ConWebBlog: The Weblog of ConWebWatch

your New Media watchdog

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

Tuesday, September 12, 2023
MRC Still Dabbling In Ray Epps Conspiracy Theories
Topic: Media Research Center

It's indicative of the Media Research Center's slow creep toward the far right that it's entertaining Ray Epps conpsiracy theories. It started dabbling in them earlier this year, and it's continuing to do so. A July 15 post by Alex Christy ciomplained that MSNBC host Ali Velshi called out the conspiracy theory:

Speaking to Nika Jankowicz, formerly of DHS’s infamous Disinformation Governance Board, Velshi recounted, “I just did that intro to the segment, right? So that my audience would understand this conspiracy theory that I guarantee you, pretty much nobody in my audience knew that story because why would they?”

Velshi was referring to Ray Epps, who recently sued Fox News for claims that he was an FBI agent who encouraged the rob to storm The Capitol on January 6. Velshi claimed he is not like that.

A July 16 post by Tim Graham lashed out at NPR media reporter David Folkenflik for reporting that Epps is suing Fox News for spreading conspiracy theories about him -- while trying to keep those conspiracy theories alive:

While NPR couldn’t find time on its programs for a full story on the failed Secret Service investigation of cocaine found at the White House, it ran two Folkenflik stories promoting January 6 protester Ray Epps suing Fox News for defamation. NPR adores lawsuits against Fox News, both for the financial burden and the negative publicity. 

Folkenflik’s reports on the Epps suit strenuously avoided any conservative rebuttal, which would include mentioning two obvious points that have put Epps at the center of January 6 speculation.

First, Epps was caught on video standing in a crowd of Trump supporters on January 5 and January 6, 2021, urging the people around him to “go into the Capitol.” Second, the FBI originally put Ray Epps’s face on its Capitol riot “Most Wanted List” on January 8, 2021. They offered a cash reward for information leading to his arrest. But he was never arrested or prosecuted. Why?

The leftist media didn't look for an answer. Epps was a nobody to them, left out of all the Pelosi-Picked Panel narratives, until....suddenly, after the Democrats lost the majority, Epps starred in a sympathetic 60 Minutes story. Only those right-wingers were investigating the Epps mystery, until Epps became a sympathetic figure, that Fox News ruined his life.

Graham didn't explain why his fellow right-wingers chose to be so fixated on Epps that the made up conspiracy theories they could not prove.Instead, he whined that Folkenflik pointed out that ex-Fox News host (and MRC darling) Tucker Carlson spread lies about Epps and that "There's no proof anything Carlson says there is true other than that Epps was present," huffing in response: "That's simply false. Epps wasn't just 'present'! He was constantly urging people to enter the Capitol." Graham continued to whine about Folkenflik reporting on this story:

Folkenflik is at best trying to merge the two claims: there's no hard evidence that Epps worked for the FBI, but there's obviously hard evidence of him pushing Trump fans to resist the certification inside the Capitol. Why didn't he and NPR play audio of that? 

[...]

We should point out the Epps lawsuit didn't sue Tucker, but Tucker is at the center of their complaint against Fox.

You don't have to buy the theory that there was a "Fedsurrection," that the riots were a federal plot, to accurately describe what Epps did and what Fox reported about it. NPR doesn't value accuracy. It values damaging Fox News, and pleasing its leftist base of support.

Ah, but Graham is sure doing his best to keep the "fedsurrection" plausible, isn't he?

Graham is once again angry that Folkenflik is reporting on Fox News, though he has never criticized Fox News' media reporters for repeatedly covering non-right-wing media like CNN or accused it of catering to its right-wing base of support in doing so. It appears to be a kneejerk defense mechanism on Graham's part to run to the defense of Fox News no matter what it does; remember, he dismissed the channel's record of lies about Dominion that ultimately resulted in Fox News paying $787 million to the company in a defamation lawsuit. But in doing so, Graham clearly doesn't care if he looks like a conspiracy nutter in the process.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:09 PM EDT
Newsmax's Reporting On GOP Debate Boosted Trump, Tweaked Fox News
Topic: Newsmax

The Trump-fluffers at Newsmax were putting a pro-Trump slant on the first debate of Republican presidential candidates months before it happened. In June, Newsmax was touting how Trump was thinking about skipping the debate; that was followed by a July 12 column by Trump toady Dick Morris dismissing the debate as a "kangaroo court" and insisting that "Our nation's 45th president should refuse to participate in any debate moderated by the likes of Baier and Martha MacCallum. He should, instead, propose that Tucker Carlson be the moderator." Morris added: "Better yet, Mr. Trump should walk next door to Newsmax and ask them to sponsor a one-on-one interview between Tucker and Trump, at the exact same time as the likely rigged debate the RINOs are hosting." Trump did a little of his usual logrolling in a July 20 Newsmax TV appearance, declaring that "Newsmax should get a debate."

On Aug. 9, Newsmax wrote how Trump was still teasing whether or not he would take part,  as well as another article about him whining about a planned Republican loyalty pledge that presidential candidates endorse the eventual nominee. And even though Trump ultimately chose not to participate, Newsmax still made him the center of its debate coverage: An Aug. 21 article by Mark Swanson complained that "Fox News will not allow surrogates of former President Donald Trump into the spin room of Wednesday's GOP presidential debate, a highly unusual move that could be construed as retaliatory over Trump's decision to skip it." That was followed by Megyn Kelly gushing on Newsmax TV the next day that Trump is a "ratings machine" for whatever he does instead of thte debate, and her former employer, debate host Fox News, deserves the "middle finger" Trump is giving it.

After it was made clear that an interview Trump did with fired Fox News host Tucker Carlson would be his counterprogramming against the debate, Newsmax plugged that too. Brian Freeman was in hype mode in an Aug. 23 article:

Former President Donald Trump declared on his Truth Social site Wednesday that "my interview with Tucker Carlson will be aired tonight at 9 p.m. Sparks will fly. Enjoy."

This is the exact same time that the first Republican primary debate for the presidential nomination will begin in Milwaukee. The debate will be televised nationally on Fox News, and will include eight other candidates.

Trump announced earlier this week that he would not be participating in the debate, citing his commanding lead in the GOP field — he's about 40 points ahead in national polls — and instead would be taking part in the interview, The Hill reported.

The pre-recorded interview will be broadcast on X, formerly known as Twitter.

That was followed by an Aug. 23 column by Paul Quenoy proclaiming Trump's refusal to take part in the debate "a brilliant move by the most astute strategist in American politics since Ronald Reagan," adding; "All Trump needs do on Wednesday is sit back and look down on the arena as the other candidates tear each other apart while revealing their strengths and weaknesses to a leader who will soon almost certainly be unchallenged. Sun Tzu could not have strategized it better."

Newsmax didn't do too much coverage of the debate itself; it was more interested in bashing candidate Vivek Ramaswamy after he exposed the pay-for-play coverage scheme Newsmax wanted to impose on his campaign. It did, however, devote three articles to Trump's interview with Carlson:

Trump was also given space to brag that his interview with Carlson had "over 100 million views in less than four hours" -- but it didn'ttell readers that Twitter's view metric is so unreliable as to be meaningless. An article by Eric Mack insisted that "Fox News' first Republican primary debate got a terrible response from American television viewers, with the broadcast losing about half the audience Fox’s kickoff debate had during the 2016 election." In reality, though, the debate drew much higher ratings than expected for an event lacking Trump -- and those ratings dwarfed the number who actually watched the entirety of the Carlson-Trump interview. Still, yet another article by Swanson let Trump go on a tirade of "trolling the network over its "anemic debate ratings" while Trump's interview with Tucker Carlson — which aired the same night — surpassed 250 million views," without fear of being fact-checked by Newsmax.

Newsmax kept other coverage of the debate Trump-centric even though he wasn't there. One article noted that the candidates at the debate discussed Trump, while a column by John Gizzi declared that "More than a few political prognosticators who do not have a favorite Republican candidate told Newsmax on Wednesday night that the true winner of the first GOP presidential debate was actually the contender who sat it out." Both Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, were given space to whine that they were blocked from the post-debate spin room.

We've noted how Perry Johnson -- a fringe candidate who, unlike Ramaswamy, is buying lots of airtime on Newsmax -- was given lots of space to complain that he wasn't invited to take part in the debate. Another low-polling fringe candidate who similarly failed to qualify, Larry Elder, also got space to complain as well:

Newsmax had more opinions to share about the debate (and Trump) as well. More soon.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:51 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 12, 2023 4:17 PM EDT
Monday, September 11, 2023
MRC's DeSantis Defense Brigade Watch, Homophobic Video Defense Edition
Topic: Media Research Center

The DeSantis Defense Brigade at the Media Research Center continues to hate it when people call out what a terrible and nasty candidate and overall person Ron DeSantis is:

When a pro-DeSantis PAC released a wildly anti-LGBT ad specificially designed to show how much DeSantis hates transgender people and how Trump allegedly doesn't hate them enough, the Defense League snapped into action. Brad Wilmouth touted its clickbait potential in a July 7 post:

When it comes to the Republican half of the presidential race, CNN is going to hate all the candidates. On Monday's CNN This Morning, the anchors were outraged at a eye-grabbing ad shared by the DeSantis War Room twitter account. It asserted Donald Trump was pro-LGBTQ and then showed scare headlines of how DeSantis outraged the gay groups. It seemed designed to outrage leftists for more clicks. 

Co-host Phil Mattingly set up the discussion: "We saw this Ron DeSantis superPAC put out an ad attacking former President Trump for his support for LGBTQ rights -- I think we've got some of that. I want to play at least a little bit of it."

After playing a clip of the ad which highlighted headlines touting some of Governor DeSantis's actions in Florida regarding gay-related issues, Mattingly threw shade at the ad's designer:

[...]

CNN only picked liberals to respond to this. Former Congressman Max Rose (D-N.Y.) unleashed the typical "hate-filled" and "xenophobic" adjectives, and said there's no way this would work.

Wilmouth seemed quite excited about this ad being "designed to outrage leftists for more clicks."

Tim Graham loved the ad too, and he compalined that others didn't in a July 8 post:

PBS host Laura Barron-Lopez played a snippet of a pro-DeSantis ad touting how he's horrified the liberals as "extreme" on LGBTQ issues (as if they aren't radicals). Republicans will lose the general election, the journalists agreed.

Susan Page of USA Today started it off: “It's one of the things that DeSantis has done, like signing a six-week ban on abortion. That may help him in Republican primaries, although so far, it`s not helping him much. It will haunt him if he gets into the general election as the Republican nominee, because that attitude toward LGBTQ rights is quite at odds with where American public opinion is today.”

At least Talev underlined the ad didn’t come from the DeSantis campaign, but a DeSantis superPAC shared it, and “if the purpose of this was to show that Donald Trump is to the left and that he has embraced gay rights, that's where the ad would have stopped. The purpose of the ad is to begin there and then to define Ron DeSantis as the sort of champion of anti-gay, anti-trans positions. And so it begins as being about Donald Trump, but in the end, it`s not really about Donald Trump. It's much more about positioning Ron DeSantis.”

[...]

Barron-Lopez concluded: “That video is definitely, as you said, Margaret, very anti-LGBTQ, anti-transgender, and not necessarily something that will help Ron DeSantis or former President Trump on the campaign trail in the general electorate, if they make to the general electorate.”

Democrats can support "gender-affirming care" for children and Drag Queen Story Hour in public schools and they're never outside the mainstream. The journalists on PBS are unanimous.

Graham didn't explain what is so "mainstream" about vicxious hatred of transgender people. And neither Graham nor Wilmouth mention that even a conservative LGBT group found the ad offensive, and they failed to follow up on the subterfuge around the ad; this and other videos -- including one featuring a Nazi-style sonnenrad -- were created by the PAC, then laundered through anonymous Twitter accounts for distribution.

It wasn't all defense, though; Luis Cornelio cranked out what was effectively a DeSantis campaign press release in a July 10 post:

A leading 2024 presidential candidate promised to abolish the Big Tech-Government censorship collusion regime if elected.

In a Sunday interview on the Fox News Channel’s Sunday Morning Futures, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) pledged to crack down on the anti-free speech cabal perpetrated by the Biden administration’s collusion apparatus with social media platforms.

“We will end the weaponization of government,” a fired-up DeSantis told Fox News anchor Maria Bartiromo, referring to the left’s blunt use of government to promote its political agenda and censor people that disagree with them. Censorship, DeSantis argued, will stop under his watch.

“We're going to clean house at the Department of Justice,” DeSantis added, before highlighting the Hunter Biden laptop scandal. “I look back at, like, the Hunter Biden censorship which was a huge, huge deal to happen in the 2020 election. And yet, those were Donald Trump's own agencies that were colluding with Big Tech. I would never allow that to happen. I would fire those people immediately.”

Cornelio didn't disclose how much the DeSantis campaign paid him to write this bit of rah-rah fluff.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:52 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, September 11, 2023 9:41 PM EDT
WND Still Trying To Whitewash Anti-LGBT Conversion Therapy
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh is trying yet again to rebrand anti-LGBT conversion therapy -- this time by repeating an right-wing anti-LGBT legal group's reframing of them as nothing but "conversations" -- in a July 27 article:

Michigan has adopted a law that gives government officials the authority to censor, and actually insert themselves, into conversations between counselors and their clients.

And it's unconstitutional, according to a statement from ADF, a legal team that has argued against the ideology that allows governments to ban counseling for individuals who have unwanted same-sex attractions.

Michigan joined nearly two dozen other states with similar censorship programs, but that doesn't make it legal, according to lawyer Greg Baylor of the ADF.

[...]

Social and legacy media outlets consistently have adopted the description of such counseling as "conversion therapy," when it actually does not do any "conversion" and is not intended as such.

Its goals are to deal with the issues that a client has, and if that is same-sex attractions that are unwanted, to include those.

The dispute has had mixed results in courts around the nation, and the Supreme Court has not yet ruled whether governments have such censorship authority.

[...]

Media outlets commonly call the practice "discredited," and noted that the Michigan ban is for minors, under the plan signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

It is the 22nd state with the same, or similar, censorship ideologies now embedded in their laws.

Those laws, incidentally, often are used to promote the concepts found in the LGBT community, and counselors are encouraged to promote those lifestyle choices.

Unruh didn't dispute that conversion therapy has been discredited -- as we've noted, conversion therapy is typically conducted by anti-LGBT activists who are not licensed practitioners and has included techniques such as shaming, hypnosis and induced vomiting, and those who are subjected to it (typically minors forced to undergo it by their parents) see higher rates of depression, substance abuse and suicide. Being a right-winger, Unruh made sure to maliciously insist without evidence that being LGBT is a "lifestyle choice." He concluded with more complaining:

The counseling bans have been complicated recently by those who are promoting transgenderism, mean exceptions now need to be carved out in the counseling bans to allow therapy for those who are male, who say they are women and want to "convert" to being female, for example.

He failed to mention that opposition to such bans are promoted by right-wing anti-LGBT groups, of which ADF is one. Neither Unruh nor the ADF explain why LGBT people must be forced to be heterosexual.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:35 PM EDT
MRC Rant: Teaching Soldiers About Race Is 'Forced ... Indoctrination'
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center really doesn't like to be told that racism is bad. Check out this July 16 rant by Kevin Tober:

During Sunday’s edition of MSNBC’s Inside with Jen Psaki, the former Biden White House Press Secretary turned full-time Democrat propagandist went on a delusional rant about how forced racial indoctrination trainings in the United States military aren’t an issue because they’re only an hour, all the while accusing Senators like Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) are the ones politicizing the military. In reality, they are the ones trying to force the military to focus on their mission instead of pushing woke racial and gender ideology. 

Psaki proclaimed it was a “right-wing conspiracy theory” that the U.S. Military is a “left-wing organization, indoctrinating troops with hundreds of hours of DEI training.”

Her gotcha moment rebutting conservative claims? She tried proving them wrong by admitting it was happening but only for an hour, which is an hour longer than it should be: “The right-wing punching bag, diversity and inclusion training, is just one hour, one hour of initial military training for infantry soldiers.” 

“It's during the same period of training time that they spend 160 hours on rifle marksmanship,” Psaki proclaimed. Rifle marksmanship is part of military training, not racial indoctrination in the form of “DEI” training. Psaki appears to think they are equally important.

She ended her monologue by ironically insisting it’s Republicans who are really trying to politicize the military. 

“Republicans like Tommy Tuberville love to claim politics and wokeness is affecting the readiness of our military. But right now, the only person politicizing the military seems to be him,” Psaki claimed. 

In what’s obvious to everyone but her, it’s not Republicans who are bringing politics into the military. The left has been pushing their agenda into every institution in America, but when conservatives fight to stop it and urge institutions like the military to focus on their mission, left-wing activists like Psaki cry that the GOP are playing politics with national security.

Someone should ask Psaki how we ever won two world wars without military DEI training or transgender activism in our armed forces. Let her explain that one to us next Sunday,

Well, those two world wars were fought before the military was desegregated in 1948. Apparently, Tober would like to go back to the days when black soldiers weren't allowed to fight alongside white soldiers. He also didn't say what, exactly, makes DEI training "indoctrination." Is it somehow a bad thing for soldiers to learn how to get along with their fellow soliders no matter what race they are (a lesson that applies in life as well)? Is racial tolerance really a matter of "politics" and not, you know, a universal life lesson?  Also: Who's the person playing politics with national security by blocking all military appointments because he's mad about a military policy? Tuberville, a Republican. Who's the person that's keeping the military from focusing on its mission by doing so? Tuberville, a Republican.

Toer also misled his readers by -- after admitting that Psaki said there are 160 hours of rifle marksmanship but only one hour of diversity training -- claiming that "Psaki appears to think they are equally important." She said no such thing, and Tober did not explain how one hour of diversity training somehow undermines 160 hours of rifle training.

Tober really does seem to have some race-related issues that he and his employer really shouldn't be trying to pass off as "media research."


Posted by Terry K. at 2:06 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, September 11, 2023 2:26 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: WND's Tucker Carlson Conspiracies
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily used Fox News' firing of Tucker Carlson to promote its own victimhood -- and it wants him to take his politics even further right. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:16 AM EDT
Sunday, September 10, 2023
MRC Helps Musk Spread COVID Conspiracy Theory, Argues It's Not 'Censorship' When He Does It
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center continues to be Elon Musk stans, so you will never hear bad news about him outside of its narrow worldview. Thus, the MRC has been silent about Musk signing a pledge that his company Tesla will abide by China's "core socialist values," which in no small part means never criticizing the Chinese government. That was something even Fox News called him out on -- but not the MRC, even though it loves to bash TikTok for being too close to the Chinese government, or CCP in MRC parlance. (You might recall that it was less than two years ago that the MRC actually criticized Musk for being too cozy with China -- but that was before he got interested in buying Twitter.) It will, however, be his servile stenographer for pretty much anything else. John Simmons cheered Musk spouting a COVID conspiracy theory in a July 26 post:

LeBron James’ son, Bronny, suffered cardiac arrest on Monday while working out at the University of Southern California (USC) and was rushed to the ICU. Thankfully, he's now out of the hospital and is in stable condition, but it's still unclear what the cause of this situation was.

However, many online users have suggested that because Bronny took the COVID-19 vaccine, he might have suffered the effects of it just now.

No one more prominent than "X" CEO Elon Musk subscribed to this theory, saying that while it can’t be proven beyond a reasonable doubt at this point whether the vaccine had anything to do with it, he believes it can’t be disproven, either.

[...]

Naturally, there was a strong contingent of Twitter users who also responded by saying that it's unlikely that Musk’s hypothesis is correct, since not everyone who gets the vaccine experiences significant heart failure after taking it. But in an age where “conspiracy theorists” are often proven correct despite media and progressive mob backlash, one has to wonder if the "X" CEO is on to something.

In fact, it was found that Bronny James had a congenital heart defect that was likely responsible for his cardiac arrest. Neither Musk nor Simmons have apologized for spreading misinformation, nor have they corrected the record.

Nicholas Schau eagerly typed up another piece of right-wing red meat from Musk in an Aug. 8 post:

X owner Elon Musk made a bold pledge to the victims of corporate cancel culture.

Musk, in yet another win for free speech, offered to stand behind employees of various companies who were mistreated for exercising free speech on his social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter). Musk, in an Aug. 5 post on X, said, “If you were unfairly treated by your employer due to posting or liking something on this platform, we will fund your legal bill.”

In addition, Musk added that there is “no limit” to the legal bill that he and his team would cover for Americans who were forced to face cancel culture in the workplace.

[...]

Posting on Twitter is notoriously risky in today’s easily triggered corporate culture and has led to a number of high-profile terminations.

Schau failed to mention that the vast majority of Americans are employed under at-will conditions, meaning a person can be legally fired from a job for any reason or no reason -- which covers offensive tweets. (At-will employment is a policy conservatives like Schau generally like.) Further, a person's social media presence tends to reflect on the employer, so if a person does or likes offensive things on social media, that reflects poorly on the employer, thereby offering just cause for termination.

Gabriela Pariseau took the stance that it's not censorship when Musk does it in an Aug. 16 post:

The Washington Post is now hypocritically crying out about censorship. Where was its clarion call when the New York Post Hunter Biden scandal got censored?

The Washington Post accused X (formerly Twitter) of extending the time it takes to load links to certain websites after a user clicks on them in an August 15 article. “The delayed websites included X’s online rivals Facebook, Instagram, Bluesky and Substack, as well as the Reuters wire service and [The New York] Times,”The Washington Post claimed. However, it is unclear how The Post obtained this information and isolated X as the source of the problem as the outlet did not include a methodology in the piece and did not respond to Media Research Center’s multiple inquiries.

“The day that @washingtonpost alleges that @elonmusk is causing a 5 second delay to load its stories, Apple deletes ALL of @glennbeck's podcasts,” said MRC Free Speech America Vice President Dan Schneider in a tweet. “Not holding my breath waiting for WashPo's angry coverage of left-wing Apple.”

The Washington Post is claiming, without evidence, that Elon Musk is in effect playing favorites and censoring its leftist internet buddies,” said MRC Free Speech America Director Michael Morris. “Apparently, for The Washington Post, censorship is only a funny joke when it’s happening to conservatives.” 

The newspaper cited the forum Hacker News, which reportedly first noticed the alleged trend on August 4 after Musk made posts calling The Times an “apologist” for the leader of South Africa’s “racial genocide” and encouraging people to cancel their subscriptions. The Times allegedly also noticed the trend and a dip in its traffic, according to The Washington Post. The outlet claimed that the delays disappeared after The Washington Post published its article. However, the article included no screen recording of what these delays looked like or a methodology affirming the accuracy of its claims.

While the article never outright called the alleged link loading delays “censorship,” its writers did emphasize that Musk calls himself a “free speech absolutist” and cited The Times’ hypocritical reaction to the news. “While we don’t know the rationale behind the application of this time delay, we would be concerned by targeted pressure applied to any news organization for unclear reasons,” said Times spokesman Charlie Stadtlander.

Despite all the doubt Pariseau tried to throw at the Post's article -- whining that there was "no screen recording of what these delays looked like or a methodology affirming the accuracy of its claims" -- she failed to note that the article also noted that former Twitter official Yoel Roth posted at Bluesky that he was able to replicate the same effect. She also failed to mention that Musk has a history of messing with the links posted by its users, for instance blocking links to Substack for a while after it announced it would start its own Twitter-esque feature. Instead, Pariseau continued to play whataboutism:

But both The Times and The Washington Post have repeatedly shown no concern, and in fact, have downplayed censorship of outlets that they disagree with. The most prominent example would be The Times dismissing the social media companies that suppressed the Hunter Biden laptop scandal just ahead of the 2020 election.

[...]

So much for free speech. It seems The Washington Post claims biased censorship when its friends are in the crossfire, but it doesn’t seem to care much for free speech when its critics are silenced.

Pariseau did not explain why social media outlets are not allowed to engage in content moderation to combat misinformation and lies (which she dishonestly frames as "censorship"), nor does she explain why misinformation and lies must be allowed to spread uncorrected. And as we've noted, the right-wing New York Post could have avoided content moderation issues had it provided independent verification of the laptop that would have overcome concerns about it being a wildly biased pro-Trump rag.

UPDATE: Semafor reports that Twitter appears to be throttling New York Times-related content. Don't look for anyone at the MRC to call this "censorship."


Posted by Terry K. at 5:24 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, September 11, 2023 3:52 PM EDT
WND's Brown Gets Angry Over A Drag Queen Book
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In his July 19 WorldNetDaily column, Michael Brown talked about the rise of anger, adding as an example: "There is anger toward the church for its alleged hateful, homophobic, transphobic ideologies, and there is anger toward the church for taking away a woman's alleged right to abortion." But he refused to criticize "the church" for similarly acting out of anger and hate -- or admit his own animosity for LGBT people, which he has repeatedly demonstrated. Just another blind spot of his.

Indeed, Brown got all angry over a children's book about a drag queen in his Aug. 16 column:

Since 2004, I've been grieved over the spectacle of gyrating drag queens in tutus performing before little children at gay pride events. It was then, almost 20 years ago, that my friends came back from a pride event in Charlotte, North Carolina, with pictures documenting the perversion. How could one not be burdened after seeing this?

More recently, I've said that if anything is a sign of America's depravity, it is our celebration of drag queens, especially in their outreach to children. So, all this was nothing new to me.

But while annotating a forthcoming book on how we can turn the cultural tide in the nation, I discovered that there was a children's reader titled "The Hips on a Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish,Swish." I ordered the book, which arrived over the weekend, and yes, it was as disturbing in its illustrated content as the title would suggest. (Remember: this was designed to be read to very little children who have the most basic vocabulary. Now "swish" is one of their must-learn words, and at an early age, they must be "groomed" – in the words of a drag queen himself – to embrace this twisted phenomenon.)

One can argue that Brown is also engaged in "grooming" by teaching people, especially children, that drag queens -- and LGBT people in general -- are to be feared and hated. But he continued to portray not hating people as "grooming":

In the words of gay drag queen Dylan Pontiff (in 2018), defending the drag queen story hour before a local city council, "I'm here to let you know that this event is something that's going to be very beautiful and for the children, and the people that support it are going to realize that this is going to be the grooming of the next generation. We are trying to groom the next generation."

Parents of America, please listen to these words.

Are you going to let your children be "groomed"? And shall we mention the sexually explicit acts performed by some of these drag queens, in the presence of (and, sometimes, with the participation of) little children? Or the drag queens who were found to be sex offenders with children? Some of these convicted child abusers even read to little kids in libraries.

Parents, are you listening?

Brown then once again played is faux-sympathy card, purporting to understand them while also portraying them as evil:

Yet, to repeat, I feel genuine pain and sorrow for these men, for whom same-sex attractions likely feel just as natural as opposite-sex attractions feel for heterosexuals, and for in whose eyes reading to children is a good thing.

They are lost in sin, as all of us were at one time or another (see Ephesians 2:1-3). They are objects of Christ's love, people for whom He died, and some of them might one day be shining examples of God's grace.

So along with that feeling of intense righteous indignation let a sense of pity arise as well. Pray for the salvation and transformation of the drag queens! Perhaps your prayers will make an eternal difference in some of their lives.

Can we also feel pity for Brown, who is so driven by such abject hatred for people who aren't like him?

Brown spent his Aug. 21 column being outraged that ChatGPT was made to create a Bible-style verse that supported transgender people:

But whether generated by ChatGPT or no, it is beyond preposterous to imagine that AI, using information found in the Bible, would then generate a comment that contradicted the Bible. That's not how AI would function, any more than a computer programmed to beat the world's top chess player would lose by checkmate in the first 10 moves.

That being said, does the passage really violate the spirit and substance of the Bible? Does it put unimaginable words on the lips of Jesus?

[...]

Instead, let's focus on the substance of the rest of the manufactured words of Jesus. And then let's ask a deeper, real-life question. What would Jesus say to a trans-identified person?

We are told that He looked upon this person with kindness. Does this sound like Jesus? Absolutely. That is who He is.

And there is truth to the claim that in God's kingdom there is neither male nor female. But this doesn't mean that gender distinctions should be blurred or transgressed. Instead, as expressed by Paul (see Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11), there is neither caste nor class in God's kingdom – not Jew or Gentile, male or female, slave or free. We are all equal in Jesus.

But that hardly means that there are no gender distinctions in terms of reality and in terms of implication. To the contrary, the whole Bible, including the New Testament, makes gender distinctions, giving specific instructions to husbands and wives, and recognizing only two sexes.

Brown then tried to insist that Jesus hates transgender people as much as he does:

But it is here that the whole AI "Bible passage" breaks down in terms of a trans-positive application.

That's because Jesus would not say to a woman who felt like she was a man, "Be made whole," and then, miraculously and instantaneously, her healthy breasts would disappear, leaving her only with scars, after which He would then give her a lifetime subscription to hormone pills, free of charge. God forbid! That is monstrous rather than Messianic.

Instead, He would say to her, "Be made whole," and, miraculously and instantaneously, she would be at home in the body she was created with. No surgeries. No pills. Just peace.

Of course that's what He would do – unless you believe that He would miraculously remove the limb of someone struggling with BIID (Body Integrity Identity Disorder) rather than make them whole from the inside out. Or unless you believe that He would turn a "furry" into an animal rather than heal the person of his or her confusion. Perish the thought.

That's why, as followers of Jesus, we too should look on trans-identified people with kindness and, without condemning or driving them away, help them to find wholeness from the inside out. It's the Jesus way – the real Jesus.

But Brown doesn't really mean any of that "kindness" stuff. He will never admit the full humanity of a transgender person or a drag queen -- he can only see them as someone with a "disorder" who needs to have right-wing Christianity forced upon them.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:56 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 10, 2023 3:13 PM EDT
Saturday, September 9, 2023
Zucker Derangement Syndrome: MRC Cheers Attack Piece On Ex-CNN Chief
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has spent years spewing hate at former CNN chief Jeff Zucker -- even hurling the anti-Semitic "puppetmaster" slur at him (he's Jewish) -- and the fact that he left that job well over a year ago hasn't kept it from regularly freaking out over him, most recently complaining that the career of his replacement, Chris Licht, was cut short due to "Zucker loyalists" inside CNN. Curtis Houck spent a July 27 post cheering an attack piece on Zucker -- and, yes, using the "puppetmaster" slur yet again:

Having published a piece in April detailing Don Lemon’s decades of insufferable behavior inside CNN, Variety’s Tatiana Siegel blew the lid Monday night off Jeff Zucker, the former CNN boss and puppetmaster whose allies engaged in a blatant smear campaign against his replacement, Chris Licht. Siegel explained how Zucker and a team of allies undermined Licht and Warner Bros. Discovery executives with hopes to buy CNN using shady foreign moguls.

Once the piece went live, the onslaught was on with Zucker’s team, Puck “partner” and former CNN media reporter Dylan Byers, The Atlantic’s Tim Alberta, and CNN senior media reporter Oliver Darcy all chiming in to trash Siegel.

The 4,300-word tome painted an odious picture of Zucker having “spent the past year traveling the globe to meet with potential” investors to steal CNN back and even though it’s “likely” to “fail...his battles with Zaslav and his behind-the-scenes attempts to undermine Licht” to the point he “isn’t worried about damaging CNN as he attempts to ram his way through it.”

[...]

She briefly focused on Alberta’s now-infamous profile of Licht, claiming “sources maintain it was never pitched as a profile” as it was instead billed “as a broad story about restoring trust in the media” with Licht as a test subject. Once he agreed, she said the two only met four times, quotes were used that were meant to be off the record, and embellished.

Houck went on to mock those who pointed out the article's errors:

Starting with Alberta, he was furious someone would pushback on the piece seen as a tactical strike on Licht by adversaries, tweeting: “Dear [Tatiana Siegel] 1) I met w Licht on 7 different days 2) I used zero off-record details or quotes, as our [Fairness and Standards] team can attest 3) His trainer overheard portions of 1 interview 4) Licht is quoted extensively in a neutral context (sorry it wasn't positive enough for you/him)”.

For Byers’s part, he repeatedly claimed he didn’t want to opine, but that was a crock based on the insults he leveled. After mocking Zucker’s undermining of Licht and thoughts of buying CNN as “secretly plotted” “double-barreled revenge fantasy,” Byers dismissed it as “heavy cake,” “problematic,” “sophomoric,” and “utterly implausible.”

His best excuse? “Siegel’s assertions about Zucker’s attempt to court a certain investor would be followed by an on-the-record denial.” Well, that settles it then, Dylan!

Byers was joined at the hip by Darcy, whom he noted also had concerns as Siegel’s report fetched “heightened scrutiny”.

On Zucker’s company investing in Puck, Byers insisted he “was wholly unaware of that conversation”.

Best of all, Byers relayed an afternoon coffee meeting “with an entertainment industry C.E.O. here in Los Angeles” in which this person bemoaned negative media coverage, to which we should all point and laugh at as irony and/or a taste of their own medicine[.]

For all his criticism of Alberta's profile of Licht, Houck identified no errors in it. And Houck failed to follow up with the fact that Variety later revised the article in response to the complaints. But apparently falsehoods get a pass at the MRC as long as they are made about a designed enemy. Zucker Derangement Syndrome lives.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:37 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 10, 2023 9:50 PM EDT
WND's Farah Uncritically Repeats Russian Propaganda
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has effectively taken Russia's side in its invasion of Ukraine, with a roster filled with Putin apologists. Editor Joseph Farah is one, having attacked Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelensky for cracking down on internal dissent while censoring the fact that those dissenters are aligned with Russia. Farah because a full-blown disseminator of Russian propaganda, however, in his July 21 column:

Remember those stories about the secret Ukrainian bio-labs? It was just Russian disinformation, right? Not really.

It's getting new currency in the U.N. now that Russia and China are getting behind a charge of censorship against the U.S. that will not go away anytime soon.

Worried about this is the U.S. State Department, which has launched an active outreach campaign to neutralize Russian accusations that U.S. military biologists had violated the provisions of the Biological Weapons Convention, as stated by the Russian Defense Ministry and a bold new presentation made on July 14 by Lt. Gen. Igor Kirillov.

Kirillov claims that documents acquired from Russian-occupied territories in Ukraine demonstrate a plot by the Pentagon to test unregistered medical products on local populations with the subsequent approval of regulatory bodies in favor of Big Pharma.

According to him, this was accomplished via a "network of subordinate biolaboratories and intermediary organizations," including Metabiota, which is funded by Hunter Biden. Hunter Biden? What do bio-labs have to do with Hunter Biden?

[...]

Moscow has claimed that secret American biological-warfare labs in Ukraine were a justification for its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

"U.S. President Joe Biden himself is involved in the creation of biolaboratories in Ukraine," Russia's State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said, according to state media.

"An investment fund run by his son Hunter Biden funded research and the implementation of the United States' military biological program. It is obvious that Joe Biden, as his father and the head of state, was aware of that activity," said Volodin.

Farah then asserted, "It's not far-fetched." Actually, it is. As PolitiFact pointed out, "There are no U.S.-run bioweapons facilities in Ukraine, which joined the U.S. in signing the 1972 convention that prohibited the development, production and possession of biological weapons," adding that "the line from Ukraine’s biological research to Hunter Biden is convoluted, with the younger Biden at least a few degrees of separation away from the labs in question, rather than directly bankrolling their operation." PolitiFact further summarized:

  • The new Hunter Biden narrative is based on his affiliation with an investment firm that raised money for and invested in Metabiota, a startup that does work related to global health. It’s unproven that Biden was involved with the investment decision.
  • Metabiota separately received money from the Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency for subcontracted work related to the biological research labs in Ukraine. That work involved helping to train and otherwise support scientists at those facilities.
  • PolitiFact found no evidence that Metabiota’s work assisting staff at the labs in Ukraine was directly financed by Hunter Biden or his investment firm. Metabiota said that the work it performed in Ukraine was fully financed by the DTRA.

As backup for all this, Farah cited only dubious right-wing sources like the New York Post, the Daily Mail and Gateway Pundit. He did not explain why anyone should trust those highly biased sources, why anyone should take anything members of the Russian government -- which has a history of mucking about in American politics -- at face value. All that matters is the Russians hate Biden as much as he does, so he will never fact-check them, no matter how bad it looks for him to parrot Russian propaganda. Indeed, he pushed more wacky claims from them:

Additionally, Kirillov claims that an increase in the number of non-endemic Asian tiger mosquitoes has already been recorded in southern and central Europe, with populations having established in five federal districts of Germany. Furthermore, another mosquito species (Culex modestus), a vector of West Nile fever, has been identified in Sweden and Finland.

Maybe a pandemic is being readied as another election year surprise.

Kirillov goes on to charge that the work of U.S. military biologists is "aimed at the formation of 'artificially managed epidemics' not controlled by the Biological Weapons Convention." He also claims to have seized documents proving that the Pentagon maintained bioweapons research institutions in Ukraine through Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and was participating in bio-warfare in the mainly Russian-speaking Donbass from 2014 to 2022.

Farah then name-checked his favorite ex-Fox News host: "That was what drove Tucker Carlson to find the truth about this story. Then he was fired and ridiculed. Tucker is always right." No, he's not.

Farah concluded by actually rooting for the Russians:

With other friends in Cuba, Brazil, throughout Latin America and Africa, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Afghanistan, Pakistan, including admirers in Canada and Mexico, maybe Russia will have another shot at the U.N.

Like I said, it's all quite plausible.

Like we said, it's not plausible at all, and Farah's blind trust in Russian propaganda doesn't make it any more so -- and it demonstrates how much he apparently hates America.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:13 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, September 9, 2023 2:15 AM EDT
Friday, September 8, 2023
After CNS Shutdown, NewsBusters Becomes MRC's Big Mark Levin Promoter
Topic: Media Research Center

One of the biggest boosters and stenographers of right-wing radio host Mark Levin was the Media Research Center's "news" division CNSNews.com, which published dozens upon dozens of articles uncritically documenting his alleged words of wisdom over the years -- so much so that one had to wonder if Levin was paying for the privilege. But when the MRC abruptly shut down CNS in April. Levin lost one of his enthusiastic promoters. Because Levin and the MRC are close buddies, that had to be made up somewhere, so it fell to NewsBusters to pick up the Levin-fluffing baton.

Nicolas Schau gushed in a May 30 post how "Conservative radio host Mark Levin recently took far-left Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) to the woodshed for outrageous comments he made about the debt ceiling and how President Joe Biden could circumvent it." Starting in July, the Levin-fluffing NewsBusters posts ramped up:

On Wednesday evening, nationally syndicated radio talk show host and bestselling author Mark Levin opened his popular radio program by informing his listeners that retail chain Target decided not to carry his new book “The Democrat Party Hates America” [sic] because it’s deemed “polarizing.” Levin was quick to point out the sick irony in that statement considering the same company thought tuck-friendly bathing suits and chest binders for children as well as pro-satan clothing were appropriate to sell in their stores.

[...]

As MRC’s founder and president Brent Bozell noted on Twitter in response to the news of Target boycotting Levin’s book: “Target reminding conservatives not to shop there, in case tuck-friendly swimsuits and chest-binders for pride month weren’t enough.”

-- Kevin Tober, July 5 (The MRC spread lies about Target's LGBT-related offerings)

“What are we to make of all of this? It's not America anymore. That's what I make of it. The Democrat Party owns the Justice Department. You don't hear of Republicans doing this sort of thing in a Republican administration,” Constitutional Scholar Mark Levin said Sunday, warning of the Biden Administration’s unprecedented assault on the First Amendment.

“This is why I take the time to go through the attacks on Donald Trump, because he is illustrative of the problem,” Levin explained in the opening segment of the latest episode of Life, Liberty & Levin:

-- Craig Bannister, July 18

Doug P. at Twitchy pointed out that the Associated Press uncorked a headline about Sen. Charles Grassley's release of a document underlining that the Biden family accepted $10 million in bribes:

Grassley releases full FBI memo with unverified claims about Hunter Biden's work in Ukraine

"Hunter Biden's work" is awfully nebulous, and the "unverified" part is a scare word with the translation "AP has not attempted to verify this, so it's unverified." On Twitter, Mark Levin took exception to the headline:

-- Tim Graham, July 22 (also in Spanish)

Conservative radio host Mark Levin slammed Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s “nefarious” election interference as the Big Tech billionaire faces a possible contempt charge by Congress.

Levin reacted to news that the House Judiciary Committee is planning to hold Zuckerberg in contempt for reportedly not turning over documents pertaining to the federal government’s efforts to collude with social media platforms to censor Americans. “If we are going to even begin to return to fair and transparent elections, this punk must be held to account,” Levin insisted on Twitter. By censoring the bombshell Hunter Biden scandals after FBI priming and funding other election efforts with “Zuckerbucks,” Zuckerberg engaged in election interference.

-- Catherine Salgado, July 25 (Levin is lying; it is not "election interference" to fund election operations and encourage people to vote, which is what the vast majority of "Zuckerbucks" were spent on)

Conservative radio host Mark Levin eviscerated radical activists and local and state government in the wake of a disastrous Hawaii wildfires. 

Levin drew attention to the leftist narrative on the Maui wildfires. “The sickening exploitation by the Democrats and the left of what’s happened in Hawaii knows no bounds,” Levin remarked during the August 21st edition of The Mark Levin Show.“They say, ‘This is an example of climate change, we need to do more.’ No, it's an example of an electrical wire, apparently busting from its moorings and setting on fire the area around it that was dry.”

[...]

Levin repeatedly pointed out the obvious, that Hawaii is windy and isolated, before concluding with a dire warning about misplaced priorities.

-- Tom Olohan, Aug. 22

In response to new energy regulations from the Biden administration, Mark Levin pointed out the endgame of present and past restrictions on American energy and conveniences.

Levin blasted regulations designed to limit offshore drilling on the August 29 edition of The Mark Levin Show. “It’s not about the environment, it’s about destroying the energy industry and controlling the economy. It’s all about controlling you. They don’t want you to have mobility. They don’t want you to have cheap fuel,” Levin stated.

-- Tom Olohan, Aug. 30

The far-left has weaponized natural disasters to advance their political agenda, and they won’t stop, prominent author Mark Levin warned on Thursday.

On the Thursday edition of The Mark Levin Show, nationally syndicated radio host Levin did not hold back scorching criticism of the Democratic Party and the way it uses climate change as a poor excuse to destroy the nation and censor speech. “The Democratic Party that is exploiting this to destroy the civil society,” Levin said referring to mounting evidence of the left politicizing natural disasters to advance their environmentalist agenda. He also slammed President Joe Biden’s assault against so-called climate “deniers.”

[...]

Levin’s scorching criticism of the Biden administration comes less than two weeks after the popular cable news host hammered the federal government’s “sickening exploitation” of the Maui wildfires to advance their environmentalist agenda.

-- Luis Cornelio, Sept. 1

Graham also devoted his July 12 column to promoting more Levin ranting:

Anyone who hates the phrase “deep state” should ponder how it can be defined by anonymous leaking from inside the government. The media elite love to try to run the country between elections, especially as they use scandals to damage Republican candidates for president.

On Sunday’s Life, Liberty, and Levin on Fox News, Mark Levin pulled out a sheaf of papers representing all the CNN, New York Times, and Washington Post stories that detailed what’s going on inside Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation of Donald Trump. He laid out the anonymous sourcing that gives these stories life. He made a list that underlines that Merrick Garland’s shop has a leaking problem.

[...]

We can’t prove that all of these leaks came from Jack Smith – or that Garland’s people pulled a James Comey and leaked it to some intermediary leaker. That’s the whole point, isn’t it? Anonymity provides plausible deniability, which breeds cynicism.

Levin’s point is that the American Bar Association has declared that a prosecutor has special responsibilities. They should “refrain from making extrajudicial comments that have a substantial likelihood of a heightening public condemnation of the accused, and exercise reasonable care to prevent investigators, law enforcement personnel, employees or other persons assisting...from making an extrajudicial statement that the prosecutor would be prohibited from making.”

We can guess from Levin’s list that this ethical rule has been stomped into a paste. "Heightening public condemnation of the accused" is all the rage. Levin says all this taints the jury pool and denies the former president due process. He urged Trump’s lawyers to raise a stink.

If Levin and Graham "can’t prove that all of these leaks came from Jack Smith," perhaps he shouldn't be making an allegation he can't prove. And if Levin is making accusations he can't prove, perhaps Graham shouldn't trust him so much; indeed, he provides no reason anyone should do so beyond their shared right-wing ideology.

Graham went on to whine that "the liberals can’t understand why multiple politicized indictments are helping Trump keep a lead in the early Republican polls" but he offered no evidence that any Trump indictment is "politicized." He's just pushing another bogus right-wing narrative.

By contrast, the MRC was never going to call out Levin for his embarassing suck-up job he did when interviewing Donald Trump in May.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:19 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 10, 2023 9:46 PM EDT
Obama-Obsessed WND Columnist Now Targeting Michelle
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Obama-obsessed WorldNetDaily columnist Jack Cashill just can't walk away from it -- and now Michelle Obama has become his target, portraying her as a possible 2024 presidential candidate despite the fact that she has pretty definitively said she will never run. Cashill's July 19 column began by plugging his new book "Untenable" -- which appears to be little more than an exercise in absolving white people of racism in fleeing cities in the 1960s, a framing the white nationalists at VDARE love -- then invoking his favorite charlatan filmmaker to accuse her family of hypocrisy in doing something similar:

Thanks to the meticulous research of Los Angeles filmmaker Joel Gilbert for his film and book "Michelle Obama 2024," we know a good deal about the ways in which Michelle's family dealt with the collapse of inner-city Chicago.

Actually, given the conspiratorial rantings and false claims in his films, "meticulous research" is pretty much the last thing Gilbert is known for. Cashill continued:

Given her family's own history of flight, one would think Michelle would have had some sympathy for whites who had made similar moves. But to think that is to misunderstand the real Michelle.

At an Obama Foundation forum in 2019, Michelle showed her true colors.

"As families like ours, upstanding families like ours, who were doing everything we were supposed to do and better, as we moved in," said Michelle, "white folks moved out."

Added Michelle, "They were afraid of what our families represented." In truth, almost all the white families had moved out before she moved in. They moved not because of families like Michelle's but because of families whose children were terrorizing families like Michelle's.

Cashill then complained that someone asked him after giving a book presentation why he hated Michelle so much:

After the C-SPAN event, one female attendee asked why I had to be so hard on Michelle. As she explained nicely, the references to skin color and hair texture by Michelle may have reflected "her truth."

The problem, I explained, is that "her truth" and "the truth" are frequently at odds in ways that inevitably insult white people. If Michelle steps up and runs for president, as many people anticipate, those insults will be increasingly hard to conceal.

Cashill spent his July 26 column again touting that Michelle Obama video by Gilbert:

Working through their allies in the news media, the Democrats have of late been stupefying their voters with a barrage of racial nonsense.

There may be a method to their madness. If Los Angeles filmmaker Joel Gilbert is right, the Democrats may be softening the ground for Michelle Obama’s triumphant return to the White House.

The producer of "Michelle Obama: 2024," Gilbert argues that Democratic operatives have been grooming Michelle for a presidential run for the last five years: the memoir, the keynote speech at the 2020 election, the voting rights operation—all proven steps on her husband’s path to power.

The move by the DNC to make South Carolina the first primary state suggests Gilbert may well be right. Michelle’s family hails from South Carolina. In 2008, kingmaker Rep. Jim Clyburn abandoned Hillary and threw his support behind Barack Obama. The state is Michelle’s for the taking.

Gilbert has previously pushed numerous false claims about Barack Obama, the most pernicious one being that his mother posed for nude photos taken by Frank Marshall Davis -- something he seemed to know was false, given how he kept editing his film promos as those discredited claims were exposed. Cashill will never tell his readers about any of this, of course -- he has worked with Gilbert on later dubious films, so he has no incentive to disrupt that relationship, no matter how steeped in lies it is.

Cashill then hyped anti-vaxxer conspiracy-mongering presidential candidate Robert Kennedy Jr. as a disruptor:

At the House hearing on government weaponization, Schultz accused presidential aspirant Robert F. Kennedy Jr. of making “despicable anti-Semitic and anti-Asian comments.”

To give African Americans a rooting interest, Stacey Plaskett of the Virgin Islands jumped in, grotesquely misrepresenting Kennedy’s comments and accusing him, by inference, of “hateful, abusive rhetoric.”

White though he may be, Kennedy is a classic “Black Swan,” the totally unanticipated phenomenon that, in this case, threatens all of the Democrats’ carefully laid plans.

As president, Biden could duck a debate with Kennedy, but as mere candidate, Michelle Obama could not. Nor could she hope to prevail in a debate with Kennedy. He has to be neutralized before Biden steps out of the race—as Biden inevitably will.

Cashill concluded by huffing that Michelle is all about racial animosity, while also vaguely hinting that she may have had a role in the drowning death of her family chef:

If Michelle declares, count on her to ratchet up the fear. Her target is Lavern Spicer’s cousin. Women like her control South Carolina’s destiny and Michelle’s future.

In the meantime, don’t expect to hear much about the drowning of her “personal chef.” Even Michelle would have a hard time selling a paddle boarding death as a sign of systemic racism.

Vague hints are an essential tool in the conspiracy theorist's toolbox.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:11 AM EDT
Thursday, September 7, 2023
People Love 'Barbie' Movie, So MRC (Mostly) Backed Off Bashing It For Being 'Woke'
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has had mixed feelings about the Barbie doll in recent months -- it whined about the existence of a transgender Barbie, but it praised the creation of a Down syndrome Barbie (and even gently criticized toxic right-wing influencer Steven Crowder for mocking it). So the new 'Barbie' movie was bound to result in the creation of manufactured outrage at the MRC. Christian Toto spent his July 15 column fearmongering that the movie might be (gasp!) "potentially woke," whatever that means:

Meanwhile, the actors are more than happy to push the film’s potentially woke elements, disinterested in how it could impact the movie’s bottom line.

Yet the film’s marketing machine isn’t promoting its feminist bona fides. The movie’s trailers focus on fashion, fun, giddy interactions and humor.

[...]

It’s not hard to read between the lines. Director/co-screenwriter Greta Gerwig often uses her work to explore gender issues, from “Lady Bird” to “Little Women.” The early previews suggest she did it again.

None of this shares if the movie is good, bad or indifferent. We’ll have to wait until July 21 to find out.

Yet the message discipline for “Barbie’s” marketing team has been nothing short of outstanding. Most potential movie goers won’t read the quotes from Ferrell, Gerwig or Nef. They’ll be too busy sharing the cute clips and frothy trailers on social media.

If “Barbie” is the first woke blockbuster, it’ll be partly thanks to a bait-and-switch press push.

When the ladies of "The View" made fun of the predictable right-wing panning of the film for not fitting its predetermined narratives, Nicholas fondacaro complained in a July 25 post:

In the montage of reactions, which included Fox News’s Rachel Campos-Duffy from July 3 (three weeks ago) and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) (from last week), Daily Wire Shapiro’s reaction was the only one from after the movie was released. Out of his almost 43-minute-long review on Twitter, this was the 14 seconds they pulled out:

I find it upsetting when material that is based on children's IP and marketed to little girls actually ends up being angry feminist claptrap that alienates men from women, undermines basic human values, and promotes falsehood all at the same time.

“It's a movie!” moderator Whoopi Goldberg shouted. “It's a movie about a doll! I thought y'all would be happy! She doesn't have any genitalia, so there’s no sex involved. Ken has no genitalia, so he can't be doing -- It's a doll movie!”

[...]

It's worth noting that the show itself was also sponsored by a Barbie movie-themed commercial for Progressive insurance. 

As more mocking of Shapiro's 43-minute meltdown over the film -- which included him setting fire to Barbie dolls while dressed as Ken in one scene from the movie -- poured in, Fondacaro used a July 27 post to feature Shapiro complaining about being mocked:

The joking aside, Shapiro said the most upsetting thing going on was “the insane gaslighting by people like Whoopi Goldberg” in terms of suddenly suggesting the movie was not important at all:

They play this dumbass game. It’s a really ridiculous clown-nose-on-clown-nose-off game: “Well, it’s so political, it’s so important, everyone should see it, it has such important things to say about the state of modern womanhood.” And then we’re like, “Yeah, what it has to say is garbage and stupid and wrong and bad for girls.” And they’re like, “It’s just a movie about a doll. It’s just a movie about a doll. Why are you so upset about a movie about a doll?”

I don’t know, why are you so upset that I’m upset about a movie about a doll?

“Because it’s not just a movie about a doll you idiots, obviously. You’re really liars. I mean, you know it’s not a movie about a doll only, it’s a movie about men and about women and about feminism and about the patriarchy. You know who would tell you that? Greta Gerwig, who made the damn thing,” he told them off.

Shapiro also trained his sights on The View’s faux conservative, Alyssa Farah Griffin, who attacked him for purportedly feeling emasculated by the movie, but he had a cold hard truth for her: what really was emasculating was her becoming “the designated conservative” her “pseudo friends dump on every single day and where you win points of favor and they pat you on the head and give you little Scooby treats if you say the right thing.”

He also made the expert point that they “spent a lot of [their] airtime on this. So, yeah. Obviously, it was important enough for you to comment on.”

Fondacaro didn't mention that Shapiro set Barbie dolls on fire during his original, mockworthy meltdown.

Next up in meltdown mode was Tim Graham, who spent his Aug. 4 column complaining how his wife dragged him to the movie:

It’s not a movie I had any interest in seeing, whether it was a movie made for grade-school girls or a satirical sendup for the angry feminists.

But my wife wanted to see it, so off we went. It was the worst movie we’ve seen since “Elvis.” It’s a disjointed mess. Just like “Elvis,” we sat through it despite the temptation to skedaddle.

It’s like a series of bad “Saturday Night Live” sketches that are placed at the end of the show. Any movie that ends with a triumphant first visit to the gynecologist? Eminently skippable. “It’s like Pinocchio, with tampons” did not make the newspaper blurbs.

Mattel wanted to make a “Barbie” movie to sell more Barbies, but they couldn’t just make a cartoon for little girls. No, it had to make an ironic adult blockbuster mocking itself with a preposterously plastic indictment of the patriarchy. Christian Toto counted ten utterances of “patriarchy” in this movie -- and none of them made all the promotional material that inundated TV watchers. It snuck up on you at the cineplex.

It made me think of leftists like Todd Gitlin writing about capitalist “hegemony,” about how capitalism is so malignantly adaptable that it absorbs socialist critiques and somehow evades its own collapse. So the mega-corporation that makes Barbie dolls subjects the audience to a teenager yelling at Barbie: “You represent everything wrong with our culture! You destroyed the planet with your glorification of  rampant consumerism, you fascist!”

Barbie is not a fascist. She’s a toy. But yes, she’s a flashy and colorful toy, with many accessories. If they made Maoist Barbie, she’d only come with one outfit and a little red book. Surely, the movie will lead to more Barbie-doll sales. Rampant consumerism still wins.

[...]

This feminist screed could have been worse. It could have ended with Barbie triumphantly getting an abortion. But that could represent one less little girl reaching for a Barbie doll.

Graham curiously failed to mention how his wife liked the movie -- which suggests that she did, in fact, like it. As many people did, given that it has seen more than $600 million in box office revenue in the U.S. alone. It's so popular and well-liked, in fact, that the MRC has basicallly given up on trying to attack it. In an Aug. 10 post on "Barbie" being banned in Kuwait, Tierin-Rose Mandelburg -- who is not afraid to spew hate and anything and everything -- voiced her surrender in a parenthetical paragraph that was the second paragraph of her post:

(Disclaimer: We aren’t here to bash the Barbie movie as we know some people loved it. Good for them. We are here to recognize the fact that the themes and characters in "Barbie" do not align with some religions.)

Nevertheless, she bashed the movie anyway, endorsing Kuwait's ban based on purported homosexuality in thte movie:

While the Barbie film isn’t entirely based on sexuality and gender, it does feature a gay actress, Kate McKinnon, and a transgender actor, Hari Nef. Not to mention, Gosling's performance of Ken paints him in a very feminist nature. Men acting in this way is controversial in Middle Eastern culture.  

[...]

Ultimately, these Middle Eastern countries likely have bigger things to be worrying about, it's nice to see them stand their ground on what sorts of ideologies should and should not be accessible and promoted throughout their nations.

We knew Mandelburg couldn't keep her hate completely hidden.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:09 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 10, 2023 9:39 PM EDT
WND Hypes 'Sound of Freedom' Movie, Censors QAnon Ties
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Like the Media Research Center, WorldNetDaily loves the movie "Sound of Freedom" because it advances right-wing political narratives. Bob Unruh made that exact point in a July 10 article by pushing the bizarre conspiratorial claim that President Biden supports child trafficking:

The modern world has been unable, so far, to effectively rid itself of the scourge of child trafficking.

It's been especially noticeable in the United States in the last few years. WND reported the U.S. has become, under the leadership of Joe Biden, a de facto "middleman" in a massive "child trafficking" scheme.

That's according to a damning new report compiled by journalist and Gatestone Institute Senior Fellow Uzay Bulut.

But also like the MRC, WND wants you to think that only crazy people (and liberals) think that the film has some QAnon-adjacent shenanigans going on. Around the 10th paragraph of his article, Unruh finally got off the politicizing of child trafficking and got around to addressing the actual movie:

Now,  a report in The Blaze reveals that legacy media, so befuddled by the facts, has become a critic of movie revealing the extent of the problem.

The report said "leftist media outlets" have taken to slamming the new "Sound of Freedom Movie," and making claims that the anti-child trafficking project is a "QAnon fantasy."

The movie is based on the true story of a federal agent who is confronted with the facts of child trafficking, and leaves his job to work to save children.

It was written and directed by Mexican director Alejandro Monteverde and produced by Mexican producer Eduardo Verástegui. The movie features "The Passion of the Christ" star Jim Caviezel and Academy Award winner Mira Sorvino.

The movie, on a $14.5 million budget, is outperforming Disney's highly promoted "Indiana Jones" movie.

The report said, "Rolling Stone published an article with title: ''Sound Of Freedom' Is a Superhero Movie for Dads With Brainworms.' The sub-headline reads: 'The QAnon-tinged thriller about child-trafficking is designed to appeal to the conscience of a conspiracy-addled boomer.'"

The writer of that piece claims the movie is "fomenting moral panic" with its "exaggerations."

But Unruh refused to explain exactly why the film is considered QAnon-adjacent; a key component of the QAnon conspiracy is the utterly baseless claim that, as summarized by NPR, "an international cabal of elites is abusing and killing children to extract a substance called adrenochrome." Also, Caviezel has become a QAnon adherent and has promoted the whole "adrenochroming" wackiness, and Tim Ballard, the federal agent whose story the film is based on, won't distance himself from QAnon.

But conspiracy theories have always been more important than facts at WND, and it has previously touted Caviezel's ranting before. An anonymously written 21 article hyped how "Actor Jim Caviezel, whose brand new 'Sound of Freedom' move is just arriving on scene, is warning Americans about the dangers of the subject of the film: Human trafficking. Of small children," adding that "he implicated "U.S. agencies" in the child sex trafficking industry."

WND also parroted the MRC in attacking a critic of the film. A July 17 article by Peter LaBarbera claimed that "Among the left-leaning critics attacking the surprise hit film 'Sound of Freedom,' about a man who quits his Department of Homeland Security job hunting pedophiles to rescue sex-trafficked children in Colombia, is a man who represented a group that is leading efforts to recast pedophiles as 'Minor Attracted Persons,' or MAPs." He went on to tout Caviezel plugging the film:

Though cynical leftist ideologues like Berlastky claim "Sound of Freedom"-type "narratives do little to help victims," that is precisely what SOF star Caviezel is hoping to do with the movie. In a special message to theater-goers shown after the film's ending, he states: "'Sound of Freedom' is one of those films that can legitimately change this world, so we want to ignite a fire in audiences and open their eyes to the dark reality of millions of children that need our help. Let's make this film an historic event and the start of the end of child trafficking... ."

"Pre-order your tickets today and you can send the message that 'God's children are no longer for sale,'" he says, echoing the main theme of the Angel Studios production.

LaBarbera also complained:

Despite hopes that a movie about saving innocent children from sex-traffickers might unite a bitterly divided nation, left-wing activists are dwelling on its alleged links to extreme-right "Q-anon" conspiracies rather than joining conservatives and people of faith in celebrating its focus on solving the crisis of the horrific exploitation of children.

Like Unruh, LaBarbera failed to tell his readers that Caviezel is a QAnon adherent and that its subject won't distance himself from QAnon.

WND also published several articles, mostly from other sources, touting the film and Caviezel:

Unruh kept his own rah-rah campaign as well. A July 17 article uncritically repeated claims that theaters are "intentionally sabotaging" showings of the film. He touted the film's ticket sales in a July 24 article:

Most movies have a huge opening weekend. But then the attendance and income rapidly deteriorate.

That's why studios spend the big bucks on advertising and such, to get fans out for those first few days.

One film, however, is showing the ability to move against the trend.

A new report from Celluloid Junkie reveals that "Sound of Freedom," the stunning story of a former federal agent who turned his life's goals into helping those children who are being trafficked, is seeing surging attendance – weeks after its opening.

The movie from Angel Studios, where filmmakers use crowdfunding to create and distribute films, confirmed its third weekend total revenue was "a strong $20,140,647."

The figure is higher than its debut weekend.

"Angel Studios is projecting nearly $125 million total cumulative box office revenue through Sunday," the report said.

But Unruh censored the fact that the film's promoters are using a "pay it forward" strategy, in which people buy tickets for others to claim. As much as 20 percent of the film's box office take may be coming from "pay it forward," artificially inflating those box numbers, and there's little evidence to show that people actually claimed those tickets and watched the film.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:22 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, September 7, 2023 12:24 AM EDT
Wednesday, September 6, 2023
MRC Drag Queen Freakout, Navy Edition
Topic: Media Research Center

The Navy apparently hired a drag queen as a recruitment tool, and the dragphobes at the Media Reserach Center unsurprisingly didn't take it well. Kevin Tober raged over it in a May 3 post that also gushed how his ideological fellow travelers at Fox News noted the story:

If you were wondering why our nation's enemies like Russia and China no longer fear us, this is a major reason why. Instead of focusing on building the strongest, and most deadly fighting force possible, the U.S. Navy under President Joe Biden hired a degenerate drag queen to assist in recruiting new Gen-Z members to join the Navy. The Navy claimed this strategy is designed to show off the Navy's diversity, but that is the last thing any of our branches of the military should be focused on. 

While Fox News Channel's Special Report covered this latest example of our military's descent into insanity, all three evening news broadcasts ignored this story in favor of stories like false smears of former Fox News host Tucker Carlson (ABC), and the news that Jamie Foxx broke his silence after being hospitalized (CBS and NBC).

Fox News Channel's correspondent Mark Meredith reported that the recent TikTok video "featuring a Navy sailor and drag queen who goes by the stage name Harpy Daniels are raising questions about the Navy's recruitment methods."

[...]

They never explained how a drag queen could possibly attract anyone who would be mentally or physically qualified to serve in the Navy. But that's not the point. The left's woke agenda spreads like cancer and eats away at everything it touches. 

God help America if we are ever forced into armed conflict with China or Russia. No amount of drag queen TikTok videos will save us.

Tober didn't explain how his rage-filled screed qualified as "media research," nor did he prove his assertions that anyone who like drag is insufficiently manly enough to be in the Navy.

Curtis Houck followed up with a May 5 post that parroted more right-wing rage on the issue from a "friend":

Our friend, Newsmax host, and former Navy SEAL Carl Higbie opened his Thursday show Carl Higbie Frontline with a scathing takedown over the U.S. Navy’s shoveling of “woke trash” by bringing in a sailor/drag queen in an effort to boost what’s been a dismal stretch of recruitment, saying “the military is not a village people social experiment” and joking it’ll certainly comfort “the next American hostage in Djibouti...that they’re sending RuPaul and not a SEAL team.”

Higbie’s brief cold open before the opening credits said it all: “Well, the back-to-back World War champs now have a drag queen as their spokesman.”

He wondered whether “our military leaders are, like, bored, stupid, or actually trying to destroy the ranks, but this little drag queen stunt the Navy is pulling is in a long list of bad ideas” and even worse than their vaccine mandates.

The fact that Higbie thinks vaccinating our troops is a "bad idea" would seem to disqualify him as a credible critic of the miltary.

In other anti-drag hate at the MRC, Tim Graham spent a May 22 post whining that the Associated Press referenced "far-right" Republicans (but not explaining why "far-right" is inaccurate) while it allegedly "does NOT feel this way about extremist local governments when they're on the Left," sounding "happily promotional" in reporting on the establishment of a "drag laureate" in San Francisco. He went on to huff that "Conservatives were not quoted anywhere in this piece" and that right-wing anti-drag attacks were referenced.

In a June 6 post, Alex Christy complained that opposition to drag queens in a Christmas parade was noted:

PBS NewsHour White House Correspondent Laura Barron-Lopez took a field trip down to Taylor, Texas, for Monday’s show to report on “the frontline of the war on LGBTQ rights” and how allegedly certain people are “challenging their very existence.” At the same time Barron-Lopez condemned a group of pastors for not wanting drag queens at their Christmas parade.

When seeking to answer the question why Taylor is such a hot spot of controversy, Barron-Lopez reported that “Some Taylor residents point to a single event when they describe the divisions here, the town Christmas parade, which has come down this street for decades. That, they say, is what put Taylor on the frontline of the war on LGBTQ rights. In 2021, for the first time, the line of Christmas floats on Main Street, including one from Taylor Pride, which carried drag queens. One of the performers was Felicia Enspire.”

[...]

Yes, PBS is trying to make a big controversy over Christian ministers not wanting drag queens at the parade that they organize.

Christy also complained that one pastor was described as being “unapologetic about his anti-LGBTQ beliefs” but did not explain how that was at all inaccurate.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:42 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 10, 2023 3:32 PM EDT

Newer | Latest | Older

Bookmark and Share

Get the WorldNetDaily Lies sticker!

Find more neat stuff at the ConWebWatch store!

Buy through this Amazon link and support ConWebWatch!

Support This Site

« September 2023 »
S M T W T F S
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Bloggers' Rights at EFF
Support Bloggers' Rights!

News Media Blog Network

Add to Google