COVID.
That’s up to the states and people, she said, which is why she and other Republican governors are suing the Biden administration now that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an "emergency temporary standard " Thursday compelling private sector companies to do just that.
When Noem ran for governor, she promised the people of South Dakota that she would protect them from federal government intrusion,” she said, “and exactly what we are doing today is America versus Joe Biden or Joe Biden versus America, because several governors and states are joined together, and we’re filing litigation in the morning, and we will see him in court, and we will win.”
The governor accused the Biden administration and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NAID), of promoting a socialist agenda and using COVID-19 as a weapon to take away the freedoms of the American people.
It wasn't until December that Noem fully retuned to CNS' good graces, when she found an anti-transgender bill she could suppoort, as Bannister lovingly documented in a Dec. 14 article:
On Tuesday, Republican South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem released the text of draft legislation to defend fairness in girls’ sports at both the K-12 and collegiate level, after having vetoed a similar bill back in March.
“Common sense tells us that males have an unfair physical advantage over females in athletic competition. It is for those reasons that only girls should be competing in girls’ sports,” Gov. Noem said, announcing the draft of her bill.
Bannister made sure to rehash CNS' earlier criticism of Noem, highlighting how her refusal to support the earlier bill for having "problematic provisions," despite having "previously declared that she was 'excited to sign,'" declaring that "Noem was quickly and harshly rebuked following her about-face, with 47 pro-family, conservative organizations publishing a letter accusing her of sending female athletes “back to the sidelines."
That level of hatred of transgenders is what it takes for CNS to like you. Congratulations, Gov. Noem.