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Monday, March 7, 2022
MRC's Double Standard On Politicians' Social Security Numbers
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Scott Whitlock huffed in a Feb. 8 post:

The bullying of moderate Democrat Kyrsten Sinema ratcheted up to a new level on Monday as a far-left media site obtained the Senator’s Social Security Number. This warranted no objection from the network morning and evening newscasts on Monday and Tuesday.

And it comes after similar collective yawns by ABC, CBS and NBC after Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for “brass tacks” to be used against Sinema, later demanding that Sinema’s life be made “as difficult as possible.” 

The Gawker article trumpeted the SSN with this excited headline “WE HAVE KYRSTEN SINEMA’S SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER.” The number was given to Gawker because a change made in Arizona to protect privacy didn't go into effect until the 2000s. Writer Tarpley Hitt bragged, “The records also included some other intriguing information. Specifically, they included Sinema’s social security number, bank account information, and drivers’ license number.”

Gawker even disgustingly included a fake SSN at the top of the article so as to provide click bait for the angry, leftist base. Here’s the phony number: 


Later in the article, Hitt pranked, “For the record, out of respect for Sinema and because we like our jobs, we won’t be publishing her [real] number.”

By contrast, we don't recall anyone at the MRC being bothered that its fellow right-wing activists obtained what it claimed was Barack Obama's Social Security number in an attempt to claim either that he stole the number from a dead person or that he otherwise was not an American citizen -- let alone refer to those activist as "vile," as Whitlock did in his headline. The closest it apparently came was a 2010 post by Tim Graham complaining that the New York Times referenced a tabloid article claiming that Obama "uses a phony Social Security number as 'part of an elaborate scheme to conceal that he is not a natural-born U.S. citizen'"in order to "illustrate how the president is bedeviled by lies." While Graham dismissed the claim as a "tabloid concoction," he certainly didn't criticize the Globe or any other anti-Obama activist for obaining the number in the first place.

Whitlock went on to rant:

One could say that Gawker even doing this article is a blueprint for any nefarious individual or organization who wants to obtain her Social Security Number. And after all, this is the same Gawker was forced to pay wrestler Hulk Hogan $31 million after obtaining and publishing his sex tape. Not exactly a bastion of journalistic integrity. 

One could more accurately say that this is not the same Gawker: Gawker Media Group filed for bankruptcy after the verdict in 2016, and Gawker itself remained dormant after that until being revived in July 2021.

Whitlock complained further: "Last December, I wrote about instances of bullying or harassment that Sinema and fellow moderate Democrat Joe Manchin suffered. " As we've noted, the tactics the MRC criticized are largely the same ones that anti-abortion activists use against clinic doctors and other employees, and the MRC has never expressed any concern about that. Call that another big yawn.

Nevertheless, Whitlock concluded by ranting: "Obtaining Sinema’s Social Security Number, Reich joking about violence against her, the harassment and bullying of the last two moderates in the Democratic Party is escalating rapidly. But journalists don’t seem to care. Do the ends of ends justify the means?" If you didn't care when these same tactics were used against your political enemies, Scott -- meaning that you clearly thought right-wing ends justified the means -- you've given us no reason to care now.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:55 PM EST
Updated: Monday, March 7, 2022 3:00 PM EST
NEW ARTICLE: Catholic Priest Or Right-Wing Activist?
Topic: is giving Rev. Michael Orsi a platform to spout right-wing talking points and anti-vaxxer attitudes that seem incongruous with the fact that he's supposed to be a Catholic minister. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 9:00 AM EST
Sunday, March 6, 2022
Rogan Patrol: Faced With Defending Rogan's Use Of N-Word, The MRC Plays Whataboutism
Topic: Media Research Center

When you commit to something the way the Media Research Center has to defending Joe Rogan's COVID misinformation, you're pretty much stuck defending everything he does. A Feb. 1 post by Jeffrey Clark got mad at Rolling Stone magazine for pointing out how Rogan was joined by right-wing guru guy Jordan Peterson to spread misinformation about climate change:

The left-wing orthodoxy has spoken: Podcast host Joe Rogan must be banished from society. Rolling Stone slammed Rogan and clinical psychologist and University of Toronto professor emeritus Dr. Jordan Peterson in a self-righteous hit piece. Rogan and Peterson’s crime? Having the nerve to discuss climate change.

Rolling Stone contributing writer Jack Crosbie, who also writes for the self-described “leftist politics and culture site” Discourse Blog, appeared to be especially outraged. In a Jan. 26 article headlined “ Joe Rogan and Jordan Peterson Wax Idiotic on Climate Change and What It Means to Be Black,” Crosbie declared Rogan, a world-famous podcast host, and Peterson, a renowned clinical psychologist, “two of the dumbest people on earth.” The controversy stems from a conversation Rogan and Peterson had on The Joe Rogan Experience, posted Jan. 25 to Spotify.

To Crosbie, the “four-hour marathon conversation on The Joe Rogan Experience” was “stupid.” He griped, “Their topics were varied, but almost all of them were intensely stupid, if not incoherent.”


Peterson noted: “There is no such thing as climate. ‘Climate’ and ‘everything’ are the same word.” Rogan pushed Peterson to clarify, and he explained: “[T]hat’s what people who talk about the ‘climate apocalypse’ claim in some sense: ‘We have to change everything.’” Peterson continued, “And the same with the word ‘environment’ … it means so much that it actually doesn’t mean anything.” 

Crosbie interpreted Peterson’s comments as “a theory on climate change loaded with circular arguments that all come back to the same point: It’s not real.” 

That is unfair and untrue. Peterson never said in this interview that “climate change” was a hoax. If he did, Crosbie almost would have likely clipped Peterson saying that. Peterson instead criticized believers in “climate apocalypse” who think “the planet has too many people on it.” For Rolling Stone to arbitrarily cast Peterson’s comments as “intensely stupid” and “incoherent” is just babble wrapped in hyperbole.

Note that Clark barely quotes from the podcast to defend Peterson, suggesting there's probably a lot more to Rolling Stone's analysis that he's ready to admit. Also note that  Clark doesn't state the obvious, that neither Rogan nor Peterson have any demonstrated expertise on the issue of climate, as demonstrated by Peterson's bizarre assertion that there's no such thing as climate.

Meanwhile, a new Rogan issue was brewing. Autun JOhnson hinted at it in a Feb. 5 post noting that "Spotify has removed approximately 70 episodes of" Rogan's podcast, though she misleadingly complained that "Many on the left have attacked Rogan for his promotion of alternative treatments of COVID-19" without proving any link between the two. Meanwhile, a Feb. 6 post by Clay Waters complained that a New York Times opinion piece "called for the massively popular podcaster Joe Rogan to be censored by his hosting platform Spotify" (invoking hte ag populum fallacy again). When the writer noted Rogan's history of transphobia and racism and his giving a platform to the likes of Alex Jones, Waters played whataboutism: "Wait until these benighted folks discover the history of Sirius XM podcaster (and former radio shock jock) Howard Stern."

What happened was that a clip compiliation was released on Feb. 4 summarized Rogan's enthusiastic use of the N-word. Alexander Hall couldn't even acknowledge the existence of that clip in a Feb. 7 post, vaguely stating only that there "outrage over past language" and cheering Spotify for continuing to stand by him. Hall also complained that tech writer Kara Swisher called out Rogan defenders for claiming that his critics want to "silence" him when they haven't really done that.

Brian Bradley went full whataboutism in a Feb. 8 post, expressing faux shock that -- gasp! -- rappers say the N-word:

The platform continues to host a ton of content brimming with references to the racial slur, including one Lil’ Jon song that belts the N-word a whopping 152 times. This is after 70 episodes of the well-known Joe Rogan Experience podcast were removed from Spotify over the weekend, reportedly because of the host’s past use of slurs.


Spotify didn’t respond to a Media Research Center request for response on whether the platform plans to remove any of the above songs/purge all content containing the N-word, or whether its policy on removing racially insensitive content applies only to Rogan.

Spotify clearly knows better than to try to engage with a bad-faith actor like the MRC.And Bradley certainly won't concede that black rappers use the N-word in a much different context than a white podcaster does.

Johnson served up more whataboutism in a Feb. 10 post:

Since many on the left have called on Spotify to remove Joe Rogan’s podcast from its lineup, it is worth noting that the podcasts of convicted criminals and alleged racists are still up.

Rogan has faced criticism on the left for allegedly spreading “misinformation” about COVID-19. Earlier in the week, Newsbusters  reported that several songs on Spotify contained obscene material that included various uses of the N-word, while Rogan was singled out after he quoted someone who used the word.

Fox Business reported that Spotify “rarely censors content” and first pointed out that Louis Farrakhan’s podcast was still listed on the platform, despite the fact that he is notorious for his anti-Semitic comments. Gary Glitter, a convicted pedophile and glam rock singer, also had his podcast present, as well as that of R. Kelly, who was found guilty of sex trafficking, kidnapping, and more.

The same day, Hall lovingly wrote of "legendary podcaster" Rogan defending himself, with a little added defense of his own:

The embattled legendary podcaster Joe Rogan defended his right to speak his mind on his podcast.

Rogan, host of The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, slammed recent Cancel Culture witch hunts against his show: “This is a political hit-job, and so they're taking all this stuff that I've ever said that's wrong and smushed it all together,” he declared in a Feb. 8 podcast episode. While Rogan suggested that “you should apologize if you regret something,” he warned that there is a very clear line that must not be crossed: “I do think you have to be very careful to not apologize for nonsense.”


A major Cancel Culture campaign began in late January, when musician Neil Young issued an ultimatum to Spotify that he would remove his music if Rogan were to keep questioning Covid narratives. Later, 70 episodes were removed from Spotify after Rogan was criticized for past use of the N-word, despite its common usage in rap songs on Spotify.

Again: Rogan was not criticized for "questioning Covid narratives"; he was criticized for spreading documented misinformation. The MRC apparently doesn't understand the difference between the two.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:56 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, March 6, 2022 10:11 PM EST
CNS Falsely Suggests Keystone Pipeline Would Lower Gas Prices
Topic:, like a good right-wing apparatchik, was predictably outraged when President Biden canceled the Keystone XL pipeline ahortly after taking office. A January 2021 article by managing editor Michael W. Chapman, for example, complained that then-nominee for secretary of transportation Pete Buttigieg said that workers who had been employed in building the pipeline can get other jobs andlaughably portrayed Republicans as a defender of unions in trying to save those jobs. Another article that month by Melanie Arter quoted a Repubican senator claiming that the pipeline's cancellation will raise gas prices.

As oil and gas prices have risen over the past year, that last talking point has gained prominence. After Biden released oil from the Strategeic Petroleum Reserve in a bid to lower prices -- something CNS demanded he do then dismissed it when he did -- Craig Bannister wrote in a Nov. 29 article:

The U.S. could be getting 900,000 barrels of oil a day if President Joe Biden hadn’t stopped the Keystone XL pipeline, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, says.

In a statement released Tuesday, Sen. Manchin criticized Biden’s decision to order a one-time release of 50 million barrels of oil from the nation’s petroleum reserve, instead of allowing more U.S. production.


If the pipeline did deliver that much oil, it would it would a take a little under two months (56 days) to surpass Pres. Biden’s one-time release of 50 million – and keep going.

Just one problem: Fact-checkers have found no evidence that the Keystone XL pipeline would have any impact on gas prices in the U.S.

A Feb. 4 article touted the mini-propaganda film made by CNS' parent, the Media Research Center:

During a screening and panel discussion of the Media Research Center’s new documentary on the Keystone XL pipeline,  House Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) detailed how the canceling of the pipeline by President Biden is hurting workers and the economy in Nebraska. He also stressed that it was “outrageous” for Biden to support Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline.


The mini-documentary shows how the pipeline expansion, which was supposed to run from Canada south though the Midwest United States to refineries at the Gulf of Mexico, would have created tens of thousands of jobs and pushed America further towards energy independence.

The report highlights news stories on the pipeline, including its energy, jobs, and economic impact, as well as interviews with U.S. workers and public officials who discuss how its cancellation has hurt their communities.

As we documented, thte MRC's little film wildly overstates how many jobs the pipeline would have created, and it censors the fact that much of the petroleum products created from pipeline oil would be exportted -- not made for use in the U.S.

The article went on to quote participants -- which excluded supporters of the pipeline's discontinuation -- speculating over Keystone's impact on gas prices while ignoring evidence that it would have no impact.

Despite its lack of actual proof of a link between the pipeline's cancellation and higher gas prices, CNS continued to suggest one anyway. A Feb. 11 article by Susan Jones on Biden pledging to work to lower gas prices pointedly referring to him as "the man who canceled the Keystone XL pipeline." Jones further suggested a link in a Feb. 16 article:

In his push for green energy, Biden has targeted fossil fuels, signing executive orders pausing oil and gas leasing on federal lands and scrapping the Keystone pipeline as soon as he took office.

Between January 2021 and January 2022 -- President Joe Biden’s first year in office -- the price of unleaded gasoline increased 40.8 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Needless to say, Jones offered no evidence that any Biden energy policy, including the Keystone XL shutdown, has been directly linked with the increase in gas prices. And she censored evidence that U.S. oil companies have been slow to increase domestic oil production and have not rushed to expand drilling on land leases they already own.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:54 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, July 26, 2022 10:40 PM EDT
Saturday, March 5, 2022
MRC Promotes Attempt To Whitewash Anti-Gay Conversion Therapy
Topic: Media Research Center

A few months back, we caught WorldNetDaily trying to whitewash warmed-over anti-gay conversion therapy as "reintegrative therapy." Now, the Media Research Center is taking a stab it it. Gabriela Pariseau wrote in a Jan. 20 post:

YouTube “terminated” the Reintegrative Therapy Association’s channel for alleged “hate speech,” accusing the group of pushing “conversion therapy.”

The Reintegrative Therapy Association (RTA) specializes in “established, evidence-based treatment interventions … to treat trauma and addiction.” Joseph Nicolosi, Jr., a licensed clinical psychologist and founder of the RTA, told MRC Free Speech America that YouTube banned RTA’s channel overnight.

"Our channel went from 0 strikes against us — and having tens of thousands of views — to permanent suspension for all videos indefinitely, overnight," Nicolosi explained. "Our video content ranged from client testimonials to research explainers. None of that mattered."


RTA explicitly distinguishes reintegrative therapy, which it said, “seeks to identify and resolve past traumatic memories,” and “conversion therapy” in which “[s]exual orientation change is the goal.”

However, it acknowledges that a “client's sexuality can sometimes change on its own.” The organization also clarifies that it uses “the same approach, regardless of the client's sexual orientation or gender” 

YouTube’s block of the RTA channel came after a recent report by the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism (GPAHE), which conflated reintegrative therapy and conversion therapy and put pressure on Big Tech companies to remove accounts like the RTA YouTube channel.

Pariseau, however, censored the fact that Nicolosi is the son of Joseph Nicolosi, one of the biggest promoters of conversion therapy, whose legacy Nicolosi Jr. isn't exactly running hard to get away from. Video touting reintegrative therapy on Nicolosi Jr.'s website are titled "This changed my sexuality" and "The science behing my sexuality change" -- meaning his therapy is unambiguously being marketed as having a anti-gay goal. Further, despitte Pariseau's declaration that Nicolosi Jr. is "a licensed clinical psychologist," his doctorate came from a school that wasn't accredited by the American Psychological Association at the time he received it.

Pariseau also made sure not to quote from the GPAHE report, which detailed the father-son link and noted that research claiming to validate "reintegrative therapy" was published in the Journal of Human Sexuality, which is published by the successor group to the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, the anti-gay organization founded by Nicolosi Sr.

Pariseau, meanwhile, was too busy trying to paint Nicolosi Jr. as a victim:

Nicolosi, however, told MRC Free Speech America that Big Tech censorship and organizations like GPAHE ultimately hurt those in need of real help. “Everyone should be free to find therapy and support to help them achieve their desired goals and outcomes. Not Big Tech, or any political organization. Clients should be in the driver’s seat of their therapy,” he said.

“Ultimately, it’s the public who suffers— it’s the sex-abuse victims, seeking out alternative therapy options, for example. We can’t be educated on any topic if we only have access to one point of view. Our clients —and the general public— deserve better.”

The MRC is anti-LGBT enough to want to help Nicolosi with this dishonest whitewashing. Its "news" division,, recently lamented a conversion therapy ban in Canada.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:05 AM EST
WND Cheered Anti-Vax Trooper -- But Censored His Death From COVID
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Art Moore cheerfully wrote in an Oct. 18 article:

Signing off for the last time after 22 years with the Washington State Patrol, a trooper who refused to comply with Gov. Jay Inslee's vaccine mandate had a few parting words for the Democratic leader: "Kiss my ***."

As the deadline for getting vaccinated passed Monday and the state patrol braced for the loss of as many as 100 troopers, Robert LaMay of Yakima County in central Washington videoed his final call on the radio, thanking his colleagues for their work and support, reported Jason Rantz of KTTH Radio in Seattle.

Only three years from full retirement, LeMay, a Christian with religious objections to the vaccine, said Friday night it's about religious liberties and freedom.

"This is my final sign-off. After 22 years of serving the citizens of the state of Washington, I'm being asked to leave because I am dirty," LaMay announced, referring to his unvaccinated status. "Numerous fatalities, injuries, I've worked sick, I’ve played sick. We’ve buried lots of friends over these years. I’d like to thank you guys. I’d like to thank the citizens of Yakima County as well as my fellow officers within the valley. Without you guys, I wouldn’t have been very successful. And you kept me safe and got me to my family every night. Thank you for that."

LaMay, a married father of four, became visibly emotional as he continued.

"I wish I could say more, but this is it, so state 10-34, this is the last time you'll hear me in a state patrol car. And Jay Inslee can kiss my ***."

But a couple months later, a painfully ironic thing happened:

A former Yakima area-based Washington State Patrol trooper whose resignation over mandated COVID vaccination for state employees went viral has died.

The State Patrol announced Robert LaMay’s death Friday. He was 50.

While the State Patrol statement did not include LaMay’s cause of death, other news outlets have reported that he died after contracting COVID-19.

That's right -- a trooper who profanely quit his job rather than get a vaccine died of the disease the vaccine was designed to prevent. It will not surprise you to learn that WND censored the news of LaMay's ultimate outcome from its readers, even though it happened more than a month ago. It's not alone: The Fox News hosts who feted LaMay upon his resignation also wouldn't report his death.

Refusing to report news that undermines your editorial agenda is not the way to build trust in your news operation.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:07 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, March 5, 2022 12:11 AM EST
Friday, March 4, 2022
The MRC's Pro-Misinformation Brigade Stays On Rogan Patrol
Topic: Media Research Center

Just because Joe Rogan quasi-apologized for spreading misinformation doesn't mean the Media Research Center had finished defending his right to spread it. Curtis Houck kept up the whining that Rogan was being held accountable in a Jan. 31 post:

All three major broadcast networks continued on Monday morning to do their part in the push to remove Joe Rogan from the public square over his top-rated Spotify podcast under the guise of COVID-19 falsehoods. In the case of ABC, CBS, and NBC, they ratcheted up the rhetoric from when they first covered it last week, calling his show and views “dangerous” “misinformation” with one implicitly tying him to Americans who’ve died from the virus.

CBS Mornings was the most sinister, insisting they support “free speech” and First Amendment rights while also demanding Rogan be prevented from having a “massive” “platform as large as Spotify” because “a lot of people do listen to” him.

“What to Watch” host Vladimir Duthiers reported on “developments in the controversy over misinformation...on Joe Rogan’s popular podcast” with rocker Neil Young having his music removed from Spotify because he “and others say...Rogan’s show promote[s] false information about COVID-19 and the vaccines.”

It should be noted Young’s 2006 tour was entitled “Freedom of Speech” as a slight against George W. Bush. How the tables have turned for this hippie!

Only at the MRC would it be considered "sinister" to hold someone accountable for their behavior. And Houck offered no evidence that "freedom of speech" protests lies and misinformation.

Nevertheless, he went on to rant that this was all an "open example of collusion to censor those the liberal media oppose." Never mind that his job is to censor the speech of people right-wing activists like him oppose.

Alex Christy took a predictible shot at the evil (in the fevered brains of the MRC minions, anyway) Brian Stelter of CNN, complaining thathe said that CNN ismore trustworthy than Rogan -- an indisputable truth.Still, Christy felt the need to sneer in response that "Stelter's claim that CNN can better discern what is true than the average Joe Rogan listener is not something backed by evidence" -- though he offered no direct comparisons of CNN vs. Rogan.

Catherine Salgado, meanwhile, screamed "DOGPILE!" in the headline of her post:

Leftists called on Spotify to ban popular podcast host Joe Rogan over alleged COVID-19 “misinformation.” Rogan has interviewed doctors on his show who dissent from the left’s COVID-19 narratives.

Rogan’s enormously popular podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience” is exclusive to Spotify, but leftists railed against the streaming platform and demanded he be deplatformed. Rogan interviewed both experienced cardiologist Dr. Peter McCullough and mRNA vaccine patent holder Dr. Robert Malone.

The left has repeatedly vilified Malone and McCullough for scientifically dissecting many touted COVID-19 narratives. By calling for Rogan to be banned, leftists have made it clear that anyone who disagrees with them shouldn’t have a platform to speak freely.

Notice all the fallacial appeals Salgado invoked -- the ad populum fallacy in touting how Rogan is "enormously popular," and the credentials fallacy in hyping the medical and research credentials of McCullough and Malone and ignoring the fact that both have been repeatedly discredited. And her insistence on putting scare quotes around "misinformation" shows that Salgado is never going to admit Rogan, McCullough and Malone ever misinformed people -- even as she refuses to lift a finger to prove that claim correct, as proven by her false statement that they stand accuse of "dissent[ing] from the left’s COVID-19 narratives." No, they're accused of dissenting from established medical reality, and the fact that Salgado considers medical reality merely a "narrative" from "the left" tells you all you need to know about how the MRC and the rest of the right-wing media have politicized COVID.

Salgado went on to complain:

Many “theories” were aggressively dubbed “misinformation” earlier in the pandemic, such as the lab leak theory of COVID-19 origins and the fact that vaccinated individuals can contract COVID-19. These same “theories” have now been shown to be plausible or true, and authorities have now acknowledged the veracity of emergent facts. Furthermore, while a letter to Spotify from medical and scientific professionals has hundreds of signatures, over 17,000 scientific and medical professionals have signed the Rome Declaration condemning many touted COVID-19 measures.

As we noted when Rogan claimed it, the lab leak theory has yet to be proven conclusively true, andthere's little evidence that COVID-19 is a Chinese-made bioweapon. While there is a Rome Declaration on COVID -- created last May by the European Union -- that's not what Salgado linked to. Instead, she linked to a different declaration from a group of fringe doctors and researchers -- including Malone and McCullough -- who oppose COVID vaccines and have pushed dubious treatments such as ivermectin.

Pro-misinformation advocate Alexander Hall complained that the White House wanted to do something about it in a Feb. 2 post:

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called on music and podcast streaming platform Spotify to tighten its grip on speech to stop so-called “misinformation.” It’s a culture-war tactic often used by the left: Accept some subservience by others to its agenda, but say that’s only a start.

Psaki gave minor praise to Spotify for announcing it will add disclaimers on podcaster Joe Rogan’s podcasts, but said that is only a fraction of the censorship it should be doing.

Hall is lying -- Psaki is not calling for "censorship," and Hall knows it. Nevertheless, he kept trying to put that word in her mouth.

Clay Waters used a Feb. 3 post to attack a New York Times reporter over his article on Rogan:

New York Times tech reporter-columnist Kevin Roose took on the controversy between hugely popular podcaster-interviewer Joe Rogan and the music-media streaming provider Spotify over supposed misinformation Rogan spread about Covid vaccines in an interview with a controversial doctor. The story dominated the front of Tuesday’s Business section: “Staying Power Of an Uproar.” 

It wasn’t hard to spot Roose was setting Rogan up for a fall. His jittery fear of conservative “misinformation” online has only increased during the COVID era and the Black Lives Matter riots:


It’s clear how Roose wants it to end, given his obsession with “misinformation.” As if Rogan is purposely spreading lies (and who decides what is “misinformation” on Covid anyway?), as opposed to drawing out controversial figures in interviews.

It's not hard to identify COVID misinformation, Clay. You and the rest of the MRC pretend that there is no such thing as objective misinformation in order to give you and other right-wing media outlets a lane to spread more.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:33 PM EST
Updated: Friday, March 4, 2022 9:36 PM EST
Fake News: WND Pushes Bogus Claim About COVID Cases In Israel
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Wayne Allyn Root wasn't the only WorldNetDaily writer to fall for a bogus viral anti-vaxx claim out of Israel. Art Moore wrote in a Feb. 3 article:

Most of the severe COVID-19 cases at one of Israel's largest hospital complexes are people who received at least three shots, according to the director of the coronavirus ward.

The Middle East nation has one of the world's highest rates of vaccination, about 90%, with many high-risk patients having received a fourth shot.

Prof. Yaakov Jerris told Israel's Channel 13 News that "most of our severe cases are vaccinated," Israel National News reported.

"They had at least three injections. Between 70 and 80 percent of the serious cases are vaccinated," said Jerris, who works for Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, also known as Ichilov Hospital, the nation's second largest.

"So, the vaccine has no significance regarding severe illness, which is why just 20 to 25 percent of our patients are unvaccinated."

As a fact-checker found, there is no Yaakov Jerris -- his name is Jacob Giris, and even the Israel National News article Moore cites calls him Jacob Giris.Moore also botched the name of the hospital -- the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center hasn't been known as Ichilov Hospital for decades, according to the fact-checker.

Moore also misled about what Giris said, presumably for clickability's sake. He hped the claim that most serious COVID cases in the hospital are of vaccinated, but waited a few paragraphs to attempt to tell the full truth: that it involved people who are seriously ill. Indeed, as the fact-checker also found, Giris said that the patient population is older and has more comorbidities, so it's less relevant that they are vaccinated. Giris also an earlier statement (in Hebrew) noting that the mortality rate is low, they were admitted for other heatlh issues and later discovered to have COVID, and that COVID is not the cause of death for these patients.

Moore waited a couple more paragraphs before cleaning that up:

At an Israeli government cabinet meeting on Sunday, Jerris tried to clear up confusion regarding how COVID cases are reported.

"Defining a serious patient is problematic," he told the ministers. "For example, a patient with a chronic lung disease always had a low level of oxygen, but now he has a positive coronavirus test result which technically makes him a 'serious coronavirus patient.'"

That isn't accurate, he said.

"The patient is only in a difficult condition because he has a serious underlying illness."

All of which negates the entire premise of Moore's article. In most legitimate newsrooms, that would have kiled the story -- but because WND's journalistic standards are so abysmal, the false claim remained the lead claim.

No wonder Google no longer wants to do business with WND.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:43 PM EST
Updated: Friday, March 4, 2022 6:48 PM EST
MRC Misleads About DeSantis And The Nazis
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is continuing to serve as an apologistand cheerleader for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.  Curtis Houck huffed in a Feb. 2 post:

Tuesday night on CBS’s The Late Show, far-left host Stephen Colbert engaged in the latest smear against Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL), falsely claiming he was “silent” on alleged neo-Nazi gatherings and deceptively edited a clip to claim he only commented so far as to attack Democrats for using it against him. In reality, DeSantis slammed the white supremacists as “jackasses.”


Citing the “Nazi rallies in Orlando,” Colbert noted that it was a “terrible” thing before launching into his DeSantis smear:

[T]he easiest thing in the world to condemn, unless you're Ron DeSantis, who “remain[ed] silent.” It's been said the only thing necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to say nothing. It's also bad when Ron DeSantis says nothing.

Colbert added the Governor was “cornered by...reporters wanting to know things like, ‘Hey, gov: So Nazis? Where do you come down on that whole deal?’”

Instead of showing a fuller clip of DeSantis condemning what happened during a Monday Q&A, Colbert played a fragment of his comments and said the only thing DeSantis did was spot “the true enemy: Democrats.” Then, he played this from DeSantis calling out the left’s attempts to tie him to Nazis:

What I'm going to say is these people, these Democrats who are trying to use this as some type of political issue to try to smear me as if I had something to do with it — we're not playing their game. 

Put simply, Colbert proved DeSantis’s point.

What the governor actually said was that, in addition to condemning what took place, he promised “state law enforcement is going to hold them accountable...and they should,” and insisted Jews have “tremendous support” in the Sunshine State.

Houck omitting important facts about DeSantis' statement. First, it took two days for him to issue a response, and it happened at a Q&A with reporters that was originally about another issue -- so  the claim that DeSantis had been silent on the issue is not without merit. Second, DeSantis' press secretary, Christina Pushaw, issued a tweet (since deleted) suggesting the Nazis were actually Democrats in disguise, and she continued to make that baseless suggestion on her Twitter account and in other statements.

It remains ironic that the MRC -- which gets mad when right-wing Babylon Bee's satire gets fact-checked because other right-wingers present it as fact -- works so hard to fact-check jokes it doesn't like.

Kevin Tober similarly claimed to DeSantis' defense, this time from Rachel Maddow, in a Feb. 3 post. Like Houck, Tober omitted the fact that it took DeSantis two days to respond and censored the fact that Pushaw's posts pushed the unproven idea that the Nazis were disguised Democrats.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:06 PM EST
Updated: Friday, March 4, 2022 2:11 PM EST
CNS Touts Anti-LGBT Activist's Hate -- But Censors Him Getting Busted For Fake Documentary

It's no surprise that the notoriously homophobic would give space to notoriously homophobic right-wing activist Matt Walsh -- whose stunt of prtending to move to Virginia so he could spew his hate at a school board CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, absolutely loved -- and Craig Bannister did just that in a Jan. 24 article:

“I think you are narcissists and bullies,” conservative commentator Matt Walsh responded after two married non-binary LGBTQ activists claimed they were driven to nightmares and depression because Walsh challenged their ideology on the “Dr. Phil” show last week.

“It sounds like your conscience is trying to tell you something,” Walsh tells activists Addison and Ethan in a social media video:

“I think you represent something that is, not only anti-scientific and irrational, but evil. And, I think you have evil intentions. I think that you are bad people. And, I think you are neither correct nor well-meaning.

“And, if one person in the whole world – in your whole life – saying this to you causes you to spiral into depression and be plagued by nightmares, then maybe that should clue you in. It sounds like your conscious is trying to tell you something.”

What’s more, Addison and Ethan don’t care who gets hurt, “as long as your ideology wins the day,” Walsh says, condemning liberals’ harmful open bathroom and transgender sports demands:

As could be expected from CNS, Bannister made no effort whatsover to give Addison and Ethan a change to respond to Walsh's hate. Nor did he admit that Walsh has made it more than clear that he cares only about hurting people who aren't as right-wing and heterosexual as he is.

Meanwhile, CNS remained utterly silent about Walsh getting busted for a deceitful stunt in which he pretended to be making a pro-transgender documentary that was secretly going to be turned into an anti-transgender film without the participants' knowledge.

As the Daily Beast reported, a prominent trans activist was contacted by a production assistant to appear in the film. After a little digging, it turned out that  the assistant worked on Walsh's podcast, and that the purported organization that claimed to be making the film was another Walsh associate. After the activist exposed the hoax, the assistant deleted her Twitter account, the associate took his private, and the purported organization's Twitter account was suspended.

You'd think such a deceptive scheme being exposed would be news -- and it is at most news organizations. But because CNS hates LGBT people as much as Walsh does, Walsh's dishonesty must be suppressed.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:04 AM EST
Updated: Friday, March 4, 2022 1:06 AM EST
NEW ARTICLE: The MRC Can't Stop Failing In Its War Against Facebook
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center discredited its own narrative that Facebook is "censoring" conservatives by bragging about how well its conservative content does there. It also whined about Facebook having a protected VIP list -- but censored the fact that Donald Trump was on the list for years. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 12:26 AM EST
Thursday, March 3, 2022
MRC Tried To Give Republicans A Pass For Being Putin-Curious
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center may be gung-ho against Vladimir Putin and Russia now that it has invaded Ukraine, but it has been Putin-friendly in the past. As we've documented, Putin was one of the right-wing authoritarian leaders the MRC has praised for spouting its anti-"bi tech"narrative; a March 2021 post by Alexander Hall praised Putin for "fight[ing] back against Silicon Valley, suing five companies to force removal of posts supporting anti-Putin protests." That's right -- the MRC was cheering Putin for trying to censor his critics, which would seem to be the opposite of what it claims to do with its "free speech" initiative.

The MRC even tried to defend Fox News host Tucker Carlson's pro-Putin leanings before thte invasion. Kevin Tober did this in a Jan. 25 post:

On CNN Newsroom during their coverage of the ongoing border dispute between Russia and Ukraine Tuesday, they quickly switched gears and slimed Fox News star Tucker Carlson and the entire Republican Party as having a "soft spot for Russia".

CNN Newsroom co-host Alisyn Camerota kicked off the slime fest by lying about Fox host Tucker Carlson claiming "one of the primetime hosts doesn't see the difference between Vladimir Putin and the leader in Ukraine, doesn't see the difference between an autocracy and a fledgling democracy." Camerota then aired a soundbite of Carlson arguing it is not in America's national interest to get in the middle of the Russia-Ukraine conflict: 


After displaying a small dose of common sense, Browder decided to join Camerota in knocking Carlson by wailing that he "is clearly an ignorant man, he doesn't understand what Putin is up to." 

Browder then listed a litany of crimes and murders Putin had committed and then ended with another broadside shot at Carlson demanding that he "keep his mouth shut when it comes to Vladimir Putin."

After that unhinged rant, Camerota brought up an unsubstantiated allegation Democrat Congressman Tom Malinowski made blaming Carlson for his constituents calling his office to request that the United States side with Russia.

Tober then tried to distance Republicans a little from Carlson -- but he also insisted there was nuance in Carlson's argument:

It's typical of CNN to slime conservatives as having "a soft spot for Putin." While NewsBusters does not take a position on the Ukraine conflict, it is fair to say that conservatives like Tucker Carlson who believe we should not get involved in another conflict in a foreign country is not having "a soft spot for Putin."

But of course, those nuances don't compute with the simpletons like Alison Camerota and the other leftists at CNN. 

Of course, Carlson did much more than argue against getting involved in "another conflict in a foreign country" -- he was a cheerleader for Putin, complaining that "Democrats want you to hate Putin" and argued that Putin was doing nothing wrong in his aggression toward Ukraine. There really wasn't a lot of nuance there, and certainly not as much as Tober wants you to believe there was.

That wasn't a smart take then, and it has definitely not aged well since.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:18 PM EST
WND Misrepesents Letter To Editor As Research In 'Prestigious' Journal
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's parade of COVID misinformation continued in a feb. 2 article by Art Moore:

The prestigious British medical journal The Lancet has published an article by a University of Colorado infectious disease scientist concluding vaccine mandates should be reconsidered in light of studies finding the vaccines are not stopping transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Carlos Franco-Paredes of the University of Colorado's Division of Infectious Diseases, wrote that "the impact of vaccination on community transmission of circulating variants of SARS-CoV-2 appeared to be not significantly different from the impact among unvaccinated people."

The scientific rationale for mandatory vaccination in the USA relies on the premise that vaccination prevents transmission to others, resulting in a 'pandemic of the unvaccinated," he noted. "Yet, the demonstration of COVID-19 breakthrough infections among fully vaccinated health-care workers (HCW) in Israel, who in turn may transmit this infection to their patients, requires a reassessment of compulsory vaccination policies leading to the job dismissal of unvaccinated HCW in the USA."

Meanwhile, a fact-checker looked into the article:

[T]he text forms part of "correspondence" authored by Carlos Franco-Paredes, an infectious diseases expert and associate professor at the University of Colorado, which was published by The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal in January.

In other words, the text forms part of a letter to the editor.

According to a spokeswoman for The Lancet Group, such letters represented the views of the author and "not necessarily the views of The Lancet journals".

Moore falsely suggested the article was research when it was actually the research journal's equivalent of a letter to the editor, and he got it wrong by falsely claiming the article was published in The Lancet when, in fact, it appeared in a separate specialty journal.

Moore also curiously omitted the very first sentence of Franco-Paredes' letter, in which he declared: "Vaccine effectiveness studies have conclusively demonstrated the benefit of COVID-19 vaccines in reducing individual symptomatic and severe disease, resulting in reduced hospitalisations and intensive care unit admissions."

That's a lot of deception and inacuracy for a single article. No wonder nobody trusts WND.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:25 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, March 3, 2022 9:20 PM EST
CNS Tried To Clean Up After RNC's Resolution Attacking Cheney, Kinzinger
Topic: knew the Republican Natoinal Committee had a debacle on its hands when it passed a resolution censuring Republican Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for taking part in the House's committee to examine the January 2021 Capitol riot incited by President Trump as Congress was certifiying his defeat. In a Feb. 7 article under the headline "RNC Blasted for Seeming to Describe January 6 As 'Legitimate Political Discourse'," Susan Jones complained that the poorly worded resolution "handed Democrats a damaging talking point":

In a resolution censuring Republicans Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, the Republican National Committee has put a glaring spotlight on itself and handed Democrats a damaging talking point.

In laying out the case against the two lawmakers, the resolution's final "WHEREAS" references Cheney and Kinzinger's participation in the House Select Committee on the events of January 6, 2021:

"Representatives Cheney and Kinzinger are participating in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse, and they are both utilizing their past professed political affiliation to mask Democrat abuse of prosecutorial power for partisan purposes, therefore, be it RESOLVED, That the Republican National Committee hereby formally censures Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and shall immediately cease any and all support of them as members of the Republican Party for their behavior..."

Critics, including some Republicans, pounced not only on the censure itself, but especially on the phrase "ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse."

Jones gave space to the NRC chairwoman to try and clean things up:

RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel, in several tweets on Feb. 4, blasted a New York Times headline, which read: "G.O.P. Declares Jan. 6 Attack 'Legitimate Political Discourse."

"This story from the New York Times is completely false," McDaniel tweeted. "It’s not journalism, it’s the worst type of baseless political propaganda."

In another tweet, McDaniel wrote: "Cheney and Kinzinger chose to join Pelosi in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens who engaged in legitimate political discourse that had nothing to do with violence at the Capitol. The NYT needs to correct this story now, or again expose themselves as political hacks."

And in a third tweet, McDaniel wrote: "I have repeatedly condemned violence on both sides of the aisle. Unfortunately, this committee has gone well beyond the scope of the events of that day."

The problem, of course, is that what Daniel said is not what the resolution says. Jones did report on Republicans criticizing the resolution and its language, but she also claimed that "Murkowski and Romney often go against the party line" -- without mention that the "party line" has been to discredit the House committing investigating Jan. 6 and allow Trump and his cronies to go unpunished for their actions.

The next day, Melanie Arter unhappily reported on the Biden White House commenting on the resolution:

The White House on Tuesday condemned the Republican National Committee (RNC) for using the phrase “legitimate political discourse” in a resolution censuring Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wis.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) for investigating what happened at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

“Your reaction to the RNC declaring what happened on January 6 as legitimate political discourse, and Democrats on the Hill today are being very vocal about this. Hakeem Jeffries says the C in RNC stands for cult. Does the White House agree with that?” a reporter asked.

“I think it’s clear to Americans that what happened on January 6 was not legitimate political discourse. Storming the Capitol in an attempt to halt the peaceful transition of power is not legitimate political discourse. Neither is attacking and injuring over 140 police officers, smashing windows and defiling offices,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

Arter rehashed parts of Jones' article featuring Daniel uncsuccessfully trying to explain away the resolution, but she also noted that "Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) criticized the RNC for censuring Cheney and Kinzinger."

It seems, though, that CNS ultimately decided the resolution wasn't worth defending. A Feb. 14 article by Arter quoted Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan defending "sane Republicans" and saying, "To say it's legitimate political discourse to attack the seat of our Capitol, and smash windows, and attack police officers, and threaten to hang the vice president, and threaten to overthrow the election, it's insanity, and it's a -- there's a circular firing squad where we attack Republicans." And a Feb. 18 article by Arter uncritically quoted Hillary Clinton as saying, "When the Republican Party officially embraces violent insurrection as legitimate political discourse, when storming the Capitol, assaulting police officers, trying to overturn an election are being normalized, we are in uncharted territory, and make no mistake, our adversaries around the world are watching."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:43 AM EST
Wednesday, March 2, 2022
MRC Continued To Defend Joe Rogan's Right To Misinform People
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is so dedicated to defending COVID misinformation that when podcaster Joe Rogan was busted for letting anti-vaxxers like Robert Malone and Peter McCullough, it rushed to shoehorn Rogan into its right-wing victim narrative. As criticism of Rogan continued, the MRC doubled down on its defense. When rock legend Neil Young demanded that Spotify either drop Rogan or stop streaming his music, Alexander Hall sneered on Jan. 25:

Neil Young has reportedly demanded that Spotify become a safe space for him. The Once-legendary Canadian-American singer delivered an ultimatum to Spotify, according to Rolling Stone: Get rid of the massively popular Joe Rogan Experience podcast or lose his music. 

A questionably relevant singer demanding the removal of perhaps the world’s most popular podcast is a hard sell. “Neil Young posted a since-deleted letter to his management team and record label demanding that they remove his music from Spotify,” Rolling Stone reported Jan. 24. “‘I want you to let Spotify know immediately TODAY that I want all my music off their platform,’” he wrote, according to Rolling Stone.“They can have [Joe] Rogan or Young. Not both.” 

Young later accused Spotify of “spreading fake information about vaccines” and “potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation,” according to the magazine.

Hall didn't dispute Young's statement that Rogan spreads misinformation -- perhaps because he knows it's true. And insisting that misinformation not be spread is not the same thing as hiding in a "safe space."

The next day, Nicholas Fondacaro put "misinformation" in scare quotes when talking about what Rogan has done -= because the MRC will never unequivocally acknowledge any right-winger spreads misinformation -- but he seemed surprised that "The View" co-host Joy Behar came to Rogan's defense. On Jan. 27, Hall tried to feel superior over Young after Spotify chose Rogan over Young's music, claiming that "Young may have drastically overestimated his popularity and influence" and sneering again, "Old man, look at your life." The same day, Autumn Johnson joined the scare-quote brigade:

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called on Big Tech to remove Joe Rogan’s podcast because of so-called COVID-19 “misinformation,” on Tuesday.

Murthy was discussing what he considered to be COVID-19 “misinformation” on social media platforms with MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski. Brzezinski asked Murthy what he thought of Rogan’s podcast, which reached 11 million people per episode. Rogan has been criticized for promoting alternative treatments for COVID-19.


Murthy said that Big Tech platforms like Facebook and Twitter should do more to remove alleged “misinformation” online. He said, however, that change should be the responsibility of the platforms themselves, not the government.

Johnson made no effort to prove that Rogan wasn't spreading misinformation, making her scare quotes a lazy way out.

On Jan. 29, it was Jeffrey Lord's turn to lash out at Young for standing up for truth, falsely declaring of him, "Who knew rocker Neil Young was into censorship?" He claimed Rogan and other anti-vaxxers were spreading misinfomation but, rather, "different views on the vaccine," going on to huff: "Make no mistake. America is involved in a battle royal with leftist censors who are determined to silence any and all views on any and all subjects they don’t like."

Johnson returned on Jan. 30 to complain about "another aging lefty rocker" criticizing  Rogan:

Spotify has faced more criticism for its decision to keep Joe Rogan’s podcast on the platform. Last week, artist Neil Young challenged the music streaming platform to remove the podcast or remove his music. Spotify removed his music.

And now, singer Joni Mitchell also asked that her music be removed from the platform.

“Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives,” Mitchell said of her decision. “I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue.”

Johnson didn't dispute Mitchell's contention that Rogan was irresponsibly "spreading lies." But she waited until nearly the end of her post to admit that "Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said the company will now add a content advisory on podcasts that mentions COVID-19. The user will then be directed to information about the virus from physicians and other health officials.

The next day, Rogan issued a video addressing the controversy surrounding him. Hall was bizarrely gleeful that it could be considered a "non-apology" and seemed absolutely giddy about labeling him a "world-famous podcaster":

World-famous podcaster Joe Rogan stirred up controversy with Cancel Culture mobs by interviewing medical professionals who questioned shifting narratives of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, rocker Neil Young pulled his music from Spotify in protest, causing Spotify and Rogan himself to respond.

The Joe Rogan Experience host released a video that could be described as a “non-apology” to the people offended by so-called “misinformation” in his podcast interviews. “The problem I have with the term ‘misinformation,’ especially today, is that many of the things that we thought of as misinformation just a short while ago are now accepted as fact,” he explained in a video on his Instagram page.

He provided examples of claims that went from alleged “misinformation” to widely accepted facts after a few months. Then, he noted how he had discussed many of those exact, now acceptable, narratives with qualified professionals: “All of those theories that at one point in time were banned, were openly discussed by those two men that I had on my podcast that had been accused of dangerous misinformation.”

One example of this that Rogan cited, according to Hall, regarded the origin of COVID-19, which he "claims that were censored for being so-called “conspiracy theories,” but now are the predominant explanations for the course of the pandemic. Hall linked to an old NewsBusters post complaining that an article at the unreliable far-right site ZeroHedge claiming that COVID-19 was weaponized by China, citing another article claming the virus was a leak from the Wuhan lab as evidence that this is now the "predominant explanation" -- even though that wasn't exactly what ZeroHedge was claiming. Meanwhile, there's still plenty of evidence that discredit the lab-leak theory.

Hall also wrote:

“If you said, ‘I don't think cloth masks work, you would be banned from social media. Now, that’s openly and repeatedly stated on CNN. If you said ‘I think it's possible that COVID-19 came from a lab’ you’d be banned from many social media platforms, now that's on the cover of Newsweek.”

But cloth masks do have a level of effectiveness, though not as good as N95 or KN85 masks. Rogan is lying when he claims they don't work at all.

Hall seemed disappointed to report that Rogan said "he would accept disclaimers on his podcasts about COVID-19 'saying that you should speak with your physician and that these people and the opinions that they express are contrary to the opinions of the consensus of experts.'" And, curiously, he again repeated Young's contention that Spotify hosts like Rogan were "spreading fake information about vaccines" and "potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation" without making an effort to dispute the claim.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:53 PM EST

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