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Tuesday, May 10, 2022
Newsmax's Gizzi Cheers Orban's Re-Election, Hides How He Rigged It
Topic: Newsmax

John Gizzi gushed over an authoritarian's re-election in an April 4 Newsmax article:

As the Biden White House and the European Union no doubt looked forlorn, near-final results from Hungary showed Monday morning that Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his conservative Fidesz Party scored a resounding 53 percent of the vote in national elections.

The vote is even more reassuring because of the significant opposition Orban has faced from within and outside of Hungary.

Both the strong economy and what supporters call Orban's "sensible conservatism" — policies that increased the birth rate and kept Hungary neutral in the Russo-Ukraine War — were key to the big win by Fidesz.

Hungarian sources told Newsmax that Orban's conservative agenda has meant a strong economy, and he translated that into a big win in parliament.

The election result means Orban will hold a record fourth consecutive term as prime minister — with 135 seats for Fidesz and the six-party opposition alliance only 56 seats.

So crushing was the victory by Fidesz that opposition leader Peter Marki-Zay lost his own district where he had been a popular mayor.

Gizzi omitted one big reason why Orban won -- his years in power allowed him to rig the election to undercut his oppostion. The Washington Post reported:

Hungary’s electoral playing field is heavily tilted against the opposition. In 2010, Orban amended the Constitution to cut the size of the parliament in about half, after which he gerrymandered the entire country. The districts, drawn with no input from the opposition, spread Fidesz voters across many small districts in rural areas while concentrating opposition voters in much larger districts in the cities, thus giving them fewer chances to win.

After this redistricting, in 2014, Orban’s party won 45 percent of the vote — but 91 percent of the districts (under Hungary’s electoral system, 106 of the seats are awarded through single-member districts, while the other 93 are awarded through a nationwide electoral list). Similarly, in 2018, Fidesz won 48 percent of the vote and 86 percent of the districts. On election night 2022, with 98 percent of the vote counted, Orban won 53 percent of the vote but 83 percent of the districts. The absentee voters are divided between liberal expats who oppose Orban and conservative Hungarians in neighboring countries who are likely to support him in larger numbers.

[...]

Facing a united opposition, Orban then changed the rules again to wrong-foot them. A November law introduced “voter tourism,” allowing any Hungarian citizen to legally register to vote in any district. Before the election, evidence surfaced that voters were being strategically moved into districts that might otherwise be close, with hundreds of voters registered at single residences. On Election Day, monitors documented minibuses delivering clusters of voters to polls.

Beyond rule-rigging, Orban so dominates the broadcast and print media landscape that the opposition could hardly get its message out.

In addition, Fidesz spent almost 10 times more than the opposition on billboards, overshooting legal campaign finance limits on billboards alone. But Fidesz has repeatedly escaped enforcement of campaign finance rules because it controls the office that enforces them, while other parties have been fined nearly out of existence.

Hiding Orban's obvious election fraud and rigging is ironic given how Newsmax has enthusiastically promoted Donald Trump's discredited election-fraud claims.

Gizzi also touted Orban's allegedly neutral stance on Russia's invasion of Ukraine:

Despite the international media repeatedly dubbing Orban a "Putin Ally" and citing his convivial relationship with the Russian president, Hungarian voters apparently liked their prime minister's policy of neutrality toward Russia and Ukraine.

Hungary has criticized the invasion and taken in refugees, but has not offered to assist Ukraine's military resistance.

Despite repeated urging from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to send arms and impose sanctions on Russia, Orban has refused.

But as CNN reported, Orban has long been close to Vladimir Putin -- to the point that Putin congratulated Orban on his victory -- and much of Hungary's energy comes from Russia; in his victory speech, Orban called Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky one of the "opponents" he had to overcome during the campaign.

Gizzi further gushed that Orban's "pro-family policy," in which "mothers who have four children are exempt from federal income taxes for life," has resulted in "an increase in the fertility rate of 24% in the last decade," according to Minister of Families Katalin Novak, who was elected "Hungary's first woman president" in the election.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:29 AM EDT
CNS Logic: Schools Don't Ban Books, But Amazon Does
Topic: CNSNews.com

The Daily Signal's Katrina Trinko huffed in an April 28 CNSNews.com column:

Once again, Amazon has shown it’s on the side of leftist activists, not free speech. 

Matt Walsh, a popular conservative podcast host and writer at The Daily Wire, just released a children’s book titled “Johnny the Walrus.” The book, according to the description on Amazon, tells the tale of Johnny, who likes to pretend to be a dinosaur or a knight. 

But one day “when the Internet people find out Johnny likes to make-believe, he’s forced to make a decision between the little boy he is and the things he pretends to be — and he’s not allowed to change his mind,” states the description.  

Amazon is clearly trying to squash Walsh’s book.

According to Walsh, his picture book has been removed from the category of children’s books and moved to political books. Ads for the book on Amazon also have been rejected by the tech giant as not being “appropriate for all audiences” — an umbrella term for standards that ban advertising for books promoting incest and pedophilia, among other things. 

Trinko didn't mention the fact that Walsh is a raging, hateful homophobe who falsely tried to dupe transgender people into appearing in a film that his minions portrayed as a positive film about transgenders but was secretly an anti-trans film. Thus, it's not "squashing" Walsh's book to properly categorize it as a political book, because his transphobia sure isn't for children.

Trinko further complained that "Amazon also banned Ethics and Public Policy Center President Ryan T. Anderson’s book 'When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment'"without mentioning that 1) it too us an anti-trans screed and 2) Amazon, as a private business, has the absolute right to decide what it wants to sell.

Trinko then hypocritically complains about the "shockingly robust selection of propaganda books for little leftists" -- as if Walsh's book isn't propaganda fior little right-wingers-- going on to whine that "another Big Tech company is making clear that there’s one set of rules for leftists and another set for conservatives," again ignoring the fact that Amazon, as a private business, is under no obligation to sell every single book ever published. She would never demand that, say, "I Am Jazz" -- a book about transgender girl Jazz Jennings and among the titles she cited as propaganda books for little leftists" -- be sold at the online store of her employer, the Heritage Foundation or complain that her employer has two sets of rules based on ideology.

Ironically, CNS cheered the idea of books being banned from school libraries just a month before -- albeit by redefining what it means to ban a book. David Harsanyi tried to pull that sleight of hand in a March 29 column (which also appeared at WorldNetDaily):

Accusations of left-wing free-speech authoritarianism -- whether through corporate restrictions, the state targeting "misinformation," the shouting down of dissent in universities, or the canceling of dissenting voices -- are well-documented. Attempting to even the ledger, liberals have begun alleging that conservatives are engaging in "book bans" in public school districts.

The newest outrage on this front comes from a ProPublica investigation in which Superintendent Jeremy Glenn of Granbury Independent School District in North Texas is taped saying chilling things like: "I don't want a kid picking up a book, whether it's about homosexuality or heterosexuality, and reading about how to hook up sexually in our libraries." ("Minutes later," reports ProPublica, "after someone asked whether titles on racism were acceptable, Glenn said books on different cultures 'are great.'")

ProPublica repeatedly refers to the efforts of a volunteer committee set up to review titles as a "book ban." This is a category mistake. Public school curriculum and book selection are political questions decided by school boards. Schools have no duty to carry every volume liberals demand.

[...]

Refusing to carry a book is not tantamount to the heckler's veto, now regularly used by woke college students to shut down ideas in institutions where ideas are meant to be debated. Elementary-school-age kids do not get to choose the topics they learn. Adults do. The debate is about who gets to make that decision: parents or administrators?

So it's not banning books if you're physically stopping them from being available -- but Amazon properly classifying a book is tantamount to a ban. Go figure.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:57 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 10, 2022 1:39 AM EDT
Monday, May 9, 2022
MRC's Hunter Biden Derangement Syndrome: Fact-Checking Edition
Topic: Media Research Center

It wouldn't be a full Hunter Biden Derangement Syndrome outbreak at the Media Research Center without some whining about fact-checkers. And chief fact-checker-whiner Tim Graham did his bit in a March 24 post:

In the wake of the New York Times whispering in print on page A-20 that the Hunter Biden laptop emails were authentic, the "fact checking"/censorship complex is in need of scrutiny. Jacob Siegel of Tablet Magazine wrote up a tart piece titled "Invasion of the Fact-Checkers" that explored how private media power and the Democrats engage in shutting down narratives they don't like. 

Like the rest of his MRC crew, Graham ignores the fact that the Hunter Biden story would not have been so easily dismissed if the New York Post had simply provided independent corroboration that  the laptop and the information on it was genuine to the point of effectively countering speculation that it was Russian disinformation, and its provenance originating with Rudy Giuliani and anti-Biden activists did nothing to boost its credibility. Thge fact that it tookmore than a year to actually verify the emails shows that the media was not wrong in initially dismissing it.

Joseph Vazquez lashed out a fact-checkers again in a March 28 post:

So-called fact-checkers should be eating crow following authentication of the emails from Hunter Biden’s notorious laptop by The New York Times. But a new analysis shows they’re being as brazen as ever by not updating old articles challenging the credibility of the story.

Leftist fact-checkers like FactCheck.org, PolitiFact and Lead Stories published stories within the past two years that tried to take down the New York Post bombshell. The outlets did this by either referring to the story as coming from “questionable sources;” labeling the emails as “unverified” or outright doubting their authenticity.

Vazquez too failed to acknowledge the fact that the Post offered no independent corroboration of the laptop and its contents when the story came out. He went on to whine:

Lead Stories in particular, targeted an “exclusive” Daily Caller story on one of the laptop emails considered to be the “smoking gun” in the Post story. The Daily Caller said in a tweet of its story that a cybersecurity expert concluded the “@nypost's smoking gun April 2015 Hunter Biden email from a Burisma executive discussing an introduction to then-Vice President Joe Biden is 100% authentic.”

Specifically, the expert that the Daily Caller cited used a “cryptographic signature [DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM)] found in the email’s metadata” to verify Burisma advisor Vadym Pozharskyi thanking Hunter for “‘inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together.’” Lead Stories tried to swat the story down in a fact-check: “That's a stretch: DKIM can validate who sent an email and what text and other content was included. But it does not prove if the content consists of true statements.”

Vazquez didn't explain why the Post and the Daily Caller should have been trusted implicitly when the story came out, given their status as conservative, anti-Biden outlets who had a mission to help Donald Trump win re-election in 2020.

Again: All of this could have been avoided if the Post had offered unassailable verification at the time. It didn't, so it was perfectly reasonable to dismiss the story as coming from biased sources. Graham and Vazquez bashing fact-checkers for not immediately verifying somthing that even the source publication couldn't be bothered to do is dishonest and unfair.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:18 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, May 11, 2022 12:16 AM EDT
WND's Farah Revives Old Conspiracy Theories To Attack Garland
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah spent his March 14 column lashing out at Attorney General Merrick Garland over the possibility that he might be named FBI director, dredging up some golden-oldie conspiracy theories in the process in order to label him "the fascist-fixer for the Deep State":

Garland has always been a loyal and radical Democrat – one with close ties to former Deputy Attorney General Jaime Gorelick under Bill Clinton. Does anyone remember Gorelick? She was the mastermind of the policy that created a wall between the FBI and other intelligence agencies on terrorist threats – one of the reasons no one connected the dots leading up to the catastrophe of 9/11. To ensure she never got the blame, Gorelick was then appointed to co-author the report of the 9/11 Commission.

In fact, what Garland is most well-known for is the investigation he led into the other big terrorist attack – the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. It was Gorelick, his college buddy, who appointed him to that task. It was Garland who rushed Timothy McVeigh to be executed even though there was ample evidence of other conspirators and suspects.

In an Atlantic article in 2016, McVeigh's attorney. Stephen Jones, had this to say about that key decision: "I think some of the decisions (by Garland) made later on boiled down to a pragmatic approach" not to pursue other accomplices.

"Pragmatic" decisions not to pursue other accomplices?

Does that sound like the kind of person who should be the next FBI director, let alone attorney general?

We remember Jamie Gorelick -- and how right-wingers like Farah falsely accused her of erecting that "wall" between the FBI and other intelligence agencies. As we documented way back in 2004, Gorelick explained that the "wall" was actually erected in 1978, and the 1995 memo she wrote that has been described as erecting the wall actually loosened from what was the norm.

Further, why should anyone take the word of the lawyer for a mass murderer for anything, like Farah is doing for McVeigh's lawyer? Farah also conveniently ignores that Jones also said Garland is "a top-notch professional, fair, reasonable, objective, discreet and reticent" and has the potential to be a great attorney general. The context of the "pragmatic approach" statement, by the way, came within even more Jones praise of Garland and appears to refer to the choice not to spend resources chasing down right-wing conspiracy theories of accomplices like the imaginary "John Doe No. 2."

Farah went on to tout "the work of intrepid reporter Jayna Davis, author of 'The Third Terrorist,'" without mentioning that WND published her book (it's listed as a Thomas Nelson title because all WND Books published under the deal with Thomas Nelson stayed with it after their publishing deal ended). WND apparently no longer gets money from those books and it's out of print anyway, but still, it's a disclosure Farah should have made.

Farah went on to rant about Garland prosecuting participants in the Capitol riot:

Most Democrats call it an "insurrection."

But it was a tempest in a teapot – or really an admission of what they had done to the scourge of Donald Trump and the American people. They had to use such fiery words to justify what they had done – rigged an election.

"We are not avoiding cases that are political or cases that are controversial or sensitive," the attorney general said in an exclusive interview with NPR. "What we are avoiding is making decisions on a political basis, on a partisan basis."

Garland was in a celebratory mood. He got the convictions of the first two Jan. 6 defendants, Guy Reffitt, a Texas oil worker, on charges of seditious conspiracy, and an Alabama man, also convicted on seditious conspiracy.

Farah forgot to mention that Reffitt's own son testified against him because his father threatened him with death if he turned him in by stating that "traitors get shot."

Farah also falsely claimed that Garland was "finding concerned parents whom he calls 'domestic terrorists'" over school issues.

So Farah continues to lie and smear -- and he still wonders why WND is slowly going out of business.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:23 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, May 9, 2022 3:28 PM EDT
MRC's Hunter Biden Derangement Syndrome: NewsGuard Edition
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Hunter Biden Derangement Syndrome has spread to its failing war on website-rating company NewsGuard. When the New York Times stated that it confirmed the validity of emails found on Biden's alleged laptop, Kyle Drennen hyped on March 18 how "The Federalist’s Western Correspondent Tristan Justice reported on leftist media outlets that refused to cover the Hunter Biden scandal in 2020 still somehow passing with flying colors when graded on their credibility by left-wing news rating group NewsGuard." Less than a Hour later, Joseph Vazquez ranted:

NewsGuard CEO Steven Brill outed himself as completely biased before The New York Times’confirmation of the existence of Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop emails.

The New York Times recently confirmed what conservatives already knew — the Hunter Biden laptop emails were legitimate. The Times reported on Hunter’s laptop, tying emails found on the computer to a federal investigation.

Ruthless podcast host Comfortably Smug created a timeline in a Twitter thread outlining how NewsGuard attempted to bury the New York Post’s story and the newspaper’s credibility. Comfortably Smug called out Brill for claiming in an October 2020 interview that the story about Hunter’s laptop was a “hoax perpetrated by the Russians.” The podcast host also tweeted: “3/16/22: Huge ad agency [Magna] says they'll use NewsGuard to avoid placing ads on ‘unreliable’ news [.] 3/17/22: NYT says the laptop is real.”  

[...]

Brill went on the Oct. 15, 2020, edition of CNBC’s Squawk on the Street to rail on how social media companies that tried to ban the Poststory “know absolutely nothing about what they’re doing.” Brill said those companies should follow Microsoft’s lead and use tools like NewsGuard to curate articles, supposedly for quality control. 

Brill flaunted his leftist bias during this interview, even touting the disproven RussiaGate conspiracy theory: “My personal opinion is there’s a high likelihood this story is a hoax, and maybe even a hoax perpetrated by the Russians again.”

Vazquez didn't explain how "conservatives already knew" the story was legitimate in 2020, given that the Post offered no independent corroboration of its story and there was plenty of reason to doubt it given its October surprise nature peddled nby the likes of Rudy Giuliani in the midst of a heated presidential campaign. He also smeared NewsGuard as "neither a reliable nor trustworthy source," citing only the MRC's highly biased attacks against it.

Vazquez continued his ranting in a March 22 post under the laughable headline "Devil Wears Pravda":

Internet traffic cop NewsGuard outed itself as a pathetic joke by giving perfect grades to outlets that tried to quash the Hunter Biden laptop story.

Left-wing news organizations Politico, The Washington Post, Axios and USA Today all maligned the Biden bombshell by the New York Post as possibly part of a 2020 “disinformation” campaign.

[...]

Both Axios and Politico currently enjoy 100/100 scores from NewsGuard. But that’s not all. The Washington Post’s phony fact-checker Glenn Kessler floated “that the [Hunter] emails could be part of a broader disinformation campaign.” His newspaper got a perfect rating via NewsGuard’s heavily skewed ratings system.

Fellow NewsGuard-approved partner in pravda USA Today was no better. Its story ripped the Post as a “tabloid”: “A tabloid got a trove of data on Hunter Biden from Rudy Giuliani. Now, the FBI is probing a possible disinformation campaign.”

Only from the far-right perspective of Vazquez and the MRC could anyone consider Politico, the Washington Post and USA Today "left-wing" or a "partner in pravda." And again, Vazquez failed to acknowledge the inconvenient fact that there was no independent corroboration of the story at at the time, making it unfair to judge those stories by coroboration that didn't happen until a year and a half later (which, again, the New York Post didn't see a reason to offer at the time) -- just as it tried to do with the Steele dossier.

That's unfair and deceitful "media research" -- but does anyone expect any different from the MRC?


Posted by Terry K. at 1:58 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: CNS' War On Ketanji Brown Jackson
Topic: CNSNews.com
Despite claiming to be a "news" organization, CNSNews.com's coverage of Brown's Supreme Court nomination was wildly biased, heavy on Republican talking points and cherry-picked statements while censoring questioning from Democratic senators. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 12:28 AM EDT
Sunday, May 8, 2022
MRC Squees Over Musk Buying Part Of Twitter, Forgets All About His Cozying Up To China
Topic: Media Research Center

We documented how the Media Research Center was acting like an Elon Musk fanboy for saying right-wing-friendly things -- then abruptly stopped when MRC sports blogger Jay Maxson pointed out how Musk was "sucking up to China." It wasn't even two months before the MRC started praising Musk again; a Feb. 21 post by Joseph Vazuqez gushed how Musk "decimated" David Frum by calling him a "hypocritical megadouche!" for responding to a hit job about him on the highly biased right-wing site the Post Millennial. That was followed by a March 9 post by Jeffrey Clark noting that Musk has called for increased domestic oil producction.

But when Musk turned his focus to Twitter -- against whom the MRC has been fighting a failing war for years -- all that China stuff was apparently forgiven. Autumn Johnson hyped in a March 25 post:

Tesla’s Elon Musk tweeted in support of free speech and questioned Twitter’s “adherence” to it.

Musk asked his followers to vote “yes” or “no” in a poll that asked users whether the platform supported free speech. “Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy,” he tweeted on Friday. “Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?”

Over 1.5 million people had voted in the poll as of Friday evening. Approximately 70 percent of users voted “no” while only 30 percent voted “yes.”

Musk added that the tweet’s “consequences” would be “important.” “The consequences of this poll will be important,” he said. “Please vote carefully.”

Two days later, Johnson amped Musk's musing that "he is giving “serious thought” to creating a new social media platform to rival Twitter. On April 4, though, Alexander Hall went into full squee mode over the news that Musk bought a chunk of Twitter under the headline "Game Changer!":

A newly released government filing revealed that Tesla CEO and Big Tech censorship critic Elon Musk reportedly became Twitter’s biggest shareholder.

Musk put his money where his mouth is after condemning Big Tech censorship. The world’s richest man, worth $298 billion, according to Forbes, bought a massive share of Twitter stock. A Securities and Exchange Commission filing dated April 4 revealed that as of March 14, Musk now owns “73,486,938” shares totalling a sizable “9.2%” of Twitter’s stock.

[...]

Musk has a history of criticizing Big Tech for its stranglehold on online speech.

Musk famously slammed Twitter for censoring political debate in recent weeks. He also mulled over starting a new tech company altogether. Musk tweeted March 26, “Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy.”

[...]

Vice President of Free Speech America and Business for the Media Research Center Dan Gainor praised the idea in a tweet: “Please do this, but be prepared for epic opposition from the left/NGOs and government. They fear free speech as we have truly witnessed the last two years especially.”

The next few days featuring even more squeeing over the prospect of Musk joining Twitter's board and lashing out at anyone who would dare criticize Musk:

The MRC also didn't like the inconvenient truth that Musk may not be as favorable to free speech as it fervently wants to believe. Joseph Vazquez accused a Bloomberg writer of "two-bit whining" for pointing out Musk "alleged history of firing employees at Tesla, suing whistleblowers and threatening lawsuits against anonymous bloggers" -- none of which Vazquez proved to be wrong -- and going on to rant that Twitter is purportedly "one of the most anti-free speech, censorship-obsessed platforms on the internet." 

Johnson similarlly lashed out in an April 10 post: "In an op-ed published Friday in The Washington Post, former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao slammed Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s investment in Twitter and, to put it mildly, his support and vision for free speech. Put simply, she called for Democracy Dying in Darkness." Johnson further complained that Pao said Musk "willfully ignores that private companies are free to establish some limits on their platforms"but offered no rebuttal to that argument.

When Musk decided not to join the Twitter board, Vazquez went into squee mode on April 11 over the possibility of Musk staging a hostile takeover:

Tesla CEO Elon Musk declined a seat on Twitter’s board of directors after becoming the platform’s largest shareholder with a massive 9.2 percent stake. But this move could end up signifying an even greater play by Musk to seize control of the platform, according to CNBC.

Leftist Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal tweeted late April 10 that the world’s richest man “decided not to join our board.” Agrawal seemed to admit the quiet part out loud when he said that having Musk “as a fiduciary of the company where he, like all board members, has to act in the best interests of the company and all our shareholders, was the best path forward.” Musk’s appointment was supposed to take effect April 9, “but Elon shared that same morning that he will no longer be joining the [B]oard. I believe this is for the best,” Agrawal claimed.

There could be another reason why Musk chose an about-face. He could attempt a hostile takeover of the company. 

Vazquez did not explain why he called Agrawal a "leftist." Hall amped up the hostile takeover speculation, and Fondacaro complained that CNN's Brian Stelter also talked about it. Kyle Drennen, meanwhile, got mad that someone on CBS opined that "a lot of people think Elon Musk is sort of like a Bond villain now. That is a very Bond villain move to pull." He didn't prove the assertion wrong, though.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:04 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 10, 2022 12:02 AM EDT
CNS' Marijuana Meltdown
Topic: CNSNews.com

The House of Representatives discussed decriminalizing marijuana recently, and it sent CNSNews.com into a tizzy. Editor Terry Jeffrey wrote a March 25 article noting that "Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.) sent out a tweet on Thursday stating that 'federal cannabis legalization' is now a 'priority' for the U.S. Senate." Susan Jones followed up with a March 31 article suggesting that Nancy Pelosi wants to destroy children by supporting the legislation:

At many of her news conferences, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) talks about her concern for children -- "my reason to be here" (in the Congress), she said again on Thursday.

Also at Thursday's news conference, Pelosi expressed her support for the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, which decriminalizes marijuana and eliminates criminal penalties for an individual who manufactures, distributes, or possesses marijuana. "I'm all for it," she said.

The bill also makes other changes (see below) --  including a name change -- "cannabis" instead of "marijuana" in federal legislation:

"The MORE Act that is on the floor today," Pelosi said in her opening remarks. "It's a major criminal reform bill that helps end the racial and economic injustice of marijuana decriminalization. It, ah, it's -- we're very proud of the work that has gone into it, and we would hope that it has support in the Senate."

Oddly, despite that introduction, Jones made no argument about how any of the provisions in the bill-- like the language change from marijuana to cannabis -- are harmful to children.

When the legislation passed the House, Melanie Arter did a short, straightforward article on it. This was followed by an anonymously written article weirdly highlighting that the bill "includes a section that makes it illegal to print an 'indecent or immoral picture' on a package of cannabis that is offered for sale."

Then, CNS tried to pump up concern about the bill by sending intern Emily Robertson out to pester senators about it. In what appears to be her last major project as CNS' spring intern, she hurled this question at passing senators: “The House voted last week to legalize cannabis. Do you use cannabis and if not, why not?” with the occasional follow-up quesiton, “So, do you think it’s harmful?” She got these senators to answer:

Robertson's articles also included this bit of boilerplate:

As documented by Alex Berenson in his 2019 book, Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence, "Research on individual users—a better way to trace cause and effect than looking at aggregate state-level data—consistently shows that marijuana use leads to other drug use. For example, a January 2018 paper in the American Journal of Psychiatry showed that people who used cannabis in 2001 were almost three times as likely to use opiates three years later, even after adjusting for other potential risks.”

Roberton didn't mention that, as we noted, critics found Berenson's book to be inaccurate and alarmist, or that the book's title is taken from the original title of the notoriously insane anti-marijuana propaganda film "Reefer Madness."She also didn't mention that Berenson has since found infamy for being wrong about so many things regarding the COVID pandemic -- which, of course, made the Media Research Center, CNS' parent, want to portray him as a victim for his wrongness being held to account.

CNS concluded this round of obsession with an April 19 Berenson-esque column by Bill Donohue declaring that supporters of legalizing marijuana "totally ignore what we know about the psychological and physiological effects of marijuana use" and that legalization in some areas of the U.S. "has proven to be a death sentence for too many Americans."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:11 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, May 9, 2022 3:36 PM EDT
Saturday, May 7, 2022
MRC's Houck Cheers Doocy Lobbing More Biased Questions At Biden
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center spent days being triggered by President Biden calling biased Fox News reporter Peter Doocy a "stupid son of a bitch" (while, of course, denying it was being triggered). So Curtis Houck made sure tohype future Doocy confrontations with Biden.

Houck hyped "Doocy Tme" with Biden upon he Russian invasion of Ukraine in a Feb. 24 briefing derisively headlined "You Awake Now, Joe?" in which he also touted other reporters "call[ing] out the likelihood the latest round of economic sanctions would do all but nothing to deter Putin":

Following Vega, it was Doocy Time as the Fox News correspondent first touched on the economic impact in the U.S.:

[M]arkets are down and gas prices are up. I know you always stress the difference between Wall Street and main street, but everybody seems to be in for some economic pain. How economically painful is it going to get for people in this country?

Biden replied “markets will respond,” but it’s “highly unlikely” to have a long-lasting impact “as long as” the U.S. and its allies “stay resolved in imposing the sanctions.”

Doocy continued to press, asking whether Biden “underestimate[d] Putin” and if he’s “confident” these sanctions will “be as devastating as Russian missiles and bullets and tanks.” In both cases, Biden answered in the affirmative.

It's all aout Doocy landing punches on Biden, not whether the questions are unfair in a time of conflict.

Houck covered a March 28 press briefing by Biden in great anticipation of another hot-mic moment. Instead, Houck had to settle for crushing on Doocy for hurling more right-wing narratives at Biden and treating him has a returning hero after a two-week absence from the White House briefing room (which Houck didn't explain):

Making his first appearance during a White House Q&A since March 10 (when he asked Jen Psaki whether President Biden owns an electric car), Fox News’s Peter Doocy went toe-to-toe with Biden Monday over numerous statements the latter made during last week’s European excursion that drew condemnations from international leaders and White House walkbacks.

Doocy surfaced partway through the 13-minute availability with “an important question” after Biden needled him about “ask[ing] a really nice question”: “Are you worried that other leaders in the world are going to start to doubt that America is back if some of these big things that you say on the world stage keep getting walked back?”

Biden was incredulous, wondering: “What’s getting walked back?”

Doocy ran through three examples before Biden interrupted to say “none of the three occurred”:

It made it sound like, just in the last couple days, sounded like you told U.S. troops that they were going to Ukraine, it sounded like you said it was possible the U.S. would use a chemical weapon, and it sounded like you were calling for regime change in Russia.

On the threat of chemical weapons, Doocy asked again and Biden demurred. But when Doocy asked “what...that mean[t],” Biden quipped: “I’m not going to tell you. Why would I tell you? You gotta be silly.”

Doocy wrapped by saying it’s something “the world wants to know,” but Biden wouldn’t budge: “The world wants to know a lot of things. I'm not telling them what the response would be. Then, Russia knows the response.”

Remember that Houck's metric is if Doocy successfully delivers his right-wing talking points and makes Biden look bad, not whether they have any basis in reality -- if Biden can be harmed, that's good enough for Houck.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:53 AM EDT
WND's Farah Wants To Revoke Soros' Citizenship (Again)
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Back in 2017, WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah advocated revoking George Soros' U.S. citizenship because then- President Donald Trump should do it if he "wants to reform election practices in the U.S. – and, frankly, make America great again," adding that "One thing I've admired about Trump is his willingness to take the fight to the opposition." In his March 23 column, Farah rehashed the idea again, asserting that his dual citizenship is "fraudulent": 

Somehow Soros mysteriously was granted dual citizenship – in 1961! I was 7 years old at the time! Presumably, he bought it, like he tries to buy everything else he wants, including the chaos he has successfully spread in our streets, our elections, our culture.

Soros is an immigrant from Hungary, yet he still maintains his citizenship there. That's something America discourages. Dual citizenship is hard to get. Yet, he has maintained it while fomenting riots in the streets and spreading anti-American ideas with his vast wealth. Now he is trying to do the same thing in Hungary that he is doing to America. Let's see who wants this guy!

He has also been convicted of securities crimes. That should be the basis for dumping his dual citizenship.

Why is a man like this permitted to use his wealth to have such profound political and cultural influence within our country?

I haven't seen anyone else ask this question, but it's long past time to have the debate.

How and why is a foreigner allowed to contribute vast sums of money into America's election process?

If the credo is going to be America First, we should really consider kicking this guy right out of the country. It should be as high a priority as keeping terrorists out.

The question has't been asked because America is not in the habit of revoking someone's citizenship over differences in political views. Farah offered no evidence to prove his claim that there was something untoward in Soros being granted dual citizenship, and he offered no evidence that revocation of citizenship has ever been applied as a punishment for securities violations.

Much of the rest of the column is copied-and-pasted from his 2017 piece.

We'll let Soros himself have the last word: "Revoking citizenship as a form of punishment is wrong and undermines the rule of law."


Posted by Terry K. at 1:40 AM EDT
Friday, May 6, 2022
MRC Psaki-Bashing, Doocy-Fluffing Watch, Hunter Biden Derangement Syndrome Editon
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Curtis Houck made sure to fold in his employer's Hunter Biden Derangement Syndrome into his near-daily attacks on White House press secretary Jen Psaki as seen through biased right-wing reporters. A summary of the March 17 briefing focused on the former:

After scores of COVID and Ukraine questions at Thursday’s White House press briefing, Real Clear Politics’s Philip Wegmann and Daily Mail’s Rob Crilly finally broke through with one question each about Hunter Biden in light of a New York Times report that all but admitted the New York Post was right in 2020 about his infamous laptop. Unfortunately, Press Secretary Jen Psaki wanted nothing to do with them.

[...]

Of course, Psaki wasn’t interested, saying Wegmann should speak “to the Department of Justice and also to Hunter Biden’s representatives” because “[h]e doesn’t work in the government.”

Imagine if/when a Trump press secretary said that about Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump amid four years of the liberal media obsessing over their business careers? The horror!

A second report from Houck on that day's briefing mocked reporters for still being concerned about COVID, dismissing it as "fear porn" (as if his employer's obsession with Hunter Biden was not that):

Thursday’s Psaki Show reminded viewers of a sad but necessary reminder that too many in the liberal media will never relent on fear porn surrounding the coronavirus and their penchant for restrictions on everyday life. Such was the case with numerous reporters pushing the press secretary from the left to reinstitute them due to a new omicron variant and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff’s positive test.

The AP’s Zeke Miller started off the Q&A with a question as to when President Biden was last tested in light of Emhoff’s diagnosis and that of the Irish Prime Minister (whom he was supposed to meet with) and, when Psaki said the last test was on Sunday, Miller offered a long-winded commentary masquerading as a question.

As if the right-wing reporters Houck loves don't offer commentaries masquerading as questions. Indeed, for the March 18 briefing, he called such biased questions "hardballs":

Try as she might to ignore them and find favor with liberal reporters who won’t join in, Hunter Biden questions aren’t stopping anytime soon for White House press secretary Jen Psaki with Friday’s Psaki Show being the latest example in the form of a tense back and forth with the New York Post’s Steven Nelson.

Friday’s exchanged followed two questions the day prior (thanks to Real Clear Politics’s Philip Wegmann and the Daily Mail’s Rob Crilly) about a New York Times story that all but acknowledged Nelson’s Post was correct when it came to emails detailing Hunter’s life of corruption on a laptop left at a Delaware repair shop.

Nelson kept his Times-specific question brief: “The New York Times reported this week that the First Son remains under criminal investigation. Does the President still intend to stay out of that case?”

Psaki largely stuck to her line from Thursday: “Yes. It's Department of Justice and I would point you to them.”

Nelson then shrewdly approached the issue of Biden family corruption from a different angle, starting with a Senate Republican report (which CNN and the other so-called fact-checkers have denounced as without evidence) that said a company connected “to the First Son received $3.5 million from the richest woman in Russia.”

Houck didn't complain that Nelson was straight-up repeating Republican talking points the way he likes to portray non-right-wing reporters for repeating Democratic talking points. He also didn't mention that Psaki served up a detailed rebuttal of Republican Sen. Josh Hawley's false smears of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson on sentencing child porn offenders.

Psaki then came down with COVID again, and Houck once again lost interest in doing briefings for a while because a non-Psaki (deputy press secretary Chris Meagher) was on the podium in her stead. Houck somehow refrained from mocking Psaki for not being able to "move on" from COVID.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:44 PM EDT
WND Rushed To Defend Clarence Thomas Over Wife's Right-Wing Activism
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Like its fellow ConWebians at the Media Research Center, WorldNetDaily has tried to defend Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas from criticism over possible confllicts of interest due to the right-wing political activism of his wife, Ginni. When a New Yorker profile of Ginni Thomas came out in February, Art Moore rushed to her and her husband's defense:

During a hearing on his confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas famously described Senate Democrats' handling of his nomination as a "high-tech lynching."

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, presiding over the confirmation, was Joe Biden. And 30 years later, as the Supreme Court deliberates over an abortion case that could overturn Roe v. Wade, the political left has launched another attack on Thomas, who has made it clear he believes the landmark 1973 ruling is unconstitutional.

This time, the attack centers on the political views and activism of his wife, Virginia "Ginni" Thomas.

Establishment media have seized on a lengthy exposé in The New Yorker by investigative reporter Jane Mayer titled "Is Ginni Thomas a Threat to the Supreme Court?"

The piece is subtitled "Behind closed doors, Justice Clarence Thomas's wife is working with many groups directly involved in controversial cases before the Court."

Mayer doesn't hide her disdain for Ginni Thomas's conservative political views, labeling them "far-right" and noting the justice's wife believes fraud affected the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. And Democrats long have made it clear they think Clarence Thomas's judicial philosophy makes him the wrong kind of black man to fulfill their goal of diversity on the court.

But Mayer sets out to argue that Clarence Thomas is violating fundamental rules of judicial ethics, while acknowledging that Supreme Court justices are not bound by the rules regarding conflicts of interest to which lower-court federal judges must adhere.

While Ginni Thomas sits on the board of numerous right-wing organizations that have contributed amicus briefs to cases before the court, Moore added that "Ginni Thomas, meanwhile, has not been named in any case on the court's docket."

When texts surfaced in March showing that Ginni Thomas was lobbying then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to push to overturn the 2020 presidential election results while Clarence Thomas was the lone dissenting vote in a court ruling that ordered the release of documents related to the Capitol riot, it was time for Moore to play cleanup again in a March 25 article after one Democratic member of Congress called for Clarence Thomas' impeachment, prompting Moore to try and re-litigate the discredited Big Lie WND and Trump have pushed about election fraud:

All of the texts, except for one dated Jan. 10, 2021, were sent between Nov. 4 and Nov. 24, 2020. During that time, Trump and his allies began mounting a case, beginning with the inexplicable stoppage of the vote count in key Democratic strongholds of battleground states when Trump had a considerable lead. This month, a taxpayer-funded investigation of alleged vote fraud by former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice Michael Gableman concluded the state's 2020 presidential election should be decertified.

[...]

In its story Thursday, the Post doesn't present any evidence that Ginni Thomas' activism had anything to do with the no vote of Clarence Thomas, an "originalist" justice who has been ranked by various metrics as the "most conservative" member of the court.

As we've noted, the Wisconsin report has been discredited by observers more serious than the right-wing extremist Gableman.

Moore followed up with a March 28 article featuring right-wing-friendly law professor Jonathan Turley insisting that calls to impeach Thomas "are entirely disconnected from any constitutional or logical foundation, adding that "Turley pointed out that Ginni Thomas, a well-known Republican activist and Trump supporter, simply was urging Meadows 'to pursue legal and legislative challenges to what she viewed as a stolen election.'" That was followed by a March 31 article in which Moore touted right-wing legal pundit Andrew McCarthy saying much the same thing.

A March 31 column by Nolan Lewallen also rushed to the Thomases' defense, first starting with Hunter Biden whataboutism and concluding with sappiness about meeting them:

I had the incredible honor of meeting Justice Thomas and his lovely wife, Ginni, in 2010. I was an airline pilot at the time, and they were on one of my flights from Washington Dulles (IAD) to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW). The agent in IAD had told us they were on-board, so when we got to the gate in DFW, I got off as quickly as I could to watch for them on the jet bridge.

When I saw Justice Thomas get off the aircraft, I fell in alongside him, and as we walked up the jet bridge ̶ at the usual fast pace after being trapped in an a tube for several hours ̶ I introduced myself and told him that I wanted the honor of meeting him. I expected a quick half-turn of his head with maybe a half-smile and a quick hand shake, while keeping up the fast pace. I was in complete awe to see him stop in his tracks (despite the "stampede" behind us), set down his briefcase, turn his entire body toward me, looked me right in the eyes, and with a warm smile told me it was his pleasure. He then introduced me to Ginni. She seemed like such a sweet, humble and gracious woman.

Look, a husband and wife should be a very close duo, as designed by God. And most individuals holding any position of authority ̶ even a president or Supreme Court justice ̶ will have opportunities to be influenced by their spouse (whether it's intentional or not). But they should be able to exercise good judgment, free from personal bias.

He concluded by declaring that "Ginni Thomas is an American citizen and has every right to have political opinions. And under the Electoral Count Act of 1887, questions about an election can be raised through a standard process."


Posted by Terry K. at 5:03 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, May 6, 2022 5:11 PM EDT
MRC Obsesses Over Hunter Biden's Secret Service Protection, Censors Prolifigate Trump Security Costs
Topic: Media Research Center

How endemic is the Hunter Biden Derangement Syndrome at the Media Research Center? It's mad that he's getting Secret Service protection, even though he's entitled to it as the son of the president of the United States. Curtis Houck ranted in an April 4 post:

Along with CBS Mornings and NBC’s Today, ABC’s Good Morning America decided it wouldn’t do its job on Monday of covering the latest layer of the Hunter Biden saga as a new report said the Secret Service is spending “more than $30,000 a month to rent out a swanky Malibu, California, mansion” to protect the First Son. 

The outlet that reported this in a 1,433-word story, posted at 4:54 a.m. Eastern? ABCNews.com!

[...]

In contrast, FNC’s America’s Newsroom and The Faulkner Focus had mentions for 44 and 50 seconds, respectively thanks to chief Washington correspondent Mike Emanuel.

Houck didn't mention that Fox News has a serious anti-Biden bias.

Kevin Tober took over the whining later that day:

After ignoring the story during their morning news shows, all three evening newscasts (ABC's World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, &NBC Nightly News) continued their omission of the latest scandal surrounding Hunter Biden, as a new report out shows the Secret Service is currently spending more than $30,000 a month to rent the property next to Hunter's luxurious home in Malibu, California in order to protect him.  

As NewsBusters's Curtis Houck pointed out this morning, ABCNews.com ran a 1,433-word story on the latest Hunter saga, yet their morning and evening newscasts still ignored their own reporter's story.

Instead, ABC's World News Tonight decided to run weather reports, fearmonger over climate change, and speculate over whether or not professional golfer Tiger Woods will be making a comeback or not. NBC Nightly News also ran a climate fear segment and a weather report, and CBS Evening News< wasted airtime on March Madness and the Grammys.

In contrast, Fox News Channel's chief Washington correspondent Mike Emanuel covered the story throughout the day, with reports on America’s Newsroom, The Faulkner Focus, and Special Report.

Like Houck, Tober didn't mention Fox News' anti-Biden bias, which would explain the wall-to-wall coverage it devoted to the subject.

By contrast, the MRC was silent when it was revealed that the Secret Service spent $3,000 a month -- for a total of more than $100,000 over the Trump presidency -- to pay for use of a bathroom next door to the mansion where Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, lived. It was also silent about a similar inconvenient revelation, that before leaving office, Donald Trump secretly awarded six additional months of Secret Service protection for his children and other administration officials at a cost of $1.7 million, and that he also "required the Secret Service to devote agents and money to an unexpected set of people: wealthy adults, with no role in government, whom the agents trailed to ski vacations, weekend houses, a resort in Cabo San Lucas, and business trips abroad."

If the MRC actually cared about wasteful government spending, it would have pointed that out. But it cares only about politics and playing gotcha on President Biden and his family. The above posts made that clear. Houck whined that "The liberal media spent over four years losing its mind over any and all matters concerning the protection of President Trump and his family, but they’ve shown an aversion to the same posture with their own team and the Biden family," and Tober similarly groused: "If the first son's name was Hunter Trump instead of Hunter Biden, you can bet that all three networks would be setting their hair on fire with rage over this abuse of taxpayer dollars by Hunter. Of course, his last name is Biden so the leftist media is always happy to look the other way."

But if your last name is Trump (or you're married to one), the MRC is happy to give you a pass for your prolifigate security spending.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:34 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, May 6, 2022 1:42 PM EDT
CNS Intern Is Uncritical Stenographer for Anti-Trans Activist, Repeating An Error In The Process
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com intern Emily Robertson wrote in an April 1 article:

The Biden Administration is engaging in "institutionalized child abuse" by encouraging children to transition genders, Walt Heyer, who was formerly transgender, argued to Fox News host Laura Ingraham Thursday.

Ingraham invited Heyer, who was born a biological male, transitioned to female at the age of 17, and then detransitioned some years later, on  to share his regret of transitioning along with addressing the consequences of parents and the government encouraging children to transition.  

“This is institutionalized child abuse; they’re working on destroying an entire generation of children," Heyer told Ingraham. "None of these children need hormone blockers, they don’t need to transition. One of the things that nobody ever seems to talk about is this one word called 'consequences.'"

Robertson didn't even get Heyer's origin story straight; he transitioned at age 42, not 17. Robertson simply repeated what Ingraham had said about Heyer and didn't bother to fact-check. She also failed to describe Heyer -- who has published a few commentaries at CNS over the years -- as the right-wing, anti-trans activist he is and that his views on transgenderism are out of date. As Media Matters noted:

Heyer's experience isn't reflective of the experiences of the overwhelming majority of transgender people; he even admits that he was “misdiagnosed” and was actually suffering with “a dissociative disorder that required talk therapy, not surgery.” His views about transitioning aren't rooted in research or medical expertise. The idea that many transgender people experience “transition regrets” has been widely debunked and contradicts the positions of major professional medical organizations, which all view transitioning as an important and beneficial step for people who identify with a gender identity that doesn't correspond with their biological sex.

The fact that Robertson just did stenography (and even then got a major fact wrong) and didn't include a balanced view shows us that CNS is teaching its interns to be partisan activists, not journalists.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:50 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, May 6, 2022 1:06 AM EDT
Thursday, May 5, 2022
Wash. Post Sets Off Another Bout Of Hunter Biden Derangememt At The MRC
Topic: Media Research Center

After overstating the findings of the Washington Post's investigation into what could and could not be confirmed about the contents of what is alleged to be Hunter Biden's laptop, the Media Research Center again shifted into Hunter Biden Derangement Syndrome overdrive over the following few days to hype those findings and attack anyone who didn't as politicially motivated to hype it as much as it was:

So obsessed was the MRC with Hunter Biden that at one point on March 31, of the 14 slots in the top section of the NewsBusters front page, 10 featured Hunter-related content.


 

The dishonest framing continued as well. An April 1 column by Tim Graham declared that the Post found that "a notable fraction of Hunter’s laptop contents were authentic." Actually, the Post stated that while some email messages could be verified, the vast majority of the laptop's alleged contents couldn't be because  of "sloppy handling of the data" by the right-wing activists who had been passing the laptop's contents around. Graham went on to whine that "the broadcast network morning and evening newscasts went 260 days without mentioning Hunter Biden" -- but avoided the inescapable fact that there was every reason not to trust the contents given that they came from right-wing operatives as an October surprise during a presiential campaign and those operatives provided no verification of the data.

An April 4 post by Scott Whitlock misleadlingly portrayed the laptop's contents as verifiably "accurate" from the start and what "what millions of Americans already knew," then complained that the Post highlighted that perfectly reasonable mistrust of the partisan sources as a reason the story was ignored outside the right-wing media bubble.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:30 PM EDT

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