MRC Melts Down Over Russian Disinformation Being Identified As Such Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center cheered the death of Russian propaganda channel RT on U.S. television (while censoring the fact that a couple of its fellow conservatives had shows on the channel). That was followed, however, by backpedaling as it freaked out over social media outlets taking similar action against Russian propaganda. Catherine Salgado complained in a March 11 post:
Browsing app and search engine DuckDuckGo, formerly a go-to for free speech advocates sick of Big Tech censorship, is now going to downrank sites it deems connected to “Russian disinformation.”
DuckDuckGo CEO Gabriel Weinberg tweeted, “Like so many others I am sickened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the gigantic humanitarian crisis it continues to create. #StandWithUkraine.” He added, “At DuckDuckGo, we've been rolling out search updates that down-rank sites associated with Russian disinformation.” Weinberg did not detail what qualified as “Russian disinformation.”
While DuckDuckGo previously defined itself in opposition to Google and pledged “unbiased results,” the latest decision seems to make DuckDuckGo just another player in the Big Tech censorship game.
Salgado didn't explain why DuckDuckGo must treat Russian propaganda the same as more credible information -- after all, like any other search site, the company wants to serve its customers by delivering high-quality results without a lot of junk and misinformation. For this commonsense move, however, salgado has decided that DuckDuckGo is no different than the rest of "big tech":
The question remains whether DuckDuckGo will go beyond targeting only Russian “disinformation,” and how the latter will be defined. Government entities, for instance, admitted they were wrong about things formerly dubbed COVID-19 “misinformation” earlier in the pandemic, such as the Wuhan laboratory leak theory of the virus's origins. The so-called “misinformation” of today may be widely acknowledged as fact tomorrow, and Big Tech can’t be trusted to be objective.
Actually, as we've noted the last time the MRC pushed this, the lab-leak theory has yet to be conclusively proven, and there's still plenty of evidence that discredits the theory.
The next day, Autumn Johnson seemed upset that YouTube cracked down on Russian propaganda on its platform:
YouTube blocked all Russian media outlets globally.
Previously, YouTube only blocked RT and Sputnik’s channels in Europe. The channels are state-funded.
“We began blocking RT & Sputnik’s YouTube channels across Europe,” YouTube tweeted at the time. “Since Russia began its invasion in Ukraine, we’ve been focused on removing violative content & connecting people to trusted news & information.”
YouTube changed this stance on Friday evening.
We thought the MRC liked it when Russian propaganda was called out for what it is. Make up your minds, guys!
WND Presents Fox News Democrat As A Real Democrat Topic: WorldNetDaily
Bob Unruh wrote in a March 14 WorldNetDaily article:
Those who are likely to vote in this fall's midterm elections see Democrats as out of touch and largely ineffective, which bodes ill for the party that is trying to cling to the narrowest of majorities in both the U.S. House and Senate.
That's according to a longtime Clinton pollster: Douglas Schoen.
He and his business partner, Carly Cooperman, wrote this weekend in a commentary for the Hill that it looks like the party could be looking at substantial losses in November.
"Indeed, the findings of our survey — which was conducted among likely 2022 midterm election voters — show that the electorate is increasingly pessimistic about the direction in which President Biden and Democrats are steering the country and feel that the party’s priorities do not align with their own," the two said.
Just one problem: Schoen hasn't been a real Democrat for years. As we documented when CNSNews.com tried to portray him as a allegedly reasonable Democrat, Schoen was and is a Fox News Democrat -- using his history of working for Democratic candidates to bash Dems in a way that right-wingers find entertaining -- who has donated to, and helped raise money for, Republican candidates. He now works for Newsmax, where he's presumably doing the same thing.
Unruh didn't report any of that in his article -- narrative before fact, after all.
Newsmax Uniroinically Complains That The Media Lies Topic: Newsmax
Gene Berardelli ranted in a March 18 Newsmax column under the headline "There's No Denying It Anymore: The Media Lies to You":
Once upon a time, corporate media put in some effort to try to convince us that it was fair and impartial purveyor of news and current events. These days, news has given way to narrative.
If you needed further proof, you need not look further than the New York Times, who buried the lede when it confirmed the legitimacy of the New York Post’s much-maligned stories about Hunter Biden’s laptop in the middle of its coverage of The Justice Department’s investigation into his business dealings.
Sorry cannot be good enough. Not anymore. We, the duped, cannot allow this latest instance of media malfeasance to go unnoticed. We must remember those like Psaki and CNN and everyone else who embraced narrative over news, and hold them to account.
We can no longer tolerate hatchet jobs based on nameless and faceless “people familiar with” whatever the issue may be.
The time for half-measures is over. The benefit of the doubt is gone. Either corporate media returns to its reporting roots, or it’s time we get our news from those committed to reporting the news, not becoming the news.
Berardelli made no mention of the irony of his column being published by Newsmax, which is currently being sued by voting-tech companies Dominion and Smartmatic for spreading fake news about them, and which also settled a defamation lawsuit filed by a Dominion executive last year out of court.
Perhaps Berardelli should be looking closer at media malfeasance at the place that publishes his column before he casts aspersions elsewhere.
CNS Remains Weirdly Obsessed With Buttigieg's Private Life Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com ahs been weirdly obsessed with Pete Buttigieg, from attacking him for being gay and having a spouse when he was nominated as transportation secretary to smearing him as "Trans Secretary Pete" and illustrating a story about him discussing policiy issues with a photo of him kissing his husband. CNS has continud to be obsessed with Buttigieg's private life.
Last fall, CNS reporter Susan Jones attacked Buttigieg for taking family leave to help care for his newly adopted children. Jones complained in one article that Buttigieg "hasn't had much, if anything, to say about the disruptive, multi-day Southwest Airlines flight cancellations that have stranded thousands of passengers; or the nation's supply chain logjam, where dozens of container ships wait off the California coast for the opportunity to unload" -- though she never explained what, exactly, Buttigieg was supposed to be doing about them.A couple weeks later, Jones huffed that "Buttigieg is just getting back to work after two months of unannounced paternity leave, a time when supply chain bottlenecks worsened at the nation’s ports," even though he pointed out that he was working during that time. Again, she didn't say what he was supposed to be doing, but she did sneer, "Buttigieg's newborn twins have two fathers -- no mother in sight."
An anonymously written Jan. 7 article was a couple weeks late to the party in finally getting around to Buttigieg's Christmas message:
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg marked his Christmas Day celebration by tweeting out a photograph of himself with his husband, Chasten, and their adopted twin babies.
“From our family to yours, Merry Christmas!” Buttigieg said in the tweet.
The photo showed Buttigieg and his husband sitting on a carpet in front of a Christmas tree with each one of them holding one of the twins.
There was no explanation of why CNS thought this was worth a "news" story, aside from the undercurrent of freaking out its right-wing audience by showing a same-sex couple.
A Jan. 25 article by Melanie Arter seemed to be annoyed that "Chasten Buttigieg, the husband of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, told CNN that a bill that a House committee in Florida passed, which bans discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools 'will kill kids.'"
The anonymous CNS writer was a little more on the ball in a Feb. 16 article in being aghast that Buttigieg expressed his love for his spouse on Valentine's Day:
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg sent out a tweet on Monday that featured a photo of him hugging his husband Chasten from behind and wishing this spouse a happy Valentine’s Day.
“Happy Valentine’s Day, my love!” Buttigieg said in the message he inserted above the photo.
Again, there's no news value here, given that CNS published no other politician's Valentine's greetings to their loved ones. It's pretty clear that, as with the Christmas message, CNS wants its right-wing readers to be appalled that a gay man has a loving and healthy relationship. The article also made a point of highlighting the children Buttigieg adopted -- despite this news being months old -- for, again, no reason but inflaming CNS' homophobic audience.
MRC Has Been Mostly Quiet About OAN's Cancellation by DirecTV Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has done only the bare minimum to defend far-right channel One America News from criticism against it. We noted that it touted "angry letters" from OAN to critics including MSNBC's Rachel Maddow who pointed out that an OAN staffer also worked for Russian propaganda outlet Sputnik News. (OAN later filed a libel lawsuit against Maddow that was swiftly tossed out of court, something the MRC never reported to its readers.) The MRC also had a fit earlier this year when NewsGuard -- which it's currently waging a failing war against -- rated OAN low for trustworthiness, but failed to mention the falsehoods and conspiracy theories OAN pushed that earned it that abysmal rating.
When DirecTV -- the biggest carrier of OAN -- announced in January it was dropping the channel, the MRC was surprisingly silent, even though OAN aired the MRC's shoddy, biased mini-documentary "Killing Keystone" the month before. The frist reference to it took place two weeks after the announcement was a Jan. 29 column by Jeffrey Lord when he noted it as an example of alleged censorship of conservative outlets.
The MRC didn't mention it again until a month later, as cable and satellite companies dropped Russian propaganda channel RT over the Russian invasion of Ukraine. A Feb. 28 post by Curtis Houck highlighted a NewsNation segment on RT's content while also noting that the segment "allud[ed] to the public campaign to have DirecTV drop One American News Network (which, unfortunately, was successful) and suggested that, if people spent resources kvetching about OANN having a platform, the same could happen with RT."
The MRC finally got around to bestowing victim status on OAN over its DirecTV cancellation in a March 1 post by Catherine Salgado:
While DirecTV only just dropped RT America, the satellite provider already refused to renew its contract with One America News Network (OAN), which will expire this year, Newsmax reported in January. Did DirecTV consider OAN more untrustworthy and controversial than Russian state propaganda?
The question the network didn’t answer is, why would DirecTV wait to drop RT America’s programming until days after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while the satellite provider had already dropped OAN?
Lord followed up with a March 5 post noting that "In his recent speech at CPAC, former President Trump felt compelled to speak up for One America News" because of its cancellation by DirecTV, fully putting OAN into the victim sphere:
Taken all together and there is one stand out fact in the case of the American left: America’s free press is under assault.
The very point of a free press and free speech in America is to allow one and all to stand up for their beliefs in the public square so they can be debated and defeated if need be.
What is happening instead is that this or that group of left-wing corporate media elites, urged on by Democrats in Congress, are removing choice from the American audience because they detest conservatives and Trump, and therefore have determined to silence both as expressed in the media.
Lord (and Salgado) didn't mention that OAN has, in fact, seen its beliefs in false reporting and conspiracy theories debated and defeated. And censoring that reality is the only plausible way the MRC can treat OANn as a victim of a liberal conspiracy instead of its own misguided (and falsely defamatory) programming choices.
Autumn Johnson joined in the victimhood game in a March 12 post on OAN suing DirecTV for alleged breach of contract in cancelling OAN, uncritically fowarding claims of a liberal conspiracy:
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and several other attorneys general penned a letter slamming DirecTV for dropping OAN.
They said the company initially favored “viewpoint diversity” but that all changed when Joe Biden was elected president.
“Those values appear to have changed drastically in late 2020 when the legacy media decided Joe Biden was the next president.”
Like the others, Johnson said nothing about the lawsuits OAN itself faces over its false and defamatory reporting.
Interestingly, the MRC has published nothing about OAN or its lawsuit since. Even they seem to realize OAN is not worth defending aggressively.
CNS Plays Gotcha On Biden, Transgender Official, And The Irish Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com loves to play gotcha with President Biden -- something it never did with Donald Trump. A March 16 article by Susan Jones is another example of this:
"Welcome to Women’s History Month celebration," President Biden told a large group of mostly females on Wednesday. "We’re honored to have what may well be the most inspiring event we’ve had at the White House so far."
In his opening remarks, the president singled out various members of Congress and his administration, even the first lady of Iceland. But -- notably -- the president did not name his male-born, transgender Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Rachel Levine, who was at the gathering -- and was recently named USA Today's "Woman of the Year."
On top of that, Jones complained that "Biden began his remarks by noting that Vice President Kamala Harris was absent. But Biden mistakenly called Harris the "first lady," prompting a correction from his wife Jill, who is the first lady."
Jones continued her weird obsession with nitpicking Biden's words in a March 18 article:
President Joe Biden frequently invokes his own childhood and quotes his own parents and grandparents in the speeches he gives.
On Thursday, at a St. Patrick's Day celebration at the Capitol, Biden outdid himself, scattering two dozen references to his own family in his tribute to Ireland and his own Irish heritage.
He mentioned his "mom" once; his mother by name (Catherine Eugenia Finnegan Biden) once; his "mother," four times; his "grandmother" twice; his "dad" five times; his "father," twice; his "grandfather," once; his "grandpop" once; his great-grandfather twice (one of those time referring to his mother's grandfather); his "parents" four times; and his "great-great-grandparents" once.
Jones didn't mention in either article what the news valueof them were other than to take partisan potshots that it would never do if the president was a Republican.
MRC Tries To Drag Teachers Into Its War On NewsGuard Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's increasinglydesperate war against website rater NewsGuard for committing the offense of documenting the low quality of information at right-wing websites extended to an attempt to interfere with its business operations by bashing a teachers union taht contracted with the company. Catherine Salgado raged in a Jan. 26 post:
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.
Salgado then rehashed the MRC's bogus attacks on NewsGuard, followed by a quote from 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.”
Rating the quality of websites is like critical race theory? That's a new one. But, hey, narratives are the MRC's business, and Bozell had to cram in the latest buzzwords.
The MRC tried to ramp up the war on NewsGuard and the AFT by calling its right-wing buddies in to screech at it, as Salgado wrote in a March 3 post:
The Media Research Center and more than 40 other conservative leaders warned governors about the left-wing bias of ratings firm NewsGuard.
The joint letter, signed by MRC founder and President Brent Bozell and dozens of other free speech advocates, sounded the alarm both on NewsGuard’s leftist bias and the ratings firm’s dangerous and growing influence in the educational arena. NewsGuard recently partnered with the American Federation of Teachers to bring its online “credibility” ratings and other resources to teachers and school children.
The letter itself featuring some of the MRC's lamest attacks on NewsGuard as purported evidence of its bias, such as arguing that HuffPost got a high rating despite "an attack piece on then-conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh following his death" (the letter clearly wasn't well edited, given the odd description of Limbaugh as "then-conservative") and that Planned Parenthood's rating should be lower because it "performed 9 million abortions as of July 2021" while anti-abortion websites got lower ratings (the MRC cited no misinformation on the Planned Parenthood site and censored the misinformation found on those anti-abortion sites).
Ironically, some the letter's signatories are well known for publishing highly biased misinformation, such as David Kupelian of WND, Floyd Brown of the Western Journal and Steven Ertelt of LifeNews.
In a March 8 post, Brian Bradley got mad that the MRC's attempt to crash a webinar held by NewsGuard CEO Steven Brill and AFT president Randi Weingarten failed:
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said she’s happy that NewsGuard highly rates some news outlets that have been critical of her. And her group’s new partner was right by her side.
During a webinar Thursday, she and NewsGuard CEO Steven Brill weren’t even willing to answer a question about their clear left-skewed political leanings.
Given Weingarten’s transparent partisanship and the formation of the new partnership, MRC asked the two executives how anyone can take NewsGuard’s claims of neutrality seriously. They totally ignored the question, even as they answered several questions posted in the Zoom Q&A chat.
Bradley then boasted that a notorious misinformer attacked NewsGuard:
Also on the health front, Weingarten lamented that “anti-vaxx” group Children’s Health Defense, headed by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., “ attacked ” NewsGuard’s ties to Big Pharma in a Feb. 28 blog critical of the NewsGuard-AFT partnership.
The post links to marketing materials that note the health division of Publicis Groupe, a major early funder for NewsGuard in 2018, boasted “13 of the top 20 global pharmaceutical companies” as clients. However, it’s also worth noting that Publicis Groupe divested its health care division in 2019.
“If there’s anyone who has been viewed as an enemy of Big Pharma, it’s you,” Weingarten hailed Brill.
Brill then pivoted the conversation to talk about alleged health “misinformation,” “anti-vaxx decisions plaguing the world,” and so-called 5G conspiracy theories. He lauded U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy for calling out alleged health care “misinformation” as a big obstacle, and he complained that programmatic ad revenue had contributed to alternative COVID-19 narratives. Then Brill used rhetoric to lash into Kennedy.
“The really good news about the internet is that anybody can be a publisher. You know, any teacher, you know, in this audience who has an important thought or an important contribution, you know, can be a publisher,” Brill said. “The really bad news about the internet is that anybody can be a publisher, and anybody is a publisher. And if your name is Kennedy, uh, you get a lot of attention, which is just really sad and is a whole ‘nother sad story about that.”
It's unclear why Bradley put scare quotes around "anti-vaxx" when describing Children's Health Defense, because it is very explicitly and unambiguously an anti-vaccine group. And Bradley made no effort to debunk anything Brill said.
Bradley concluded by whining that "The problem is that politics is embedded in NewsGuard’s framework and in AFT’s leadership." Actually, the problem is that the MRC is trying to use the might of the right-wing media machine it helped build to try and censor and silence NewsGuard because it is in apparently desperate need of a scalp to hang in MRC headquarters. Unfortunately for the MRC, however, its lame attacks on NewsGuard -- and its embrace of extremists like Children's Health Defense in this own-the-libs bid -- aren't exactly making that case.
NEW ARTICLE -- WND Profiles In COVID Misinformation: Peter McCullough Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily loves giving a platform to McCullough, a doctor who has been wrong about so many things related to the COVID pandemic. Read more >>
MRC Predictably Pans Biden's State of the Union Address Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's coverage of President Biden's State of the Union address was what you'd expect from a right-wing narrative factory -- lots of emphasis on denigrating Biden and trashing his address.
Nicholas Fondacaro pretended he could read the minds of people he hates, claiming in a Feb. 28 post that ABC was "lamenting that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “forced” Biden to change his speech and was "bemoaning how, 'this is going to be a very different speech than the one the President was probably envisioning, just a few weeks ago.'" He offered no evidence of how he was able to interpret a simple reporting of facts into "lamenting" and "bemoaning."
The next day, Mark Finkelstein whined that "David Frum has gone from being a speechwriter for President George W. Bush, to being a cable-news speech adviser for Joe Biden." One of those suggestions was to "try to shift the blame for inflation from Biden to Putin, and accuse any politician who dares mention inflation of hurting Ukraine!" and Finkelstein didn't like this disruption of right-wing talking points:
Nice attempted two-part Democrat spin, David! Take the inflation onus off Biden, and silence critics who hold Biden responsible for inflation.
It's not going to work, because Americans have already suffered enough inflation pain to know who is really responsible. And good luck when it comes to silencing Biden critics. Nobody's going to believe that it is "undermining" Ukraine to hold Biden responsible for his domestic failures.
Kevin Tober served up his own attempt at mind-reading in another March 1 post:
This is where the leftist media’s priorities lie. On Tuesday evening, while previewing President Joe Biden’s upcoming State of the Union address Tuesday, both CBS’s Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell and NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt worried that Russian President Vladimir Putin could potentially “upstage” Biden during his speech by launching a “deadly attack” on Ukraine.
You can bet that if a Republican was President today, O’Donnell and Holt would not be worried about the President getting upstaged. Instead, they would hope for it.
Like Fondacaro, Tober didn't explain what divine revelation he received that showed him that reporting on something equated to being "worried" about it. Or why such reporting equates to making one "leftist."
After the speech, the MRC predictably lashed out at anyone who didn't hate the speech as much as it did:
The MRC also got mad at anyone who critiqued the Republican response given by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds. Alex Christy groused that "CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash defended Biden from attacks from Reynolds on his Russia record," followed by Tober huffing in a March 2 post:
The Democrat [sic] Party often wonders why it can’t compete with Republicans in rural midwestern states. If they look at their favorite cable network's rhetoric they will know why that is. Moments after Iowa Republican Governor Kim Reynolds finished her response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell mocked her.
[Maddow] then attacked Governor Reynolds’s performance:“I will say it is traditionally thought that the opposing party's State of the Union response is sometimes seen as a testing ground or maybe even a springboard to national ambitions. I don't think that will -- I don't think there's any risk of that this evening.”
After that moment of incivility, Maddow thought the best person to bring on would be fellow MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell who is known for his vitriolic commentary.
O’Donnell attacked Governor Reynolds by bringing up a past GOP State of the Union address by Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio:“the difficulty for this speech for Republicans and response has actually been dramatically lowered since the threshold was set by Marco Rubio. She cleared that because there were no water accidents at all. During this speech.”
Attacking a female Governor from the formerly swing state of Iowa is not the way to win over rural voters.
Never mind all those MRC post attacking Biden for giving the speech. Then, Tim Graham served up another of his fact-check fails:
The CNN "Facts First" fact-checkers evaluated 12 claims from President Biden's State of the Union address but only found one of those that they would describe outright as "false." It looked like an A for effort. They sounded notably tougher on three claims from the Republican rebuttal from Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, and tagged one as false -- that "the Department of Justice treats parents like domestic terrorists.”
CNN's Marshall Cohen claimed it was previously "debunked." It is correct that the "terrorist" language was used in a letter by the National School Boards Association, and not in official memos by the Attorney General. But the NSBA letter was requested by the Secretary of Education and they sent it to the president.
Neither of which have nothing to do with the fact that the NSBA never referred to all parents who spoke out at school board meetings as "terrorists" -- which Graham concedes. Graham failed to mention the fact that, as the CNN fact-check also noted, Attorney General Merrick Garland also never used the word "terrorist," making the claim doubly false. And as we noted when the MRC pushed this bogus narrative, only parents who made threats to school boards were the subject of concern, not all parents who ever spoke at a school board meeting.
Graham used his March 4 column to defend extremist Republican Rep. Laurent Boebert for heckling Biden during the speech:
Biden was speaking about soldiers getting cancer from serving in areas with toxic burn pits. He said “When they came home, many of the world’s fittest and best trained warriors were never the same. Headaches. Numbness. Dizziness. A cancer that would put them in a flag-draped coffin. I know.”
Rep. Lauren Boebert yelled “13 of them,” referring to the U.S. service members lost in a terrorist bombing in Kabul during the withdrawal from Afghanistan. The Democrats booed energetically. So Biden was heckled before Beau was mentioned.
Then Biden added “One of those soldiers was my son, Major Beau Biden,” and then he said "We don’t know for sure if a burn pit was the cause of his brain cancer." No one asks whether Beau was anywhere near burn pits in Iraq. No fact-checkers stir.
Heckling a president during the State of the Union (especially a Democrat president) is not polite or politically smart. But the liberal journalists who were scandalized by the heckling never take exception to Biden’s very repetitive citations of his son, so much it reeks of exploitation.
Note that Graham does not explicitly criticize Boebert for her heckling -- she's a fellow pro-Trump Republican, after all, and the MRC doesn't criticize their ideological peers (even if she's as much of a nutjob as Marjorie Taylor Greene).
How Have CNS' Putin Appeasers Reacted To Russia's War In Ukraine? Topic: CNSNews.com
We'vedocumented how CNSNews.com columnists were very much Putin appeasers before Russia's invasion of Ukraine, a stance that has not held up well. Let's look at how have they have taken the invasion as the war has continued.
Before the war, the Cato Institute's Doug Bandow was very much in appeasement mode, declaring in January that "Nothing suggests that Putin wants what can never be given. He went full isolationist in a Feb. 28 column, writing of Ukraine: "Stuck in a bad neighborhood, it faces a limited invasion by Russia. Such a conflict, though horrific, would have little direct impact on America." He then seemed to justify the invasion: "No doubt Kyiv is stuck in a bad neighborhood and Moscow is acting badly. However, throughout most of America’s history Ukraine was part of the Russian Empire and then the Soviet Union."
Bandow continued his isolationism in his March 2 column, while finally admitting the war is not justified:
Russia has done a great wrong against Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. And the American people personally need not remain "impartial in thought as well as in action," as President Woodrow Wilson once demanded. Even now many are organizing to aid Kyiv’s cause.
However, Washington must stay out of the conflict. As painful as it might be to some, America’s role really is to look "on from a distance." In that way it best serves those to whom it is responsible, the American people.
In his March 7 column, Bandow's isolationism continued:
Vladimir Putin’s government bears responsibility for the terrible crime of invading Ukraine. However, American arrogance, ignorance, and recklessness contributed to today’s crisis. As Washington responds to Russian aggression it also should learn from its past mistakes. Otherwise, history seems bound to repeat itself with deadly consequences.
That link goes to a coumn he wrote last ytear complaining that talk of admitting Ukraine into NATO was not "reassuring for Moscow" and that it "turned the Putin government hostile."
In his April 4 column, Bandow was still trying to find a way to blame to U.S. for Russia's invasion by talk of NATO:
Vladimir Putin and his ruling coterie are responsible for the unjustified and illegal invasion of Ukraine. Western policy toward Moscow since the Soviet collapse was foolish, even reckless, but that in no way justified the Russian attack. The Putin regime is responsible, and its crime will prove disastrous for the Russian as well as Ukrainian people.
Yet blame for the tragedy now befalling Ukraine – thousands of dead, millions of refugees, major cities bombarded, economy disrupted, society ravaged – is shared by the U.S. Washington again has demonstrated that its policies matter to the world. Usually in a horrifically negative way.
As has been oft detailed in recent days, the U.S. and European states blithely ignored multiple assurances made to both the Soviet Union and Russia that NATO would not be expanded up to their borders. The allies also demonstrated their willingness to ignore Moscow’s expressed security interests with the coercive dismemberment of Serbia, "color revolutions" in Tbilisi and Kyiv, and especially support for the 2014 street putsch against Ukraine’s elected, Russo-friendly president.
Whether such actions should have bothered Moscow isn’t important. They did, and perceptions are what matter. In this case, perception was reality. Indeed, Washington would never have accepted equivalent behavior by Russia in the Western hemisphere – marching the Warsaw Pact or Collective Security Treaty Organization up to America’s borders, backing a coup in Mexico City or Ontario, and inviting the new government to join the military alliance. The response in Washington would have been explosive hysteria followed by a tsunami of demands and threats. There would have been no sweet talk about the right of other nations to decide their own destinies.
Prior to the war, Ted Galen Carpenter -- like Bandow, a fellow at the Cato Institute -- was similarly blaming the Russian invasion on talk of letting Ukraine join NATO. In a March 22 column, Carpenter complained that "The dominant media narrative is that the U.S. government (and all Americans) must "stand with Ukraine" in the latter’s resistance to Russian aggression," adding that "the purpose of the current propaganda offensive is to generate public support in the United States for Washington’s military intervention on Ukraine’s behalf. This time, the American people need to recognize pro-war propaganda in the news media for what it is, and not take the bait."
Lawrence Vance of the Mises Institute was parroting the isolationism of Ron Paul as an argument to not get involved in Ukraine. In an April 4 column, Vance huffed that "Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, some conservative hawks — like those connected with the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) — have been squawking about the need for the United States to not only pay close attention to Chinese leader Xi Jinping, lest China attack and conquer Taiwan, but also to increase aid to Taiwan." He also touted how "Russia’s issue with Ukraine has been admirably explained by David Stockman"; in one column, Stockman called Ukraine a "rump state" run by "anti-Russian fascists and oligarchs" and that the "obvious solultion" to the war is for Ukrainian leader Volodomyr Zelensky to resign, give Russia the Crimea and the Donbas region and amending Ukraine's constitution "to prohibit its joining NATO or any similar western alliance, while reducing its military to a domestic law enforcement agency."
Ryan McMaken, also of the Mises Institute, was insisting that Russia wasn't that much of a geopolitical threat. He used a March 8 column to complain that the U.S. won't recognize Russia's claimed spheres of influence while pushing its own.
And then, of course, there's Pat Buchanan, pet columnist of CNS editor Terry Jeffrey, who worked on Buchanan's presidential campaigns in the 1990s. Before the war, he was rooting for Putin and blaming Russian aggression on, yes, talk of admitting Ukraine into NATO. He has kept that narrative up during the war:
In a March 4 column, Buchanan complained that the U.S. would be obligated to defend Estonia if Russia invades it because it's a NATO member, further whining that "Whether we go to war for a nation that was formerly part of the Soviet bloc should be a matter for decision by the Americans of that day and time — not mandated, not dictated by our signature on a 73-year-old treaty, devised for another era and another world."
Buchanan raged against NATO again on March 8, pondering, "Did Ukraine's trolling for membership in NATO trigger Putin's war?"
Buchanan was upset in his March 11 column about the prospect of Sweden and Finland joining NATO: "But Finland is the size of Germany and has an 833-mile border with Russia, which would be NATO's largest. Is it really credible that the U.S. would declare war or go to war with Russia to secure Finland's border?"
He argued for isolationism in his March 18 column: "America's desire today may be to inflict a defeat on Putin's Russia. U.S. vital national interests, however, dictate a negotiated peace."
In his March 22 column, Bechanan demanded "a formal declaration by Kyiv that it will never join a NATO alliance created to contain Russia and, if necessary, defeat Russia in a war" as a condition to end the fighting.
Buchanan used his March 25 column to blame Ukraine for fighting back and making Russia think about using nuclear weapons against it: "When did the relationship between Russia and Ukraine become a matter of such vital interest to the U.S. that we would risk war, possible nuclear war, with Russia over it?"
Buchanan was calling for capitulation again in his April 8 column, after noting that "Ukraine and Russia have suffered greatly" from the war: "Thus, the sooner this war ends, the better for us and our friends — even if it means having to talk to the man Biden cannot stop calling a war criminal and clamoring for his prosecution."
He freaked out again about Sweden and Finland joining NATO in his April 15 column: "Why is it wise for us to formally agree, in perpetuity, as NATO is a permanent alliance, to go to war with Russia, for Finland? ... Russia's invasion of Ukraine today is partly due to the U.S. and Ukraine's refusal to rule out NATO membership for Kyiv."
CNS sure seems to like columnists who will blame anyone but Russia for invading Ukraine.
MRC Gives Trump A Pass On Praising Putin -- But Bashes 'View' Host Topic: Media Research Center
It's Media Research Center policy to never offer unqualifed criticism of Donald Trump, no matter how badly he behaves. And when Trump praised Russia's Vladimir Putin for his actions in invading Ukraine, the MRC unsurprisingly gave him a pass on that too, only getting upset when others criticized him and then playing whataboutism.
In a Feb. 24 post, Alex Christy complained that political analyst John Heilemann "falsely claim[ed] in a twisted train of thought that Republicans and the 2016 election are to blame for Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and that Russian President Vladimir Putin is using the moment to weaken President Biden because he wants to see Donald Trump to win in 2024." Christy ignored Trump's praise of Putin even though it was referenced in the segment he was criticizing, leaving it buried in a transcript; instead huffing that "Putin didn’t need a divided America in order to invade Ukraine and, more importantly, he didn't launch an all-out war against Ukraine during the Trump years. So, if Trump is a Russian agent, would Heilemann's argument then call for Putin to put Trump in power first?"
The next day, Mark Finkelstein attacked Hillary Clinton for bring it up in a "Morning Joe" appearance, twisting her criticism to claim that she wants to kill Trump:
Hillary began her spiel by attacking Trump [without deigning to mention him by name] for praising Putin's "genius" and "smart move." That led Scarborough to denounce the Trump right as "useful idiots." Hillary upped that ante, accusing them of giving "aid and comfort" to the enemy. That is the very definition, under US law, of treason, and is punishable by death. Is that what Hillary has in mind for her political opponents?
Tim Graham actually did criticize Trump in a Feb. 27 post -- but then played whataboutism on the good (read: right-wing-friendly) things Trump said:
Trump praised Putin's smarts again (and mocked Biden's sanctions again) at a fundraiser for Senate candidates. "I mean, he's taking over a country for $2 worth of sanctions," Trump said. "I'd say that's pretty smart. He's taking over a country — literally a vast, vast location, a great piece of land with a lot of people, and just walking right in."
Ukraine is not just a hot piece of real estate to build some malls, and Trump has a bad habit of praising the smarts of some horrible people. But the Democrats and their media colluders tend to ignore or downplay the next passage, where Trump says this invasion wouldn't have happened if he were president.
That same day, Kevin Tober cheered a Republican senator for not deviating from right-wing talking points by refusing to comment on Trump's Putin praise, instead attacking ABC's George Stephanopoulos for asking him about it:
On Sunday’s episode of This Week, anchor George Stephanopoulos used his interview with Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton to continue to obsess over Donald Trump.
Following up on an issue raised in the previous segment with White House press secretary Jen Psaki over whether Russian President Vladimir Putin is mentally stable, Stephanopoulos asked Cotton if he agreed with Senator Marco Rubio that “something is off” about Putin.
Cotton didn’t take the bait, responding that he wouldn’t “play psychologist from 7,000 miles away.” Cotton turned the conversation back to the topic that mattered: “Ms. Psaki said that we all made the mistake of viewing Vladimir Putin as someone who sees the world through global norms. George, I never made that mistake. I have always seen Vladimir Putin as a ruthless dictator who wants to reassemble the greater Russian empire.”
In a March 4 post, Nicholas Fondacaro criticized a co-host of "The View" for praising a Putin strategy:
There was a serious case of whiplash during ABC’s The View on Friday as co-host Sunny Hostin called Russian dictator Vladimir Putin “smart” for attacking the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, an accolade that was deemed a treasonous act earlier in the week after former President Trump said something similar.
Of course, Fondacaro couldn't be bothered to criticize Trump when he said it, something he didn't disclose in his piece.
And that's the last time the MRC mentioned Trump's praise of Putin. Can't let reality interfere with right-wing narratives, y'know.
Farah Now Blaming Media Matters, George Soros For WND's Impending Demise Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah was in full conspiratorial froth in his March 9 WorldNetDaily column:
You can't make this stuff up.
Never, even in my fertile imagination, would I have guessed that we would find a smoking-gun 49-page memo revealing how George Soros operatives, including David Brock, were there at the genesis, the planning stages, with their hands on the ignition key, of the most concerted, well-funded, diabolical attack on free speech in the history of America.
Millions saw it on the DrudgeReport – including, no doubt, President Trump, Vice President Pence and Republican congressional leaders. But most Americans still know nothing of its existence – because it was not reported among the Big Media. And, today, the Big Media includes the DrudgeReport. They don't want you to know about it. They would be embarrassed if America found out how they have been used and manipulated – from their focus on "Russian collusion" to other wild conspiracy theories targeting their No. 1 villain, President Trump.
It was nothing short of a plan to turn Google, Facebook and other social media into hyper-partisan Democratic Party activists, promoters, cheerleaders and off-the-books donors in an effort to turn the country into a one-party state.
Actually, the memo didn't do any of that -- it's a fairly standard political strategy memo about how to counter the Trump administration after its victory, likely not so different from strategy memos prepared by conservative groups to counter Democratic president -- and probably not so different from memos created at WND to decide how to deceive and lie about Barack Obama. Also, Brock's Media Matters only received one donation from Soros more than a decade ago, so it's a bit of absurd for Farah to call the group a bunch of "Soros operatives."
But Farah was still in a conspiratorial mood -- which, of course, evolves into a money beg:
The strategies were – get this – impeachment, expanding Media Matters' mission to combat "government misinformation," ensuring Democratic control of the Senate in the 2018 midterm elections, filing lawsuits against the Trump administration, monetizing political advocacy, using a "digital attacker" to delegitimize Trump's presidency and damage Republicans, and partnering with Facebook to combat "fake news."
Did this diabolical strategy work? UNFAILINGLY!
Media Matters boasted then that it had "access to raw data from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites" so they could "systemically monitor and analyze this unfiltered data."
Brock's memo also says Media Matters gave Google "the information necessary to identify 40 of the worst fake new sites" so they could be banned from Google's advertising network.
Yeah, tell me about it. Now we have Joe Biden. Russia's invading Ukraine. Gas is close to $5 a gallon, even more in some cities. Hyper inflation is near. There are 2 million new illegal aliens in the country.
Our free elections are gone. Our free press is gone. We lost them both. You can't have one without the other.
I'm not here to say I told you so. I'm here to try to equip you for the titanic effort to bring those two freedoms back.
Here's what you can do to help WND and, literally, save the nation.
Yep, he's blaming Media Matters -- and, by extension, George Soros -- for basically running WND out of business. Never mind that if WND had committed to publishing facts and acted responsibly instead of embracing conspiracy theories and fake news, it might not be going down the tubes as we speak. But then, Farah remains in denial mode about the impending demise of WND.
(Disclosure: We used to work for Media Matters, and Farah hates us for that, among many other reasons.)
MRC Psaki-Bashing, Doocy-Fluffing Watch, Blame-Biden Edition Topic: Media Research Center
In the days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Media Research Center's Curtis Houck continued to push anti-American attitudes in his summaries of White House press briefing by emphasing Biden-bashing over unity. His lashing out at press secretary Jen Psaki during a March 1 Fox News appearance was typical:
Previewing President Biden’s State of the Union address, White House press secretary Jen Psaki joined FNC’s America’s Newsroom on Tuesday and squared off against co-hosts Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino over President Biden’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and specifically the administration’s refusal to budge on domestic oil and gas production and the timing of the CDC dropping its mask recommendations.
After opening with questions about whether the U.S. believes the violence from Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s military constitutes war crimes, Hemmer noted “[w]e buy Russia's oil and we don't need to” before asking whether Biden “will...make an appeal...based on some sort of shared sacrifice” that Americans “will consume less in order to help Ukrainian people and hurt Putin more.”
Psaki refused to budge from her talking points, insisting Biden wants to “maximize the impact on President Putin, on the cronies and the oligarchs who have been benefiting from so much corruption in Russia” and “squeeze the financial system there,” while also “minimizing the impact on the global markets and the American people.”
Hemmer tried again, but Psaki stood pat despite conceding that “standing up for democracy versus autocracy is not without cost” and “any instability in the global oil marketplace is the result of the actions of President Putin.”
Note that Houck did not accuse Hemmer and Perino of pushing talking points -- perhaps because he's singing from that very same script. He also didn't mention that he, Hemmer and Perino were setting up Psaki and Biden -- despite blaming Biden for not moving quickly enough to cut off oil exports from Russia, they would also blame Biden for the gas price spike once that oil was cut off. It's the right-wing script that Biden must always criticize him no matter what he does -- even if he does what right-wingers told him to do.
Houck did an ever-so-brief section at the end of his item touting how "reporters also came loaded for bear"at that day's press briefing, giving an seemingly MRC-mandated shout-out to Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich.
Houck gave Heinrich a more extensive gushing-over in his summary of the March 3 briefing for pushing that same talking point:
After having two days off for President Biden’s State of the Union and trip to Wisconsin, Thursday brought the return of The Psaki Show and, with the Biden administration still refusing to ban the import of Russian oil, the questions were fierce.
They included a slew from Fox’s Jacqui Heinrich with one presenting Psaki with the notion that the U.S. is “financing” Russia’s “war” against Ukraine “as long as we’re buying Russian oil,” which would square with the fact that oil and gas sales make up 36 percent of its national budget.
Heinrich started, however, by poking holes in the administration’s logic of refusing to expand domestic gas and oil production, but pushing for it in other areas to help drive down the price of goods:
Houck went on to sneer that "Psaki stuck to her previous answer, blaming oil companies for allegedly thousands of unused leases." He didn't disprove Psaki's statement, but instad he continued his Heinrich-fluffing:
Psaki engaged in a bait-and-switch, ignoring Heinrich’s point about money coming into Russia from U.S. oil purchases and instead saying Russian oil only makes up “about ten percent of what we're importing” even though cutting it off “would...raise prices.”
To her credit, Heinrich reached that point thanks to Psaki stonewalling from past questions, starting with two from the AP’s Colleen Long about Putin benefitting from higher prices so long as a ban remains off.
Houck's summary of the March 7 hearing was devoted to reporters -- with special attention given to right-wingers Steven Nelson of the New York Post and (credibly accused sexual harasser) James Rosen of Newsmax -- complaining that reporters didn't get to ask enough questions. After noting that White House Correspondents Association president and CBS News Radio correspondent Steven Portnoy pointed out that Psaki “made a conscious decision to try to honor the long-standing traditions of the room” since “the people before [her] [had] a different view.” Houck huffed in response: "This was a swipe at press secretaries for then-President Trump." Of course, Houck thought it was cool that those press secretaries wouldn't take questions and acted like jerks toward reporters.
Houck also made sure to get in his "Doocy Boom" fluffing from that briefing in a separate post:
Prior to Monday’s explosive post-briefing kerfuffle (which NewsBusters was able to audio from), the regularly scheduled Psaki Show featured the return of Doocy Time as the Fox News correspondent battled the press secretary over who or what’s to blame for high gas prices and why there’s been, at best, an apprehension to increased domestic oil and gas production as Russia’s war on Ukraine rages on.
Doocy started with the reality that prices were already on the rise prior to Russia’s formal invasion: “It sounds like you guys are blaming Putin for the increase in gas prices recently, but weren’t gas prices going up anyway because of post-pandemic supply chain issues?”
Sure enough, Psaki painted a rosy picture on energy prior to Russia’s unprovoked actions, saying “there’s no question that...the anticipated continued increase...is a direct result of the invasion of Ukraine.”
Houck then decided he could read Psaki's mind:
To Psaki’s chagrin and pleas to “let me finish,” Doocy reminded here that “President Biden signed an executive order his first week that halted new oil and gas leases on public lands.”
Psaki ignored that fact in favor of saying she had to “give you the facts here — and I know that can be inconvenient, but I think they’re important in this moment.”
She gave away the game of many using the crisis to force burdensome so-called clean energy sources on Americans, Psaki said Americans need to “make the shift to secure a...clean energy future” even as “[w]e are one of the largest producers with a strong domestic oil and gas industry” with oil companies holding us back.
Houck censored the fact that the moratorium on new oil and gas leases has been left and, as a result, the Biden administration has issued more leases than the entire Trump administration.
WND Serves Up Bogus Old-School Anti-Hillary Dog Whistle Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's bob Unruh wrote a Feb. 16 article with the headline "Hillary breaks out the other N-word in response to spying charges." It's not about any offensive word she might have said -- it's about her dismissing the claim from John Durham that she was spying on Donald Trump as "nonsense." (Which it is.) Unruh went on to note that "She then linked Vanity Fair, saying it was a "good debunking" of the 'nonsense'" -- but instead of rebutting what was in the Vanity Fair article or even linnking it it, he instead parroted Republican talking points on the Durham filing.
The headline is actually a stealth shout-out to old-school Clinton-haters -- after all, Clinton-hating is what WND was built on -- referring to a 30-year-old manufactured scandal.It dates back to Bill Clinton's presidency, when Hillary was accused of using the N-word in private. But as we noted back in 2006 the last time WND tried to revive it, the claim came from former Arkansas state trooper Larry Patterson, whose motivations were highly dubious given the massive grudge he held against the Clintons. When Patterson went under oath to didscuss his claims, he usually walked back his claims.
What does it say about WND that it's willing to drop a stealth reference to a deep-cut alleged Clinton scandal a few decades after the fact? Perhaps that time has passed it by and that it doesn't deserve to live.
CNS Jim Jordan Stenography Watch Topic: CNSNews.com
We've documented how Republican Rep. Jim Jordan has been a favorite subject of stenography from CNSNews.com -- while also hiding credible accusations that he did nothing regarding a doctor who had been accused of sexual abuse by wrestlers on a college team where Jordan was a coach. The CNS stenography continued in the first three months of this year: