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Friday, February 3, 2023
Newsmax Amps Up Victimhood Over DirecTV Cancellation
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax knows from its years in right-wing politics how to play the victim, and it's very much doing that after DirecTV dropped it from its lineup in a dispute over licensing fees, calling in every Republican politican and right-wing activist to complain about it. Newsmax continued to rack up those conspiratorial complaints last weekend -- including demands for federal investigations -- over just Jan. 28-31 alone:

There's also no explanation of how demands that the government harrass DirecTV for dropping Newsmax comports with conservative principles of keeping the government out of private business.

Newsmax has also set up a website filled with its talking points to encourage its viewers to harass DirecTV and its AT&T parent , including the demonstrable lie that "DirectTV wants to silence conservative voices in favor of liberal channels." In fact, DirecTV replaced Newsmax with another right-wing channel, The First, so there is in fact no "censorship" of right-wing views happening as a result of Newsmax's removal.

By our count, Newsmax has published at least 56 articles attacking DirecTV in the week after being dropped, and no articles that gave DirecTV a chance to defend itself. That campaign of hate doesn't seem very fair or balanced -- and perhaps justification that DirecTV made a sound business decision.

Newsmax also had columnists weight in as well. James Hirsen used his Jan. 30 column to peddle the corpporate argument that "a host of channels that are filled with radical-left programming are still readily available to DirecTV users, even though viewing audiences remain in short supply," though he named only one:

One of the outlets with an extreme left-wing agenda that is allowed to freely prattle on is Vice Media. The channel is a virtual promoter of the trademark liberal political violence that has been witnessed over the past several years.

Not only does Vice Media get to remain on the platform, it turns out that it is being subsidized financially by a managing owner of DirecTV.

Newsmax has experienced tremendous growth precisely because it continues to deliver to audiences the content they consitently seek; information largely denied to them elsewhere.

Hirsen named no examples of the "extreme left-wing agenda" purportedly beingpushed by Vice Media., nor did he admit that DirecTV replaced Newsmax with another right-wing channel. Instead, he went conspiracy-mongering in an attempt to link DirecTV to the hot new cause on the right, attacking ESG investing:

House committees may be taking a closer look at an entity called TPG Capital.

This is a private equity fund that reportedly owns a 30% stake in DirecTV and also appears to oversee the cable company’s operations.

A few more details:

TPG Capital is the private equity arm of the global asset firm TPG, which has fully adopted a woke-oriented agenda referred to in the business world as Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG).

ESG is a sort of measuring tool to gauge whether or not business organizations are sufficiently onboard with the woke agenda in order to qualify for financing and other advantages that equity firms provide.

[...]

The politics of those at the top rung of TPG are of the ultra-liberal kind.

TPG’s executives have given Democratic candidates 90% of their political donations. The private equity firm has also subsidized the aforementioned far-left news network Vice Media to the tune of hundreds of millions.

Hirsen did not explain how giving to Democratic candidates made one "ultra-liberal."He concluded by ranting that Congress needs to act fast to rescue free speech from the clutches of the stealth partners in the censorship battle" even though, again, no viewpoints have been "censored." He also completely censored the fact that this is a business dispute about licensing fees that Newsmax is demanding but DirecTV decided it didn't want to pay.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:53 PM EST
Updated: Friday, February 3, 2023 4:33 PM EST
NEW ARTICLE -- The MRC's Election of Failed Narratives, Part 3: The Polls
Topic: Media Research Center
Despite declaring that it distrusted media polls after the 2020 election, the Media Research Center enthusiastically hyped media polls that made the Biden administration look bad all the way through the midterm elections (which didn't work out well). Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:04 AM EST
Thursday, February 2, 2023
MRC's Pelosi Derangement Syndrome Lingers On
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center continued to have fits of Nancy Pelosi Derangement Syndrome as she wound down her tenure in House leadership, raging that anyone was saying nice things about her. First a few more from immediately after the midterms:

  • A Nov. 12 "flashback" post by Rich Noyes whined about "the overwhelmingly favorable coverage that Democrat Nancy Pelosi enjoyed in 2006 as incoming Speaker in that election year," comparted with the "savage attacks" faced by Kevin McCarthy as a Republican House leader.
  • Kevin Tober complained in a Nov. 13 post that CNN "interviewed Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to gush over the Democrat Party's [sic] better-than-expected performance in both the Senate and House of Representatives races. Not being able to explain the results by pointing to the Democrat Party's [sic] record of 40-year high inflation, open borders, and a deepening recession, Bash asked Pelosi if 'political violence' was what caused voters to not issue a clear verdict on Biden's performance in office." Tober whined thatinterview Dana Bash "only mentioned the alleged attack on Speaker Pelosi's husband Paul" -- actually, the attack was very real, and the MRC tried to downplay it despite helping to make him a target -- but not other alleged attacks on Republican politicans, "the assassination attempt on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh" (in which the alleged assailant turned himself in before any "assassination attempt" ever happened), or "the countless attacks on pro-life centers around the country" (which ignores the countless attacks on abortion facilities and providers by anti-abortion extremists).
  • A Nov. 17 post by Nicholas Fondacaro whined that the "cackling coven" of "The View" had "mourned" that Pelosi would no longer be speaker.
  • Clay Waters whined in a Nov. 20 post that a New York Times reporter "proved his usual unctuous self" in reporting on Pelosi stepping down from leadership and that he "Pelosi rage at the Republican reaction to the hammer attack on her husband Paul Pelosi until the end." Waters then played whataboutism to downplay the violence, declaring that "Pelosi’s daughter Christine Pelosi in 2020 tweeted support for the violent attack on Republican Sen. Rand Paul by an angry liberal neighbor."
  • Jeffrey Lord used his Nov. 26 column to serve up this whine: "It goes without saying that the liberal media just loved outgoing Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. If Pelosi did X, then X was just fine by the media.

Weeks after Pelosi's announcement, though, the MRC was still lashing out at her. Tim Graham spent part of his Dec. 21 podcast raging over a tiny provision in the recently passed omnibus spending bill: "The networks are urging everyone on board with the latest $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill, and no one needs to read its 4,155 pages. Just vote yes. For any Republicans to argue against this newest deluge of many billions is apparently horrendous. What we're going to get is more opportunities for a Speaker Pelosi Federal Building in San Francisco and a Michelle Obama Trail in Georgia."

The MRC continued to melt down over any coverage of Pelosi that wasn't hostile. Tober groused in a Jan. 3 post:

On Tuesday, which saw the official kick-off of the 118th Congress, NBC Nightly News dedicated their last segment usually reserved for superficial human interest stories to fawn, gush and drool over now-former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi,and what Capitol Hill correspondent Ali Vitali described as being "famous for her toughness and deep understanding of her caucus." 

Before turning to Vitali, anchor Lester Holt swooned over Pelosi's "lasting impact on the women who have come to Washington." From there, Vitali took over the Pelosi stenography. "Ask these Democratic lawmakers about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and it doesn't take long for the Pelosi-isms to start flowing," Vitali said before turning to three Democrat members of Congress who were lined up to cheer on Pelosi with her:

Alex Christy served up his own grumbling in a Jan. 6 post: "CNN’s Chris Wallace travelled to CBS’s The Late Show on Thursday to discuss his career, the new season of Who’s Talking To Chris Wallace, and the on-going drama in the House of Representatives. While Colbert argued the Speaker battle is proof that God exists, Wallace argued it proves Nancy Pelosi was a genius."

Graham returned for a Jan. 23 post raging over even more non-negative coverage of Pelosi:

How much does The New York Times look like a partisan Democrat rag? Look no further than the yoooge 3,700-word Nancy Pelosi puff piece on the front of the Sunday Opinion section (and two entire pages inside) by Maureen Dowd. You could see the massive color photo on the outside, and a massive color photo on the inside, with Pelosi posed primly outside the "Speaker Nancy Pelosi Caucus Room."

The most preposterous sentence in the whole thing is Dowd claiming "She never won over pundits, as Tip O’Neill did, despite accomplishments to match his." Pundits especially loved her under Trump. The Time columnist enjoyed lunch with Pelosi at the hoity-toity Four Seasons Hotel, and Dowd touted her religiosity:

When Wallace did an interview with Pelosi, Graham raged about that too the next day:

How bad could the Chris Wallace talk show on CNN be? Could it be as liberal-leaning as their longtime star Larry King? It certainly looked like it when Brent Baker tweeted out the promo for last Sunday night's edition of Who's Talking to Chris Wallace? It looked more like Who's Chris Wallace Flattering?

[...]

This came in the second half of the Wallace interview. He came out of commercial insisting "Whether you agree with her politics or not, there is no denying Nancy Pelosi has been one of the most effective politicians in Washington for the last two decades. I picked up our conversation asking the former speaker how she's done it."

You can tell that Alexandra Pelosi's dearest-mommy documentary is clearly part of the Pelosi PR packet, as Alexander was featured heavily in the Maureen Dowd puff piece in Sunday's New York Times. Wallace played a clip of Pelosi playing hardball with a Democrat as they passed "Obamacare" in 2010. Then Wallace played a clip of Pelosi talking in the documentary about never tiring in a negotiation.

We've documented how the MRC labored to trash the Pelosi documentary.

Imagine hating someone so thoroughly and viciously that even seeing the smallest bit of positive coverage of that person sends you into fits of partisan rage. That's the space Graham and the MRC are in with Pelosi right now.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:36 PM EST
WND's Cashill Can't Stop Peddling Seth Rich Conspiracy Theories
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've shown how WorldNetDaily is not about to let facts get in the way of its conspiracy theories about the death of Democratic staff Seth Rich, even move than six years after the fact. So it's unsurprising to see one of WND's favorite conspiracy theorists also refuse to give up the ghost. Jack Cashill wrote in his Dec. 21 column:

In my 2019 book, "Unmasking Obama," I focus the spotlight on those intrepid investigators who are doing the work that mainstream journalists are paid to but don't.

One unsung investigator who deserves more attention is Ty Clevenger, a self-described, "Ex-cop, ex-journalist, disgruntled lawyer, muckraking blogger (http://LawFlog.com), and cheerful optimist. (OK, maybe that last one is a stretch.)"

In a sense, all the investigators I have highlighted are, like myself, optimists. We continue to believe that surrender is not an option and that despair is for losers. For the last several years, Clevenger has dug away the dirt surrounding what may be the most revealing mystery of our time, the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich.

hrough his legal efforts on behalf of client Brian Huddleston, Clevenger has discovered that the FBI has in its possession not just Rich's personal laptop but his work computer as well. "I think it's huge," Clevenger recently told Emerald Robinson on her program "The Absolute Truth."

Clevenger is a discredited lawyer who is perhaps the chief remaining Seth Rich conspiracy-mongerer. He made a big splash when he represented right-wing operative Ed Butowsky in suing various people and media outlets for purported defamation -- nearly all of which have been either withdrawn or thrown out of court, in no small part because Butowsky lied during his lawsuit against oneoutlet, NPR. (Butowsky has also been made to apologize to Rich's brother for false statements he made about him.) And Robinson, if you'll recall, is a former Newsmax correspondent who got booted from there after spreading wacky anti-vaccone conspiracy theories on her Twitter account.So neither of these people are what anyone would call credible.

Cashill didn't mention any of this unsavory history, of course. Instead, he rehashed the conspiracy:

The media accepted the explanation of the Metropolitan D.C. Police that Rich's murder was the result of a botched robbery – but how does one botch a "robbery" after beating and then killing the victim.

"I think Julian Assange was telling the truth," Clevenger told Robinson. Two weeks after Rich's death, Assange suggested on Dutch TV that Rich was his source for the DNC emails then unsettling the Democratic Party. Assange offered a $20,000 reward to find Rich's killer.

The media has mindlessly blamed the Russians for hacking this information, but as Clevenger pointed out the FBI never looked at the DNC computers that were allegedly hacked. Instead, the alleged crime victim, the DNC, took the unlikely step of circumventing the FBI and hiring its own investigator, the Democrat-friendly firm CrowdStrike.

In fact, the Mueller report found that the DNC emails were, in fact, stolen by Russia and that Assange had been in communication with Russian military officials before and after Rich's death.

Cashill went on to try to make a big deal out of journalist Ellen Ratner being told by Assange that Rich was the source for the leaked DNC emails. But as one observer noted, Clevenger and Butowsky wanted to treat Ratner as a hostile witness in at least one of their lawsuits even though she was supposedly their own.

After parroting more claims from Clevenger -- whose word, again, is of dubious value to anyone who's not a Seth Rich conspiracy obsessive -- Cashill concluded: "What neither the FBI nor the mainstream media can deny is that Seth Rich was murdered on a Washington Street and that his killer or killers remain at large. The real scandal here, the undeniable one, is that our media have less than zero interest in finding out just who those killers are." Just as it's undeniable that Cashill will put conspiracy theories ahead of facts.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:36 PM EST
MRC Mad That Hunter Biden Supporters Will Start Fighting Back
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has spent years treating Hunter Biden as a partisan punching bag with impunity -- and it has gotten mad that people are starting to fight back on his behalf. Mark Finkelstein whined in a Dec. 11 post:

Liberal slime merchant David Brock has emerged from the woodwork again. This time, he's leading a counter-attack on the GOP-majority House committee that will be investigating Hunter Biden's influence-peddling schemes and the possible connections to his father the president.

They call their new group "Facts First USA." Did that verbiage work to make CNN sound less partisan?

Brock appeared on MSNBC's The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart. The host claimed maybe he's watched too much House of Cards and is a big Scandal fan, but when he heard Brock say that he is going on "offense" he wondered just how far Brock would go, and whether it would include "focusing in on the people who are leading [the investigations] and running them?"

Brock assured him:

"We're going to go on offense. Are we going to expose some of the Republicans on the committee? Sure we are."

Translation:Brock and his Democrat buddies will be turning up their anti-Republican scandal-mongering machine to 11. Capehart sounded thrilled: "You're going to have to come back to the Sunday Show and tell us, preview what you got!"

Finkelstein didn't explain how these tactics are any different from standard Republican (or even overall political) opposition research, or even exactly what Brock did to receive that "liberal slime merchant" title.

A post the same day from Tim Graham similarly complained that Brock's group is fighting back on Hunter's behalf:

The Page One story at top left of the Sunday Washington Post was headlined "Hunter Biden allies set to battle accusers: Some urge counterattack defense as GOP prepares to launch investigations." Political reporters Matt Viser and Michael Scherer quote from a mostly anonymous pile of Democrats debating how to respond to the heightened visibility of Hunter Biden's global buckraking off his father's name. And whether his father got a "cut."

Democrat groups feel the urgent need for a "counter-narrative," which is mildly amusing since they've all been quiet as church mice for two years until the Republicans retook the House. Behind the scenes, Hunter Biden and his pal Kevin Morris -- who they noted gave Hunter $1 million to pay some of his unpaid taxes -- are meeting with partisans who are aiming to discredit any Republican fact-finding mission.

You may point and laugh that they're going to call it a "partisan exercise." And somehow, the last two years of the Pelosi-Picked Panel on January 6 was never partisan.

[...]

Somehow this vast left-wing conspiracy is run by "Democratic-leaning groups." Leaning? They all tell themselves it will be find that swing voters see this as "political stunts." Democrats never pull those?

Graham didn't mention that his MRC was part of the right-wing noise machine that tried to discredit the January 6 committee, nor did he explain how those efforts are any different from what Brock is doing.

Graham also whined about this in his Dec. 12 podcast.

Finkelstein and Graham seem a little upset that their days of bashing Hunter Biden without consequences appear to be over -- and they're not happy about the impending realization that what goes around comes around.

(Disclosure: We used to work for Media Matters, which Brock founded.)


Posted by Terry K. at 1:24 PM EST
CNS Nitpicks Kamala Harris Too
Topic: CNSNews.com

President Biden is not the only Democratic figure CNSNews.com loves to nitpick -- Vice President Kamala Harris is getting the same treatment of being quoted out of context with the goal of making her look bad or incompetent.

CNS has had a bit of a thing about Harris occasionally listing her pronouns.  After she was named Biden's vice presidential candidate, an anonymously written August 2020 article repeated a year-old YouTube video in which she identified "which pronouns she prefers to be referred to by" at a gathering of transgender activists -- which seems like exactly the thing you'd want to do. When she did it again last July, Craig Bannister had a fit:

On Tuesday, Vice President Kamala Harris announced her preferred pronounces and chosen gender when introducing herself at a roundtable meeting.

At an event commemorating the 32nd anniversary of the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Harris made her declaration:

"I am Kamala Harris, my pronouns are she and her, and I am a woman sitting at the table wearing a blue suit."

Republicans were quick to mock the vice president’s politically-correct assertion, given that so many Democrats have had trouble providing a definition of what constitutes a “woman,” even when testifying before Congress.

Bannister was too into parroting the lazy smear that he refused to tell his readers that Harris was following a request to share those details -- this was a conference on disabilities, after all, which included some who were visually impaired -- and that all speakers similarly identifed their gender, pronouns and dress.

We've already documented how CNS knowingly pushed false Republican narratives that portrayed Harris as saying something about hurricane aid that she did not. But CNS has also spent the past year cherry-picking Harris remarks it thinks it can exploit for maximum smear and mockery (not to mention clicks) -- even tying the two together in one post claiming she was having a "Biden moment":

And just as it does with Biden, CNS is also obsessing over certain words Harris says or doesn't say. Bannister pedantically complained in a Jan. 23 article:

In a pro-abortion speech decrying last year’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, Vice President Kamala Harris omitted the right to life being endowed by the Creator when she quoted the Declaration of Independence.

Speaking at a nightclub and concert venue called The Moon on Sunday, Harris invoked the Declaration while attempting to frame abortion as a right:

“So we are here together because we collectively believe and know America is a promise.  America is a promise.  It is a promise of freedom and liberty — not for some, but for all.

“A promise we made in the Declaration of Independence: that we are each endowed with the right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

However, according to the Declaration of Independence, “life” is also an inalienable right – and Americans possess all three rights because they are “endowed by their Creator”:

CNS never applied this same standard of nitpickiness to Donald Trump when he was president.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:27 AM EST
Wednesday, February 1, 2023
MRC's Dishonest Book Banners Keep Raging Against Books They Don't Like
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is so in favor of book bans that its gets upset when efforts to fight them even appear in fiction. An Oct. 31 post by Dawn Slusher complaining that ABC's "The Connors" "dedicated 30 minutes to denigrating" the efforts of (right-wing) parents "to have a say in what books their children are exposed to at school" with a book-ban plotline. Slusher cheered that the father character noted that "some parents just want to have a say in what their kids are reading," then whined:

But they still proceeded to make it a “book banning” issue when no parents are out fighting to have books banned completely. I’ve also yet to see anyone fighting to ban “the classics.” However, these days if “The Scarlet Letter” or any other classic mentioned were in a kindergarten library, that would be a problem.

Today’s parents are out fighting against books that talk about how to “eat pu**y,” sexual activities, sexual assault, abortion. And hundreds of parents in Michigan spoke out against sexually explicit LGBTQ books.

Slusher further complained when one particular hot-button book hated by right-wingers was referenced:

Did you happen to notice a very non-classic book placed in front with all the real classics? How is Gender Queer a classic when it was published in 2019?

Looks like the writers knew all along this has nothing to do with “the classics,” book banning, or freedom of speech and everything to do with sexually explicit books that are inappropriate for children. Gender Queer is one of the most protested books by parents given its extremely pornographic and pedophilic contents. But The Conners wants us to believe it should be included in a school library?

That alone speaks volumes about this show and its agenda.

Tierin-Rose Mandelburg prudishly cherry-picked all the naughty stuff from one book in an Oct. 21 post:

If you’d like to learn how to eat pussy, head on over to a middle school in Oklahoma.

Onward Pioneers middle school in Stillwater, Oklahoma reportedly had a book called “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” in its school library, Libs of TikTok reported. According to a parent who called out the school at a meeting, the book talked about “how to eat pussy,” “how to eat a butthole” said “fuck” 79 times, “shit” 51 times, “dicks” 11 times, had 15 “pussy’s” and 9 “god damn’s,” all for thirteen-year-olds to read.

“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” book is currently rated ages 14-17 on Barnes and Noble yet the general age of middle school children is 11-14 and in the Stillwater school district, middle school only covers 6th and 7th graders. That means that 6th and 7th graders have access to books with vulgar language sexually explicit content.

Mancenburg is lying by portraying the book as only about those things --and she knoiws it, because she refused to describe what the book is actually about, instead of going for prudish shock value. She concluded by making the bizarre leap to actually blaming this book for somehow inspiring sexual crimes: "The left wonders why we have rapists and sexual assaulters flooding our nation yet at the same time completely encourages this behavior starting with school aged children. It's repulsive."

Mandelburg went on to heer a right-wing anti-book stunt in a Nov. 3 post:

Warning: This blog contains rated R, sexually explicit content.

Earlier this week, a group of brave mothers stood in front of their school board to publicly condemn the books that the board allows in its school system. The books contained extreme, graphic, and explicit sexual content that has no place in a school library.

[...]

She’s right, the excerpts from these books were traumatizing to hear as a grown adult. I can’t imagine, or rather, don’t want to imagine what trauma kids who read stuff like this would and do go through.

Public schools are currently a s**t show and this is just another reminder of it. 

Mandelburg curiously didn't name the titles of the books whose cherry-picked contents were gleefully reproduced by her for maximum shock value. She has clearly never heard of the Miller test, Mendelburg has clearly never heard of the Miller test, which is the Supreme Court's measurement of whether a work is obscene -- and one of those requirements is to judge the work as a whole.

Alex Christy complained in a Dec. 13 post that right-wing book bans were called out:

MSNBC host of The 11th Hour Stephanie Ruhle wondered if conservative attempts to “ban books” was the reason the FBI recently reported a raise in hate crimes. Instead of simply answering no, that’s ridiculous, former assistant director for counter intelligence Frank Figliuzzi says it is too soon to tell, but they certainly don’t help.

[...]

There was no attempt to explain what is in these books or justify the presence of sexually explicit material in school libraries or curriculum, simply that conservatives are bad and Republican politicians are bad for going along.

Tim Graham complained that false information about a targeted book was fact-checked in a Jan. 3 post:

On the front page of Tuesday’s Washington Post is a very passionate, very through defense of a novel with passages of two ten-year-old boys who “meet in the bushes after a church youth-group gathering, touch each other’s penis, and progress to oral sex.” That’s the description by Post education reporter Hannah Natanson.

The story went from the front page to the entire back page of the front section. How long was it? If you click "Listen," it says "17 minutes."

The headline was “2 moms, and misinformation led schools to ban a book: How false claims about pedophilia in ‘Lawn Boy’ fueled parents’ anger.”

What’s the “misinformation” here? Some parents -- like Stacy Langton in Fairfax County, Virginia -- wrongly claimed it was sex between a 10-year-old boy and an adult man, as opposed to “the book describes a man in his 20s meeting another man in his 20s and remembering the consensual sexual encounter they shared in the fourth grade.”

Earth to the Post: Couldn't just the graphic oral-sex scene be enough for parents to protest, even between boys?

Graham is clearly OK with misinformation if it forwards right-wing narratives. He went on to complain that "A positive book review in 2018 never found the sex stuff." Perhaps because that's not the focus of the book?

Graham churned out another attack on "Gender Queer," as well as its author, in a Jan. 5 post:

On Wednesday, NPR returned to the ongoing media party for Maia Kobabe, author of the comic-book memoir Gender Queer, celebrated throughout Liberal Land for having the “Most Challenged” book of 2021. Not only was there a seven-minute interview on Morning Edition with anchor Rachel Martin. There was also a Kobabe essay on NPR.org. claiming "Struggling kids told me my book helped them talk to parents." 

The book came out in 2019, but NPR is doing a "Banned Books" series. Martin claimed: "The book has been praised in some circles for how it talks about identity, but it's also drawn a lot of rebuke from people who cite its sexually explicit nature and the illustrations. Gender Queer has been banned in more states than any other book."

This can be interpreted as “state governments banned this book,” not it’s been “removed from public libraries in more states than any other book.” The gender-queer lobby thinks books like these must be in taxpayer-funded libraries – as if they can’t be found on Amazon or shared at LGBT centers.

As usual, NPR won't explicitly explore what is "rebuked" by protesters, including depictions of Kobabe envisioning having her imaginary penis in mid-fellatio, as well as talk of masturbation and blow jobs. Twitter blocks these illustrations as sensitive content.

Graham then sneered at the author's preferred pronouns: "Unlike other supportive media, NPR completely avoided that Kobabe prefers the pronouns 'e/em/eir,' and Martin never used a personal pronoun, just the 'you.'" As if Graham actually cares what other people want to call themselves if it deviates from heteronormative tradition.

Graham didn't say a thing about how the efforts of himself and his fellow MRC subordinates and other right-wingers to censor books like "Gender Queer" may be creating a Streisand effect.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:51 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, February 1, 2023 10:01 PM EST
Horowitz Returns From 2020 Prognostication Failure With New Newsmax-Published Book
Topic: Newsmax

Far-right activist David Horowitz's last Newsmax-published book, "Blitz: Trump Will Smash The Left And Win" -- which was relentlessly flogged by Newsmax before the 2020 election -- was a prognostication failure of Dick Morrisian proportions (not that it kept Newsmax from promoting it after Trump's loss, of course). Undaunted by that failure, Horowitz has a new Newsmax-published book out, the apocalptically titiled "Final Battle: The Next Election could Be The Last," and like his previous book, it's filled with anti-liberal narratives and propaganda. And, of course, Horowitz has been flogging the thing all over Newsmax. A Jan. 4 promotional article by Sandy Fitzgerald helped Horowitz out the premise:

New York Times bestselling author David Horowitz has released a new book, "Final Battle: The Next Election Could Be the Last," and he tells Newsmax that the book details how the United States is facing a crisis that is the "direct result of the Democrats' decision to declare all-out war on Republicans."

"Five days after [Donald] Trump's election, they held a meeting with Nancy Pelosi to form what they called a resistance," Horowitz said on "National Report." "They never accepted Trump as a legitimate president. They are free with their slanders and lies about him. This is so antithetical to what democracy needs to function."

He used the example of Jan. 6, telling Newsmax that the first response from Democrats was to call the protests an "armed insurrection."

"This is before they knew anything," he said. "There was no investigation. There were no real facts, and then immediately it was revealed that no arms were confiscated, so they just dropped the armed and called it an insurrection, which is treason. How can you have an insurrection if you don't have arms?"

Horowitz is being dishonest here -- one does not have to have a gun to be armed. Indeed,  the Secret Service seized knives, pepper spray, tasers and body armor from Trump supporters before the then-president's speech that preceded the riot. Also, Fitzgerald failed to disclose that her employer published Horowitz's book.

A Jan. 6 article hyped a interview Horowitz did with falafel enthusiast Bill O'Reilly in which he spouted more anti-liberal hate in declaring that Democrats "hate America." HEre too Fitzgerald refused to disclose her conflict of interest.

The softball interviews continued  over the next couple of weeks:

After that last article, on Jan. 17, Newsmax has oddly not promoted the book since -- let alone disclose that it published the book.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:41 PM EST
WND Exploits Athlete Deaths, Collapses To Push Bogus Anti-Vaxx Conspiracy
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetdaily is so dedicated to the maliciously false narrative that the COVID vaccines are killing vast numbers of people that it immediately assumes that anyone described as having collaped or "died suddenly" was victimized by the vaccine. Joe Kovacs wrote in a scare quote-laden Dec. 26 article:

The sudden, unexpected death of the executive producer for ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" at age 37 over the weekend has some sounding the alarm about the dangers of COVID vaccines, even though it has not been determined if a shot played a role.

Dax Tejera "died suddenly" Friday, ABC's Rachel Scott reported on the air Saturday. The cause of death was reportedly a "heart attack."

Kovacs had an unusual follow-up in a Jan. 3 article attacking Tejera and his wife for leaving their young children in a hotel room while the "went out on the town in New York City the night he collapsed in the street." Still, he insisted on conspiratorially adding that "the sudden, unexpected death of Dax Tejera has some sounding the alarm about the dangers of COVID vaccines, even though it has not been determined if a shot played a role."

When NFL player Damar Hamlin collapsed during a game, Bob Unruh ghoulishly capitalized on it to promote WND's anti-vaxx narrative in another Jan. 3 article:

It perhaps has not been among most days' top headlines that dozens, no, hundreds of young healthy athletes have simply collapsed while competing in their sports over the past year.

They frequently are diagnosed as the victims of cardiac arrest and their average age is 23.

And the heart issues are coinciding directly with the rollout of the experimental COVID-19 shots that governments around the globe have been mandating.

But when such a collapse occurs on live TV, during a National Football League game between playoff contenders, there's much more alarm.

The Epoch Times reported Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field Monday night after making a tackle.

[...]

While Hamar's vaccination status was not known, and was not necessarily public anyway, a report at the Gateway Pundit noted the fact that "athletes across the world have been dropping life flies as they compete in games."

The Gateway Pundit is a fetid fount of lies and conspiracy theories, and the Epoch Times is loaded with COVID misinformation, so Unruh (further) discredits himself and WND by citing them.

Unruh went on to seemingly cheer the death of a man who criticized anti-vaxxers in a Nov. 6 article:

Another young man, a pro football player who denounced opponents of the experimental COVID-19 shots during the pandemic, has been found dead.

Hundreds of young athletes, mostly men, have reported heart malfunctions, sometimes fatal, during their sports activities. Many, many more have simply died.

Such appears to be the case for Uche Nwaneri, 38, who played for the Jacksonville Jaguars in the National Football League.

He had adopted an extreme position on the COVID shots, demanding "jail" for anyone who refused corporate or government mandates to be part of the experiments.

Now LifeSiteNews reports he was found "unresponsive" in his home Dec. 30 in Indianapolis, Indiana, by his wife, and an autopsy report said there were "no signs of foul play."

Preliminary results suggest "a possible heart attack, pending toxicology results," the report said.

[...]

The report noted Nwaneri's death is "the latest in an alarming trend of sudden deaths among athletes, coinciding with the rollout of the COVID vaccines and raising suspicion that the shots led to heart failure among young athletes."

It noted Dr. Joseph Mercola has documented that more than 700 athletes have "collapsed on the field during a game from March 2021 to March 2022."

The issue has developed so significantly that it's now being called Sudden Adult Death Syndrome.

Mercola is a quack, and approvingly citing him discredits Unruh and WND even more. And as we've documented, Sudden Adult Death Syndrome is not a real thing.

Kovacs hyped a different case in a Jan. 8 article:

A college basketball player collapsed suddenly on the court Saturday, sparking fears among his teammates and fans watching the event.

Imo Essien, a sophomore guard at Old Dominion University dropped to the floor while clutching his chest with just over 13 minutes remaining in the first half in a match between ODU and Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia.

[...]

This latest case of a young athlete collapsing suddenly is again raising questions if a COVID vaccine played a part.

An anonymous WND writer pushed yet another one the next day:

Authorities in Wyoming say a 17-year-old basketball player has "died suddenly," and they suspect it might have been due to an injury.

A report from the Blaze identified the athlete as Max Sorenson and revealed he died unexpectedly at his home Dec. 26.

Despite admitting that "the suspected cause is peritonitis" -- which had been reported before this article was published -- the anonymous writer irresponsibly and maliciously declared that "WND already has reported that hundreds of young people, many athletes, have died after getting the experimental COVID shots."

This kind of irresponsible, non-fact-based reporting is a major reason why WND teeters on the edge of insolvency -- but it's so dedicated to spreading these conspiracy theories that it refuses to see that it's harming itself in the process.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:32 PM EST
NEW ARTICLE -- The MRC's Election of Failed Narratives, Part 2: The Aftermath
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's bitterness at Republicans not doing as well as predicted in the midterm elections was palpable, from whining that Democrats who weren't white or heterosexual got elected to dabbling in election fraud conspiracy theories. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:33 AM EST
Tuesday, January 31, 2023
More Labeling Complaints: MRC Now Whining That Those Fighting McCarthy As Speaker Are 'Right Wing'
Topic: Media Research Center

On the heels of complaining that the media was accurately describing the new Israeli government under Benjamin Netanyahu as "right-wing," the Media Research Center complained that Repubicans were being accurately identified the same way, particularly surrounding the election of Kevin McCarthy as House speaker. Clay Waters was already complaining about this well before the election, in a Dec. 14 post:

There was some good old-school New York Times labeling bias on Wednesday’s front page regarding California Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s fight to become House Speaker when the Republican Party takes over control of Congress next month: “McCarthy Fights to Clear Path to Speaker’s Seat.” The front-page text box set the hostile labeling tone: “Trump’s Lobbying Has Not Moved Critics on the Far Right.”

The far left of the Democratic Party, including Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Maxine Waters and the like, rarely if ever get this treatment. Reporters Catie Edmondson, Maggie Haberman, and Annie Karni teamed up on this festival of hostile ideological labeling of the GOP.

[...]

In all, the story contained two “hard-right” labels, three “right-wing” labels, three “far-right” labels, and two “ultraconservative” labels, to go with three plain old “right” labels, including the online headline.

Missing from Waters' post: any dispute over the accuracy of the labels. That makes it hard to take Waters' criticism seriously if all he complain about is that they are purportedly "hostile."

As the election drew closer, Curtis Houck groused in a Jan. 3 post:

Is Chris Licht interested in changing CNN or is he asleep at the wheel? Such was the case on Tuesday, during the coverage of the vote for speaker of the 118th Congress when it felt as though old puppetmaster Jeff Zucker were still in the control room, as so-called journalists smeared Republicans and wondered if voters actually want Congress to do anything about Hunter Biden’s life of corruption.

After State of the Union co-host Dana Bash lamented how Congress has been held hostage for “12, 15 years” by a “small band of extremes” in the GOP, her fellow co-host and The Lead host Jake Tapper tossed to outgoing Congressman Rodney Davis (R-IL) by similarly bemoaning the “ultra-right-wing, MAGA group...is, by the way, in some analyses, the reason why there wasn't a red wave.”

As before, Houck didn't dispute the accuracy of the labeling; instead, he falsely portrayed CNN as applying it to all Republicans.

Kevin Tober similarly complained, and falsely conflated, the same day:

During Tuesday evening's broadcast of NBC Nightly News, anchor Lester Holt and correspondent Garrett Haake took to the airwaves to gloat over the divisions in the House Republican conference between members who support Kevin McCarthy for Speaker of the House and members who oppose his bid. As of late Tuesday night, the House of Representatives adjourned for the day after going through three rounds of ballots to elect a Speaker. Each time McCarthy came up short of the 218 votes he needs to be elected Speaker of the House of Representatives. Haake decided to label those opposed to McCarthy as "right-wing." Which is a common tactic in the leftist media to paint constitutional conservatives in a negative light. 

Holt kicked off the broadcast huffing: "chaos in the House! For the first time in 100 years, the election for Speaker going to multiple rounds after a group of hard-right Republicans denied Kevin McCarthy the votes he needed on the first ballot."

[...]

He then started his nasty labeling of conservatives by referring to them as "a small but stubborn faction of right-wing members voting against party leader Kevin McCarthy."

Ask yourself, has Haake or any member of the leftist media ever referred to the so-called "Squad" as "left-wing" or "leftists?" This kind of labeling only applies to Republicans.

Tober didn't explain why the labeling was inaccurate, let alone "nasty."

Tim Graham spent his Jan. 4 podcast ranting about these "ideological labels" being used by the non-right-wing media in the speakership fight. He too did not dispute the accuracy of those labels -- "it's not wrong to suggest you're a hardliner if you refuse to accept Kevin MacCarthy as speaker; it's not wrong to suggest maybe that you are maybe even you could say hard right" -- but played the usual MRC whataboutism.Graham then attacked Democrats Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib with ideological labels ("left-wing kook" and "radicals," respectively) without explanation of why he chose them vis-a-vis the "hard right" labels.

But that whataboutism undermines the arguments of Graham and the MRC. If you can't factually dispute the label, you have no basis to criticize them, and, thus, maybe you should shut up about it.

Ah, but the MRC believes it must always be on offense, no matter how little that offense is based in reality, so these baseless complaints continued. Clay Waters grumbled in a Jan. 5 post:

On the Tuesday edition of Amanpour & Co on PBS, host Christiane Amanpour interviewed former moderate Republican Rep. Will Hurd, who served three terms in office representing a Texas district but didn’t seek reelection in 2020.

Amanpour led off with the fight for Speaker of the House and with unsympathetic labeling of the “hard-line” opponents of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

[...]

Amanpour invited Hurd to comment, and the former Republican turned fiercely against what he called “right-wing” bomb throwers, with no pushback from Amanpour, only eager agreement.

Tober returned to whine the same day:

After three days of a gridlocked House Republican conference unable to unite behind a candidate for speaker, CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News continued their partisan labeling of the twenty Republicans who refuse to back the current frontrunner during their evening newscasts. Both CBS & NBC once again referred to the twenty conservatives as “hard-right.” 

On CBS Evening News, anchor Norah O’Donnell opened by gloating about how it “was another day of humiliating defeats for Republican leader Kevin McCarthy.” This is because, according to O’Donnell, “hard-right factions of the GOP are standing firm in voting against McCarthy as Speaker of the House on every ballot.”

[...]

Killion got her turn to gloat and smear conservatives with another label: “far-right.”

Rather than dispute the accuracy of the label, Tober repeated his earlier whining: "Why are CBS & NBC so reluctant to label Democrats as "far-left or "hard-left?" The answer is that they agree with the extreme elements of the Democrat Party." Perhaps someone who deliberately gets the name of he Democratic Party wrong has no moral standing on which to criticize how others use labels.

Waters clung to the baseless complaint in a Jan. 9 post:

The New York Times took advantage of the Republican kerfuffle around the days of voting it took to install House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy as House Speaker, to wedge in as many scary “far-right” style labels and frantic messaging as it could throughout several days of intense coverage.

Carl Hulse and Emily Cochrane reported “At Heart of Speakership Battle Is Aim to Diminish Government’s Reach” for Thursday’s edition. The online headline: “What the Far-Right Republicans Want: To Remake Congress and the Government.”

[...]

It took three reporters to exhaustively document “How Far Right Are the 20 Republicans Who Voted Against McCarthy?” with a hostile labeling pattern throughout (one sees very few or no similar labels of left-wing U.S. politicians characterized as “hard-left lawmakers” or members of an “ultraliberal” faction).

Again, Waters failed to dispute the accuracy of the label, which undermines his compalint that it is "hostile." If the labels are accurate -- and the MRC refuses to prove otherwise -- how can they be "hostile" (aside from to the sensibilities of right-wing partisans like  Waters)?


Posted by Terry K. at 8:32 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, January 31, 2023 8:46 PM EST
WND's Schlafly Blames Student Loans For Massacre Of College Students
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The arrest of a graduate student for the gruesome murders of four Idaho college students has attracted worldwide attention. Reports suggest a DNA match to that of the suspect, Bryan Christopher Kohberger, whose own attorney said the suspect was shocked merely "a little bit" by his predawn arrest 2,500 miles from the crime scene.

The media portray this crime as an isolated deranged act by one loner whose true motive remains unknown. In fact, the suspect was enrolled in graduate school and employed by nearby Washington State University, where he was working as a teaching assistant at the time of the murders.

Kohberger should have been more closely vetted before he was accepted into a publicly funded Ph.D. program. Without the support of Higher Education and its pipeline to public funding, he would not have killed in Idaho.

[...]

A 28-year-old man needs a real job to stay on track toward becoming a productive contributor to society. Yet higher education consists of many programs that do not teach a marketable skill or put students on a responsible career path.

The system of handouts for those who pursue higher education enabled Kohberger to develop oddities such as reportedly preferring not to eat a meal that was cooked in pots or pans previously used to cook meat. Meanwhile, drug use among many grad students is generally prevalent, as has been mentioned on the Reddit website.

The taxpayer bailout of Higher Ed will come under scrutiny on Feb. 28 when the Supreme Court hears oral arguments on Biden's plan to stick Americans with potentially hundreds of billions of dollars in unpaid student loans.

[...]

We don't know if this particular grad student stands to benefit from Biden's massive debt forgiveness plan. But if this young man had been compelled to get a regular job, instead of being encouraged to postpone life by going to graduate school, then this horrible crime might not have happened.

-- Andy Schlafly, Jan. 3 WorldNetDaily column


Posted by Terry K. at 6:03 PM EST
Newsmax Goes Full Victim After Getting Dropped By DirecTV
Topic: Newsmax

There's nothing right-wingers like to do better than play victim when  they feel even the least bit slighted. So when satellite provider DirecTV dropped Newsmax TV from its lineup last week in a dispute over carriage fees that Newsmax demanded and DirecTV didn't want to pay -- admittedly, a fairly large slight -- so it has been calling in all the favors it can to help it act like a victim of "censorship" (even though Newsmax is available though other means such as streaming platforms). An anonymously written Jan. 25 article started the squealing:

At midnight Tuesday, AT&T's DirecTV cut Newsmax's signal, immediately shutting the network off from more than 13 million customers of the satellite service, DirecTV Stream, and U-Verse.

This is the second time in the past year AT&T has moved to cancel a conservative channel, with DirecTV deplatforming OAN in April.

Despite Newsmax being the 4th highest-rated cable news channel in the nation, a top 20 cable news channel overall, and watched by 25 million Americans on cable alone, according to Nielsen, DirecTV said it was taking the step as a "cost-cutting" measure and would never pay Newsmax a cable license fee.

DirecTV pays cable license fees to all top 75 cable channels and to all 22 liberal news and information channels it carries. Almost all of these channels are paid hefty license fees significantly more than Newsmax was seeking — and despite the fact that most of the channels have much lower ratings than Newsmax.

"This is a blatant act of political discrimination and censorship against Newsmax," Christopher Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax said.

"The most extreme liberal channels, even with tiny ratings, get fees from AT&T's DirecTV, but Newsmax and OAN need to be deplatformed," Ruddy added.

The article did not name those "22 liberal news and information channels" DorecTV continiues to carry, suggesting that the number may be a bit inflated. The article then tried to reframe the situation in its favor by accusing DirecTV of lying:

As news reports indicated the likelihood of a Newsmax deplatforming Tuesday night, DirecTV representatives made false claims to the media about Newsmax and its negotiations.

DirecTV falsely claimed to media outlets that Newsmax is asking for a fee but still wants to keep a free stream on OTT platforms (over-the-top service is a type of service offered directly to viewers).

But this is false; no operator pays a fee while Newsmax streams free and DirecTV was fully aware the free stream will end this year.

"We've discussed with Newsmax on several occasions that we'd like to offer their programming, however, the network is now seeking significant fees that we cannot pass on to our broad customer base," a DirecTV representative claimed in a statement.

But an analysis shows that Newsmax was seeking a fee with a 75% discount to its market value, and compared to fees currently paid by DirecTV, almost all 50 channels below Newsmax in ratings get higher fees.

Newsmax did not make this alleged analysis publicly available, making it impossible to verify its claim. Newsmax was certainly not going to ask DirecTV for a comment.

The article also added that "AT&T DirecTV's decision to drop OAN and Newsmax comes on the heels of a February 2021 letter written by Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., and then-Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Calif., demanding that cable and satellite TV providers explain their alleged role in the 'spread of dangerous misinformation' by carrying conservative networks." But it did not admit that Newsmax and OAN did, in fact, spread misinformation about the 2020 presiential election -- specifically, repeated false attacks on election tech company Dominion -- over which Dominion has sued Newsmax and OAN. Newsmax eventually reached an out-of-court settlement with a Dominion executive who faced threats as a result of the false reporting, so yes, one can consider that misinformation quite dangerous.

Newsmax also failed to tell readers that this particular channel slot would continued to be occupied by a right-wing channel; DirecTV replaced Newsmax with The First, whose biggest name is disgraced ex-Fox News host Bill O'Reilly.

Over the next few days, Newsmax seemed to devote a significant amount of its programming to whining about being dropped by DirecTV and soliciting comment from other right-wingers, if the articles and clips posted on its website are any indication -- where threatening DirecTV owner AT&T with government harrassment and boycotts was also a theme:

Given that Newsmax is effectively Trump TV -- and Trump is Morris' current meal ticket -- it was inevitable Trump was brought in. Both Donald Trump Jr. and Lara Trump were given space for their opinions, as well as a rant from The Donald himself:

Former President Donald Trump Wednesday night joined the outcry against AT&T DirecTV's removal of Newsmax from its satellite and cable systems, calling it "disgusting" and saying that the move was a "big blow to the Republican Party and to America itself."

In a post on his Truth Social, Trump wrote:

"WOW. AT&T DIRECTV REMOVES NEWSMAX FROM ITS CHANNEL LINEUP. This disgusting move comes after “deplatforming” OAN last year. The Radical Left seems to have taken over the mind and soul of AT&T. This is a big blow to the Republican Party, and to America itself.”

Trump continued: “For DIRECTV to drop very popular NEWSMAX, without explanation, will not be accepted. I, for one, will be dropping all association with AT&T and DIRECTV, and I have plenty. This is just one of many reasons why we must WIN IN 2024!!!"

Very few, if any, of these articles, mentioned that DirecTV replaced Newsmax with another right-wing channel -- probably because admitting that fact would blow up the "censorship" and "cancel culture" arguments its commentators were making.

Speaking of which, Newsmax also got mad that Twitter did a fact-check exposing the controversy as the business dispute it is. The apparently uniroinically named Charlie McCarthy huffed in a Jan. 26 article:

Twitter has added what it claims is a user-generated context description to at least one tweet concerning DirecTV's decision to drop Newsmax from its service.

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., tweeted Wednesday afternoon that "it would be unacceptable to de-platform Newsmax, a popular news channel that many of my constituents in #NY21 depend on for news." She also attached Newsmax's story reporting on DirecTV's move.

Stefanik's post now includes a gray-shaded box with a bold headline: "Readers added context they thought people might want to know."

"Newsmax wasn't cancelled, as it can be streamed for free on YouTube and directly on Newsmax.com still," the box's text reads. "DirecTV and Newsmax couldn't reach an agreement on the new rights or licensing fees after they were free for years."

The context verbiage included links to two stories (Newsweek, Daily Beast) and a link to Newsmax's YouTube page.

Even McCarthy couldn't argue with that. Still, he uncritically repeated his employer's talking point that "DirecTV continues to carry 22 liberal news channels, many with low ratings and all get paid hefty license fees" without naming those channels or listing the "hefty license fees" they supposedly receive.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:50 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, January 31, 2023 6:14 PM EST
CNS Tried To Blame Buttigieg For Holiday Flight Delays
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com has had a grudge against Pete Buttigieg ever since he ran for president and then became transportation secretary for the offense of not being heterosexual. So when flight disruptions caused by bad weather happened over the Christmas holidays, particularly involving Southwest Airlines, the first reaction CNS had was to blame Buttigieg -- even if it could not actually name anything he did or didn't do to cause them. Susan Jonbes began a Dec. 27 article this way:

"Anybody seen @PeteButtigieg lately? Our airline system is imploding. Vacationing again?"

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg responded to that question, posed by someone on Twitter, on Monday night, saying: "I'm tracking closely & will have more to say about this tomorrow."

(“Tomorrow” is today -- Tuesday. Buttigieg did not say where he is.)

[...]

This is not the first time stranded Southwest Airlines customers have asked, "Where's Pete?"

As CNSNews.com reported in October 2021:

Buttigieg, President Biden's transportation secretary, hasn't had much, if anything, to say about the disruptive, multi-day Southwest Airlines flight cancellations that have stranded thousands of passengers; or about the nation's supply chain logjam, where dozens of container ships wait off the California coast for the opportunity to unload.”

As it turns out, Buttigieg was on (unannounced) paternity leave at that time.

Earlier this month, Buttigieg went to Portugal on vacation as a rail strike loomed.

Jones did not explain how Buttigieg is personally to blame for any of that. The next day, Jones did seem to understand that the blame lay at the feet of Southwest, not Buttigieg:

In a "travel advisory" posted on its website, Southwest Airlines warns of "irregular operations," meaning a majority of its flights continue to be canceled today and through the new year.

The advisory said Southwest is experiencing "high call volumes and busy signals," meaning thousands of customers are stranded in airports, some for days, with no opportunity to rebook their canceled flights.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told NBC News Tuesday evening that Southwest needs to "take care of" its passengers and employees. He called it an "unacceptable situation" and said "cash refunds" need to happen:

[...]

NBC asked Buttigieg on Tuesday how travelers can have faith in the Transportation Department "as a watchdog, if these problems keep happening?"

"Well, what we did, especially over the course of the problems we saw this year, was press the airlines to increase their customer service commitments. They did that. They did that in writing,” Buttigieg said:

In a Dec. 29 article, though, Jones was content with uncritically spreading Republican talking points from a GOP congresswoman, though she was more into attacking the Biden administration as a whole thought she threw some blame Buttigieg's way:

"The House Republicans will be different," Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.) vowed on Wednesday, pointing to various problems, including air transportation, that keep "getting worse" during the Biden administration.

"We're going to pass bills to push for energy independence and for border security and to address supply chain issues. We're going to do it, and let's see what the Senate does in turn. That's the only leverage we have," she told Fox News.

[...]

"What's really frustrating here is that (Transportation Secretary) Pete Buttigieg brought all of these airlines in, he said he was holding them accountable, and he was going to push them to fix their operation so there wouldn't be cancellations. And he actually said coming out of these meetings that they were going to be prepared for the holidays -- he had fixed this for the holiday season. 

"And then look what happened. I think that's what's really frustrating to the American people is, you always hear this administration talk about accountability and fixing things and then yet we find out the same problem keeps getting worse.

Jones served up more uncriticial GOP stenography later that day:

Two Republican congresswoman had blunt words for President Joe Biden and his "unqualified" transportation secretary on Wednesday, as thousands of Southwest Airlines travelers remain stranded, separated from their luggage, or both.

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) said the weather-induced flight debacle hit close to home for her, as her teenage children "got stranded in Baltimore trying to make it home on Christmas Eve. And even today, five days later, we still don't know where their luggage is right now," Mace told Fox News on Wednesday night.

[...]

Appearing with Mace, Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-Texas) said, "It's not just that Biden that goes on vacation when he's most needed. You look at Buttigieg -- from the beginning, this guy was not qualified to take this job. He's a Cabinet secretary. 

Jones waited until the very end of this article to not that "Buttigieg has promised to hold Southwest "accountable" for failing to live up to its written customer service plan" -- which is hardly fair and balanced after paragraphs of Republican attacks.

CNS also published a Jan. 6 commentary by Dustin Suggins of the anti-abortion website LifeSiteNews attacking Buttigieg for not doing enough to fix this (even though conservatives generally don't want government to intrude into business affairs) while admitting this is largely out of his hands:

In short, there seems little for the Department of Transportation to actually do to “protect” customers from Southwest’s mistakes. Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s TV appearances and statements appear to be more about opportunism and virtue signaling than doing anything substantive.

If only we could say the same about the federal government.

CNS never addressed those issues again -- perhaps as a tacit admission that the blame really did lie with Southwest rather than Buttigieg. When the air traffic control system went down for a few hours on Jan. 11, Jones was surprisingly restrained in quoting Buttigieg issuing updates on the situation.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:22 AM EST
Monday, January 30, 2023
MRC Complains Netanyahu's Government Is Accurately Labeled As 'Right Wing'
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center just hates it when right-wing things are accurately labeled as right-wing, and so it goes for the new government of right-wing Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It actually started at the time of the election, as Curtis Houck fretted in a Nov. 3 post:

Thursday’s CBS Mornings lived up to the liberal media’s deep-seated disdain for longtime Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu as election returns from Israel’s fifth election in four years appeared to put Netanyahu on a path to return to his post as prime minister after nearly a year and a half out of power. 

Over the course of the nearly two-minute hit, CBS bemoaned his “right-wing coalition” would be revived thanks to the “extreme right” and take the turn on a “sharp shift rightward.”

Co-host Tony Dokoupil fretted with halting language the further he went along: “Netanyahu appears to be on the brink of being the current Prime Minister again. Once again.”

Dokoupil explained that Netanyahu’s “right-wing coalition has the most votes as of now” and would mark a comeback for Netanyahu as he’s “still currently on trial” for “corruption charges.”

Tossing to foreign correspondent Imtiaz Tyab, Dokoupil had to reiterate: “Imtiaz, they are saying, it could be the most right-wing government in Israel in years, if not ever.”

After the election, Kevin Tober complained in a Dec. 4 post:

When people say the inside the Beltway media are out of touch, this is exactly what they’re talking about. On Sunday’s Face the Nation, anchor Margaret Brennan expressed her concern to Secretary of State Antony Blinken that the incoming Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu and his government will ban “gay pride parades.” Considering many extremist Palestinians and Muslims across the Middle East want to behead gays, simply banning "gay pride parades" might not be a bad alternative for the left.  

Brennan fretted to Blinken that Netanyahu has “been allying himself with figures who have spewed anti-Arab, anti-gay hate as well as discrimination against nonorthodox Jews. One of them wants to cancel gay pride parades,” and “at least two have called for mass deportations of Palestinans. Including the man who may head Israel’s police force.”

[...]

Brennan couldn’t get over her apparent hatred of Netanyahu and doubled down on her attacks against his incoming government: “But this extreme right wing government as it has been described put together does complicate your relationship,” she cried.

Houck returned to fret in a Dec. 29 post:

On Thursday, Benjamin Netanyahu returned as Israel’s prime minister with a right-of-center government led in part by his Likud Party. But just as was the case following Israel’s latest election (its fifth in four years), CBS Mornings melted down over Netanyahu’s latest coalition “as Israel’s most far-right government” in history that could result in the “targeting” of American Jews, gays, non-orthodox Jews, Palestinians, and women.

Fill-in co-host Adriana Diaz began the 92-second segment by lamenting Netanyahu’s “government...includes ultra nationalists and religious parties that were once on the fringes of Israeli politics.”

[...]

Inocencio attempted to foreshadow what leftists insist is Israel future by arguing Netanyahu’s partners could go after “Palestinians, Jews who are non-orthodox, women, to prevent them from serving in the military alongside men, and the LGBTQ community.”

Neither Houck nor Tober disputed the accuracy of the label in any of these posts.Nicholas Fondacaro tried to dismiss the label as a "slur" from the "liberal media" does in another post the same day:

The term “right-wing” has become a slur the liberal media sling around to describe politics they don’t like in an attempt to turn off the public to right-of-center politics. As an example, just look at how CNN reporter and fill-in anchor Sara Sidner chose to talk about the return of Benjamin Netanyahu as Israel’s prime minister, during Thursday’s CNN Newsroom.

Coming back from a commercial break, Sidner announced that “18 months after being ousted from power, Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in as prime minister for the sixth time” and warned viewers that he would bring with him “Israel's most right-wing government in its history.” An obvious talking point circulating in the industry since CBS used a very similar string of words.

Of course, it could be just as easily -- and much more accurately -- argued that Fondacaro is using "liberal media" as a "slur" to describe journalists who won't slavishly confine themselves to advancing right-wing talking points and narratives. He'll never concede that point, of course -- and neither did he make the case that "right-of-center-" is a more accurate label for Netanyahu's government than "right-wing."

Showing that this labeling complain comes straight from the top, Tim Graham whined in a Dec. 31 post:

Thursday's PBS NewsHour broke out every term for extremism in reporting on the new Israeli government. The online headline for the segment was "Netanyahu once again prime minister with most far-right government in Israel’s history."

Anchor Judy Woorduff began with the C-word: "Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in as prime minister today in Israel, but his Cabinet and his government's platform are controversial."

She turned to PBS reporter John Yang, who ran a perfunctory soundbite of Netanyahu, followed by savage soundbites from the left.

[...]

Yang announced "After two months of intensive negotiations, Netanyahu assembled Israel's most far right ultranationalist government ever...The hard-line tilt of the new government worries some Israelis."

But he too refused to dispute the accuracy of any of those labels. Instead, he concluded with a whataboutism whine: "PBS presents itself as straight down the middle, but in reality, they can't locate a 'hard left' in Israel and they're not warning about a 'hard left' in America."

If Graham and the MRC actually cared about accuracy in labeling, they would have examples ready of anybody it has ever described as "right-wing" or "hard right" as instruction for how it believes the lable should be applied. Otherwise, there's no reason to treat this complaining as anything other than a partisan narrative to downplay extremism on the right.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:08 PM EST

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