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Wednesday, June 1, 2022
WND Jumps Into Pushing D'Souza's Dubious Film About Election Fraud
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Because WorldNetDaily couldn't pass up a good conspiracy theory, no matter how thoroughly it'd debunked, it was quick to attach itself to the idea that thousands of "mules" stuffed absentee ballot boxes with fraudulent. In January, for example, an article touted a claim from right-wing group True the Vote that it had a video of this allegedly happening, which was a teaser for an article (like the first, unbylined) announcing that Dinesh D'Souza was making a film based on True the Vote's "explosive footage," called "2000 Mules," and that he had released a teaser video. No mention, of course, that the trailer didn't actually prove anything and that D'Souza is a convicted criminal with a poor factual track record.

As the movie's release date approached, WND got very excited. An April 15 article by Art Moore forwarded the film's claims in an attempt to build credibility for them:

Catherine Engelbrecht and Gregg Phillips have been engaged in the battle for election integrity for more than a decade, and the day after the contested November 2020 vote, they made a pact.

"Catherine looked at me and said, 'What are we going to do?'" Phillips recounted in an in-depth video interview with Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk.

"I said, Let’s go," Phillips recalled. "She said, Let's go all in."

They eventually hired a dozen people who have put in 16-hour days for 15 months, combing tediously through cellphone geolocation data, surveillance videos and documents to see if the evidence supports their hypothesis.

Their hypothesis is that amid the many "dirty," out-of-date voter rolls and the unprecedented distribution of mail-in ballots, a highly coordinated operation in the key battleground states collected ballots and paid "mules" to literally stuff them in the unattended drop boxes that became a center of controversy.

An April 25 article by Moore touted a right-wing reporter promoting "the hard data gathering by longtime election-integrity investigators Catherine Engelbrecht, founder of True the Vote, and data analyst Gregg Phillips that is featured in the upcoming documentary by Dinesh D'Souza '2000 Mules'." That was followed the next day by an article by Bob Unruh promoting how True the Vote video led to "organizations that handed out cash for ballot-harvesting operations" in Georgia. (Those claims were dismissed a few weeks later, which WND never reported to its readers.)

On the day D'Souza's film release date was announced, WND published a Western Journal article detailing where the "highly anticipated documentary film? coupld be viewed. This was followed by an April 28 article by Moore detailed his softball interivew with Engelbrecht in which she declared that "The facts are the facts, and you cannot look away." Moore also interviewed D'Souza, and that bundle of softballs was featured in a May 3 article:

Feeling a bit like Charlie Brown and the elusive football, many who voted for Donald Trump in 2020 have grown weary of claims of evidence that the 2020 election was stolen.

Filmmaker and author Dinesh D'Souza understands that reaction, but he's willing to bet that even the most cynical among us will be convinced after seeing the hard evidence presented in "2000 Mules," which is debuting this week.

"This idea that this was the most secure election – I predict that this movie will blow that out of the water," he told WND in a video interview (embedded below).

"No one who sees this movie will be able to listen to that with a straight face."

D'Souza emphasized "this is evidence of a completely different caliber than anything we've seen before."

But like many things involving D'Souza, "2000 Mules" began to fall apart factually as soon as people outside WND's right-wing media bubble saw it. That means Moore went into defense mode for a May 10 article trying to fight back against an Associated Press fact-check:

The AP's primary claim was that the cellphone location data is not precise enough to determine whether or not an individual actually visited a particular drop box. Innocent people, the news wire contended, may have been caught up in their data.

However, as Wendi Strauch Mahoney of UncoverDC reports, Engelbrecht and Phillips took that issue and many others brought up by the AP into account when they designed their investigation.

In a 2018 opinion in the Supreme Court case Carpenter v. United States, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that when the government "tracks the location of a cell phone," it "achieves near perfect surveillance as if it had attached an ankle monitor to the phone’s user."

And Engelbrecht points out in the movie that the data in Georgia was used by law enforcement as a test case to help law enforcement solve a cold murder case of a young girl.

That's not actually true, but since Moore is promoting the film instead of acting like a real reporter, he's not about to question anything Engelbrecht says. He also made no effort to fact-check this:

The AP also challenged the claim that the data show violent Antifa rioters were among the mules.

"There were several different violent BLM Antifa riots in Atlanta, and in one of them, we had three dozen of our mules participate in these violent riots," Phillips said. "There's an organization that tracks the device IDs. Across all violent protests around the world, we took a look at our 242 mules in Atlanta, and sure enough, dozens and dozens and dozens of our mules show up on the ACLED databases."

The reference is to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, a non-profit that "collects the dates, actors, locations, fatalities, and types of all reported political violence and protest events around the world."

In fact, an official with ACLED says its data cannot be used in that way.

WND cranked up promotion of the film to try and drown out the criticism. An unbylined May 13 article claimed that "An Arizona county sheriff's office featured in Dinesh D'Souza's "2000 Mules" documentary on alleged ballot trafficking in the 2020 presidential election is working with the county recorder to investigate vote fraud" -- but the sheriff himself said there's no link between his investigation and the film. An article the same day by Moore uncritically promoted Phillips' claim that "he and his witnesses have become the target of Georgia state officials instead of the people he believes delivered fraudulent votes to help Joe Biden win the White House.

But even as WND's "news" side got tired of defending D'Souza's film, the opinion side was full of conspiracy theories designed to promote a conspiracy-laden film. More on that soon.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:57 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 1, 2022 6:24 PM EDT
Tuesday, May 31, 2022
As Mass Shootings Grow, MRC Tries To Redefine Them
Topic: Media Research Center

As the number of mass shootings has mouned in recent weeks, the Media Research Center is lamely fighting back with its usual tactic of quibbling over the definition of what a mass shooting is. Nicholas Fondacaro -- who has falsely smeared as liars anyone who failed to use his very narrow definition of mass shooting -- was at it again in an April 18 post:

Following a weekend of multiple “mass shootings,” the liberal media rushed to exploit the dead to push their demands for increasingly-unpopular gun control legislation. Part of their efforts to scare people into giving up their Second Amendment rights was to parrot a dubious analysis that claimed there have been between 130-148 mass shootings so far this year.

So, it begs the question: if there really were that many, why have only a fraction of them been reported on nationally? The simplest explanation is there haven’t been that many mass shootings and they’re being inflated to make things seem more horrendous than they really are.

When reports of a “mass shooting” break, the common understanding is that a person went to a public place (school, shopping center, est.) and started shooting indiscriminately with the intent to kill as many as possible. But what the liberal media are currently citing is data from the Gun Violence Archive, a supposed “independent” aggregator of incidents involving guns.

“And as the overall number of shootings have increased, there's been a dramatic rise in mass shootings,” reported ABC’s Pierre Thomas on Monday’s Good Morning America. “Look at these numbers. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there were 417 mass shootings in 2019. By last year the number spiked to 693. That's an incredible 66 percent jump.”

“We're now in an era where we can say mass shootings are chronic, sustained, and sadly routine,” he added with a graphic that claimed there have been 139 so far this year.

According to their website, the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), uses this peculiar definition of “mass shooting” for their methodology: “FOUR or more shot and/or killed in a single event [incident], at the same general time and location  not including the shooter.”

Fondacaro didn't explain exactly why that methodology is so "peculiar," beyond making his side look bad. So he called out a fellow pro-gun activist (and former MRC employee) to nitpick that tally away and push a stricter, more right-wing-friendly definition:

NewsBusters reached out to the founder of The Reload, Stephen Gutowski to get an understanding of where this definition of “mass shooting” GVA uses came from. He says it was “popularized by gun-control activists on Reddit” and it “increases the number of mass shootings by a factor of ten or more.”

“It can also be misleading for most readers since many of the mass shootings are not similar to high-profile shootings like Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, or Parkland,” he warned.

Fondacaro also reminded us that he also whined about defining mass shootings a year ago. He was at it again two days later, again smearing any number that was greater than his own as "false":

As NewsBusters laid out on Monday, the “mass shooting” statistics peddled by the Gun Violence Archive are objectively misleading according to mass killings researchers and gun experts. But the truth wasn’t reached for comment on struggling CNN+ and Reliable Sources Daily on Tuesday and host Brian Stelter demanded that the media push the false statistic that there have been “145 mass shootings in the U.S. already this year.”

Stelter began the segment by admitting “‘Mass shooting’ sometimes has a very specific connotation. People think of mass killings. Maybe a dozen or more killed.” But he then campaigned to throw out that understanding in favor of a vaguer and ambiguous definition to jack the number up:

Fondacaro is lying. The GVA number is not "ambiguous"; it's quite clearly defined. Still he whined that "GVA admits to intentionally stripping out the context," though he didn't explain why context matters. People aren't any less dead because he demands their deathbe counted differently.

After the Buffalo grocery store shooting, Kevin Tober wildly escalated the inflammatory rhetoric in a May 16 post, linking back to Fondacaro's posts and declaring that anyone who didn't agree with the MRC's narrow mass-shooting definition is lying:

On Monday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Norah O’Donnell began and ended her broadcast by lying and pushing her leftist gun control agenda in the aftermath of the horrific mass shooting at a Buffalo grocery store on Saturday. 

“Tonight, this is a community in mourning -- ten people were killed, three injured, eleven of them were black,” O’Donnell announced at the top of her program, before repeating an outright lie that has been previously debunked by NewsBusters: “it was a deadly weekend here in America -- the United States has seen 202 mass shootings so far this year, four of them happened on Sunday.”

In reality, there haven’t been 202 mass shootings in America this year.

Again: The number is not a lie, let alone the "easily debunked lie in order to scare viewers into giving up their Second Amendment rights" Tober called it later in his item. Tober is the liar here.

After the mass shooting of schoolchildren in an elementary school in Texas, Tober played is desperate deflection game again in a May 24 post:

The bodies weren't even cold after the heartbreaking mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas in which eighteen elementary school children and one teacher were killed when NBC Nightly News decided to spread misinformation about the number of mass shootings in the United States this year. 

National correspondent Gabe Gutierrez started off the shameful segment by noting that “this is the deadliest school shooting in the U.S. since the Parkland rampage in February of 2018. As has become common now, there are already growing calls to stop gun violence which has been especially brutal this year.”

[...]

Despite what NBC and Gabe Gutierrez tell you, there have not been over two hundred mass shootings.

[...]

The other common-sense response to NBC’s absurd claim is if there have been that many mass shootings, why hasn’t NBC reported on all of them? 

NBC and Gutierrez should be ashamed of themselves for pushing fake statistics hours after eighteen young children have been shot to death.

Good question from Tober, but aimed at the wrong people.  Why won't the MRC report every mass shooting? Why does it fall to other non-right-wing media outlets to have to report them? And shouldn'tTober be the one who should be ashamed of spreading lies about legitimate and clearly defined statistics solely because they make his political side look bad?


Posted by Terry K. at 8:56 PM EDT
CNS Lets Right-Wing Rabbis Fret Over Libs of TikTok Writer Being Exposed As An Orthodox Jew
Topic: CNSNews.com

The Media Research Center relentllessly attacked Washington Post reporter Taylor Lorenz for exposing Chaya Raichik as the LGBT-hating woman behind the Twitter account Libs of TikTok, and its "news" division, CNSNews.com, served up it own version of it, courtesy of its favorite group of hate-filled right-wing rabbis in an April 21 article (which curiously did not name Raichik even though it's public record now):

On April 19, the Washington Post published an article that was sharply condemnatory of the Twitter-user who posts the "Libs of TikTok" account, a writer whose name, profession, city, and religion -- "proudly Orthodox Jewish" -- were printed in the piece.

The Coalition for Jewish Values, which represents more than 5,000 Orthodox rabbis, responded by describing The Post's actions as "simply unacceptable" and "bordering on antisemitic."

[...]

The Libs of TikTok account on Twitter has 915,000 followers and is influential, especially among conservative pundits. 

In the Washington Post article, written by columnist Taylor Lorenz, the name, city, occupation, etc., of the Libs of TikTok writer are revealed, what social media users call "doxxed." This was done, according to critics, to try to intimidate and bully the writer.

[...]

The Coalition for Jewish Values issued a statement on April 20, noting that "the WaPo article highlighted that the subject had, under a previous anonymous Twitter handle, identified herself as an Orthodox Jew, a fact entirely unrelated to the larger story."

Rabbi Yaakov Menken, managing director of the Coalition for Jewish Values, said, "The Washington Post’s behavior here is simply unacceptable. Jews constitute a small minority, yet are disproportionally targeted by hate crimes. An individual Jew, especially a visibly Orthodox Jew, is thus most likely per capita to be the victim of a hate crime in America today, by far."

"Given this context, identifying the Twitter user as an Orthodox Jewish woman placed her at heightened risk of physical harm," said Rabbi Menken.  "The Post not only did this, but then defended itself by insisting that her membership in our community was not a personal detail."

"That ludicrous denial is extremely offensive, bordering on antisemitic, especially at a time when media outlets routinely mask ethnicity details regarding members of every other minority group," he said.  "If this is what the Washington Post describes as its 'professional standards,' we call upon the paper to upgrade those standards immediately."

In defiance of its proclaimed mission to "cover the news as it should be, without fear or favor" -- which should involve telling all sides of a story -- Chapman made no attempt to give the Post or anyone else an opportunity to respond to the CJV. Indeed, a writer for the Cleveland Jewish Press detailed why Raichik's identity as an Orthodox Jew is a germane issue:

The Coalition for Jewish Values, an organization of right-wing Orthodox rabbis, said that “identifying the Twitter user as an Orthodox Jewish woman placed her at heightened risk of physical harm.”

But if identifying someone as Jewish subjects them to antisemitism, that seems to be a bigger and more insurmountable problem than any one journalist can address or avoid. It assumes, without evidence, that antisemitism has become so pervasive that living and identifying publicly as a Jew has become an existential risk. And it clashes with an ethos of Jewish pride and self-confidence that educators are trying to instill in Jewish schools and camps, and no doubt in the synagogues to which many of the Washington Post’s critics belong.

Jews are visible and assertive in public life, and in almost every occupation you can think of. Jews are overrepresented in activist spaces where the arguments are impassioned and sometimes unhinged. They don’t live as marranos. It’s not clear why Raishik deserves special handling, especially when she has willingly placed herself at the white-hot center of our national argument.

If Raichik was not doing something shameful, there would be no reason for anyone to fret about her religious identity.It seems like the CJV should be criticizing Raichik for acting in a shameful, hateful manner instead of fearing for anti-Semitic attacks against her.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:30 PM EDT
WND's Farah Again Ridiculously Blames Biden For All Fentanyl Deaths
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In February, WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah sought to blame all fentanyl-related deaths in the U.S. on President Biden, even though he didn't blame any such deaths on President Trump when he was president. Farah tried to do it again in his April 27 column:

Fentanyl has killed 106,854 people over the course of a year ending in November 2021, according to the CDC. That's the No. 1 killer for those between the ages of 18 and 45. Since the fiscal year ended in September, we now have another six month period that will prove 2022 will be another nightmare.

Expect another banner year when fentanyl overdose deaths double.

Why?

Because of Joe Biden. It's the quiet epidemic taking place on his watch. Fentanyl deaths have increased thanks to Biden's policies of open human trafficking over the southern border. The drug cartels, allies of Biden in illegally allowing an estimated 2.5 million migrants to enter America in 18 months, also traffic in the fentanyl poison.

We expect four times more fentanyl flowing across the United States-Mexico border over the next six months.

This being Farah, he offers no evidence whatsoever to support his claim of a link between an increase in fentanyl trafficking and Biden's border policies. Indeed, as we've already noted, fentanyl seizures at the Mexican border have been higher overall through the first year of the Biden administration than they were during the Trump administration, according to PolitiFact, and the seizures are continuing at roughly the same rate as that of the last half of 2020 under Trump, and increased fentanyl seizures at the border is not indicative of a failed policy; it's easy to assume that Farah would see increased seizures as a success if a Republican was president.

But Farah wasn't done blaming Biden, as he continued to rant:

Now let me tell you why Biden is solely responsible for this holocaust.

Because he's not lifting a finger to control the cartels, open-border immigration and the national crime wave they cause. They are NOT unrelated – whether he knows it or not.

Biden hasn't held a press conference yet on what he plans to do about the fentanyl crisis – the latest one we've experienced at his hands. He's not mentioned a word about it in any venue!

But, don't worry. Joe has a plan. Even though he's not yet uttered a word about this unexpected death spiral happening in the country, his heath specialist have. You'll never guess what the administration's plan is.

t's called the same thing over and over and expecting the same results.

The administration is sticking to its plan for "harm reduction."

That means increasing access to clean needles, fentanyl test strips and naloxone. Clean needles, they say, help reduce the spread of disease. Fentanyl test strips enable drug users to check if they are about to consume this powerful opioid that can shut down breathing in seconds. Naloxone is a drug that can rapidly reverse an opioid overdose.

In other words, they are applying the same Band-Aid that they are recommending to big cities.

Again, Farah provides no evidence between his purported claims of an "open border" (it's not) and a desire to boost "harm reduction" strategies. He's also not going to tell you that his beloved Donald Trump has been credibly accused of bungling the governmental response to increased opioid deaths by first trying to slash federal money to fund such efforts, then putting political appointees in charge of it instead of professionals in the field;in fact, there was no national national drug control strategyin the first two years of Trump's presidency.

Fartah concluded by huffing: "This fentanyl catastrophe should be one of the first articles of impeachment facing Biden come November." Weird how right-wingers hated impeachment when Trump was targeted but are now agitating for it in a desperate bid to remove Biden from office.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:39 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: Newsmax Snipes At The Competition
Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax's potshots at Fox News have largely been about it not being as right-wing and pro-Trump as Newsmax is. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:29 AM EDT
Monday, May 30, 2022
This Is 'Media Research'? MRC Immaturely Cheers The Demise Of CNN+
Topic: Media Research Center

One of the Media Research Center's missions is to obsessively hate all things CNN, so when the channel announced its straming service, the MRC was on the attack from the beginning. In a July 2021 post on the announcement of ther service, Tim Graham was quick to brand it as biased even though it didn't exist yet: "So you’ll be able to watch Kamau Bell ask giggly softballs to Antifa or the CNN Films love letter to RBG, but “it’s not going to be ideological.” Morse claimed people turn to CNN for 'trust,' for 'credibility,' for "authenticity," for programming that's 'smart and entertaining.'" When CNN's Brian Stelter pointed out that Fox News' streaming service Fox News was filled with "right-wing opinion programming" but billed as "entertainment," Graham didn't dispute the description but instead deflected: "It's obvious that "growing the CNN brand" is going to rely on 'left-wing opinion programing' and 'entertainment product,' since they will expand on shows like actor Stanley Tucci's foodie tour of Italy." Of courrse, if Graham really did care about bias in the media, he'd be attacking Fox Nation the way he was bashing a CNN service that wouldn't exist for months.

When Chris Wallace announced in december he was jumping ship from Fox News to join the CNN venture, Nicholas Fondacaro lamented that "Wallace’s recent years with the network were a bit of a mixed bag" -- MRC-speak for complaining that he stopped being a ciomplete right-wing shill.

The actual launch of CNN+ at the end of March was drama-free at the MRC. But when rumors of trouble surrounding the service started popping up, it was quick to pounce. Curtis Houck used an April 12 post -- with a snotty "You Hate To See It" headline -- to hype a report that "massive cuts are expected at CNN+ in the near future after a spectacularly poor rollout" and the amount of money that had been put into "what former CNN puppetsmaster Jeffrey Zucker had tried to paint as the network’s future." (Yes, the MRC still can't stop hurling the anti-Semitic "puppetmaster" trope at the Jewish Zucker.) Fondacaro later added an update with more bad news about allegedly low subscription numbers, claiming that "this paltry number only gives credence to the notion that CNN’s new parent company Discovery will have even more leverage in extracting both budget cuts and changes to the liberal news outlet." Fondacaro sneeringly concluded, "To make a point of sarcasm, this all couldn’t have happened to a nicer, more positive and constructive group of people."

The MRC then rushed to hasten the death knells. On April 14, in an echo of its immature gloating on the ratings of various CNN shows, Houck and Kevin Tober cobbled together a list of "Eight Things More Popular Than Epic Failure CNN+," adding:

It was revealed on Tuesday that, according to CNBC, CNN+ has fewer than 10,000 active users on the streaming service a scant two weeks since its launch. Add in a report of looming budget cuts and layoffs and CNN and its executives found a way to make the brand even more pathetic and launch something even more of a failure than the parent cable network. 

To reiterate the insanity of this entire venture, consider the fact that CNN thought there would be a robust market paying $5.99 a month to watch the likes of Brian Stelter, Chris Wallace, Jemele Hill, and Anderson Cooper when practically nobody watches them on regular cable?

With there being more pagans and witches out there than CNN primetime viewers, we saw this coming from miles away.

This was followed by an April 19 post by Houck cheering that the marketing for the service had been suspended, sneering that "When it rains, it pours for the most poisonous name in news." And when CNN announced it was shutting down the service after less than a month -- seemingly due more to management changes as CNN gets absorbed into new owner Discovery than an allegedly slow launch -- it was unsemly grave-dancing time at the MRC (just like it did when Zucker left the company). Houck was first out of the hate gate:

CNN+, launched March 29 as a flaming heap of failure and narcissism, is set to be killed off come April 30. CNN and parent company Warner Bros. Discovery confirmed the death late Thursday morning. The move came a month after its birth and reportedly went off despite objections from Discovery.

Its cause of death was due to public disinterest with liberal punditry and paying money to hear more from the likes of Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, and Brian Stelter. Interest was so low that CNN+ reportedly only brought in& fewer than 10,000 daily users and only 150,000 subscribers.

For a network whose daily users are less than the reported number of Jedi in Australia and brought in less revenue than a kickstarter for a random guy making potato salad, it was unsurprising that this hilariously bad idea will soon meet a fitting end.

[...]

With the exception of those of us at NewsBusters (who watch things like CNN+ so you don’t have to), one had to have been a masochist for parting with hard-earned money to watch CNN+ for pleasure.

Another post by Houck promoted a Discovery executive criticizing the service, then tried and justify the hate spewing from the MRC over it "If this were Fox Nation going under, it’s safe to say both outlets wouldn’t be so somber." Taht doesn't justify the childish hate emanating from the MRC, of course -- Houck is simply making excuses to be unprofessional.

This was followed by a post from Scott Whitlock listing things that lasted longer than CNN+, like New Coke and Tom Brady's retirement, but he didn't mention that it lasted longer than Anthony Scaramucci's tenure as communications director in the Trump White House. After that -- speaking of unprofessional -- the MRC touted Fox News folks bashing the competition:

On April 22, Fondacaro attacked Stelter for making the obvious point that CNN+ was shut down before it could have a chance to be successful, substituting right-wing anti-CNN hate for any effort at reasoned argument:

Instead of addressing the fact that they were struggling to get subscribers, had uninteresting content, and were just so full of themselves that they couldn’t see it as the folly that it was, Stelter laid the blame on conflicting visions with the new leadership:

[...]

In reality, we’ve seen the reports that CNN+ had under 10,000 daily users and barely 150,000 subscribers despite them throwing over $300 million at the pipedream and hiring talent they couldn’t support.

Jeffrey Lord devoted his April 23 column to trashing CNN+ in general and Wallace in particular for not buying into the right-wing narrative that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump:

The real problem here is that Wallace lives in the liberal media bubble – and to be on a network with others who not only do not live in that bubble but challenge the Left’s so-called “truths” finally was just to much. “Unsustainable” in Wallace’s words.

Read his words again. “But when people start to question the truth — Who won the 2020 election? Was Jan. 6 an insurrection? — I found that unsustainable.”

The fact that there are plenty of Americans who question Wallace’s “truth” – the results of the 2020 election – is not simply real world reality. The fact is that serious films, books and articles by serious people have emerged or are about to come out that exactly questions those results in detail.

Rather than blithely dismiss as “unsustainable” the issue of who won the 2020 election, a serious journalist with his own television show on CNN+ would invite, say, The Federalist’s editor Mollie Hemingway on his new CNN+ show and grill her about her book Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections.

Mollie Hemingway is a journalist’s journalist. Her book is a decidedly serious, seriously detailed look at the 2020 election and the massive shenanigans that went on to, as her title proclaims, rig an election. Mollie should have been high on a Wallace list to talk to. It would have been great television! But no, instead he dismisses the argument about 2020 out of hand.

In fact, Hemingway's book is highly biased and little more than right-wing catnip.

The hate continued. When Stelter made his not-enough-time argument in a CNN discussing, Fondacaro headline his post on it "Through the Heart: Stelter Gets Confronted with CNN+’s FAILURE." Houck mocked a claim that "the liberal network hilariously claimed there are '29 million ‘CNN super fans’' out there willing to pay up for the soon-to-be-deceased streaming platform." When the service was shut down on April 28, Fondacaro felt the need to post video of what "what the final moments of CNN+ look like since you more than likely never bought a subscription like most Americans." Whitlock cranked out a post on what the money spent on CNN+ could have bought elsewhere, like pizzas and Teslas.

And the MRC couldn't stop slagging the service weeks after it was shut down. A May 16 article by Whitlock summarized an article by its fellow conservatives at the Wall Street Journal declaring that, in Whitlock's words, "It was even worse than anyone thought. At any one time, there were as few as 5000 people watching. That's in a country of 329 million." Of course, no context is provided for that number with audience counts from other streaming services in their startup phases. 

That's the MRC approach to CNN+ in a nutshell -- juvenile gloating and immature dunking on a designated enemy came before any sort of cogent analysis that could be described "media research." Perhaps the MRC should be renamed the Hateful Hot Take Center.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:40 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, May 30, 2022 11:59 PM EDT
MRC Continues To Be Mad That Marvel Superheroes Aren't Straight White Christians
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center wants its Marvel superheroes to be straight white Christians, and it lashes out every time Marvel's creators fail to live up to that outdated expectation. Gabriel Hays devoted an April 1 post to ranting that a Marvel comic put Jesus Christ in its league of mutant superheroes:

Blasphemy against Jesus Christ Himself is now a part of the Disney/Marvel media empire’s descent into woke madness. The newest edition of X-Men comics features a story beat that explains that Christ wasn’t miraculous because He was the Son of God, but because He was a mutant with superpowers.

Basically, He’s like Professor X or Magneto, if their powers were multiplying bread and fish or raising people from the dead.

[...]

But before the explicit blasphemy, readers are given an exchange revealing a bit of the disdain Summers has for religion. Praising her powers, Exodus claims he believes that the Holy Spirit has come upon her. “Your coming rekindled the fecundity of mutants. The Holy Spirit came upon you,” he tells her, to which she abruptly responds, “The Phoenix! The Burning Space Bird came upon me! There’s no need to get religious.”

Heaven forbid God really exists in any modern comic book world. 

The real blasphemy happens when Exodus tries to woo her by stating that her mutant powers of resurrection have far surpassed those of the “Mutant Nazarene” who raised only three people from the dead in the New Testament: the widow of Nain, Jairus’ daughter, and Lazarus.

“The Nazarene Mutant inspired a church among the humans by raising a couple from the dead. I just watched you beat that in the last five minutes,” Exodus told her.

It’s obvious what Exodus is getting at here. The Nazarene Mutant, Jesus, of course, was not the Son of God, but an early mutant who used his powers to start a church and convince Christians He was God. Current mutants like Summers have far surpassed Jesus’ abilities. 

Exodus adds one more nail in the heretical coffin, telling Summers that her powers have given mutants something Christ didn’t. “And now, you have given us an actual heaven,” Exodus states.

Great job, Marvel. The edgy atheist shtick is so 2013. So much for pushing the envelope with your medium, guys.

Never mind, of course, that comic book superheroes have regularly been seen as parallels to religious figures. Hays is mad that creators made a logical extension of that idea.

John Simmons used a May 11 post to complain that Marvel doesn't hate LGBT people as he does:

It’s official folks. Marvel is gay.

In honor of pride month, which will, unfortunately, be upon us in just over three weeks, Marvel just announced that it will have a pride-themed edition of the acclaimed Marvel’s Voices podcast (created by Angélique Roché in 2018) that will attempt to highlight the voices of LGTBQIA+ artists and creators and the impact of several gay superheroes in the Marvel universe.

There's even a poster for it!

[...]

It is truly disappointing that Marvel, a company that genuinely brought fans some of the most well-produced, intricately developed, visually pleasing, and genuinely inspiring superhero stories of the past 20 years is now selling out for this harmful ideology to cater to a small portion of America’s population. There is always hope that their business could suffer should audiences be displeased with this new initiative (like what happened when Disney), but only time will tell. 

It's unsurprising that Simmons thinks being LGBT is an "ideology" the way his homophobia and anti-LGBT hate is ideology-driven.

A May 25 post by Mike Ippolito ranted that Marvel's owner was pushing "wokeism" in a trailer for the new Thor movie in which "Thor is depicted as weak and hung up on his ex-girlfriend" because, apparently, superheroes aren't supposed to have human feelings and emotions:

Since the earliest days of cinema, films with male protagonists used to be respected and strong. In the 1980s, the stereotype was every male hero was a buff man with a tough attitude. There were no quirky one-liners but good characters that embodied masculine virtues that were respected. Unfortunately, modern cinematic male heroes do not reflect those traits but instead are treated like jokes for entertainment sakes. The new Thor trailer is another example of woke companies attempting to destroy the classic male hero archetype for cheap jokes. This trailer follows the blockbuster hit movie “Avengers: Endgame,” which depicted Thor as a fat, beer-drinking, depressed man instead of a strong, determined, and courageous man. Once again, another example of woke movie studios making their once heroic characters weak to appease their woke base. 

It’s not surprising. Marvels Studios President Kevin Fiege wants diversity and wokeness to be the norm in Hollywood, and the new Thor movie is not any different. “Looking at the remarkably positive experiences we've had making sure that the room where it happens is not a room full of people that all look the same,” Fiege said “When that's not the case, when there are people from various backgrounds and genders, stories are better.” According to Fiege, diversity comes before quality stories. 

While this issue may not seem inherently important, movies play an enormous role in the culture war. For better or worse, many turn to film for lessons about life, so when movies promote a woke agenda, more will support woke policies. Cinematic heroes used to inspire a young generation of men to be better. Now movies like “Thor: Love and Thunder” show that the strong, silent types are long gone.

Of course, being a strong, silent type is not really good for men or women, so perhaps it's a good thing that archetype is disappearing -- something Ippolito clearly doesn't want to admit.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:02 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 31, 2022 12:24 AM EDT
MRC Still Clinging To False Claim That Networks Accused Border Patrol Of 'Whipping' Migrants
Topic: Media Research Center

We've documented how the Media Research Center falsely accused the TV networks of falsely accusing Border Patrol agents of "whipping" migrants -- despite never presenting any evidence the networks actually did that. Kevin Tober is still spreading that lie in an April 13 post:

After spending days beating a dead horse with their fake news coverage claiming Border Patrol agents were “whipping” Haitian migrants, the liberal broadcast networks ignored the news that the agents involved were all cleared of alleged wrongdoing.

Loyal NewsBusters readers may remember in September that ABC’s World News Tonight take a victory lap after the agents were put on desk duty.

However, now that the agents are in the clear, all three networks ABC’s World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News were more interested in covering local weather reports, The Library of Congress adding new songs to their registry, and El Salvador using Bitcoin as their national currency.

Tober linked to a September post by Nicholas Fondacaro making the false allegation. But as we doucmented, at no point did Fondacaro quote anyone at ABC, CBS or NBC directly accusing the Border Patrol of "whipping" the migrants.Nor did Fondacaro quote any ABC employee accusing the agents of "whipping" the migrants in what Tober called the "victory lap."

As usual, Tober lavished praise on a certain "news" outlet who did report on this story:

Despite the blackout from the networks, Fox News Channel’s Special Report made sure their viewers weren’t kept in the dark, with correspondent Lucas Tomlinson reporting how the network “has learned that officials have cleared the horse-mounted border patrol agencies of wrongdoing after they were accused of whipping migrants in September and placing them on probation.”

After that quick report, anchor Bret Baier made sure to bring the subject back up during the “All-Star Panel.” Talking to senior political analyst Brit Hume, Baier reminded viewers this incident happened in September 2021 and noted how “we are just getting to the back end of this investigation where the guys are not being punished; Brit, and remember how much coverage was given to that moment.”

Hume, in response, tore into the Biden administration and the Democratic Party:

After quoting a rant from Hume -- whose right-wing bias he did not identify; nor did he quote Hume citing any network newscast describing what happened as "whipping" -- Tober concluded by huffing: "This is why Fox News is the most-watched cable news network, and nobody trusts the liberal media, they never admit their mistakes and instead cover them up."But why should anyone trust Tober, Fondacaro and the rest of the MRC if they continually spread lies?


Posted by Terry K. at 11:44 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, May 30, 2022 11:50 AM EDT
MRC Suddenly Loves Russell Brand Now That He's Spouting MRC Narratives
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center spent years attacking actor Russell Brand as a hopeless, crazy liberal. In 2014, for example, Kristine Marsh and Matt Philbin wrote a post headlined "Branding Russell: Moonbat Ravings of a C-List Celeb," which accused him of being a "champagne socialist" who was spreading "unoriginal, often hate-filled, intolerant left-wing rants that run to conspiracy theories about corporations and “power structures, as well as "perpetually auditioning for MSNBC talking head job." The attacks on Brand regularly continued for having opinions the MRC didn't like:

But sometime after 2017, when that last post was written, the MRC changed its mind about Brand -- just as it did about Ricky Gervais and J.K. Rowling -- when he started spouting conservative correct things, shoving its previous attacks on him down the memory hole. Alexander Hall wrote in an April 21 post:

Comedian, actor and commentator Russell Brand interviewed University of Toronto Psychology Professor Jordan Peterson and took time to hammer Big Tech companies. 

Brand, a famous liberal free thinker, torched the idea that Western Civilization can thrive without personal freedom. He suggested that the flaw of modern progressivism was that it failed to observe “something that I can plainly see before my eyes, that big corporations and state power are collaborating in order to conserve power.” Brand then specified that, particularly in “Anglophonic countries” like the United States and the United Kingdom,  “people are becoming less and less able to exercise agency in ordinary life.”

Brand skewered the political and Big Tech establishment for using the COVID-19 crisis to invade the lives of ordinary people:

[...]

Brand explained his concern with modern “progressivism” as corporations have famously gone woke in order to adapt to social change while maintaining profits. Brand illustrated that progressivism has been “used to underwrite a kind of intransigence around power, and I think it’s used as a panacea to dissolve the voices of discontented people.”

Hall was silent on the fact that his employer spent the previous several years denigrating Brand for being a "famous liberal free thinker." A month later, Hall touted Brand again, this time for spreading election conspiracy theories:

Comedian, actor and commentator Russell Brand interviewed independent journalist Glenn Greenwald and raked Big Tech companies over the coals for interfering with the 2020 election. 

“Did the media and social media conspire together to keep information about Joe Biden and Hunter Biden’s relationship with foreign energy companies out of the media?” Brand asked in a preview video for his podcast. “The answer is: yes, they did.” Brand shared clips from his interview with Greenwald about corruption in the media.

“[R]evelations that there are financial connections between energy companies in the Ukraine, energy companies in China, and the Biden family, are troubling,” Brand explained. “That should be public knowledge. And it’s even more troubling that Twitter and Facebook and the media at large deliberately kept it out of the news because they didn’t want it to influence the election.”

This, of course, is the same conspiracy theory the MRC has been peddling.

In a December 2021 post, Hall again proclaimed Brand a "free thinker" as he promoted another pro-Trump, anti-"big tech" conspiracy the MRC loves:

Comedian, actor and commentator Russell Brand called out the fact that Twitter once represented the Wild West of free speech, but has since become a machine for controlling public opinion. The unexpected rise of former President Donald Trump propelled the shift, he observed.

Trump may have initially become famous as a liberal entertainer, but Brand called out the big reason Big Tech and the political establishment have cracked down on Trump and his supporters. “I suppose one of the things that make me sympathetic towards affiliates of Trump, aficionados of Trump, is the way that Trump is subsequently being handled and censored and controlled,” he explained in a Dec. 1 episode of his YouTube show. After reading an excerpt from investigative reporter Matt Taibbi Substack post, noting how Trump forever discredited the establishment and undermined the media to such an extent that they “couldn't put the genie back in the bottle,” Brand explained, “What I have to acknowledge, and what I’m sympathetic towards, is censorship.”

Hall used a March 1 post to tout Brand spouting more MRC talking points:

Comedian, actor and commentator Russell Brand called out the American government for criminalizing misinformation, despite the government’s deep record of pushing misinformation itself.

Brand is well-known as a free-thinker and comedian, but he gave a dire warning that even he could be under threat by new government policy. “Misinformation has newly been labeled as ‘terrorism’ by the Department of Homeland Security, so I am going to speak very carefully now,” Brand said in a Feb. 22 video. “Now let’s just be very careful how we talk because misinformation ain’t just now an inconvenience. If you’re the wrong person and the misinformation is the wrong type of mis-information, mal-information, dis-informaton, then you’re, uh, actually the same as a terrorist.”

[...]

Brand mocked the credibility of the American government, noting its history of misinformation: “if you are anti-misinformation, and you’ve got a rich history of spreading the stuff, people might think you've got another agenda at play.”

Hall served even more gushing over Brand in a May 23 post:

Comedian, actor and commentator Russell Brand wrecked the very idea of a Disinformation Governance Board and the war on disinformation itself: “Who gives a shit about disinformation? Sort out getting baby food!”

[...]

Brand observed that the rise of evil in the modern world looks remarkably different from what many people have been taught to watch out for: “We’ve been given such a clear vision of what evil looks like,” said Brand, citing past decades’ examples of terrorism or communism, saying that now, instead “tyranny looks like what’s happening now.”

Brand went on to suggest that freedom, by its very nature, is messy, but crucial to a thriving society: “Freedom is messy, people bang each other in the ribs by mistake with their elbows, tread on each other's toes, misspeak, mispronounce, miss-say stuff all the time. But misinformation and misinformation boards are not the solution to that problem.”

Funny how the MRC praises Brand as a "free thinker" only when those thoughts mirror the MRC's own narratives and talking points.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:32 AM EDT
Sunday, May 29, 2022
As Lia Thomas Wins NCAA Titles, MRC's Hateful Transphobia Grows
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has been spewing hate at transgender swimmer Lia Thomas ever since she starting winning college competition, thus making her a designated enemy of anti-trans right-wingers. As Thomas competed in college conference competitions, the hate ratcheted up. Alex Christy huffed in a March 18 post:

MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson took a break from Ukraine coverage towards the end of her Thursday show to hype the “potentially history-making night” to come as transgender swimming Lia Thomas prepared to compete in the NCAA swimming championships -- which Thomas did win later in the day. Together with activist Chris Mosier, the duo demanded Thomas be celebrated for making it to the championships.

After touting the historic nature of the situation, Jackson asked Mosier to “Talk a little about what's at stake tonight.”

Christy complained that Jackson "cherry-picked" a competitor who didn't object to competing against her and ignored "plenty of reports that her teammates resent having to share the same locker room as Thomas and compete at such a biological disadvantage." But the reports Christy cited come from the New York Post, which has the same right-wing anti-trans agenda as the MRC, and are anonymous sourced, which we knowthe MRC doesn't like. Christ went on to baselessly suggest that Thomas became transgender solely because she couldn't compete successfully as a male:

Thomas went from being the 462nd ranked male swimmer to the number one ranked female swimmer and later on Thursday would go on to win the national championship. It doesn’t take an advanced biology or anatomy and physiology degree to figure why and that is not a cause for celebration.

The same day, John Simmons cheered that "tranny" Thomas received "warranted backlash" for winning a race at the NCAA championships:

In the most unsurprising sports headline of the week, Lia Thomas - a transgendered female - defeated a pool (no pun intended) of real women in the 500-yard freestyle event at the NCAA Division I Championships in Atlanta, GA on Thursday, with a time of 4 minutes, 33.24 seconds.

Thomas, who has been rightly scrutinized for being a biological male that the NCAA has somehow let compete in women's sports, defeated the next closest competitor by roughly two seconds and was just a little over nine seconds from breaking Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky’s world record time.

While the NCAA and ESPN fawned over Thomas’ “win,” plenty of people condemned Thomas' charade, and several of Thomas’ teammates have anonymously decried Thomas' actions for several months. They don't support what this tranny is doing and that it eliminates any competition before the race has started.

Simmons didn't explain why anonymous sources should be trusted to trash Thomas. And like Christy, his sources of criticism of Thomas were mostly right-wing activists, and the first one he cited was notorious homophobe Matt Walsh. Simmons concluded by ranting:

When you start to lose the support of feminists for what you are doing, maybe it’s time to take stock in just how bonkers of a situation we have on our hands.

We have stooped to the level of allowing men who fail competing against other men to mutilate themselves, claim they are women, beat biological women in sporting events, and then hail them as individuals worthy of praise. We have abandoned reason, forsaken truth, and embraced foolishness with open arms.

What a sick world we live in.

By contrast, Simmons and the rest of the MRC have stayed silent about Walsh's sick stunt of deceiving transgender people into thinking he was making a pro-transgender film.

Jay Maxson -- who has ironically made so little personal information availabale online that we don't know the person's gender -- cheered the right-wing backlash as well in a March 21 post:

America’s college women’s swimming season is over, but the controversy over transgender fraud Will “Lia” Thomas isn’t disappearing any time soon. 

[...]

Thomas (at left, on NCAA victory stand, in photo) won the national championship in the 500-yard freestyle last week, preventing real women from advancing to the finals and relegating them to lower finishes than they would have gained had the NCAA not allowed him to compete. He defeated three U.S. Olympic silver medalists in the process. 

“We think everyone should play sports fairly,” Save Women’s Sports told the New York Post on Saturday. The group aims to restore biology-based eligibility and identifies itself as “pro women,” but not specifically targeting Thomas.

Beth Stelzer, an amateur powerlifter and the founder of Save Women’s Sports, says that defending women in athletics shouldn't be seen as a partisan or religious issue. The group protested the NCAA policy of allowing men to compete on college women’s sports teams during the national women’s swimming championships last week in Atlanta.

Maxson hid the fact that Save Women's Sports is very much making it a partisan political issue; members protested outside the NCAA swimming championships even though none of them had any background in swimming and have consistently misgendered Thomas. Maxson deliberately misgendered her too:

Meanwhile, Thomas, who is a senior and finished with college competition, is setting his sights on the 2024 women’s Olympic swimming competition. He’s aiming to take his ill-gotten eligibility for women’s swimming to its highest competitive level. The unfairness never ends in this mad, mad, mad world of woke sports.

Maxson put out another rant the same day complaining that  "NBC airbrushed a photo of Penn University swimmer Will “Lia” Thomas to portray him [sic] more like a cover girl than a manly man."

John Simmons used a March 25 post to gush over how transgender person Caitlyn Jenner criticized Thomas while also misgendering her as well:

Caitlyn Jenner is an odd individual. He transitioned to a she in 2015 and has been an outspoken supporter of trans rights in recent years, but yesterday Jenner made a statement that might have some trans people scratching their heads.

[...]

Many Americans need to take note of what just happened.

A transgender individual just came out and blasted the fact that a man who wants to be a woman is competing against and beating women in women’s sports. Not only is she saying this is wrong, she is saying that it is common sense. Even someone who is living their life in the transgender delusion can say that what Thomas is doing should not be applauded, celebrated, or allowed.

That means everyone else, whether conservative, progressive, or somewhere in the middle, should also be seeing Thomas’ actions for what they are: abominable in every sense of the word. There is no middle ground, there is no rationalizing Thomas’ actions, there is no sympathizing with this delusion. 

Tolerating the ideology that Thomas’ embraces needs to stop. Ironically, even transgendered people get that.

Yes, Simmons really thinks being transgender is an "ideology" like his being a hateful right-winger.

Simmons used a March 29 post to cheer that a college swimmer went on a right-wing podcast and "detailed how repulsive it was being in the same locker room with a man," going on to rant that Thomas was destroying American society:

A growing contingent of NCAA swimmers have had enough with Lia Thomas ruining women’s swimming not just in the pool, but in other aspects as well. 

According to one of Thomas’ peers, the transgendered female, who still has male genitalia and is by any objective measure still a man, currently undresses and gets ready for races in a women’s locker room.

Is nothing sacred anymore?

[...]

The problem with enabling men like Thomas to dictate our norms is that we destroy basic human barriers that have kept our society functioning. Just 10 years ago, it would be common sense to say that a man cannot be a woman, and that men cannot be in the same locker room as women (or vice versa). When we destroy the basic building blocks of what makes a society function properly, like acknowledging that there are two genders that are separate in function but equal in value, society will devolve into chaos and ruin.

Simmons concluded by sneering, "Hopefully, pressure like this will be enough to get Thomas out of the pool with biological women and get him back to being mediocre against other men."

An April 7 post by Maxson championed another swimmer bashing Thomas, prompting yet another transphobic rant:

Excuse me, but Lia does not need anything but a one way ticket out of women's swimming.

Thomas has been a disgrace to the sport and one of the biggest proponents of an ideology that is bringing ruin upon our culture. Because the NCAA has indulged his fantasies and desires for what he wants reality to be, women like Gaines are being erased from today's culture.

Maxson used an April 11 post to baselessly claim that Thomas became a woman to win more medals, then bashed the NCAA for not hating LGBT people as much as he (or she) does:

For three long seasons, Pennsylvania University student William Thomas toiled at the back of the pack in men’s collegiate swimming. To say he was an also-ran would be an insult to also-runs. After ranking a woeful 462nd in men’s swimming, he re-invented himself as “Lia” Thomas, a transgender “woman.” 

A season in which Thomas reduced women’s swimming competition to rubble is over, but nearly 40 former women’s college swimmers are collectively demanding the NCAA stop the charade of male transgender migrants ruining the integrity of women’s sports.

[...]

The 40 letter signees are courageous in standing against the NCAA’s prevailing tide. However, the group that oversees collegiate sports has never had the guts to oppose LGBT priorities, and that isn’t likely that will change. In fact, the anacronyms NCAA and LGBT could just as well be combined to form NCAALBGT.

The MRC's war on Thomas has always been about dehumanizing and smearing her for being transgender, and it's a part of the organization 'soverall hatred of anyone and anything LGBT. Let's not pretend it involves any sort of desire for "integrity."


Posted by Terry K. at 10:13 PM EDT
Who Cares About Facts? ConWeb Wants You To Believe A Bird Pooped On Biden
Topic: The ConWeb

It was a story too good to fact-check: Something appeared on President Biden's suit coat during a speech in Iowa, and it obviously had to be bird poop. Susan Jones wrote in an April 12 CNSNews.com article illustrated with three photos and a video:

About three minutes into his speech at an ethanol plant in Iowa Tuesday, President Biden was annointed from above by -- a bird?

Biden, standing near a pile of corn in what he called a "giant barn," was talking about "the work we’re doing to lower costs for American families and put rural America at the center of our efforts to build a future that’s made in America. And that’s not hyperbole; it’s about being made in America," he said.

Biden started to say, "A lot of that has — has to do with this industry." And as he said the words "a lot," something from above stained the shoulder of his navy blue blazer. Biden did not pause, assuming he even noticed.

The white splotch remained on his collar, above the pocket handkerchief and pin, as Biden took several minutes after his speech to meet and greet the plant workers.

But later, as he prepared to depart Iowa, the stain was no longer evident as Biden stopped briefly to speak to reporters.

WorldNetDaily followed suit the same day, with Joe Kovacs copying-and-pasting social media insults:

Is it a message from above?

Joe Biden was the recipient of a "gift" from the heavens Tuesday when something dropped on him during his televised speech.

The president was speaking in Menlo, Iowa, during the first stop of his administration's new "rural infrastructure tour."

As Biden said, "It's not hyperbole. It's about being made in America," a dropping of something that itself was made in America suddenly appeared on the left shoulder of the president's blue blazer near the neckline.

And, of course, the video was posted on social media.

"Look closely. It 100% looks like a bird just pooped on Joe Biden. Lmfaoo," tweeted Greg Price of Philadelphia.

The providential dropping is uniting Americans, with reactions online including:

  • "It's a sign 😂"
  • "Literally a sh** show."
  • "Or what's left of brains spilling out of his ear."
  • "Everyone's a critic."
  • "It was #Putin.🙄"
  • "A new national bird."
  • "I wish it had been a bald eagle."
  • "Looks like the bird's aim was a little off there."
  • "It's a nice garnish for the verbal diarrhea pouring out of his mouth."
  • "An omen from the gods."
  • "Even the bird knows he's full of cr**!"
  • "Insurrection! We must ban birds."
  • "God has the best sense of humor 🤣"
  • "The bird did what all of America wants to do."

Biden's dropping incident is reminiscent of a series of times when Barack Obama was bugged by flies and bees during his time in the Oval Office.

Oddly -- considering how much WND enjoys publishing falsehoods and misinformation -- Kovacs updated his article on April 18: "A fact check by Politifact, one of Facebook's partners, indicates: "Something did stain the president's suit during his speech, but it was distillers grains, according to reporters in the room and the White House. A video clearly shows particles flying around from a giant, nearby grain pile."

And because the claim was fact-checked, Media Research Center rushed to object to the fact-check in an April 18 post, even though he admits the claim is "erroneous":

Even the silliest content about President Biden can be grounds for punishing conservative sites.

Take the erroneous "Biden had bird poop on him" story. The president gave a speech in Iowa promoting how corn-enhanced gasoline could help reduce the price at the pump. PolitiFact didn't offer a "fact check" on anything Biden said, but it did trash conservative sites for what appeared on Biden's jacket.

It was "FALSE" to say “A bird pooped on Joe Biden during his speech” in Iowa. PolitiFact's Jeff Cercone summarized on April 13: 

[...]

Notice Cercone didn't evaluate Biden blaming price hikes on Putin. He was poop-focused. But PolitiFact looks like a partisan site when Sen. Ron Johnson gets a "Mostly False" for blaming high gas prices on the Democrats and Joe Biden gets a Mostly True for claiming "The current spike in gas prices is largely the fault of Vladimir Putin."

At no point does Graham apologize for publishing false information. To the contrary, he's mad that conservative media is being held accountable for it, huffing that "Based on the "fact checkers," Facebook has restricted our sister site MRCTV’s 3.3-million-follower page for the next three months for an article insisting that the president had the poopoo, and the article having now been branded with a “false information” label to protect the public from such damaging myths." Graham included a screenshot of an MRCTV Twitter post featuring the false claim -- which Graham admits is false -- that "A bird pooped on Joe Biden in Iowa."

A post the next day from Joseph Vazquez whined at length about the MRC being held accountable for its false claims:

The hypocrisy of Facebook’s fact-checking partners knows no bounds. In an act of discrimination against the Media Research Center, a Meta platform fact-checking partner threw a fit after MRC’s video division, MRCTV, dared to write about a video that showed President Joe Biden getting smacked with a white or yellow substance, depending on the photo or video.

MRCTV managing editor Brittany Hughes headlined, “Yes, a Bird Just Crapped On Biden During a Speech.” Hughes quipped that “It appears a bird proceeded to crap on Joe Biden while the president was speaking in Iowa Tuesday, dropping a big, dripping pile of poo directly on Biden’s shoulder in full view of God and everyone.”

“False information,” cried Facebook in a filter it slapped over MRCTV’s post of Hughes’ blog. The platform linked out to an absurd article by left-wing fact-checker PolitiFact that tried to protect biden. Facebook in turn canceled MRCTV, restricting its account and reducing its page quality for at least 90 days for supposedly having “repeatedly shared false information.” Oh, please. MRCTV received previous “missing context” flags, which are supposedly not supposed to hurt the quality of its page but did anyway.

Vazquez then bizarrely attacked the PolitiFact fact-checker for not personally investigating the substance on Biden's lapel:

While Cercone acknowledged that “there were birds in what the president called the ‘giant barn,’” he appears to have taken others’ word for it and dismissed the poop theory out of hand. “It became clear fairly soon after that the theory was a load of bird poop, but by that point the video had been widely shared.” Cercone continued: “A video clearly shows particles flying around from a giant, nearby grain pile. We rate this claim False.” Did Cercone examine the substance himself? Did he smell it? Did he smush it between his fingers? Did he taste it? Did he ask the White House for a sample of the substance and have it tested in a lab somewhere? It doesn’t appear so.

[...]

Cercone’s “bird poop” of a fact-check ridiculously tried but couldn't prove with hard evidence that the substance wasn’t feces. Yet, Facebook took PolitFact seriously anyway.

But it got even more ridiculous. PolitiFact cited a Des Moines Register article which “showed a closeup image of the president’s jacket, which clearly shows a yellow color, not the traditional white usually dropped on us by our avian friends.” Ah, so the brilliant rebuttal from PolitiFact’s in-house ornithologist is that the substance was too yellow to be bird poop? Apparently Facebook saw that as enough of an excuse to censor MRCTV.

Vazquez refused to admit the MRC was wrong, and Hughes' post remains live and uncorrected. That's right-wing arrogance and disregard for the truth in a nutshell.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:36 AM EDT
Saturday, May 28, 2022
MRC's Graham, Houck Toss Softballs At Kayleigh McEnany
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center loves to complain about softball interviews in the "liberal media," but the boys at the MRC can lob slow, fat softballs like a champion when their narratives need to be advanced. And so it was when former Trump White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany appeared on Tim Graham's April 27 podcast. Joining Graham for the softball-tossing was Curtis Houck, who wrote many glowing reviews of her insult-laden press briefings.

Graham was tossing softballs right out of the gate, as his first question teed up McEnany to comment on then-current White House press secretary Jen Psaki seeking a new job at MSNBC while still working at her old one.  Surprisingly, McEnany didn't bite, noting that she followed the proper ethical steps. Houck then stepped up to gush over the "outstanding pieces of media analysis" in McEnany's book and simply asked her to "expand" on what she wrote. McEnany took offense at ABC reporter Jonathan Karl calling his memoir of the Trump years "Front Row at the Trump Show" -- "it's not a show, it's not in the front row of a Trump show, you're asking questions for the  American people" -- apparently oblivious to the fact that Houck has dismissively labeled Psaki's hearings as "the Psaki Show" (and Houck was certainly not going to remind her of that inconvenient fact). McEnany later returned the favor by gushing about how she follows Psaki's briefings though the selective video clips Houck posts to his Twitter account and touted how she reads NewsBusters "every day," adding that "you guys are the experts."

Because Graham never forgets a right-wing grievance, he brought up the then-upcoming White House Correspondents Dinner and rehashing how host Trevor Noah will not "make fun of Jen Psaki's makeup the way what's her -- Michelle Wolf when after Sarah Huckabee." Graham forgot that the organization he runs has no problem mocking someone's looks when that person is a non-conservative. That, of course, was simply setup for another softball for McEnany to knock out of the park.

There was a lot of commisseration between Graham, Houck and McEnany about how terrible the "liberal media" is and how it purportedly pushed false stories during the Trump adminstration, as well as lots of whining about anonymous sources (never mind that the MRC cites them too when politically advantageous). Graham cued McEnany up to rant regarding the claim that Trump ordered Lafayette Square to be cleared of protesters so he could do a photo op with a Bible in front of a church that "the inspector general said that wasn't true ... so not true, debunked" (actually, the Park Police inspector general's investigation was incomplete and does not definitively clear Trump) and thtt "COVID lab leak theories" were dismissed (they still haven't proven to be fact).

Graham and Houck also teed up McEnany to chat about her dailiy "smackdown at the end of the briefing" and her briefing book, and they gently asked for advice on how Republican press officials should handle the media. They certainly weren't going to ask McEnany about how she abandoned her job after the Capitol riot. Houck concluded by with even more McEnany gushing, dubiously claiming that conservatives never melt down like liberals do because conservatives "can rest knowing in our identity in Christ" while lberals "who haven't accepted Jesus" think "politics and winning on the battlefield is how they determine what a good life looks like."

There wasn't a tough question in the bunch. Graham and Houck should keep their fluffy, sycophantic treatment of McEnany in mind the next time they accuse the "liberal media" of conducting softball interviews.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:28 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, May 28, 2022 10:48 AM EDT
14 Years Later, WND's Farah Is Still Lying About Obama 'Civilian National Security Force' Statement
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A prime example of the so-called journalism that has pushed WorldNetDaily to the brink of extinction is its portrayal of Barack Obama's "civilian national security force" remark. Even though -- as we documented in 2008 -- Obama was clearly referring to the use of diplomacy "soft power" in international relations, WND editor Joseph Farah created the false narrative that Obama was actually referring to "some kind of massive but secret national police force" he would create as president. Despite the fact that it's not true and has been easily proven to not be true, Farah and WND pushed the lie for years. Now 14 years later -- despite the falsehood having long ago been definitively disproven -- Farah once again played dumb about the remark in his April 14 column:

Way back on July 2, 2008, Barack Obama issued a declaration that made my head spin, yet no one, and I mean no one, took notice until I wrote about it several days later.

Then it caught fire. I'm still wondering about it – 14 years later!

Stay with me. I think it explains a lot – all the corruption the Democrats have wrought over the years.

In a long campaign speech, then-candidate Obama dropped this little bomb: "We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded."

Over the years, I've wondered what became of that idea – a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded as the U.S. military.

A sinple internet search 14 years ago could have stopped all that wondering. But Farah is apparently still in the throes of ObamaDerangement Syndrome, and a narrative about a president who left office five years ago is more important to him than the truth. So manufacture that bogus narrative, Joe:

At first, I began wondering if Obama's daydream may have materialized when we began seeing violence in the streets of mostly blue America in 2020, as cities burn needlessly – without local response – from Berkeley to Minneapolis to Portland to Chicago to Kenosha.

Could the antifa thugs, anti-Semite leftists and Black Lives Matter racists represent what Obama had in mind? And it started early – like the day of Trump's inauguration.

Organizing for Action, a group founded by Obama and featured prominently on his post-presidency website, began distributing a training manuals to anti-Trump activists that advised them to bully GOP lawmakers into backing off support for repealing Obamacare, curbing immigration from high-risk Islamic nations and building a border wall, reporter supreme Paul Sperry reported.

[...]

And here's the key: A script advised callers to complain about Trump adviser Steve Bannon: "I'm honestly scared that a known racist and anti-Semite will be working just feet from the Oval Office. … It is everyone's business if a man who promoted white supremacy is serving as an adviser to the president."

Trump the racist – a bogus, baseless, defenseless charge that came from Obama. The rest is history, as they say.

Actually, there's plenty of evidence of racism from both Trump and Bannon. But Farah's fantasy was only getting more paranoid:

Know this: Obama is STILL around as the only Democrat with the dream of replacing Joe Biden. There's nobody else in contention! Did he look at home in the White House last week? Did he seize the room? Did Biden even know what to do with himself?

What else did Obama have in mind with this new "civilian national security force"?

What about the purging of our armed forces under Biden, probably under the quiet direction of Obama?

Did we ever see anything more un-American than that?

How about Critical Race Theory being pushed by the education establishment?

How about the Jan. 6 debacle and how FBI made it happen so it could all be blamed on Trump?

Maybe Obama failed to call it a COVERT "civilian national security force."

Perhaps, it was at work in both the midterm elections in 2018 and the presidential election of 2020.

Maybe the Deep State should be more appropriately called the SECRET "civilian national security force" – the permanent occupying army of Barack Obama.

His hand is still in play. He's going to take over for Biden. He's the only one who can.

Farah concluded by linking to WND's copy of Obama's speech -- in which it's clear that, in context, brought up the Peace Corps and the U.S. foreign service (another description for diplomats) in discussing a "civilian national security force." He signed off by writing, "I'm still in shock."

Sadly, we're not in shock that Farah continues to lie to his readers after 14 years.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:23 AM EDT
Friday, May 27, 2022
MRC Psaki-Bashing, Doocy-Fluffing Watch, On-Message Edition
Topic: Media Research Center

A busy news cycle was not going to keep Curtis Houck from his Doocy-fluffing rounds, so he devoted an April 11 post to lavishing the praise he couldn't do earlier regarding briefings on April 7 and 8:

Given the busy news week, we wanted on Monday morning to recap the best and the worst from Thursday and Friday’s episodes of The Psaki Show and hone in on Fox’s Peter Doocy sparring with Press Secretary Jen Psaki over COVID cases around the President and Vice President and then free cellphones for illegal immigrants.

In contrast, other reporters came at Psaki from the left, expressing fear of the virus, regardless of how many shots one might have had.

Doocy began his Thursday questioning with this zinger about Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) positive COVID test following a White House event: “How can you guys say that President Biden was not a close contact with Speaker Pelosi when there is video of the Speaker kissing him?”

Psaki insisted the Center for Disease Control’s “definition of it is 15 minutes of contact within a set period of time within six feet” and they “did not meet that bar.” Thankfully Doocy pressed on the insanity of this and whether a rash of cases among key officials could be “a national security problem.”

Psaki noted the importance of boosters and the availability of working from home, so Doocy closed the circle with a question about Friday’s celebration of incoming Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson before moving on to immigration and what’s expected to be an explosion of people at the border.

[...]

Going to Friday, Doocy similarly began with a bang, sarcastically asking whether there’s “a carve-out in CDC regulations for COVID for the Vice President.”

Psaki invited him to “[t]ell me more” as “I’m sure this is going somewhere” even though she wasn’t entirely certain of what he had for her “on a Friday.”

Take note below of how Psaki had the gall to note Harris was emotional as she had important business to attend to, which led Doocy to question whether this was a case of “rules for thee but not for VP”[.]

[...]

On immigration, Doocy wanted to know whether free smartphones could be given “to U.S. citizens that way them” for free with “a free monthly plan” seeing as how they’re being doled out to illegal immigrants.

Psaki wasn’t having it, asking how instead should they be tracked and also inviting Doocy to provide “an alternative suggestion.” Doocy was a good sport, stating he “unfortunately, [has] not been asked to make...policy.”

Houck didn't have Doocy to fluff for the April 13 briefing, so he found a way to get off on Psaki being asked tough questions (something he never did regarding his beloved Kayleigh McEnany): "Hump Day marked a tough day for Jen Psaki as she reportedly careens toward the series finale of The Psaki Show as the White House press secretary faced tough questions on inflation and another off-the-cuff remark from President Biden about Russia’s unprovoked war against Ukraine, including one that questioned whether there needs to be 'an asterisk next to anything that the President says.'" He did give a shout-ouyt to the Fox News employees that were in the room, Jacqui Heinrich and Edward Lawrence.

The writeup was assigned to Kevin Tober for the April 18 briefing, but he knew how to follow Houck's Doocy-fluffing template:

Another day another wild episode of the final season of the Psaki Show. This time with a well-deserved grilling by Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy, and some rather bizarre questions from a couple of other reporters in the room. 

[...]

Next up, is the moment you’ve all been waiting for with Peter Doocy firing off a number of hard-hitting questions for Psaki: 

You said about this mask ruling out of a federal court in Florida that it’s a disappointing decision and you say you continue to recommend that people wear masks. Why is it that we can sit here in the White House briefing room with no masks, but people can't sit in an airplane cabin with no masks?

In response, Psaki sassed Doocy by claiming she’s “not a doctor” and neither is he: “You're not a doctor that I'm aware of.” 

Finally getting around to answering the question, the belligerent press secretary tried to explain how the mask decisions are made: “these determinations, remember the masking guidance is there are is green, yellow and red. We are currently in a green zone in Washington, D. C. So they're not recommending it.”

Doocy promptly asked without skipping a beat “then would the President support if a flight is leaving from an airport in a green zone, those people don't have to wear masks?” 

The next briefing writeup didn't happen until April 27, in which Houck referenced a briefing he oddly didn't write up and praised Fox's Heinrich for pushing the right-wing talking point du jour on Hunter Biden (which the MRC as a whole had also been dutifully pushing as if following orders, and Houck himself hyped in his briefing writeups the month before):

A day after PBS’s Lisa DeJardins asked White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki for comment on the latest Hunter Biden finding by the New York Post, Fox’s Jacqui Heinrich came into Tuesday’s briefing with a question that’ll be worth revisiting as the Biden probe in Delaware moves along as she wanted to know whether President Joe Biden still stands by his claims that he never discussed Hunter’s business dealings with him or with other people.

Heinrich wrapped her questions with one about Hunter in context of the Post’s story from this past weekend that said a Hunter Biden associate had visited the White House 19 times while Hunter’s father was Vice President:

[...]

Prior to her Hunter question, Heinrich brought up the CDC order Title 42 and its use at the southern border and whether it was true that the President’s “looking forward to lifting Title 42, describing it as an excuse to keep people out of the country and anti-immigrant.”

Psaki replied that while he “never felt that Title 42 was a — an effective immigration policy...the authority has always rested in the CDC to make that determination.”

And on a topic semi-related, Heinrich questioned whether the supposed drying up of government COVID-19 funding could soon result in a scenario with illegal immigrants receiving vaccinations and pandemic-related care free of charge while American citizens aren’t[.]

The next day, Houck served up more Heinrich love for staying on message over Hunter Biden:

For the second day in a row on Wednesday, Fox’s Jacqui Heinrich pressed lame duck White House press secretary Jen Psaki on both Hunter Biden’s life of corruption and the ongoing crisis at the border as the Biden administration continues to divert resources away from American citizens and toward illegal immigrants.

Heinrich sandwiched her Hunter Biden questions in between back-and-forth’s on Saturday’s White House Correspondents Dinner (WHCD) and Title 42, stating she “want[ed] to take another stab at a question I tried yesterday.”

“We’ve heard the President say over and over again that he has never spoken to his son about his business dealings.  Has he ever spoken to his son’s business partners about his son’s business dealings,” she asked.

Psaki made it as clear as day for the U.S. Attorney and grand jury in Delaware, saying “nothing has changed about what I said yesterday” in that President Biden “does not get involved in the business dealings of his son.”

Heinrich twice followed up to have Psaki repeat herself:

Houck didn't think Heinrich was a bad reporter for asking questions that elicited the same answers from Psaki -- she stayed on message with the right-wing agenda, and that's all that matters to him.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:00 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, June 13, 2022 12:54 AM EDT
CNS Unemployment Coverage Distortion Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

In keeping with the pattern of recent months, CNSNews.com's coverage of unemployement numbers downplayed the positive numbers while cherry-picking the ones that aren't so good. This went to an extreme in Susan Jones' lead story on April's numbers, which carried the headline "April Downer: Labor Force Participation and Number of Employed People Fall; Unemployment Rate Holds at 3.6%." Yet the article began this way:

Non-farm payrolls added 428,000 jobs in April, in line with the the consensus estimate of around 400,000, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday.

Jones followed that with her longtime obsession with the labor force participation rate, which she tends to hype whenever a Democrat is president, as well as another obsession with reminding us how great things supposedly were under Donald Trump before the pandemic:

The number of employed people fell to 158,105,000, a decrease of 353,000 from the prior month. But the number of unemployed people -- those who have actively looked for work in the prior four weeks and are currently available for work -- also dropped by 11,000 to 5,941,000.

The April unemployment rate held steady at 3.6 percent, the same low rate as it was in March. But the labor force participation rate is moving in the wrong direction.

In April, the civilian non-institutional population in the United States was 263,559,000. That included all people 16 and older who did not live in an institution, such as a prison, nursing home or long-term care facility.

Of that civilian non-institutional population, 164,046,000 were participating in the labor force, meaning they were either employed or unemployed -- they either had a job or were actively seeking one during the last month. This resulted in a labor force participation rate of 62.2 percent in April, down from 62.4 percent in March.

The participation rate was 61.4 percent when Joe Biden took office. Today's number, 62.2 percent, is still below the Trump-era high of 63.4 percent in February 2020, just before COVID shut things down.

It wasn't until the eighth paragraph that she admitted the inconvenient truth (for her narrative, anyway) that the labor force participation rate is low because of "the growing number of Baby Boom retirees."

Editor Terry Jeffrey served up his usual sidebar on government employment, this time complaining that "The number of people working for government in the United States grew by 22,000 in April."


Posted by Terry K. at 3:49 PM EDT

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