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Friday, February 18, 2022
MRC Returns To Portraying Far-Right, Misinfo-Spewing Congresswoman As A Victim
Topic: Media Research Center

After months of turning her into a "conservative" victim while promoting her far-right antics and before and after the 2020 election, the Media Research Center was finally shamed into admitting that extremist Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene ahd gone too far. But after a cooling-off period, the MRC has returned to defending her and bestowing victim status on her.

As we noted, in July, Alexander Hall touted how "Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) returned from her recent Twitter suspension to compare the Big Tech platform to totalitarian censors in China." Curiously, Hall wouldn't say exactly why she got suspended, instead quoting boilerplate statements about "violations of the Twitter Rules, specifically the COVID-19 misleading information policy." In fact, Greene was suspended for falsely claiming that coronavirus is not dangerous for some people.Instead, Hall baselessly suggested that the Biden administration ordered her to be silenced: "The government has indeed gotten comfortable with bossing Big Tech companies around." This from a guy who cannot admit that a fellow right-winger spreads misinformation.

The victim narrative for Greene continued in an Oct. 22 post by Catherine Salgado:

Twitter’s bout with free speech online continues. The platform censored U.S. Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) for stating in a tweet that transgender admiral Dr. Rachel Levine was not “the first female anything” but a “dude who lived the first 50 years of his life as a man.” Taylor Greene was met with a storm of leftist fury on the platform.

Dr. Rachel Levine, a “transgender,” was sworn in Tuesday as the nation’s “first female four-star admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps’ history,” per CBS News. Taylor Greene tweeted her personal frustration at celebrating “transgender” Levine as a history-maker. Taylor Greene's tweet appeared to be a response to CBS News reporting that Levine is the nation’s “first female four-star admiral” in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps’ history. Twitter issued Taylor Greene’s tweet about Levine a “hateful conduct” violation warning at the time of this article’s publication. Twitter placed the warning label prominently above Taylor Greene’s tweet and also put sharing restrictions on the tweet.

Taylor Greene said in her tweet above a picture of Levine: “A dude who lived the first 50 years of his life as a man isn’t the first female anything. China is laughing at us.” Leftists, both on Twitter and in the media, quickly began reporting Taylor Greene for “Targeted Harassment” and slamming her for alleged “hate speech.”

Because the MRC hates transgender people as least as much as Greene does, Salgado saw nothing wrong here, refusing to admit that anyone ought to be offended.

As Greene refused to stop shooting off her mouth and behave like a civilized human being, the MRC continued to run to her defense and build a victim narrative for her. Autumn Johnson did that duty in a Jan.. 2 post:

Twitter has permanently suspended one of the verified personal account of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).

According to CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, Twitter said @mtgreenee was "permanently suspended" "for repeated violations of our COVID-19 misinformation policy." 

"We permanently suspended... @mtgreenee... for repeated violations of our COVID-19 misinformation policy,” the tweet read. “We’ve been clear that, per our strike system for this policy, we will permanently suspend accounts for repeated violations of the policy."

Greene has access to the official account she uses as a congresswoman, @RepMTG. She blamed Communist Democrats for the suspension.

If Johnson won't admit that Greene tweeted COVID misinformation, she certainly isn't going to bother to fact-check her ridiculous claim that "Communist Democrats" are to blame for her suspension.

Salgado returned to give Greene the deluxe victim treatment in a post the next day that quoted "free speech supporters" -- that is, right-wing Greene sympathizers, though Salgado failed to identify the ideology of any of her defenders -- decrying her suspension. There was no discussion of Greene's content, only Salgado's passing scare-quote-laden mentionthat she was suspended for "alleged 'COVID-19 misinformation.'" She dutifully quoted her boss, Brent Bozell, blaming "Big Tech fascists" without mentioning that Greene clearly has other platforms on which to spew her hate and misinformation.

Johnson served up more victim narrative when Facebook busted Greene in a Jan. 4 post:

On Monday, Facebook has temporarily suspended Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), a day after her personal Twitter account was permanently suspended "for repeated violations of [Twitter’s] COVID-19 misinformation policy." 

Greene slammed the move as censorship from Big Tech, saying "social media platforms can't stop the truth from being spread far and wide," adding that "Big Tech can't stop the truth. Communist Democrats can't stop the truth. I stand with the truth and the people. We will overcome!"

Greene was later punished with a 24-hour suspension on Facebook for allegedly violating a similar policy on so-called COVID-19 “misinformation.” During this time Greene cannot post on her account.

“Facebook has joined Twitter in censoring me,” Greene wrote on GETTR. “This is beyond censorship of speech.”

Of course, Johnson puts "misinformation" in scare quotes, as if it's a subjective concept. And of course, her "Communist Democrats" claim goes un-fact-checked. Again, Johnson also won't admit the fact that Greene is able to post on right-wing site such as GETTR and Telegram undermines the claim that she's being "censored."

The fact that the MRC continues to mainstream far-right voices as "conservative" in order to bolster its victim narrative -- while also denying that private companies have the right to operate their busiensses as they see fit, normally a bedrock conservative principle -- shows just how flimsy that narrative is.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:20 PM EST
Updated: Friday, February 18, 2022 6:21 PM EST
CNS Caught Ray Epps Conspiracy Theory Fever Too

It wasn't just Newsmax and WorldNetDaily uncritically pushing the Ray Epps conspiracy theory regarding the Captiol riot. did as well, as detailed in a Jan. 11 article by Susan Jones:

Who is Ray Epps, the man caught on videotape urging a crowd of Trump supporters to break into the Capitol? Did any FBI agents or FBI informants actively encourage and incite crimes of violence on January 6?

"I can't answer that," the FBI's Jill Sanborn said repeatedly in response to questions put to her by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

Sanborn is the executive assistant director of the FBI's National Security Branch.

Cruz pressed her and pressed her to no avail. The following transcript tells the story:

The rest of Jones' article is a lazy cut-and-paste transcript of the exchange between Cruz and Sanborn. Had Jones been interested in imparting facts instead of lazily promoting a right-wing conspiracy theory, she could have answered the question she posed in her lead paragraph. As more reputable news organizations have reported, Epps is not a government plant, and he was never charged because he never entered the Capitol or assaulted law enforcement. But the truth interferes with Moore's and WND's ramshackle conspiracy theory.

Jones also failed to tell her readers that Cruz was engaging in political theater, because Sanborn was never going to answer his question because the investigation is still open. As the Washington Post noted: "Every lawmaker knows this will be the answer they receive. So it’s catnip for those who want to suggest something nefarious is going on since they know that, under the rules of this Washington game, no matter what they allege, a Justice Department official is not going to contradict them as long as the investigation is not complete."

All this information was available to Jones, yet she chose not to tell her readers the facts; instead, she pushed a bogus conspriacy theory because it fits right-wing partisan narratives. That's the opposite of a reporter. And it's more evidence that CNS has ceased to be a "news" organization, if it ever was one at all.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:29 AM EST
Thursday, February 17, 2022
MRC Loses Its Love For Parler (With Which It Shares A Funder)
Topic: Media Research Center

We've documented how the Media Research Center spent the first part of last year heavily hyping right-wing social media site Parler, particularly after the Amazon hosting division dropped it for helping to stoke the Capitol riot -- while censoring the fact that its biggest funder, Rebekah Mercer, is also a major funder of the MRC, a massive conflict of interest. Well, the MRC got bored with it shortly afterwards, even as the drama there increased.

Last March, former Parler CEO John Matzer filed a lawsuit against Parler, Mercer, and others claiming he was unjustly fired and his stake in the company stripped away. Even though it happened nearly a year ago, the MRC has yet to report that news to its readers. Parler has been mentioned in passing several times, but it devoted only a few posts to Parler over the past several months (while, of course, censoring the fact it shares a funder). We've noted that the MRC welcomed Parler back to the Apple app store in April, reframing its new moderation policies as something Apple was forcing it to do and insisting that Parler would never engage in "censorship."

The next time the MRC ddevoted a post to Parler was Aug. 26, when Alec Schemmel gushed over a new Fox Business appearance by Parler CEO George Farmer, who complained that Twitter has hosted "accounts run by actual dictatorships like the Taliban and the Chinese Communist Party' while continuing to suspend Donald Trump. Host Maria Bartiromo touted how Parler "has no qualms about banning the Taliban," but she didn't ask how that jibes with Parler's minimal-censorship policy.

From there, you have to jump all the way to Jan. 9, when Autumn Johnson promoted new funding for the website:

According to a federal securities filing and reporting last week from Axios, conservative social media app Parler has obtained $20 million in funding as it continues its push as an alternative to Big Tech giants Facebook and Twitter.

While it's unclear who provided the funds, Rebekah Mercer, a Trump supporter and frequent donor to Republicans, was the founding investor of Parler and listed in the filing as a director and executive officer of Parler.

Needless to say, Johnson was silent about Mercer's MRC funding and the lawsuit she remains embroiled in with Matze.

And that's pretty much it: the MRC has shifted its attention to newer, shinier right-wing social media startups like GETTR and Trump's own upcoming site, apparently choosing to forget which side its bread is buttered on.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:54 PM EST
WND's Hirschhorn Cites Flawed Studies To Hawk Ivermectin
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joel Hirschhorn spent his Jan. 24 WorldNetDaily column complaining about various approved treatments flr COVID recommended by the National Institutes of Health, whining that "What our government is telling physicians is just plain idiotic." He particularly lashed out the antiviral molnupiravir, which he called "absolutely ludicrous" and claimed "has a terrible level of effectiveness and that has not been proven safe. An absolutely awful choice." Back in October, Hirschhorn falsely claimed the molnupiravir was a copy of ivermectin.

Speaking of ivermectin, Hirschhorn is still carrying a torch for that dubious drug (which, by the way, is not an antiviral):

What is most obscene about what NIH tells doctors is that it still refuses to include ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine as treatment options. It ignores the extremely successful treatment protocols of front-line doctors like Dr. Fareed and Dr. Zelenko that do not include any of the four NIH preferences.

Of special importance is that NIH has ignored a recent detailed study of ivermectin that reached these conclusions: "… [L]arge reductions in COVID-19 deaths are possible using ivermectin. Using ivermectin early in the clinical course may reduce numbers progressing to severe disease. The apparent safety and low cost suggest that ivermectin is likely to have a significant impact on the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic globally." An even newer study found remarkable benefits of using ivermectin, including a 68% reduction in mortality and 56% reduction in hospitalization. NIH is not respecting positive results for ivermectin, and the agency's guidelines could make it difficult for states trying to make ivermectin easily available.

Hirschhorn has censored the fact that the studies he cites have serious issues. Regarding the first study -- actually a meta-analysis, or a summary of other studies -- some of the studies cited were not peer-reviewed, the higher-quality studies did not show ivermectin to be effective, and the researchers are affiliated with a pro-ivermectin group. The second study has flaws as well, lacking basic information on its participants or even exactly who was or was not taking ivermectin; also, two of its authors received funding from an ivermectin manufacturer, a major conflict of interest.

The name-drops are of Vladimir Zelenko, an early promoter of the similarly dubious drug hydroxychloroquine whom WND embraced early, and George Fareed, who along with a fellow California doctor, Brian Tyson, developed an ivermectin-centric treatment plan that's getting promotion in the right-wing circles Hirschhorn hangs out in but which their fellow doctors have disavowed.

Nevertheless, Hirschhorn concluded his column by ranting at the NIH (italics are his):

What a waste of U.S. taxpayer money is this evil and criminal Fauci organization.

The real message for the public: Do not trust the government to effectively protect your life. Public health protection in the U.S. is a disgrace. What NIH is saying is really insulting disinformation.

Speak for yourself, Joel.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:19 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, February 17, 2022 7:19 PM EST
NEW ARTICLE: The MRC's Sports Anti-Vaxxer
Topic: Media Research Center
Mysterious Media Research Center sports blogger Jay Maxson hates COVID vaccines almost as much as he (or she) hates LGBT people. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 2:05 PM EST
CNS' Jeffrey Dips Into His Abortion Obsession To Attack Breyer

As speculation swirled around Supreme  Court Justice Stephen Breyer's possible retirement, editor Terry jeffrey knew what he had to do: lash out at Breyer for his stance in favor of abortion rights. First up was a Jan. 26 article:

Justice Stephen Breyer, who reportedly will be retiring from the Supreme Court this year, claimed in the 2000 case of Stenberg v. Carhart that engaging in a partial-birth abortion is a constitutional right, noting that the procedure involved, as stated in a Nebraska law, ‘deliberately and intentionally delivering into the vagina a living unborn child, or a substantial portion thereof.”


Seven years later, in the case of Gonzales v. Carhart, the court would reverse this opinion and uphold the constitutionality of partial-birth abortion bans. However, Breyer would dissent in that case, maintaining his claim that the Constitution protected a right to kill a partially-born baby.

Note that even though this is supposed to be a "news" article, Jeffrey uses the biased, inflammatory language of anti-abortion activists, such as "partial-birth abortion."

After Breyer announced his retirement, Jeffrey went on the attack again in his Feb. 2 column. In a tone similar to that of his "news" story, he began with a long-winded story involving Breyer's father and a case of corporal punishment. He then jumped to a book Breyer wrote in which he argued against originalist interpratations of the Constitution, noting that at the time it was written, flogging was not considered cruel and unusual punishment. Jeffrey then rehashed his earlier Breyer-bashing:

He did not address the question of corporal punishment in 20th-century San Francisco schools.

But in the case of Stenberg v. Carhart, which the court decided in 2000, he did address a Nebraska law that prohibited "an abortion procedure in which the person performing the abortion partially delivers vaginally a living unborn child before killing the unborn child and completing the delivery."

"We hold that this statute violates the Constitution," Breyer wrote in the 5-4 opinion of the court.

History will remember him for claiming that killing a partially born child was a constitutional right.

Jeffrey can apparently think only in terms of one's stance on abortion, and that anyone who disagrees with him is not only wrong but evil. We would say that's the wrong temperament for a journalist, but Jeffrey is not being paid by the Media Research Center to be a journalist -- his right-wing polemics are what pays the bills.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:56 AM EST
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
MRC Psaki-Bashing, Doocy-Fluffing Watch, New Year's Edition
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Curtis Houck continued his apparent boredom with his own project -- last year's daily reports attacking White House press secretary and fawning over Fox News' Peter Doocy and other right-wing reporters hurling hostile questions at her -- well into January. So much so, in fact, that the first so-called "Psaki Show" report of 2022, on Jan. 4, was written by Nicholas Fondacaro, who noted Psaki "fielding questions from the liberal press that urged President Biden to do more to pass 'voting rights' legislation and bizarre suggestions that they had never condemned former President Trump."

Houck, it seems, was not going to write about Psaki again until his beloved Doocy returned to the briefing room after sitting out a case of COVID, so it was not until Jan. 10 that he served up the Doocy-fluffing and Psaki-hate he's infamous for:

Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy returned to the Brady Briefing Room on Monday for the first time in 2022, following a mild case of COVID-19, and promptly threw down with Press Secretary Jen Psaki over “why” was the Biden administration “so unprepared for the need for testing,” President Biden’s falsehoods about COVID spread, and disinformation from Justice Sonia Sotomayor.


Psaki initially blamed the shortages on “a massive surge in cases” and “unprecedented demand for tests” in New York and Washington D.C., but then painted a rosy picture of the administration’s current testing capacity.

Doocy was unmoved, starting with the fact that the tests currently available “require people to go somewhere and either make an appointment or wait in line” even though “[t]he CDC’s guidance is, if you think you have Covid, you're supposed to stay home.”

“You guys said you were gonna mail free tests to people that need them. The President's there on television talking about a winter of severe illness and death. While he's saying that publicly, why weren't you guys doing more to prepare for the winter,” he added.

Psaki showed her disconnect from reality, insisting “everyone decides where they're going to go get a test, and, uh, we make a range of options available,” including the ability to “purchase tests online” and 500 million tests coming (eventually).

For the Jan. 14 briefing, Houck welcomed a new hostile right-wing reporter to the briefing room:

Longtime journalist James Rosen made his White House briefing debut on Thursday as White House correspondent for Newsmax, so it was no surprise he got right to work grilling National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on foreign policy and Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Biden being responsible for inflation and vaccinations.

And, better yet, he had plenty of help with hardballs from even the Associated Press, Bloomberg, and Time magazine. Not to be left out, Fox’s Peter Doocy appeared on Friday’s Psaki Show episode and pressured Psaki on what many see as incendiary rhetoric from Biden.

Houck didn't mention that Rosen lost his previous job, at Fox News, due to sexual misconduct allegations.

That's only three articles on Psaki briefings for the first three weeks or so of 2022 (only two of which Houck wrote), despite her holding briefings most weekdays. He's slacking off, but then, he's certainly never going to write about Psaki owning conservatives like him, such as the Jan. 12 briefing when she smacked down right-wing critics of Biden's civil rights speech as purportedly too divisive, calling it "hilarious on many levels, given how many people sat silently over the last four years for the former president."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:21 PM EST
CNS Columnist Still Afraid Minorities Might Get Better Access To COVID Testing, Treatment Than White People
Topic: columnist Hans Bader's commentary has long been weirdly fixated on the possiblity that non-white people might be getting more access to COVID vaccines and treatments than white people like him. He served up another version of this in his Jan. 3 column:

New York City has been putting coronavirus testing sites in mostly non-white neighborhoods, rather than mostly white neighborhoods. That is illegal racial discrimination. Just as bombing a bus because most of its passengers are black is racially discriminatory, giving an area benefits because of the race of most of its residents is racially discriminatory. For example, an appeals court ruled that deliberately putting public housing in “predominantly white” areas was racially discriminatory and thus presumptively unconstitutional, in Walker v. City of Mesquite (1999). Similarly, the Supreme Court ruled that redrawing a city’s boundaries to exclude 99 percent of its black voters was unconstitutional, in Gomillion v. Lightfoot (1960).


Staten Island’s mostly white South Shore — despite one of the city's highest coronavirus rates — is not among those 31 priority neighborhoods. Staten Island has 13 city testing sites, all on the more heavily non-white North Shore.

Yet we don't recall Bader complaining about racial bias in 2020 when white neighborhoods had more access to COVID testing than minority neighborhoods. Nor id he acknowledge that blacks amnd Latinos do, in fact, tend to have higher COVID infection and death rates than whites do.

Despite his racially charged argument being a very weak one, Bader continued:

New York State is also discriminating based on race in access to life-saving medical treatment. “NY State Department of Health warns they don’t have enough Paxlovid or Monoclonal Antibody Treatment and white people need not apply,” notes the New York Post’s Karol Markowicz. As the New York State Department of Health explains, “non-white race or Hispanic/Latino ethnicity” is a “factor” that can qualify you for access to “antiviral treatment” such as Paxlovid or molnupiravir.

"That means that a healthy twenty-year-old Asian football player or a 17-year-old African-American marathon runner from a wealthy family will be automatically deemed at heightened risk to develop serious COVID illness — making them instantly eligible for monoclonal treatments upon testing positive and showing symptoms — while a white person of exactly the same age and health condition from an impoverished background would not be automatically eligible," observes journalist Glenn Greenwald.


This use of race as a factor is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has ruled that preferences for racial minorities are presumptively unconstitutional, and that even if minority groups have faced “societal discrimination,” that is not a reason to give them a preference. 

The fact that Bader is turning to professional right-wing (and right-wing friendly) grievance-mongers like the New York Post and Glenn Greenwald. But Bader deceptively edited New York state's guidance on access to the drug. The state said that non-white race or Hispanic/Latino ethnicity" is a "risk factor"; Bader edited out thte word "risk."

As he has before, Bader insisted that minorities' increased risk for catching and suffering from COVID is no reason white people should be inconvenienced:

Even if certain minorities were more likely to have risk factors for COVID-19, New York State would still not be allowed to give those minorities a preference, or use their race as a proxy for such risk factors. The Supreme Court says the government is only allowed to use race as a “last resort,” after race-neutral remedies have been tried. If poverty puts people more at risk for COVID-19, the the government can give preference to the poor, but it can't give preference to an entire race, just because its members are often poor. That would be impermissibly using race as a proxy.

As Media Matters noted -- but Bader didn't -- none of these New York guidelines prohibit white people from receiving the treatments if they meet the eligibility criteria. But it seems that Bader, as a white guy, doesn't want to have to deal with possible competition.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:01 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, February 16, 2022 6:04 PM EST
Newsmax Parroted Bogus Ray Epps Conspiracy Theory
Topic: Newsmax

We've noted how Newsmax marked the anniversary of the Capitol riot by largely trying to downplay it. ONe exception to that, however, was its promotion of a conspriacy theory from two far-right Republican members of Congress. Eric Mack gave a preview of their stunt in a Jan. 4 article:

Democrats are planning more tarnishing of Republicans and former President Donald Trump on Jan. 6, according to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. But, she told Newsmax on Tuesday night that she is going to get to the truth of what happened in the storming of the Capitol.


On Thursday, Greene said, she will hold her own news conference in Washington, focusing on a look into insurrection allegations.

"We're going to talk about the things that need to be talked about, like oft-reported, unindicted man who was preaching "we've got to go into the Capitol" starting Jan. 5 and helping orchestrate that the next day — as Trump was delivering his rally speech.

"Where are the other people that are on different videos? Why haven't the FBI tracked those people down? Why haven't they been arrested? Why didn't I see Ray Epps and others in the D.C. jail like other Jan. 6 defendants? We have a lot of questions to ask.

Theodore Bunker also touted their stunt beforehand in a Jan. 5 article as ''a Republican response on the anniversary of the January 6th protests" by  Green and Rep. Matt Gaetz.ON the day of theanniversary, the apparently unironically named Charlie McCarthy hyped a claim that "Three men who took part in the Capitol attack inexplicably have been removed from the FBI's Capitol Violence Most Wanted list," including Epps. In fact, Epps was removed from the list because he was investigated and cleared.

And on the day of Greene's and Gaetz's stunt, Mack served up uncritical stenography:

Nearly lost in the comparisons by Democrats and the White House between Jan. 6, 2021, and two of the deadliest days in U.S. history — Pearl Harbor and 9/11 — was a news conference on Thursday afternoon by Reps. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., and Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.


Gaetz and Greene's news conference showed footage of the storming of the Capitol last Jan. 6, including Beattie's compilation that suggested there were numerous unindicted conspirators, led by Arizona Oath Keeper Ray Epps, a Marine Corps veteran and Trump supporter who started the ''we must go into the Capitol'' campaign Jan. 5 — a day before the Capitol riot.

''Imagine if we actually had the powers of the Jan. 6 [House] committee, the powers of the federal government, to understand why Ray Epps, the evening of the 5th, is out telling people dispassionately, professionally, with laser focus that the objective is to enter the United States Capitol building?'' Gaetz said, after showing a video of Epps whispering into the ear of an indicted suspect right before the final blockade was breached Jan. 6.

Revolver.News' video evidence shows this to have occurred before the conclusion of Trump's speech at a rally nearby — a speech Democrats assert incited supporters to breach the Capitol.

''Then, on the 6th, it's not the Proud Boys who engaged in the initial breach, it's Ray Epps at that precise moment.''

Because Mack can't be bothered to do basic fact-checking,  his readers don't know that Gaetz and Greene were spreading lies, much like fellow ConWeb outlet WorldNetDaily did: Epps is not a federal agent, and he did not enter the Capitol.

It wasn't until Jan. 11 that Newsmax reported that the Epps stuff is a conspiracy theory, admitting that the House committee investigating that riot said that Epps is not a government informant. The same day, however, another Newsmax article hyped Sen. Ted Cruz pushing the Epps conspiracy without any mention of the fact that the conspiracy theory had been debunked.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:08 PM EST
WND Unsurprisingly Buys Into Bogus Ray Epps Conspiracy Theory
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The Washington Post said this about articles written for right-wing Revolver News by Darren Beattie -- whom, it pointed out, was "a former Trump speechwriter who had been fired because it was learned he had appeared at a conference with a white supremacist" -- pushing the conspiracy theory that Capitol rioter Ray Epps was actually a "provocateur" paid by federal agents to encourage Trump supporters to riot:

The articles are filled with innuendo, leaps of logic and suspicion to create an impression of a massive federal conspiracy at the heart of the Jan. 6 attack. Beattie suggests that Epps led a “breach team” that set a “booby trap” for unwitting Trump supporters. “If Ray Epps is a Fed, the ‘Insurrection’ becomes the ‘Fedsurrection’ in one fell swoop,” Beattie declared in the second article.

The Beattie articles were gobbled up in the pro-Trump echo chamber like cotton candy.

Chief among those gobblers, needless to say, was WorldNetDaily. Here's Art Moore touting Beattie's conspiracy in an Oct. 25 article:

Attorney General Merrick Garland refused to comment on video clips played for him during a House hearing last week by Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., showing a man the congressman suspected was an informant planted by the FBI to urge Trump supporters to breach the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Massie didn't mention the man's name, but he long has been identified as Ray Epps, a U.S. Marine veteran from Arizona.

Now, an extensive investigation by Revolver News has led to three major findings concerning Epps that counter the official narrative and provide more evidence of proactive federal involvement in U.S. Capitol riot.

Moore spent a lot of that article regurgitating Beattie's report, including a claim of "detailed analysis of the many videos of Epps and the breaches of the Capitol."Unmentioned by Moore is the fact that Massie knew Garland would not answer the question about Epps because it involves anongoing investigation, as the Post noted: "Every lawmaker knows this will be the answer they receive. So it’s catnip for those who want to suggest something nefarious is going on since they know that, under the rules of this Washington game, no matter what they allege, a Justice Department official is not going to contradict them as long as the investigation is not complete."

Moore and WND continued to push the Epps conspiracy theory:

  • A Nov. 2 article promoting Fox News host Tucker Carlson's conspiracy-minded special on the riot noted that "On his Fox News show, Carlson has featured reporting on the mysterious Jan. 6 figure Ray Epps," rehashing again the Revolver News conspiracy.
  • A Nov. 5 article featured a letter by GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz claiming that the FBI "begged the public for information regarding the identity of Suspect 16, Ray Epps, and even offered a cash reward," and hen the public provided the details, the FBI, "amid the biggest manhunt in American history … did nothing."
  • An anonymously written Dec. 21 article rehashed another Revolver News report claiming "evidence, backed by videos and images, that there were others who worked in tandem with Epps, apparently to turn a peaceful rally into a riot."

A Dec. 28 article by Moore hyped the Epps conspiracy story moving its way up the media food chain:

One of the world's biggest online newspapers,, tracked down the mysterious Arizona activist who remains unindicted in the Jan. 6 riot investigation despite being seen in numerous videos directing people to storm the Capitol building.

The Rupert Murdoch-owned British tabloid didn't advance the story, and it framed the evidence-backed suspicion that Ray Epps was an FBI provocateur tasked with inciting a riot as a "fringe theory" from "some right-wing corners."

ut the paper's decision to send paparazzi to Arizona to take telephoto snapshots of Epps at his Rocking R Farms ranch puts a spotlight on a story ignored by establishment media. The extensive investigative legwork has been done instead by the website Revolver News and its founder, former Trump speechwriter Darren Beattie. did get a quote from Epps: "Get off my property."

It's another indicator of WND's lack of journalistic standards that Moore introduced a blatantly false claim into his conspiracy theory. Rupert Murdoch does not own the Daily Mail; it's owned by a completely different company.

Bob Unruh rehashed the Epps conspiracy in a Jan. 5 article claiming that "the federal government at this point still is refusing to reveal what agents, informers or "assets" it had at the events, and what they were doing." The "event," of course, being the Capitol insurrection, which Unruh also dismissed as "mostly vandalism."

When Gaetz and fellow far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene used the anniversary of the riot to spin their own Epps-centered conspiracy theory, Unruh was there for that too:

Referring to the events about which the Democrats scheduled daylong memorials, Gaetz said, "It may very well have been a fedsurrection."

While the federal government repeatedly has declined to provide information about its informants, agents or spies that were on Capitol Hill that day last year, it is true that prosecutors have identified multiple "unindicted co-conspirators" who were alongside those who now are facing charges.

They apparently were doing the same things, but they are not being charged. Or even publicly identified.

And several investigative organizations have revealed that several of those on video while they were advocating for citizens to rush into the Capitol and take it over are not facing any accusations whatsoever.

Moore touted a repeat of the Massie trick in a Jan. 11 article:

In a Senate hearing Tuesday, the FBI's assistant executive director for the national security branch, Jill Sanborn, repeatedly said she could not answer whether or not a man seen on video urging people to go into the Capitol the eve of Jan. 6 and then directing the initial breach of barriers was an FBI informant.

Finally Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, asked Sanborn what he described as not a law enforcement question, but one of "public accountability."


Cruz began his questioning with: "How many FBI agents or confidential informants actively participated in the events of January 6th?"

Sanborn replied: "Sir, I'm sure you can appreciate that I can't go into the specifics of sources and methods."

The FBI official also said she could not answer whether or not any bureau agents or confidential informants committed or actively encouraged crimes of violence on Jan. 6.

Cruz then asked, "Who is Ray Epps?"

"I'm aware of the individual, sir. I don't have the specific background to him," Sanborn replied.

Of course, by this point Epps' story had been explained by federal officials: He's not a government plant, and he was never charged because he never entered the Capitol or assaulted law enforcement. But the truth interferes with Moore's and WND's ramshackle conspiracy theory.

The Post further explained what Moore and WND showed no interest in doing:

This conspiracy theory follows a familiar path. Self-proclaimed Internet sleuths, seeking to prove the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol was the work of federal agents, latch onto “clues.” Partisan players weave the clues into misleading narratives. Then Fox News hosts such as Tucker Carlson elevate these claims, over and over. That catches the attention of lawmakers eager to win favor with the Trump base. Idle speculation becomes embraced as established fact.

Few of these actors feel compelled to do the basics of journalism and ask questions to try to explain what appears to be a mystery. Epps’s attorney is remarkably easy to reach — he immediately picks up the phone. Experts on FBI procedure can be found as well.

And, that, in a nutshell, illustrates WND's shoddy approach to journalism and why nobody trusts it -- and it's going down the tubes.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:21 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, February 16, 2022 1:40 AM EST
Tuesday, February 15, 2022
MRC Has A Predictible Meltdown Over Transgender Swimmer
Topic: Media Research Center
It was no surprise to see the highly transphobic Mddia Research Center -- who went all in on attacking transgender athletes last year -- go all in again with the rest of the right-wing media on a hate campaign against Lia Thomas, a transgender college swimmer. Matt Philbin kicked things off with an especially hateful Dec. 10 post:

If you haven’t heard, there’s an athlete at Penn who’s destroying women’s swimming records.

According to The New York Post, “She recently set school records in the 200-meter freestyle and 500-meter freestyle in November. This past weekend, the record-breaking stretch continued, as Thomas set a school record in the 1650-meter freestyle. Her teammate Anna Kalandadze finished in second place — over 38 seconds behind” this waterborne prodigy.

But there’s one little problem: She’s not your female swimmer, she’s a man, baby! Yep. Lia Thomas is a veteran Penn swimmer – a veteran of the men’s team. 

The NCAA may be fine with a biological male making the women look like their treading water, but the rest of the team is apparently none too thrilled having Moby Dickless on the squad.

One female Penn swimmer spoke anonymously to Outkick about the awful situation Thomas, the NCAA and our stupid culture have put them.

1) Philbin apparently thinks that 25-year-old cultural references are relevant to insulting transgender people today. 2) Philbin seems to have forgotten that his employer believes anonymous sources are not trustworthy and are used only to advance political narratives. Still, he continued whining:

This guy has the potential to be NCAA champ and break NCAA all-time records. In women’s swimming. Outckick’s interviewee pointed out the absurdity of it all.

The Ivy League is not a fast league for swimming, so that’s why it’s particularly ridiculous that we could potentially have an NCAA champion. That’s unheard of coming from the Ivy League. 

So is anyone speaking the truth about biology and culture. Good on this young lady for doing it, even anonymously. But she seems to know how much good it will do, given the myopia of woke culture and the rot of institutions like the NCAA:

A Dec. 13 item by Jay Maxson -- who's so mysterious we don't even know what sex he (or she) is -- was upset that the transphobes attacking Thomas were correctly identified as such:

Courtesy of “transphobes,” an “anti-trans panic” has come to the Ivy League swimming pool at Pennsylvania University. Lia Thomas, the latest trans woman athlete,” has become the “villain”, says SBNation Outsports trans writer Karleigh Webb (no conflict of interest here though). Thomas is a man who’s smashing women’s swimming records to bits, while violating Webb’s belief that “transgender women” are only acceptable to the Right if they lose at women's sports.

Some of Thomas’s teammates are among the “transphobes” complaining about Thomas and unfairness. Media members are also crossing the line in their attacks on the “biological male,” Webb complains.

Whoops, sorry! “Biological male” is merely a “soft-bigot variant of misgendering,” Webb explains.


Historically speaking, it’s the LGBT pressure groups who are the johnny-come-latelys. They encourage kids to experiment sexually and to focus on gender identity, instead of their gender reality. They are gender-bending social engineers, “shock jocks” who encourage people to continue in their confusion.

Maxson devoted a Dec. 21 post to cheering that an editor for a swimming magazine trashed Thomas, littering it with phrases like "It’s time to stop the madness" and "gender-bending nonsense." Three days later, Maxson found someone else to help him (or her) trash Thomas:

Long-time USA Swimming official Cynthia Millen resigned a week ago in protest over the so-called University of Pennsylvania transgender athlete making a mockery of women’s collegiate swimming. Millen told The Washington Times and Fox News that she will not support transgender nonsense on the grounds that the fairness in women’s swimming is being destroyed by a man.

Lia Thomas was a mediocre swimmer on the UPenn men’s swimming team for three years, then suddenly claimed he is a female. Now swimming for the women’s team, he is smoking all female competitors in the pool. He completed testosterone suppression treatments to meet the NCAA’s ridiculous guidelines, but his XY chromosomes and his physical advantages over females have not lessened.

Millen said she can no longer serve as a women’s swimming official because biological men are creating an uneven playing field for women.

‘'I don't mean to be critical of Lia,” Millen said. “Whatever's going on, Lia's a child of God, a precious person, but bodies swim against bodies. That’s a male body against females. And that male body can never change. That male body will always be a male body.'’

Maxson concluded by gushing that "The courageous people are those like Millen who have the intestinal fortitude to stand up and oppose the agenda."

Maxson's fellow MRC sports blogger, John Simmons, heaped more love on Millen in a Dec. 29 post:

On Christmas Eve, swimming official Cynthia Millen resigned after 30 years in the sport due to a transgendered woman who is smashing swimming records. Now, she is boldly speaking out against men who are allowed to compete in women’s sports simply based on what they identify as.

Miller criticized the University of Pennsylvania for allowing Lia Thomas, a biological man who transitioned to being a woman, to participate in events and in the process obliterate swimming records set by real women.


Miller is absolutely right, allowing men to compete in women’s sport accomplishes nothing but the destruction of women’s sports. Not only does it further blur the line between men and women, but it allows for men (who are biologically stronger in the vast majority of cases) to minimize anything that women accomplish in athletics.

But both Maxson and Simmons censored from their readers the fact that Millen is actually a far-right hater who has lashed out against transgender people as a whole (so much for the "child of God" thing), same-sex marriage and adoption and even birth control. But really, does anyone expect the MRC to be honest about this?

Posted by Terry K. at 8:49 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, February 15, 2022 8:56 PM EST
How Has Jack Cashill Been Obsessing Over Obama Lately?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

When WorldNetDaily columnist Jack Cashill isn't peddling conspiracy theories, he's obsessing over Barack Obama. Let's see how that has manifested itself lately. In his Oct. 27 column, he was still pushing the conspiracy theory that Obama didn't write his books, now including his White House memoir:

"There's a mood out there," said former President Barack Obama while stumping for Terry McAuliffe last weekend in the Virginia governor's race. "There's a politics of meanness and division and conflict, of tribalism and cynicism."

I have always doubted whether Obama wrote the books attributed to him. But upon hearing the above, I began to doubt whether he even read them, especially his most recent book, "A Promised Land."

The 2019 memoir is a tribute to the joys of tribalism. The same president who inspired the nation at the 2004 Democratic National Convention promising "there is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America – there's the United States of America," has more and more taken refuge in his self-constructed "blackness."

Cashill further whined, as he likes to do, that Obama besmirched George Zimmerman, killer of Trayvon Martin and, thus, Cashill's buddy:

As president, when it suited his purposes, Obama put tribal identification above his identity as an American. One young Florida man learned this the hard way.

The "White Hispanic" George Zimmerman lobbied for Obama, voted for Obama and believed in Obama until that rainy February night in 2012 when attacked by an out-of-control adolescent who looked more like Obama's imagined son than he did.

In summer 2013, when Zimmerman was rightly acquitted in the murder of Trayvon Martin, Obama felt compelled to legitimize the post-verdict outrage. Expanding on his "If I had a son" remarks from more than a year prior, Obama once again identified himself with Martin, now even more intimately. "Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago," said Obama.

With Obama refusing to tell the truth about Martin's death, a trio of activists formed Black Lives Matter. When Obama chose to identify with out-of-control Ferguson adolescent Michael Brown a year later – "My mind went back to what it was like for me when I was 17, 18, 20" – he empowered BLM.

In his Jan. 5 column, Cashill insisted that Obama conspired against Donald Trump's presidency:

Merriam-Webster defines "insurrection" as "an act or instance of revolting against civil authority or an established government." This being so, the one real insurrection within anyone's memory was hatched on Jan. 5, 2017.

The conspirators met in the White House on that day to plot a quiet coup against President-elect Donald Trump. Presiding was President Barack Obama. Joining him was his national security team including all the usual suspects: the FBI's Jim Comey, the CIA's John Brennan, Vice President Joe Biden, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Acting Attorney General Sally Yates.

Following the meeting, Obama asked Yates and Comey to stick around along with Rice, his trusted scribe and factotum. Obama had a reason for singling out Comey and Yates. Unlike the others, they were staying on in their jobs.


There is no "book" that justifies what Comey and pals did in the weeks immediately following this meeting while Obama was still president. The next day, Jan. 6, 2017, the conspirators released the declassified version of the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA).

Commissioned a month earlier by Obama, the ICA was John Brennan's way of welcoming the president-elect to Washington. Titled "Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections," the report concluded that Putin "ordered" an influence campaign, the goal of which was "to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency."

Actually, that intelligence assessment's conclusions have been confirmed by a 2020 Senate Intelligence committee report. Cashill won't mention that, of course, because he has a conspiracy theory to construct. Instead, he counteractually whined: "Even at a glance, the casual reader could see what a pile of dog-doo the whole thing was, and yet here were the mavens of major media fighting to be first to cover themselves with its stink." he added: "Five years later, their conspiracy busted, these same people have the nerve to decry the "insurrection" of Jan. 6, 2021? Please. At least, our 'insurrectionists' did their thing in public."

Cashill spent a Feb. 9 column melting down over the Obamas building a beach house in Hawaii:

According to legend, 11th-century monarch King Canute ordered his chair to be placed on the beach while the tide was rising. "You are subject to me," Canute told the sea. "I command you, therefore, not to rise on to my land, nor to presume to wet the clothing or limbs of your master."

Of late, ex-President Barack Obama seems to be testing his Canute-like powers. This past week he was spotted maskless conferring with masked construction workers on the site of his new beachfront mansion. Located on the southeast edge of the island of Oahu in Hawaii, the property alone sold for $8.7 million.

This new mansion will help Obama fill out a real estate portfolio that already includes a 7,000-square foot, $12 million waterfront home on Martha's Vineyard, a short bicycle ride from Chappaquiddick.

Better still, these twin purchases give him all the excuse he needs to stay as far away from the American heartland as possible and still be able to get all the ESPN channels.


As Canute was expecting, the seas defied his command. He used his public drenching as a teachable moment. "Let all the world know," he told his courtiers, "that the power of kings is empty and worthless, and there is no king worthy of the name save Him by whose will heaven, earth and the sea obey eternal laws."

By contrast, Obama is not a believer, true or otherwise. He just put down a $20 million bet that the climate change orthodoxy he himself has been preaching is as bankable as his promise that if you like your health care plan you can keep it.

Does Cashill know that treatments are available for psychological fixations on other people?

Posted by Terry K. at 7:15 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, February 15, 2022 7:19 PM EST
Newsmax Marked Capitol Riot Anniversary By Trying To Downplay It
Topic: Newsmax

How did Newsmax mark the anniversary of the Capitol riot? By trying to downplay it, of course. It kicked things off with a behind-the-paywall piece complaining that "not one of the more than 700 people facing charges has been accused of anything close to insurrection or terrorism. (this was a few weeks before several right-wing Oath Keepers were arrested on charges of seditious conspiracy.)

That was followed by an article hauling out disgraced Fox News host Bill O'Reilly claiming that, in writer Eric Mack's words, that "President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are going to try to pin the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol on former President Donald Trump, ignoring evidence to the contrary" because, according to O'Reilly, "It's almost inconceivable that a rational person would go: Yeah, I'm going to break into the Capitol, and that's going to help Donald Trump in any way. It hurt him, and it hurt the conservative cause." Mack stayed silent about the rampant sexual harassment that got O'Reilly fired from Fox News; instead, he insisted without evidence that O'Reilly "remains a prominent  conservative voice."

Like its ConWeb pals at the Media Research Center and, Newsmax didn't like President Biden's speech about the Jan. 6 riot, with Sandy Fitzgerald sticking Donald Trump's petty and negative reaction in her story on the speech; Trump was also given an anonymously written article to whine further.

Newsmax served up more right-wing reaction from Republican politicians:

  • Fitzgerald returned to tout Republican Rep. James Comer's whining that "there should be investigations into the security lapse that allowed people to be able to storm the Capitol, but Democrats have "just tried to play this from an angle of embarrassing Donald Trump and embarrassing the Republicans."
  • Theodore Bunker devoted an article to letting Mitch McConnell complain how "Washington Democrats" are supposedly "try[ing] to exploit this anniversary to advance partisan policy goals that long predated this event. It is especially jaw-dropping to hear some Senate Democrats invoke the mob’s attempt to disrupt our country’s norms, rules, and institutions as a justification to discard our norms, rules, and institutions themselves."
  • GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham was given his own article by Jeffrey Rodack to complain about Biden's speech and its alleged "brazen politicization" of the riot.
  • Fitzgerald touted how GOP Rep. Pat Fallon purported to be "flabbergasted, dumfounded, and speechless" to hear Vice President Kamala Harris comparing what ended up being a "small riot" to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and the 9/11 attacks, while Democrats have "amnesia" about the Black Lives Matter and antifa riots in the summer of 2020, that "swept over 140 cities, caused $2 billion worth of damage and cost 25 lives."

Newsmax pundit and disgraced ex-New York City police chief Bernard Kerik led an article by Rodack featuring various right-wingers reacting badly to Harris' comparison; Kerik sneered that she is an "incompetent fool."And the apparently unironically named Charlie McCarthy gave Trump another article in which to vent, this time through a "scathing lengthy statement."

An article by Jack Gournell promoted an appearance on Newsmax TV by the widower of Ashli Babbitt, the rioter who was shot and killed by police inside the Capitol as she was trying to break through a door. Gournell editorialized: "Over the past several months, many on the political right have pointed to Babbitt's case as evidence that the characterization of Jan. 6, 2021, as an 'insurrection' in which the right did all the harm is grossly inaccurate."

Fitzgerald, though, did slip in an article about how a police officer wounded in the riot is suing Trump over the injuries she suffered from rioters incited by him.

Michael Reagan spent his Jan. 7 column whining about the coverage and trying to distract from it by bashing Biden:

So does insisting on calling 1/6 an “insurrection” instead of what it was – a peaceful political protest that exploded into a dangerous and disgraceful riot whose only fatality was an unarmed Trump supporter, Ashli Babbitt, who was shot to death by a Capitol police officer.


But for the Democrat Party [sic] and its flock of parrots in the media, the “deadly” insurrection of 1/6 Trump supposedly fomented has become a myth they are never going to let the country forget.

1/6 is their new national holiday. A day they can memorialize – weaponize – each year for decades for purely partisan political reasons.

For now, Democrats know 1/6 is the only propaganda weapon they have left to distract the public’s attention from the Biden administration’s never-ending list of failures.

But ordinary Americans don’t care about marking the anniversary of “Insurrection Day.” They know a fake insurrection when they see one.

They’re more worried about things that are real and things that really matter to them – today. Things like the rising price of gas and hamburger and Biden's bungled war on COVID.

Judd Dunning similarly tried to distract in his Jan. 7 column:

January 6, 2022 was about forcefully forgetting failures. Americans are ordered to forcefully forget the Afghanistan failures, our supply chain problems, our politicized COVID lockdowns tearing our prosperity and security, our decimated global foreign policy, and rampant Biden-induced inflation.

Democrats lacking any decency or tangible legislative platform excitedly brought you their January 6th “Insurrection Anger Games.” The lions, bears and crocodiles were thrown in the pit. The leftist half of the crowd hunger for red conservative Republican blood.

Dunning then portrayed the rioters as the real victims:

Forty-thousand hours of sealed footage will show the truth of the non-insurrection. Currently, zero insurrection charges have been filed.

January 6 has been blown out of proportion. Several times political objections have historically been expressed more disruptively than 1/6 on a myriad of issues. The 209 BLM riots in 2020 caused over 40 deaths and $2 billion to $3 billion dollars in property damage.

Biden bellowed out false bigotry from the bleachers, stoking the flames, referencing a “bunch of thugs, white supremacists, (conspiracy) theorists, antisemites.” Many are average citizens held over 10 months in inhumane conditions. They are pawns victimized for political reasons.

Some face 23 hours of daily solitary confinement. They have been denied lawyers, medical and legal care, and basic due process rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights. They are political prisoners of war treated worse than Guantanamo Bay prisoners.

The lesson of the January 6th games is not what the left wishes their performance art would yield. Democrats’ devolution reveals they lack a true platform. They offer only weaponized elitist hate.

In fact, the vast majority of rioters are not in prison awaiting trial, and they are anything bug political prisoners.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:16 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, February 15, 2022 7:42 PM EST
CNS' Donohue Still Misleading Over Clergy Sexual Abuse

Dishonest Catholic and columnist Bill Donohue just loves to mislead readers about the nature and extent of clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. And he shows no sign of stopping, even though he probably should. He proclaimed in his Jan. 14 column lashing out at a Catholic publication for not buying into his bogus homophobic take on the scandal:

It's over. Not only is the clergy sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church over, those who helped drive it — the Catholic left — have lost. Their pitiful reaction to the 20th anniversary of the Boston Globe series on priestly sexual abuse in Boston is all the evidence we need to make this charge. 

The National Catholic Reporter ran three articles on the 20th anniversary of the Boston Globe series, and not one of them had the intellectual honesty to say that the homosexual scandal has been effectively checked.


As I point out in my book, "The Truth About Clergy Sexual Abuse: Clarifying the Facts and the Causes," the Reporter played a prominent role in fostering the scandal. 

Its relentless attacks on the Church's teachings on sexual ethics gave succor to already disordered men, effectively giving them the green light to act on their twisted id.

But the scandal was not quite done with Donohue. A week later, a church commissioned report on sexual abuse in Germany reported that Pope Benedict, while still a cardinal in Germany, committed "wrongdoing" in his handling of abuse cases there, in one case allowing a priest to receive a new assignment despite knowledge of abuse allegations against him. It took a few days for Donohue to cobble together a defense, and he finally did so in  his Jan. 25 column, and it of course involves absolving the pope emeritus while finding other people to blame:

If Benedict is guilty of anything, from what we know so far, it is that he did not always act like the "Rottweiler" he is accused of being. When he learned of a priest who was an exhibitionist, but who never physically abused anyone, he did not treat him the way he should have. He should have seen this as a red flag — normal men don't act that way. 

In all the news stories on this issue, never once do therapists come in for criticism. Yet they played a big role in persuading elites in every sector of society of their powers to transform miscreants, especially in the latter part of the 20th century. There was no one they couldn't "fix," or so they thought. Their role was pivotal in the decision of elites, including bishops, not to crack the whip.


For the record, no one in the Church has done more to stem clergy sexual abuse than Benedict. It was he who took the initiative to issue a document barring men with "deep-seated homosexual tendencies" from entering the priesthood. He was hated by "progressives" long before this, but this decision made him their biggest enemy.

In the first year of his pontificate, Benedict removed the notorious serial molester, Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, from ministry. Significantly, he defrocked approximately 800 molesting priests from 2005 to 2013.

This is hardly the first time that Benedict has been treated unfairly. He is the scourge of the left, both in and out of the Catholic Church.

After Benedict responded to the charges, Donohue cheered in his Feb. 8 column that no actual apology was given:

People who apologize for offenses they never committed — such as white people who apologize for being white — are either phonies or psychotic. 

That is why it is so refreshing to learn that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is not apologizing for offenses he never committed while serving as archbishop of Munich and Freising from 1977 to 1982. 

In a letter Benedict released Tuesday, he offered his "deepest sympathy" to the victims of clergy sexual abuse, saying he feels "great sorrow for each individual case." But he did not offer a personal apology, and that is because none was warranted.

Donohue again rehashed his defense of Benedict for defrocking so many alleged predator priests, and that "he correctly noted the effect of the sexual revolution on the Church, and the huge role played by homosexual priests." Donohue is a homophobe, and he has falsely blamed homosexuality for the abuse scandal when the researchers of a previous church-commissioned study found no connection between homosexual identity and an increased likelihood of sexual abuse, since one does not have to have a homosexual identity to commit homosexual acts.

Donohue concluded: "Pope Benedict has nothing to apologize for. If anything, it is his vicious critics who owe him an apology." Just like Donohue will never being a homophobe?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:57 AM EST
Monday, February 14, 2022
MRC's War on NewsGuard Continues
Topic: Media Research Center

We've documented how the Media Research Center is current running a war against website credibility rating firm NewsGuard, and it's continued to get as nasty as it is one-sided.

Brian Bradley spent a Dec. 20 post whining that NewsGuard signed a deal with an ad-services company to help it "prevent monetization on the platform by news sites that NewsGuard does not rate as 'generally trustworthy,'" attacking NewsGuard's filtering process as "arbitrary" withoutproviding evidence to back it up. Bradley remained performatively butthurt about NewsGuard's ratings: "NewsGuard scored The Federalist, a right-of-center online publication, according to AllSides, with a 12.5 rating for “credibility,” apparently for questioning the efficiency of mask mandates, but rated socialist site Jacobin at 92.5. Jacobin vomited a piece last year heralding that “[s]ocialism is back on the agenda in the United States. Thank God.” Bradley didn't explain why a publication should be rated lower simply because it advocates a viewpoint he personally disagrees with (or why Jacobin got the "socalist" tag while the Federalist was described as being merely "right-of-center."

Note that the MRC has never done a content analysis to prove wrong NewsGuard's contention that the conservative outlets it rated as lower than the liberal ones. It is simply demanding ratings parity without any justification.

Tierin-Rose Mandelburg rahashed the MRC's attack line on NewsGuard, and its bogus study hack-job in a Dec. 29 "CensorTrack" video, again complaining that it rated Jacobin higher than the Federalist. She attacked NewsGuard's rating system as "a roundabout way to censor conservative voices," despite the fact that neither she nor the MRC have proven that NewsGuard is trying to do that or even that its scoring system has a documented bias.

Joseph Vazquez deoted a Jan. 12 post to marshaling a full right-wing attack against NewsGuard, which he baselessly labeled "left-wing" as well as pushing other misinformation:

The left-wing media’s Ministry of Truth — website ratings firm NewsGuard — is at it again, slamming conservative news outlets while promoting liberal rags. And conservative leaders are furious.

The firm’s report headlined, “Special Report: The U.S. Best and Worst of 2021,” claimed to “identify the misinformation websites with the most online engagement in 2021 in the United States.” In addition, NewsGuard alleged, “We also highlight a selection of the trustworthy sites that are producing reliable journalism, including for local and niche markets.”

NewsGuard had two lists sub-headlined “The Ten Most Influential Misinformers” and “The Ten Top ‘Trustworthy and Trending’ Sites,” respectively.

Not surprisingly, NewsGuard labeled websites like The Federalist, Newsmax, LifeNews, LiveAction and ZeroHedge “misinformation,” and mostly left-wing propaganda websites like NPR, The New York Times, The Guardian, The Washington Post and “trustworthy.”

Only at the MRC would established established news operations with decades of balanced journalism under their belts like the Washington Post and the New York Times be considered"left-wing propaganda," while the right-wing sites be described only as "conservative" and not the right-wing propaganda they actually are. He also didn't mention that, for example, ZeroHedge has a documented history of spreading misinformation. Instead, he let Newsmax respond:

NewsGuard flogged Newsmax, which received an absurd 35/100 score, for allegedly publishing “false and unsubstantiated claims about vaccines and COVID-19.” Newsmax said in a statement to MRC’s Free Speech America that it “strongly supported both the effectiveness of vaccines and CDC efforts to contain COVID. We frequently quote top medical experts for our reports. Not every medical expert agrees with all government policies, and Newsmax will occasionally publish such disagreements.” 

Newsmax then slammed NewsGuard: “News[G]uard is a leftwing media ‘critic’ that smears conservative media in favor of liberal outlets, as their ranking lists so well demonstrate. News[G]uard has no credibility as a neutral observer.”

In fact, we've caught Newsmax publishing numerous examples of COVID misinformation, which trying to disavow responsibility for doing so with a disclaimer that the columns were written by a "non-clinician." And Vazquex didn't mention that Newsmax is currently being sued by election-tech firms Dominion and Smartmatic for publishing false information about them in pushing Donald Trump's Big Lie about 2020 election fraud.

Vazaquez get another criticized outlet a say:

LifeNews, which got a 30/100 rating, was smeared for allegedly publishing “false health claims about abortion safety and about COVID-19.” The outlet’s founder, Steven Ertelt, told MRC’s Free Speech America that “NewsGuard is not a legitimate fact-checking outlet, but rather it's a biased left-wing web site run by former liberal media staffers that presents a one-sided view falsely alleging that pro-life content is not factual simply because it disagrees with the content.” 

In fact, LifeNews has been busted spreading false information about President Biden's views on abortion and about Planned Parenthood. Vazquez didn't mention that either.

Despite actual facts to back him up, Vazquez came back on Jan. 17 to rant against CNN's Brian Stelter for having NewsGuard officials on:

CNN’s Reliable Sources anchor Brian Stelter slobbered over the leftist website ratings firm NewsGuard as some sort of paragon of journalistic virtue. 

Stelter fawned in a Jan. 16 blog how NewsGuard announced that its business was “reliable enough to turn a profit.” But here was the senseless part: “Although there are many quibbles with specific rulings about certain sites, the results are directionally reliable, distinguishing global newsrooms that try to report fairly from fly-by-night sites that publish propaganda with no regard for reality.”


Stelter brought two NewsGuard executives on the Jan. 16 edition of his show so he could further propagandize about the firm. NewsGuard “tries to cut through the noise of misinformation and deception and helps advertisers do that by letting them know when their ads are running on sites full of nonsense,” Stelter cheered. How can Stelter cheer about “sites full of nonsense” when rags like leftist magazine The Nation publish ”nonsense” defending “property destruction” as integral to the success of a left-wing “uprising” score a high “92.5” on NewsGuard?

Again, Vazquez demands punishment of a publication simply for having a political view different from his. That's not the way to build and defend and arguemnt -- but it is the way the MRC insists on operating.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:20 PM EST
Updated: Monday, February 14, 2022 10:28 PM EST

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