ConWebBlog: The Weblog of ConWebWatch

your New Media watchdog

ConWebWatch: home | archive/search | about | primer | shop

Tuesday, June 21, 2022
CNS Giving Scandal-Tarred Gaetz (But Not His Scandal) The Headline Treatment Again
Topic: CNSNews.com

We've noted how CNSNews.com loved to quote Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz until last year, when he had to lay low after allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old girl surfaced as well as questions about whether that constituted sex trafficking. AFter a brief article when the allegations first went public, CNS has almost completely censored news of the scandal, even though a close Gaetz friend pleaded guilty to charges in the case and his ex-girlfriend was granted immunity so she could tell her story to a grand jury. (And they certainly weren't going to mention Gaetz's abysmal book sales.)

Now, it appears both Gaetz and CNS are tired of laying low -- and CNS is back to giving Gaetz free publicity. It eased into giving Gaetz the headline-stenography treatment it gave him before his scandal went public at the start of this year for spouting conservatively correct things:

There was an interlude where it didn't go well for Gaetz; when CNS sent an intern out in April to pester senators about whether they use marijuana after the House voted to decriminalize it, it noted that Gaetz was one of the few Republicans who voted for that bill.

Then, starting with an April 27 article, CNS resumed the headline treatment with four more articles:

The one about Russia, of course, is a reflection of CNS' editorial policy of appeasing Russian leader Vladimir Putin because he spouts conservatively correct things and bashes President Biden.

You will not be surprised to learn that none of these articles mention the fact that Gaetz remains under federal investigation for his scandals.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:22 AM EDT
Monday, June 20, 2022
After Sussmann Is Acquitted, MRC Blames Biased Jury, Not Durham
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center relentlessly hyped every little claim special counsel John Durham made that alluded to possible wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign as a "MASSIVE" development as it reported on the trial of lawyer Michael Sussmann for allegedly making a false statement to the FBI. But when the jury acquitted Sussmann, had to find a new narrative: attacking the justice system. In a May 31 post, Kevin Tober suggested the verdict was illegitimate because the jury was mysteriously "dubious":

In one of the most outrageous examples of leftist media bias, ABC’s World News Tonight and CBS Evening News decided to finally report on the Durham/Sussmann Russia hoax trial, but only after Michael Sussmann was acquitted of lying to the FBI. Both networks had no interest in covering the trial while it was ongoing. It wasn’t until the Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer was found not guilty by a dubious Washington D.C. jury that they decided to take a victory lap. While NBC Nightly News made no mention of the jury verdict. 

On World News Tonight, anchor David Muir gloated about the “major defeat” for special counsel John Durham before tossing it to the network’s chief justice correspondent Pierre Thomas.

For Thomas’s part, he joyfully reported the “Washington jury handing special counsel John Durham a stinging defeat, acquitting a lawyer with ties to Hillary Clinton's campaign of charging that he lied to the FBI.”

Unlike with previous articles bashing those channels' lack of coverage of the trial, Tober did not mention how Fox News covered the verdict.

When CNN's John Avlon took right-wing media to task for its embarrassing  Durham cheerleading. Aidan Moorehouse had a meltdown in a June 1 post:

If you ever feel like being lectured by someone who thinks you have the mental capacity of a toddler, look no further than CNN’s John Avlon. On Wednesday’s New Day, Avlon decided to use his five-minute monologue Reality Check to gloat over the acquittal of Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann and ironically tout CNN as “reality-based media” as opposed to “partisan media.”   

Avlon could barely contain his glee as he recounted, “Yesterday, the hammer was supposed to finally come down. . .But instead, it was time to cue the sad trombone soundtrack, as the jury came back with an acquittal for the Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann, who’d been charged with a single count of lying to the FBI.”

Avlon compared the Durham probe with the Mueller investigation, which “took less than two years, and it resulted in prison sentences for five members of the Trump circle, including Paul Manafort and longtime political advisor Roger Stone — both of whom Trump later pardoned — as well as former consigliere Michael Cohen.”

He then decided to take a swipe at CNN’s rival (and much more popular) network, “The folks over at Fox News obligingly hyped up the Durham investigation big time. Get this, according to LexisNexis transcripts, they mentioned it at least 625 times on their air since 2019. The repetition reflects the alternate reality that gets created by partisan echo chambers.”

[...]

Avlon continued, “As it became evident that the trial was going sideways, right-wing media was already primed to explain away an acquittal, blaming the jury as biased and saying it contained Hillary Clinton donors. But this wasn't a close call. It was a fast six-hour deliberation followed by a unanimous verdict.”

Does Avlon think that pointing out the speed of the deliberation and clear conflicts of interest will make people trust D.C. more?

But if jury members had the "clear conflicts of interest" that Moorehouse claims, wasn't it Durham's duty to make sure those people never got on the jury, since both prosecution and defense attorneys must sign off on jury members?

Emma Schultz lodged a similar complaint in a June 2 post, grumbing that the acquittal means "outlets like CNN are suddenly excited to spike the football. On Tuesday night, Don Lemon and guests cheered the verdict as won 'fairly and squarely.' They also derided 'partisan folks' who watch such trials in bad faith." She then tried to raise the specter of a biased jury by citing a highly biased Fox News employee: "Fox News host and former Trump spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany explained that 'the D.C. jury pool, this is an area of the country where 76 percent of people in the District of Columbia are registered Democrats. Believing that the jury did not 'buy what Durham was selling,' she feeds right into what the left thinks." Like Moorehouse, Schultz failed to mention that Durham approved this jury. Clay Waters followed with a June 4 post grousing that the New York Times pointed out Durham was just chasing right-wing conspiracy theories.

Meanwhile, MRC writer Curtis Houck was more explicit about  blaming a biased jury on his Twitter account, lashing out in one tweet at an "ultra-liberal D.C. jury" and calling Sussmann their "friend" (despite offering no evidence that any jury member had any sort of "friendly" personal connection with Sussmann). He whined in another tweet that "This [is] what happens when you try a Democratic operative in a city with Saddam Hussein-like election returns for Democrats." At no point did he mention that Durham signed off on these jurors and that if he felt they were overly biased, he shouldn't have done that.

Houck further complained: "If a Trump lawyer were to be tried in a scheme similar to how Michael Sussmann was charged with lying to the FBI and faced a D.C. jury, the trial would be held in Fulton County, PA where Trump got 85.5% in 2020." But Houck offered no evidence that Durham tried to move the Sussmann trial to find a supposedly less Democratic jury.

It wouldn't be an official MRC narrative, however, if Tim Graham didn't weigh in. In his June 1 podcast, rehashing his subordinates' whining that the "liberal media" didn't cover the trial but only noted when Sussmann was acquitted, rehashed right-wing complaints about the Mueller report and even went way back to the 1990s to complain that Lawrence Walsh indiced Caspar Weinberger before the 1992 election. Graham further whined that the trial was held in "midnight-blue D.C., so pretty much every prospective juror was a Democrat." Like Houck, Graham offered no evidence Durham tried to move the trial outside D.C. He added: "Basically, the jurors came out and told reporters this was a waste of our times, which just tells you the jurors were Democrats." Graham seems incapable of admitting that jurors' assessment of Durham's case could not possibly be objective.

Graham went on to handwave Durham's failure as a prosecutor and cheer his work in perpetuating right-wing anti-Hillary narratives: "So in this case the prosecution failed, but in media terms, the John Durham probe keeps giving us details on how the media and the Clinton campaign colluded to create the Russian collusion narrative that ended up being false."

Graham regurgitated a lot of his podcast ranting in his June 3 column: "John Durham was guaranteed a hostile reception from journalists who wanted everyone to believe the most overwrought tales about Trump while they posed as the Guardians of Facts and Truth. Any attempt to dig into the manufacturing of their sensationalist narratives has to be disparaged as a 'debacle.'" And Durham was guaranteed a fawning reception from Graham and the MRC because he was advancing right-wing anti-Hillary narratives. That was too good of a story for anyone at the MRC to fact-check beyond his "MASSIVE" claims -- which might have revealed they weren't so massive after all.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:45 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, June 20, 2022 10:24 PM EDT
CNS Unemployment Coverage Distortion Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

Under a headline that sneeringly dismissed great employment news as merely "not bad," Susan Jones' lead CNSNews.com article on May's employment numbers still -- still! -- made a point of reminding people that things were even better in the pre-pandemic Trump years and, in CNS style, continued to obsess over the labor force participation rate since that's a number that can be used to obscure the unambiguously positive numbers:

Non-farm payrolls added 390,000 jobs in May, better than the consensus estimate of 350,000, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday.

With that gain, non-farm employment is down by 822,000, or just 0.5 percent, from its pre-pandemic level in February 2020.

The number of employed people increased by 321,000 to 158,426,000; the number of unemployed people also increased, by 9,000, and this produced an unemployment rate of 3.6 percent for the third straight month. (The number of employed Americans set 25 records under President Trump, reaching an all-time high of 158,866,000 in February 2020.)

In a positive move, the labor force participation rate moved up slightly.

In May, the civilian non-institutional population in the United States was 263,679,000. 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, 164,376,000 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 62.3 percent in May, up from 62.2 percent in April, but still a tenth of a point lower than the 62.4 percent achieved in March.

The participation rate was 61.4 percent when Joe Biden took office. Today's number, 62.3 percent, is still below the Trump-era high of 63.4 percent in February 2020, just before COVID shut things down.

CNS downplayed this good news further by failing to place it in the lead-story slot at the top center of CNS' front page. That honor went to editor Terry Jeffrey's usual sidebar on government employment that "increased by 57,000 in May," which passes as bad news in the CNS bubble because government employment is evil, apparently. But Jeffrey didn't play the Trump game that Jones did, because the graph accompanying his article shows that government employment, like general employment, peaked in early 2020 before the pandemic -- and, thus, under Trump, whose history of prolifigate spending has also been hidden by CNS because it conflicts with the official (and bogus) narrative of him as a fiscally responsible conservative.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:38 PM EDT
MRC Hypocritical Whoredom Watch
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center -- specifically, writer Scott Whitlock -- loves to denigrate other media outlets as being "whores" for its owners by promoting projects by corporate siblings, despite the MRC's own longstanding practice of whoring out its "news" division, CNSNews.com, to promote MRC narratives and other projects. Whitlock did this again in an April 27 post:

If you ever hear ABC News investigate some politician or organization for doing the bidding of corporate overlords, be sure and laugh. Because it’s hard to find journalists more compromised than those at Good Morning America. On Wednesday, they devoted a combined eight minutes and 24 seconds to shilling for corporate bosses Disney.

At the same time, however, they have important, tragic stories, like the drowning of Army National Guardsman Bishop E. Evans. He drowned while heroically attempting to save migrants crossing the Rio Grande. ABC’s morning and evening newscasts devoted 20 seconds total since last Friday.

Instead, GMA on Wednesday devoted three segments to promoting Disney cruises and one to promote the Disney movie Encanto. Take a look at this clip and see if you can figure out: News story or Disney PR? 

As we've documented, the MRC used CNS for a combination of whoredom and logrolling earlier this year around boss Brent Bozell's new book. The whoring began when CNS editor Terry Jeffrey did an extremely softball interview with Bozell to promote the book;' it followed that up with a fawning review of Bozell's book by Craig Shirley, after which Bozell gave Shirley a gushing review of his book, bollowed by Jeffrey tossing softballs to Shirley for a promotional "interview."

Funny how Whitlock is unable to see that ridiculous whoredom happening right under his nose. He must get paid pretty well to be able to ignore such blatant hypocrisy.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:49 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: The Putin Boosters At WND
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Both the "news" and opinion sides of WorldNetDaily -- already fans of Vladimir Putin -- put Biden-bashing and biolab propaganda ahead of warmongering worries when Russia invaded Ukraine. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:53 AM EDT
Sunday, June 19, 2022
The MRC Can't Quit John Durham
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has been positively obsessed with special counsel John Durham because of his potential for serving as a surrogate attack dog on behalf of Republicans by attacking Hillary Clinton over  the 2016 presidential campaign (never mind that the MRC regularly whines about the media being obsessed with Donald Trump even though he left office a year and a half ago) and burying the fact that Durham's "massive" scoops have tended to be low on substance. Even though Durham's claims in February fizzled out, the MRC continuedto place its faith in Durham as a stealth political actor. Curtis Houck huffed in an April 18 post:

Last week, ABC, CBS, and NBC refused to cover on their top morning and evening shows not one but two new and significant happenings in Special Counsel John Durham ’s investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe; as not only did a judge deny indicted former Clinton attorney Michael Sussmann’s motion to dismiss, but a new Durham filing alleging the CIA knew Trump-Russia ties were “not plausible” and “user-created” on Trump servers.

Houck went on to unsurprisingly praise how Fox News ran with those claims. But as the Washington Post reported, that claim was cherry-picked out of Durham's full filing, and it's not clear which exact claim is being criticized as "not plausible."

When Sussmann's trial started, the MRC ranted about how non-right-wing media was ignoring it while cheering Fox News for lovingly detailing it, starting with a May 17 post by Kevin Tober:

On Tuesday, the prosecution and defense teams in special counsel John Durham’s trial against former Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussmann delivered opening arguments. Sussmann is charged with making false statements to the FBI. During opening arguments, prosecutors revealed that Sussmann used the FBI to create an October surprise during the 2016 presidential election against then-candidate Donald Trump. 

Despite this revelation that a lawyer for the Clinton campaign lied to the FBI in order to frame Donald Trump, all three evening news broadcasts ignored the story. Instead, ABC’s World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, & NBC Nightly News wasted airtime on local weather reports, a brush fire in Los Angeles, and an entire segment on the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial.

Thankfully, Fox News Channel’s Special Report covered the new allegations against Clinton hatchet man Sussmann.

[...]

It’s clear the leftist broadcast networks are still invested in the Trump/Russia collusion fairy tale even though it’s now been thoroughly debunked as a baldfaced lie. This explains the media’s lack of interest in this trial. 

In fact, the Mueller report documented dozens of contacts between Russian operatives and the 2016 Trump campaign, so it wasn't a "fairy tale" to suspect collusion.

Houck returned to hype a "MASSIVE Durham Trial Bombshell" non-right-wing didn't cover (but Fox News did) in a May 20 post:

The trial of former Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann took a shocking turn Friday when Clinton 2016 campaign manager Robby Mook revealed on the stand that Hillary Clinton herself greenlighted the leaking to a reporter of what they insisted was the possibility of ties between the Trump Organization and the Kremlin-friendly Alfa Bank.

And, as has been the case with the Sussmann case (and most of Durham’s probe), the broadcast network evening newscasts of ABC, CBS, and NBC completely ignored it.

The Fox News Channel’s Special Report provided extensive coverage to the tune of 10 minutes and 49 seconds over its hour-long runtime, including a two-minute-and-54-second news report from correspondent David Spunt. 

Houck didn't explain why nearly 11 minutes wasn't an excessive amount of time to spend on this story or why that didn't further demonstrate Fox News's irrefutable right-wing bias, even as he dismissed the other channels as "liberal networks."

Tim Graham similarly whined about the allegedly insufficient coverage of this "bombshell" in a May 22 post:

A less Clinton-backing media elite might have found a -- well, "bombshell" in Friday's court testimony by former Clinton campaign chairman Robby Mook that "Hillary Clinton personally authorized her campaign to share since-debunked computer data linking Donald Trump with a Russian bank" in 2016, an attempt to paint Trump as compromised by the Russians.

At least the Durham probe made page A8, under this very bland headline: "Sussmann prosecutors take aim at Clinton, FBI, media." Is that MEANT to be passed over!? But worse than that, the Mook testimony did not appear in Devlin Barrett's overview until paragraph 25.

This is that comical way liberal journalists claim "Hey! We covered that!" Yeah, it was buried, six feet under in newspaper terms.

[...]

Mook is right that Clinton and her affiliated lawyers, campaign staffers, and opposition researchers were selling a raft of "collusion" stories to the Post and the other liberal media outlets...and the liberal media gave great coverage to them all. Now, the Durham probe is submerged.

Like Houck, Graham didn't explain why this claim deserved more prominent coverage beyond helping the MRC's pro-right-wing optics.

By contrast, the MRC has been apoplectic that the 2020 October surprise of Hunter Biden's laptop wasn't lapped up by the media outside its right-wing bubble, despite the lack of independent verification at the time.

Apparently lacking any further "massive bombshells" from Durham, the MRC then went pretty much silent on the trial until a verdict came in -- then it whined about it not going Durham's -- and, thus, the right-wing anti-Hillary narrative's -- way. More on that soon.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:17 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, June 19, 2022 6:33 PM EDT
CNS Cheers Bishop Denying Pelosi Communion
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com was already engaging in a new round of attacks on Nancy Pelosi for failing to impose her Catholic faith on the entire country by agitating for abortion bans when it got an assist from her San Francisco bishop, who felt the need to insert himself into this political issue. Craig Bannister cheered in a May 20 article:

Because of her steadfast and outspoken opposition to Church teaching on abortion, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has been banned from receiving Holy Communion, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone announced Friday.

“After numerous attempts to speak with Speaker Pelosi to help her understand the grave evil she is perpetrating, the scandal she is causing, and the danger to her own soul she is risking, I have determined that she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion,” Archbishop Cordileone tweeted, linking to a copy of an open "letter to the faithful" on the archdiocese website.

According to the letter, Pelosi is banned from communion “unless and until she publicly repudiate her support for abortion ‘rights’ and confess and receive absolution for her cooperation in this evil in the sacrament of Penance,” the archbishop writes. “I have accordingly sent her a Notification to this effect, which I have now made public.”

CNS was so giddy about this development that it plastered its front page that day with all the anti-abortion attacks it had published on Pelosi and President Biden over the past few months:

An anonymously written article the next day quoted Cordileone claiming that he wanted to “help her understand that it is unacceptable to kill babies in the womb," adding: "I know people will accuse me of being political, but this is not political at all. It’s pastoral."As much as we hate to accuse a Catholic priest of lying, he's clearly lying here -- he has very deliberately inserted himself into a political debate with an action he knows will give him positive attention in certain political circles (witness the above work on CNS' front page). There's simply no plausible way for him to deny being political.

The attacks on Pelosi continued. For a May 23 article, Bannister dug up a 19-year-old interview in which Pelosi claimed she "would rather have been a priest because priests have more power" (which Bannister doesn't refute). The next day, Susan Jones complained that Pelosi called out Cordileone's hypocrisy in sanctioning her on abortion while ignoring other Catholics who don't follow church teaching on other political issues (which also went unrefuted):

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who often professes her Catholic faith, nevertheless supports a woman's right to abort a baby. Last week, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco publicly announced that Pelosi should not take Holy Communion until she repudiates her support for abortion.

Pelosi responded Tuesday morning, telling MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that the archbishop also opposes the death penalty and LGBTQ rights, but he does not deny Holy Communion to people who don't share those views.

She also suggested that many pro-life advocates reject the Gospel of Matthew, in which Jesus instructs his followers to "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’"

CNS went on to cheer that other Catholic bishops were getting on the denial bandwagon:

Even though that last article claimed "many" bishops support Cordelione, writer Janey Olohan lists only eight -- a tiny number given that there are 196 bishop-run dioceses, archdioceses and other units in the U.S.

And, of course, the usual uber-Catholic suspects felt the need to weigh in, led by dishonest Catholic Bill Donohue:

  • He huffed on May 23 that Pelosi "has been begging for a confrontation with him for many years. Now she has succeeded." He then gushed over Cordileone: Over the past decade, Archbishop Cordileone has demonstrated great prudence and patience in dealing with Pelosi. He is a man of courage and goodwill, and a loyal son of the Catholic Church."
  • Donohue ranted in a May 24 column that Pelosi "is at war with the Catholic Church," adding: "There is not a single Church teaching on women, marriage, the family, or sexuality that Pelosi accepts, so out of touch is she with the Catholic Church. There are atheists who agree more with the Church on these issues than she does."
  • Donohue's June 8 column was devoted to Pelosi's responses to criticisms of various bishops and others, again huffing, "There is no Catholic politician who has a record of openly defying the Catholic Church on the issues of women, marriage, the family, and sexuality worse than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi."

Anti-abortion obsessive CNS editor Terry Jeffrey used his May 25 column to bash Pelosi, starting with rehashing a gotcha question a CNS reporter asked her in 2015. After a lot of lecturing, Jeffrey declared that "Archbishop Cordileone did the right thing. Now, Speaker Pelosi should do the right thing and join the pro-life cause." Like his other writers, Jeffrey didn't refute Pelosi pointing out Cordileone's hypocrisy in sanctioning her but ignoring others who violate church teachings on other issues.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:20 PM EDT
Saturday, June 18, 2022
MRC Sports Blogger Flip-Flops On Politics In Sports
Topic: Media Research Center

Media Research Center sports blogger John Simmons can't quite figure out out to bew consistent regarding vulgarities. As we pointed out, he freaked over someone dropping an impromptu F-bomb on a TV show but cheered rowdy baseball crowds chanting "F--- Joe Biden."

That, of course, is the unexpurgated version of "Let's Go Brandon," which Simmons' MRC co-workers have heartily endorsed. That has caused Simmons to don another flip-flop; where he regularly deplores politics intruding into sports, he found one hateful political message from an athlete he could love in a March 25 post:

San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado is known more for being a wizard on defense than being outspoken politically, but that changed on Wednesday when he spoke with local San Diego news outlet KUSI News.

Machado took some time away from prepping for the season to conduct interviews, showing up to the media hits with a “Let’s Go Brandon” t-shirt. One reporter noted that because Machado decided to get political, his chances of getting in the baseball Hall of Fame might have dwindled significantly.

The reasons for why he chose to wear a shirt with the popular conservative catchphrase were unclear, but it is safe to say that the Miami native just made himself incredibly popular with those on the right.

By contrast, just a week earlier Simmons was whining that a college basketball team was promoting "woke ideology" and "propaganda" by including words like "equality" on their jerseys, declaring that "what they are doing is promoting messages that in and of themselves are admirable, but because they have social justice undertones, they become toxic." Simmons is certainly never going to accuse Machado of spreading a "toxic" message with his "Let's Go Brandon" shirt, even though it's shortland for a vulgar insult -- after all, he revels in that particular strain of toxicity, and his hatred for Biden has only made him even more toxic -- and, paradoxically, a more valuable employee to the MRC, which no longer cares about making coherent and reasoned arguments.

Simmons didn't explain his double standard, let alone admit he was engaging in one. It appears it's OK for right-wing haters to hate as long as it's the right hateful cause -- even when it contradicts their previously expressed principles.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:10 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, June 19, 2022 6:50 PM EDT
WND's Brown Embraces Musk's Bogus Graphic
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Michael Brown writes in his May 2 column:

What can we learn from Elon Musk's apparent shift to the right in his politics? From his perspective, as illustrated in his stick figure tweet, he has not shifted at all. Instead, the left has veered further left, because of which, by remaining stationary in his own views, it is perceived that he has moved to the right.

His graphic reminded me of an illustration I used for many years while preaching, holding the Bible high in in my right hand and using my left hand to represent the state of the society.

I would then say this: "Because we don't want to appear fanatical or radical as followers of Jesus, we tend to set our standards somewhere between the standards of God's Word and the standards of the world. But as the standards of each generation get lower and lower, our standards get lower as well.

"As a result, within a couple of generations, things are acceptable in our own homes as believers that would have been detestable in the homes of our non-believing grandparents."

Put another way, unless we actively swim against the tide of the worldly culture, we will find ourselves drifting in the wrong direction. We will simply be carried by the current.

Musk's point is similar yet different, especially since is not related at all to a faith standard or a biblical belief.

Instead, it illustrates just how far to the left the "progressive" mindset has shifted. As the saying goes, "Today's Democratic Party is not the Democratic Party of Bill Clinton." (Do you remember when the Democratic mantra concerning abortion was, "We want abortion to be safe, legal and rare"? How would that play today?)

Most of my Jewish relatives and friends from childhood are Democrats today, some of them quite staunchly.

Yet a few of these old friends are not, and when I interacted with them on social media, asking them what happened, their stories were the same.

They began to see what was really happening. They began to recognize how dramatically the "liberal" side was becoming extreme. They began to understand that the policies they once defended were actually indefensible and that the policies they once loathed actually had some merit.

Now, some of them are more conservative politically than I am.

But Musk -- and, thus, Brown -- have bought into a fallacious argument, that only the left is moving while the right has not. But Parker Molloy debunked that claim in a piece for MSNBC:

The argument being made here is a simple one: From 2008 to 2021, the political left moved even more to the left, while the right remained in the same exact spot. This I didn’t change! It was the left who left me! attitude is a pretty common trope among center-right types, but it’s simply not true. While perhaps comforting, there is plenty of empirical evidence to refute the core claim.

[...]

Look at how quickly the Republican Party turned against2008 presidential nominee Sen. John McCain and 2012 presidential nominee (and now senator) Mitt Romney, who have both been slammed as RINOs (“Republicans in Name Only”). The face of the party is now represented by the likes of Rep. Lauren Boebert, Madison Cawthorn and Marjorie Taylor Greene. Arguably the highest-profile non-congressional Republican right now (besides Trump) is Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has spent the last year passing a dizzying array of bills designed to cater specifically to the far-right.  

[...]

And generally speaking, it makes sense that having curated a media diet heavy on the misinformation peddled by Fox News and co. or surrounding yourself with pundits screaming about how trans people are supposedly ruining everything good in the world could warp your perspective. If you spent the summer of 2020 being inundated by Fox News footage of Black Lives Matter protests, you might genuinely think that the left is out of control. This perception, however, simply doesn’t match reality. 

It’s not uncommon for people to delude themselves into believing that their preferred political side is the reasonable one and that it’s the other side that’s out of control, as Musk has. That being said, if Musk actually believes the meme — which was created last year by Colin Wright, who writes a Substack mostly about gender and earlier this week attacked the Trevor Project, an LGBTQ youth suicide prevention organization, as part of the ongoing right-wing smear campaign targeting LGBTQ adults and children — that’s more worrying. After all, Musk is likely to soon control Twitter, a tool which, for all its faults, still wields power.

Molloy added that those "far left" views aren't as extreme as Brown wants you to think:

To take another example, while other countries have government-funded health care, the U.S. remains tied to its private-market insurance industry. As I’ve written in the past, the positions typically held by Democrats that get labeled by the press as “extreme” or “leftist” — such as bans on high-capacity firearm magazines, universal background checks on gun purchases, support for LGBTQ rights and taxing the ultra-rich — aren’t actually that extreme. These policies tend to be pretty popular with the general public, which is something you can’t exactly say about Republicans and their crusade to ban books, restrict abortion rights and attack LGBTQ people.

Brown, of course, is quite fond of the latter. He concluded:

It's the same with the continuing shift to the radical left. Over time, it will leave the vast majority of Americans behind, since the left's extreme woke agenda is unsustainable.

As a result, in the end, there will be a lot more people just like Elon Musk. The woke agenda will leave them behind.

It seems Brown is determined to remain oblivious to the fact that his increasingly reactionary and hateful agenda is leaving people behind too.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:14 AM EDT
Friday, June 17, 2022
New Press Secretary, Same Hate: MRC's Houck Berates Jean-Pierre
Topic: Media Research Center

Media Research Center writer Curtis Houck has already denigrated Karine Jean-Pierre as a diversity hire, so his hatred for her was destined to continue after she replaced Jen Psaki -- whom Houck had spent the previous 14 months spewing hate at -- as White House press secretary. Thus, Houck came out guns a-blazin' after Jean-Pierre's first briefing as press secretary on May 17:

With The Psaki Show out to pasture until it resurfaces on Peacock, White House press briefings continued on Tuesday with Psaki’s former deputy and former MoveOn.org and MSNBC activist, Karine Jean-Pierre. 

Predictably, the liberal media showered their fellow progressive with syrupy platitudes and questions from the left demanding the federal government crusade against Fox News host Tucker Carlson and Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) for supposedly causing the Buffalo shooting.

Jean-Pierre repeatedly insisted Tuesday wasn’t about her, but she repeatedly did just that. She capped her opening remarks by stating “about how honored I am to be here with all of you today in this role, in this room, standing behind this podium” as the first “a Black, gay, [and] immigrant woman...to hold this position” and that it wouldn’t have been without “barrier-breaking people before me.”

She added that “[r]epresentation does matter...and no one understands this better than President Biden, which is why his administration is not only the most diverse in history” and moved on to the job itself by insisting “this podium, this room...belong[s] to the American people.”

Before going to the AP’s Zeke Miller, Jean-Pierre insisted she’ll make “truth, honesty, and transparency” the center of her briefings even though she “might not see eye-to-eye...all the time” with reporters.

Speaking of reporters, Jean-Pierre thanked her comrades for “the work that you all do, which I know it’s not easy” “play[ing] a vital role in our democracy, and we need a strong and independent press now more than ever.”

Miller led off with a variation of a snotty question that’s been asked of past secretaries as to whether they’d be truthful with reporters.

Houck thinks the question is "snotty" because it was asked of his beloved Kayleigh McEnany -- and she couldn't even get through that day's presser without telling falsehoods. He was also so obsessed with spewing hate at Jean-Pierre that he didn't even hype "Doocy time" from his man-crush, Fox News' Peter Doocy, instead telling readers to check out the full transcript.

For the May 18 briefing, Houck devised a new narrative that Jean-Pierre was already a failure after two days on the job, declaring in the headline that she was "flailing" as he man-crushed on Doocy for repeating the right-wing narrative du jour:

Wednesday’s White House press briefing featured five questions on the so-called pause of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) dangerously Orwellian Disinformation Governance Board (DGB) and the resignation of its controversial head, Nina Jankowicz. In the midst of the questions from< Wall Street Journal’s Tarini Parti and Fox’s Peter Doocy, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed the pause, but let slip that the DGB’s “work” will “continue.”

Parti broke the ice, asking whether “the White House play[ed] a role at all in perhaps expressing frustration on how it was rolled out or...any — involvement in how it — whether or not it should be paused.”

She also wondered whether the administration had “a response to” what “some experts” who’ve argued the DGB “was sort of set up to fail[.]”

Jean-Pierre went right to her binder (which she’s relied on as more than a crutch in both her tenure and back to being Jen Psaki’s understudy), insisting “the board has never convened” but would be “pausing in the sense that it will not convene while former Secretary [Michael] Chertoff and former Deputy AG [Jamie] Gorelick” conduct “their assessment.”

By contrast, Houck had nothing but praise for McEnany's "binder of facts."

After that, Houck took an unexplained break from berating Jean-Pierre and didn't returnn to his self-appointed job until June.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:32 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, June 17, 2022 9:34 PM EDT
WND Censors Trump Role In Suppressing Science
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Art Moore blandly wrote in a May 1 WorldNetDaily article:

The watchdog Government Accountability Office concluded in an investigation that CDC and FDA officials "suppressed" scientific findings related to the COVID-19 pandemic due to political pressure.

Whistleblowers who spoke with GAO investigators said they did not speak up prior to the investigation because they feared retaliation. They said they were unsure how to report the alleged politicizing of science or believed leaders already knew about it, DailyMail.com reported.

The 37-page report found that both the CDC and the FDA did not have a system in place for employees to report allegations of political interference. And the agencies, the GAO said, failed to train staff how to spot political interference and report it.

"A few respondents from CDC and FDA stated they felt that the potential political interference they observed resulted in the alteration or suppression of scientific findings," the report said.

"Some of these respondents believed that this potential political interference may have resulted in the politically motivated alteration of public health guidance or delayed publication of Covid-related scientific findings."

But Moore censored the fact that no small amount of that political pressure came during the Trump administration. As less biased media outlets have noted, the report specifically cites one example from that era:

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been various allegations of political interference affecting scientific decisions at several HHS offices and agencies. For example, in May 2020, a senior official from ASPR claimed HHS retaliated against him for disclosing, among other things, concerns about inappropriate political interference to make chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine available to the public as treatments for COVID-19.

Even the Daily Mail article Moore cited as the basis of his report pointed out Trump interference:

In the early phase the White House was accused of waging a war on science, with then-president Donald Trump repeatedly pushing for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports to be amended to support his views, as shown in emails made public by congressional investigators last April.

While the word "Trump" exists nowhere in his article, Moore did make sure to claim that "Last summer, two top FDA scientists resigned amid charges the agency was being pressured by the Biden administration to made decisions based on politics."

This is a highly unbalanced article devoid of the "TRUTH!" WND editor Joseph Farah claims his website offers. If WND can't change its longstanding editorial policies of bias, falsehoods and conspiracy theories, it seems that WND has not really earned the right to live past its current financial crisis.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:44 PM EDT
CNS Tries To Parse Replacement Theory After Buffalo Massacre
Topic: CNSNews.com

Like its Media Research Center parent, CNSNews.com was promoting the right-wing replacement theory well before the Buffalo supermarket shooter invoked it. We've already noted how CNS hyped its favorite group of right-wing rabbis, the Coalition for Jewish Values, defending Fox News host Tucker Carlson's embrace of replacement theory, but there are other pre-massacre examples as well:

  • CNS published a May 2021 column by Michelle Malkin ranting against foreigners being allowed to live in the U.S., "The numbers don't lie. Replacement theory isn't a theory. It's a grim reality."
  • A September 2021 column by anti-critical race theory obsessive Christopher Rufo complained that reporting showed that "are a 'backlash' against 'rapid demographic change' and “the exposure of white students to students of color" and that "fear of 'white replacement' and the desire to 'protect whiteness' motivate the anti-critical race theory movement" -- which he insisted was "nonsense" because "Americans have moved past the politics of the 1960s. They are tolerant, integrated, and in agreement that malicious racial theories of all kinds should stay out of the classroom."
  • A December 2021 column by Pat Buchanan cheered anti-immigration sentiment in France stirred up by activists like Eric Zemmour and Renaud Camus: "The English translation of Camus' book is entitled, 'You Will Not Replace Us!' Growing numbers of Western peoples appear to fear exactly what it is that Zemmour and Camus say they fear."

After the shooting, CNS was -- again, like the MRC -- in full deflection mode and desperate to try and change the subject, as in this May 17 article by Susan Jones:

The effort to squelch conservative speech continues in this country, as liberals and leftists try to demonize Republicans and conservatives with the "white supremacy" label, especially those who object to President Biden's wide-open border, which appears to be a political liability for Democrats.

"Replacement theory," apparently espoused by the racist Buffalo gunman in his "manifesto," is the most recent attempt to make Republicans/conservatives shut up about the rising tide of illegal immigration and the country's changing demographics.

 

Murphy, appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," was asked to comment on "this obsession with white supremacy and the replacement theory, this racist replacement theory," as guest Eugene Daniels phrased it.

[...]

On Sunday, The New York Times reported that "replacement theory" exists at "the extremes of American life...the notion that Western elites, sometimes manipulated by Jews, want to 'replace' and disempower white Americans."

The report said the theory "has become an engine of racist terror, helping inspire a wave of mass shootings in recent years and fueling the 2017 right-wing rally in Charlottesville, Va., that erupted in violence" [and prompted Joe Biden to run for president].

Fox News host Tucker Carlson is a frequent target of leftists who want to topple him from his prominent cable news platform for various reasons, including his blunt criticism of President Biden's immigration policies.

Jones then uncritically transcribed Carlson spouting replacement theory, as if she thought that would help. She also didn't mention that replacement theory had previously been promoted on the pages of CNS.

The same day, Melanie Arter complained that "President Biden called on Americans to reject the so-called replacement theory in the wake of the mass shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y., that claimed the lives of 10 people and injured three more."

Jones returned the next day to complain that Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer called out Carlson's replacement theory obsession and wouldn't fall for an in-person Fox News ambush, then followed its MRC parent in pulling the ol' switcheroo to blame Democrats for the theory:

Instead of blaming the very troubled teenager who opened fire on shoppers in Buffalo, deliberately targeting them because of their race; and instead of blaming the adults who knew there was something wrong with the kid but failed to get him help; the top Democrat in Congress instead is blaming Fox News and, implicitly, Tucker Carlson for the violence.

In a letter to Fox News obtained by liberal media outlets, Schumer implored Fox News "to immediately cease all dissemination of false white nationalist, far-right conspiracy theories on your network."

Schumer specifically mentions the "great replacement theory" mentioned on some Fox broadcasts.

[...]

Hours before Carlson's show aired, Schumer tweeted: ".@TuckerCarlson invited me on his show tonight to debate the letter I sent to @FoxNews. I'm declining. Tucker Carlson needs to stop promoting the racist, dangerous ‘Replacement Theory’."

Tucker Carlson on Tuesday night noted that Americans are suddenly hearing a lot about the "great replacement theory" -- which actually figures in Democrat politics, he noted, as Democrats seek to cement their political power by flooding the country with illegal immigrants who are presumed to be future Democrat voters.

Carlson played video snippets of various Democrats, including Joe Biden in 2015, touting -- actually celebrating -- a white minority USA.

"So you can play clips of them saying it, and you're the deranged conspiracy nut!" Carlson said.

Jones didn't mention that making note of demographic changes that might benefit Democrats and accusing Democrats of perpetrating an evil conspiracy to replace white people with swarthy foreigners, as Carlson and other Fox Newsers have been doing, are two separate things.

CNS also used columnists to help promote the switcheroo argument. Ben Shapiro insisted that right-wingers' concern about swarthy foreigners replacing white people "is not the great replacement theory, which centers on racial purity rather than the idea that changing demographics have an effect on political orientation." And dishonest Catholic Bill Donohue ranted: "If these progressive members of the ruling class were better educated, they would know that the origins of 'replacement theory' can be traced to the ruling class members of the Progressive Era, people just like themselves, not with right-wing nuts."


Posted by Terry K. at 2:07 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, August 31, 2022 11:22 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: The MRC's Loud And Lame War On NewsGuard, Part 2
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center is reduced to defending the honor of misinformation-laden right-wing websites in an attempt to attack NewsGuard for pointing out that misinformation. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:22 AM EDT
Thursday, June 16, 2022
As Bad News Piles Up, MRC Remains A Musk Cheerleader
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Cener has been an enthusiastic cheerleader of Elon Musk and his bid to buy Twitter -- so much so that his coziness with China, which the MRC used to deplore has been shoved down the memory hole. But as Musk's Twitter deal stopped looking so brilliant -- and Musk himself stopped looking so brilliant -- the MRC still played sycophantic cheerleader for Team Elon.

A May 18 post by Autumn Johnson drily wrote about how Twitter was planning to "enforce" its deal with Musk to buy Twitter at the agreed price of $54.20 a share, but was silent on one big reason why Twitter would feel the need to enforce the deal: Twitter's stock price had dropped precipitously, from $51.20 on April 25, the day after the deal was announced, to $36.85, the day of Johnson's post. Instead, Johnson helped Musk raise a new distraction about the number of fake and spam accounts on Twitter.

The same day, Gabriela Pariseau rant to Musk's defense on another issue:

Guerrilla journalism outfit Project Veritas reportedly caught an alleged Twitter employee trashing free speech and claiming Elon Musk has Asperger’s Syndrome.

Project Veritas released another video Tuesday as part of its “Twitter Exposed” series. Alex Martinez, purportedly Twitter’s lead client partner, reportedly told a Project Veritas undercover journalist that Twitter employees “believe in something that’s good for the planet, and not just to give people free speech.” The video purportedly shows Martinez calling Musk “a loony tune” and alleging Musk has Asperger’s syndrome.

[...]

Martinez went on to mock Musk, claiming he was on the autism spectrum. “Elon Musk as a person is whatever… like he’s a loony tune, he has Ossbergers, Asperger’s. So he’s special. We all know that and that’s fine,” Martinez said in the video. “I’m like, you’re special needs–you’re literally special needs. Literally, though, you really are. So, I can’t even take what you’re saying seriously. ‘Cause you’re special.”

Never mind, of course, that Musk himself has admitted that he has Asperger's syndrome and that his erratic public behavior is fair game for comment -- after all, the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, believes rampant speculation about President Biden's purported mental state is fair game. Hilariously, Pariseau called on verbally abusive serial plagiarizer Benny Johnson to defend Musk.

Johnson used a May 22 post to engage in a Trumpian victimization defense of Musk after it was reported that his SpaceX paid a $250,000 settlement to a flight attendant who said Musk harassed her:

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the left is out to get him after he announced he would vote Republican.

Musk responded to a story from Insider that alleged he sexually propositioned a flight attendant. He said the left personally attacked him for his commitment to free speech as well as his declaration that he would vote Republican from now on.

“They began brewing attacks of all kinds as soon as the Twitter acquisition was announced,” he tweeted. “In my 30 year career, including the entire MeToo era, there’s nothing to report, but, as soon as I say I intend to restore free speech to Twitter & vote Republican, suddenly there is …”

Johnson somehow forgot to mention that a six-figure settlement was paid  to the flight attendant, which sure looks a lot like an admission of guilt.

The MRC continued to serve as the PR agency for Musk's ramblings and PR bulldog to attack his critics:

The MRC didn't mention that it sure looks like that Musk was spreading all that right-wing clickbait as a distraction from the bad news.

The MRC even rushed to Musk's defense over an anti-LGBT meme Musk tweeted, in a June 1 post by Wallace White:

Every time pride month rolls around the establishment and corporate America waste no time in declaring their love for the LGBT cause by changing their logos to a rainbow rendition. Musk decided to poke fun at the sudden onslaught of multi-colored logos that recurs like clockwork every year, and the liberals and LGBT on Twitter were quick to ruin the fun for everyone. 

It doesn’t take a detective to realize that musk’s companies were guilty of it too. The left took this information and ran with it, treating it as a “gotcha!” moment for Elon haters. Predictably, the humor of it all was lost on liberals on Twitter, and they could not possibly fathom that Elon could take a joke even at his own expense. 

[...]

The meme simply acknowledges that corporate America regularly uses woke messaging to pander to LGBT customers. The meme doesn’t mean that Musk hates gay people. The predictability of the annual display of rainbows is something worthy of poking fun at because of its clear superficiality. Leave it to liberals to suck all the laughter and fun out of a good joke and take everything so seriously. Maxwell Adler of Bloomberg was not laughing, which means, of course, that no one else can laugh. When you point out that LGBT causes have the backing of massive corporate power, even superficially, the left goes into meltdown mode. 

The liberals have made it clear: no fun allowed on Twitter if I'm the butt of the joke. It shouldn’t be surprising that they would take a silly meme personally and lash out at Musk. They’ve been on the crusade against comedy for years, and this is simply another incident to add to the list.

But Wallace offered no evidence that Musk acknowledged that he was making a joke at his own expense or that he even knew that his own companies participated in what he was mocking. But it fits right in with the MRC's homophobia, so White did his best to make it fit the narrative.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:29 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, June 17, 2022 6:03 PM EDT
WND's Mercer Still Backing Russia, But Is Cool With Ukraine Militia Because They're Fighting For White People
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Ilana Mercer is still pro-Russia regarding its invasion of Ukraine. But as her May 12 WorldNetDaily column (also published at CNSNews.com) shows, she's now reduced to trying to make an intellectual argument for it to distract from its ugly reality while also trying to muddy the issue a bit by bringing up the Azov Batallion, a militia group in Ukraine that has invoked Nazi imagery:

I therefore questioned, during the "Hard Truth" broadcast, the Nazi designation attached to the Azov Brigade, suggesting that if Azov are not engaged in acts of violence against the traditional Nazi victims and other ethnics, and are merely a military battalion fighting in the Russia-Ukraine military theater – then the Nazi insignia and paraphernalia are irrelevant. These symbols then fall into the category of ritualistic, offensive speech – thought crimes – the kind for which the left criminalizes the right.

This I say despite the fact that, as a longtime critic of American foreign policy, my sympathies here are firmly on the Russian side. Putin's war in Ukraine is a war for which there are plenty reasons, all of them vindicating Russia (although such a statement must be qualified by saying that reasons for war are not the same as justification for war. A war of aggression is seldom justified).

Since the American left is forever criminalizing the right for thought crimes, pro-Russia sympathies notwithstanding, principle is paramount. It will not do to expediently visit the same on the Azov, namely vilifying the brigade for thought crimes.

Moreover, if one is to believe "the Empire of Lies," to use Putin's term for the United States in his epic pre-war address, Russia claimed it went to war to cleanse Ukraine of Nazis. There is little truth in this, however. For where is this emphasized in Putin's speech? It isn't. The Nazi ruse is near-redundant, sort of an afterthought in Putin's cogent address to the nation. The overriding reason for war, to quote Putin, is "the eastward expansion of NATO, which is moving its military infrastructure ever closer to the Russian border." On the facts, U.S. policy toward Ukraine and Russia has not promoted peace between the two, but sought to sever the former's centuries-long ties to Russia and bring it into the U.S.-led NATO sphere of influence. Cold war is waged when conflict outweighs cooperation. Détente is when conflict and friction are reduced. The U.S. has sought a new cold war with Russia. Those were Putin's salient points.

Portraying Russia's reasons for war as "vindicated" while also not being totally pleased at the war's execution reminds us of how Mercer, a native of South Africa, claimed she opposed apartheid as a racist idea even as she made an intellectual case for it. Mercer's complaint abaout the Azov Batallion using neo-Nazi imagery rings a bit hollow, given that when when she mourned the death of South African white supremacist Eugene Terreblanche, she was silent on the fact that Terreblanche led a white supremacist militia group whose logo resembles the Nazi flag.

Mercer ultimately sides with the Azov batallion because -- quelle surprise! -- it's defending white people:

It is clear: Azov has a fight with the Russians. Its vigilance might also be in support of the Ukrainian white ethno-state. But if this is the case, and the battalion's war doesn't involve ethnic cleansing other than their battle to repel a Russian invader, I would put it to the reader that we on the dissident right should not in any way adopt the left's evil of prosecuting thought and speech crimes, and should not be bothered by the Azov's belief system, flags, goosestepping and assorted attire, all no more than accoutrements of speech. I do agree with Mr. Malic that it is worse than hypocrisy – treasonous? – for Western press and politicians to ignore the white nationalism of Ukraine's defenders as they criminalize white nationalists stateside.

Yes, war makes strange bedfellows, and she went on to argue that "if Azov are not engaged in palpable acts of violence against the traditional Nazi victims and other ethnics, and are merely a military battalion fighting in the Russia-Ukraine military theater – then the Nazi getup is irrelevant."


Posted by Terry K. at 8:43 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, June 20, 2022 9:53 AM EDT

Newer | Latest | Older

Bookmark and Share

Get the WorldNetDaily Lies sticker!

Find more neat stuff at the ConWebWatch store!

Buy through this Amazon link and support ConWebWatch!

Support This Site

« June 2022 »
S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30

Bloggers' Rights at EFF
Support Bloggers' Rights!

News Media Blog Network

Add to Google