CNS Still Loves DINO And Russia Fan Tulsi Gabbard Topic: CNSNews.com
It seems that CNSNews.com was so inspired by our highlighting how it has embraced Democrat-in-name-only Tulsi Gabbard that it posted two articles about her in the two days after our item appeared. A Jan. 13 article by Craig Bannister gave uncritical space to a Gabbard rant:
President Joe Biden’s vile characterization of Americans who disagree with his agenda is worse than Hillary Clinton’s infamous slur calling them “a basket of deplorables,” Former Democrat [sic] presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard said Wednesday.
While Cinton’s insult was divisive and disgusting, Biden taken insults to a new low by suggesting that dissidents are terrorists, traitors and racists, Gabbard tweeted.
The next day, Bannister served up another anti-Biden rant from Gabbard:
President Joe Biden promised to unite all Americans, but he’s actually tearing the nation apart by smearing and targeting anyone who disagrees with him, former Democrat -sic] presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard says.
In a video posted on her Twitter page, Gabbard says she and millions of others supported Biden’s campaign for president because he vowed to put an end to divisiveness – but, he’s now doing the opposite by “fueling the fires” of discord and animosity:
Bannister was the servile stenographer for Gabbard again -- this time bashing Hillary Clinton -- in a Feb. 15 article:
The White House is dodging questions about allegations, stemming from Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation, that a tech executive exploited access to the White House server to find incriminating evidence against former President Trump – but, former Democrat [sic] presidential candidate and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is speaking up.
“What is being revealed here, Jesse, is the truth: Hillary Clinton and the power elite in this country manufactured this Russian collusion lie actively undermining our democracy and stoking the fires moving us into this new Cold War with Russia,” Gabbard said Monday in a Fox News Channel interview with Host Jesse Watters.
As Russia invaded Ukraine, CNS found a different way to use Gabbard, a longtime Russia supporter -- to the point that both CNS and its Media Research Center parent felt compelled to defend her against allegations of being too close to Russia -- in pushing the argument that CNS columnists like Pat Buchanan have pushed, that the U.S. should have capituated to Russia's demand that Ukraine be blocked from being admitted to NATO. This appeared in a Feb. 24 article by Patrick Goodenough:
A different take came from Democrat Tulsi Gabbard, a former presidential candidate and member of Congress for Hawaii – and Iraq War veteran – who has been sharply critical of U.S. involvement in foreign wars.
“This war and suffering could have easily been avoided if Biden Admin/NATO had simply acknowledged Russia’s legitimate security concerns regarding Ukraine’s becoming a member of NATO, which would mean US/NATO forces right on Russia’s border,” she tweeted.
Goodenough highlighted Gabbard again in a March 4 article when a spokesman for China's foreign ministry brought her up in a anti-NATO argument:
He then cited the critical views of three Americans – the late diplomat George Kennan, political commentator and author Thomas Friedman, and Democratic former congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard – on the question of NATO expansion and the impact it would have on relations with Russia.
“Those who created the problem should be the ones to undo it,” Wang said. “They should earnestly shoulder due responsibilities and take real actions to ease the situation and resolve the problem instead of shifting the blame to others.”
It's not a good look when you're on the same side as China, but Goodenough didn't criticize her. Neither Bannister nor Goodenough mentioned Gabbard's previous fealty to Russia, or that even after the invasion she was blaming Biden for it and defended Russia's "legitimate security concerns"-- and that even Fox News' Sean Hannity was advising her to back off the Putin-love a it.
MRC Gives A Pass To Book Banners Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Alex Christy complained in a Jan. 27 post that CNN was trying to "portray Republicans as a bunch of dictator-loving book burners" but he didn't really do much to dispel that image.
Christy used his post to complain that "Trumper-turned-Never Trumper Joe Walsh" was calling out Republicans in Florida and elsewhere trying to censor school content purportedly in order to keep children from feeling "discomfort" about issues such as race and the Holocaust. He went on to grumble:
Walsh's reference to the Holocaust was the original premise of the segment. A Tennessee school board voted to remove Maus from its eighth-grade reading list for profanity and nudity, but it is a stretch to say that they even banned it and irresponsibly false to say they banned it because they do not want to educate students about the Holocaust.
Christy then linked to a statement from the school board that banned it -- if you're prohibiting a book from being taught, it's a ban; because it's apparently not a total ban doesn't make it less of a ban -- that complained about the book's purportedly "unnecessary use of profanity and nudity and its depiction of violence and suicide."
Ironically, a few years earlier, a 2014 MRC post touted the graphic novel edition of right-winger Amity Shlaes' revisionist, anti-FDR retelling of the New Deal years, "The Forgotten Man" as a classic on par with "Maus": "But graphic novels can be very sophisticated. Shlaes mentioned Maus: A Survivor’s Tale which is a critically acclaimed Holocaust narrative that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992."
Kevin Tober used a Feb. 1 post to wonder why students were allowed to read books he didn't llike:
On Tuesday night, NBC Nightly News decided it was a good use of airtime to dedicate an entire segment complaining about how a school district in Katy, Texas has removed sexually inappropriate books from their library.
Anchor Lester Holt opened the segment by tossing to NBC News correspondent Antonia Hylton who proceeded to interview a young student by the name of Iris Chang who, according to Hylton, "identifies as queer always loved learning about the world from her hometown of Katy, Texas, until this fall when her district started banning books."
Chang told Hylton that "students of color and queer students are especially taking this hard", referring to the banning of her favorite book The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.
Hylton claims "an NBC News investigation found that the Katy Independent School District is one of at least a dozen Texas districts that have removed books about race, gender, and sexual identity after a statewide surge of parent complaints."
But the question remains, why were books about gender and sexual identity allowed in school libraries in the first place?
Tober didn't explain why the books must be censored.
Tober went on to huff that "Katy Texas isn't the first public school to have sexually inappropriate books on its shelves." But it's clear that his definition of "sexually inappropriate" involved anything that didn't promote heterosexuality.
Clay Waters tried to play whataboutism in a Feb. 1 post:
Monday’s front-page New York Times story -- headlined “Politics Fuels Surge in Calls For Book Bans” -- did liberal Democrats a favor, posing them in their flattering former costumes of fierce free-speech advocates. Meanwhile, today’s actual left-wing is a hive of free-speech squelchers and book banners, including the Times’ own reporters, who have an unseemly and anti-journalistic eagerness to “deplatform” voices they don’t like...when they're conservative "bigots."
But that's a false comparison. Public libraries being forbidden from making certain books available to a certain audience is not the same thing as a private business seeking to enforce standards and terms of service on its platform to battle lies and misinformation. Yet the whataboutism continued: "Besides the daily double standards of restrictions on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, Amazon.com pulled a book on transgender issues from its online shelf, and Netflix tried to cancel comedian Dave Chappelle for offensive jokes about transgenders."
We could play whataboutism too, pointing out that the MRC has long raged against "censorship" of social media while tacitly endorsing it at school libraries. Wonder what Waters would say about that?
WND's Farah Can't Stop Pushing Trump's Big Lie Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah reminds us that he's still a Big Lie dead-ender in his Jan. 25 WorldNetDaily column, headlined "Why do so many believe the 2020 election was stolen?" Instead of offering a truthful answer -- because people have been lied to by Trump, WND and Farah himself -- he went right into the conspiracy-mongering:
Are these Americans nothing but mind-numbed robots? Or are they duly outraged voters deeply suspicious of what happened?
That has affected people's confidence in the electoral system overall, and it hasn't gotten any better as time has gone by.
The previous year has demonstrated what Joe Biden can do as president. It has not been pretty. Trump has not had much to add to the controversy. He's smart enough to know when to get out of Biden's way.
His record includes repression, hundreds of "domestic enemies" rounded up, almost a year of vaccine mandates, threats, the Jan. 6 witch hunt by Democrats in Congress – not to mention the Afghanistan debacle, widespread open illegal immigration, around 2 million strong from over 100 countries without vetting nor vaccines during a pandemic, inflation not seen for 40 years, supply-side snafus and impending war with Russia.
Despite this, the media stand by his side. Even worse, Big Tech stifles coverage of the 2020 election on Google, Facebook and Twitter. WND and other conservative website have been systematically demonetized and get no traffic from Google, which has a virtual monopoly of advertising and ad servers on the internet.
Even Fox News doesn't talk about the 2020 election. The Wall Street Journal doesn't touch it. It just didn't happen – not on their watch.
Real Americans see hope in Donald Trump, a real election for Congress this year and, frankly, God.
In the meantime, Trump is not going to stop talking about the rigged election – his favorite subject.
Farah then referenced a letter Donald Trump wrote to the Wall Street Journal in October complaining about a story it did that, in Farah's words, "tried to legitimize the election in Pennsylvania by saying there weren't enough votes to swing the election in Trump's favor." The letter was so filled with falsehoods that even the Journal was shamed into fact-checking it after publication. Not only did Farah not mention the fact that the letter's claims have been discredited, he went on to quote some of those discredited claims:
"Actually," wrote Trump, "the election was rigged, which you, unfortunately, still haven't figured out. Here are just a few examples of how determinative the voter fraud in Pennsylvania was:
"* 71,893 mail-in ballots were returned after Nov. 3, 2020, at 8 p.m. … None of these should have been counted, according to the U.S. Constitution.
"* 10,515 mail-in votes from people who do not exist on the Pennsylvania voter rolls at all.
"* 20,000 excess voters not yet accounted for by the Pennsylvania Department of State – far more votes than voters!
"* Hundreds of thousands of votes unlawfully counted in secret … while GOP poll watchers were thrown out.
"* 39,771 people voted who registered after the Oct. 19 deadline."
As one fact-checker summarized regarding these claims:
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court permitted the counting of those mail-in ballots because they were postmarked by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the counting of those ballots.
There were not "far more votes than voters" in Pennsylvania, nor were there "excess voters" -- there are 9 million registered voters in the state and 7 million who cast votes in 2020.
No votes were "unlawfully counted in secret"; only was the vote count fully observed by representatives of both parties, it was livestreamed as well.
Farah didn't tell his readers that Trump's claims have been found to be false and discredited. Nevertheless. he concluded: "Do you still wonder why Americans are clinging to the only hope they have for righting a bogus 2020 election?" No, we don't -- as long as dead-enders like Farah keep repeating Trump's lies, people will continue to be bamboozled.
NEW ARTICLE: The MRC Adds Another Sports Anti-Vaxxer Topic: Media Research Center
Newly minted Media Research Center sports blogger John Simmons has joined Jay Maxson in lashing out at COVID vaccines and vaccine mandates, as well as defending athletes who hurt their team by refusing to get vaccinated. Read more >>
CNS Intern Senator-Pestering Season, Spring Semester Edition Topic: CNSNews.com
It's a new semester, which means that CNSNews.com has a new intern, Emily Robertson of right-wing Liberty University. And as is mandated of every CNS intern, Robertson has been tasked with going to Capitol Hill and pestering membersof Congress with loaded and biased questions designed by CNS editors to trap liberal politicians and give conservative ones an opportunity to virtue-signal to the right-wing CNS audience.
Robertson's first question this semester was: "The U.S. trade deficit with China in 2021 was more than $300 billion for the tenth year in a row. Can the United States have free trade with a communist country?"Her targets:
Note that nearly all of Robertson's targets are Repiublicans. That's a lot of virtue-signaling.
Her next question was taken from a Feb. 14 grievance article by editor Terry Jeffrey complaining that federal data showed too many babies (in his view) being born to mothers who are unmarried and poor: “According to the CDC, 42% of the babies born in America in 2020 were born on Medicaid. Is that a good thing?” That came with a follow-up: “40.5% of the babies were born to unmarried mothers. Do you think that’s related to the high number born on Medicaid?” Here's the heavily Republican guest list, with many repeats from the first round:
Inexplicably, Robertson identified Peters as "pro-choice" in her headline and made a point of stating that he "supports abortion." By contrast, the anti-abortion views of the Republicans she quoted lamenting the birth of babies to poor and unmarried mothers was not mentioned.
MRC Tries To Deflect From The Fact That Ex-CNN Chief Created Donald Trump Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's creepily unseemly glee over the demise of CNN chief Jeff Zucker -- filled with anti-Semitic "puppetmaster" labeling and stunning lack of self-awareness given that his downfall is similar to that of Fox News chief Roger Ailes -- didn't end when Curtis Houck stopped dancing on his professional grave after three days. There were other issues to deal with -- like the fact that Zucker essentially created their beloved Donald Trump when "The Apprentice" was developed under his watch at NBC. Scott Whitlock rushed into whataboutism in a Feb. 3 post:
NBC on Thursday discovered the most disgraceful thing that ex-Today show producer Jeff Zucker did, now that he’s resigned from CNN after a sex scandal: Zucker hired Donald Trump back in the ‘90s.
The fact that Zucker also secured the career success of alleged sex abuser Matt Lauer went unmentioned by the Today show.
You know, perhaps Whitlock shouldn't be mentioning Trump in the same breath as Lauer -- unless he's tacitly conceding that Trump is just as much of a creep as Lauer.
P.J. Gladnick didn't play Whitlock-like whataboutism when he complained about the same issue in a Feb. 5 post, but he insisted that anything he did at CNN was much worse:
She doesn't know precisely why CNN boss Jeff Zucker was forced out, but Washington Post columnist Margaret Sullivan wrote on Friday that "Jeff Zucker’s legacy is defined by his promotion of Donald Trump." All of CNN's horror-movie coverage was never enough.
So all of CNN's trashing Trump as a Russian tool, an American Hitler, a journalist-endangering dictator (and later a COVID mass murderer) wasn't enough? It's never enough.
Jeffrey Lord, meanwhile, devoted a Feb. 5 column to pondering whether CNN was "imploding" -- a think piece we don't recall Lord doing upon Roger Ailes' ignominious departure from Fox News amid a culture f rampant sexual harassment -- claiming that "with the arrival of Jeff Zucker, it seemed that CNN was slowly heading in a different direction altogether. Which is to say, there was more and more opinion, less and less hard news."Lord appears not to have read the MRC's own study finding that Fox News airs even less "news" than CNN or MSNBC.
The MRC also continued to be upset that CNN employees continued to say nice things about Zucker. Kevin Tober whined in a Feb. 6 post:
Need a good laugh? Well we’ve got you covered here at NewsBusters. On CNN’s Reliable Sources, host Brian Stelter had on Media Studies Professor David Zurawik who made the preposterous claim that CNN was part of the fire wall that has helped “save democracy.”
While he was on the topic of misinformation and disinformation, Zurawik decided to gaslight the CNN audience and suck up to Brian Stelter by ludicrously claiming “CNN is one of the stations of all the television broadcast networks and cable channels it pushed harder from 2016 to 2020 against Trump and it was part of the fire wall that I think has saved democracy this far under Jeff Zucker.”
Nicholas Fondacaro similarly ranted in a Feb. 7 post:
Jeff Zucker was the venomous boss behind all of CNN’s toxic content poisoning American discourse but he was also everything to primetime host Don Lemon. He made that perfectly clear during Friday’s Don Lemon Tonight when he was so overwhelmed with emotion that he almost broke down crying on-air.
“Jeff Zucker may not have launched this network but he revived it, he made it relevant again. He steadied it for the last decade. He left us with a very good blueprint going forward,” he reassured them.
Ironically, under Zucker, CNN is experiencing their ratings bottom-out across the board; plus, their credibility has been left in tatters because of the extreme liberal bent obvious to any honest observer and their abdication (bordering on contempt) of journalistic ethics.
Houck returned in a Feb. 8 post to attack CNN host Alisyn Camerota for saying Zucker's ouster was affecting her mental health, sneering: "In other words, they're a cult." The next day, Houck yet again hung the "puppetmaster" slur on Zucker:
Monday on his eponymous NewsNation show, longtime TV news personality and legal expert Dan Abrams hammered CNN’s Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter over his behavior regarding the ouster of now-ex-CNN boss and puppetmaster Jeff Zucker, calling Stelter “dishonest” for his defense of CNN as a legitimate news network and “reckless” for targeting John Malone, the top share in CNN’s future parent company Discovery.
We don't recall anyone at the MRC complaining about just how little Fox News covered the scandals of its founder and boss, Roger Ailes.
Fondacaro cheered that "Zucker's lover" -- i.e., the subordinate with whom Zucker was having an undisclosed relationship that was the stated cause of Zucker's departure -- had also left CNN in a Feb. 16 post, going on to hype gossip about Zucker's relationship with Chris Cuomo, who departed CNN a few months before. When Zucker's replacement -- former CBS "Late Show" showrunner Chris Licht -- was named, Fondacaro returned to hurl more darts at CNN in a Feb. 26 post:
In an interesting “scoop” published Saturday, Axios reported that CBS’s EVP of Special Programming Chris Licht, who was tapped to replace ousted CNN boss Jeff Zucker to lead the third-place cable network, wants to get back to CNN being a straight news outlet and cut back on the liberal screeds that dominate prime time and their newscasts in general.
The Axios headline said it all: “CNN to dull its liberal edge.” “Under new chief Chris Licht, CNN will dial down the prime-time partisanship and double down on the network's news-gathering muscle,” reported Mike Allen and Sara Fischer.
According to Axios, Licht was picked by Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav because “[r]atings are secondary to credibility[.]”
Both of which are foreign concepts to CNN currently.
Of course, Fondacaro is perfectly happy to see Fox News throw away credibility for the sake of ratings, and he has never demanded that Fox News "dull its conservative edge." As a loyal MRC apparatchik, he does not want "middle of the road" coverage, since he has bought into the MRC party line that anything even slightly less right-wing than Fox News is irredeemably "liberal."
As has become CNS tradition, four of these six articles were written by its new spring intern, Emily Robertson. The year's first was published on Jan. 10 -- the first since Nov. 12, a surprising gap of nearly two months.
Oh, and regarding that Feb. 7 item of Levin complaining that "the left-wing activists who invaded the Capitol during then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation hearing" weren't "rounded up": Unlike the Capitol insurrectionists, those protesters obtained tickets for the hearing, entered peacefully and protested without causing millions of dollars in property damage. Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters who occupied a Senate office building -- not the Capitol itself -- were indeed "rounded up" -- that is, arrested for unlawfully demonstrating, and even then there was no massive property damage akin to what was seen in the Capitol.
Robertson didn't report those facts to her readers -- but then, facts aren't the point of Levin stenography at CNS.
Newsmax Still Bashing Fox's Carlson For Supporting Russia -- But Airs Its Own Pro-Russia Rhetoric Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax has continued to lash out at Fox News' Tucker Carlson for effectively taking Russia's side in the Ukraine conflict -- but it has also forwarded some pro-Russia, anti-Ukraine rhetoric of its own.
Dick Morris has been Newsmax's chief Tucker-basher, and he did that again in a Jan. 21 article by Charlie McCarthy:
Former presidential adviser Dick Morris ripped Fox News host Tucker Carlson Friday for "helping to join the Putin people" who are trying to scare Americans into believing that defending Ukraine against Russia will lead to a long, costly war.
Carlson on Tuesday tweeted, "America is moving towards war with Russia, and the media is encouraging it." On his program Thursday night, he told viewers that the U.S. defending Ukraine "serves no American interest."
Morris slammed Carlson's hyperbole and told Newsmax a war between the U.S. and Russia will not happen.
"He should know better, that economic sanctions can accomplish [stopping Russian aggression]," said Morris, a former adviser to then-Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump.
"I can't believe that Tucker Carlson is so willing to throw away the entire legacy and work of President Ronald Reagan," he said, noting Reagan's success is liberating Eastern Europe from communist subjugation.
Republican senators say they are not moved by Fox News host Tucker Carlson's recent rants in favor of Russia's Vladimir Putin while deriding support of Ukraine.
Carlson has been on a tirade rationalizing Russia's aggression toward Ukraine and downplaying its relevance to U.S. national security.
But major Republican figures are not afraid of taking on Fox's top-rated host for what they believe is dangerous thinking, if not outright propaganda.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said lawmakers' actions are more important than TV hosts' opinions.
"Our allies around the world — obviously after Afghanistan — are doubting our credibility, our reliability," Cornyn said.
Dick Morris, a veteran political strategist and Newsmax analyst, has worked on Ukrainian elections and believes Carlson is deceiving the public.
Morris bashed Carlson again on Newsmax TV on Feb. 22:
Those who have been apologists for Russia and Vladimir Putin – like Fox News' Tucker Carlson – are woefully "short-sighted" about this "takeaway" by the "expansionist" regime, starting a "de facto world war," according to political strategist Dick Morris on Newsmax.
"Tucker Carlson, amazingly, on Fox News, said that he would choose Russia over Ukraine – I mean, how short-sighted could you be?" Morris told Tuesday's "America Agenda."
After Russia invaded Ukraine, Morris used his Feb. 24 column to beat up on Carlson some more:
But as war now rages in Europe with Russia’s reckless and unwarranted invasion of Ukraine, everything we feared about Vladimir Putin is coming true.
Still Fox’s top host is doubling down on his own support of the Russian dictator and even claims he would back Russia over innocent Ukraine.
Carlson is making claims which are patently false.
As I have written before, he's smarter than this.
I don’t know what his motive is, but I do know it’s a problem that he's seeking to win over normally sane rational Fox News viewers, and by osmosis, some Newsmax viewers.
We are watching pure 1930s-style appeasement in action on Fox News and in Carlson’s show. It’s not an invasion. It’s an incursion. It’s not important. Ukraine is not a vital ally. It’s none of our business. It’s Europe’s problem. They’re corrupt.
Such talking points must be dear to Putin’s heart as they split the conservative freedom-loving Republicans in America and sap the very limited reservoir of courage and resolve in Joe Biden’s heart.
Offering a coward a way out is like buying a drunk a drink.
Newsmax chief Christopher Ruddy even issued a company statement bashing Carlson's support for Putin:
Newsmax believes Russia has made a major transgression and this should be condemned strongly by all people. I think we are seeing for conservatives a clarity moment where Fox News’ main host is stating categorically he is siding with Putin and Russia in support of the invasion. Newsmax supports President Biden’s efforts to stop this invasion, if anything we think he is not being strong enough. We believe there is a bipartisan consensus in opposition to this dangerous aggression.
But as Mediaite noted, "Ruddy’s statement raised eyebrows across the media world, however, as Newsmax’s content in the past week and even 24 hours has been both highly critical of Biden and dismissive of the severity of Putin’s invasion," adding:
The conservative news network released the statement some twelve hours after Michael Savage appeared on Newsmax and condemned Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as a “puppet of George Soros” who “provoked” Putin. Earlier on Thursday night, host Greg Kelly excused Putin’s invasion of Ukraine by comparing it to the U.S. invasion of Iraq under George W. Bush and went on to claim the U.S. should get rid of term limits, arguing Putin’s lengthy reign has benefitted Russia.
Meanwhile, another Newsmax TV host, Rob Schmitt, got a dressing down by none other than John Bolton for giving too much credit to Donald Trump for containing Russia, as Mediaite also reported:
Former Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton corrected and scolded Newsmax host Rob Schmitt on Monday evening over the assertion that Vladimir Putin didn’t invade Ukraine while Donald Trump was president because his administration was “very tough” on Russia.
“In almost every case the sanctions were imposed with Trump complaining about it, saying we were being too hard,” said Bolton. “The fact is he barely knew where Ukraine was.”
“He once asked John Kelly, the second chief of staff, if Finland were part of Russia,” Bolton continued. “It’s just not accurate to say that Trump’s behavior somehow deterred the Russians.”
Toward the end of the interview, Schmitt said that credit is nevertheless due, and claimed Trump was the first to warn Europe about the dangers of relying on Russian gas and oil.
WND Interviews Fringe COVID Doc -- And Tries To Cash In On Him Topic: WorldNetDaily
The only bit of original "reporting" that WorldNetDaily has done in recent months is a series of video interviews reporter Art Moore has done with prominent COVID misinformers like Robert Malone. But Moore has been adding some less prominent misinformers to his interview slate -- and one with a money-grubbing twist.
For a Feb. 8 article, Moore interviewed Viadimir Zelenko, an early proponent of the questionable drug hydroxychloroquine whom WND enthusiastically promoted early in the pandemic despite a lack of proper documentation for his claims. Moore touted how Zelenko "has developed an over-the-counter formulation to treat COVID-19 called Z-Stack that contains zinc, quercetin, vitamin D and vitamin C," adding, that "Zelenko has explained that the key virus killer is zinc, which has a known antiviral effect, and it's drugs like hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin and quercetin that "open the door to the cell and let the zinc in." In fact, there's little evidence that zinc works against COVID, and there's little evidence that Zelenko's supplement works as advertised.
But it's not until the end of the article that it's revealed the whole thing is a cross-promotional deal:
IMPORTANT NOTE: WND IS NOW OFFERING DR. ZELENKO’S FAMED over-the-counter treatment Z-STACK: An early champion of hydroxychloroquine for combatting COVID, even advising President Trump about its use, Dr. Zelenko saved hundreds of lives even during the earliest months of the pandemic. As his reward, he was banned from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, vilified by the media, and New York’s governor blocked his patients’ access to hydroxychloroquine.
But Zelenko didn’t stop. He kept researching and working – and discovered a way to help people with an over-the-counter solution he calls Z-Stack.
If you’d like to try Z-Stack, Dr. Zelenko has made available a special link for WND readers. By purchasing through this link, you’ll also be supporting and benefiting WND.
Order Z-Stack today for immune system support – and use code WND for a discount!
In other words, there's a reason Moore didn't ask Zelenko any challenging questions -- the're both trying to sell you something.
Note to Moore and WND: If you're effectively running press releases as a fund-raiser to keep your website alive, you've stopped being a "news" operation.That fact that it has taken sides on the COVID debate for money means its "journalism" cannot be trusted (though, frankly, it hasn't been trustworthy for years before this).
MRC Dances On Jeff Zucker's CNN Grave, Smears Him As 'Puppetmaster' Again Topic: Media Research Center
Jeff Zucker has long been a nemesis of the Media Research Center, where Curtis Houck has repeatedly smeared the Jewish Zucker with the anti-Semitic "puppetmaster" trope -- putting him on the same level of hate that it places GeorgeSoros. When Zucker resigned as CNN chairman last month over an improper relationship with a subordinate, Houck was positively gleeful in response, repeating his immature sniping at CNN's ratings and hurling the "puppetmaster" slur again:
On Wednesday morning, CNN president, longtime overlord, and puppetmaster Jeff Zucker resigned effective immediately from the failing, far-left network after nine years over what he called “a consensual relationship with my closest colleague” with fellow CNN executive Allison Gollust that he had failed “to disclose...when it began.”
It remains to be seen who will take over the network (which has lost ratings battles to the likes of a Hallmark movie, Moonshiners, My 600 Pound Life, and Pepa Pig [sic]) in this surprising move ahead of its merger with Discovery but, almost a year ago, former CNN media reporter Dylan Byers reported Gollust was a frontrunner.
Houck also huffed: "Given CNN's recent track record of alleged and verified allegations of sexual misconduct, one could give them a new slogan offered up by NewsBusters deputy managing editor Nick Fondacaro: This is CNN, the most pervy name in news.
Needless to say, both Houck and Fondacaro memory-holed -- along with the rest of the MRC -- the pervasive sexual misconduct at their favorite channel, Fox News, and its longtime leader, Roger Ailes.
A couple hours later, Houck lashed out at CNN anchor Brian Stelter for praising Zucker's work at CNN, even though Stelter, as a CNN employee, is much more familiar with it than he is:
Playing the role of Baghdad Bob after the 2003 fall of the Iraqi capital to U.S. troops, CNN’s Reliable Sources host and chief media correspondent Brian Stelter crawled out of his shell to spinelessly shill for Jeff Zucker moments after his resignation from CNN and “pioneering figure” and their “rock” who’s left them in “a stunner.”
As if some national hero had passed on, Stelter coached those watching inside CNN to continue covering “the news” as he would want them to do.
CNN has been anything but in Zucker’s nine years and instead a shell of itself, having become one of American’s most hated media organizations and hemorrhaged viewers in both prime time and total day since he took over in January 2013.
By contrast, when the Ailes scandal broke, one NewsBusters blogger insisted that Ailes shouldn't be blamed for the pervasive culture of sexual harassment at Fox News, and another claimed it was "liberal bias" for anyone to even discuss Ailes' sexual harassment issues -- or, for that matter, anything remotely critical about him, no matter how accurate.
Houck's obsessive attack on any CNN employee who praised Zucker continued the next day:
CNN spent Wednesday in mourning as if CNN boss Jeff Zucker had passed away when, in fact, he was pushed out for having carried on an inappropriate relationship with fellow CNN exec Allison Gollust, calling him “incredible,” “remarkable,” “larger than life,” and “singular” person who brought “a clarity of mission” to the network.
In other words, it was something North Korean news reader Ri Chun-hee would have found creepy.
With praise so gushy and reports those inside CNN are some combination of despondent and enraged over Zucker’s ouster, it’s safe to wonder whether CNN can ever be saved as a serious, sober news organization considering their desire to stay the course from what Zucker made them.
Houck again called Zucker a "puppetmaster."
If Houck wants to read obsequiously gushy praise for a terrible person, all he needs to do is read his boss Bren Bozell's sickening tribute to Ailes upon his death in 2018, which fawned that "The good Roger did for America is immeasurable" and censored all the harassment stuff.
Houck entered his third day -- yes, the third day -- of shrieking at CNN employees for praising Zucker in a Feb. 4 post (and, yes, he hurled the "puppetmaster" slur again):
Through a series of stories this week, it was evident CNN’s current staff have no interest in being salvaged as a serious news organization and anything other than a far-left propaganda outlet worthy of being some combination of mocked and ignored. Instead of seeking to move on from their disgraced former boss Jeff Zucker after his Wednesday ouster, they’ve tried to canonize him as a tent pole of American democracy.
To underline the level in which Zucker was some combination of puppetmaster and hand-holder for these sheep, he quoted chief political correspondent Dana Bash as having said “the punishment didn’t fit the crime” and it went against Zucker’s morals in giving people“a second chance.”
Without a sense of irony for how CNN has shown nothing but hate in seeking to treat conservatives as enemies of the state, chief political analyst Gloria Borger lamented Zucker wasn’t given “a lot of dignity”with Kasie Hunt fretting the Zucker news will cloud the launch of CNN+.
Houck is clearly lacking irony for how his obsessive hatred for all things Zucker and CNN makes his rantings look like an unhinged hatchet job and not "media research."
Houck called those who praised Zucker part of a "cult" in the headline of his piece, and that theme was also pushed in Tim Graham's Feb. 4 podcast: "We were all sitting around reading these stories saying, CNN should never again try to talk about somebody else as a cult, whether it's the followers or Trump or anyone else, because these people, when they talk about Zucker, it's just kinda creepy." Of course, Graham and his fellow MRC employees are all cultish followers of Trump -- not to mention cultishly devoted to Ailes desipte his disgrace -- so he's a little sensitive on the issue.
Michael Brown's COVID Agony, Part 2: Keeping The Wishy-Washy Status Quo Topic: WorldNetDaily
Even after being sick for several days with a moderate case of COVID, WorldNetDaily columnist Michael Brown couldn't stop waffling on the issue of vaccination (he wasn't, which likely made his case worse than it needed to be) and misinformation (because free speech, or something). And the waffling hasn't stopped. In his Jan. 17 column, Brown joined the Media Research Center in praising tennis star Novak Djokovic for sticking to his anti-vaxxer guns, which cost him a spot in the Australian Open. While conceding that "the Australian Open has the right to determine what vaccination policies it will follow, and players can choose to comply and play or not," Brown added, "But was it right to deport him simply because of potential thought crimes? Was this yet another shocking example of Australia's draconian efforts to combat COVID?" He continued:
Once again, I am not for a second belittling the very real dangers of COVID, as I said repeatedly for almost two years now. And I am not minimizing for a moment the difficult decisions that governments must make during this pandemic.
But to ban one of the world's top athletes from playing in your country simply because his personal choice not to be vaccinated might influence others is to set a very dangerous precedent, confirming the worst fears of many within Australia. How far will this go?
Brown took a different approach in his Jan. 24 column, pondering the spiritual dimension of COVID, which included the purportedly demonic feeling fighting the disease some feel as well as knowing people who have died from it. Brown admitted to "tormenting thoughts" while fighting COVID, adding:
Again, there could be a perfectly natural explanation to this. And it's even possible that COVID affects the body in such a way that one's emotions are impacted as well. After all, the brain is part of the body.
I can't comment on that possibility at all because of my lack of medical knowledge.
But I can say this. I do know my relationship with the Lord. I do know the reality of my faith. And I do have some understanding of the spiritual realm.
That's why I don't discount for a moment the demonic nature of some of these fears and emotional assaults. (By demonic, I mean originating with the devil, who is as real as you and I are, and actualized by demons, who are also quite real.)
After all, one of Satan's greatest tools is fear. And the greatest fear of all is the fear of death (and, in some cases, fear of what is coming beyond death).
But even after all of this, Brown still couldn't bring himself to take a stand. He pondered in his March 7 column:
For those in the pro-COVID-vaccine camp, there is a two-fold concern for those who choose not to be vaccinated. First, they are endangering their own lives. Second, they are potentially endangering the lives of others should they get infected and spread the virus.
For those who are skeptical about the vaccines, there is also a two-fold concern. First, do these vaccines really work? Second, long term or short term, could these vaccines do more harm than good?
ccordingly, there has been passionate debate about these issues, with many in the pro-vaccine camp seeking to censor or deplatform those who raise questions about the vaccines. After all, the pro-vax camp reasons, with your anti-vax misinformation, you are dissuading people from getting vaccinated, and that could be fatal.
I'm not here to weigh in on these issues (other than to say that everyone should be allowed to present their relevant views publicly without fear of censorship). I want to focus instead on something far more dangerous than alleged vaccine misinformation, namely, our active promoting of unhealthy foods that lead to obesity and death.
Yes, he shifted the debate from COVID to obesity:
In this case, we know for a fact that obesity is deadly. We also know for a fact that much of our American diet contributes to obesity and premature death. Yet we celebrate our unhealthy culture with a constant bombardment of sumptuous ads on TV and internet, calling us to feast afresh on the latest decadent meals.
Or do you actually think that a steady diet of sugary drinks (like Coke), pizza, donuts, ice cream, pasta, burgers and fried foods is not dangerous, but COVID is?
That's not the issue, and Brown knows it. Getting vaccinated and struggling to deal with body issues and orienting oneself toward healthy eating are two wildly different things. He finally acknowledged that at the end of his column:
That being said, I know how powerful food addictions can be, and I do not sit in judgment of you or your weight or your lifestyle. Not for a split second.
I'm simply saying that with today's hyper-charged atmosphere when it comes to alleged COVID misinformation (on either side of the debate, understandably so), I find it quite ironic that, at the same time, we advertise and celebrate a decadent lifestyle that is undeniably deadly.
Perhaps this deserves more attention.
Of course, nobody's seriously claiming health benefits from junk food, and most poeple understand how advertising works, as well as that junk food is not good for you in the long run. By contrast, anti-vaxxers are promoting demonstrably false and misleading claims about COVID vaccines, and people have been misled into believing it. The problem here that Brown still doesn't really want to do anything about COVID misinformation -- a presumably non-insignificant portion of his audience is anti-vaxxers, and he doesn't want to take a stand lest he lose them.
Such wishy-washiness serves neither him nor his audience well.
Newsmax Defends Trump Against Conservatives At National Review Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax remains firmly in Trump suck-up mode, and that was made clear again in a Feb. 6 "news" article by Eric Mack defending Donald Trump against the conservatives at National Review, complaining that "the magazine ran a lead editorial criticizing the Republican National Committee for censuring Reps. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., calling the move "both morally repellent" and "political malpractice of the highest order." Mack huffed in response: "National Review did not criticize the House Democrats for not seeking accountability for the one in charge of Capitol security on Jan. 6 -- Pelosi."
In fact, Pelosi was not in charge of the Capitol police nor a member of any committee supervising it at the time of the Capitol riot.
Mack further complained: "While National Review has embraced progressive talking points on the Jan. 6 protests, it has not excoriated Democrats to the same degree for embracing months of violent George Floyd protests, nor has it called for Congressional hearings into the mayhem." In fact, the vast majority of protests against police brutality in 2020 were peaceful.
Mack also grumbled: "Last year, National Review's lead legal writer and Fox News contributor, Andrew McCarthy, even called for Trump's conviction after Democrats brought forth a politically motivated impeachment on legally dubious grounds." Mack didn't mention that McCarthy agreed that Trump's impeachment was "politically motivated" -- as all impeachments are -- he would have voged to impeach because "Impeachable conduct for which condemnation is warranted did in fact occur."
Meanwhile, Charlie McCarthy lived up to his name by uncritically mouthing Trump's words in a Feb. 8 article:
Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday morning said President Joe Biden wouldn't have needed to threaten closure of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline if he had continued Trump administration policy.
Biden on Monday warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that the U.S. would "bring an end" to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline if Russian troops invade Ukraine.
"Well, I stopped it, but I stopped it differently," Trump said Tuesday during an interview on Fox Business. "I stopped it with the threat of tariffs and with various other things. And it was stopped. It was dead. It was absolutely dead.
"Biden came in and he opened it. And he killed our pipeline, Keystone XL. But I stopped it. I had it stopped … I didn't know what he was doing, he came in and he said, 'Proceed with that [Nord Stream] pipeline.' "
In fact, the Trump White House, through then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, issued guidance that exempted the project from sanctions measures passed by Congress in 2017; at the time, Trump was trying to cozy up to Russian leader Vladimir Putin. It wasn't until later in his administration, Decmeber 2019 -- after the pipeline continued construction for three years during his administration -- that Trump sanctioned the entities building the pipeline, effectively stopping construction on it. The project was restarted in late 2020 as the entities found a way around the sanctions; Biden lifted the sanctions after he took office because it was clear they would no longer stop the project, and they were replaced in July 2021 with an agreement that the U.S. and Germany would impose costs on Russia regarding the pipeline if it harmed Ukraine or other European countries -- which is what happened when Russia invaded Ukraine.
CNS Promotes Right-Wing Rabbis Bizarrely Bashing The ADL Again Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com -- particularly managing editor Michael W. Chapman -- just loves the pro-Trump right-wing rabbis who call themselves the Coalition for Jewish Values, even when they're doing nonsensical things like defending Tucker Carlson's racist "replacement theory" and bashing the Anti-Defamation League for not being Jewish enough. Both of those attacks were renewed -- with the additional feature of portraying George Soros as a Jew right-wingers are allowed to hate -- in a Jan. 28 article by Chapman:
The Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), which represents more than 2,000 traditional, Orthodox rabbis in matters of American public policy, sharply criticized the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today for attempting to smear Fox News Channel's Tucker Carlson as a peddler of antisemitism.
The ADL described Carlson's new documentary on left-wing billionaire George Soros, Hungary vs. Soros: The Fight for Civilization, as a "dangerous antisemitic dog whistle."
"It is disappointing that the ADL has doubled down on what we called 'grossly misplaced charges of antisemitism' last spring, aimed once again at a favorite target," said CJV Southern Regional Vice President Rabbi Moshe B. Parnes in a statement. "The ADL has a pattern of saying that Carlson is using 'dog whistles' when he expresses political viewpoints with which they disagree."
In reference to the documentary, The Daily Beast wrote, "Carlson echoed antisemitic tropes that Jewish people wish to upend Western civilization, claiming Soros’ goal was 'destruction aimed at the West' and aims to make society 'more dangerous [and] dirtier.'"
In the documentary, Carlson documents many of the left-wing organizations and policies that Soros' foundations fund. Carlson also interviews Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a conservative, who states that Soros is "the condensed symbol of everything the Hungarian right hates."
Actually, Orban is much more than a "conservative"; as we documented when CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, bizarrely embraced him as a hero of "free speech" for wanting to control social media, he's a right-wing authoritarian leader who suppresses disssent and free speech, and his portrayal of Soros as an enemy of the Hungarian people is a part of that.
While Chapman doesn't quote anyone from the CJV criticizing Soros, he made sure to denigrate Soros' heritage on his own: "George Soros, 91, was born into a non-observant Jewish family in Budapest, Hungary. In interviews, Soros has said he does not believe in God. Soros has a reported net worth of $8.6 billion."Chapman also referenced a MRC "special report" attacking Soros, though he didn't mention his employers bad habit of using anti-Semitic tropes to bash Soros.
Chapman then rehashed the CJV's defense of Carlson for pushing the "replacement theory" conspiracy that Democrats are conspiring to replace American voters with, in Carlson's words, "more obedient voters from the Third World," and quoted a CJV official as saying this is "exactly, precisely what the Biden-Pelosi-Schumer Democrats now are endeavoring to do."
A Feb. 2 article -- this one anonymously written -- featured the CJV lashing out at Amnesty International as anti-Semitic for criticizing Israel's treatment of Palestinians:
The Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), which represents more than 2,000 traditional, Orthodox rabbis in matters of American public policy, denounced a new Amnesty International report that paints Israel as an apartheid state, and charged the organization with being an "antisemitic hate group."
In a statement, Rabbi Yaakov Menken, managing director of the Coalition for Jewish Values, said, "The Amnesty International report, which we have seen and examined, is openly antisemitic. No one should pretend it is about a political dispute when it is rife with hatred against individual Jews.
Neither the CJV nor the anonymous CNS writer explain how criticizing how Israel treats its neighbors is inherently and reflexively "anti-Semitic."
MRC Shows Its Partisan Colors In Its War on NewsGuard Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has been wagingwar on website credibility firm NewsGuard for the sin of finding that right-wing websites are less credible than mainstream news or even liberal websites -- though the MRC has never been able to prove NewsGuard wrong despite a lot of ranting about "left-leaning" (a claim it also hasn't supported with credible evidence). The ranting continued in a Jan. 26 post by Catherine Salgado against a new NewsGuard initiative:
Biased online ratings firm NewsGuard is taking its information war to schoolchildren through a deal made with the American Federation of Teachers.
School children depend on the internet for homework help. NewsGuard is now stepping in to “filter” online sources for so-called “misinformation.” The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) union is buying NewsGuard licenses for its 1.7 million member teachers, according to an AFT press release. The partnership will make NewsGuard available to tens of millions of students and their families for free.
The NewsGuard partnership will foist the company's “real-time ‘traffic light’ news ratings and detailed ‘Nutrition Label’ reviews, via a licensed copy of NewsGuard’s browser extension” on students using news stories for research.
NewsGuard isn’t a reliable source, however. A recent MRC study found that outlets rated “left” or “lean left” by AllSides received an average NewsGuard score of 93/100. Sites considered “right” or “lean right” by AllSides had an average NewsGuard rating of 66/100. The news “credibility” rater also has a major partnership with leftist Microsoft to fight alleged “disinformation.”
As we've documented, that MRC "study" offered no evidence to dispute NewsGuard's findings, and AllSides is a right-leaning fact-checker with sloppy labeling whose work has been touted by the MRC before, making it immediately suspicious. Salgado went on to parrot an absurd attack issued by her boss:
MRC President Brent Bozell blasted the AFT-NewsGuard partnership, suggesting it is worse than critical race theory in public schools. “The left has found a dangerous and equally disingenuous new way to indoctrinate our children, without their parents knowing. NewsGuard is partnering with a national teacher's union to bring their biased ratings into classrooms nationwide. This is as bad as CRT. In fact, it's worse. Like CRT, it is designed to push a leftist ideology on children, but unlike CRT, the left is not going to give it a name this time. This is purposely designed to go under the radar of public scrutiny.”
Judging a website's credibilty is "worse" than critical race theory? Only in Bozell's fevered brain.
Speaking of that bogus study, an anonymously written Feb. 1 post -- curiously credited only to "NB Staff," not any of the MRC writers who have been attacking NewsGuard for months -- tried to mount a counterattack when NewsGuard similarly stated that the study was "fundamentally flawed," leaning on AllSides' endorsement of the study to defend itself:
The leftist ratings firm NewsGuard criticized a Media Research Center study of the site’s ratings, calling it “fundamentally flawed.”
NewsGuard General Manager Matt Skibinski’s letter made multiple inaccurate claims about the study, which analyzed the NewsGuard ratings of media outlets. Skibinski claimed the study was “based on a tiny sample of cherry-picked data.” He continued: “NewsGuard has rated more than 7,500 news and information websites, but the NewsBusters analysis looked only at ratings of 24 websites it defines as right-leaning and 31 websites it defines as left-leaning--meaning the study examined a cherry-picked sample of just 0.7% of the websites we've rated.”
However, Skibinski’s claims that the list was “cherry-picked” and that MRC defined which sites were right-leaning and left-leaning are completely inaccurate. The MRC study relied on a list provided by AllSides — an independent organization given credence by the Poynter Institute — as a gauge. Skibinski claimed the “NewsBusters analysis looked only at ratings of 24 websites it defines as right-leaning and 31 websites it defines as left-leaning.” This is false. The characterizations of outlets as “left,” “lean left,” “right” and “lean right” were provided by AllSides, not the MRC.
Skibinski must not have read the disclaimer written in bold black letters at the bottom of the study, which clearly pointed this out. The complaint that the MRC didn’t look at all 7,500 sites it rated also mischaracterizes the purpose of the study. The study was based on a popular list compiled separately by AllSides which classified outlets by their “bias” on a left-to-right scale. The average NewsGuard score for “left” and “lean left” outlets was a high 93/100, while the average rating for “right” and “lean right” outlets was a low 66/100.
Even AllSides supported the MRC’s findings in its own separate report:
Again, AllSides is a right-leaning operation, so the MRC touting how AllSides endorsed its so-called "study" is circular logic. And of course Skibinski's description of the sites the MRC chose for its study as "cherry-picked" was absolutely true; in a part of his letter the anonymous MRC writer decided not to highlight, NewsGuard has given perfect ratings to numerous sites, including a few on the AllSides list the MRC used, whcuh as Reason and the Deseret News (which the MRC insists is "liberal" based on two stories seven years apart despite the fact that the paper is owned by a division of the not-liberal Mormon Church). Skibinski also noted that NewsGuard has given another prominent conservative operation, the Daily Signal, a perfect rating, though it wasn't on the AllSides list.
The anonymous MRC writer didn't comment on another allegation Skibinski made -- that it made no effort to contact NewsGuard for a response to its study. By contrast, he wrote, "NewsGuard contacts websites for comment and feedback if it looks like they will fail any criteria." By noting that, Skibinski has exposed an inconvenient truth about the MRC: It's a partisan political operation, not a "research" organization, and putting out attacks without allowing anyone to respond beforehand is what a partisan political operation does.
Michael Brown's COVID Agony, Part 1 Topic: WorldNetDaily
The last time we checked in on WorldNetDaily columnist Michael Brown's musings about COVID, he was giving anti-vaxxers a pass for spreading misinformation because holding misinformers accountable is worse than the information (or something like that) while denying that he's an anti-vaxxer but refusing to say whether he was vaccinated. That wishi-washiness would be put to the test, as he explained in a Jan. 4 column matter-of-factly headlined "So, I finally got COVID."
Brown admittted that he and his wife, who also caught it, "have been far sicker at other times in our lives, and compared to how others have suffered over these last two years, our cases appear to be fairly mild." He still wouldn't disclose whether he was vaccinated, howver; his silence could arguably be an admission that he wasn't -- that and his ivermectin stash, along with his need to bolster the credentials of the doctor who prescribed it to him:
On a more practical note, my personal doctor, Mark Stengler, who in October 2020 was given the "Doctor of the Decade" award by the International Association of Top Professionals, wanted me to have ivermectin on hand in case I came down with COVID.
So, he wrote a prescription for me, but I could not get it filled in North Carolina. That's because Dr. Stengler is a naturopathic doctor, and by law in N.C., pharmacies do not fill prescriptions written by naturopaths. Talk about being behind the times.
As the International Association of Top Professionals noted, "Dr. Stengler's impressive repertoire of roles have included his activities as a medical expert on several television shows as well as his own weekly television show. Dr. Stengler was the host of a PBS educational and fundraising show, 'A to Z Guide to Healing Yourself.' He was also the host of the highly successful 'Beyond Chemo' documentary. Dr. Stengler also served on a medical advisory committee for the Yale University Complementary Medicine Outcomes Research Project."
Yet he cannot write a simple prescription in North Carolina. Wow.
Despite expressing sympathy for COVID victims, he seemed to draw no insight from his illness beyond "May the politicizing of COVID (from all sides) finally come to an end."
Brown spent his Jan. 12 column lamenting the death of a friend from COVID:
I have no positive spin to put on this, no spiritual sounding platitude to soften the blow. This is a loss, a terrible, tragic loss. And I believe God Himself grieves over it. Evil COVID has killed again.
I first met Brad Kauffman in the mid-1980s while teaching at a Bible school on Long Island. He was just 17, and I was only 28. He would sometimes babysit for our two daughters.
Brad had a very tender heart and was a tremendously gifted worship leader, piano player, singer and songwriter. And as the years went on, he would sometimes travel with me, ministering in music before and after I spoke. What beautiful times those were!
Instead of calling his followers to do what the can to fight this "evil" -- you know, with things like getting vaccinated and behaving responsibly in public -- Brown went biblical, stating that "I do know that God remains trustworthy and that soon enough, we will all be rejoicing before His throne, perhaps with Brad leading us in worship. What a day that will be!"
Brown finally answered the vaccination question in his Jan. 14 column: "Although I myself have not been vaccinated (more on that shortly), I have never been remotely anti-vax, nor have I ever downplayed the lethal nature of the coronavirus. Not for a second." From there, he went on to admit "how virulent this coronavirus is," criticized people who "mock its reality" and noted that nearly all of the people he knew who died of COVID were unvaccinated.He then repeated his own split-the-difference approach:
And as I write these words, another colleague is fighting for his life, now on a ventilator and needing a miracle. He was a very strong anti-vaxxer but told his wife before being sedated that he now wished he had been vaccinated. How many similar stories have we heard?
On the other hand, there remain many serious concerns with the vaccines, concerns raised by leading scientists and doctors. Do we simply dismiss them out of hand, especially when they have nothing to gain by raising their concerns?
And what are we to think when social media bans their material? Doesn't this only underscore the warnings they are bringing?
Added to this is the draconian nature of the vaccine mandates, not to mention their apparent illegality, and everything becomes more complex still.
And what about those documented cases where otherwise healthy people have died of blood clots (or related conditions) within hours or days of getting vaccinated? Why so little reporting on this?
Brown then turned the issue to his own experience:
As to why I was not vaccinated before, I weighed the issues carefully, as did my wife, Nancy. I also consulted my primary care physician and got advice from some other top doctors. And I watched how a large number of my friends and co-workers contracted COVID and were back to normal in a matter of days or weeks.
In the end, because of my 100% commitment to healthy living and eating, dating back to Aug. 24, 2014 (without any deviation from that healthy routine for a single day since then), I was advised not to be vaccinated given the strength of my immune system and my overall vibrant health. (The blood tests for my annual physical can be as many as 35 pages long, so my health is very carefully analyzed.)
And, during these last two years, I have been in many crowds of multiple thousands, standing together in close quarters. It appears that my immune system had been doing quite well. Plus, my doctor had already prescribed ivermectin for me, along with some other recommended supplements, in the event that I did contract COVID. So, I was prepared in the event of getting sick.
That being said, watching other friends die over these months and now having to recover from COVID myself, I continue to wrestle with the question of vaccination. (Thankfully, I have finally developed natural immunity.)
Of course, he could have saved himself some agony by getting vaccinated, the protection from which is equivalent to "natural immunity."Brown continued to agonize:
Yet I am terribly grieved over the divisions in the Body of Christ over the vaccines, with some accusing the vaccinated of lacking faith or branding mask-wearers as spiritual wimps. What kind of madness is this?
To those who mock, I ask, "Who appointed you God and Lord? Who anointed you the arbiter and judge of the faith of others? Who gave you the right to criticize those who feel it is important to act with extreme care and caution?"
But I am also grieved at those who pass judgment on the unvaccinated rather than recognizing that these are complex and difficult issues.
And I know pastors who felt that the Lord told them not to yield to fear but to go on with their public services, and in two years, they have not had a significant COVID outbreak of any kind. Shall we tell them their own faith is not real?
Yet there are pro-vaxxers who use reports of the latest COVID death as their personal bully pulpit, with posts like, "Well, your friend wouldn't have died if he had been vaccinated!" And they do this in Jesus' name, at that. What a cruel game to play!
Right now, America and the nations are hurting. The death toll continues to rise. Confusion continues to dominate. And human suffering continues to increase.
Let us, at least, walk with respect and grace toward those who hold to different perspectives. And let us be vigilant and diligent to preserve our own health.
And rather than throwing stones at others, let's offer a helping hand. If we ever needed to work together, it is now.
The problem with Brown's approach is that outside of legitimate medical issues, there's no real reason not to get vaccinated. COVID vaccines are as safe and effective as any other vaccines, and Brown could have shortened his suffering though a COVID infection by getting vaccinated. Most of the arguments anti-vaxxers use to defend their views really are misinformation, and it's not a terrible thing for that misinformation to be exposed fprwhat it is. This is not an agree-to-disagree issue -- one side of the issue is a threat to public health.