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Monday, March 27, 2023
WND's 'Clinton Body Count' Discredited Again
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's lingering case of Clinton Derangement Syndrome is such that it blames any death of anyone even remotely associated with Bill and Hillary Clinton on a conspiracy theory of the couple targeting their enemies (never mind all evidence to the contrary). Last June, WND tried to cynically add another name to the list, and Bob Unruh updated this ghoulish conspiracy in a Feb. 22 article:

A former Clinton aide who signed Jeffrey Epstein into the White House multiple times was found dead in 2022 with a gunshot wound to his chest, an extension cord tied around his neck and attached to a tree.

No gun was found in the vicinity.

But his death now has been determined to be a suicide, according to a report assembled by the Daily Mail.

It's just one of a long list of suspicious deaths that have been documented among those who were in the circle of people that included Bill and Hillary Clinton.


Newsweek said the "Clinton Body Count" "conspiracy" dated to the 1990s when a now-deceased attorney "railed against the Clinton administration's deadly 1993 Waco, Texas, siege of the Branch Davidian church that resulted in more than 75 deaths."

The late talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh discussed the "Clinton body count" in 2016, citing a report from Rachel Alexander at titled "Clinton body count or left-wing conspiracy? Three with ties to DNC mysteriously die."

Limbaugh said at the time he recalled Ted Koppel, then anchor of ABC News' "Nightline," routinely discussing the issue following the July 20, 1993, death of White House Deputy Counsel Vince Foster.

Just one problem: The Daily Mail published an article the next day that debunked the conspiracy theory that it and WND had been pushing:

A shotgun WAS found near the body of the Clinton White House aide who killed himself on a ranch in Arkansas, the local sheriff is now saying. 

And more details of how cops now believe Mark Middleton killed himself have been released. 

Papers released earlier by Perry County sheriff Scott Montgomery said deputies who were called to the Heifer Ranch in Perryville, an hour west of Little Rock, after an abandoned BMW SUV was found there specifically said there was no gun in the car.

But now a further set of papers has been released to that says a weapon – a Stoeger 12-gauge coach gun – was found on the ground 30 feet from Middleton’s body.

In the new papers, Sergeant Keenan Carter gives a detailed explanation of how he believes Middleton – an aide who signed pedophile Jeffrey Epstein into the White House several times during Bill Clinton’s presidency – took great lengths to ensure his suicide bid was successful - after writing a text to his wife saying he had ‘found a perfect place for a nap in the sun.’


Carter said in this report that the gun landed so far from Middleton’s body ‘due to the recoil from the discharge and the height and angle of the ground.’ 

‘This officer didn’t find any evidence to indicate that there was anyone else present with Mr. Middleton at this scene or any evidence that there was any type of struggle and or foul play.’ 

WND has not updated or retracted Unruh's article, nor did it published a separate article with the evidence that debunked it. Similarly, the Daily Mail never updated its original story to add the correct information debunking its premise.

Nevertheless, Unruh repeated other purported entries on the so-called "Clinton body count." One was "former U.N. official John Ashe, founded [sic] dead in his New York home. Officials said it was a heart attack, but local police said his throat had been crushed by a barbell." As Snopes detailed, Ashe -- who is on the alleged list because he was about to go on trial on corruption charges, which WND had previoiusly misleadingly portrayed as linked ot Hillary Clinton -- did indeed die in a barbell accident, and his death was originally erroneously reported as from a heart attack.

Unruh also cited "attorney Shawn Lucas, 38, who helped serve the DNC with a lawsuit claiming then-DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz 'rigged the [2016] primary for Hillary Clinton' and days later was found dead in his bathroom. The cause of death wasn't determined." In fact, Lucas' cause of death has been determined: a medical examiner called the death accidental due to the "combined adverse effects of fentanyl [a synthetic opioid pain medication], cyclobenzaprine [a muscle relaxant], and mitragynine [better known as kratom]."

Unruh went on to mysteriously reference "Another man, an MI6 spy who had illegally hacked secret data on Bill Clinton, [who] was found dead, naked, padlocked and stuffed in a duffel bag in a London hotel bathtub. Scotland Yard said it was a suicide." Unruh is referring to Gareth Williams, who died in 2010, and he's misleading about what Scotland Yard said about Williams. It reported that Williams had unorthodox sexual tastes and had apparently visited bondage and sadomasochism websites, including several related to claustrophilia, a desire for confinement in enclosed spaces. A source close to the inquiry said that "They have been unable to find any trace of anyone who should not have been in the flat and every reason to believe that Gareth may have climbed into the bag himself and been unable to get out."

WND leaned into this direction regarding thet death of Dana Hyde, who worked in both the Clinton and Obama, as the result of an in-flight incident. It reprinted a March 7 article from the Western Journal (which began life as a right-wing nonprofit founded by WND editor Joseph Farah) under the headline "Another Clinton official dead"; though the article itself did not push any Clinton conspiracy, a reader poll attached to the article asked, "Does working for the Clintons increase anyone's chances of dying mysteriously?" A reprinted March 26 Western Journal article on the full cause of Hyde's death, however, carried a headline identifying her only as an "Obama official."

The "Clinton Body Count" was discredited a long time ago, well before we did our first exploration of it way back in 2005.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:31 PM EDT
Comedy: MRC Exec And Fox News Lover Graham Frets Over Decline Of Media Objectivity
Topic: Media Research Center

It always makes for great unintentional comedy when the Media Research Center -- which runs the highly biased "news" operation -- demands objectivity from all media outlets outside the right-wing bubble, and Tim Graham did jsut that in his Feb. 1 column:

The establishment media have shuffled forth to announce that their Objectivity is dead. They don’t realize that it’s like announcing that Jack Benny is dead. It’s not “news.”

Former Washington Post executive editor Leonard Downie was the announcer, proclaiming that he and former CBS News president Andrew Heyward surveyed 75 sources in the media elites and found a “generational shift.” Voila, no one is objective any more.

The headline was “Newsrooms that move beyond ‘objectivity’ can build trust.” Objectivity is in scare quotes because it was always corrupt, according to this enlightened white male.

The people who loathe “bothsidesism” are fervent believers in “one-sideism,” and seek to enforce the media norm that there should be no space or respect granted to the “wrong side” of climate change, LGBTQ+, “Black Lives Matter,” and so on, and so on. There’s no right and left, only Right and Wrong.


Downie laments that the Old Media are “coping with economic and digital disruption” and “increasing competition from misinformation on cable television and the internet.” This is how the “mainstream” media define the conservative media – they are bluntly categorized as “misinformation” that is harming their market share.

Obviously, when you make everyone painfully aware you will avoid “false balance” and exclude the “wrong side” from your “news” stories -- unless you’re destroying them and their favorite leaders -- the “wrong side” goes out in search of journalism that addresses their concerns.

Note that Graham never references right-wing media like Fox News when he demands "objectivity." That's because he actually doesn't want objectivity -- he wants all media outlets to have the same right-wing bias as Fox News. He'll never genuinely call out Fox News -- even when they are caught red-handed lying to its viewers -- because he and his MRC subordinates appear on the channel and need the PR from it, but it will nitpick the "liberal media" for every perceived slight. And if Graham really cared about media objectivity, he would marching down the hall at MRC HQ to CNS' newsroom and demand that Terry Jeffrey and crew clean up their act and start following the rules of objectivity he demands of others.

Instead, Graham concluded by whining:

The more they’ve dumped objectivity, the more the public trust in the press has plummeted. Last October, Gallup found only 34 percent of Americans trust the mass media to report the news “fully, accurately and fairly,” and that’s because 70 percent of Democrats say they trust them.

Earth to the media: You spurned the “wrong side” as undeserving of your attention, and you received the distrust that you wanted. Try to make profits by only serving the “marginalized.”

Graham didn't mention that his employer spends millions of dollars every year to undermine trust in the media and to hype biased media like Fox News that pushes the same right-wing narratives it endorses. No sane media observer agrees that Fox News covers things "fully, accurately and fairly," amd Graham is certainly never going to criticize it for doing so -- indeed, it lashes out anytime Fox News inadvertently deviates from those narratives.

You want us to believe you care about media objectivity, Tim? Criticize right-wing media for having a right-wing bias. Of course, we already know he'll never do that because fealty to the partisan narrative that pays his salary is more important than intellectual consistency.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:33 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: CNS Flips For Elon Musk, Part 1
Like its Media Research Center parent, didn't much like Elon Musk until he showed interest in buying Twitter -- then it became one of his right-wing PR agents. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:40 AM EDT
Sunday, March 26, 2023
After Years Of Feuding, MRC Makes Up With CPAC, Uses It To Promote Its Agenda
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has had hot-and-cold relations with the conservative political gathering CPAC over the years -- one year MRC chief Brent Bozell withdrew all his subordinates from the conference in a snit becuase CPAC wouldn't give him a prominent enough speaking slot. Over the past several months, though, the MRC has been on good enough terms to promote CPAC and bestow victmhood on it over perceived slights -- and censor bad news about it from its readers.

We've already documented how the MRC was an apologist for Hungarian strongman Victor Orban ahead of his speech at a CPAC gathering last August. AFter YouTube removed video of CPAC speechs for hate and misinformation, Brian Bradley awarded victimhood in a Sept. 29 post:

YouTube on Friday removed “an entire day” of content posted by the Conservative Political Action Conference with no warning, CPAC said in a statement Wednesday.

A CPAC event in Dallas that took place Aug. 4-7 featured “high-profile conservatives,” including former President Donald Trump, Fox News host Sean Hannity, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).

CPAC spokesperson Alex Pfeiffer told MRC Free Speech America in an email Thursday that YouTube told his organization it removed the video because of so-called “misinformation.” 

“YouTube continues to operate as an arm of the Democratic Party,” Pfeiffer said in a brief interview. “It shuts down all dissent. But they’re not going to win. We’re going to continue to talk about election integrity. Those fascist dorks in Silicon Valley won’t succeed.”

Bradley made no attempt to contact YouTube for comment -- presumably because doing so would distract from his victimhood narrative. (The MRC also complained when YouTube deleted CPAC videos from earlier in the year because they spread lies about election fraud.)

But a couple days later, when CPAC's Twitter account referred to areas of Ukraine that Russia's Vladimir Putin illegally annexed as "Ukrainian-occupied territories" -- prompting some serious backpedaling on CPAC's part -- the MRC was silent.

A Nov. 22 post by Kathleen Krumhansl (also in Spanish) complained that a Spanish-language channel planned Donald Trump speaking to a CPAC gathering in Mexico:

Univision, where journalists routinely advocate for abortions, transgender rights, the sexualization of grade school children, same sex marriage, et. al, has now become the watchdog of virtue – that is, Donald J. Trump's, who “does not practice any religion and has five children by three different women'', yet dared urge a group of supposed ultraconservatives gathered in Mexico City, to "defend God, Family, and Country." 

The virtue signaling came in the form of a story published in, under a generic Univision byline, regarding a pre-recorded message from Trump that was aired at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held in Mexico City this past weekend.

Krumhansl also complained that the newscast "cast aspersions" on CPAC Mexico chief Eduardo Verástegui because he got his start as an actor.

In a Dec. 22 post, P.J. Gladnick rushed to defend Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh for attending a Christmas party at the home of CPAC leader Matt Schlapp with a lame bit of whataboutism: "These reporters and their appointed experts never cared when Ruth Bader Ginsburg was being celebrated by leftists at the Sundance Film Festival or the Glamour magazine "Woman of the Year" awards."

As the main CPAC gathering approached, Curtis Houck gushed in a Feb. 27 podcast how he and fellow MRCer Nicholas Fondacaro "teased the MRC’s presence at CPAC and told listeners to be sure to come say hi if you’re making the trip to National Harbor!" Fondacaro followed in a March 1 podcast: "And once more, be sure to check out the MRC’s presence at CPAC including the panel discussion with our Founder and President Brent Bozell!"

There was no mention of the fact that a month earlier, CPAC leader Schlapp had been slapped (or Schlapped, if you'd like) with a lawsuit accusing him of "unwanted groping" by a male staffer on Herschel Walker's doomed Senate campaign. That would have created drama between the MRC and CPAC, and the MRC was planning to milk CPAC for all it was worth.

Bozell apaprently finally got that prime speaking slot he demanded, so Kevin Tober served as servile stenographer for the March 2 speech:

During the first official day of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Media Research Center (MRC) founder and President Brent Bozell tore into the dishonest and corrupt media for the way they cover (or don’t cover) the news. Bozell declared that they are no longer liberal, they are full-blown Marxists. 

Joined WMAL radio host Larry O’Connor, TownHall senior columnist Kurt Schlichter and Libs of TikTok founder Chaya Raichik, on a panel aptly titled “Don Lemon is past his primetime,” Bozell expertly tore apart the media and explained how their bias has gotten so much worse in the years since the MRC was founded in 1987. 

Looking back to when the MRC was founded, O’Connor observed to Bozell that “back then it was a quaint notion of media bias. I think we’ve come a long way from just media bias haven't we?”

“When we started in 1987, we went after this thing called liberal media bias. It doesn't exist anymore,” Bozell explained. “We're not talking about a liberal media, you are talking about a media that could care less about the news. They don't report the news. They’re weaponized. They’re Marxist! Many of them are Marxist,” Bozell added. 

He pointed out that if they want to do what they do as “opinion writers” then they can go ahead but from them “to say that they are CNN, that they are CBS News, NBC News, ABC News, that’s an insult to America to do this.”

Garbriela Pariseau touted more MRC propagandizing in another post that day:

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody told MRC Free Speech America & MRC Business Vice President Dan Schneider at the CPAC Big Tech panel Thursday that Big Tech is “one of the most relevant issues to our daily lives right now.” 

Schneider led a panel entitled, “Big Tech- Break ‘em Up, Bust ‘em Up, Put ‘em in Jail.” Schneider and Moody were joined by Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) and Truth Social CEO Devin Nunes to discuss just how big Big Tech is, the harms it causes and whether the industry of giants still needs Section 230 liability protections.

Paiten Iselin had a gushy post headlined "EXCLUSIVE: Backstage at CPAC ft. Bozell, Libs of TikTok, O’Connor & More!" Catherine Salgado served up more stenography in a post touting how Republican Sen. Eric Schmitt "slammed Big Tech censorship and issued a call to protect free speech at CPAC 2023 Thursday." Anti-abortion extremist Tierin-Rose Mandelburg also worked the CPAC floor as well by doing an interview with (who else?) a fellow anti-abortion activist.

When CPAC was criticized, the MRC snapped to defense mode, such as is this March 3 post by Alex Christy:

ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel reacted the first day of the Conservative Political Action Conference with his usual hurling of insults as he labeled attendees as both “fascist” and “racist.”

During his monologue, Kimmel declared that, “In Washington, the fascist and the furious have gathered to praise their lord and savior, Donald Trump, at the annual CPAC convention. This is a convention for all your worst aunts and uncles.”


Getting back to CPAC attendees, Kimmel claimed that, “This CPAC event, it’s kind of hard to explain, every, like, low-rent radio host and podcast racist with a dye job and a fleece vest shows up to try to out-crazy each other.”

Clay Waters similarly complained in a March 5 post:

PBS NewsHour anchor Amna Nawaz introduced an unfriendly segment on the Conservative Political Action Conference's (CPAC) annual gathering in the Maryland suburbs of DC. Laura Barron-Lopez’s solemnly intoned field report on Friday evening was interspersed with her own opinions about the “white grievance politics” and the so-called “false belief” about teaching Critical Race Theory.


She noted many potential candidates were sitting out CPAC, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and interviewed Al Cardenas, the former chairman of the American Conservative Union, which organizes the annual conference. Cardenas now has the same liberal politics as his wife, Ana Navarro.

Neither Waters nor Christy disclosed the conflict of interest that their employer had a major presence at CPAC. Waters' post, however, contains the only reference by ther MRC to Schlapp's sexual misconduct scandal, though buried in a transcript at the end of the piece and not otherwise highlighted or remarked upon.

Jeffrey Lord spent his March 4 column defending CPAC against more reporting he didn't like:

It is an amazing thing to watch. In the lead-up to the annual winter convening of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) just outside of Washington, there was the Associated Press running a story headlined:

Trump set to headline diminished gathering of conservatives

As this is written, I am at CPAC. And there is nothing “diminished” about it. Thousands of energized conservatives are surging through the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Maryland. They have been listening to all manner of speakers -- U.S. Senators and House members, presidential candidates and, on Saturday, former President Trump himself. Yet what occurs in reading that Post article is that yet again the liberal media is simply unable to report fact.

But Lord quoted nothing from the AP article outside the headline; the article explained how the gathering is "diminished" due to the absence of former Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Gov. and presumed presidential candidate Ron DeSantis, as well as "congressional leaders and governors, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, and several potential presidential prospects, including Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who has been building buzz among some donors." The article also pointed out thatthe right-wing Club for Growth "will hold a competing event, a donor summit in Florida, that is attracting DeSantis, Pence and others."

Instead, Lord unironically criticized the "mainstream media" for purportedly not engaging in "'just the facts' jorunalism."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:43 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, March 26, 2023 10:07 PM EDT
CNS Follows MRC Parent In Trying To Exploit Ohio Train Derailment For Partisan Gain
Topic: is little more than the biased Media Research Center in an inverted-pyriamid format -- so much for editorial independence -- so it's no surprise that CNS parroted its MRC parent in trying to exploit the chemical-leaking train derailment in Ohio for partisn purposes. Like the MRC, CNS ignored the derailment for 11 days after it happened on Feb. 3; its first article was a piece by Melanie Arter quoting White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on how the Environmental Protection Agency is reacting to the derailment. That was followed the next day by another article from Arter quoting EPA administrator Michael Regan.

Then it was time to play politics, which Craig Bannister did in a Feb. 16 article:

On Thursday morning, a train carrying hazardous materials derailed in Michigan, a day after Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) wrote to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg demanding an explanation of what caused a train derailment in Ohio, which released hazardous materials, causing citizens to evacuate.

Local Detroit station WXYZ reports that at least six trains cars derailed in the Van Buren Township – one of which contained hazardous cargo. The EPA has, reportedly, dispatched a team to assess and address any potential threat.

On Wednesday, Senators Rubio and Vance sent a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, questioning whether adequate staffing could have prevented the East Palestine, Ohio derailment's environmental catastrophe.

At issue is the rail company’s use of a cost-cutting practice called “precision-scheduled railroading” (PSR), which employs fewer workers to move more freight, the senators write:

After that came a Feb. 17 article by Arter featuring an appearance by Regan on Fox News, as well as another emphasizing Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine saying the disaster did not qualify for FEMA assistance; DeWine went on to explain why, but that didn't make it sinto the headline.

Bannister then devoted a Feb. 20 article to corporate whoredom, repeating MRC co-worker Joseph Vazquez's conspiracy theory that the TV networks reduced coverage of the derailment because the hedge funds that own part of them also own part of Norfolk Southern Railroad and publicizing the disaster would hurt  ESG investing:

Vanguard and BlackRock, giant asset management firms known for their commitment to investing in liberal Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) causes, aren’t just the top two shareholders of Norfolk Southern, whose train derailment created an environmental disaster, they’re also among the top shareholders of the parent companies of the broadcast networks that have abandoned coverage of the ongoing toxic threat.

Last Tuesday NewsBusters reported that, while reports of health problems feared to be associated with the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio have continued, broadcast network news coverage has all but vanished:


As NewsBusters noted on Thursday, the Vanguard and BlackRock ties to the train disaster reflects poorly on their ESG credentials, while also raising a question about their connection to the broadcast media who have lost interest in covering the ongoing concerns about the derailment:

Bannister did not disclose that NewsBusters, like CNS, is a division of the MRC. Or did he explain why, if the derailment story is so important, why both CNS and the MRC ignored the story for 11 days.

For a Feb. 21 article, Arter did stenography for a former Trump official:

Former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) John Ratcliffe criticized President Biden for visiting Ukraine on President’s Day instead of visiting East Palestine, Ohio, where residents are dealing with the aftermath of a train derailment that resulted in hazardous chemicals being released into the environment.

“Even if you look at how badly the Biden administration has mismanaged Ukraine up to this point and a war that many of us believe a strong president could have avoided. We believe that it was Biden's weakness in Afghanistan that prompted Putin to move on Ukraine in the first place,” Ratcliffe told Fox News’ “Hannity” on Monday.

Arter failed to tell her readers that no Trump official visited the site of a train derailment during his administration.

Susan Jones spent a Feb. 22 article trying to blame Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for the disaster by not showing up there in a sufficiently speedy manner:

It's been 19 days since dozens of Norfolk Southern freight cars, some of them filled with toxic chemicals, derailed near East Palestine, Ohio, but Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has not yet visited the devastated town.

Neither has President Joe Biden. But former President Donald Trump will be there today.

"I am planning to go," Buttigieg told MSNBC's Ali Velshi on Tuesday, amid criticism that he has ignored a crisis that falls under his jurisdiction.

"And when I'm on the ground, it's going to be about action. It's not going to be about show or politics," he said.

The spill itself and the toxic smoke have left anxious residents in despair, many complaining of health problems they blame on the chemical contamination -- and many asking, "Where's Pete?"

Like Arter, Jones failked to disclose that no Trump official visited the scene of a train derailment.Jones' attack is also in line withJones trying to blame Buttigieg for holiday flight delays that were, in fact, caused by the airlines.

Bannister gushed over Trump's politically motivated trip to Ohio in a Feb. 22 article:

On Wednesday, former President Donald Trump visited East Palestine, Ohio, where a train derailment unleashed toxic materials on residents earlier this month, to meet with members of the community and local officials.

Trump is reportedly donating thousands of gallons of cleaning supplies and 13 pallets of water, each of which holds the equivalent of a couple of thousands of water bottles, to the ravaged community. Meanwhile, the Biden Administration has been facing heavy criticism for its delayed, inadequate response to the February 3 tragedy.

Bannister followed that with an article the next day gushing over how "Twitter users were quick to post video clips of scenes from Trump’s exploits, as he bought Big Macs for local emergency responders, provided clean water and cleaning supplies to the town, and interacted with citizens, sharing his concern for their plight and appreciation of their support."

When Buttigieg did visit East Palestine, Jones whined about that too in a Feb. 23 article -- and quoted Trump before quoting Buttigieg:

Three weeks after a train derailment left East Palestine, Ohio contaminated with toxic chemicals, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg finally arrived there this morning, to hear from officials on the ground -- and maybe to hear from the furious and frightened residents.

His visit comes one day after former President Donald Trump went to East Palestine to commiserate with the town's people.

"In too many cases, your goodness and perseverance were met with indifference and betrayal,” Trump said, referring to the Biden administration's slow response to the disaster.

"Happy to discuss timing of our Ohio visit," Buttigieg tweeted on Wednesday. "[B]ut starting to think some in Washington want that to be the main focus so that there aren’t too many questions about rail safety regulation, who is for and who is against. We will hold the line on railroad safety and accountability."

Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) said the response of Buttigieg and the entire Biden administration has been "a day late and a dollar short."

Another article that day by Jones noted the preliminary cause of the derailment, though she didn't go as far as her MRC co-workers to explicitly state that the cause purportedly absolves the Trump admimnistration from all blame for advocating deregulation of the train industry. An article by Arter that day complained that Biden will not visit the scene of the derailment while again censoring the fact that no Tump official ever went to one.

Bannister then served up his third article praising Trump's visit to East Palestine:

During their separate visits to East Palestine, Ohio this week, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and former President Donald Trump had much different messages for the citizens of the community being ravaged by a toxic train derailment.

Buttigieg told the community that he’s now ready to “move on” to policymaking, where he’ll leverage the tragedy to impose new regulations.

Trump told the community that he won’t forget about them and that – if the Biden Administration doesn’t attend to their needs – he’ll come back to do help do it himself.

Bannister uncritically repeated Trump's false statement that "Biden and FEMA said they would not send federal aid to East Palestine, under any circumstances. They’re not going to send aid, and I thought that was a strange statement." In fact, as we noted when Bannister's employer made the same claim, the East Palestine derailment falls outside federally mandated FEMA guidelines for disaster aid because it was caused by a private company that is obligated to help people it hurt, not by natural forces, and there was no property damage.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:39 PM EDT
Saturday, March 25, 2023
MRC Is Mad Scientific American Isn't Pushing Right-Wing Narratives
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Clay Waters devoted a Feb. 10 post to ranting that the magazine Scientific American failed to advance right-wing narratives:

Scientific American magazine has been around since 1845, evolving into a reader-friendly purveyor of hard science, a respected, slightly intimidating denizen of supermarket checkout lines. But judging by the recent ridiculous trend of stories and editorials, it’s been wholly captured by the woke blob.

On the surface the monthly still does what it says on the label in providing long articles, short reviews, and cool photographs for an intelligent audience, with almost-comprehensible stories on the physics of black holes for science buffs, and stunning photos of deep-sea creatures for the rest of us.

But then there’s the ludicrously left-wing ideology that seeps into every issue. A NewsBusters perusal of the contents of each 2022 regular-release monthly issue revealed 34 stories grounded in liberal assumptions and beliefs, nearly three per issue. That’s even after skipping stories with liberal themes that were nonetheless science-based -- for example, a cover story on melting glaciers in Antarctica wasn’t included.

Of course, the COVID pandemic in particular tugged the magazine toward government interventionism and the smug rule of health “experts.”

Following scientific consensus on COVID makes one "smug"? Apparently it does in Waters' right-wing media bubble. His analysis got dumber from there:

Some of the most bizarrely “woke” material is online-on ly, with a wider potential reach. The most notorious recent example is a January 6, 2023 opinion piece, cynically seizing on the on-field collapse of a Buffalo Bills player to label the NFL racist: “Damar Hamlin’s Collapse Highlights the Violence Black Men Experience in Football -- The “terrifyingly ordinary” nature of football’s violence disproportionately affects Black men.” It’s written by Tracie Canada, who is, no surprise, an assistant professor of cultural anthropology.

So what’s the solution? Surely Canada wouldn’t recommend banning blacks from the National Football League for their own protection?

But plenty of bizarre pieces fill the print edition. Here’s a headline from the July 2020 issue of this purported science magazine: “The Racist Roots of Fighting Obesity.” Yet a June 2019 SAarticle argued that the nation’s “biggest health problem” was obesity. So is Scientific American, for being concerned about obesity, by its own bizarre standard racist as well?

One can be concerned about obetity while also being concerned that society discriminates against obese people, just as it can also be pointed out that football is a violent sport and that blacks, which make up a majority of NFL players, are disproportionately affected by it.

Waters also whined about an article that advocated accurate teaching of American history because it criticized the right-wing war on critical race theory: "The movement against teaching Critical Race Theory in schools was dismissed in hysterically biased terms: 'This regressive agenda threatens children’s education by propagating a falsified view of reality in which American history and culture are outcomes of white virtue. It is part of a larger program of avoiding any truths that make some people uncomfortable, which sometimes allows in active disinformation, such as creationism.'" Note that Waters didn't say this view was inaccurate.

Waters also complained that the magazine failed to spew hate at transgender people:

A notorious September 2017 magazine story with graphics and text by Amanda Montanez was seemingly conjured to enable the most biologically ignorant trans-activists to pretend that the clear binary of male and female was actually a spectrum of disorders of sex development (DSD), “which, broadly defined, may affect about one percent of the population -- represent a robust, evidence-based argument to reject rigid assignations of sex and gender.”

So much for basic reproductive anatomy knowledge at SA (testes produce sperm, ovaries produce eggs; there is no “spectrum”). Montanez concluded: “I am hopeful that raising public awareness of intersex, along with transgender and non-binary identities, will help align policies more closely with scientific reality, and by extension, social justice.”

Indeed, many Scientific American articles boil down to “social justice,” not science.

In Waters' world, not hating transgender people and arguing that gender is not binary for some people makes one "notorious."

Posted by Terry K. at 10:51 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, March 25, 2023 10:53 AM EDT
WND Obama Derangement Syndrome, Craige McMillan Edition
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Rumor has it Barack Obama is becoming discontent with running the Biden administration from the White House basement. The great policies that are destroying the nation are his – and he wants the spotlight again. "Hey, look at me! I was groomed to run the world during the Great Reset!"

Or maybe Obama just won that coveted post after Hillary Clinton botched the Great Reset. Do you remember her presenting a red plastic "reset" button to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during her tenure as secretary of state? Wasn't that already covered on her uber-secret internet server located in her bathroom, where Huma sent all the State Department's most important emails? Not as secret as Joe's garage, of course, but right up there. Hopefully, they both kept the doors closed while they were in there.

Democrats, of course, would be more than happy to give the Obama smokescreen another term as president; then another, and another, and on until he reached parity with Big Joe's mental clarity of today. The great resetters paid a lot of money and got squat for grooming Obama to run their newly designed world – the one that they expected to be up and running just as soon as … well, as soon as hell froze over.


If the great resetters had a single normal IQ among them, they would recognize that pissing off the Creator, Owner and Operator of the Universe by mishandling His creation and then taking credit for it is not a recipe for success – not in this world and certainly not in the next. Given this, it may be an open question as to whether it is the great resetters or Satan who has the bigger ego. Who wakes up in the morning and says, "Oh, today I think I'm going to appropriate the Creator's creation for myself, enslave everyone else and destroy whatever and whoever I don't need to rule over the universe. Oh, I just know He will be so proud of me!"

Obama, the great resetters and the intel agencies can just relax and rock on. Repentance is not in their DNA. Pity, that. Repentance is the only currency God deals in on this side of eternity. Rock on, boys. Satan is busy making sure that hell doesn't freeze over before your arrival.

-- Craige McMillan, Feb. 17 WorldNetDaily column

Posted by Terry K. at 1:03 AM EDT
Friday, March 24, 2023
MRC Helps Launch Ramaswamy's Presidential Campaign
Topic: Media Research Center

Right-wing financier Vivek Ramaswamy recently announced his presidential campaign -- but he had a head start in building name recognition thanks to helep from the Media Research Center. He first popped up at the MRC in a June 2021 post by Gabriela Pariseau:

Philanthropy Roundtable board member and author Vivek Ramaswamy gave Big Tech an ultimatum for its Section 230 protections: Uphold the First Amendment or lose immunity privileges.

Ramaswamy, founder of Roivant Sciences and a Philanthropy Roundtable board member, tweeted: “It’s time to amend Section 230. Either you operate like a normal company, without the federal blanket of immunity, or you agree to abide by the First Amendment in return for that immunity. Tech companies can’t have it both ways.”

He has pushed back against Big Tech censorship multiple times leading to the release of his forthcoming book, Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam.

In addition to quoting him in several posts, the MRC continued to promote Ramaswamy's pontifications:

When Elon Musk started showing interest in Twitter, Alexander Hall made sure to get a comment from Ramaswamy, and he weas later given a post to gush further over Musk:"Vivek Ramaswamy Praises Musk on Fox News: He Paved Way for Shareholders to Fight Twitter Censorship."

When ESG became mandated for right-wingers to rage against, Ramaswamy give the MRC plenty of content:

In October, the MRC hyped Ramaswamy reacting to its bogus research purporting to show pro-Democratic Google search bias:

Woke Inc. author Vivek Ramaswamy reacted to a new MRC Free Speech America study by ripping Big Tech giant Google for manipulating search results to favor Democrats in highly contested senate races.

The Strive Asset Management executive chairman unleashed on Google during the Oct. 26 edition of Fox Business Tonight: “We hear alot about the threats to our democracy. Well, guess what! I think this is a big threat to our democracy,” he said. To give “one autocratic actor the chance to tilt the scales of what the public can and cannot see about the candidates that they’re asked to vote for in November” is a "threat to democracy.”

A Nov. 3 post by Jeffrey Clark gushed over Ramaswamy spouting his talking points on CNBC:

Woke Inc. author Vivek Ramaswamy crushed CNBC hosts for railing against freedom of speech in what turned out to be a heated debate — even a two-on-one cage match — over a basic Constitutional right. 

Ramaswamy unleashed an onslaught of arguments in defense of free speech and free markets on the Nov. 3 edition of Squawk Box. “First rule of the road is no viewpoint-based discrimination,” Ramaswamy said. “Spam, porn content, moderate that — get it out of the feeds. But that means no viewpoint discrimination and here’s the rub, that means hates speech goes away as a category, because as heinous as it may be, hate speech is just someone else’s opinion.”


Ramaswamy continued on to school the CNBC hosts for using “misinformation” as an excuse to censor Americans. “If you’re going to take down false speech, I believe a cardinal rule is that the company bears the obligation to prove that the speech was false before removing it, and then if in doubt, here’s a tiebreaker, give the power back to the user,” he said. “Let the user decide what protocols they opt into and not.”

More Ramaswamy worship followed under the gushy headline "Vivek Ramaswamy Rips Centralized Digital Currency as 'Cancer' Symptom of 'New World Order'." But interestingly, the day Ramaswamy's candidacy was announced, Feb. 21, was also the day a post by Pariseau touted a "three-part series" of interviews between Ramaswamy and her boss, Brent Bozell, in which tjhey "discussed how anti-Americanism has infected American society and plagued American institutions including Big Tech." But nowhere in Pariseau's post did she mention that Ramaswamy was a presidential candidate -- instead, there was a disclaimer at the beginning of the accompanying video: "The Media Research Center is a 501c(3) non-profit and does not endorse any candidates or campaigns. This video was recorded on 2/16/2023."

A March 3 post touted an interview Ramasway did with MRC podcaster Paiten Iselin -- part 2 of the series -- in which they "discussed the question: 'Is there hope for America?'" Again, there was no disclosure in the post, just a disclaimer at the beginning of the video but changing the interview date to Feb. 17. Renata Kiss touted what was apparently part 23 in a March 8 post:

In an exclusive interview with MRC Business Vice President Dan Schneider, Woke, Inc. author Vivek Ramaswamy condemned ESG efforts and offered a free market alternative based “exclusively on an excellence centric vision.”

Ramaswamy warned the public of how companies that subscribe to woke environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards use American citizens’ money to try to push “one-sided political agendas,” and “correct” so-called societal “injustices.” He also explained why the need for alternative solutions motivated him to create Strive Asset Management. 

Once again, the post did not disclose Ramaswamy's candidacy but stuck a disclaimer at the beginning of the video. That disclaimer is disingenuous, of course -- it's unlikely that the MRC didn't know Ramaswamy would announcehis candidacy a few days after the interviews, and the first video appearing on the day of the announcement was no coincidence. It is indisputably coordinated promotion of his candidacy and looks more than a little shady. Someone should probably alert the Federal Election Commission about this.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:50 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, March 25, 2023 12:42 AM EDT
Newsmax Columnist Thnks MLK Would Oppose Critical Race Theory
Topic: Newsmax

Beware of white people talking about black people and civil rights to advance right-wing agendas. And that's what we had when Scott Powell invoked Martin Luther King to attack his version of critical race theory in his Jan. 9 column:

In King’s most famous I Have a Dream speech, delivered from Washington, D.C.'s Lincoln Memorial (Aug. 28, 1963), it was as if the Almighty was calling America to rise up and fulfill its spiritual destiny.

To the self-evident truth of all people having equal value, King added an equally timeless truth, that people "should not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

Were it possible to transport King into the present, he would be shocked by the stark regression in America in the nearly three generations since he led the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

He would reject the eclipse of group, gender and ethnic identity evaluation paradigm over the individual merit and character-based approach for assessment, acceptance and advancement — whether in school admission or hiring and promotion in workplaces

King would condemn Wokeism and Critical Race Theory (CRT) because they perpetuate negative racial stereotypes, albeit in a reversal, that denigrate the white race.

He would also find them fundamentally flawed because they exacerbate division rather than bring people together through constructive dialogue and concurrently seeing all people as individuals made in God’s image.

As it so happens, Tyler Parry wrote about the kind of thing Powell is doing in a 2021 article for the African-American Intellectual History Society, after now-Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said something similar on a podcast:

McCarthy’s claim exposes how King’s legacy is sanitized by rightwing figures. He asserts that CRT does not only go against MLK’s “dream” in 1963, it goes against “everything Martin Luther King has ever told us.” This statement provides the crux of the issue. By emphasizing it goes against everything the Civil Rights leader “ever” told Americans about race relations, McCarthy and his conservative counterparts assume that the totality of King’s teachings are encapsulated in a single statement of one speech he gave in 1963.


But the question remains: where do King’s teachings stand in comparison to critical race theory? To start, it is necessary to understand that within the 2016 edition of Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, editors Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic argued that CRT followed in the “American radical tradition” of Martin Luther King, Jr. (5). They positioned Critical Race Theory as a successor to his social justice philosophy that condemned American imperialism, classism, and anti-Black racism, noting that King’s legacy had been co-opted by “a rampant, in-your-face conservatism” designed to impede racial progress (30). So, despite conservatives’ lazy efforts to place King in opposition to CRT, many of the theorists themselves wholly embraced him as a precursor to their own scholarship.


In reality, the CRT debate is just another moment in the American tradition of misappropriating MLK, ranging from the contests over affirmative action; the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement; and the debates over socialism vs. capitalism, to name a few. When CRT is no longer politically useful, conservative pundits will find another point for their fearmongering and recycle the same colorblind King as a prop to misrepresent their target. Though it is tiring, scholars and activists must continually respond to these misrepresentations on all available platforms. The true believers of the conservative cause may willfully ignore the evidence, but as we make such blogs and essays more widely available, we can reach many others and introduce them to a Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King who believed that achieving a better society requires an honest reckoning with history; who unapologetically fought for the downtrodden and the poor; and who envisioned a “genuine revolution in values” in creating a more just and equitable society (201).

In other words, actual scholars familiar with King believe that CRT is very much in line with King's beliefs.

Nevertheless, Powell went on to cherry-pick King for his own purposes, citing him as warning against "the dangers of groupthink" -- though the right-wing anti-CRT campaign is very much a groupthink operation.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:36 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, March 24, 2023 6:47 PM EDT
WND Columnist Remain As Obsessed As Ever With Purported 2020 Election Fraud
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The fact that election fraud has never been proven in the 2020 presidential election hasn't kept WorldNetDaily columnists from continuing to be obsessed with it. Richard Blakey used his Feb. 10 column to portray alleged election fraud as "the elephant in the room":

Wow! What enormous topic or question could our legislative body in Washington be ignoring? Well, for it to be an enormous topic, it seems it should involve our country.

Let's see. It could involve our Constitution. Oh, what else?

Well, we have a republic. Hmm, that is a representative type of government where people are elected to represent the people.

What could possibly be enormously important about that?

Well, elections in a republic are supposed to be what is termed "free and fair." "Free and fair" elections have been defined to mean, an election involving "political freedoms and fair processes leading up to the vote, a fair count of eligible voters who cast a ballot (including such aspects as electoral fraud or voter suppression), and acceptance of election results by all parties."

What elephant in the room could cause: 1) an online newspaper to be demonetized because it pointed at the elephant, or 2) make a large "conservative" news agency's lawyers tell their staff "not to touch it," concerning a well-documented documentary addressing proven aspects concerning the elephant, or 3) make it so a well-respected former mayor for one of our countries largest cities has to face persecution for talking about the elephant.

What could this elephant be? It seems that if this elephant is not addressed, it will still be around and could impact things in the future – for his size is enormous.

Blakley's first bullet point refers to WND being "demonetized" by "big tech" -- which happened because WND publishes fake news and conspiracy theories, not because it addressed purported election fraud. The second bullet point references allegations that Fox News refused to promote Dinesh D'Souza's film "2000 Mules" which -- contrary to Blakley's claim that it is "well-documented" -- has been repeatedly discredited. The "well-respected former mayor" Blakley is referring to in his final bullet point is Rudy Giuliani, who is being "persecuted" for making claims in a lawsuit that were unsupported by evidence, not for talking about purported election fraud.

Wayne Allyn Root similarly clung to those delusions as he used his Feb. 11 column to declare what Sarah Huckabee Sanders should have talked about in her Republican response to President Biden's State of the Union address:

The first one she missed was RIGGED AND STOLEN ELECTIONS.

I hate to break it to the GOP establishment, but your entire base believes the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump.

And because the GOP and the RNC are afraid of their own shadow, they have done absolutely nothing since 2020 to fix the problem. Result: we got robbed again in the 2022 midterms.

Look no further than Kari Lake's defeat in Arizona. That's the biggest rip-off since Bernie Madoff. The whole Arizona election was pure voter fraud. We all know it. Sen. John Fetterman defeating Dr. Mehmet Oz is another ludicrous example. It sure would be nice if our GOP leaders mentioned rigged and stolen elections.

Why was it important to mention this in a SOTU response? Because elections have consequences. I believe Biden and Democrats stole 2020. And then they used this illegitimate presidency to destroy this nation from a thousand different directions.

Sarah mentioned all the problems in America: the crime wave, the worst inflation in modern history, exploding debt, declining economy, open borders and an invasion of millions of migrants waved in. It could be that all those terrible problems exist because Democrats stole the election and we let them get away with it.

If we don't address voter fraud and rigged elections, we will never win another election. 

Root listed one of his other bugaboos, "the COVID-19 vaccine disaster," as something else Sanders should have brought up, going on to add that "One other thing Sarah left out: She never mentioned the name of the greatest president of my lifetime, Donald J. Trump."


Posted by Terry K. at 1:53 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: Pelosi Derangement Syndrome At The MRC
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center not only greeted Nancy Pelosi stepping down from House Democratic leadership with more hate, it attacked her daughter for making a film about her. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 9:45 AM EDT
Thursday, March 23, 2023
MRC' Vazquez Spreads Wild Anti-Biden, Anti-ESG (And Russian) Conspriacy Theories Over Ohio Train Derailment
Topic: Media Research Center

As part of the Media Research Center's strategy to exploit a train derailment strategy in Ohio to advance partisan agendas, a Feb. 16 post by Joseph Vazquez tried to manufacture a conspiracy theory by dragging in right-wing-mandated anti-ESG talking points:

ABC’s, CBS’s and NBC’s premature abandonment of coverage of the environmental disaster in East Palestine, Ohio may have been a gambit to protect the leftist pro-environmental, social, governance (ESG) standard giants tied to the incident. 


It turns out that ESG-obsessed investment giants like The Vanguard Group, JPMorgan Investment Management and BlackRock Fund Advisors, are Norfolk Southern’s largest shareholders. The combined stake between the three shareholders is valued at a sizable $9,392,760,704 as of Feb. 16.

“It truly is incredible, the lackluster coverage that the train derailment and subsequent evacuation in East Palestine, Ohio has received from the Big Three,” asserted MRC Free Speech America & MRC Business Director Michael Morris. “Can you imagine if the same sort of ecological disaster had occurred under the Trump administration? Undoubtedly, the Big Three would be doing all that they could to somehow pin the blame on the former president of the United States. But now, with the Biden administration at the helm — not much more than crickets.”


Strikingly, both Vanguard (Norfolk Southern's largest shareholder) and BlackRock have been at the center of a leftist movement to radically change American culture through the force of ESG standards in corporate America. 

ESGs provide a smokescreen for left-wing bigwigs in C-suites to force radical leftist politics onto shareholders, according to former McDonald’s CEO Edward Rensi. Utah State Treasurer Marlo Oaks called ESG “the greatest threat to our freedoms in America today without question,” during an< exclusive interview with MRC Business.

The fact that ESG-obsessed companies are tied to the Norfolk Southern disaster blows their eco-virtue signaling on sustainable investment completely out of the water and makes the Big Three prematurely dropping the coverage look even more despicable.

Could it be that the Big Three are doing everything they can to protect their shareholders’ investment in Norfolk Southern?

But doesn't the fact that these funds invest in Norfolk Southern actually prove that they are, in fact, not "EDG-obsessed"? Despite all of the right-wing ferarmongering on the issue, nobody's actually being forced to invest in ESG against their will -- it's simply an option being made available for those who care about it.

In a Feb. 17 post, Vazquez showed the MRC's political agenda again and manufactured another conspiracy theory:

The Big Three networks ignored news that the Biden administration denied disaster assistance to Ohio’s pro-Trump Columbiana County following the toxic train derailment in East Palestine.

Fox News reported Feb. 16 that Governor Mike DeWine (R-OH) spokesperson Dan Tierney said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) denied federal aid because it “believed the [train derailment] incident didn't qualify as a traditional disaster, such as a tornado or hurricane, for which it usually provides assistance.” The incident led to a controlled explosion and the spewing of hazardous fumes into the atmosphere, with reports of groundwater damage, dead animals and health issues circulating. Newsweek even reported the turmoil could evolve into a “Full-Blown Ecological Crisis.” The denial of aid calls into question why the U.S. government is willing to commit more than $24.9 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden administration but not an American town in turmoil. 

Additional context may provide some insight as to why Biden’s FEMA did not pursue providing aid for that particular area, and why the ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news shows chose to ignore the story between Feb. 16 - Feb. 17.

Biden released details on a new executive order advancing racial equity on Feb. 16, the same day as the Fox News report. Biden claimed his goal was to “advance an ambitious, whole-of-government approach to racial equity and support for underserved communities and to continuously embed [racial] equity into all aspects of Federal decision-making.” According to the latest breakdown, East Palestine is 93.5 percent white, three percent Hispanic, and only 0.36 percent black.

In addition, Columbiana County, where East Palestine is located, 71.7 percent of the vote went overwhelmingly for former President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

But in pushing this wacky conspiracy theory that the Biden administration wants white Trump voters to die, Vazquez omitted the one relevant piece of context: The derailment falls outside of federally mandated definitions for a disaster in which FEMA can assist -- namely, it was caused by a private company, not natural forces, and no property damage occurred in the immediate aftermath. Vazquez also censored ther fact that other federal agencies have provided assistance and that President Biden contacted Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine to pledge federal help.

Vazquez went on to rehash his bogus ESG conspiracy and concluded by huffing: "By ignoring Ohio being denied disaster aid by a partisan, racially-charged Biden administration, now the media look even more asinine." That's right -- a guy who spreads asinine conspiracy theories thinks everyone but him looks "asinine."

When the Associated Press reported that Russian-linked Twitter accounts spread conspiracy theories about the derailment that echoed conservatives' own talking points, Vazquez had another freakout in a March 20 post:

The Associated Press attempted to blame Twitter owner Elon Musk and “pro-Russian” Twitter accounts for Americans’ distrust of  Big Daddy Government and liberal media gaslighting about the toxic Ohio train disaster. Talk about a ridiculous attempt at a stretch.

AP whined in a Mar. 18 story — “Pro-Moscow voices tried to steer Ohio train disaster debate” — that “anonymous pro-Russian accounts” used “Elon Musk’s new verification system” to spread “misleading claims and anti-American propaganda” about the East Palestine, Ohio train derailment. The train’s derailing led authorities to create a controlled explosion that released toxic fumes into the atmosphere.

“The accounts, which parroted Kremlin talking points on myriad topics, claimed without evidence that authorities in Ohio were lying about the true impact of the chemical spill,” AP complained.

Apparently AP didn’t learn anything from the Twitter Files. Just because left-wing talking heads call an account “pro-Russian” doesn’t mean it is, and a deeper dive into AP’s sources just makes its propaganda seem more like a pathetic attempt to protect government talking points.

Actually, Vazquez is the one trying to protect talking points -- in this case, right-wing and anti-Biden talking points that have been opportunistically used to exploit the derailment.Indeed, he dragged out olther faulty talking points to attack the AP:

AP said London, U.K.-based group Reset identified the “pro-Russian” accounts. Ben Scott, the group's executive director, was “the technology policy advisory group” lead for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign — the same campaign that served as the genesis of the Trump-Russia collusion hoax, which AP itself mindlessly promoted.

AP didn’t bother mentioning this in its write-up, and neither did CNN has-been Brian Stelter plastered the story on his Twitter feed. Journalist Glenn Greenwald raked Stelter over the proverbial coals for his thin veneer of media analysis bonafides and lack of critical thinking skills.

Vazquez offered no evidence that Reset was involved in the "the Trump-Russia collusion hoax" (which, by the way, wasn't a hoax). And it appears that Vazquez is suffering from Stelter Derangement Syndrome like his fellow MRC employees.

Vazquez then invoked the MRC's own alleged "media research":

AP was content to throw spaghetti at the wall and see if something would stick. Some of the so-called “verifiably false” “pro-Russian” claims that AP tried debunking included the “suggestion that the news media had covered up the disaster.”

But a recent, non-Russian affiliated MRC study revealed that the Big Three broadcast network’s morning and evening news shows all but dropped coverage of the Ohio disaster once the county permitted residents to return home Feb. 8. All six shows fell just shy of spending a combined 30 minutes on the topic between when the incident first occurred on Feb. 3 and when the evacuation order for East Palestine was lifted on Feb. 8.

The networks regurgitated the public relations gaslighting by the Norfolk Southern Corporation, the owner of the railway responsible for the derailed train. The Big Three rediscovered the topic Feb. 14 - Feb. 15 – nearly a week after the evacuation ended –  once it became clear that they were the three most prominent networks that had stopped covering it.

But in AP’s world, the notion that the media provided lackluster coverage of the Ohio train disaster is a “verifiably false” and “pro-Russian” claim.

Insisting that the MRC study was "non-Russian affiliated" is something someone affiliated with Russians would say (and he offers no evidence or reason to trust his word). But as we documented, the very first article the MRC published about the derailment was that study -- 11 days after the derailment occurred. Why? Who did the MRC strategize with to determine that this tragedy needed to be exploited for political purposes? Did they have Russian accents? And why is the MRC so comfortable pushing the same narratives that Russian bots are?

Vazquez's post actually raises more questions than it answers -- questions he clearly doesn't want to answer. He seems to be protesting a bit too much about the Russian stuff.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:42 PM EDT
Irony: Highly Biased WND Laments Decline Of Journalistic Objectivity
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An anonymously written Feb. 5 WorldNetDaily article stated:

The legacy media in America are cutting their own throats, shooting themselves in the feet and calling for their own termination, according to an analysis by constitutional expert Jonathan Turley.

It's because of the abandonment by leaders in the industry of neutral, or objective, reporting. It's the idea that both sides of a story, or even three sides, should be described, letting readers make their own determinations.

He noted the rise in recent years of "advocacy" journalism, those reports that portray themselves as news but in reality provide only one side, pushing one story line on readers.

"If there is little difference between the mainstream media and alternative media, the public will continue the trend away from the former," he warned. "MSM has the most to lose from this movement, but, as individual editors, it remains popular to yield to advocates in their ranks.

"As media outlets struggle to survive, these media leaders are feverishly sawing at the tree branch upon which they sit," he said.

The irony, of course, is that WND wouldn't know objective journalism if it walked up and slapped Joseph Farah's face.

The really funny part, though, comes in the boilerplate beg at the end of the article for subscriptions to "WND Insider," which touts its "uniquely truthful reporting." Yes, "uniquely truthful" is one way to describe WND's penchant for fake news and conspiracy theories.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:17 PM EDT
MRC Hasn't Retracted Discredited Attack On Transgender Clinic
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's chief transphobe, Tierin-Rose Mandelburg, hyped in a Feb. 10 post:

The left needs to consider this a warning.

In an op-ed for The Free Press, Jamie Reed, a queer woman with a trans husband, explained her deep regret and guilt after treating transgender kids with life altering medicines and procedures. Her piece titled, “I Thought I Was Saving Trans Kids. Now I’m Blowing the Whistle,” should serve as a wake-up-call to the left that thinks gender-affirming procedures aren’t harmful.

Reed worked as a case manager at The Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. She claimed that the center’s “working assumption” was that the sooner you treat kids' gender dysphoria with life altering measures, the better. Reed’s specific role at the clinic was patient intake and oversight and she saw around 1,000 confused kids during her four year employment at the center. 

After seeing the kids leave with “life-altering consequences — including sterility,” Reed quit. “I could no longer participate in what was happening there. By the time I departed, I was certain that the way the American medical system is treating these patients is the opposite of the promise we make to ‘do no harm.’ Instead, we are permanently harming the vulnerable patients in our care,” she said.

Reed claimed her testimony puts her at personal and professional risk but noted that what’s happening to kids is “morally and medically appalling” and is “far more important than” her “comfort.”

As it turns out, Reed is also at "personal and professional risk" because her story appears not to be true. As Erin Reed wrote in a detailed debunking of Jamie Reed's claims: 

Delving into Jamie Reed’s allegations and story makes it clear that she is not an ideologically neutral individual on the care and respect of transgender people. Her statements and omissions reveal a clear ideological bias, and the organizations and representation she has chosen to work with contradict her claim that she “supports transgender people.”

Throughout her story, she frequently misgenders her patients. In fact, I am not aware of a single case where she genders her trans patients correctly. Out of the thousand or so patients she has seen, she only references a half dozen specific anecdotes of what she relays as poor experiences for transgender youth patients - anecdotes I will cover in detail. Even in these anecdotes, she often omits long term net harm. She leaves out the stories of what must be the rest of the thousand patients who, as we have seen in numerous testimony in hearings this year, saw their mental and physical health improve dramatically. Ultimately, she calls for stopping gender affirming care for trans youth - something that would result in actual harm and death to this patient population.

She is not a doctor, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, and does not have direct medical diagnostic experience with patients. She is a case worker, someone who navigates insurance claims and takes intake calls. Throughout her story, she places her own interpretations of events above those of medically educated providers, therapists, and the families and patients that work with them. She claims to know better for these patients, and has acted to sabotage their care.

Mandelburg hyped Jamie Reed claiming that "many of the patients were on the autism spectrum or claimed that they had other disorders like Tourette syndrome, tic disorders or multiple personalities, all of which she said they didn’t." Erin Reed responded:

Here Jamie repeats anti-trans talking points here blaming gender dysphoria on all other things than being trans. Bizarrely, she includes obesity here. While many transgender people have concurrent disorders, there is no established research showing being “trans” is caused by anything else. Furthermore, research into autistic transgender individuals has stated that being prevented from transitioning due to an autism diagnosis could “cause increased levels of depression and anxiety.” The idea that autistic individuals cannot be LGBT+ unfairly targets autistic people who have pushed back hard against the idea that their diagnosis means they cannot experience genuine gender identities or seuxal orientations.

Mandelburg repeated Jamie Reed's claim that "The center literally prescribed a cancer drug as a puberty blocker for boys who wanted to be girls"; Erin Reed responded by pointing out that the drug in question, bicalutamide, "is also used to treat hair loss and excessive facial hair in cisgender females."

Mandelburg also repeated Jamie Reed's claim that "She encountered a situation where a mother convinced her daughter that she was trans when the child's father protested, the woman went to court in a custody battle over the 11-year-old after . A doctor at the center sided with the mother and so did the court." Erin Reed responded that "Jamie is upset that the doctors testified on a patient’s behalf that the best medical practices were followed. An entire court case happened around this proceeding where a judge weighed all of the evidence and statements and came to a verdict. We are supposed to put all of that aside because of a vendetta that Jamie has with her own place of employment."

Even the parents of children who attended the clinic have debunked Jamie Reed's claims.

Mandelburg concluded by claiming: "At the end of the op-ed, Reed pointed out that this isn’t a political matter. This shouldn’t be a divisive issue. This deals with the safety of our children and shouldn’t result in culture wars." In fact, as Erin Reed pointed out, Jamie's testimony was withheld in order to have maximum impact on anti-trans bills in the Missouri legislature, meaning that Jamie is totally cool with playing politics with this issue -- just as Mandelburg is.

Mandelburg has not updated her post to reflect how Jamie Reed's claims have been discredited, nor has she written a new one retracting her earlier post. Remember, narratives are more important than facts.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:51 PM EDT
CNS' Jeffrey Nitpicks Biden On Debt vs. Deficit -- And Finally Admits Trump Ran Up Debt
Topic: editor Terry Jeffrey found a way to blend two obsessions of the "news" organization he runs -- nitpicking President Biden and blaming anyone but Republicans for federal deficits -- into a single Feb. 2 article:

When speaking at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in New York City on Tuesday, President Joe Biden falsely claimed that his administration had cut the federal "debt" by $1.7 trillion during his first two years in office.

In fact, according to the U.S. Treasury, during Biden’s first two years in office—Jan. 20, 2021 through Jan. 20, 2023—the federal debt increased by approximately $3.7 trillion.


Biden may have been mistaking the federal deficit for the federal debt. The deficit is the amount that the federal government spends in excess of its revenues in a given fiscal year. The debt is the money the federal government borrows to cover its deficits.

From fiscal 2020—the year the COVID-19 pandemic hit—to fiscal 2022 (the last full fiscal year on record), the annual federal deficit did drop by $1,756,431,000,000. In fiscal 2020, the deficit was $3,131,917,000,000. In fiscal 2022, it was 1,375,486,000,000. Thus, even though the deficit dropped $1.756 trillion from its pandemic-year high of $3.131 trillion, it still remained above a trillion dollars last year at $1.375 trillion.

Jeffrey failed to disclose the fact that Donald Trump was president when the fiscal year 2020 budget was created, and that Biden was operating under a budget approved under Trump when he took office in January 2021. Indeed, the word "Trump" does not appear at all in this article.

Then, in a Feb. 17 article, Jeffrey did it all again:

In a speech at Lanham, Maryland, on Wednesday, President Joe Biden falsely claimed for the second time in less than three weeks that he had cut the federal "debt” over the past two years.

When Biden was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2021, the total federal debt was $27,751,896,236,414.77, according to the official numbers published by the U.S. Treasury. As of the close of business on Feb. 15, 2023—the latest day for which the debt numbers are currently available—the total federal debt was $31,454,875,345,039.44.

Thus, during Biden’s presidency the federal debt has increased by $3,702,979,108,624.67.

Biden has not reduced the federal debt; he has increased it by 13.3 percent in a little over two years.

Jeffrey then pedantically lectured Biden:

Does Biden not understand the difference between the annual deficit and the accumulating debt of the federal government? In his Wednesday speech, Biden said that the Republicans were “not going to pay the national debt, which took 200 years to accumulate.” Then he said: “This is a 200-year obligation that’s been accumulated.”

The “deficit” measures the difference between a given fiscal year’s revenues and expenditures. The “debt”—as Biden rightfully pointed out, while claiming he had “cut” it--is the amount that the government has borrowed over the past 200-plus years and has not yet paid back.

Jeffrey then answered his own condescension by admitting that "In his State of the Union Address on Feb. 7, President Biden used the terms 'debt' and 'deficit' accurately and claimed in that speech that he had 'cut the deficit'—not the debt—'by more then $1.7 trillion' in two years." But that forced Jeffrey to do something he has rarely, if ever, done -- explicitly call out Trump by name in acknowledging the debt increase under his presidency:

In his State of the Union, Biden attacked the Trump administration for increasing the “debt” by running a “deficit.”

“Under the previous administration, the American deficit went up four years in a row,” said Biden. “Because of those record deficits, no President added more to the national debt in any four years than my predecessor.

“Nearly 25 percent of the entire national debt that took over 200 years to accumulate was added by just one administration alone—the last one,” said Biden. “They’re the facts. Check it out. Check it out.”

During Trump’s presidency the deficit did in fact increase every year. In fiscal 2017, the year Trump took office, it was $665,446,000,000, according to OMB. In fiscal 2018, it rose to $779,138,000,000. In fiscal 2019, it rose to $983,592,000,000. And, in fiscal 2020, the year the COVID pandemic hit, it skyrocketed to $3,132,439,000,000.

On Jan. 20, 2017, the day Trump took office, according to the U.S. Treasury, the federal debt was $19,947,304,555,212.49. On Jan. 20, 2021, the day that Biden succeeded Trump, the federal debt was $27,751,896,236,414.77. Thus, under Trump, the debt rose $7,804,591,681,202.28.

But since CNS is obligated by its partisan agenda to portray Democrats as worse financial stewards than Republicans, Jeffrey tried to spin Trump's deficits by insisting that Biden's not-yet-existing deficits would be much bigger:

Biden’s fiscal 2023 budget proposal, however, called for deficits in excess of $1.1 trillion every year for the next decade. By contrast, Trump ran an annual deficit that exceeded $1 trillion only in fiscal 2020 in the face of the COVID pandemic.

By fiscal 2032, under Biden’s budget proposal, the annual federal deficit would exceed $2 trillion—hitting $2,014,000,000,000

Jeffrey and CNS have long avoided specifically blaming Trump for deficits racked up under his presidency, though it was quick to blame Biden for them as soon as he took office.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:28 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, March 23, 2023 1:31 AM EDT

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