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Monday, April 4, 2022
MRC Takes Its War On NewsGuard To Steele Dossier, Planned Parenthood
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's ongoing war on website-rating organization NewsGuard continued in a Feb. 22 post by Brian Bradley:

NewsGuard has reaffirmed its perfect rating of BuzzFeed News, even though the outlet continues to host the bogus Steele dossier on its website.

In an email to MRC, NewsGuard General Manager Matt Skibinski justified his company’s perfect “100/100” rating for BuzzFeed News by noting the five-year timespan since the dossier’s publication and the fact that the dossier article is one “single story.”

Members of the U.S. intelligence community and political enemies of former President Donald Trump used the discredited dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, and paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign, to help build the case for the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

The investigation cost $25.2 million, according to Fox Business, and paralyzed the country for two years. The Mueller probe also aggravated the political environment in the U.S. and across the world, dominating headlines while other, important news took a backseat.

Even liberal media have broadly rejected the accuracy of the dossier, and Special Counsel John Durham charged the primary source of the dossier with lying to the FBI in November.

But Bradley deliberately ignores the fact that BuzzFeed News never represented the dossier as unimpeachable fact and never vouched for its accuracy. The article on the dossier specifically states that the dossier "includes specific, unverified, and potentially unverifiable allegations of contact between Trump aides and Russian operatives, and graphic claims of sexual acts documented by the Russians," adding that it was published because it was being discussed: "BuzzFeed News is publishing the full document so that Americans can make up their own minds about allegations about the president-elect that have circulated at the highest levels of the US government."

By contrast, the MRC repeatedly defends extremist purveyors of actual, documented misinformation so it has some "victims" to use in its parallel war against "big tech." It has no problem with that misinformation spreading.

Bradley then bashed Skibinski for his response, even though Skibinski really deserves a medal for trying to engage with a bad-faith critic:

MRC asked NewsGuard to explain its BuzzFeed rating, pointing out that the Steele dossier was the focal point of the media’s misreporting about Trump ties to Russia.

The dossier story “was published in January of 2017, more than five years ago and more than a year and a half before NewsGuard first launched our ratings and Nutrition Labels,” Skibinski said. “Moreover, no single story, even one that has recently been published, determines a site’s rating.”


Still, though the dossier remains posted on the BuzzFeed News website without any correction or clarification, NewsGuard’s nutrition label says the outlet both “Regularly corrects or clarifies errors” and “Gathers and presents information responsibly.”

Again, Bradley ignored the fact that BuzzFeed never portrayed the dossier as accurate. After referencing the MRC's previous attacks on NewsGuard, Bradley did quote Skibinski again:

In his most recent email sent Feb. 17, Skibinski complained that MRC was wrong for calling out NewsGuard’s flawed scoring system. Then he abruptly pivoted to mention MRC’s NewsGuard rating, a topic that had nothing to do with the BuzzFeed News inquiry.

“We hope you will be more fair and accurate in your description of NewsGuard's ratings of the many conservative and conservative-leaning outlets that get perfect or high scores based on our criteria in this story than in previous stories, including noting that your own outlet, NewsBusters, continues to score a 92.5 out of 100 points,” Skibinski wrote.

Not gonna happen, Matt. NewsGuard has been declared an enemy of the MRC, and fairness and accuracy no longer matter, if they ever did. Bradley and Co. want NewsGuard destroyed, and they don't particularly care how it gets done.

That fundamental unfairness tried to drag NewsGuard into the right-wing abortion wars, as demonstrated by a Feb. 25 post by Catherine Salgado:

Online “credibility” arbiter NewsGuard strongly favors an organization that kills babies, declaring abortion giant Planned Parenthood credible. Meanwhile, the rating firm gave very negative ratings to three pro-life outlets.

NewsGuard gave abortion giant Planned Parenthood, infamous for killing the unborn, a positive 75/100 rating. It also gave it the green checkmark of credibility. The ratings firm gives green ratings to sites it deems credible and red ratings to sites it considers lacking in “credibility.”

Planned Parenthood had performed 9 million abortions as of July 2021, meaning it has caused one of the biggest genocides in history, per Human Life International. Yet, NewsGuard gave pro-life LifeNews and Live Action websites negative red “credibility” ratings of 30/100. The rating firm gave LifeSiteNews a 17.5/100. NewsGuard has not rated a number of other pro-life and pro-abortion sites.

At no point does Salgado cite anything on any Planned Parenthood website that's misleading, let alone wrong -- it's all about attacking Planned Parenthood for performing thing that are legal under U.S. law and not lying about it. She tacitly admits this later in the post; after noting that NewsGuard's rating states that the group "does not repeatedly publish false content," she huffed in response: "NewsGuard does not seem to take into account the fact that abortion kills unborn human children, which alone makes the act condemnable."

What act? The act of existing? That has nothing whatsoever to do with what NewsGuard does.

Again, Salgado is totally cool with the misinformation published by those anti-abortion sites, insisting that their biased and ideological judgment trumps that of medical professionals and legal authorities:

Live Action received a rating of 30/100, and NewsGuard specifically downgraded the pro-life site for reportedly exposing corruption in Planned Parenthood. NewsGuard describes Live Action as “an anti-abortion group that has deceptively edited videos and made unsubstantiated health claims, particularly in articles that target Planned Parenthood.” The “nutrition label” from NewsGuard slammed abortion pill reversal practices, which have reportedly saved 2,500 lives as of November 2021.

NewsGuard’s label criticized the reversals as “not based on science,” citing the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, while simultaneously defending the abortion pill. NewsGuard’s “nutrition labels” for Live Action, LifeNews and LifeSiteNews are lengthy arguments against various perspectives published by the pro-life outlets.

In contrast, the “nutrition label” for Planned Parenthood seemingly favors the abortion giant against the evidence of Planned Parenthood’s selling of aborted babies’ body parts exposed by journalist David Daleiden and his Center for Medical Progress. NewsGuard’s Planned Parenthood label cites the organization’s claim that Daleiden’s videos were “heavily edited.”

Daleiden's videos were, in fact, heavily edited. Again, ideology trumps facts at the MRC -- which means more hostile, nonsensical attacks on NewsGuard.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:48 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: Wayne Allyn Root, Misinformation (And COVID) Superspreader
Topic: WorldNetDaily
The misinformation-laden WorldNetDaily columnist is actually proud that he hid a COVID infection from people while on a book tour and that he was likely contagious. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 2:04 AM EDT
Sunday, April 3, 2022
MRC Complains That Wash. Post Said GOP Will Hype Inflation -- Then Proves It Right
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Joseph Vazquez complained in a Dec. 29 post:

The Washington Post tried to whip out the generic “Republicans have pounced” cliché in order to spin some of the attention on skyrocketing prices away from President Joe Biden.

The liberal newspaper released a revealing story headlined, “Inflation emerging as top economic challenge in 2022.” Strong consumer demand in addition to ongoing supply chain problems “threaten to prolong sharply rising prices well into 2022, potentially making inflation the premier economic challenge of the new year.” The Postconceded that inflation “defied many economists’ expectations in 2021 by rising at the fastest pace in nearly 40 years,” and that “[e]verything from rent to the price of used cars to groceries” had spiked. 

Then The Post tried to make the Biden economy look like a victim of GOP political exploitation: “[T]he White House will be looking at a midterms campaign in which Republicans are primed to pounce on inflation.” [Emphasis added.]

Vazquez linked to a post he wrote in May 2021 making the same complaint. Of course, Vazquez's dismissal of news reports pointing out that Republicans are hyping inflation to bash Biden as nothing but a clice and a narrative is itself a right-wing narrative.

In the ensuing three months, though, Vazquez and the MRC proved the Post completely correct witeh its partisan obsession over inflation, finding ways to blame Biden for inflation at every opportunity and attacking anyone who offered other reasons why. Let's look at how he and the MRC pounced:

That's a lot of pouncing -- and these are just the MRC posts that reference inflation in the headline. A content search would reveal many more examples of Vazquez and crew talking down the economy, something they unironically accused the media of doing when Donald Trump was president.

The MRC loves talking down the economy iunder Biden, and it will continue to do so because it is a right-wing narrative it is obligated to perpetuate. It just doesn't want to be exposed as being caught in the hollow exercise it is. It can't pounce out of the way of taking responsibility.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:32 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, April 3, 2022 9:33 PM EDT
CNS Cranked Out The Ted Cruz Stenograpnhy Over The Past Two Years

If there's one right-wing congressman loves to quote more than Jim Jordan, it's Sen. Ted Cruz. He loves to be in the news, and CNS loves to devote articles to whatever right-wing talking point du jour he's dishing out. How much? Let's count (we are just counting stenography-focused articles in which Cruz is named in the headline, not all references). We'll start our 2020 count here:

That's right -- Cruz got a whopping 46 articles devoted to him in 2020 -- and that doesn't even cover the entire year. An issue in CNS' search database kept us from reviewing articles in February, March and the first half of April, meaning that CNS racked up that number of Cruz stenography in just nine and a half months.

The fawning coverage from CNS continued in 2021:

That's a total of at least 72 articles -- which is more stenography than it did for its favorite right-wing radio host, Mark Levin, last year. (Levin might want to raise some question with CNS over why he's not being fawned over to previous levels.) And as with Levin, nearly all of them lack any sort of pushback by a critic -- it's almost entirely straight stenography.

CNS did have to take a break from Cruz-fluffing in early February to crank out articles attacking Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for highlighting that Cruz effectively tried to have her and other members of Congress killed via the Capitol riot because of his support for overturning the election. CNS also made sure not to criticize Cruz for taking a vacation to Cancun during a freak winter storm in Texas that disrupted power across the state and resulted in the deaths of people; it did complain, however, that Bette Midler tweeted about it

Most members of Congress would kill to get publicity like this -- so fawning, it's almost as if Cruz had paid CNS to do it.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:50 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, April 3, 2022 5:55 PM EDT
Saturday, April 2, 2022
MRC Wants Info On Ghost Guns To Spread
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Catherine Salgado declared in a Feb. 18 post that ghost guns are not an issue -- and, therefore, videos about them s houldn't be expunged from shouldn't be expunged from YouTube -- because not enough criminals are using them and not enough people are getting killed by them:

In the latest censorship effort to demonize self-defense tools, five Democratic Party senators are pressuring YouTube to remove “ghost gun” videos.

“Ghost guns are unserialized firearms that anyone can get their hands on—without a background check—and put together themselves with a 3D-printer or a do-it-yourself gun-making kit purchased from an unlicensed seller,” the five senators, led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), wrote in the letter to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki. “As a result, ghost guns have become the weapon of choice for gun traffickers and convicted felons as well as domestic violent extremists and foreign terrorists.” 

The senators insisted that the gun assembly videos violated YouTube’s guidelines and needed to be taken down, asserting “ghost guns” “pose a dangerous and deadly threat to communities.”

Statistics undercut claims from Democrats about the threat of ghost guns. The evidence shows that “ghost guns” account for a very small percentage of weapons seized by law enforcement. For instance, Chicago saw a significantly higher proportion of ghost guns seized in 2020. Still, only 139 out of the 11,258 seized firearms were “ghost guns,” about 1.2 percent of the total, according to The Washington Times. “A 2019 Department of Justice study found that 43% of criminals purchased guns on the black market, but none made their weapons at home,” The Washington Times reported.

Salgado didn't say how many criminals need to be using ghost guns or how many people need to be killed by them before she considers them to be a threat sufficient to be dealt with. Yet it's unambiguous that ghost guns are increasingly linked to crime and death.

But she's enough of a right-wing true believer to invoke the Second Amendment and another right-wing newspaper:

The Washington Examiner explained that the “ghost guns” are “not classified by the government as firearms because they are not fully functioning guns when sold in kits,” meaning that they lack traceable serial numbers. Pro-gun activists see the senators’ demand of YouTube as an attack on the Second Amendment, The Examiner noted.

Salgado did not explain how the Second Amendment preempts the First.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:58 AM EDT
Farah Still Blaming Everyone But Himself For WND's Impending Demise
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah continues to flail and rant as his WorldNetDaily continues to teeter toward extinction, blaming everyone but himself and his business decisions for WND's impending demise.

In his Feb. 21 column, Farah claimed that "In 25 years, WND earned more than $150 million in revenues" -- but he didn't explain where all that money went or why it can't be used now to bolster WND's finances. He also served up a variation on his usual anti-"big tech" ranting:

America's freedom has never faced a greater threat. The Democratic Party leadership is now dominated by openly brazen socialists, extremists, the extremist left, the real "insurrectionists." The Big Media are in the tank for them as never before. And, this time, the biggest and most powerful tech monopolies in the world are censoring dissent as never before, actively destroying the independent media and plotting a putsch for a radical New World Order.


From 1997 through 2016, WND was apparently too successful.

Following the presidential election of 2016, the robber barons of Google-Facebook and company declared war on the independent media, along with free speech and dissent against their radical left-wing agenda. With control over 95% of internet searches and 85% of digital advertising, they began starving WND.

From 2017 through 2019, our revenues were slashed by 80%.

In 2021 it got much, much worse. Google PERMANENTLY DEMONITIZED WND! No kidding! Why did they attack us so ferociously? Easy – because they could. Because they blamed us for the 2016 election results. We have been the canary in coalmine. They have done everything to destroy us!

False -- WND has nobody to blame but itself. Google no longer wants to do business with WND -- and, as a private business, it's under no legal obligation to do business with anyone it doesn't want to --  because it publishes fake news and conspiracy theories, and it has continued to do so even though it's costing WND. But who needs facts when you have fearmongering? And that's exactly what Farah leans into:

Please understand what I am saying to you today. Google and Big Tech are killing us. But the goal of these radicals is much bigger than killing WND. They are aiming to rig the next election when they are facing what everyone knows would otherwise be a shellacking this November. Then they will impose draconian hammerlock control on speech that will pervade the entire internet. No more opposition, no more dissent.

In his March 1 column, Farah whined that "Big Tech controls the media – like a hammerlock, tighter than Communist China," citing as an example how every other news organization points out that there's no evidence that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump and that one website (the UK's Daily Mail, which is actually a right-wing news organization) said they were "unfounded claims." Farah huffed in response: "Unfounded claims. This is Big Tech laying down the law. It doesn't matter how much evidence is provided. There will NEVER be enough evidence provided for Big Tech."

Funny, we remember that there was never enough evidence for WND to accept that Barack Obama was an American citizen. Farah went on to play victim again:

One of Big Tech's first targets years ago, WND has been permanently demonitized and banished from Google. When did it start? When Donald Trump first ran for president! Google controls the narrative. Do you get it? Google is one of the wealthiest corporation in the world.

Big Tech doesn't have a conscience – a sense of freedom or fair play. It's the devil's tool for controlling the American people!

Google employs strict political speech codes designed to determine what is acceptable discourse in the public square – much like what we see on university and college campuses. In the case of Google, these restrictions determine which websites succeed and which fail.

Farah didn't explain why Google is not allowed to create a better search product for its users by deprecating "news" sites that publish fake news and conspiracy theories.

He concluded by sucking up to Trump yet again:

Donald Trump is an American hero for standing up and fighting such evil.

He's running for president (unofficially at this point) and leading the opposition – just the way the Ukrainian people are leading the opposition to the Russian invasion.

Trump is a liar, but sadly, Farah is too invested in his lies to admit he's been played. 

Farah spraed similar apocalytic arguments in his column the next day:

We need to respond collectively and individually as if we are in a new war of independence, a new fight for liberty, a new battle for the mind, heart and soul of America.

Don't let the first domino fall, or it will start a chain reaction whose consequences will be catastrophic. Don't let WND be the first domino.

Rally around the first independent media site – not only to preserve it in this crisis, but to make it more vibrant through growth.

I'm calling for your urgent help. Speak out, support WND, support other independent voices and journalists – especially those with integrity and commitment to freedom, independence and a Judeo-Christian worldview.

Recently, Google permanently demonetized WND. I'm sure they saw it as a death blow to the 25-year-old company – the final straw.

I speak with candor and urgency. We will not sell out or just fade away.

He added: "We had to disband our line of bestselling books, WND Books – because Big Tech, of which Amazon is a part, was killing it. Quickly following it, they killed off our successful line of movies, WND Films." Farah offered no proof that thte book or movie division were "killed" by "Big Tech" or even any evidence these divisions made money; as we recall, publishing the book of an anti-Semitic white nationalist had much more to do with killing the book division than anything "Big Tech" purportedly did.

The really sad thing? Farah's idea of "selling out" is to stop publishing fake news and conspiracy theories and act like a responsible news organization. Clinging to that belief would seem to all but guarantee that he and WND will fade away.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:03 AM EDT
Friday, April 1, 2022
MRC Psaki-Bashing, Doocy-Fluffing Watch, Catch-Up Edition
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has been a massive generator of misleading right-wing narratives that it's been way too long since we checked in on Curtis Houck's obsession with fluffing Peter Doocy and denigrating Jen Psaki. So we're going to go way back to see what we missed -- back to Jan. 26, when Doocy returned to his usual hostile, biased questioning of Psaki after the little kerfuffle over President Bideni nsulting him (which the MRC denied being triggered by despite cranking out days of content about it):

Aside from a question by the White House Correspondents Association president, it was back to business Tuesday in the White House Briefing Room a day after President Biden called Fox’s Peter Doocy “a stupid son of a bitch” and then called him to hash it out. Doocy led the way in shifting focus back to the news, battling Press Secretary Jen Psaki over illegal immigration and the crisis at the Russia-Ukraine border.

Unlike, say, CNN’s Jim Acosta or any other liberal journalist, Doocy didn’t dwell on what Biden said and went straight to Psaki with the news of exclusive video from his colleague Bill Melugin at the U.S.-Mexico border: “Why is it that large numbers of single adult men are being released into the United States just hours after being apprehended at the southern border?”

Houck then touted Doocy asking Psaki a question that hasn't exactly aged well:

Staying on Ukraine, Doocy wanted to know what the White House made of a BuzzFeed report that, in his words, cited “a source close to the Ukrainian president” “think[s]” Americans who’ve evacuated Ukraine “are safer” back there “than in Los Angeles.”

Psaki ignored the comparison, instead saying the evacuations are part of “always...mak[ing] decisions that are in the security interests of people who are serving as diplomats around the world” and, based on the number of Russian soldiers near the Ukrainian border, it “sounds pretty dangerous to me.”

Nope, didn't age well at all.

In a Feb. 11 post, Houck gushed over biased questions from a different Fox employee, Jacqui Heinrich, which also didn't age very well given subsequent events:

During a tense Friday White House press briefing in which National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan warned Americans to leave Ukraine in the next 24 to 48 hours ahead of a likely Russian invasion, Fox’s Jacqui Heinrich brought the heat to both Sullivan and Press Secretary Jen Psaki about whether President Biden still believes pre-invasion sanctions are “stupid” and whether a bloody war in Ukraine would put what Heinrich later called “a black mark on this administration.”


She also asked a key question of, “if we don't know if Putin has made up his mind, why are we hearing this warning from Jake Sullivan that Americans should get out ideally in the next 24 to 48 hours,” which Psaki conceded as stark but necessary to preemptively get ahead of an invasion as a bloody war featuring airstrikes would make life “very difficult” for Americans.

Houck ridiculously headlined that post "Jacqui Swagger" -- as if "swagger" was a more important attribute for a reporter than, say, asking fair questions that don't push a political agenda. Then again, it probably is for Houck.

On Feb. 15, Houck cheered Heinrich for pushing right-wing narratives about the dubious John Durham filing that the MRC had been obsessed with:

While many of her colleagues and their respective networks have refused to cover the bombshell news in the Durham investigation, Fox’s Jacqui Heinrich brought it up during Monday’s White House press briefing, repeatedly pressing Principal Deputy Press Secretary and former MSNBCer Karine Jean-Pierre for answers on whether Team Biden supports spying on political opponents.

Of course, Jean-Pierre wanted nothing to do with her queries about a filing from Special Counsel John Durham that an indicted Clinton campaign attorney paid to have a tech company surveil the computers of Trump Tower and the Trump White House during and after the 2016 election.

The next day, Houck did it again:

Two days after Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre ducked questions from Fox’s Jacqui Heinrich about the< bombshell filing in the John Durham investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe, Heinrich posed the same questions to Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday and, not surprisingly, she received the same result.


Psaki stuck to her talking points while acknowledging Heinrich tried to ask Jean-Pierre two days earlier: “Again, I know you asked my colleague a few questions about this the other day, but I would point you — any questions about this to the Department of Justice.”

Heinrich aptly tried again with the astute tactic of talking in a broader manner about whether such allegations, if true, are acceptable.

Houck was back to cheering Heinrich for asking more biaised, not-aging-well questions on Russia and Ukraine in a Feb. 21 post, upon which Houck stuck the similarly ridiculous headline "Friday Spice":

With no Monday edition of The Psaki Show due to President’s Day, we’ll look back to Friday and how Fox’s Jacqui Heinrich not only hammered Press Secretary Jen Psaki over Team Biden’s refusal to sanction Russia ahead of a likely invasion of Ukraine, but drew Psaki’s scorn for wondering whether the U.S. is waiting for Ukranians to be slaughtered before financially crippling Russia.

Heinrich has hounded the White House for weeks on this matter, including one instance when Biden said asking about pre-invasion sanctions was “a stupid question.” And, as we saw over the weekend, Ukrainian President Zelensky voiced Heinrich’s concerns and slammed both the U.S. and NATO allies for thinking the threat of sanctions is a proper use of deterrence.


Psaki replied with the illogical claim that “sanctions are meant to be a deterrent” and leveling them “now” would actually give the Russians a reason to invade.

Put simply, someone’s gaslighting when it comes to the definition of deterrence.

And someone's clearly gaslighting when he portrays Doocy and Heinrich as fair and balanced reporters who aren't pushing partisan agendas.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:07 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, April 1, 2022 10:17 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: The Newsmax Personnel Merry-Go-Round
Topic: Newsmax
Between anti-vaxxers, deadbeat dads and credibly accused sexual harassers, Newsmax has hired a rogue's gallery of on-air talent and commentators. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 6:12 PM EDT
CNS Turns To Oil Industry Lobbyists To Rebut Biden Over Oil, Gas Leases
Topic:'s parent, the Media Research Center, has taken money from fossil fuel interests in the past, so it's no surprise that it would rely on the industry to rebut Biden administration claims about oil and gas leases on federal land. Melane Arter seemed annoyed in a March 4 article:

President Biden called for fighting inflation by making more goods in the United States in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, but the Biden administration doesn’t hold the same view when it comes to rising gas prices.

Fox News White House Correspondent Jacqui Heinrich asked Thursday, “On gas, you just said that, you know, ‘less supply raises prices,’ it’s not in our strategic interest to reduce the supply. We also know, you know, the President, as recently as yesterday, talked about increasing domestic manufacturing to bring down prices on inflated items like goods.  So why not apply the same logic to energy and increase domestic production here?”

“Well, there are 9,000 approved oil leases that the oil companies are not tapping into currently.  So I would ask them that question,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

Three days later, Craig Bannister cranked up the spin machine to try and shut down the claim:

In an effort to distract from President Joe Biden’s anti-domestic energy policies, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki insinuated last Thursday that, because there are nine thousand unused, approved oil leases in the U.S., American oil companies are simply refusing to begin producing domestic oil from them.


Despite Psaki’s insinuation, oil companies can’t simply start using approved oil leases to begin pumping, the fact check explains, noting that it could take up to 10 years of overcoming regulatory hurdles and years of drilling before the oil well of an “approved” lease becomes fruitful:

Bannister went on to quote the right-wing website the National File as evidence.

He followed up for a March 8 article by going straight to the oil industry's lobbying group:

On Monday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki repeated last week’s insinuation that, because there are approved oil leases going unused, the oil industry is refusing to increase U.S. production – but, the American Petroleum Institute (API) says that’s a red herring designed to distract from the Biden Administration’s anti-domestic energy policies.

Last Thursday, and again on Monday, Psaki told reporters to ask oil companies why they’re not using nine thousand approved oil drilling permits – a question API’s Kevin O’Scannlain answers in “The Red Herring of Unused Leases,” a blog on the organization’s website.

Oil companies have financial incentive to produce oil on leased federal lands, because they have to pay “rent” and are at risk of losing their leases until they begin producing, O’Scannlain explains:


Plus, it’s not as quick and easy as merely flipping a switch, since it takes years of work to determine whether the leased land even holds enough oil to be commercially viable, O’Scannlain writes.

Then, there’s the long process of overcoming “administrative and legal challenges at every step along the way The lengthy process to develop them from a lease often is extended by administrative and legal challenges at every step along the way.”

“The argument about ‘unused’ leases is a red herring, a smokescreen for energy policies that have had a hamstringing effect,” on oil production, O’Scannlain says.

But Neither Bannister nor O'Scannlain explained where, exactly, in the regulatory process all those 9,000 leases are and when they can be put online.

Bannister mislead his readers by hyping that the Biden administration suspended the issuance of new leases when Biden took office but not reporting that the moratorium has since been lifted, and the Biden administration has issued more drilling permits on federal lands than Trump did. Bannister also misleadingly claimed:

The Biden Administration isn’t just refusing to grant additional leases - it has actually revoked a permit that could bring 830,000 barrels of crude oil daily to the U.S.

In a controversial move during his first day in office, Pres. Biden revoked the permit allowing extension of the Keystone XL pipeline to Alberta, Canada. If completed, the pipeline could potentially provide the U.S. with more oil than it currently buys from Russia.

In fact, most of the products from Keystone XL oil would likely have been exported. But when you put serving talking points ahead of reporting facts, these kind of things happen.

Bannister went to industry lobbyists again for a March 22 article:

“How do you know what motivates company business decisions?” a coalition of 10 oil and natural gas trade associations asked President Joe Biden after Biden claimed that companies were refusing to pump more oil, in order to increase their profits.

Last Friday, the coalition sent a letter to Biden, urging him to stop falsely blaming oil and natural gas companies for not producing more due to greed when, in fact, it is his administration’s anti-energy policies that are responsible.

The letter seeks to address “repeated distortions and half-truths that have been expressed by White House officials” and to “set the record straight and provide a bit of context on statements that have been made regarding energy production,” the coalition writes.

Actually, the Dallas Federal Reserve office recently surveyed 139 oil and gas companies about trends in the industry, and one of the questions asked, "Which of the following is the primary reason that publicly traded oil producers are restraining growth despite high oil prices?" Nearly 60 percent responded, "Investor pressure to maintain capital discipline"-- i.e., investors want prices high so they can make money.Less than 10 percent cietd "government regulations" as the reason.

Instead of noting that, Bannister let the lobbyists complain that "Language and facts matter." Of course, if they mattered, Bannister would have reported the full truth instead of being a stenographer for industry lobbyists.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:08 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, April 1, 2022 1:21 AM EDT
Thursday, March 31, 2022
MRC Right-Wing Echo Chamber Mad At Being Called Out for Hyping Bad Biden Poll Numbers
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Drennen complained in a March 1 post:

Just hours before President Biden’s first State of the Union address on Tuesday, MSNBC anchor Chuck Todd wailed that the “right-wing echo chamber” was to blame for a majority of Americans having a bad view of the Biden economy in multiple polls. He went on to complain to fellow Democratic Party hack Jen Palmieri that the “Democratic echo chamber” needed to do a better job of spreading propaganda.


Talking to a panel of guests moments later, the exasperated host bitterly whined: “51% believe the economy is in a recession or depression. I mean, look, it’s just not God, there’s jobs. There’s good jobs.” He then asked former Obama White House communications director (and Todd family dinner party guest) Palmieri: “Is this a – the right-wing echo chamber is better than Democratic echo chamber?”

Palmieri agreed and bemoaned how “the right-wing echo chamber is always better than the Democratic echo chamber.” She laughably argued – on MSNBC of all places – that: “It’s not because Democrats aren’t smart and strategic, it’s because we just don’t repeat what we’re told to say and we never will.”

Drennen didn't dispute the existence of a "right-wing echo chamber" that lives to hype Biden's poll numbers -- presumably because he knows he can't. Indeed, the MRC is a proud member of that right-wing echo chamber; it has aggressively pushed polls with the numbers it prefers -- however dubious and biased -- to attack the Biden administration (flip-flopping from its fact-free 2020 narrative that polls showing Biden winning the election were made up). Here are the poll-hyping posts the MRC has published since the beginning of the year:

The MRC did not similarly obsess over Donald Trump's perennially low approval ratings during his presidency, nor did it chastise its fellow right-wing echo chamber residents for largely ignoring them.

The MRC needs to be honest with itself and admit it's not about "media research" but is nothing more than a right-wing echo chamber.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:05 PM EDT
WND Repeats More Election Fraud Misinfo From Arizona
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Though its COVID misinformation campaign has been driving it recently, WorldNetDailiy seems to want you to know that its election fraud misinformation game is trying to be strong too. Bob Unruh wrote in a Feb. 28 article:

Maricopa County, Arizona, officials admitted after the 2020 presidential election that there were some 25,000 ballots counted with mismatched signatures that weren't reviewed, or in the language of the election industry, "cured."

Actually, the number was more than 200,000.

That's according to a study of the county's mail ballots that year that was commissioned by the Arizona State Senate, explains a new report from Just the News.

The study of signature verification processes is just one of the outcomes of the 2020 presidential election ballot count that now is mired in multiple scandals.


Just the News reported the study was done by Shiva Ayyadurai's Election Systems Integrity Institute, after the county claimed 25,000, 1.3%, of the 1,911,918 early voting mail ballots "had signature mismatches that required curing." The county said only 587 were confirmed as mismatched signatures.

The name Shiva Ayyadurai should raise a red flag. He was hired last year by Arizona to conduct a biased audit of the 2020 election, and as we noted, he got things so wrong that fact-checkers wondered ifhe even understood how mail-in voting procedures even worked. He's playing games here too; he analyzed only 499 ballots, and the error rate he claims he found was then extrapolated to more than 200,000 purportedly fraudlent ballots. But has Maricopa County Board of Supervisors chairman Bill Gates pointed out, Ayyadurai's work ere is just as slipshod:

Gates called the work “discredited,” saying voter signatures and ballot envelopes are not public records and he, therefore, couldn’t accurately compare signatures. Ayyadurai went to other signatures on file at the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office for things like mortgages to compare signatures. “How is comparing signatures from one unrelated public recorded document to an early ballot envelope signature considered a viable way of proving identity for voting purposes?” Gates asked. “It’s not surprising this more recent report also uses faulty analysis to draw the conclusions Ayyadurai desires.”

Ayyadurai is also an anti-vaccine activist who thinks Anthony Fauci is a deep-state plant  and who has also dubiously claimed that he invented email and demands to be credited for doing so. In other words, just another WND-friendly crackpot.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:47 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, March 31, 2022 6:48 PM EDT
MRC's Graham Otherizes SCOTUS Nominee By Using Just Her (Non-Mainstream) First Name
Topic: Media Research Center

A Feb. 26 post by Media Research Center executive Tim Graham sought to reinforce the right-wing narrative of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson as a wild radical:

Naturally, the PBS NewsHour was delighted with President Biden's nomination of radical Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court on Friday night. David Brooks touted how Jackson brings “a new lived set of experiences. It can't help but have a humanizing aspect.” He put her in the mainstream….of the Democrats. That might be correct, but the Democrats are far to the left!

Interestingly, the headline of Graham's post simply referred to Jackson as "Ketanji," as if went by one name (she doesn't) and -- more importantly -- as if conservatives were trying to emphasize her out-of-the-mainstream first name as a way of "othering" her the way it tried do to Barack Obama.

Oddly, Graham appears to be a little sensitive to being accused of that. He defensively wrote in a Twitter post the next day:

For the record, I'm calling her Judge Ketanji because her first name is quite unique. If you think it's rude, and would prefer "Judge Jackson cause you're nasty," that's fine. But we're trying to get some attention here.

The MRC is a bit sensitive about this sort of thing, since it was very much fixated on Obama's middle name when it suited its right-wing agenda to do so -- but not so much when Obama himself used his middle name.Let's take a look back, shall we?

In 2008, the MRC rushed to the defense of right-wing radio host Bill Cunningham, who made a point of emphasizing "Hussein" in campaign appearances for then-GOP presidential candidate John McCain. Matthew Sheffield gave Cunningham space to laughably deny he was being Islamophobic by screeching "Hussein" at every opportunithy: ""I have nothing but respect for my Muslim brothers and sisters."And Brent Baker whined:

With cover from John McCain, NBC and ABC on Tuesday night condemned the “caustic” and “mocking” remarks of Cincinnati radio talk show host Bill Cunningham who, on stage before an Ohio campaign appearance by McCain, dared to utter Barack Obama's middle name and call him “a hack” Chicago politician.

Brent Bozell mocked in a 2008 column how some people "flail with outrage when a conservative uses his full name, Barack Hussein Obama. It’s not a lie. It’s not a distortion. It’s his name." grumbled in another 2008 column: "If you want an angry media mob, you need merely spit out "Barack Hussein Obama" at a McCain rally and watch the Guardians of Social Taste bring out the torches and pitchforks."

Scott Whitlock complained in 2009 that a reporter in Dubai "seemed interested in eliciting praise from the students about Barack Obama's middle name." Whitlock huffed in another 2009 post:

"Good Morning America's" Chris Cuomo reported live from Egypt on Wednesday and informed viewers that students at a university in Cairo are "given hope, just by the fact that a brown-skinned president named Barack Hussein Obama exists. " The news anchor, who was in the region to cover the President's speech on Thursday, provided a decidedly different tone than that of many journalists who avoided using Obama's middle name during the 2008 campaign.

Mike Bates obsessed a lot in 2009 over a clip of schoolchildren singing about Obama, writing in one post, "Last month it was school children merrily singing the praises of Barack Hussein Obama.  Mmm. Mmm.  Mm!  huffed in a another post: "It appears that at CBS News, as in much of the mainstream media, a conservative is anyone to the right of Barack Hussein Obama. Mmm. Mmm. Mm!"

In 2010, Brad Wilmouth complained about a TV panel that debated whether "electing a President whose middle name was 'Hussein' had 'opened a door to better relations with the Arab and Islamic world. Or has it opened a door to more xenophobic American negativity?'"

Dan Gainor wrote in a 2011 post: "When Barack Hussein Obama was born, the United States budget was a bit more than $94 billion and ran only a $3 billion deficit that year. Ah the good ol' days." In anbother 2011 post, Noel Sheppard noted "what Senator Barack Hussein Obama said five years ago."

Graham played whataboutism over right-wingers who insisted on using Obama's full name in a 2012 post: "what about liberals who make fun of the name 'Willard Mitt Romney'?"

Yes, Graham may be trying to "get some attention" by emphasizing Jackson's name, but is it the kind of attention he really wants, given that it's tghe same playbook he and his fellow right-wingers used against Obama a decade ago? Apparently so, because he used "Ketanji" as a stand-alone name in more posts:

Certainly, nobody can accuse Graham of having empathy for anyone he hates (well, is paid to hate) for not being a right-winger like he is.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:31 PM EDT
CNS Sneers At Biden During State of the Union Address

Cherry-picking quotes to portray President Biden as senile was only one part of's coverage of his State of the Union address -- it was highly critical and largely dismissive all around.

That tone started in a March 1 preview of the address, in which Susan Jones dismissively wrote: "In his State of the Union address tonight, President Joe Biden 'will absolutely use the word 'inflation,'' White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters on Monday." Another preview article by Jones started by quoting a  Democrat saying nice things, then quickly pivoted to spouting Republican talking points:

A number of Republicans are urging President Biden to sanction Russia's energy sector -- to stop its oil and gas exports, including those to the United States.

They say Biden should remove the restrictions he imposed on U.S. energy production to make the United States energy independent, even a net energy exporter, as it was just a few years ago.

At the moment, the Biden administration has exempted Russia's lucrative energy exports from U.S. sanctions.

And that was just the start of the pre-emptive attacks on an address that had not yet been given:

  • Melanie Arter wrote: "As President Biden prepares to deliver his State of the Union address, many are wondering what the president will say. For Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Fla.), one word comes to mind – 'bloviate.'"
  • Emily Robertson wrote that "President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address 'will not be a unifying or bipartisan speech and will not focus on the issues that the American people really need and are looking for him to address,' said Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel during a media call on Monday."

CNS began its coverage of the actual address with surprisingly straight reporting on what Biden said:

Then it was time to put out more Repuiblican talking points, as demonstrated by Jones:

Of all the sanctions the United States has imposed on Russia and its president, penalizing Russia's oil and gas sector is not among them.

The United States continues to buy gas from Russia, despite calls from Republicans to stop paying for Russian gas as President Putin wages war against democracy in general and Ukraine in particular.

In his state of the Union Address Tuesday night, Biden did not mention U.S. oil production, but he did mention climate change. And he noted that "so many families are...struggling to keep up with the rising cost of food, gas, housing, and so much more."

Jones followed that with an article devoted to one Republican's attacks on the address as "devoid of all reality of what is happening in the United States." Managing editor Michael W. Chapman, on the other hand, found a liberal columnist who complained that Biden didn't mention black people in his speech. There were no articles praising Biden.

Then there was a raft of anonymously written article cherry-picking varioius statements Biden made -- even though a comprehensive article that a CNS reporter would have been willing to put a byline on would have been more journalistically sound -- designed to fixate onthings right-wingers could exploit:

Speaking of that last item, abortion-obsessed editor Terry Jeffrey made sure to put his own slant on a post-address article:"After delivering a State of the Union Address on Tuesday in which he advocated for “a woman’s right to choose” to abort her unborn child, President Joe Biden attended Mass on Sunday at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Catholic Church in Greenville, Del." Jeffrey likes to lord his supposedly superior Catholicism over Biden.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:49 AM EDT
Wednesday, March 30, 2022
MRC Cheers Death Of RT -- But Won't Mention Conservatives Who Had Shows There
Topic: Media Research Center

We've noted how Russian aggression in Ukraine abruptly awakened the Media Research Center's interest in the Russia Today channel -- though it studiously ignored the fact that notable conservatives like Dennis Miller and Steve Malzberg had shows on the channel. As the Russian war in Ukraine escalated, so did the MRC's attacks on RT.

Nicholas Fondacaro served up some backhanded praise of non-right-wing channels in bashing RT in a Feb. 28 post: "You may have thought CNN and MSNBC spewed outright lies and falsehoods, but with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, they don’t hold a candle to state-controlled RT (Russia Today)." Actually, the  Fox News model is much closer to the RT model when it comes to spreading falsehoods, especially when Republicans control the government.

The same day, Catherine Salgado imposed another shopworn MRC narrative on RT and other Russian-controlled media: Russia state-affiliated accounts on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are still allowed to influence their approximately 38.7 million followers even as Russia attacks Ukraine. ... These are the same platforms that banned former U.S. President Donald Trump in January, 2021." Salgado then played dumb on what Trump did: "Facebook, YouTube and Twitter banned then-President Donald Trump in 2021 for supposedly encouraging violence." Wait, what? "Supposedly"? The record is pretty clear on Trump playing a major role in instigating the Capitol riot. In a case of reality overtaking a political narrative, Salgado had to update her post to note that, yes, social media sites were taking aim at Russian state-media accounts.

A March 1 post by Scott Whitlock cheered that "DirectTV was FINALLY dropping Russian propaganda outfit RT" and compiled "five of the most offensive, idiotic, ridiculous falsehoods" if found on RT -- an exercise the MRC will never do on Fox News. Salgado returned to lament that "DirecTV absurdly refused to renew One America News Network earlier this year while RT’s programming was only suspended after Russia invaded Ukraine." Curtis Houck marked the "final moments of Putin's stoogefest" as DirecTV pulled the plug.

Tierin-Rose Mandelburg also played the Trump equivocation in a March 2 post: "It took a full-fledged war for Big Tech to take action against Russia state-affiliated accounts like Sputnik and RT, Russia Today. President Donald Trump was censored 625 times before being permanently banned." The correct way to say that is that Trump violated social media terms of service 625 times, which led to him being permanently banned (plus the whole inciting-a-Capitol-riot thing).

When RT announced it would cease production after ghetting deplatformed, fondacaro cheered in a March 3 post:

Following DirectTV’s pledge and on dropping the state-funded “news” station earlier this week, Russia Today (RT) told staff that they would experience a “permanent” “layoff” as the network “ceasing production” in a couple of months. That, according to CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy, who obtained an internal memo announcing the move to staff.

In the memo, T&R Productions general manager Misha Solodovnikov informed their American-side propagandists they would be “ceasing production … as a result of unforeseen business interruption events.”

“Laid off employees will not have bumping rights, that is, the ability to use your seniority with T&R to remain employed by displacing another employee from his or her job,” the memo added.


Darcy deduced that “[t]he news would mean an effective end to RT America” as DirecTV and Roku have kicked dictator “Vladimir Putin’s main mouthpieces in the US” to the curb.

None of these posts mentioned the conservatives who had shows on RT -- not even to denounce them for working witih Russian state media. Maybe the MRC doesn't want to be reminded that it too held warm thoughts about Putin because he mouthed conservative-friendly talking points. It's part of the MRC giving conservatives a pass for being Putin-curious.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:17 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: Doing It For Durham
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center aggressively hyped claims by right-leaning special counsel John Durham that suggested the Hillary Clinton campaign was spying on Donald Trump -- then got mad that the hype was fact-checked and found to be factually lacking. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 2:30 PM EDT

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