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Thursday, April 27, 2023
CNS Took Even More Shots At Pelosi Before Shutting Down
Topic: CNSNews.com

Nancy Pelosi remained a target of CNSNews.com as she left House Democatic leadership and even months afterward, when she was merely serving as a congresswoman. A anonyously written March 31 article complained that Pelosi issued a "faulty tweet" upon Donald Trump's indictment by claiiming that "everyone has the right to a trial to prove innocence," huffing in response: "Uh, trials are not about 'proving innocence.' In our system of justice, defendants are presumed innocent until they are proven guilty." That was followed by an April 3 article by Craig Millward asserting that "Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) said Saturday that former President Donald Trump is 'innocent until proven guilty' on Saturday, apparently contradicting a claim made last week by Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)"

Another anonymous article, on April 5, groused:

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) moderated a public conversation with former First Lady and Sen. Hillary Clinton at Columbia University on April 3 and talked about how much she admired what Clinton had done for “our children.”

“People ask me what are the three most important issues facing the Congress, and I always say the same thing: Our children, our children, our children,” said Pelosi.

“And no one has done more in every aspect of her public and private life for our children, our children, our children, than Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton,” said Pelosi.

The anonymous writer of an April 7 article seemed to be complaining that Pelosi doesn't hate transgender people like CNS does:

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) sent out a tweet on March 31 to celebrate “International Transgender Day of Visibility” and condemn those whom she said “target trans people with hateful laws.”

“On #TransDayOfVisibility, it is with pride I join in declaring: we see you, we’re with you—and we won’t rest until you enjoy the love & safety you deserve,” Pelosi said in her tweet.

“As extremists target trans people with hateful laws, let us work for a future free of fear, violence and discrimination,” Pelosi said.

It wouldn't be CNS if the more-Catholic-than-the-pope folks who ran it weren't taking shots at Pelosi's faith, and the anonymous author of an April 10 article was put out that Pelosi said she wanted to be a priest, a calling from which women are forbidden:

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.), the former speaker of the House, talked in an interview at Georgetown University last month about speculation that she had wanted to be a priest.

Pelosi was being interviewed by the Rev. Jim Wallis, a protestant clergyman, who served on President Barack Obama’s “White House Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.” Wallis is now the chairman of Georgetown’s “Center on Faith and Justice.”

“In terms of my being a nun—and they said I want to be a priest,” Pelosi said to Wallis in the interview at Georgetown.

“Imagine, the priest every day, they have the power of the miracle, the mystery—I don’t know if it’s called a mystery but—of transubstantiation, of turning bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ,” said Pelosi. “That is real power. Now, we are talking power.

“And that’s why I was more attracted to that than being a nun,” said Pelosi. “On the other hand, maybe one day women will be able to do that as well. That’s something I’m thinking about; I was hoping the Pope would, too--but anyway.”

A more explicit shot at Pelosi for purportedly being a bad Catholic came in an April 14 article (that, yes, was anonymously written like the others):

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.), a Roman Catholic, sent out a series of tweets on Good Friday and Easter that started with a condemnation of a federal judge who issued an injunction against the use of an abortion-inducing pill and ended with her calling people to “prayerfully reflect on the many blessings of our faith."

“Today, an extremist Republican-appointed judge recklessly ruled to block nationwide access to safe and effective abortion medication that has been on the market for decades,” Pelosi said in a tweet on Good Friday.

“Republicans will never rest in their cruel, tyrannical quest to disrespect a woman’s right to choose,” she said.

[...]

After these three pro-abortion Good Friday tweets, Pelosi did not tweet again until Easter Sunday.

“Easter is a glorious holiday, as we prayerfully reflect on the many blessings of our faith, family and friendship,” Pelosi said in her Easter tweet. “May this Holy Season serve as a source of renewal and hope for all.

“From my family to yours, Happy Easter!” Pelosi said.

Six days later, CNS published its final articles before being shut down and deleted from the internet. The links above are to copies of the articles in the Internet Archive (where CNS articles remain).


Posted by Terry K. at 12:37 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, April 27, 2023 12:40 AM EDT
Wednesday, April 26, 2023
MRC Helps Trump By Attacking Prosecutor As Soros-Linked
Topic: Media Research Center

As rumors heated up about Donald Trump facing justice, the Media Research Center helped Trump play the victim by attacking district attorney Alvin Bragg, the initital prosecutor Trump would be facing. Kevin Tober devoted a March 19 post to recounting attacks on Bragg by Republican Chris Christie, making sure to tar him further by linking him to the MRC's greatest bogeyman, George Soros:

With the news Saturday that corrupt George Soros-backed Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is reportedly ready to charge former President Donald Trump over accusations of "hush money" payments to former porn star Stormy Daniels, on Sunday former DNC chair Donna Brazile during ABC's This Week was ready to paint the entire GOP with being hypocrites on "law & order." Former New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie didn't let her get away with trying to turn the radical left's double standard on crime around on him and the Republican Party. 

During the "PowerHouse RoundTable" discussion, Brazile ironically cried hypocrisy on Republicans using tough-on-crime rhetoric when it's convenient: "This is a party that continues to say that they are for law and order when it suits them. But it doesn't suit them when the crime is gun violence, when the crime is seeing this country suffer from the kind of violence, and crime across the board."

Things immediately got heated when Christie jumped in and let Brazile know "I'm not going to stand up for that."

[...]

What Christie said is blatantly obvious to anyone who has visited a major city in recent years, let alone crime-ridden New York City. Thanks to left-wing Soros-backed prosecutors like Bragg, many crimes in New York City are given lenient punishments while the book is thrown at Republicans like Donald Trump. 

In fact, violent crimes have risen so dramatically that the leftist rag The New York Times was forced to report how "major crimes" rose a staggering 22 percent over the past year.

Actually, people who are actual experts in crime statistics (asopposed to partisans like Christie and Tober) poimnt out that crime is decreasing in New York City and that rates for certain crimes are actually higher in Columubus Ohio -- the sdtate from which Republican Rep. Jim Jordan hails -- than in NYC.

A March 20 post by Mark Finkelstein tried to frame any prosecution of  Trump as political: "As for those who deny that this indictment is politically motivated, consider the record of Alvin Bragg, the hyper-liberal Manhattan DA who has expended huge resources on this investigation, grand jury proceedings, and countless more if the case actually goes to trial." Luis Cornelio similarly attacked Bragg as a Soros-linked partisan in a post the next day:

Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan District Attorney behind the alleged incoming indictment of former President Donald J. Trump, boasted about his ability to prosecute Trump even before taking office as DA.

Bragg touted his experience investigating Trump in an interview with Hot 97’s “Ebro in the Morning” during his run for Manhattan DA. He said prosecuting Trump was “the number one issue.” 

[...]

Bragg’s comments and recent rumors that he will indict Trump are unsurprising considering his ties to Soros money, which are under scrutiny. Bragg was elected District Attorney of Manhattan in November 2021 and received over $1 million in aid from the Color Of Change PAC, a group that received funding from leftist mega-donor George Soros, Daily Mail reported on Mar. 20.

The New York Times reported on Jun. 21, 2021, that Soros “pledged $1 million to the super PAC Color of Change, aimed at helping another district attorney candidate, Alvin Bragg.” The Times added that “[a] spokeswoman for the super PAC said that nearly $500,000 had been spent on Mr. Bragg’s behalf” at the time. The Soros-tied Color Of Me PAC pulled out half of that donation after an unnamed woman made a “disturbing allegation” against Bragg. The details of the claims and the woman's identity remain unknown, according to Daily Mail.

Joseph Vazquez hyped the the Soros link in another March 21 post, whining that non-right-wing media weren't parroting the right-wing narrative:

The ABC, CBS and NBC evening news shows conveniently ignored mentioning that the district attorney trying to secure an indictment against former President Donald Trump on dubious legal grounds is connected to leftist billionaire George Soros.

George Soros donated $1,000,000 to the racially-charged, defund-the-police group Color of Change PAC on May 14, 2021. Just a few days prior to Soros’ donation, Color of Change PAC announced Alvin Bragg, who would later win his race for Manhattan, New York District Attorney in November 2021.

Vazquez had another anti-Bragg freakout in a March 23 post:

The media hacks at Politico changed an outrageous headline characterizing the George Soros-tied Manhattan District Attorney as an apolitical, “by-the-book” prosecutor.  

Politico conducted a March 20 public relations stunt on behalf of Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, who’s reportedly set to indict former President Donald Trump based on a seven-year old case. The Politico headline read: “By-the-book DA confronts unpredictable opponent in Trump.” Politico reporter Erica Orden fawned in her anti-Trump agitprop that Bragg was a “low key, politics-averse prosecutor prepar[ing] to take on the brash, mudslinging former president.” Orden must have forgotten that Bragg made prosecuting Trump a centerpiece of his political campaign for the DA position. Also, calling any political figure that’s connected to Soros “politics averse” is just absurd. 

Her headline was later changed to: “Liberal Manhattan DA takes on Trump in perilous legal fight.” However, Orden didn’t appear to mind the irony of doubling down on how Bragg was still supposedly “politics-averse” while simultaneously admitting that Bragg was a “liberal” in the new headline. Orden got heavily ratioed on Twitter for her faux pas.

Vazquez laughably added: "MRC Business reached out to the Manhattan District Attorney’s offices six times for comment, but has received no response as of the publication of this article." Vazquez didn't explain why Bragg would ever want to talk to a right-wing activist like him who's only interested in manufacturing anti-Bragg agitprop.

So desperate is the MRC to attack Bragg that it trotted out an old enemy -- Michael Avenatti, currently in prison -- to trash Bragg's alleged case, even though he cannot possibly know all the details. P.J. Gladnick declared: "Most likely you read here for the first time this analysis by Avenatti about what a weak case Bragg has. Why? Because the mainstream media which formerly couldn't hype Avenatti enough are now shunning him because his analysis acts as a buzzkill to their excitement over a possible Trump indictment." Gladnick didn't explain why he suddenly finds a convicted criminal to be credible.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:03 PM EDT
Dick Morris Serves Up Faulty Anti-Biden Prognistications For Newsmax
Topic: Newsmax

It wouldn't be Dick Morris if he wasn't peddling dubious things that later turn out not to be true because he's selling a book or has to say stuff -- take, to name just one example, his repeated insistence that Republicans would crush the Democrats in the midterm elections (which didn't exactly work out that wah). So let's go back a bit to a Jan. 23 Newsmax article featuring Morris' latest prognostication:

Dick Morris, a political strategist, best-selling author, TV host, and former adviser to presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, believes Ronald Klain's impending exodus as White House chief of staff likely signals that President Joe Biden won't seek reelection in 2024.

Klain "was Biden's everything. [Klain] was Biden's campaign manager when he ran for president. He was Biden's chief of staff as vice president. He's Biden's chief of staff now ... and [Klain] wouldn't be leaving [soon], if he was confident about Biden sticking around," Morris told Newsmax Monday afternoon, while appearing on "American Agenda" with host Bob Sellers.

[...]

There are other factors that might dissuade Biden from pursuing the White House again next year, aside from Klain's February exit (reportedly after the State of the Union speech). Morris said it's a combination of the documents saga, and Trump "surging" in a recent poll that his him holding a sizable lead (6 percentage points) over Biden — if they squared off in a hypothetical general election 22 months from now.

If Biden's job-approval numbers continually hover around 36%, "he ain't running," said Morris, host of Newsmax's "Dick Morris Democracy."

Of course, Biden announced his bid for re-election this week, making this yet another failed Morris prediction.

Morris loves to tell right-wingers what they want to hear about Biden. Indeed, he did that one week earlier:

Dick Morris said Monday on Newsmax that it is "evident to everybody," even among Democratic strategists, that President Joe Biden is "very flawed politically."

Joining "Rob Schmitt Tonight," Morris argued that the current political moment for Biden mirrors former President Lyndon B. Johnson's persistent unpopularity that eventually led him to duck out of the 1968 election.

Biden's "disapproval rating has been so high. He's been underwater for the last two years, almost since he took office. And they all know that the emperor has no clothes, but everybody says he has clothes because they don't want to be embarrassed," Morris stated.

That came in the midst of the Biden classified document frenzy Newsmax and other right-wing outlets were on about. And Morris invoked that too: "With the Biden documents, the bad news is that he might have committed a security breach. The best interpretation is that he's senile and forgot where he had them. Neither one is very good to run for president."

Morris, of course, served up Biden-bashing prognostication about that in a Jan. 25 article:

Political author Dick Morris believes the slow trickle of news about President Joe Biden having classified documents in his possession will be the end of his reelection campaign.

"I think it's very possible that Biden drops out of this race. I think when it fully metastasizes and the details about Hunter [comes out] — it may end Biden's candidacy," Morris told "American Agenda."

It was around that time that classified documents were found in the possession of former Vice President Mike Pence, causing Newsmax to drop the story.

Morris continued to crank out the Biden attacks to pander to the Newsmax audience:

Morris will apparently tout any Democratic candidate who might be running against Biden on the Democratic side no matter how fringe, as he did in a April 22 article in which he embraced the anti-vaxxer rantings of Robert Kennedy Jr.:

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who earlier this month announced his candidacy for the 2024 Democrat presidential nomination, is a "serious threat" to President Joe Biden, whose advisers are "forcing him into the ring" with an expected campaign announcement next week, political adviser and bestselling author Dick Morris said on Newsmax Saturday. 

Kennedy's appeal is "nonpolitical," Morris said on Newsmax's "Saturday Report."

"He's running, if anything, to the right of Biden, against all of this spending legislation."

Kennedy, an environmental attorney, gained nationwide attention with his opposition to mandatory COVID vaccinations, particularly with children, said Morris.

"He cites the amazing fact that one out of every 1,000 vaccinations results in a serious adverse consequence [with] adults and an even higher number for children," said Morris.

He also seems willing to abandon the premise of his most recent book -- that Hillary Clinton will push Biden out of the way and run for president in 2024 -- if a different and slightly more plausible person can be substituted, which he did for a Feb. 13 article:

President Joe Biden would be "toast" in his 2024 reelection bid if former first lady Michelle Obama decides to run, according to presidential adviser Dick Morris on Newsmax.

"The question is will Michelle Obama run? Because if she does, Biden can't run," Morris told Monday's "American Agenda." "He's totally dependent on the Obama machine. She would monopolize the African American vote. [Democrats] just [rearranged] the primaries so that the Black vote is decisive by putting South Carolina first.

"And I believe that if Michelle runs, Biden is toast."

[...]

"She has the Obama machine behind her, [that] I think, essentially controls the Democratic Party," he said. "This is a question of the puppet turning on the puppeteer."

Never mind, of course, that Michelle Obama has expressed absolutely no interest in running for president or in politics in general. Then again, as we've seen, Morris is not one to let facts get in the way of his talking point of the day.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:49 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, April 26, 2023 7:50 PM EDT
WND Still Trying To Defend Ivermectin
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily just can't stop defending ivermectin as a treatment for COVID, despite the fact that reputable medical professionals agree that it doesn't actually work against the virus (given that it's actually an anti-parasitic drug). An anonymously written March 17 article was the latest to give it a shot:

When COVID-19 apparently came out of a Chinese lab that had been experimenting, with U.S. support, on bat coronaviruses, there was an immediately search for treatments – even as pharmaceutical corporations were developing their billion-dollar experimental shots.

One anti-parasitic treatment that already was available, but mostly used in the veterinary industry, was ivermectin.

Testimonials arose about how it was effective, even though federal officials, celebrities and others condemned it. They publicly ridiculed those who would use a "horse paste," even though that was only one form of ivermectin.

Later, according to the Asahi Shimbun, Kowa Co., the huge Japanese pharmaceutical company, confirmed ivermectin proved an "antiviral effect" against Omicron and other coronavirus variants.

Now a new report by Emmy Award-winning investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson reveals Anthony Fauci, who was Joe Biden's controversy-mired adviser on COVID-19, and others, apparently suppressed a recommendation at the outset of the pandemic that it be used against the killer.

Attkisson reported government watchdog Judicial Watch obtained paperwork from the Department of Health and Human Services that included emails of then-Director of the National Institutes of Health Francis Collins.

Some of the comments were about a British group's recommendations on using the drug ivermectin to prevent and treat COVID-19.

Attkisson is an anti-vaxxer who promoted the discredited theory that vaccines cause autism, so her work on the subject perhaps shouldn't be trusted.But was this alleged recommendation for ivermectin that Fauci ignored?

Attkisson reported, "In February 2021, a leading British physician and World Council for Health co-founder Dr. Tess Lawrie, who is director and founder of a doctors’ organization called the British Ivermectin Recommendation Development Group (BIRD), emailed 31 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials, including the Director of the Offfice of New Drugs in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research Peter Stein; Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Director Peter Marks; and then-Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock; and copying several leading foreign medical figures, with an email titled 'URGENT: The BIRD meeting and recommendation on COVID-19 prevention and treatment.'"

It included a list of related subjects, including concerns, adverse events, and more, regarding COVID-19.

Lawrie is an anti-vaxxer and ivermectin obsessive who we last saw here being cheered by WND for haranguing a researcher for retracting his previous endorsement of ivermectin after realizing how shoddy the research supporting the drug as a COVID treatment really was. Given that the panel's name was the "British Ivermectin Recommendation Development Group," it seemed that it would find a way to recommend the drug no matter what.

The anonymous WND writer didn't mention any of that, of course. Instead, a few standard right-wing (and anti-vaxxer) anti-Fauci attacks were inserted: "Fauci even now, as a private citizen after his retirement, continues to blow the horn for more and more boosters to follow up the initial round of vaccinations that the government purchased from drug makers and mandated for Americans in many situations during COVID. That's despite the fact those have been linked to serious side effects, often heart-related complications that have proven fatal."

 


Posted by Terry K. at 4:18 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE -- New Press Secretary, Same MRC Hate: January-February 2023
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center started the new year with the same tired attacks on White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, adding "inept" to the insult repertoire. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:09 AM EDT
Tuesday, April 25, 2023
MRC Attacks Gun Violence Stats That Make Guns Look Bad
Topic: Media Research Center

One of the things the Media Research Center loves to do in order to distract from gun violence is quibble about how incidents of gun violence are counted -- and specifically attacking the statistics used by the Gun Violence Archive and cited by (non-right-wing) media outlets. Nicholas Fondacaro played this card after one mass shooting in a Jan. 24 post (boldface in original):

Since the mass shooting in Monterey Park, California on Saturday, viewers of English and Spanish broadcast networks have seen the reported number of mass shootings in the United States jump from 33 to 39 in just three days. And as CBS Morning’s co-host Nate Burleson put it on Tuesday, “my logic says that has to be wrong, those numbers have to be exaggerated, and they are not.” But Burleson should’ve listened to his logic because his instinct was correct. Yet, these networks have also ignored a recent study that shows an average of 1.67 million defensive gun uses per year.

In the last three days, the liberal broadcast networks and Spanish-language networks have cited the anti-gun Gun Violence Archive (GVA) 20 times. From Sunday morning to Tuesday morning (January 22-24) the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) cited the Gun Violence Archive 9 times during their morning and evening flagship newscasts. Telemundo and Univision cited GVA 11 times (including on their noon and late-night newscasts).

But as NewsBusters reported last year, Gun Violence Archive was not to be trusted because they inflate their numbers with an overly broad definition of mass shootings that doesn’t take into account certain facts like motive, location, type of crime, and the shooter. Even respected mass killings researchers don’t trust GVA’s numbers because they make most incidents look like public massacres.

Fondacaro is lying when he claims the GVA's numnbers are "untrustworthy" -- the GVA has made its methodology public. He simply doesn't like the numnbers being high because they don't make right-wing pro-gun agendas look good. Indeed, he tried to spin things in an attempt to make guns look good: "While the liberal media is intent on trampling on the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms with false statistics on mass shootings, they’re flat-out ignoring an academic study from Georgetown University that shows 'guns are used defensively by firearms owners in approximately 1.67 million incidents per year.'" Of course, defensive uses of guns mean nothing when guns are also used to kill -- not that Fondacaro will admit that, of course.

Fondacaro lashed out at the GVA and someone citing its numbers in a post two days later:

In response to a teacher getting shot by a 6-year-old in a Virginia school, where officials blatantly ignored multiple warnings that the kid had a gun that day, ABC co-host Joy Behar lashed out at law-abiding gun owners and other gun rights activists via The View on Thursday. She accused those millions of Americans of having a “mental illness” and demanded they “be stopped immediately.”

“We need to grow up,” Behar sneered at America while dubiously asserting that “[w]e're between Venezuela and Brazil with the most mass shootings.” “There were 40 mass shooting it in the first 24 days of this year,” she falsely proclaimed, parroting a statistic from Gun Violence Archive that NewsBusters has debunked multiple times.

Again, the GVA numbers are not "false" and have not been "debunked."

Fondacaro complained about a different set of numbers he didn't like in a Jan. 31 post:

In a supposed “fact-check” on Tuesday, Washington Post editor and “fact checker” Glenn Kessler published an analysis to tackle the understood notion that a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. But the piece, titled “ What’s more common: A ‘good guy’ without a gun — or with one?”, muddied the waters and argued that the data is incomplete and inconclusive.

[...]

Kessler’s premise was flawed from the beginning; he narrows the cases to just mass shootings and limits who classifies as a good guy with a gun. Suggesting “neither is the norm,” he explains that he’ll be relying on the FBI’s data for this analysis, which he admits excludes armed intervention from security and police personnel (A.K.A good guys with guns):

Fondacaro did praise Kessler for citing numbers manufactured by right-wing research John Lott, then got mad he ultimately dismissed his numbers:

But Kessler does cite gun rights researcher John R. Lott Jr., who had compiled his own list “of more than 100 instances between 2014 and 2021, linked to news reports, when a citizen with a lawful firearm ended an active-shooting situation.”

But Kessler casts doubt on this too: “Lott has his own bias. He keeps track only of the active-shooter incidents that someone with a weapon has ended. So a list including instances when a person without a firearm ended the shooting could also be higher.”

The rest of the article largely examines the discrepancies between the lists, including conflicting arguments on which cases classify as mass shootings. Kessler ultimately throws up his hands:

Fondacaro repeated his praise of the Georgetown defensive-use study and took another shot at the GVA numbers, this time whining they were "inflated."

In the wake of the Nashville massacre, Curtis Houck took a whack at the numbersd again in a March 30 post:

CBS co-host, Democratic donor, and Obama family friend Gayle King opened the show’s “Eye Opener” by touting First Lady Jill Biden’s visit to Nashville “amid passionate pleas on Capitol Hill for changes to gun laws.” After that, CBS played a clip of [Rep. Jamaal] Bowman’s staged meltdown in which he asked whether Massie was “listening to what I’m saying.”

King circled back to this again in the show after a segment on the grief-stricken community, lamenting that “any change to our gun laws is still a tough sell” for those odious Republicans “[d]espite more than 130 mass shootings this year.” Without a credit, King sighted the Gun Violence Archive, which we’ve repeatedly took to task for cooking their books.

The GVA can't possibly be "cooking their books" when its methodology is public.

Fondacaro whined about yet another set of gun violence numbers he disapproved of in an April 12 post:

The liberal media are all for live fact-checks and dishing out Pinocchios when they’re targeting conservatives, but their obsessive desire to nitpick and say “It’s accurate, but…” goes right out the window when it’s for their agenda. This was the case on Wednesday’s CBS Mornings when they pushed a dubious “gun violence” study from the Kaiser Family Foundation that wrapped firearm accidents, suicides, and defensive uses together with mass shootings and crime for an anti-gun rights message.

“A shocking new survey reveals just how widespread gun violence is in this country. Just listen to these numbers,” co-anchor and Obama’s vacation pal Gayle King demanded of viewers, “early one in five adults, one in five, say they have had a family member killed with a gun.”

But according to the “key findings” of the study, that number also includes people who have committed suicide, something any honest observer wouldn’t think should be included under a banner that conjures images of mass shootings and gang shootouts.

[...]

Historically, roughly 65 percent of gun deaths in America are suicides but KFF uses outlier data from 2020-2021 to claim “about half of deaths (55%) in the U.S. involving guns are suicides.” Meanwhile, we saw crime start to rise during that same time.

It's almost as if Fondacaro doesn't think gun suicides should be counted as "real" deaths -- and that any numbers that don't mesh with right-wing narratives must be dismissed as "dubious."

Fondacaro used an April 17 post to dismiss a gun-related poll he didn't like:

As part of their Monday coverage of a tragic mass shooting at an Alabama birthday party, CBS Mornings revealed the results of new a CBS News/YouGov poll that purportedly showed 62 percent of Americans were in favor of a ban on AR-15s. Those findings flew in the face of similar recent polling that showed growing opposition to a ban.

Announcing the results was socialist co-host Tony Dokoupil, who was excited that 62 percent of respondents wanted the ban. “Well, more than 60 percent of Americans are in favor of an outright ban on AR-15 semi-automatic rifles. That's the type of gun used in school shootings in Nashville and Uvalde and so many other places,” he boasted.

But the findings didn’t mesh with a February ABC News/Washington Post poll that found only 47 percent supported a ban while 51 percent opposed it. And as The Reload’s Jake Foglemanmreported, ABC’s results were the latest in a series of polls that showed opposition to an assault weapons ban was growing in momentum.

The Reload is a right-leaning pro-gun website, so of course Fondacaro doesn't disclose its bias.

(Fondacaro's alleged evidence that Dokoupil is a "socialist," by the way, is a link to a segment he did three years ago explaining the inequitable distribution of wealth in the U.S. No evidence was offered that the segment represented Dokoupil's personal views.)


Posted by Terry K. at 10:17 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 25, 2023 10:27 PM EDT
WND Plays Victim After Getting Dinged By Facebook For Spreading COVID Misinformation
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily is feeling victimized after it got caught peddlingh more misinformation. Managing editor David Kupelian wrote in a letter to WND's mailing list that has been sent in a few versions over the past few weeks:

Dear friend of WND,

They never stop.

Last week, Facebook threatened to completely unpublish WND's Facebook page – after 14 years of daily maintaining and updating our page, which close to a million readers use to access WND’s top stories daily.

Why?

Why would Facebook cut off America’s oldest independent Christian online news organization?

The reason, according to Facebook, is a column we published on April 5 by Joel Hirschhorn, a well-known expert on COVID-19 and author of “Pandemic Blunder.” It seems Facebook’s “fact-checkers” didn’t like the column, which started like this: “Looks like there has been massive under-counting of COVID and vaccine deaths. A new poll by Rasmussen has some data that validates what many of us already believe, namely that the vaccines are dangerous, not ‘safe and effective’ and need to be pulled from the market immediately.”

Oops, can’t have that! Not when Big Tech, which has both enforced and participated in the massive lying and deception campaign regarding COVID-19 throughout the pandemic, still wants to protect the reputation and viability of the “vaccines,” not to mention the immense financial interests of Big Pharma.

Actually, Hirschhorn is not a "well-known expert" on COVID -- he's a serial misinformer who spreads false information about COVID and its vaccines. And as we've documented, Hirschhorn's column did much more than report the results of a (biased) poll -- he used the poll to falsely fearmonger about the vaccines and sow mistrust in health experts (which Hirschhorn, again, is not):

Please keep in mind that it is now widely accepted by those who follow the data that the COVID vaccines available in the United States do not prevent infection, replication, or spread of SARS-CoV-2, and do not prevent either hospitalized disease or death from COVID-19. Given these facts, references to these biologic medical products as "vaccines" is merely propaganda. They clearly do not "vaccinate" in the classic sense. But they make billions of dollars for vaccine makers.

[...]

More than three years after "15 days to slow the spread" of COVID-19, most voters have less trust in government health experts – and in the news media, too.

That sort of misinformation is likely why WND got dinged for promoting Hirschhorn's column. Nevertheless, Kupelian was in full victim monde and he went on to peddle misinformation about the COVID virus' origin:

Fast forward to today, when fully THREE YEARS LATER, the U.S. government recently conceded – FINALLY – that what WND reported in early 2020 and continuously ever since, was absolutely right. That is, the COVID-19 pandemic really did originate in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where Chinese communist military scientists were conducting controversial and reckless research on bat coronaviruses – to purposely make them even more lethal and deadly to human beings. They succeeded. And all secretly funded by you, the U.S. taxpayer, courtesy of mad scientist Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Of course, as we all know, Fauci then proceeded to become the architect of America’s disastrous pandemic response, which he got largely from China. Indeed, virtually everything Fauci decreed for America – from lockdowns, school closures and masks, to unproven-and-dangerous “vaccines,” “boosters” and mandates, to attacks on safe-and-effective ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine as well as natural immunity – were not only wrong, but epically and catastrophically wrong.

In fact, recent claims that the virus originated at Wuhan are still far from conclusive. The baseless self-aggrandizement continued:

I don’t say all this in the spirit of boasting, but in the spirit of upholding journalistic truth: WND was right on every single one of these issues from Day One, including the actual origin of the virus, the mass denial of which some are now calling “the greatest cover-up in history.”

Big Government, Big Tech, Big Media, Big Education, Big Business – even Big Medicine – were complicit in the cover-up.

But WND faithfully showcased the tiny handful of enlightened and heroic frontline doctors who were championing the forbidden truth about COVID and how best to manage it. We conducted groundbreaking video interviews with courageous physicians like Dr. Peter McCullough, Dr. Vladimir Zalenko [sic], Dr. Robert Malone, Dr. Ryan Cole and many others, and we published regular columns by Joel Hirschhorn (a member of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons), all of whom were proven right.

And we delivered their lifesaving message to you, day in and day out – over the last three years throughout the pandemic. Despite the constant attacks from Google, Facebook, Newsguard, the Southern Poverty Law Center and others.

Given that WND is much better known for the torrrent of misinformation it has published regarding COVID -- uncritically quoting misinformers like Zelenko, McCullough, Malone and Cole -- Kupelian's claim that it has been "upholding journalistic truth" on COVID is a laughable falsehood.

(Also, the only person calling  COVID "the greatest cover-up in history" was right-wing writer Ben Shapiro, whose column Kupelian linked to.)

Kupelian went on to tout how "Our reporting on how the 2020 election was rigged – something recent Twitter revelations, courtesy of Elon Musk, now PROVE beyond any rational dispute" -- which, of course, is also a lie -- and ranted about "the demonic LGBT/transgender recruiting and grooming craze victimizing America’s children." This was followed, of course, by a money beg "to cover our costs and make payroll for our fantastic group of journalists, all of whom have taken significant pay cuts and missed paychecks entirely, yet who have stayed with us for the past two decades!"

If WND's remaining writers are serving up WND's right-wing propaganda essentially for free, that tells us that WND might be a bit of a cult. Normal people would rather work for someone who pays them what they are owed.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:17 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 25, 2023 8:20 PM EDT
How Is Newsmax Fawning Over Trump These Days?
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax remains Trump-fluffer central (in case you were worried otherwise). For instance, it cranked out articles hyping Trump's visit to East Palestine, Ohio, the site of a train derailement that released chemicals in the area) even though no member of the Trump administration ever visited the site of a train derailment during his presidency).

Newsmax also generated a plethora of articles out of Trump's March speech at CPAC. The main article by Sandy Fitzgerald gushed that in his "highly awaited speech," Trump "spoke out about the 'battle for our lives' against both Democrats and establishment Republicans, and told an enthusiastic crowd that they have been engaged 'in an epic struggle to rescue our country from the people who hated it and want to absolutely destroy it.'" That was followed by numerous sidebars covering not only the speech but a interview Trump did with Newsmax during CPAC and other CPAC-related things:

In the midst of all this CPAC activity, Fitzgerald even wrote up an article on how Trump congratulated adviser Kellyanne Conway for getting divorced from her husband, George Conway, "a frequent Trump critic."

In the midst of its hysteria over Trump's (initially failed) prediction he would be "arrested," Newsmax also generated several articles out of a March 25 Trump campaign rally in Waco. Texas:

Newsmax's Rob Schmitt did an "esclusive phone interview" with Trump on March 24, and that led to more article generation:

It seemed no Trump utterance was too minor to devote a "news" article to. Here are some of the bits of stenography Newsmax has done for Trump since the beginning of the year:

It did post the occasional negative article about Trump, such as "Trump, Lawyer Fined for 'Frivolous' Suit Against Hillary Clinton" and "Trump Withdraws Lawsuit Against NY AG James." Still, Newsmax is very much Trump-fluffing central.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:34 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, April 26, 2023 9:31 AM EDT
MRC Kills CNS Website, Merges 'News' Division Into MRCTV
Topic: CNSNews.com

The last time CNSNews.com posted original content was on April 20. Here's what that front page looked like:


Since then, nothing. Interestingly, Craig Bannister has continued to post his largely anti-ESG rantings at another MRC site, MRCTV, where his bio oddly lists him as "editor" of CNS (he wasn't -- he was just a blog writer). On the evening of April 24, however, the CNS website went dead with all links disabled.

What happened? No announcement was made at any MRC website -- not even he CNS website -- or even on the CNS Twitter feed as to why a "news" website it had operated for around 25 years had been abruptly taken down without notice, and longtime staffers like Terry Jeffrey, Michael W. Chapman, Susan Jones, Melanie Arter and Patrick Goodenough probably deserved a better fake than to have years of work simply erased from the internet. (And then there's commentary editor Georgiana Constantin-Parke, who joined CNS just six months ago.)

Finally, after some digging, we seem to have found an answer. The MRCTV website now has a CNS page -- though it currently has only six stories ., four of which are by Bannister and the other two by writers from other MRC divisions -- and a notice at the top that read: "Welcome CNSNews readers! Effective immediately, CNSNews is being merged with MRCTV to form a new conservative media platform, designed to deliver news and commentary on all of the top issues of the day."


So CNS is apparently dead as an independent "news" operation -- not that it was ever that independent, of course, given that it was increasingly a slave to the MRC's right-wing narratives. Indeed, over the past few years, CNS was becoming little more than NewsBusters in an inverted-pyramid format. Merging it into MRCTV is an interesting choice, though, given that it's effectively the MRC's hot-takes division whose most popular segment (such as that is) are the video rantings of Brittany Hughes. That is most definitely not a recipe to be treated seriously.

Still, it's odd that the MRC effectively refused to publicize this move if the goal was to maintain a similarly functioning "news" operation to its standalone website; it may be that it has been gutted and CNS will be maintained simply as a brand name on MRCTV for things deemed to be "news" content from other MRC operations. And it may be that, as his bio states, Bannister really is the editor (whatever that means) for this newly gutted CNS, if not its only designated employee.

We'll continue to monitor doings at CNS/MRCTV and decide whether to document them (or whether to document the bias on CNS articles published before the shutdown that we hadn't gotten to yet -- the internet is forever, after all).

Meanwhile, a parallel and possibly related development happened: Chapman appears to have deleted his entire Twitter feed, which he operated for years and used a painting of 15th century Catholic bishop and thelologian John Fisher as the portrait image. The account was active as recently as April 12 and possibly a couple days afterward. Did Chapman wipe out his Twitter feed because he knew CNS was about to be shut down? Inquiring minds want to know.

UPDATE: The CNSNews.com domain now redirects to the CNS page at MRCTV.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:39 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 25, 2023 5:22 PM EDT
Monday, April 24, 2023
With Reports That Nashville Shooter May Be Transgender, MRC Finds A Distraction From Guns
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's initial reaction to the March 27 gun massacre at a private school in Nashville was a familiar one: complaining that people were criticizing guns. Curtis Houck complained that reporters "flaunt[ed] their liberal views"in a White House press briefing after the shooting, with "NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell channeled Rahm Emanuel by ghoulishly speculating the reports of the shooter being a woman could represent a 'breakthrough' against those backward Americans stuck in their 'gun culture.'" That was followed by a post from Nicholas Fondacaro ranting that a Tennessee congressman got called out for expressing sympathy over the massacre despite he and his family posing with guns in a recent Christmas card photo.

But then the real news (as far as the MRC was concerned) surfact: the shooter was allegedly transgender. And, of course, the transphobes at the MRC totally ran with that. Typical was a rage-filled post by Kevin Tober:

On Monday, a transgender activist shot up a Christian school in Nashville Tennessee, killing three nine-year-old children and three teachers in an apparent hate crime against Christians. While all three networks mentioned a hate-filled transgender monster shot and killed six innocent Christians, the mentions were brief and CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell opened her program with a lecture on “gun violence.” 

“Tonight, a targeted attack in Tennessee. A scene that has become all too common in America: A mass shooting. This time at a private Christian grade school in Nashville,” O’Donnell reported. She could've mentioned that once again a radical trans activist carried out a mass shooting, but she - like most leftists - was far more comfortable blaming guns. 

“We just learned more about the six victims, the three children all 9 years old. The three adults in their 60s. One of them, Katherine Koonce, was the head of the school. The other adults, a substitute teacher, and a custodian,” O’Donnell noted. 

O’Donnell’s only mention of the evil person who murdered six people was a brief mention of the suspect’s identity. She never mentions that the shooter was a mentally ill woman who pretended to be a man. She left that detail up to correspondent Janet Shamlian.

Tober offered no evidence the shooter was a "radical trans activist" or was "mentally ill" simply by allegedly being transgender.

Houck returned to whine about speculation that the shooter might have been motivated by right-wing anti-transgender laws like those recently passed in Tennessee:

Anchoring an ABC News Special Report early Monday evening on the deadly school shooting at Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, senior national correspondent Terry Moran offered up one of the worst takes yet on the massacre by seeming to tie the transgender suspect’s premeditated attack on this Presbyterian school to Tennessee Republicans fighting back against gender mutilation and protecting children from graphic sexual content.

Moran offered this ghoulish insinuation after a press conference from Nashville officials in which they confirmed reporting and speculation of the gunman’s identity, their perceived gender identity, and how she left behind a manifesto and drawings of the school to chart the attack.

Speculating about motive does not equal approval of the motive, Curt.

Tober returned for more nastiness -- this time directed at President Biden -- while again calling the shooter "radical" without evidence:

Hours after a radical transgender activist shot and killed six people at a Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee, President Joe Biden’s first public comments on Monday were not about the heartbreaking mass shooting, they were a bizarre rambling rant about how much he loves ice cream, and how “good-looking” four of the kids in the audience were.

Imagine if former President Trump acted like this after a mass shooting. Creepy and thoroughly inappropriate comments like the ones Biden made would be aired and condemned on the nightly newscasts if Trump uttered them. Yet, sadly they were nowhere to be found on the big three evening newscasts of ABC’s World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News.

Tober seems to have forgotten that President George W. Bush was reading a children's book to first-graders in Florida at the time of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

Alex Christy complained that another Tennessee politician's gun-laden Christmas card was called out. More whining about criticism of right-wing gun culture followed:

Christy groused in a related matter that late-night host Stephen Colbert mocked how right-wingers insisted that securing school doors was more important than gun regulation, huffing that Colbert was "apparently unaware of how doors work."

The MRC continued its transgender obsession as well:

Tim Graham had a fit in a March 31 post:

Alexandra Steigrad at the New York Post reported Thursday that CBS News ordered its staffers to avoid "any mention" of Tennessee school shooter Audrey Hale's identification as transgender. CBS has weirdly asserted that they haven't "confirmed" what the police said. It's interesting that in this case, their failure to accept official sources lines up with the GLAAD crowd. 

Pay no attention to the shooter's identity, said the hardliners in identity politics!

[...]

For a "news" network to tell their reporters to dismiss all mention of transgenderism as irrelevant to this story is to say some facts, in this case, are too inflammatory or damaging to a cause or a "community" to mention. Politics is trumping facts. 

By contrast, Graham was silent when Fox News ordered its staff to censor revelations about the channel made in filings in Dominion's defamation lawsuit against it, and definitely no lecturing about how it was refusing to report facts that were "too inflammatory or damaging."


Posted by Terry K. at 10:01 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, April 24, 2023 10:14 PM EDT
WND's Alexander Still Pushing The Big Lie In Arizona
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Rachel Alexander has been WorldNetDaily's biggest promoter of the discredited claim that there was election fraud in Arizona that kept Republicans like Kari Lake from winning, and she's not letting an utter lack of credible evidence stand in the way of contining to push that conspiracy theory, writing in her March 6 column:

As Arizona experiences a repeat of the 2020 election with 2022, where MAGA candidates allegedly lost to poor Democratic candidates like Katie Hobbs who refused to debate, some are turning on the MAGA candidates and blaming them instead of election fraud. The candidates' lawsuits are predictably going nowhere, as judges throw them out for supposed "lack of evidence" or narrow technical reasons such as "lack of standing."

The judges pretend that witness testimony and affidavits don't constitute evidence, but every first-year law school student learns that of the 11 sections of the traditional Rules of Evidence in law, an entire section, section 6, is devoted to witness testimony. Witness testimony throughout history has been the smoking gun in many cases; defendants have suffered the death penalty based on witness testimony alone.

Well, there's evidence and there's credible evidence, and Alexanderofered no proof that the former is the latter. Instead, she touted how Lake still has a chance:

Lake's appeal brief is one of the best in all of the election lawsuits. It should be a slam dunk especially considering there is precedent; the Arizona Supreme Court once overturned a gubernatorial election where fraud was alleged and replaced the Democrat who had been in office for months with the Republican. Judges routinely overturn elections around the country where there was voter disenfranchisement and don't require the excessively high standards of proof we're seeing when Republicans lost or were disenfranchised. For example, in 2019, a judge ordered a new election for a Georgia House seat based on merely finding that four voters were ineligible.

But judges cannot rule in favor of election integrity when it helps Republicans because they are terrified of what the left will do to them and their careers. The type of person who becomes a judge is someone who isn't looking for the spotlight; most judges go their entire careers with very few headlines about them. If you look their names up on the internet, you can rarely find anything about them. They have relatively quiet, peaceful lives outside the public eye, and they live well with generous salaries.

The instance of a gubernatorial election being overturned "where fraud was alleged" happened in 1916 -- just four years after Arizona became a state, meaning that frontier justice had not yet been eliminated -- so that may not have been the best example Alexander could have used. She spent the rest of her column railing against judges for not being the right-wing lapdogs she demands them to be.

In her March 20 column, Alexander complained that Trump attorney agreed to getting censured for spreading election falsehoods (and, even worse, pointed out that Lake is scamming people by perpetuating a lie):

Earlier this month, Ellis quietly settled the case. She admitted to spreading "misrepresentations" "with at least a reckless state of mind." For these concessions, which are very damaging to Trump and his cause, Ellis escaped with a censure for professional misconduct from the Colorado courts. Based on her tweets, Ellis appears now to be leaning toward Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over Trump for president in 2024, although a year ago she offered to represent Disney against DeSantis.

Ellis' censure deal required her to say she had misled Americans with statements such as, "The election was stolen and Trump won by a landslide." And, "The proper and true victor … is Donald Trump." These are statements most Republican voters believe are true, according to polls. A Quinnipiac poll found that 76% of Republicans believe there was widespread fraud in the 2020 election.

Immediately before the censure was announced, Ellis tweeted that Kari Lake was a "grifter" for appealing her alleged gubernatorial loss in Arizona. While there's only a slim chance any judges will dare rule that there was voter suppression since it affected Republicans, Lake's supporters would be devastated if she dropped the battle to expose corruption, especially since more information continues to come out, including an exit poll finding that an astounding 8% more voters chose her over Katie Hobbs.

[...]

It's a Pyrrhic victory for Ellis, since she will continue to have the state bar hanging over her head, ready to pounce if she dares to say anything "controversial" again. The settlement serves her interests but not those of MAGA. Increasingly, zealous advocacy of a client's interests is allowed for criminal defendants and causes of the left, but few others. The right's lawyers, if they dare speak at all, must stick to the most humdrum of legal theories and narratives, or they risk professional sanctions or even bogus prosecution.

Caving in to the left-wing fascists is the last thing powerful figures on the right should be doing if we ever hope to stop election fraud and legal corruption. The 65 Project is currently going after a long list of attorneys on the right, and Ellis' surrender will be used against them as precedent.

We weren't aware that making liars face consequences for their lies is something "left-wing fascists" do.

Alexander's March 27 column was devoted to gushing of Ryan Heath, an attorney for Lake who sued a judge over the election-fraud stuff, going on to cheer, "He's filed and threatened lawsuits over face masks, CRT and mutilating children in the name of 'affirmative care.'" As Wonkette's Liz Dye has noted, Heath is also an anti-vaxxer and wrote "the greatest footnote of all time" to explain that he didn't sue the state in 2020 despite the fact the same exact election procedures were used then because he had just graduated from law school and "this election cycle is the first opportunity Petitioner has ever had to challenge this process."

Rather than note any of that, Alexander declared that "Unlike some attorneys who cower when it comes to election fraud and other areas where patriots are under attack, Heath is taking the exact opposite approach. In response, the left has filed six frivolous bar complaints filed against him in two separate states." She didn't explain what, exactly, was "frivolous" about those complaints." She conlcuded by encouraging her readers to donate to him.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:54 PM EDT
MRC-Fox News Revolving Door Watch
Topic: Media Research Center

The parade of staffers leaving the Media Research Center to work for Fox News has increased in recent months.

Jeffrey Clark, who spent less than a year at the MRC as a writer on business stuff, left in November then resurfaced at Fox News the following month. His Fox News bio highlighted his work as "a speechwriter for a cabinet secretary and as a Fulbright teacher in South Korea" butr mentioned nothing about his MRC employment.

The more surprising departure, though, is Scott Whitlock (pictured), who had been with the MRC since 2005 -- most recently serving as research director after Rich Noyes' retirement -- but left in October to be a Fox News editor. Whitlock's Fox News bio states only that he is "an editor for Fox News digital's media team" and like Clark's bio, mentions nothing about his MRC employment even though that was much, if not all, of his working career until then. Meanwhile, the MRC's NewsBusters site has blocked access to Whitlock's article arcihve (though the internet is forever).

An indirect person throught the revolving door is Joe Schoffstall, who worked at the MRC from 2010 to 2013 and had employment elsewhere, including the Washington Free Beacon, before joining Fox News in 2021.

Then there is the case of Kristine Marsh, who wrote for the MRC until last February. Marsh's last MRC post was on Feb. 9, 2022; eight days later, a writer named Kristine Parks wrote her first story for Fox News. We haven't been able to confirm that Kristine Marsh and Kristine Parks are one and the same, but as with the other MRC exiles, the subject matter Parks writes about echoes the right-wing culture-war and anti-"liberal media" attacks Marsh covered at the MRC.

Who will be next to go through that revolving door? We'll have to see.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:41 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 2, 2023 1:20 AM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: Bill Donohue, Dishonest Apologist
Topic: CNSNews.com
The right-wing Catholic activist is still using his CNSNews.com columns to distract from the long history of sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church and using them to spread his usual homophobia. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 2:25 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, April 24, 2023 11:16 AM EDT
Sunday, April 23, 2023
MRC Turns On Musk Over Twitter Suspending Anti-Trans Accounts
Topic: Media Research Center

The past year of sucking up to Elon Musk in order to encourage him to buy Twitter so that it and its fellow right-wingers would not feel the consequences of spreading hateful and extreme views -- which it misleadingly frames as "censorship" -- seems to have backfired a bit on the Media Research Center, because it appears there are still some things Twitter finds offensive. A March 29 post by Luis Cornelio was outrage that right-wingers (whom he misleadigly described as "pro-free speech") saw consequences (or, in Cornelio's parlance, were "censored") for spreading anti-transgender hate:

Despite Musk’s promises to protect free speech, Twitter silenced the Media Research Center and other free speech advocates who simply commented on the leftist ‘Trans Day of Vengeance’ event.

Twitter locked 11 pro-free speech journalists, politicians, and leaders out of their Twitter accounts for reporting on the infamous ‘Trans Day of Vengeance’ protest organized by Our Rights DC set to happen between March 31 and April 2. The censorship targeted accounts like The Media Research Center, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), The Federalist CEO Sean Davis and The Daily Wire podcast host Michael Knowles, among others. The platform’s active censorship appears to reveal that free speech is still being muzzled on Twitter.

Media Research Center President Brent Bozell blasted Twitter for its blatant censorship of a major news story. "Does Elon Musk know what his team is up to? Reporting on a 'Trans Day of Vengeance' right after the Nashville tragedy is important news,” he said. “Twitter should immediately remove these suspensions and explain what happened."

Twitter’s Vice President of Trust and Safety Ella Irwin explained the sweeping censorship related to tweets promoting the Trans Day of Vengeance. However, Irwin neglected to explain why those calling attention to the disturbing protest were also censored. “We had to automatically sweep our platform and remove >5000 tweets /retweets of this poster,” she wrote. “We do not support tweets that incite violence irrespective of who posts them. ‘Vengeance’ does not imply peaceful protest. Organizing or support for peaceful protests is ok.”

MRC Free Speech Vice President  Dan Schneider ripped apart Twitter’s excuse:

“Twitter’s blatant hypocrisy is breathtaking. Just last week, liberals were on Twitter attacking Donald Trump for calling for protests in New York if he got indicted, but Twitter is now freezing accounts of conservatives who are simply reporting on planned protests by the left in Washington.”

Twitter locked the account of the Media Research Center’s video production division, MRCTV, after it called attention to the radical event.

Schneider overloooked the fact that these accounts posted a flyer promoting the event -- which was just a protest and not a call to violence -- not just "reporting" on it. The even ended up being canceled after the group putting it on was targeted with threats of violence, something the MRC never noted.

(Cornelio's post was updated to not that MRCTV's account was restored later that day.)

Cornelio went on to huff: "MRC Free Speech America will soon release a study that suggests that the rank-and-file employees at Twitter are in open revolt against the vision Musk articulated for the platform. Rather than building an environment where free speech is allowed to flourish at Twitter, employees continue to silence conservatives and censor opinions that run contrary to the woke agenda supported by so many in Silicon Valley." Indeed, Joseph Vazquez folled up the next day with this alleged study:

Despite public statements in support of free speech, censorship on Twitter has surprisingly increased since billionaire Elon Musk purchased the platform according to data from MRC Free Speech America's CensorTrack.org database. MRC Free Speech America found that Twitter censorship has been on the rise under Musk's leadership in comparison to the old regime. Musk once tweeted that he saw Twitter as the “de facto town square” and wrote that “failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy.” It appears that a lot of work needs to be done to achieve Musk’s vision. 

Here are MRC Free Speech America’s findings:

Twitter censorship has been on the rise under Elon Musk. MRC Free Speech America found 293 cases of documented censorship since Musk took control of the platform and began terminating the previous regime’s employees from Nov. 4, 2022 through Mar. 4, 2023. That’s 67 more than the 226 documented cases in CensorTrack.org from the old regime during the same time period a year prior (Nov. 4, 2021 - Mar. 4, 2022). 

The severity of the censorship since Musk took over has been harsher. In 245 of the 293 (84%) documented cases of censorship on CensorTrack.org, Twitter locked users’ accounts, and in nearly all cases users were required to delete the content to regain access to their accounts. Under the old Twitter regime, by contrast, only 136 of the 226 (60%) documented cases of censorship consisted of locked accounts.

The previous Twitter regime targeted the biggest, most politically sensitive user accounts. However, Musk’s moves that led to the firing and resignation of key leaders in the elitist team in charge of the effort to target high follower accounts has not resulted in a reduction of censorship practices by the remaining rank-and-file staff involved in content moderation. The implication? The remaining staff at Twitter are revolting against Musk’s efforts to foster a free speech environment on the platform. Some high-profile users censored under the old regime during the analyzed period included Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), conservative radio host Dan Bongino, Just the News founder John Solomon, and the American Heart Association.

Sixty-two percent of documented cases of censorship during Musk’s leadership involved tweets critical of the left’s transgender narrative. At least 182 of the 293 (62%) documented cases of censorship recorded in the CensorTrack.org database for Twitter under Musk involved users being censored for speech critical of the left’s woke “transgender” narrative. Twitter’s censorship on this issue stands in stark contrast to the theorized pretext for Musk launching his $44 billion bid to acquire the platform. 

The Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon shared in a tweet that “Musk reached out to us before he polled his followers about Twitter’s commitment to free speech. He wanted to confirm that we had, in fact, been suspended. He even mused on the call that he might need to buy Twitter. Now he’s the largest shareholder and has a seat on the board.” The Babylon Bee was banned under the previous regime for a humorous tweet declaring transgender Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine its “Man of the Year” in 2022.

Note how Vazquez framed right-wing anti-transgender hate as being "critical of the left’s transgender narrative." Also note that the only "censorship" the MRC cares about are of it and its fellow right-wingers -- never mind that the Twitter algorithm already had a right-wing bias before Musk or that liberal-leaning accounts have also been targeted by Musk -- and how Vazquez hyped that Musk "reached out" to right-wingers like the Babylon Bee to see that they got special treatment, something we're not aware Musk ever did to non-right-wing accounts.

Despite all of that, Vazquez avoided actually blaming Musk himself, insisting the "censorship" was coming from "woke staff" at Twitter that Musk hasn't fired yet:

While the departure of Roth, Gadde, Agrawal and Dorsey appears to have helped Musk reduce the censorship of larger accounts, some believe that the censorship culture they fomented in the elitist SIP-PES [Site Integrity Policy, Policy Escalation Support team] has only grown stronger among the rank-and-file Twitter staff who are still moderating user content. 

“Based on our analysis it is clear that there is  an internal revolt going on among the woke staff at Twitter. I’m sure they don’t like that their new boss has dissolved the high-level censorship team, but Musk’s actions appear to have motivated the remaining staff to be even more aggressive toward regular conservatives on the platform. They are undercutting Musk’s plan to foster a free speech environment on the platform,” MRC Vice President for Free Speech Dan Schneider said. “Musk has a good history of fixing problems that are brought to his attention. But it is clear that the censorship police are still on the beat at Twitter. Musk still has a lot more housekeeping ahead of him.”

Vazquez did not explain what kind of "analysis" Schneider did that made him reach that concludion exonerating Musk, or wy Musk wasn't to blame for not firing these people, and no explanation was offering as the why SIP-PES is supposedly "elitist."

Meanwhile, neither Schneider nor anyone else at the MRC mentioned one of Musk's big failures in personnel management earlier that month: he openly mocked the disability of an employee who had asked Musk if he was still employed there because he had received no actual layoff notice despite having lost computer access and falsely accused him of not doing his job. He later had to apologize to the guy for spreading falsehoods and invited him to stay at Twitter.

The whining continued in a March 31 post by Cornelio:

Former U.S. athletes are slamming Twitter’s hypocrisy for censoring tweets reporting on the “Trans Day Of Vengeance” and not protecting them against the onslaught of Twitter harassment and death threats they faced when they spoke out against biological males in women’s sports.

In an exclusive interview with MRC Free Speech America, Riley Gaines, a 12x All-American swimmer and Stand with Women spokeswoman at the Independent Women’s Forum, and Taylor Silverman, an accomplished competitive skateboarder, pushed back against Twitter’s assault against free speech.

Both called out the platform’s hypocrisy for not protecting them against an onslaught of threats.

Cornelio again censored the fact that there was no call for violence, and he also misleadingly claimed that the protest was called off due to "facing scrutiny in the wake of the Nashville school shooting," even though the tweet he linked to specifically claimed there was a "credible threat to life and safety" and mentioned nothing about "scrutiny." He also failed to explain why it was apparently OK that transgender people face an onslaught of threats on Twitter.

Catherine Salgado served up even more whining and victimhood in an April 3 post:

In an all-too-familiar fashion, Twitter locked the New York Post out of its account for a story about the deletion of thousands of tweets relating to violent transgender activism. Twitter owner Elon Musk defended the supposedly accidental censorship on Twitter.

The Post said it tweeted an article about Twitter deleting more than 5,000 tweets with content about a planned (now canceled) “Trans Day of Vengeance.”  Twitter went on a wild censorship binge by indiscriminately targeting accounts that promoted the “Trans Day of Vengeance” along with those that condemned the scheduled event.

[...]

It’s pathetic that the Post is still being targeted for committing journalism. The Twitter Files revealed Twitter censored the Hunter Biden story in 2020 after a priming campaign by the FBI. A Media Research Center poll found that Big Tech censorship of the Hunter Biden scandal helped steal the 2020 election for Joe Biden. 

Salgado omitted the fact that the article reproduced the alleged flyer for the event, which Twitter pointed out was prohibited no matter who posted it.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:19 PM EDT
CNS Colunnists Also Climb Aboard The Right-Wing Anti-ESG Bandwagon
Topic: CNSNews.com

Just as the "news" side of CNSNews.com has been dutifully parroting right-wing talking points against investments that take environmental, social and governmental issues into consideration, CNS' more explicitly opinionated commentary side has done so as well, with content largely from right-wing think tanks. A Feb. 9 column by Kimberlee Josephson of the Consumer Choice Center -- which is funded by right-wing billionaires and climate deniers -- complained:

The adoption of ESG standards, however, is truly problematic given that value and virtue are difficult to measure and there will always be tradeoffs – whether Freeman likes it or not.

A troublesome matter for businesses serving societal goals rather than marketplace needs is the complexity of catering to all stakeholders at once, and the subjectivity of what is meant as being ‘good’ or when ‘good’ does or doesn’t apply.

Josephson's op-ed came via another right-wing think tank, the American Institute for Economnic research.

The next day, Samuel Gregg of the Acton Institute wrote in a column headlined "Why Business Should Dispense with ESG" insistoing that ESG investing doesn't do as well as regular investing: "This just isn’t bad for businesses; it also damages society’s wider capacity to recognize that when business achieves its proper ends, the wider, albeit indirect benefits for others are enormous." A Feb 13 column by Brian Gottstein of the Heritage Foundation toutted anti-EDG efforts in Indiana:

ESG seeks to shut out traditional energy producers like coal and natural gas from the marketplace to advance the Left’s climate alarmism agenda. And it infuses businesses with critical race theory and radical gender identity theories to advance the Left’s so-called social justice agenda.

This is not smart investing, and ESG measures often are in direct conflict with business and shareholder interests. ESG costs Indiana in investment profits and costs consumers in the form of higher energy, food, automobile, and gas prices when companies focus on political agendas rather than meeting their customers’ needs.

The ESG-bashing continueed:

  • Josephson returned fort another anti-ESG attack in a Feb. 21 column: "So, although criticisms of ESG are on the rise, a pivot in portfolio management back to frameworks focused on corporate growth rather than cause-related ones seems unlikely. Both buyers and bureaucrats are to blame."
  • Heritage's Anthony Kim huffed in a Feb. 27 column that "it should be remembered that economic freedom—not the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) agenda—makes America and the world cleaner, safer, and better governed. The true path to ensuring environmental, social, and governance improvements lies in focusing on policies that enhance economic freedom.
  • Another AIER-linked writer, Peter Earle, proclaimed ESG investing to be over in a March 6 column: "Although it is unlikely to disappear completely, the ESG fad is probably past the crest of its popularity. It’s time again for firms to focus, singularly and completely, on the inestimable task of making money."
  • A March 13 column by Josephson cheered the "backlash over ESG" while complaining that "The ESG industry, however, shows no signs of slowing down, and initiatives seem to be ramping up on a global scale."

CNS' attack on President Biden's reversal of Trump-era anti-ESG regulations was echoed in a March 28 column by Stephen Moore, another right-wing think tanker:

Workers and retirees are angry about this decision -- as they should be. ESG is effectively a tax on your retirement funds, and it means you will have a smaller nest egg when you retire than if the money managers simply bought the top-performing stocks. Workers don't want politics diluting the returns on their 401(k) plans and other pension accounts.

[...]

My estimate is that ESG has cost the public billions of dollars of reduced returns on their retirement nest eggs. This comes atop the $30,000 or so that people have lost on average in their 401(k) plans after Biden came into office, and the combination of high inflation and lousy stock market returns overall.

Yet another AIER-supplied column, an April 10 piece by Ramon DeGennaro, complained:

ESG proponents have no shortage of reasons to support their position. The current tide of popular opinion and the lure of being on the right side of history, though, can and should trigger cognitive dissonance by thoughtful ESG advocates. Companies that score high on some measures fall short on others. A willingness to focus blindly on one social issue to the exclusion of the rest makes proponents susceptible to the fads and fashion of the times.

ESG proponents also bear the risk that future generations may view their actions differently. Professor Thomas Sowell wrote, “If you have always believed that everyone should play by the same rules and be judged by the same standards, that would have gotten you labeled a radical 60 years ago, a liberal 30 years ago and a racist today.” Today’s virtue may indeed be tomorrow’s taboo.

DeGennaro's column was headlined "How Will Future Generations Look Upon ESG Investing?" He didn't wonder how future generations would look aboutright-wing efforts to restrict people from investing the way they would like.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:08 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, April 23, 2023 3:12 PM EDT

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