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Sunday, July 3, 2022
CNS Mark Levin Stenography Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

Since CNSNews.com has decided to devote less time to Mark Levin stenography (not enough interns, apparently?), we're going to reduce our Mark Levin Stenography Watch to quarterly instead of bimonthly. But first, we have four months of Levin stenography to document since we last checked in. How did they go for CNS' favorite right-wing radio host? Let's tally up the stenography:

That's 19 articles from April through June, for a total of 25 through the first half of the year -- well off CNS' usual pace. And nine of these came between late May and the end of June, meaning that its Levin stenography is still heavily reliant on interns. Wonder how Levin feels about that.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:07 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, July 3, 2022 9:08 AM EDT
Friday, July 1, 2022
CNS' Jeffrey Also Implicitly Blaming Democrats For Federal Spending (Which He Didn't Do With Trump)
Topic: CNSNews.com

After years of refusing to blame Donald Trump for increasing the federal debt by $8 trillion, CNSNews.com editor Terry Jeffrey flip-flopped and made sure to blame President Biden for the federal debt accumulated under his watch. In addition to explicitly blaming Biden for the deficits, he is implictly blaming Biden and Democrats for increased tax revenue. A Feb. 10 article by Jeffrey claimed:

The federal government collected a record $1,516,952,000,000 in total taxes through the first four months of fiscal 2022 (October through January), according to the Monthly Treasury Statement released today.

The record $1,516,952,000,000 in federal tax collections included $824,571,000,000 in individual income taxes; $469,468,000,000 in social insurance and retirement taxes; $112,248,000,000 in corporation income taxes; $32,359,000,000 in customs duties; $25,800,000,000 in excise taxes; $8,951,000,000 in estate and gift taxes; and $43,554,000,000 in what the Treasury statement calls “miscellaneous receipts.”

At the same time that it was collecting this record $1,516,952,000,000 in taxes in the first four months of fiscal 2022, the federal government was spending $1,775,947,000,000. This resulted in a deficit of $258,995,000,000.

Jeffrey's use of the full dollar amounts violates Associated Press style on dollar amounts, which calls for using the words "million," "billion" and "trillion" instead; Jeffrey's aim here is political by making the numbers scary. While Jeffrey did not mention Biden and Democrats by name in his article, the accompanying undated file photo features Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.

It was lather, rinse, repeat for the following few months. Jeffrey wrote in a March 10 article that "The federal government collected a record $1,806,838,000,000 in total taxes through the first five months of fiscal 2022 (October through February), according to the Monthly Treasury Statement released today." More whining about the size of the deficit, accompanied with a picture of Biden, Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris.

An April 13 article updated the numbers with the ones from March, adding that "This also marked the first time that federal tax collections have exceeded $2 trillion in the first half of a fiscal year. The photo was a different picture of Biden, Pelosi and Schumer.

Like the other articles, this one complained that a certain federal agency spent the greatest amount of that money, even more than the military did:

The Department of Health and Human Services spent $793,880,000,000 in the October-through-March period of this fiscal year, leading all federal agencies in spending. The Social Security Administration was second with $622,933,000,000. The Department of Defense-Military Programs was third with $358,398,000,000.

The next highest category of spending was interest paid on Treasury debt securities, which was $290,289,000,000 in the October-through-March period.

A May 13 article detailed spending for April, featuring a picture of Pelosi even though she is not mentioned anywhere in the story. Jeffrey reworked the numbers for May in a June 10 article:

The federal government collected a record $3,374,629,000,000 in total taxes in the first eight months of fiscal 2022 (October through May), according to the Monthly Treasury Statement.

Before this year, the largest October-through-May federal tax collections came in fiscal 2021, when the Treasury collected $2,833,846,070,000 in total taxes in inflation-adjusted May 2022 dollars.

[...]

The Department of Health and Human Services continued to lead all federal departments and agencies in spending through the first eight months of fiscal 2022. It spent $1,054,754,000,000. It was followed by the Social Security Administration, which spent $839,061,000,000; the Department of the Treasury, which spent $769,511,000, including $423,100,000,000 for interest on the federal debt and $346,411,000,000 on “other” expenses.

The Department of Defense-Military Programs placed fourth, spending $470,865,000,000.

This month's file photo was of Pelosi and Schumer, neither of whom are named in the article.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:05 AM EDT
Thursday, June 30, 2022
CNS Editor Still Covering Up Huge Amount Of Federal Debt Under Trump
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com editor Terry Jeffrey is continuing to obsess about the federal debt under President Biden the way he refused to under President Trump. He huffed in a Jan. 26 column:

When President Joe Biden was sworn in on Jan. 20, 2021, the federal government's debt stood at $27,751,896,236,414.77.

When his first year in office ended on Jan. 20, 2022, it stood at $29,867,021,509,573.92.

That means that during Biden's first 12 months in office, the federal debt grew by more than $2 trillion — or $2,115,125,273,159.15 to be exact.

How do you put that in perspective?

The United States of America had existed for 210 years — and 40 presidents had served as this nation's chief executive — before the debt first topped $2 trillion in 1986.

Jeffrey's attempt at "perspetive," however, glossed over the debt created by a certain Republican president:

Then it rose to $10,626,877,048,913.08 by January 20, 2009, the day President Barack Obama took office; then to $19,947,304,555,212.49 by January 20, 2017, when President Donald Trump took office; then to $27,751,896,236,414.77 on January 20, 2021, when Biden took the oath.

Jeffrey is certainly not going to point out that the federal debt under Obama went up only $1 trillion more over eight years that Trump accumulated in four. Instead, Jeffrey attacked Biden for signing a COVID relief package.

Jeffrey was at it again in a May 4 "news" article:

The federal debt has increased by $2,650,725,664,597.74 since President Joe Biden was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2021, according to the official numbers published by the U.S. Treasury.

At the close of business on Biden’s Inaugural Day, the federal debt stood at $27,751,896,236,414.77, according to the Treasury. At the close of business on Monday, the most recent day for which the numbers are available, the debt was $30,402,621,901,012.51.

The increase from the $27,751,896,236,414.77 debt on Biden’s Inaugural day to the $30,402,621,901,012.51 on Monday equals $2,650,725,664,597.74.

The word "Trump" appeared nowhere in Jeffrey's article, even though Biden's pace of debt is roughly that of Trump's.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:40 AM EDT
Tuesday, June 28, 2022
CNS Tries Hard To Deceive Readers Into Thinking That Capitol Riot Hearings Aren't News
Topic: CNSNews.com

Like its Media Research Center parent, its "news" division CNSNews.com was under orders (from Brent Bozell? The dark-money powers that be in the conservative movement?) not to report any news that came out of the hearings from the House committee examining the Capitol riot and the events leading up to it and to attack the existence and legitimacy of the committee itself -- which seems counter to CNS' self-proclaimed mission as, you know, a "news" organization. Susan Jones was quick to dismiss findings that hadn't even been revealed in a June 6 article before the first hearing:

On Thursday night, the Select House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol will hold its first prime-time televised hearing so Committee Democrats -- and the committee's two Republican members -- can portray "the extent, the expanse, how broad this multi-pronged effort was" to overturn the 2020 presidential election, as Republican Rep. Liz Cheney put it on Sunday.

According to Cheney, the attack on the Capitol by an unruly mob of Trump supporters was "extremely broad, "well-organized," and "really chilling."

[...]

Schiff refused to say what witnesses might appear before the committee on Thursday night. But he did say that the "propensity for violence" will be one of the themes explored -- an interesting angle, given the failure by congressional officials to prepare for the violence they apparently anticipated.

Jones is leaning into the right-wing conspiracy theory that Nancy Pelosi somehow stopped the Capitol police from being fully prepared for the events of that day.

Jones was in full biased froth in a June 8 article, and she had one of CNS' most quotable congressmen to help in in that froth:

The House committee investigating the events of January 6th -- strategically leaking along the way -- has scheduled its first public hearing in prime time tomorrow night.

Most media outlets will cover the info-tainment event live, but not Fox News.

Appearing on Fox News Tuesday night, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said it's a sham hearing, politically motivated:

"This is the only committee hearing I've ever seen in Congress where there was not an opportunity to cross-examine witnesses because there is no Republican on that committee who will do it," Jordan told "The Ingraham Angle."

The only two Republicans on the committee are Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, both of them anti-Trumpers who fully agree with Democrats that the attack on the U.S. Capitol by an unruly mob amounted to "insurrection" and a threat to democracy.

The only person shot and killed on that day was an unarmed protester coming through a window.

[...]

Assisting the committee with its "choreographed" production is former ABC News President James Goldston.

Jones is leaning into another right-wing narrative, that the "unarmed protester," Ashli Babbitt, is a martyr to the cause despite the fact that she was part of a mob that had broken the window she was climbing to get through, thus making her a reasonable threat to safety (and, one can article, a domestic terrorist). Needless to say, Jones made no effort to fact-check any of Jordan's rantings.

Apparently because Jordan wasn't ranty enough, a June 9 article by Craig Bannister depicts CNS' favorite right-wing radio host going completely unhinged:

Not since the Salem Witch Trials has the U.S. seen such a one-sided prosecution of Americans who aren’t allowed to defend themselves, Constitutional Scholar Mark Levin said Wednesday, commenting on the Democrats’ Jan. 6 Select Committee investigation and hearings into the 2021 Capitol riots.

On the eve of Thursday’s nationally-televised hearing designed to smear, vilify and criminalize former President Donald Trump and select Republicans, Levin made his case during an appearance on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity”:

“Never in American history, except maybe the Salem Witch Trial, have we had a court of law, or more recently, a Congressional hearing with just one side. Just one side.

“This is a Stalinist show-trial. Google it. DuckDuck it. Bing it. Go see what I mean,” Levin said.

[...]

Levin said that, when Republicans take over the House, “I hope they will investigate this committee; I hope that they will subpoena Nancy and Hoyer and all the rest” of the Democrats who actually did make threats and encourage unlawful protests intended to influence Supreme Court justices.

Like Jones, Bannister doesn't believe in fact-checking people he agrees with, though he works for a "news" organization.

Because it was under orders not to cover news, CNS devoted no "news"article to the findings revealed at the June 9 prime-time hearing. Indeed, the next day the hearing's findings were nowhere to be found at the top of CNS' front page, which was furiously covering everything but the hearing, as this screenshot of the CNS front page from the early afternoon of June 10 shows: 


After the hearing, CNS offered only opinions, not facts. Bannister was a servile conduit for more of that in a June 10 article:

"This is a kangaroo court; this is a fixed jury," liberal Democrat and Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz said Thursday, commenting on Democrats’ nationally-televised Jan. 6 Select Committee hearing.

In an interview with Newsmax, the Constitutional scholar condemned the hearing for its unfairness, partisanship and denial of due process, as well as for its predetermined conclusion.

Neither Bannister nor Dershowitz mentioned the fact that this is a hearing, not a legal proceeding.This was followed by an article from Micky Wooten, a summer intern who has been given the grand title of "Investigative Journalism Fellow":

Jan. 6 rioters causing the death of 5 cops is a "pure lie," Fox News host Tucker Carlson said Thursday, while the Jan. 6 committee held its primetime hearing.

Carlson first blasted a Wednesday "CBS Nightly News" segment that parroted this assertion, proceeding to tackle a slew of CNN and MSNBC hosts repeating this falsehood.

“Policing is a tough job, as we’ve noted. But in these specific cases, the one CBS is referring to, the chief of Washington D.C.’s Police Department told the New York Times that actually he had no idea if his officers were driven to kill themselves by Jan. 6," Carlson said, referring to suicides of four cops after Jan. 6. "CBS just made that up."

For being an "Investigative Journalism Fellow," Wooten is bad at investigative journalism. In fact, the suicide of one of those officers has been ruled a line-of-duty death stemming from the injuries he received that day.

Wooten also uncritically regurgitated Carlson's claim that "The D.C. medical examiner performed an autopsy and the autopsy report showed that Officer Brian Sicknick had not suffered any kind of blunt force trauma. He was not beaten to death. He died of a stroke in his office later. " In fact, the medical examiner also ruled that "all that transpired played a role in his condition," meaning his death can be attributed to the insurrection.

Melanie Arter brought back Jordan to spread a new conspiracy theory:

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said Sunday that the reason why House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) didn’t call in the National Guard on Jan. 6 is because of the Democrats’ position on defunding the police.

Jordan said that last week’s prime time Jan. 6 congressional hearing didn’t explain why the U.S Capitol was so vulnerable and why the front-line cops weren’t aware that violence was going to happen.

Arter made no effort to fact-check Jordan's claim.

Meanwhile, Bannister sneered that "On Friday, President Joe Biden said that the Democrats’ nationally-televised Jan. 6 select committee on Thursday was 'all about' saving America’s democracy – but, he didn’t watch it because he had more important things to do." Which, of course, he does because he's the president and his subordinates who can watch those hearings and summarize them for him.

CNS then brought in right-wing college professor Jeffrey McCall to dismiss the hearing as "more as a political event than a search for truth or policy deliberation," adding:

Roughly 20 million Americans tuned in to the televised primetime Jan. 6 committee presentation. That seems like a lot. But considering the committee was trying to convince the nation that American democracy is at risk, that number is rather modest. Given that almost all major television outlets were shamed into providing live coverage, this audience turnout is unimpressive. Either Americans are just too oblivious to recognize the threat to democracy, or they have moved on to other concerns, of which there are many in today’s America.

If the orchestrated hearing had been a boxing match, judges would have ruled it a draw. The committee landed some punches against the Capitol miscreants and former President Trump. But in the aftermath of the hearing, it appears no public groundswell is in the offing. People have had eighteen months to ponder that fateful day and most have already processed it as they see fit.

[...]

If the Jan. 6 committee has to resort to putting on media extravaganzas to make its points, they are already rhetorically losing. 

Because CNS censors non-conservative opinion, no alternative viewpoint to this was offered.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:26 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, June 28, 2022 12:31 AM EDT
Monday, June 27, 2022
CNS Defends DeSantis Over Purported (And Unproven) CRT In Math Textbooks
Topic: CNSNews.com

Craig Bannister showed off his stenographic skills yet again in an April 20 CNSNews.com article:

“Math is about getting the right answer. And, we want kids to learn to think, so get they the right answer,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) said Monday, explaining why his state has rejected math textbooks that include elements of “social justice” ideology.

“It’s not about how you ‘feel’ about the problem, or to introduce some of these other things,” Gov. DeSantis explained in his speech. Math education should not be used to indoctrinate young students on issues like Critical Race Theory, Social Emotional Learning and Common Core principles, DeSantis said:

“There’s a right answer and there’s a wrong answer. And, we want all our students getting the right answers.

“And so, most of the books that did not meet Florida standards, for whatever reason, happened to be in the early grades. As you get into the older grades, most of those books did meet the standards. But, we’re going to continue to focus the education on the actual, strong academic performance of the students.”

“We don’t want things, like math, to have some of these other concepts introduced. It’s not been proven to be effective and, quite frankly, it takes our eye off the ball,” the governor said.

Florida recently rejected a record number of textbooks for content violating the state's standards, The Daily Wire reported Tuesday.

However, Bannister was silent on the fact that DeSantis offered no specific examples of "social justice ideology" he claimed was appearing in math textbooks; it claimed "proprietary reasons" for hiding that information. In the meantime, others found copies of the books Florida rejected and found no purportedly offensive content, unless you consider encouraging students to be nice or brief bios of black mathematicians to be offensive. Florida did release a couple examples a few days later, but they were presented without context and were apparently not targeted to elementary students.

When Florida released more detailed information on what reviewers found, it was clear that, as the Washington Post reported, "The reviewers overwhelmingly noted that the books had avoided forbidden topics such as critical race theory" and that there were only a few overly sensitive right-wing reviewers who complained about such things like a (completely factual) statement that the U.S. has not eradicated racism or that the Federalist Papers weren't referenced in a math discussion of the Electoral College. Those reviewersalso pushing talking points against "social-emotional learning," the new outrage among hateful right-wing activists.

Bannister didn't report on any of those later developments -- no need to let facts get in the way of a good right-wing narrative.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:59 PM EDT
Sunday, June 26, 2022
CNS' Homophobic Managing Editor Pushes Anti-Transgender Attacks
Topic: CNSNews.com

In talking about transphobia at CNSNews.com, we can't ignore the contributions from its notoriously homophobic managing editor, Michael W. Chapman.We've already noted his freakout over a transgender flag being flown outside the building for a federal agency, but there's so much more.

In a March 29 article, Chapman cheered his favorite right-wing homophobic minister, Franklin Graham, for helping to advance CNS' war on Ketanji Brown Jackson by endorsing the gotcha question Republicans asked her regarding the defintion of a woman: "Where are we going as a nation when a nominee for our highest court will not define what a woman is?" Graham also took a swipe at transgender college swimmer Lia Thomas, and Chapman concluded with a series of cherry-picked Bible verses designed to suggest transgender people are evil and going to hell.

Chapman used an April 19 article to try to shove transgender people back into the closet because they're purportedly not enough of them to be concerned about:

Although many liberal activists and lawmakers, including President Joe Biden, use their influence to promote transgender people throughout society -- see sports, modeling, cable TV, public schools, government, military -- the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that nearly 1 million people identify as transgender in the U.S., which is 0.3% of the population, or less than 1%. 

According to the Census Bureau, the U.S. population is 331,893,745 (as of July 1, 2021). One million transgenders equals 0.3% of the total population.

Chapman then smeared transgender people as filthy disease vectors:

The CDC also reports that in 2019 (latest data available), there were "36,801 total new HIV diagnoses in the U.S. and dependent areas."  Among those diagnosed with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, 671 people were transgender, about 2% of the total diagnoses. 

On a related note, gay and bisexual men made up 69% of the new HIV diagnoses: 25,552 people. 

For the transgender women (biological males) newly diagnosed with HIV -- 625 total -- blacks made up 46% of the cases, or 289 people. Hispanic trans women made up 35% of the cases, 221 people, and white trans females comprised 13% of the new diagnoses, 80 people.

For the HIV-positive among trans men (biological females) -- 46 total -- 41% (19 people) were black, 26% (12) were Hispanic, and 24% (11) were white. 

According to the CDC, "there are several challenges that place transgender people at higher risk of HIV." This includes transphobia, racism, HIV stigma, and lack of knowledge.

Chapman loves portraying LGBT people as worthless HIV carriers.

In addition to rehashing hic complaint that "Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra had the transgender flag flown outside HHS headquarters in Washington, D.C.  ... the first time in U.S. history that the trans flag had been displayed outside a federal building," Chapman also cited right-wing anti-transgender psychiatrist Paul McHugh as well as the anti-LGBT Family Research Council without identifying the anti-LGBT ideology; he did, however, identify the Human Rights Campaign as "pro-LGBTQ."

Chapman wpent an April 25 article ranting that Notre Dame refused to hate LGBTQ people as much as he does, claiming the school can't really be Catholic unless it does:

Although the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., is supposed to be a Catholic institution "defined by its Catholic character," it sponsors an LGBTQ+ alumni group that held a campus event this month to honor one of the plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case that legalized "gay marriage." The alumni association also gave an award to South Bend transgender activist Meghan Buell.

[...]

An alumni group of faithful Catholics that oppose the Notre Dame sponsorship of the ARC, the Sycamore Trust,  is headed by 1952 alumnus William Dempsey. He told the National Catholic Register that the ARC ND awards event was a "scandal of the first order."

“Notre Dame’s official blessing of an LGBT alumni group hostile to Church teaching on sex, marriage and gender has had its predictable result,” he said.  “The very first act of the new official LGBT organization is sponsorship of an ‘LGBT Awards Weekend’ to celebrate prominent proponents of same-sex marriage and gender change."

Dempsey also cited a document issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops entitled Catholics in Public Life. It partly reads, "The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions."

Chapman doesn't explain where, exactly, it is "Catholic character" to spew hatred at LGBT people as he demands, or why one can only be "faithful" if you spread that hate. And, again, he ended with some Bible verses.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:09 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, June 26, 2022 11:27 AM EDT
Friday, June 24, 2022
CNS Did Other Narrative-Pushing After Buffalo Massacre
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com defended the honor of the right-wing replacement theory after the racist Buffalo shooter invoked it in his manifesto, but that wasn't the only place it went into defense mode. A May 17 article by Susan Jones complaining that President Biden was going to Buffalo defended the theory without using its name (while also complaining that some critics wouldn't mention Fox News by name):

As some leftist pundits on cable television blame a rival conservative-leaning network for promoting racist "conspiracy theories," White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre on Monday refused to name names -- even when the reporter did.

Note that in Jones' world, the critics are "leftist" while Fox News is merely "conservative-leaning."

Melanie Arter served up a perfunctory stenography piece on Biden's appearance in Buffalo. Meanwhile, a May 19 article by Craig Bannister helped scandal-tarred lawyer Alan Dershowitz play whataboutism over the massacre by criticizing Democrats and non-white people, declaring that he said taht "Biden needs to take the next – and more difficult – step, by going to other cities and calling on Black leaders to denounce Black-on-Asian and Black-on-Jewish crime" and "In particular, Biden should also call out radical Democrats in Congress, like those who call themselves 'The Squad,' who represent 'bigotry, anti-Semitism and racism.'"

CNS also took a stab at sending its interns out to pester senators about the right-wing issue du jour. This this one, the question -- based on the fact that the Buffalo shooter and the one who perpetrated the massacre in Uvalde, Texas, were both 18 -- started out by asking: "Federal law sets the legal drinking age at 21. Should federal law also make 21 the legal age for buying guns?" These senators got that question:

But when an intern asked Democratic Rep. Andy Kim of New Jersey the question, it had been flipped around: "Under federal law, a person can buy a rifle at 18, but can’t buy alcohol until they’re 21. Should the drinking age be lowered to 18?"

The interns didn't ask that question in either form after that, apparently deciding it didn't sufficiently serve right-wing narratives.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:58 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, June 24, 2022 9:23 PM EDT
Thursday, June 23, 2022
CNS Intern Writes Fake-News Article
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com summer intern Ben Kelley wrote in a June 6 article:

The Oak Park and River Forest High School in Chicago reportedly will change its grading system next year to “equitable grading,” an approach that eliminates such grading factors as class participation and turning homework in on time because underprivileged students may not be able to master those skills.

According to the school’s Strategic Plan, dated May 26, 2022, the school has found that “traditional grading practices perpetuate inequities and intensify the opportunity gap.” The presentation goes on to explain that teachers have begun implementing equitable grading practices such as “eliminating zeros from the grade book” and that the school “will continue the process necessary to make grading improvements that reflect our core beliefs.”

Supporters of “equitable grading,” such as educator Ken Shelton, claim it minimizes grading biases, which are “rooted in racism, anti-Blackness, sexism, transphobia, and ableism.” Critics, however, say “equitable grading” hurts students of color and “impede[s] their success as adults” – it is “bigotry of low expectations,” remarked Wesley J. Smith, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute.

As reported on May 30, 2022 by the West Cook News, “Oak Park and River Forest High School administrators will require teachers next school year to adjust their classroom grading scales to account for the skin color or ethnicity of its students.”

Just one problem: that's not true. The story was effectively manufactured by the West Cook News -- a anonymously written "pink slime" website run by right-wing dark-money operatives (the leader of which has his own shady journalistic history) posing as legitimate local news. As a legitimate news operation pointed out:

But the erroneous story cited no actual policy changes, and the school said in a statement that the claim is false. “OPRFHS does not, nor has it ever had a plan to, grade any students differently based on race,” the statement said.

The article instead mischaracterized a May 26 school Board of Education meeting, at which a committee focused on grading and assessment presented an initial report. The report noted at one point that “traditional grading practices perpetuate inequities and intensify the opportunity gap.”

At “no time were any statements made recommending that OPRF implement a race-based grading approach,” the school’s statement continued.

Bizarrely, Kelley violated journalistic ethics by waiting until the sixth paragraph of his story to explain that the previous five were false:

On May 31, following criticism of the school’s reported decision, the Oak Park and River Forest High School announced that a final decision to implement a race-based grading system had not been made.

The school said the West Cook News article contained “a variety of misleading and inaccurate statements,” and explained that before any grading changes are made they must first be “made to the Board at a public meeting.”

Kelley then tried to justify spreading this lie by adding: "So, although Oak Park and River Forest High School has not made a final decision, it is discussing and considering 'equitable grading.'"

Again: Despite the fact that the real story is that an secretive right-wing website spread a falsehood, Kelley spread the falsehood and downplayed the fact that it was false.

It's hard to know who to blame for this. This story was debunked a few days before Kelley's story was published, so there's basically no possible way he could not have known that.Which leaves two explanations: 1) Kelley knew the story was false and wrote it up anyway, and 2) Kelley was made to do a bogus story by his CNS overlords. Neither of which makes CNS look good.

If Terry Jeffrey and Co. are going to force interns to write stories they know are false, what exactly is the value of a CNS internship? It certainly has nothing to do with "news" -- it's all about forwarding right-wing narratives no matter their accuracy.

If CNS is knowingly publishing false stories, that's a black mark on the organization and a reason nobody should trust its work.

We've contacted CNS to give it a chance to respond to our concerns. We'll let you know if it responds.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:06 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, June 23, 2022 2:32 PM EDT
Wednesday, June 22, 2022
CNS Sticks To Right-Wing Spin After Durham's Trial Failure
Topic: CNSNews.com

Even though the Media Research Center obsessed over John Durham's prosecution of Michael Sussmann, its "news" division CNSNews.com largely ignored Sussmann's trial. Prior to the trial, an April 5 article by Craig Bannister hyped how "In a court filing Monday night, Special Counsel John Durham presents an alleged text message from Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann falsely telling the FBI that he was not working on behalf of any client when he delivered anti-Trump research in 2016," citing biased website Just The News, and a May 6 article by Bannister touted how Republican Rep. Jim Jordan proclaimed that Durham "wants jurors to know the truth about the origin and handling of the FBI’s so-called 'Trump-Russia Collusion' investigation."

CNS devoted no "news" coverage to Sussmann's trial while it was going on; the only mention came in a May 26 column by R. Emmett Tyrrell promoting campaign operative Robby Mook's testimony at the trial. then unironically complaining that "I looked through The New York Times and The Washington Postwith my legendary thoroughness and could find no hint of Mook's testimony. Not even in the Help Wanted sections, not even in the much-vaunted Style section." He wouldn't have found it at  CNS either, but he didn't mention that part. In an apparent bit of pre-verdict spin, Tyrrell then declared, "Once again, Hillary has been caught in a lie, perhaps the most shocking lie of her career. She tried to throw an election."

After the verdict -- in which Sussmann was acquitted -- a "news" article finally discussed the trial, in a June 2 stenography piece by Melanie Arter quoting former Trump attorney general Bill Barr spouting the approved talking points, that the jury was biased Durham advanced right-wing talking points:

A federal jury in Washington, D.C. -- a jury that included Hillary Clinton donors and supporters -- on Tuesday acquitted Washington attorney Michael Sussmann on a charge of lying to the FBI in 2016 about his actions on behalf of the Hillary Clinton campaign.

The case was prosecuted by Special Counsel John Durham, who was asked three years ago by then-Attorney General Bill Barr to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia "hoax," as President Donald Trump called it.

Barr on Wednesday praised Durham for doing "an exceptionally able job, both digging out very important facts and presenting a compelling case to the jury."

Barr told Fox News's Jesse Waters [sic] on Wednesday that although Durham did not persuade a D.C. jury to convict Sussmann, "I think he accomplished something far more important, which is he brought out the truth in two important areas.

[...]

“And in government cases, that means a D.C. jury, which is a very favorable jury for anyone named Clinton and the Clinton campaign. Those are the facts of life, and to get mad at law enforcement people because proving these cases beyond a reasonable doubt is difficult work --it's childish.”

[...]

"There are two standards of the law. And we've had to struggle with that," Barr said. "And people have done, I think, a very good job trying to develop this case in the face of very strong headwinds.

“And part of this operation is to try to get the real story out. And I've said from the beginning, if we can get convictions, if they're achievable, then John Durham will achieve them," Barr said.

Since this was only a stenography piece, Arter made no effort to balance her article with someone who supported the verdict and the rule of law, let alone mention that it was Durham's responsibility to keep potential jurors he thought were biased off the jury or to try and move the trial to a jurisdiction he believed might be more favorable to his case.

No other articles have since discussed the trial or its verdict, leaving Arter's biased piece as the only one, despite CNS' own pledge in the money beg at end of her article that it "covers the news as it should be, without fear or favor."


Posted by Terry K. at 6:17 PM EDT
Tuesday, June 21, 2022
CNS Giving Scandal-Tarred Gaetz (But Not His Scandal) The Headline Treatment Again
Topic: CNSNews.com

We've noted how CNSNews.com loved to quote Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz until last year, when he had to lay low after allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old girl surfaced as well as questions about whether that constituted sex trafficking. AFter a brief article when the allegations first went public, CNS has almost completely censored news of the scandal, even though a close Gaetz friend pleaded guilty to charges in the case and his ex-girlfriend was granted immunity so she could tell her story to a grand jury. (And they certainly weren't going to mention Gaetz's abysmal book sales.)

Now, it appears both Gaetz and CNS are tired of laying low -- and CNS is back to giving Gaetz free publicity. It eased into giving Gaetz the headline-stenography treatment it gave him before his scandal went public at the start of this year for spouting conservatively correct things:

There was an interlude where it didn't go well for Gaetz; when CNS sent an intern out in April to pester senators about whether they use marijuana after the House voted to decriminalize it, it noted that Gaetz was one of the few Republicans who voted for that bill.

Then, starting with an April 27 article, CNS resumed the headline treatment with four more articles:

The one about Russia, of course, is a reflection of CNS' editorial policy of appeasing Russian leader Vladimir Putin because he spouts conservatively correct things and bashes President Biden.

You will not be surprised to learn that none of these articles mention the fact that Gaetz remains under federal investigation for his scandals.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:22 AM EDT
Monday, June 20, 2022
CNS Unemployment Coverage Distortion Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

Under a headline that sneeringly dismissed great employment news as merely "not bad," Susan Jones' lead CNSNews.com article on May's employment numbers still -- still! -- made a point of reminding people that things were even better in the pre-pandemic Trump years and, in CNS style, continued to obsess over the labor force participation rate since that's a number that can be used to obscure the unambiguously positive numbers:

Non-farm payrolls added 390,000 jobs in May, better than the consensus estimate of 350,000, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday.

With that gain, non-farm employment is down by 822,000, or just 0.5 percent, from its pre-pandemic level in February 2020.

The number of employed people increased by 321,000 to 158,426,000; the number of unemployed people also increased, by 9,000, and this produced an unemployment rate of 3.6 percent for the third straight month. (The number of employed Americans set 25 records under President Trump, reaching an all-time high of 158,866,000 in February 2020.)

In a positive move, the labor force participation rate moved up slightly.

In May, the civilian non-institutional population in the United States was 263,679,000. That included all people 16 and older who did not live in an institution, such as a prison, nursing home or long-term care facility.

Of that civilian non-institutional population, 164,376,000 were participating in the labor force, meaning they were either employed or unemployed -- they either had a job or were actively seeking one during the last month. This resulted in a labor force participation rate of 62.3 percent in May, up from 62.2 percent in April, but still a tenth of a point lower than the 62.4 percent achieved in March.

The participation rate was 61.4 percent when Joe Biden took office. Today's number, 62.3 percent, is still below the Trump-era high of 63.4 percent in February 2020, just before COVID shut things down.

CNS downplayed this good news further by failing to place it in the lead-story slot at the top center of CNS' front page. That honor went to editor Terry Jeffrey's usual sidebar on government employment that "increased by 57,000 in May," which passes as bad news in the CNS bubble because government employment is evil, apparently. But Jeffrey didn't play the Trump game that Jones did, because the graph accompanying his article shows that government employment, like general employment, peaked in early 2020 before the pandemic -- and, thus, under Trump, whose history of prolifigate spending has also been hidden by CNS because it conflicts with the official (and bogus) narrative of him as a fiscally responsible conservative.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:38 PM EDT
Sunday, June 19, 2022
CNS Cheers Bishop Denying Pelosi Communion
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com was already engaging in a new round of attacks on Nancy Pelosi for failing to impose her Catholic faith on the entire country by agitating for abortion bans when it got an assist from her San Francisco bishop, who felt the need to insert himself into this political issue. Craig Bannister cheered in a May 20 article:

Because of her steadfast and outspoken opposition to Church teaching on abortion, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has been banned from receiving Holy Communion, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone announced Friday.

“After numerous attempts to speak with Speaker Pelosi to help her understand the grave evil she is perpetrating, the scandal she is causing, and the danger to her own soul she is risking, I have determined that she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion,” Archbishop Cordileone tweeted, linking to a copy of an open "letter to the faithful" on the archdiocese website.

According to the letter, Pelosi is banned from communion “unless and until she publicly repudiate her support for abortion ‘rights’ and confess and receive absolution for her cooperation in this evil in the sacrament of Penance,” the archbishop writes. “I have accordingly sent her a Notification to this effect, which I have now made public.”

CNS was so giddy about this development that it plastered its front page that day with all the anti-abortion attacks it had published on Pelosi and President Biden over the past few months:

An anonymously written article the next day quoted Cordileone claiming that he wanted to “help her understand that it is unacceptable to kill babies in the womb," adding: "I know people will accuse me of being political, but this is not political at all. It’s pastoral."As much as we hate to accuse a Catholic priest of lying, he's clearly lying here -- he has very deliberately inserted himself into a political debate with an action he knows will give him positive attention in certain political circles (witness the above work on CNS' front page). There's simply no plausible way for him to deny being political.

The attacks on Pelosi continued. For a May 23 article, Bannister dug up a 19-year-old interview in which Pelosi claimed she "would rather have been a priest because priests have more power" (which Bannister doesn't refute). The next day, Susan Jones complained that Pelosi called out Cordileone's hypocrisy in sanctioning her on abortion while ignoring other Catholics who don't follow church teaching on other political issues (which also went unrefuted):

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who often professes her Catholic faith, nevertheless supports a woman's right to abort a baby. Last week, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco publicly announced that Pelosi should not take Holy Communion until she repudiates her support for abortion.

Pelosi responded Tuesday morning, telling MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that the archbishop also opposes the death penalty and LGBTQ rights, but he does not deny Holy Communion to people who don't share those views.

She also suggested that many pro-life advocates reject the Gospel of Matthew, in which Jesus instructs his followers to "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’"

CNS went on to cheer that other Catholic bishops were getting on the denial bandwagon:

Even though that last article claimed "many" bishops support Cordelione, writer Janey Olohan lists only eight -- a tiny number given that there are 196 bishop-run dioceses, archdioceses and other units in the U.S.

And, of course, the usual uber-Catholic suspects felt the need to weigh in, led by dishonest Catholic Bill Donohue:

  • He huffed on May 23 that Pelosi "has been begging for a confrontation with him for many years. Now she has succeeded." He then gushed over Cordileone: Over the past decade, Archbishop Cordileone has demonstrated great prudence and patience in dealing with Pelosi. He is a man of courage and goodwill, and a loyal son of the Catholic Church."
  • Donohue ranted in a May 24 column that Pelosi "is at war with the Catholic Church," adding: "There is not a single Church teaching on women, marriage, the family, or sexuality that Pelosi accepts, so out of touch is she with the Catholic Church. There are atheists who agree more with the Church on these issues than she does."
  • Donohue's June 8 column was devoted to Pelosi's responses to criticisms of various bishops and others, again huffing, "There is no Catholic politician who has a record of openly defying the Catholic Church on the issues of women, marriage, the family, and sexuality worse than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi."

Anti-abortion obsessive CNS editor Terry Jeffrey used his May 25 column to bash Pelosi, starting with rehashing a gotcha question a CNS reporter asked her in 2015. After a lot of lecturing, Jeffrey declared that "Archbishop Cordileone did the right thing. Now, Speaker Pelosi should do the right thing and join the pro-life cause." Like his other writers, Jeffrey didn't refute Pelosi pointing out Cordileone's hypocrisy in sanctioning her but ignoring others who violate church teachings on other issues.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:20 PM EDT
Friday, June 17, 2022
CNS Tries To Parse Replacement Theory After Buffalo Massacre
Topic: CNSNews.com

Like its Media Research Center parent, CNSNews.com was promoting the right-wing replacement theory well before the Buffalo supermarket shooter invoked it. We've already noted how CNS hyped its favorite group of right-wing rabbis, the Coalition for Jewish Values, defending Fox News host Tucker Carlson's embrace of replacement theory, but there are other pre-massacre examples as well:

  • CNS published a May 2021 column by Michelle Malkin ranting against foreigners being allowed to live in the U.S., "The numbers don't lie. Replacement theory isn't a theory. It's a grim reality."
  • A September 2021 column by anti-critical race theory obsessive Christopher Rufo complained that reporting showed that "are a 'backlash' against 'rapid demographic change' and “the exposure of white students to students of color" and that "fear of 'white replacement' and the desire to 'protect whiteness' motivate the anti-critical race theory movement" -- which he insisted was "nonsense" because "Americans have moved past the politics of the 1960s. They are tolerant, integrated, and in agreement that malicious racial theories of all kinds should stay out of the classroom."
  • A December 2021 column by Pat Buchanan cheered anti-immigration sentiment in France stirred up by activists like Eric Zemmour and Renaud Camus: "The English translation of Camus' book is entitled, 'You Will Not Replace Us!' Growing numbers of Western peoples appear to fear exactly what it is that Zemmour and Camus say they fear."

After the shooting, CNS was -- again, like the MRC -- in full deflection mode and desperate to try and change the subject, as in this May 17 article by Susan Jones:

The effort to squelch conservative speech continues in this country, as liberals and leftists try to demonize Republicans and conservatives with the "white supremacy" label, especially those who object to President Biden's wide-open border, which appears to be a political liability for Democrats.

"Replacement theory," apparently espoused by the racist Buffalo gunman in his "manifesto," is the most recent attempt to make Republicans/conservatives shut up about the rising tide of illegal immigration and the country's changing demographics.

 

Murphy, appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," was asked to comment on "this obsession with white supremacy and the replacement theory, this racist replacement theory," as guest Eugene Daniels phrased it.

[...]

On Sunday, The New York Times reported that "replacement theory" exists at "the extremes of American life...the notion that Western elites, sometimes manipulated by Jews, want to 'replace' and disempower white Americans."

The report said the theory "has become an engine of racist terror, helping inspire a wave of mass shootings in recent years and fueling the 2017 right-wing rally in Charlottesville, Va., that erupted in violence" [and prompted Joe Biden to run for president].

Fox News host Tucker Carlson is a frequent target of leftists who want to topple him from his prominent cable news platform for various reasons, including his blunt criticism of President Biden's immigration policies.

Jones then uncritically transcribed Carlson spouting replacement theory, as if she thought that would help. She also didn't mention that replacement theory had previously been promoted on the pages of CNS.

The same day, Melanie Arter complained that "President Biden called on Americans to reject the so-called replacement theory in the wake of the mass shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y., that claimed the lives of 10 people and injured three more."

Jones returned the next day to complain that Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer called out Carlson's replacement theory obsession and wouldn't fall for an in-person Fox News ambush, then followed its MRC parent in pulling the ol' switcheroo to blame Democrats for the theory:

Instead of blaming the very troubled teenager who opened fire on shoppers in Buffalo, deliberately targeting them because of their race; and instead of blaming the adults who knew there was something wrong with the kid but failed to get him help; the top Democrat in Congress instead is blaming Fox News and, implicitly, Tucker Carlson for the violence.

In a letter to Fox News obtained by liberal media outlets, Schumer implored Fox News "to immediately cease all dissemination of false white nationalist, far-right conspiracy theories on your network."

Schumer specifically mentions the "great replacement theory" mentioned on some Fox broadcasts.

[...]

Hours before Carlson's show aired, Schumer tweeted: ".@TuckerCarlson invited me on his show tonight to debate the letter I sent to @FoxNews. I'm declining. Tucker Carlson needs to stop promoting the racist, dangerous ‘Replacement Theory’."

Tucker Carlson on Tuesday night noted that Americans are suddenly hearing a lot about the "great replacement theory" -- which actually figures in Democrat politics, he noted, as Democrats seek to cement their political power by flooding the country with illegal immigrants who are presumed to be future Democrat voters.

Carlson played video snippets of various Democrats, including Joe Biden in 2015, touting -- actually celebrating -- a white minority USA.

"So you can play clips of them saying it, and you're the deranged conspiracy nut!" Carlson said.

Jones didn't mention that making note of demographic changes that might benefit Democrats and accusing Democrats of perpetrating an evil conspiracy to replace white people with swarthy foreigners, as Carlson and other Fox Newsers have been doing, are two separate things.

CNS also used columnists to help promote the switcheroo argument. Ben Shapiro insisted that right-wingers' concern about swarthy foreigners replacing white people "is not the great replacement theory, which centers on racial purity rather than the idea that changing demographics have an effect on political orientation." And dishonest Catholic Bill Donohue ranted: "If these progressive members of the ruling class were better educated, they would know that the origins of 'replacement theory' can be traced to the ruling class members of the Progressive Era, people just like themselves, not with right-wing nuts."


Posted by Terry K. at 2:07 PM EDT
Thursday, June 16, 2022
CNS Still Giving Space To Dishonest DINO Gabbard
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com has been giving a platform over the past several mon ths to Democrat-in-name-only and Russia enthusiast Tulsi Gabbard to push anti-Biden and pro-Russia narratives. That dubious platform has continued; Craig Bannister seved up another on in a May 2 article:

Former Democrat [sic] presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard says Democrats, and some Republicans, need to do their homework, so they’ll remember what “freedom of speech” truly means.

Monday, in a video posted in her Twitter thread, Gabbard calls out Democrats who claim to oppose dictatorships, but don’t speak out against the Department of Homeland Security’s new “Misinformation and Disinformation Governance Board,” which critics have dubbed the Biden Administration’s “Ministry of Truth”:

“To all the Democrats out there who say, over and over again, about how you stand strong against dictatorships: I’m wondering where your voice is now, condemning this creation of a Ministry of Truth in our own Department of Homeland Security.”

What’s even more troubling is that even some Republicans actually support the creation of such a government “propaganda board,” Gabbard says:

Bannister also let Gabbard fearmonger about the board in a May 19 article that gave her second billing in the headline: "Former Democrat [sic] presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard issued a similar warning on Thursday, tweeting that Americans need to beware that a new government “Ministry of Truth” might be created, using a different name."

Bannister graced Gabbard with yet another article on June 6:

The Biden Administration is claiming that it alone can determine truth in order to justify using the full power of government to punish dissent, former congresswoman and Democrat [sic] presidential contender Tulsi Gabbard warned on Saturday.

In her keynote speech at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver, Colorado, Gabbard warned of the Biden Administration’s use of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) to declare what is “true,” and not “misinformation” – and, then, enforce its decrees.

“One of the latest tactics that they are using, as you well know, is they claim they want to protect us from ‘misinformation,’ protect us from that which they claim is not true,” Gabbard said.

Bannister went on to write that "'Even more dangerous than getting canceled is how they weaponize the government against the people,' Gabbard warned, noting how President Biden is using the DHS to target anti-authority views and DOJ to go after parents who disagree with school board policies." In fact, as we documented when CNS pushed this same lie, the DHS never targeted -peole for merely disagreeing with school board policies; the target was those parents who engaged in abusive and threatening behavior.

The fact that Gabbard spoke at a right-wing conference -- and that Bannister refuses to spell "Democratic" correctly -- should signal that Gabbard is no actual Democrat, but he has a narrative to push, not facts to report.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:14 AM EDT
Wednesday, June 15, 2022
NEW ARTICLE: CNS' Russia-Friendly Columnists
Topic: CNSNews.com
When CNSNews.com columnists weren't defending Russia's invasion of Ukraine, they were bashing NATO and criticizing the U.S. for bothering to defend Ukraine. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:42 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 15, 2022 1:44 AM EDT

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