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Friday, June 16, 2023
CNS' Jeffrey Pushed His Partisan Federal Deficit Narratives Before Shutdown

One of Terry Jeffrey's pastimes as editor for editor was blame Democrats for deficit spending while absolving Republicans of the same offense -- even when Republicans controlled the White House and at least one house of Congress. He got in a couple more of those deficit complaints before CNS was shut down in April. He complained in a March 9 article:

President Joe Biden released a fiscal 2024 budget proposaltoday that estimates the federal debt will hit $50.712 trillion dollars by the end of fiscal 2033.

That would be an increase of $17.988 trillion from the $32.724 trillion that Biden’s budget estimates the debt will be by the end of this fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30.

As of March 8 of this year, which is the latest date currently reported by the U.S. Treasury, the total federal debt was $31.459 trillion.

In his budget —which proposes increasing the debt to $50.712 trillion over the next ten years—Biden emphasizes his commitment to fiscal responsibility.

Jeffrey also did a fact-check of sorts that emphasized pre-pandemic budgets and downplayed the huge federal deficits during the pandemic -- but he didn't mention that a Republican president presided over those huge pandemic deficits.

Jeffrey complained more about the deficit in an April 12 article:

The federal deficit topped $1 trillion in the first six months of fiscal 2023 (October through March), according to the Monthly Treasury Statement released today.

This was despite the fact that federal tax revenues in the first six months of this fiscal year were $2,048,196,000,000, which was the second-highest in the nation’s history (when compared to the inflation-adjusted numbers for the tax revenues collected in the first six months of previous fiscal years).

In noting that "this year’s October-through-March federal deficit is the fourth largest in the nation’s history," Jeffrey did concede that the largest was in fiscal 2021 -- but, again, failed to mention that Republican Donald Trump was president for most of that period. He did, however, make sure to illustrate his article with a picture of President Biden and Sen. Chuck Schumer.

As usual, he also complained that "The Department of Health and Human Services led all government departments and agencies in spending during the first six months of this fiscal year. It spent $843,257,000,000 from October through March."

CNS was shut down eight days later.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:11 PM EDT
Tuesday, June 13, 2023
CNS Gave Gabbard One Last Promotion Before Shutdown
Topic: has long been a fan of Tulsi Gabbard as someone who claimed to be a Democrat while sounding like a right-wing agitator -- and it cheered even harder when she made a big show out of quitting the party she hadn't shared views with for years. As Gabbard started ramping up anti-transgender rhetoric, CNS was unsurprisingly there for that too. Before its shutdown, CNS hyped one more anti-trans rant in a March 27 article by Craig Bannister:

Democrats’ claim that womanhood is a state of mind isn’t just hatred and hostility towards women, it’s also a rejection of objective truth of any kind, veteran and former Democrat Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard says.

“There is no greater expression of hatred and hostility towards women than to try to erase our existence as a category of people and to minimize us to being a construction of anyone’s imagination,” Gabbard says in a video she posted to social media.

“Such an expression of hatred towards women is now the position of the Democratic Party, and one of the reasons why I could no longer remain in that party,” Gabbard, now an Independent, explains.

What’s more, by denying the existence of women, Democrats are redefining “truth” as a matter of opinion, to be defined by those in power, Gabbard warns:

Gabbard is lying, of coruse; Democrats are not "denying the existence of women." But Bannister's job is to be a stenographer, not to fact-check. anyone who advances right-wing narratives. And that's arguably one reason CNS no longer exists.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:07 AM EDT
Monday, June 12, 2023
NEW ARTICLE: CNS' Nitpicky War on Biden, Part 2
Topic: continued to be obsessed with mocking and nitpicking President Biden until it was shut down -- even bizarrely attacking his trip to Ireland. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 2:20 AM EDT
Sunday, June 11, 2023
Until Its Shutdown, CNS Remained A Loyal Judicial Watch Stenographer

We've documented how got interested again in serving as a stenographer for right-wing legal group Judicial Watch at the beginning of last year. Indeed, CNS -- spearheaded by managing editor Michael W. Chapman -- continued to crank out Judicial Watch press releases throughout 2022 and up until CNS' shutdown in April. Chapman touted how Judicial watch was dabbling in COVID vaccine conspiracy theories in an April 2022 article:

Judicial Watch, a government watchdog organization, has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services because it has not responded to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request concerning communications about the side-effects of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

“Americans have a right to know about any and all safety issues tied to the COVID vaccines,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton in a press release.

“The government’s unlawful stonewall on this issue, which will now take a federal FOIA lawsuit to resolve, suggests that there is something to hide," he said.


The BBC recently reported on a British mother who died from a "'catastrophic' bleed on the brain caused by a rare side-effect of the Covid-19 vaccine." The coroner "recorded the cause of death as Vaccine-Induced Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia (VITT)," said the BBC.

Chapman didn't mention that VITT is a very rare side effect.

Intern Lauren Shank got the call to push further vaccine conspiracy-mongering in a Nov. 2 article:

Judicial Watch, a government watchdog organization, announced Tuesday that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for insufficiently responding to a records request for COVID-19 vaccine safety studies.

“The Biden administration is playing shell games with documents on the Covid vaccine,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. “The arrogant cover-up of COVID vaccine safety information further undermines public confidence in these already controversial drugs.”


Among many other findings, Judicial Watch also uncovered FDA records that showed “top officials being pressured by companies and the Biden administration to impose timelines on approval for the booster shots ‘that make no sense.’”

CNS failed to make either article fair and balanced by talking to medical professionals who can vouch for the safety of the vaccines. And Shank didn't make clear that the statement that vaccines "make no sense" came from Judicial Watch, not known for having any sort of medical expertise.

CNS also hyped Judicial Watch's actions to further right-wing narratives. Several articles over the past year were linked to Republican obsession with Hunter Biden:

A Dec. 20 article by Chapman toutedhow Jusicial Watch latched onto another right-wing narrative by filing "a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Defense Department because it has failed to release documents concerning 'Critical Race Theory' and 'white supremacy,' reportedly being taught at the Air Force Academy. The academy is overseen by the Defense Department." Chapman followd up in an April 3 article gushing that the FOIA request yielded "U.S. Air Force Academy documents revealing that the institution is pushing 'woke' educational materials on its cadets. These records include the academy's superintendent, USAF Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, contending in a report's introduction that 'systemic racism exists in our society' and 'social injustice' continues to "afflict our society." No evidence was offered that disputed the accuracy of those assessments; instead, Chapman uncritially quoted Fitton ranting that "The documents confirm U.S. Air Force Academy leadership is obsessed with anti-American critical race theory and seeks to punish and smear cadets through leftist indoctrination programs."

A Feb. 9 article by Chapman touted Judicial Watch whining about the presence of U.S. Marines during a speech by President Biden last fall:

Judicial Watch has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Defense Department because it has failed to produce legally requested communications concerning President Joe Biden's Sept. 1 campaign speech in Philadelphia, where he positioned two U.S. Marines to stand behind him as he lectured that "MAGA Republicans" are threatening the "very foundations of our Republic." 


In a press release, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said, "Biden’s infamous ‘Red Speech,’ which included the abuse of our Marines in its totalitarian imagery, painted a target on Trump and tens of millions of Americans for political suppression and worse."

“And, to make matters worse, the Pentagon is violating federal law by hiding records about Biden’s misuse of our military in his attempt to intimidate Americans," Fitton added.

CNS hated Biden's speech, but it was silent when Donald Trump used the military as political props.

Chapman's final piece of Judicial Watch stenography came on April 14 -- six days before CNS was shut down -- uncritically repeating the group's whining that local authorities in Maryland are ignoring the group's demand for records regaring "the ongoing protests outside the homes of some Supreme Court justices."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:57 PM EDT
Friday, June 9, 2023
CNS Managing Editor Cheered Uganda's New Anti-Gay Law
Topic: managing editor Michael W. Chapman hates gay people, and he has previously written approvingly of anti-gay laws in Africa. He got in one more shot at them before CNS' shutdown by cheering an anti-gay law in Uganda in a March 22 article that lovingly described what the law did:

The Parliament of Uganda voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to pass the "Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2023," which seeks to "protect the traditional family" by prohibiting homosexual behavior and its promotion or recognition. The legislation now goes to the desk of President Yoweri Museveni, who is expected to sign it into law.

"Homosexuality is a human wrong that offends the laws of Uganda and threatens the sanctity of the family, the safety of our children and the continuation of humanity through reproduction," tweeted Ugandan Parliament Member Basalirwa Asuman. 

As part of protecting the traditional family, the bill is designed to protect "the cherished culture of the people of Uganda" and the "values of Ugandans against the acts of sexual rights activists seeking to impose their values of sexual promiscuity on the people of Uganda," reads the legislation.

In the bill, the "offence of homosexuality" is defined as a person who "penetrates the anus or mouth of another person of the same sex with his penis or any other sexual contraption," or who "holds out as a lesbian, gay, transgender, a queer or any other sexual or gender identity that is contrary to the binary categories of male and female."

If a person engages in such behavior, they could face imprisonment of 10 years.

In a related rule, a person is guilty of "aggravated homosexuality" if they engage in same-sex behavior with a person under the age of 18, if the offender is HIV-positive, if the victim suffers from a disability, or if the offender uses a drug to stupify the victim. 

In such cases, the criminal penalty is possible imprisonment up to 10 years. 

Brothels for homosexuals are prohibited under the bill, as is same-sex marriage.

In addition, promotion of homosexuality through media -- magazines, books, pictures, the Internet, mobile phones -- is prohibited.

The bill further allows for victims of homosexuality to receive assistance and payment of compensation for the crime committed against them.

Strangely, Chapman omitted the fact that the law permits the death penalty for anyone found guilty of "aggravated homosexuality." instead, he quoted Ugandan officials praising the law:

Uganda's Speaker of Parliament, Anita Annet Among, said "Congratulations. Whatever we are doing, we are doing it for the people of Uganda," after the legislation passed on March 21. 

When asked about LGBTQ organizations, she said, "[W]e don’t appreciate the money that they are bringing to destroy our culture. We don’t need their money, we need our cultures."

Member of Parliament David Bahati, as reported by Aljazeera, said, “Our creator God is happy [about] what is happening.... I support the bill to protect the future of our children."

“This is about the sovereignty of our nation, nobody should blackmail us, nobody should intimidate us," he added.


Last December, the archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Samuel Stephen Kaziimba, warned the youth about the dangers of homosexuality and those who promote it. 

Finally, in the 19th paragraph of his article, Chapman got around to noting criticism of the law:

Human Rights Watch sharply condemned the passage of the legislation. Oryem Nyeko, a reasearcher for HRW, said, “One of the most extreme features of this new bill is that it criminalizes people simply for being who they are as well as further infringing on the rights to privacy, and freedoms of expression and association that are already compromised in Uganda." 

“Ugandan politicians should focus on passing laws that protect vulnerable minorities and affirm fundamental rights and stop targeting LGBT people for political capital," he added. 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted that the bill "would undermine fundamental human rights of all Ugandans and could reverse gains in the fight against HIV/AIDS. We urge the Ugandan Government to strongly reconsider the implementation of this legislation."

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk said, “The passing of this discriminatory bill – probably among the worst of its kind in the world – is a deeply troubling development."

In 33 African nations, homosexual relations are against the law, according to Human Rights Watch.

CNS did attempt something resembling balance in an article the next day by Melanie Arter noting U.S. criticism of the law:

The White House on Wednesday expressed “grave concerns” with a bill passed by the Ugandan Parliament that criminalizes homosexuality, calling it “one of the most extreme anti-LGBTQI+ laws in the world.”

As previously reported , the Parliament of Uganda voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to pass the "Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2023," which seeks to "protect the traditional family" by prohibiting homosexual behavior and its promotion or recognition. The legislation now goes to the desk of President Yoweri Museveni, who is expected to sign it into law.

Arter uncritically copy-and-pasted the salacious definition of homosexuality from Chapman's article, presumably for additional inflammatory effect.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:53 PM EDT
Tuesday, June 6, 2023
CNS Got In One Last Lazy 'Meathead' Shot At Rob Reiner Before Shutdown
Topic: had a weird inability to separate an actor from his role when it came to Rob Reiner, repeatedly insisting on referring to him as "Meathead" -- even though he hasn't played that role in nearly half a century -- as a lazy form of revenge for his criticism for his criticism of Donald Trump. CNS did this one last time before it was shut down, in an anonymously written (of course) March 22 article, which made sure to prominently place "Meathead" in the headline:

Rob Reiner, who played Archie Bunker’s son-in-law (“Meathead”) on All in the Family, sent out a tweet on March 18 stating that the reason he joined Twitter was to have a platform for attacking former President Donald Trump.

“When Donald Trump became the Republican nominee for president in 2016, I joined Twitter,” Reiner said in a tweet.

“I wanted to speak out against a man who I knew to be a Pathologically Lying Misogynistic Racist who was an is an existential danger to our Democracy,” Reiner continued.

“The elimination of this scourge is upon US,” he said.

The anonymous writer did not fact-check Reiner's tweet, or was it explained why the tweet was so important that it deserved its own "news" story -- aside, of course, from yet another opportunity for CNS to try to lazily dunk him by throwing around the word "Meathead." And, yes, the article was illustrated with a nearly 50-year-old photo of him and Carroll O'Connor from "All in the Family."

Maybe this insistence on presenting lazy partisan attacks as "news" was one reason the Media Research Center pulled the plug on CNS.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:41 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, June 6, 2023 5:47 PM EDT
Sunday, June 4, 2023
CNS Catholic Priest Turned Right-Wing Pundit Continued Pushing Political Talking Points

Jerry Pokorsky, like Michael Orsi, is a Catholic priest who'd really rather be a right-wing pundit. gave him a platform to feed those ambitions, and it continued doing so until its shutdown in April. Pokorsky spent his Dec. 30 column spouting talking points and cosnpiracy theories to laughably claim that right-wingers have been silenced:

Government and media elites throttled reasoned dissent based on evidence during the pandemic. We were not allowed to question these assertions: Bats transmitted the COVID virus. The US never funded the gain of function research in the Wuhan lab. The COVID virus never escaped from the Wuhan lab. Lockdowns were necessary and should remain in the government arsenal. Masks and rigorous social distancing prevent the spread of COVID. COVID vaccines are safe for everyone and prevent the spread of COVID. Vaccination is a moral obligation.

Conventional wisdom deemed unassailable by corporate media, politicians, and government agencies include:
  • Obamacare: If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.
  • Lois Lerner’s IRS did not target tea party conservatives.
  • Medical facilities do not traffic in aborted baby parts and do not use them to develop pharmaceuticals.
  • Trump colluded with the Russians to get elected in 2016.
  • BLM riots were largely peaceful.
  • The Hunter Biden laptop was likely Russian disinformation.
  • There is no significant voter fraud in US elections.


  • Homophobes and Catholic teaching threaten the mental health of the LGBTQ community.
  • With surgery or hormone treatment, a person can change his or her sex.
  • Monkeypox (like AIDS) threatens the entire population.
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion are inviolable moral precepts that transcend and replace the Ten Commandments.

Taken individually and in isolation, these assertions may represent aberrations from the cultural norm. Taken together and in historical context, we have sufficient evidence to conclude that immoral authoritarianism threatens the culture. The verdict is in. The facts are good enough for conclusions that require our testimony and action. Most of our elites – government, corporate, the media, and even some in the Church -- are liars. They depend upon our silence to accomplish their evil purposes.

He then falsely claiming that right-wingers have been silent about all of this:

Every cultural crime scene needs careful analysis to compile sufficient and persuasive evidence for the pathology report. Speak honestly and freely. We’ve been silent too long. “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” (Romans 13:12)

A resolution for a happy new year!

In his March 16 column, Pokorsky accused LGBT people of being involved in "blood worship" and maliciously described President Biden as supporting the "butchering of young people":

It is perplexing to realize that most of our population fails to distinguish between a surgeon and a butcher. It is breathtaking to realize that many parents and school systems around the United States have become butchers.

The mutilation of children in blood worship of the LGBTQ ideology has become common practice. At long last, emerging as a political point of contention, such liturgical butchery is now a standard part of many government school programs.

It is even more shocking to read that the president of the United States – a self-professed Catholic -- has elevated the butchering of young people as a moral imperative:


Liberals have supported the butchery of abortion for over 50 years. If butchering unborn babies is a yawner, it is even more acceptable to butcher the genitals of children after birth. 

These non-butchers behaving like butchers give the profession a bad name. Perhaps the butcher industry association (there probably is one) should protest. 

President Biden besmirches the reputation of honest butchers -- and Catholics. And his mother.

For his final column before CNS' shutdown, on April 6, Pokorsky bizarrely tried to argue that not discriminating against people is a "heresy" against the Catholic Church:

The “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) heresy undergirds the LGBTQ agenda and the promotion of female ordination. The diversity component stresses our differences more than unity (family, tribal, national, or religious). The equity component is unachievable because there will always be differences in physical and intellectual abilities and opportunities. The inclusion component is unintelligible. Why does it exclude pro-life Christians, for example?

The DEI heresy views man as a “ghost in a machine” with interchangeable parts. The various forms of sexual debauchery derive from the heresy. Church teaching is realistic: Man is an embodied spirit. Our masculine and feminine attributes express who we are.

Within the context of sound doctrine (based on Scriptures, Sacred Tradition, and Magisterium), theologians are free to speculate under the watchful eye of the Church. The study of theology – like Mary’s pondering of the Angel Gabriel’s greeting – deepens our understanding of God’s revelation.

Let’s consider a rebuttal of the DEI ideology based on the Catholic theology of "sacramental sexuality."

But Pokorsky raged against his imaginary version of DEI by emphasizing "the nuptial dignity of male and female as God created us -- which has nothing to do with what actual DEI is.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:47 AM EDT
Friday, June 2, 2023
NEW ARTICLE -- Out There, Exhibit 85: CNS Obsessed Over Biden's Words Too
Topic:'s excessive concern with specific words President Obama did or didn't say spread to President Biden -- and it never stopped nitpicking what Obama said. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:50 AM EDT
Thursday, June 1, 2023
CNS Obsessed Over NYC Murders To Attack Prosecutor For Indicting Trump

We've documented how expressed concerned about crime in Chicago -- though only sporadically, when it advanced right-wing narratives to do so. In its final days before being shut down, CNS started to do the same thing about crime in New York City, presumably driven by another right-wing narrative, a desire to smear Manhattan-based district attorney Alvin Bragg for indicting Donald Trump. We've already noted how CNS was quick to frame Bragg as "soft on crime," but the sudden interest in New York crime continued after that.Editor Terry Jeffrey wrote in an April 13 article:

There were 100 people murdered in New York City in the first 99 days of 2023, according to data published by the New York Police Department.

The NYPD’s latest “CompStat” report, which was for the week that ran from April 3 through April 9, indicates that there were 7 murders in New York City that week. It also indicates that there were 30 murders in the last 28 days and 100 from the beginning of 2023 through April 9. (April 9 was the 99th day of the year.)

The 100 murders committed in New York City through April 9 of this year is down from the 111 that were committed in the city through April 9 of last year, according to the CompStat report.

In addition to the 100 murders committed in New York City through April 9 of this year, the NYPD reports that in that same period there were 408 crime complaints for alleged rapes, 4,102 for alleged robberies, and 6,742 for alleged felony assaults.

Yes, Jeffrey managed to work in a reference to 100 murders in each of the first four paragraphs of the article. Also note that Jeffrey hyped overal numbers instead of the murder rate -- he did that because New York City's murder rate is actually the second-lowest among the nine U.S. cities with a population of more than 1 million.

Jeffrey hyped raw numbers agan in an article published on April 20, the final day of CNS' operation:

Ten people were murdered in New York City last week, according to a report released by the New York Police Department.

In the seven days from Monday, April 10, through Sunday, April 16, ten people were murdered in the city, according to the NYPD’s weekly CompStat report. That works out to an average of one murder every 16.8 hours.

In addition to the ten people who were murdered in New York City last week, there were also 18 rapes, 317 robberies and 566 felony assaults.

In the first 106 days of 2023 (January 1 through April 16), 113 people have been murdered in New York City, according to the NYPD report.

During those 106 days there were also 429 rapes, 4,417 robberies and 7,338 felony assaults.

Those 7,338 felony assault in the first 106 days of this year work out to about 69 per day—or one every 21 minutes.

Jeffrey did add -- reluctantly, one must presume -- that "On March 20, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office put out a statement saying that “ New York remains one of the safest big cities in the U.S." But he refused to prove the numbers that prove it.

It's clear that if CNS had not been shut down, Jeffrey would be churning out weekly updates on murders in New York -- and censoring the fact that New York is a safe city.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:45 PM EDT
Wednesday, May 31, 2023
NEW ARTICLE -- CNS' War Against Nancy Pelosi: To The End, And Beyond
Topic: continued to attack Nancy Pelosi even after she stepped down from House leadership -- and kept it up until CNS was shut down. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:04 AM EDT
Sunday, May 28, 2023
CNS Hid That Columnist Was Arrested On Charges Of Incest, Sexual Misconduct

In the four months before its shutdown, published 33 columns by Michael Letts, whose bio describes him as "CEO and founder of In-VestUSA, a national grassroots non-profit organization helping hundreds of communities provide thousands of bulletproof vests for their police forces through educational, public relations, sponsorship, and fundraising programs." (It also published three additional columns before that.) Letts invoked the usual right-wing talking points -- attacking President Biden, praising police, gushing over Elon Musk and defending guns chief among them. But he also ventured into conspiracy theory territory, as in this March 14 column:

Tucker Carlson played some of the video footage viewed by the House of Representatives’ January 6 Committee. Not surprisingly, it showed the opposite of what the Democrats have been saying about the events of January 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. 

It was not a Republican insurrection hell-bent on overthrowing the government. It was closer to a maze created by Democrats to create an impression of insurrection probably so they could stop the certification of the 2020 election results.

Carlson aired video of the riot recently that turned the narrative about the what happened that day on its head.

While it did show some violence and chaos, it also presented Capitol Police opening doors and ushering people into the U.S. Capitol. It displayed citizens wandering peacefully through the halls and taking pictures.

It showed the police escorting the QAnon shaman, a protestor who wore what looked like a buffalo headdress, through the halls and even trying doors to find a way to let him into the Senate chambers.    

Another video disclosed a police officer who was supposedly killed after being battered by a fire extinguisher walking around fine with no signs of distress after he was supposed to have been killed.

As we've documented, the footage Carlson aired was also cherry-picked and misleadingly edited -- prosecutors pointed out that the footage of Jacob Chansley, the "QAnon Shaman," ignored that that he spent the previous half-hour resisiting arrest, and the head of the Capitol Police said that if the officer in question, Brian Sicknick, had "not fought valiantly for hours on the day he was violently assaulted, Officer Sicknick would not have died the next day."

Still, Letts concluded by ranting that "These are private citizens who government officials maliciously slandered. Congress itself should also take action against those members of the committee for withholding evidence in an investigation. The real criminals here are not the people, but the Democrats in government."

In the final column CNS published by him before its shutdown, on April 12, Letts bizarrely asserted that "Today, in the wake of the Nashville shooting in a Christian school that left six people dead, Democrats and many mainstream media outlets are blaming nine-year-old children for the shooting. Why? Because their Christian faith doesn’t support the gender ideology agenda, and the murderer was transgender."

But here's what CNS has censored about Letts: He was arrested three years ago on charges of incest and sexual conduct with a minor. As the Associated Press reported:

Michael Allan Letts sexually abused a relative from the time she was 10 until she turned 17, Richland County deputies said.

Letts was arrested Wednesday at the completion of the investigation which began when the victim came to authorities in January, deputies said in a statement.

Letts, 56, was charged with incest; second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor between 11 and 14 years of age; second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor under 16; and third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

The AP added that "Letts is founder and CEO of In-Vest USA, which raises money for bulletproof vests for police forces that can’t afford them," which makes it clear that this is the same person as the CNS columnist.

A search of court records in Richland County, S.C., shows that the charges against Letts remain pending; he was freed on a $100,000 surety bond, and has since obtained a consent order from the court to allow him to travel. Additionally, there was a charge of shoplifting filed against Letts in 2022; that case remains pending as well, and he was released on a $2,125 personal recogizance bond. We found no statement at either Letts' personal website or the In-Vest website regarding his arrest, and a Google search indicates he has made no public statement about it.

Letts' column-writing seems to be an effort to bury news of his arrest with his own work. Another work in that effort appears to be a softball September 2021 interview with a writer who posts at Medium who did little than feed Letts generic questions about leadership and copy-and-paste Letts' bio from the In-Vest website (which claims that he had been given "the title His Excellency Count, Sir Michael A. von Letts, Chevalier, Knight of Honour of the Imperial Teutonic Order, by the Republic of Germany") while failing to mention his arrest.

CNS is not the only ConWeb site that has published Letts' columns; Newsmax and WorldNetDaily have as well. But neither have published as many in such a short period of time as CNS did.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:59 AM EDT
Thursday, May 25, 2023
Priest-Turned-Right-Wing Activist's Final CNS Column Was Weirdly Appropriate

Rev. Michael Orsi -- the Catholic priest who thinks he's a right-wing pundit -- continued to have a space to ply his trade at until it was shut down last month. He served up a laundry list of right-wing talking points in his March 14 column:

There are many signs of malaise in our country at present. For instance, in the post-COVID period, some 2 million people still haven’t returned to active employment. Many have chosen to drift along on what remains of the compensation provided during the pandemic lockdowns and business closings.

Others get by on “gig jobs,” temporary assignments, or parttime, short-term projects, interspersed with government assistance.

Another sign of malaise is the large number of young men in the Generation Z-to Millennial age range who have decided not to pursue marriage. Many (according to some surveys, as high as 60 percent) have even given up dating, choosing instead to spend their time in online gaming and viewing Internet pornography.

Young women, for their part, admit to being lonely, depressed, often angry. A corresponding 60 percent of them are given to contemplating suicide. Their lives too are spent mainly in the online world, where they’re subjected to messages and images that create doubt about their self-worth and make them feel they just don’t (and can never) measure up to unrealistic standards of female perfection.

This leaves them vulnerable to creeps who prowl the Internet in search of confused girls to exploit, often financially, sometimes physically.

These are signs of a society devoid of ambition and teetering on the brink of hopelessness.

Add to all that a pervasive and growing distrust of government and the leadership class, a sense that the stabilizing elements of our society are somehow slipping away, that we’re being manipulated, and important facts about political, economic, and social conditions are withheld from us.

The banking crisis that’s unfolded in the last few days is a good illustration. Surely, this hasn’t come out of nowhere. Why is it such a surprise? Where were the knowledgeable analysts who should have been raising red flags? How were the banks allowed to go so far into dangerous financial territory?

Another example is the lack of clarity about Ukraine. We can’t get a clear picture of what’s happening. We know that thousands of Ukrainians are being killed, along with thousands of Russians. But what progress has our huge investment in arms and support gained? Is this war winnable? Is it just?

Such uncertainties add to our malaise.

Orsi served up CNS-approved transphobia in his March 22 column:

We face an even greater danger when our focus becomes so narrow that we not only downplay negative factors but actually deny what’s real. This becomes a kind of blindness — a distinctly spiritual blindness — one that’s rampant in society today.

That blindness drew attention during the recent International Women’s Day, when First Lady Jill Biden bestowed the State Department’s annual International Women of Courage Awards. According to State’s website, “a group of twelve extraordinary women from around the world” were honored for their work in building “a brighter future for all.”

In particular, award recipient Alba Rueda was described as someone who had shown bravery while being “kicked out of classrooms, barred from sitting for exams, refused job opportunities, subjected to violence, and rejected by her family” for efforts to “end violence and discrimination against the LGBTQ-plus community in Argentina.”

The award raised eyebrows because Alba Rueda is a “transgender woman.” Which is to say: a man.


Defying all reality — not to mention Genesis 1:27 (“male and female He created them”) — a person who was born male, but who believes he’s a woman, received an award intended for females who demonstrate womanly courage. And the citation was validated by no less than the wife of the President.

Surely such a denial of God’s creation is spiritual blindness.

Orsi threw in a reference to "transgender ideology" for good measure -- as if being transgender is like being a Catholic.

Orsi's final CNS column on April 19 -- the day before CNS was abruptly shut down --  was perhaps an unintentional bit of foreshadowing, focusing as it did on how a deceased body should be treated: "It should be buried in a grave that has been properly prepared and protected from disturbance (a practice known technically as inhumation). Or else it should be cremated, the ashes then interred in a permanent enclosure, often referred to as a columbarium." Ironically, the Media Research Center's treatment of CNS -- shutting it down abruptly, apparently firing nearly everyone who was involved in it and not even announcing why it was shut down, even though it was about to mark its 25th anniversary and the fired employees had worked for CNS through much of that time -- shows it inexplicably wants the website to be buried deep in an unmarked grave.

Orsi, presumably, would not approve.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:29 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, May 25, 2023 12:27 PM EDT
Tuesday, May 23, 2023
CNS Pushed Anti-Transgender Narratives In Its Final Weeks

In its final weeks, dutifully spread right-wing anti-transgender grievances and talking points. Craig Bannister huffed in a March 3 article:

Hershey’s is airing an advertisement featuring a biological male who identifies as a woman, in celebration of International Women’s Day.

Fae Johnstone, a “2SLGBTQIA+” transgender “woman” is featured in the ad airing nationwide in Canada. “Limited-edition Hershey's SHE bars will be available nationwide in four unique wrappers in both a 1.55-ounce standard bar and a 4.4-ounce XL bar, while supplies last,”Pennsylvania’s Fox 43 reports.

"My name is Fae Johnstone, I’m the executive director of ‘Wisdom to Action.’ We can create a world where everyone is able to live in public space as their honest and authentic selves," Johnstone declares in the ad.

A few days later, Bannister touted a stunt from right-wingers triggered by the Hershey promotion:

“Thanks to Jeremy’s Chocolate, you can stop eating chocolate that hates you,” Daily Wire co-CEO Jeremy Boreing says, touting the success of his new non-woke candy bars, responding to an advertisement by Hershey celebrating International Women’s Day – featuring a biological male.

“As long as corporations and institutions across America continue to alienate half the country, The Daily Wire will continue building alternatives. Stop giving your money to woke chocolate companies that hate you,” Boreing said.

In the first 36 hours on the market, Boreing reportedly sold three hundred thousand of his “chocolate binary” bars. A four-pack of the 1.5 once bars goes for $27.96, but is currently on sale for $24.99, or about $6.25 per par.

Bannister spent a March 9 article whining that a transgender woman received a "women of courage" award at the White House:

First Lady Jill Biden presented a “women of courage” award to a biological male on Wednesday, during a White House ceremony celebrating International Women’s Day.

Alba Rueda, a biological male who identifies as a woman, was among the recipients of the “International Women of Courage” award, at the annual event hosted by the First Lady and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Rueda, who serves as Argentina’s Special Envoy for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, was one of 11 “extraordinary women” honored with the award.

In an apparent follow-up, Bannister used a March 24 article to repeat a right-wing rant about transgender women receiving awards:

“Nothing says ‘we respect women’ like elbowing them out of their own awards to laud a man who makes a mockery of womanhood,” Elle Purnell, assistant editor for The Federalist, says.

In her article, published Friday, Purnell chronicles the stories of nine biological men who have usurped “Woman of the Year” honors from biological females.

USA Today is the most recent organization to bestow a biological male with an award for women, Purnell notes at the beginning of her piece:

An April 10 article by Bannister touted a right-wing darling bashing transgender people: "The American Left ran out of human rights and civil rights to fight for, so they created the transgender movement, presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy says." Bannister also joined his fellow Media Research Center employees and other right-wingers in being triggered that a transgender woman was allowed to drink beer in another April 10 article:

Bud Light has been staying off social media, ever since a backlash began on April 1, when biological male and transgender “influencer” Dylan Mulvaney revealed a gift from Bud Light: a picture of his face on a can of the product.

The controversy and social media backlash began after Bud Light began celebrating the one-year anniversary of the man identifying as a woman, by creating the Bud Light trans-cans and a video of Mulvaney in a bathtub.


The transgender promotion prompted calls for a boycott of the beer, and even some celebrities protested the Bud Light trans-cans:

Conservative rock singer Kid Rock used several Bud Light cases for target practice in a viral video.

“I will be deleting all Anheuser-Busch products from my tour hospitality rider. I know many other artists who are doing the same,” Multi-Platinum Grammy-Winning Country singer Travis Tritt announced on Twitter.

An April 14 article by Bannister featured the maker of Bud Light trying to appease haters like him:

On Friday, Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth issued a vague statement, two days after it was reported that the beer company had lost more than $5 billion since a stunt that revealed its branding partnership with transgender “influencer” Dylan Mulvaney.

“We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people. We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer,” Whitworth says in the statement, which does not specifically cite the controversy, which erupted two weeks earlier on April 1, and does not name Mulvaney.

The statement expresses support for “military, first responders, sports fans and hard-working Americans everywhere” and “the values upon which America was founded.”

CNS was shut down six days later.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:08 AM EDT
Monday, May 22, 2023
NEW ARTICLE: Still More Catholic Than The Pope
The uber-Catholics who ran continued to lash out at anyone -- even Pope Francis -- it deemed not to be right-wing enough or who failed to sufficiently hate LGBT people. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:41 AM EDT
Sunday, May 21, 2023
CNS Continued Its Musk-Fluffing Until The End
Topic: did a lot of Musk-fuffing as he pursued Twitter, and that continued right up until CNS' demise last month. Craig Bannister unironically wrote in a March 7 article:

“If an organization portrays itself as balanced, but is not, it should be labeled to inform the public,” Twitter Owner Elon Musk said Monday, when asked about reports that CNN staff had previously been ordered not to investigate the origins of COVID-19.

Of course, such a label would have applied to CNS as well,  given how its mission statement (falsely) claimed to "fairly present all legitimate sides of a story." Bannister also hyped Musk trolling a congressman in a March 9 article:

When Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted a condemnation of Fox News airing January 6, 2021 video from the U.S. Capitol, Twitter Owner Elon Musk replied to Schumer by retweeting a viral video clip of the footage - to ask the New York Democrat if he wanted it deleted.

“Do you want us to remove this video?” Musk replied to Schumer Wednesday, including a video clip tweeted by @StevenVoiceover, in which the narrator pretends to be a tour guide for the “insurrection” inside the Capitol.

The selected scenes included in the video clip are those of seemingly peaceful trespassers, not violent insurrectionists trying to overthrow the government.

As we've noted, such cherry-picked video ignores the reality of what happened that day. The next day, Bannister touted a Republican congressman sucking up to Musk:

“God bless Elon Musk,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said, when asked if he had a message for the billionaire who, after his purchase of Twitter, allowed two demonstrably liberal journalists to publish “The Twitter” files, exposing the censorship of conservatives that took place under the social media platform’s previous ownership.

On Friday, Jordan tweeted a video clip from his appearance of “The Benny Show,” in which Host Benny Johnson asked the congressman what he had to say to Elon Musk:

“You’ve now held multiple hearings about Twitter. What is your message to Elon?” Johnson asked.

“God bless him. God bless Elon Musk for standing up for the First Amendment – and recognizing how important that is to the greatest country ever, protecting those freedoms,” Rep. Jordan replied.

“I think, what a service he has done for the country,” Jordan added.

CNS' coverage of the February hearing was highly biased and incomplete (more evidence for that label Musk wants). Bannister attempted to do more of that regarding the March hearing:

This week, Rep. Jordan took part in a House subcommittee investigation of the “weaponization of the federal government,” with regards to Twitter. During the hearing, Democrats attacked, and tried to discredit, the two publishers of The Twitter Files: progressive journalist Matt Taibbi and former California Democratic gubernatorial candidate Michael Shellenberger.

One Democrat, Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands), accused Taibbi and Shellenberger of being right-wing shills for conservatives. Democrats also bucked the First Amendment by trying to pressure the two witnesses to reveal their sources – which Rep. Jordan later condemneW. d in a Fox News interview:

Given that Musk was obviously their source, it was absurd for them to claim any sort of privilege by not acknowledging that. Also note that Bannister offered misleading descriptions of Taibbi and Shellenberger -- "progressive journalist," "former California Democratic gubernatorial candidate" -- to suggest there's some kind of balance when, in fact, both writers have indisputably moved to the right and are simply Musk's servile stenographers.

CNS continued its own brand of Musk PR:

CNS also echoed its Media Research Center parent in cheering Musk's trolling of NPR by arbitrarily labeling its Twitter feed as "state-affiliated media." Managing editor Michael W. Chapman cheered the decision in an April 5 article, purporting to add context:

Examples of other "state-affiliated media" on Twitter include Sputnik (Russia state-affiliated media), RT, People's Daily (China state-affiliated media), and Periodico Granma (Medios afiliados al gobierno, Cuba).

Chapman cannot plausibly argue that NPR is anything like those fully state-controlled outlets, and, indeed, he made no effort to -- he was doing Musk PR, after all. Instead, he quoted other right-wingers, including a couple of his fellow MRC employees (not that he disclosed that conflict of interest, of course) cheering Musk's trolling.

When Musk trolled another media outlet, Patrick Goodenough cheerfully wrote about it in an April 18 article:

A widening controversy over Twitter’s decision to label media outlets that receive government funding took a new twist Monday night when the platform changed its label for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to “69% Government-funded Media.”

Twitter had previously labeled CBC “70% Government-funded Media,” which in turn was a change from the original “Government-funded Media” label that had drawn sharp complaints from the broadcaster.

Drawing attention to the most recent label change, Twitter owner Elon Musk tweeted, “Canadian Broadcasting Corp said they’re ‘less than 70% government-funded’, so we corrected the label.”

The same day, CNS published a column by right-wing writer Joe Schaeffer insisting that the $100 million the federal goernment provides toward public broadcasting equals "100 million reasons why NPR is journalistically compromised in its reporting on the ruling establishment in Washington."

Two days later, the MRC abruptly shut down CNS, for which it has yet to offer an explanation, let alone publicly acknowledge.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:23 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, May 26, 2023 5:57 PM EDT

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