ConWebBlog: The Weblog of ConWebWatch

your New Media watchdog

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

Sunday, December 4, 2022
MRC Can't Stop Its Musk-Fluffing Campaign
Topic: Media Research Center

Ever since Elon Musk showed an interest in buying Twitter, the Media Research Center has effectively been his servile handmaiden, gushing over everything he does and defending him against all criticism -- even criticism the MRC itself leveled at him pre-Twitter. One of his chief defenders and stenographers, Autumn Johnson, kept up the narrative by attacking more critics in a Nov. 13 post:

The New York Times assembled a team of four technology reporters to pen a bizarre hit piece over the weekend targeting Tesla CEO Elon Musk and his apparently nauseating takeover of Twitter.

At least four Times writers contributed to an article of over 2,500 words slamming Musk’s recent changes at Twitter, one of which includes his promise that the platform would no longer unfairly censor conservatives.

It appeared on The Times's website Friday under the headline "Two Weeks of Chaos: Inside Elon Musk's Takeover of Twitter."

The article accused Musk of cruelly treating employees during the layoff process:

Johnson identified nothing inaccurate in the Times article. Instead, she moved into her usual hero-worship mode:

Much of the criticism Musk has received stems from his promise to promote free speech online and ensure that content moderation is fairly applied when needed. 

Last week, NewsBusters reported that Musk reaffirmed his commitment to free speech while not magnifying hate speech in an online meeting with investors.

“We have to be tolerant of views we don’t agree with, but those views don’t need to be amplified,” he said.

Again, Johnson was silent about the fact that Musk has suspended Twitter accounts that made fun of him, which contradicts his colerance plea.

Catherine Salgado ignored that too, instead proudly proclaiming Musk as the chief mocker in a Nov. 14 post and that others need a sense of humor:

Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) might need to develop a sense of humor after Twitter owner Elon Musk mocked him on his newly-acquired platform. 

The Democrat [sic] Senator threatened Musk’s companies with a congressional investigation after a reporter got a fake account of the senator verified on Musk’s new blue check Twitter program. 

Markey wrote a letter. That drew a jab from Musk that the senator’s real account was already like a parody.

Rather than admit that Musk's blue-check pay scheme was a failiure, Salgado stayed in PR mode, declaring that "It turns out Markey is angry that anyone, not just high-profile leftists, can now be verified on Twitter for only $8 a month."

Gabriela Pariseau cheered in a Nov. 15 post that climate misinformation -- which she dishonestly framed as "climate discussion" -- was spreading on Twitter:

Oh, the horrors of climate denialists having actual free speech online!

So say the climate doomsday propagandists. 

French wire service Agence France-Presse (AFP) wrote a piece complaining about an alleged “surge in misinformation” on Twitter since Elon Musk became the platform’s owner. AFP pointed to the trending #ClimateScam which was the first search suggestion when a user searched the word “climate” on Tuesday morning. 

But the outlet’s liberty-bashing incidentally highlighted Musk’s commitment to allowing free speech on Twitter, including speech he might not fully agree with.

AFP asserted that the top tag on Twitter “#ClimateScam” is evidence of “a rise in misinformation following Elon Musk's takeover of the platform.” But the outlet made no mention of any specific tweets and made no effort to refute any specific examples of misinformation that are allegedly running rampant on the platform.

Instead, the outlet cited unnamed “analysts,” “campaigners,” “researchers,” a report by the megadonor George Soros-funded Institute for Strategic Dialogue, and far-left group Climate Action Against Disinformation (CAAD). 

AFP neglected to mention that Musk has repeatedly shown he cares about the environment and that environmental protection is one of his key focus areas.

Pariseau didn't how CAAD's exposure of climate disinformation is somehow a "far-left" endeavor. Instead, there was even more Musk-gushing: "Musk's nuanced ideas on the environment and energy show the need for open and robust debate and they appear to reflect the wide array of ideas the 'Chief Twit' allows on Twitter."

A Nov. 16 post by Johnson noted that CBS News had suspended posting on Twitter due to the "uncertainty around Twitter" (though she updated to note that CBS resumed posting two days later), going on to whine that "leftist advocacy group Accountable Tech and other progressive groups demanded that corporations pull their ads from Twitter." And a Nov. 20 post by Mark Finkelstein complained MSNBC's Yasmin Vossoughian argued that Musk's reign of chaos "is kind of the beginning of the end of Twitter," going on to huff: "In a no-good-deed-goes-unpunished moment, Vossoughian was very unimpressed by Musk's decision not to allow Alex Jones to return to Twitter." Of course, that's actually just an extremely low bar, given that even Finkelstein is demanding that Jones' account be restored.

Another Nov. 20 post, by Johnson, complained that "several Senate Democrats wrote a letter asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate new Twitter CEO Elon Musk’s major changes at the platform," adding the pro-Musk spin that the senators are claiming that "Musk’s pro-free speech changes, one of which includes ending unfair censorship, are 'alarming'."


Posted by Terry K. at 7:11 PM EST
Saturday, December 3, 2022
MRC Lashes Out At Chrissy Teigen, Tries To Redefine Abortion As A Thought Crime
Topic: Media Research Center

Model Chrissy Tiegen stated in September that the miscarriage she had two years ago was actually an abortion done because neither she nor the fetus would survive the pregnancy. The Media Research Center tried to exploit her tragedy when it happened, and now it's lashing out at ner anew. Tierin-Rose Mandelburg -- the MRC's anti-abortion obsessive who wants to create an Orwellian surveillance state to monitor pregnant women lest they cross state lines to have an abortion -- spent a Sept. 16 post having a fit over her change in terminology. She went on to declare that abortion was essentially a thought crime dependent upon the intentions behind the procedure (even though they are medically the same), then launched into her usual anti-abortion talking points:

Abortion is the intentional termination of a pregnancy. Miscarriages happen unintentionally.

Now, unironically right before election season, Teigen's story shifted. She claimed that she had an abortion to save her life and that it was her only chance. 

That’s a lie that so many people believe. 

The truth is that abortion never saves lives, instead, it ends at least one, each time it is successful. It is tragic in every case, but Teigen did have a miscarriage, she didn’t intend to kill her child.

LifeNews presented a quote from Dr. Ingrid Skop, an OB-GYN to clarify what appears to have happened. 

“In these cases, the purpose of delivery is not to kill the fetus, as in elective abortion, but to save the life of the mother and the life of the fetus, or to save the life of at least one of them,” Skop said.

[...]

“However, abortion activists have attempted to blur these details to make it seem that pro-lifers do not care about women’s lives. Perhaps that is why Teigen now believes her miscarriage was an abortion,” LifeNews commented. 

Teigen’s new testimony is encouraging people to believe that states with pro-life laws will not allow a procedure like hers to happen. That’s not true. Even in states with life-saving laws, if a mother is in imminent danger, doctors are allowed to assist.

In fact, many anti-abortion laws are so vague to the point of being unclear under exactly what conditions an aboriton is permitted  -- with the presumed intent of scaring doctors away from performing them even if medically justified.

Kate Cohen, writing at the Washington Post, pointed out the flaw in Mandelburg's logic:

An abortion is the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy. Unless you believe that a pregnancy should never be deliberately ended — and few people do — abortion should be treated as what it is: a medical procedure. And right-wingers have made it clear that abortion providers will be harrassed even if they performed a perfectly legal procedure, as the state of Indiana's persecution of (and the MRC's own attacks on) Caitlin Bernard for performing a legal abortion on a 10-year-old girl demonstrates.

And yet, because we hear so often that abortions are acts of thoughtlessness, selfishness or cruelty, people find it hard to acknowledge that abortion can be a medical necessity or to call tragedies such as Teigen’s by the correct name.

If those choosing abortion wish desperately that they didn’t have to — if they grieve for their lost baby — then, people seem to think, it couldn’t be an abortion.

[...]

I guess if you believe an abortion is always morally wrong, the idea that it could be clearly morally right simply does not compute. It must be something else!

Sorry — still simply the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy.

Instead of trying to fix her logical flaw, Mandelburg instead accused Tiegen of changing her story for political gain (as well a spouting more anti-abortion talking points):

Teigen is either intentionally lying to the public to further popularize the fallacy that “abortion is healthcare” or she is just unaware. She’s simply trying to use her influence and platform to repeat liberal talking points. 

Side note: It’s important to recognize that regardless of what Teigen calls what happened to her, miscarriage or abortion, she confirmed that what she was carrying was a child and that her child had value. That should be the takeaway, not that abortion is “healthcare” but rather that every single child, in and out of the womb has intrinsic value and the right to live.

Teigen's story is heartbreaking and their family is in desperate need of prayer over the grievance of losing their child Jack, but that doesn’t mean that she should use his tragic death to push a political agenda. 

That’s a new low.

Does Mandelburg think her attacks on Tiegen for explaining the reality of her situation, done to push a political agenda, is a "new low" for her?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:27 PM EST
Updated: Saturday, December 3, 2022 12:30 PM EST
Friday, December 2, 2022
MRC Slow To Restart Defense Of Walker for Runoff
Topic: Media Research Center

It seemed that even the Media Research Center was getting tired of having to defend Herschel Walker before the midterm elections. We've already noted its tepid complaint about too much "negative" coverage of Walker, but it started petering out shortly after it had to defend him over another abortion scandal. Indeed, the only major defense it attempted was in a Nov. 5 post by Mark Finkelstein complaining that MSNBC's Joe Scarborough criticized "black Republican" Walker as lacking "the capacity" to be a senator: "The way Scarborough stumbled and and sighed before claiming Walker lacks 'the capacity' to serve suggested that Joe realized he was getting into dangerous territory. But he decided to go there." And even then, Finkelstein didn't try to counter it.

With no candidate getting a majority in the Georgia Senate race, it was set to to to a runoff between Walker and MRC-detested Democrat Raphael Warnock. A Nov. 14 post by Brad Wimouth was reduced to complaining about a slavery reference:

Several times on Saturday, CNN demonstrated its inability to grasp fact as well as its fixation on racial issues that strained for a reason to discuss slavery within topics you wouldn't expect it. Previewing the upcoming Georgia runoff between Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican nominee Herschel Walker, correspondent Nadia Romero tried to tie the runoff system to slavery.

She first raised the topic at 8:03 a.m. Eastern during an appearance on CNN This Morning Weekend: “So let's talk about the runoff elections in Georgia as a whole. Usually, you see these runoff elections happening in the South -- in the Bible Belt -- in states that were formerly slave-owning states. And that is why so many people, including the Georgia NAACP, say that there is a racist element to why we have runoff elections as a total.”

[...]

But her tracing of the system back to the Reconstruction era of the late 1800s was contradicted two years ago by NBC News correspondent Priscilla Thompson, who recalled that the system was devised in the 1960s after the Supreme Court ruled against previous tactics in limiting black power.

And if the system is inherently racist and meant to penalize the party black Georgians predominantly support (Democrats), then Romero should be asked if it was racist that then-incumbent Senator David Purdue (R) won the initial 2020 vote but later lost the seat due to a runoff stemming from his inability to hit 50 percent.

It's a sign of how much of a non-person Perdue became in Republican circiles after losing that Wilmouth couldn't be bothered to spell his name correctly.

Having finally recovered from its exhaustion, the MRC became ready to defend Walker anew for the runoff. Geoffrey Dickens served up another so-called study on Nov. 17 complaining about an alleged coverage disparity:

The double-standard is atrocious. The Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) evening newscasts have almost completely buried Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock’s child support scandal, spending only 11 seconds on it since September 1.

In stark contrast, the network evening newscasts (September 1 - November 16) flooded their airwaves (36 minutes, 21 seconds) with stories of women accusing his GOP opponent Herschel Walker of paying for abortions. That’s almost 200 times more coverage to the Walker story than the Warnock scandal. 

On Tuesday, Warnock’s ex-wife Oulèye Ndoye requested that a court compel the Georgia Senator to face questioning over child custody. Ndoye has also accused Warnock of failing to properly pay child care expenses. Despite the issue being brought up in the October 14 Walker-Warnock debate the evening newscasts mostly looked the other way.

[...]

With the two Senate candidates headed for a run-off the evening newscasts have a new opportunity to actually cover Warnock’s family problems but judging on their past coverage, viewers shouldn’t hold their breath waiting for it. 

Dickens didn't explain why he's demanding coverage of a minor child-support squabble when he and his stauchly anti-abortion co-workers have refused to criticize Walker's penchant for handing out abortions like candy. Nor did he explain why these stories are in any way equivalent.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:32 PM EST
Thursday, December 1, 2022
MRC's Jean-Pierre-Bashing, Doocy-Fluffing Watch, Non-Doocy Edition
Topic: Media Research Center

After lazily taking much of October off -- presumably to recharge the ol' hate machine -- the Media Research Center got back into the Karine Jean-Pierre-hating, Fox News-fluffing swing of things. Kevin Tober maliciously trashed Jean-Pierre yet again as an incompetent diversity hire in his writeup of the Nov. 7 briefing:

Proving once again that she was only hired so the Biden administration could fill their diversity quota, President Biden’s press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre struggled through another painful and cringeworthy press conference where she had difficulty stringing coherent sentences together in order to answer simple questions from reporters in the briefing room. 

Jean-Pierre’s troubles began when Fox News White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich asked her about Biden looking to hide from the press and not hold a post-midterm news conference as every President has for decades. 

Addressing Biden’s refusal to commit to holding a post-election news conference, Heinrich said “An outside observer might conclude that he doesn’t want to have a press conference because he looks poised to lose control of one or both chambers.”

She then asked, “why the day before the midterms won’t the White House commit to holding that traditional post-midterms press conference the day after the elections?”

“You’ve been covering this administration for the past 20 months right?” Jean-Pierre nastily replied. She then made the laughable excuse that “it takes some time in any administration to lay out what the schedule is going to be.”

“I've been very clear. You're going to hear from the President. He always enjoys taking your questions,” she added.   

[...]

The incoherent press secretary’s next struggle session with the English language came during a question from CBS News digital’s Kathryn Watson who asked about Biden’s comments over the weekend where he said he wanted to shut down the coal industry and Jean-Pierre’s insistence the President’s words were “twisted” by Republicans or others who are hostile to Biden. 

“You mentioned a couple times or repeated, a couple times today that those words were twisted. So w>“It’s how it was reported out was being twisted,” Jean-Pierre responded. “If you read the full transcript, the President was very clear. Commenting on a fact of economics and technology,” she added. 

Last but not least, Real Clear Politics White House reporter Phillip Wegmann sought clarification on Biden’s intentions when it comes to the coal industry. Wegmann asked Jean-Pierre, “you said that the President is fighting for coal communities. But just to follow up, that doesn't mean that he's fighting to keep these coal mines open. Does it?” 

Jean-Pierre, in broken English, claimed Biden “has put forward plans that are bringing new energy and manufacturing jobs to states, like West Virginia, to states like Pennsylvania,” and that “he has secured critical investment through the Inflation Reduction Act to support coal communities, as well.”

Curtis Houck found a different Fox News reporter to fawn over in his writeup of the Nov. 10 briefing:

After Bloomberg’s Jenny Leonard asked President Biden on Wednesday afternoon about whether he thinks Twitter boss Elon Musk is a national security threat, CBS’s Weijia Jiang and Fox’s David Spunt followed up during Thursday’s White House press briefing and whether Biden actually meant that and how that’d square with his campaign promise to have an independent Justice Department (DOJ).

[...]

Spunt was far more aggressive, using a rare pinch-hit appearance in the Briefing Room to point out that CFIUS involves the Justice Department and thus would mean Biden yet again meddled in the DOJ process like he has with January 6 subpoenas[.]

[...]

Spunt also tucked in a question about COVID-19 origins and whether Biden would bring that up with Chinese President Xi Jinping at next week’s G-20, especially considering that’s something Republicans would look to investigate if they take control of Congress.

Jean-Pierre hilariously claimed Biden “has always been clear on getting to the bottom of COVID,” but wouldn’t commit to having them discuss it.

Remember: for the MRC, it's all about gushing over right-wing reporters being jerks and finding new ways to denigrate Jean-Pierre.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:52 PM EST
MRC Does Stenography For RNC In Partisan Attack On Google
Topic: Media Research Center

Earlier this year, we documented how the Media Rsearch Center falsely misrepresented a study, claiming that it showed Google's Gmail was exhibiting bias by sending more Republican campaign emails to the spam filter than Democratic emails -- but largely censored the fact that any purported bias goes away when users adjust their spam settings to receive those emails. Despite how misleading it is, it has become a full-blown right-wing narrative, and the Republican National Committee has decided to play along. Brian Bradley served as the RNC's stenographer in an Oct. 3 post:

The Republican National Committee told MRC Free Speech America on Monday that Gmail suppressed over 22 million GOP get-out-the-vote and fundraising emails Wednesday through Friday.

Gmail sent more than 3.1 million RNC emails to users’ spam filters on Wednesday, more than 9.8 million emails to spam on Thursday and nearly 10 million emails on Friday, the RNC said.

“We’re 40 days out from Election Day, we do not have any new transparency from Google,” the RNC wrote in an emailed statement. “We have raised this issue with Google for months with no resolution. On top of it all, our emails have been suppressed despite concrete changes that have improved overall performance.”

This comes more than a month after the FEC approved a Google pilot program to supposedly remove political spam bias from the email provider’s email filter, following widespread outcry among Republican politicians and political organizations.

[...]

A March North Carolina State University study exposed that Gmail marked 67.6 percent of right-leaning candidates’ emails as spam and just 8.2 percent of left-leaning candidates’ emails as spam.

In fact, the NC State researchers pointed out that right-wing partisans like the MRC have misrepresented the study's findings, adding that any blocking occurred only in default settings on newly created accounts and that users are free to tweak their spam settings to receive any email they want. One researcher even said: "Gmail isn’t biased like the way it’s being portrayed. ... I’m not advocating for Gmail or anything. I’m just stating that when we take the observation out of a study, you should take all of the observations, not just cherry-pick a few and then try to use them."

But instead of publishing what the researchers actually said, Bradley simply parroted Republican attacks on Google. Bradley also did not provide a link to any RNC data that supports its partisan conclusions, though he embedded two graphs that are too small to see what they are actually of. He also touted how "GOP party leadership is reportedly exploring unspecified 'legal options' to end Google’s 'clear pattern of bias.'"

When the RNC did launch that legal action, Bradley returned as stenographer again in an Oct. 24 post:

The Republican National Committee filed a lawsuit Friday asking a California court to require Google to stop sending hordes of Republican politicians’ campaign emails to Gmail users’ spam folders.

The RNC alleged seven counts against Google in its lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, including violation of California’s common carrier law, unfair competition, discrimination and negligence.

The committee is seeking a judgment that Google’s political email spam practices are illegal, an order banning Google from spamming RNC’s emails to supporters, and compensatory damages.  

Google has pushed “millions of RNC emails en masse to potential donors’ and supporters’ spam folders during pivotal points in election fundraising and community building,” the lawsuit alleges.

Bradley again misrepresented the results of the NC State study, andhe gave space to more right-wing activists. It wasn't until the 14th paragraph of his item that Bradley bothered to include a response from Google:

In a statement Monday to MRC Free Speech America, Google denied any actions to filter emails based on political affiliation.

“As we have repeatedly said, we simply don't filter emails based on political affiliation,” Google spokesperson Jose Castaneda said in a statement to MRC Free Speech America. “Gmail’s spam filters reflect users’ actions. We provide training and guidelines to campaigns, we recently launched an FEC-approved pilot for political senders, and we continue to work to maximize email deliverability while minimizing unwanted spam.”

But that's only two paragraphs of an 18-paragraph article. The rest are spent attacking Google -- ironic given how much energy the MRC expends complaining about alleged bias in other media outlets.

UPDATE: We found even more Republican stenography from the MRC over the email issue -- which also misrepresented the NC State study. Bradley touted an "EXCLUSIVE" in a July 5 post:

Republican senators are calling on Google to take quicker action after the company recently asked the Federal Election Commission to approve a pilot program to address concerns that Gmail’s spam algorithm disproportionately affects GOP electioneering campaigns.

Google’s filing with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) claims emails from participating campaigns won’t be “subject to regular spam detection algorithms.” But Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) flagged the FEC’s approval timeline as one of several concerns associated with the pilot, which comes at a critical time as GOP and Democratic campaigns briskly move forward just four months ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

“It is difficult to see how the proposed filing with the FEC to conduct a pilot program accomplishes anything beyond delay and distraction from reforming [Google’s] practices to allow for transparent, fair and equal treatment of Republicans and Democrats,” Daines told MRC Free Speech America in an e-mail. “Response for permission to conduct the six month pilot may take 18 months. It isn’t acceptable to allow one political party unfair and unequal advantage of this significance on such a dominant platform critical to the outcome of elections.”

Bradley served up more "EXCLUSIVE" Republican whining over the pilot program in an Aug. 17 post:

Republican politicians knocked Google’s newly approved email plan, suggesting it doesn’t  go far enough to ensure GOP fundraising emails reach Gmail users’ inboxes.

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) on Aug. 11 approved a proposed pilot by Google to address GOP concerns that too few Republican political fundraising emails were reaching Gmail users’ inboxes. The approval follows a March North Carolina State University study that exposed how Gmail marked 67.6 percent of right-leaning candidates’ emails as spam and just 8.2 percent of left-leaning candidates’ emails as spam. 

In addition to the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), Republican Sens. Steve Daines (MT) and John Thune (SD) expressed doubt that Google will shore up its documented left-leaning spam filter bias, even after the FEC approved Google’s pilot proposal.

The MRC working hand-in-glove in pushing this anti-Google narrative demonstrates that it's a partisan storyline, not serious "media research."


Posted by Terry K. at 2:35 PM EST
Updated: Saturday, December 3, 2022 1:18 AM EST
Wednesday, November 30, 2022
MRC Still Taking Childish Shots At CNN
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center hates CNN so obsessively that it takes creepy, perverse and immature glee in the alleged misfortunes of its employees. We've noted how there was basically a street party at MRC HQ when channel head Jeff Zucker was fired and when Brian Stelter lost his hosting gig (and fits of rage when Stelter got a new job at Harvard), and much chortling when Don Lemon was supposedly "demoted" from his prime-time show to a retooled morning show. Curtis Houck tried to make up stuff regarding another CNN personality in an Oct. 6 post:

Matt Lauer anyone?

The Daily Mail reported in an exclusive late Wednesday that weekday morning CNN Newsroom co-host and former Obama official Jim Sciutto has been sent off on a leave of absence from the struggling network so he can “address personal issues” stemming from a mysterious trip to Amsterdam with a producer earlier this year after having been covered the war in Ukraine.

“CNN mainstay Jim Sciutto has been off air after network bosses ordered him to address a ‘personal situation’ stemming from a 'serious fall' he suffered while in Amsterdam earlier this year,” saidDaily Mail reporter Paul Farrell. He explained that, after having co-hosted Monday morning’s CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow, he hasn’t been seen since.

Farrell added that “a media source has told” them Sciutto “is now on ‘personal leave’” and “CNN has not responded to requests for comment.”

Houck name-dropping Lauer was effectively an accusation that Sciutto had engaged in some sort of untoward sexual misbehavior -- something for which he has presented absolutely no evidence and something not even hinted at in the Daily Mail story. Sciutto returned to CNN a few weeks later, suggesting that whatever "personal issues" he may have had were addressed during his leave. The MRC has yet to acknowledge Sciutto's return.

If Sciutto has not, in fact, been credibly accused of sexual misbehavior as Houck snarkily suggested, Houck probably needs to retract that baseless allegation lest he and the MRC find themselves on the wrong end of a defamation lawsuit.

Houck served up even more chortling in an Oct. 28 post at the prospect of more CNN layoffs:

In both a memo to staff and a story about the network on CNBC.com, CNN boss Chris Licht marked six months this week with the struggling liberal network by announcing he’s been tasked with cost cuts and layoffs as, according to CNBC, CNN’s profit “is set to drop blow $1 billion this year” and Warner Bros. Discovery is aiming to layoff 1,000 people from its 40,000-workforce. 

In objectively welcome news, CNBC also revealed Licht will continue to move CNN back toward reality and away from what Licht called “the quick sugar high of ratings and outrage.”

Licht said in a memo Wednesday that he’s conducted “formal business reviews with senior staff to identify areas where we should make changes, investments, and reductions” and, as part of that, he’ll “reduce or eliminate areas that aren’t core to our mission.”

Then came the key lines as Licht said “that work will accelerate” in “the next several weeks” and, to accomplish that and “factor” in the state of the global economy, there will be “noticeable change to this organization...affect[ing] people, budgets, and projects.” All told, Licht said he hopes “these decisions” are “made by the end of the year.”

[...]

Not surprisingly, Licht has found winning the trust of employees to be a challenge with many still worshipping his predecessor, Jeff Zucker, who was more or less the network puppetmaster.

The MRC loves to tag the Jewish Zucker as a "puppetmaster" -- an anti-Semitic trope.

It took both Nicholas Fondacaro and Geoffrey Dickens to take even more lame shots at Lemon in a Nov. 1 post as his morning-show stint began:

Don Lemon will be starting his totally-not-a-demotion stint on CNN’s revamped morning show CNN This Morning this morning. So we at NewsBusters thought it would be nice to take a stroll down memory lane and look back at Lemon’s heinous remarks that the network would prefer were memory-holed.

This was joined by a "brief montage of Lemon’s primetime blathering" from Bill D'Agostino. So it actually took three MRC employees to spew this nastiness. This childishness and gossip is what passes for "media research" at the MRC these days.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:57 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, November 30, 2022 5:05 PM EST
NEW ARTICLE: The MRC's Sports Squad of COVID Fearmongerers and Misinformers
Topic: Media Research Center
Media Research Center sports bloggers Jay Maxson and John Simmons spent much of 2022 peddling misinformation, fear, and outright lies about COVID vaccines, as well as continuing to champion selfish athletes who won't get vaccinated. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 8:57 AM EST
Tuesday, November 29, 2022
Positive GDP Forced Narrative Shift At MRC So It Could Still Blame Biden
Topic: Media Research Center

We've documented how the Media Research Center rushed to declare that U.S. was in a full-blown recession -- largely so it could push right-wing narratives by blaming President Biden for it -- and attacked anyone to dared to suggest that two straight quarters of a (slightly) negative gross domestic product is not the only possbile definiton of what a recession is (and it even found a way to blame George Soros as well). Kevin Tober was still harping on the negative GDP numberds in a Sept. 29 post:

On Thursday morning, The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released their third and final revision on the nation’s GDP growth for the second quarter and it wasn’t good. The BEA found that the economy shrank 0.6 percent for the second straight quarter which means the United States economy is in a recession. Knowing this news is bad for the Biden administration and the Democrat Party [sic], the evening newscasts made sure to cover it up. 

ABC’s World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News both ignored the news entirely, while CBS Evening News allowed a scant 22 seconds to the story while avoiding the word “recession” or tying Biden and his disastrous economic policies to this in any way. 

While CBS at least covered the negative GDP growth revision, ABC & NBC decided Queen Elizabeth’s autopsy report showing she died of old age, or Ginni Thomas’s beliefs on the validity of the 2020 elections were more important than the nation’s economy.   

Tober offered no evidence that network newscasts have ever covered GDP revisions. Curtis Houck whined in a post the next day:

Amid their non-Hurricane Ian coverage on Friday, NBC’s Today and the 3rd Hour of Today returned to a recent liberal media trend in defending the Biden administration by dismissing the reality that the country’s in a recession. This time, they wondered if it “matter[s] when everything you buy everyday is more expensive” and “it doesn’t feel good out there.”

Of course, nowhere in either news show did the Biden administration come up or be assigned blame.

Of course, neither Tober nor Houck provided any evidence that specifically links any Biden policy to the decline in GDP.

In another Sept. 30 post, Joseph Vazquez hyped "the economy’s poor performance under Biden," adding that "following new third estimate data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis showing that U.S. GDP contracted for the second straight quarter in a row to meet the technical definition of a recession, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 550 points on Thursday; the S&P 500 dropped 2.4 percent and the Nasdaq sank 3 percent." Vazquez cited only partisan right-wing sources like the New York Post and the Washington Examiner as purported proof that Biden was to blame.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the MRC's narrative manufacturing plant: GDP increased in the third quarter. That blew up the MRC's narrative, so it was forced to reverse direction. An Oct. 27 post by Tober demanded that we look beyond the numbers to argue that the GDP growth doesn't actually mean anything:

On Thursday morning, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released the third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) numbers which reportedly showed that the United States economy grew 2.6 percent in the third quarter. Predictably the three evening news networks hyped the supposedly good news for their friends in the Biden administration and ignored the real reason for the positive economic growth despite the two past quarters being negative. The 3rd quarter numbers were almost entirely due to U.S. trade exports, not due to the health of the economy at large. 

World News Tonight anchor David Muir began carrying water for the Biden administration and embattled Democrats running in this year's midterm elections by spinning the seemingly good numbers: "President Biden in Syracuse, New York, celebrating the new numbers on the economy today," Muir noted.

Hyping the numbers, Muir went on to report that "the gross domestic product, of course, a measure of goods and services produced increasing 2.6 percent this last quarter." Later on in the segment, he spoke to correspondent Terry Moran and gushed that "these were encouraging GDP numbers today."

Tober made sure to praise his favorite cable news channel for making the partisan narrative flip-flop along with the MRC:

Back in reality, on Fox News Channel's Special Report, Jacqui Heinrich told viewers the truth about the state of the economy: "At first glance, today's GDP Report suggests the U.S. Economy is turning around after two consecutive quarters of negative growth," Heinrich prefaced. "But a closer look shows the 2.6 percent growth was driven by fluctuations in international trade, not reflecting the underlying health of the economy and increased government spending."

Tober didn't explain why it suddenly became "reality" to look beyond the GDP numbers when it had criticized those who previously did so.

Despite having to explain away that inconenient number, the MRC continued to cling to the old narrative as well. A Nov. 1 post by Jeffrey Clark huffed that "the U.S. entered a recession roughly three months ago. A July Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) report revealed that GDP fell for a second quarter in a row, which meets the definition of a recession, according to American Institute for Economic Research economist Phillip Magness."Clark rehashed the obsolete talking point again in a Nov. 14 post:

For the “past century,” as economist Phillip Magness explained in August, a recession has primarily been defined as GDP falling for two consecutive quarters. That’s precisely what happened in July, per a Bureau of Economic Analysis report, but President Joe Biden’s media cronies have been crusading to redefine the meaning of the word “recession” in an attempt to stem political backlash from President Joe Biden’s economic disaster.

In both posts, Clark censored the fact that GDP increased in the most recent quarter -- which would have undermined his narrative. And narrative is more important than the truth at the MRC.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:52 PM EST
Monday, November 28, 2022
MRC Gives The Same Pass To Kyrie Irving's Anti-Semitism It Gave To Kanye
Topic: Media Research Center

As with Kanye West, the Media Research Center hated NBA star Kyrie Irving before it loved him. It was, however, for a much briefer time than the MRC hated Ye: The only early criticism of Irving we found was a June 2020 post by Jay Maxson complaining that Irving was among NBA players considering boycotting the rest of the 2020 season (which would eventually be played in a bubble in Florida to protect against COVID infections) over social justice concerns following the death of George Floyd.

Then Irving became an anti-vaxxer, and the MRC loved him, with its two sports bloggers, Maxson and John Simmons, gushing over his supposedly prinicipled stance.It has continued to lionize Irving's anti-vaxxer attitudes: An Aug. 31 post by Simmons whined that the NBA "made Kyrie Irving an outcast because he did not want to get vaccinated," while a Sept. 10 post by Simmons helped Irving play victim because no team would give him a long-term contract over his anti-vaxx selfishness:

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving claimed that he turned down a massive contract extension before the 2021-22 season in large part to remain unvaccinated.

Irving said that the Nets offered him a contract of four years and roughly $100 million in salary, but that his decision to be unvaccinated was a strong factor in him and the organization not being able to come to terms with the new contract.

"I gave up four years, 100-and-something million deciding to be unvaccinated and that was the decision," Irving said on Monday. "[Get this] contract, get vaccinated or be unvaccinated and there's a level of uncertainty of your future, whether you're going to be in this league, whether you're going to be on this team, so I had to deal with that real-life circumstance of losing my job for this decision."

[...]

Sure, Irving has made enough money in his excellent NBA career to last him for a long time, but he likely could have easily cashed in on a big payday and the sides likely could have reached an agreement without any hiccups had New York not been so adamant about implementing a pointless, harmful, and costly mandate. 

So when Irving indulged in Kanye-esque anti-Semitism by posting a link to an anti-Semitic film on his Instagram account, then wouldn't apologize until after the NBA suspended him, he built up enough anti-vaxx goodwill at the MRC that it came to his defense instead of criticizing his anti-Semitism. A Nov. 10 post by Clay Waters whined that the New York Times reported on both Irving's and West's anti-Semitism and that they were being "blamed on Trump and Republicans." Waters did at least call the anti-Semitism "rancid" -- which is the only word of criticism the MRC has expressed toward Irving's anti-Semitism. (Just like with Kanye.)

The next day, however, Maxson wouldn't criticize Irving at all, instead going into full whataboutism mode:

On Thursday, Nike co-founder Phil Knight said the Swoosh is done with Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving because the star guard “stepped over the line” by posting a social media link to an anti-Semitic movie. Boston Celtics’ all-star Jaylen Brown was having none of this, as he tagged Nike for hypocrisy over the issue of China. 

“Since when did Nike care about ethics?,” Brown tweeted in response. 

The same can be said of Brown and the NBA. He has worn Nike shoes in some games this season. Nike sources products from a factory in Qingdao, China, where Uyghur laborers are brutalized and forced to produce basketball shoes. The NBA pacifies China to protect income from its largest market.

[...]

Nike and the NBA will continue to rake in their Chinese windfalls, while giving meaningless lip service to social justice. Shame on both of them. They deserve zero respect and none of our consumer dollars.

Speaking of meaningless lip service, the MRC used to criticize Elon Musk for his close ties to China -- until he started spouting right-wing rhwtoric and got interested in buying Twitter.

It took both Jason Cohen -- the guy who wrote a post that tried so hard to justify Kanye's anti-Semitism that the MRC eventuially deleted it -- and Matt Philbin to write a Nov. 17 post that played whataboutism with both Irving's and Ye's anti-Semitism:

Say what you want about Kanye West and Kyrie Irving – their antisemitism doesn’t come with a body count. Then there’s Al Sharpton.

Race hustling MSNBC host was inciting riots and deadly arson against New York Jews before Irving was born. So the timing of a positive new documentary about Sharpton is … ironic. And for John Legend to executive produce it and Joe Scarborough to promote it is flat-out hypocritical. 

So what is the deal here? 

Al long ago laundered his image, losing weight and trading in the shiny tracksuit and gold chains for a tie, an MSNBC job and close ties to left-wing politicians. Had it had one, MSNBC’s reputation would have taken a hit. The English language certainly did.

Conversely, Ye has recently shown himself to be quite conservative and even sinned greatly by supporting Trump. While Kyrie’s politics are less clear-cut, he refused to take the COVID-19 vaccine, which undoubtedly alienated him from the mainstream left. 

So are progressives proponents of canceling antisemites, or is it only when convenient? 

Al Sharpton’s antisemitism was more virulent and harmful than anything Ye or Irving said. His race hoaxes ruined lives and he’s never shown any contrition.

[...]

The evidence is clear that Sharpton was a dangerous antisemite at a level much more severe than Ye and Irving. Yet Ye and Irving have been completely canceled while Sharpton has been embraced. 

At no point do Cohen and Philbin actually condemn Irving's or Ye's anti-Semitism -- they simply argue it wasn't allegedly as bad as Sharpton's.

It seems that Cohen and Philbin only want to cancel anti-Semites when its convenient to their right-wing agenda -- and Irving and Kanye have been too convenient to their agenda for these two to offer even the slightest criticism of their anti-Semitism, let alone go into cancel mode.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:15 PM EST
Updated: Monday, November 28, 2022 10:16 PM EST
MRC Freaks Out Over Twitter Whistleblower Who Didn't Follow Pro-Musk Narrative
Topic: Media Research Center

At the Media Research Center, you're only a good whistleblower if you advance right-wing narratives, like Peiter “Mudge” Zatko did in bolstering Elon Musk's pre-purchase attacks on Twitter and like Frances Haugen did in criticizing Facebook (at least until Facebook started working behind the scenes with right-wing media outlets to attack her, at which point the MRC flipped as well).

When a whistleblower emerged that countered right-wing anti-Twitter narratives, the MRC was quick to attack by playing the Soros card in an attempt to discredit him. Joseph Vazquez threw a massive tantrum in a Sept. 23 post, whining that this whistleblower was distracting from Zatko's pro-Musk narrative:

The Washington Post found a so-called “whistleblower” connected to liberal billionaire George Soros to stoke hysteria about how former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account threatened the planet.

In a so-called “exclusive,” The Post found a Twitter truther to steal former Twitter executive Peiter “Mudge” Zatko’s thunder and make the issue about Trump rather than the Big Tech platform. “ Jan. 6 Twitter witness: Failure to curb Trump spurred ‘terrifying’ choice,” was The Postheadline. 

The leftist whistleblower — now identified by The Post as Anika Collier Navaroli — was reportedly a “former policy official on the team designing Twitter’s content-moderation rules,” meaning the “rules” that made Twitter a bloated censorship operation to silence conservative speech. But nowhere in the article did The Post mention Navaroli's ties to Soros.

Navaroli reportedly overcame the “terror she felt” about coming forward due to her so-called “worry” that Trumpian “extremism and political disinformation on social media pose an ‘imminent threat not just to American democracy, but to the societal fabric of our planet.’” [Emphasis added.]

The story fawned how a previously “unidentified former Twitter employee” testified before the Soviet-style House Jan. 6 committee to slam the company for ignoring “false and rule-breaking tweets from Donald Trump for years because executives knew their service was his ‘favorite and most-used … and enjoyed having that sort of power.’” Twitter banned Trump two days after the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.

Navaroli “worked on media and internet privacy campaigns for” the nutty, Soros-funded defund-the-police group Color of Change — founded by CNN commentator and former Obama appointee, Van Jones. Soros has donated millions to the group. The leftist organization proclaims itself as the “nation’s largest online racial justice organization.”

[...]

While disingenuously painting Navaroli as having a “strong bias for protecting speech,” The Post championed how she “grew fascinated with how” online censorship rules “were helping shape real-world social movements, from the inequality campaigns of Occupy Wall Street to the protests over racial justice and police brutality.”

At no point did Vazquez disprove anything Navaroli said, and he didn't even prove Navaroli is a "leftist"  -- he was just mad that his preferred narratives were getting ignored by someone with at least as much credibility as Zatko offering a different story that was just as credible.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:41 PM EST
Updated: Monday, November 28, 2022 8:06 PM EST
Sunday, November 27, 2022
MRC Cheers Musk Firing Twitter Employees For Being 'Woke' (Whatever That Is)
Topic: Media Research Center

We've noted how pleased the Media Research Center was at reports that Elon Musk would fire much of Twitter's staff if he did what he agreed to do months before and buy the company. Well, when the firings became imminent, an anonymous Nov. 6 post was positively orgasmic at the prospect of Musk ruining people's lives:

You’re fired! That’s not only a famous shout from Donald Trump’s TV celebrity days, it’s a sentence that woke Twitter employees are hearing in increasing numbers as Elon Musk takes over the platform. And The Washington Post is furious.

In the article “Musk’s Trump-style management rattles Twitter workers awaiting layoffs,” The Washington Post whined about the scraps of gossip Twitter employees have collected to discover if massive layoffs are indeed imminent.

“Workers follow new boss’s tweets and share rumors on anonymous apps amid silence from leadership on firings, staff cuts and product changes,” The Post reported. Twitter employees have reportedly started panicking about reductions in force based on the Google Calendar of “one of their new bosses”  as well as through Slack chats and anonymous workplace “gossip” site Blind.

Woke pro-censorship Twitter employees were Blind, indeed, when they targeted any alternative voices on the platform.

The anonymous writer didn't explain when being "woke" was just cause for termination (or even what "woke" means). And, as we've noted, Musk's mass firings were so botched that Twitter had to ask some fired people to return because they did essential work.

A Nov. 8 post by Autumn Johnson sought to blame "left-wing activists" for advertisers pulling their ads from Twitter instead of the more likely cause that Musk has created too much chaos on the platform for advertisers to feel comfortable there:

Several companies have caved to the demands of liberal activists and pulled their ads from Twitter after Elon Musk announced the platform would no longer unfairly censor conservatives.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Audi, General Motors, General Mills, and Pfizer paused ads on the platform after Musk said significant changes would be made to the company’s content moderation standards.

General Motors told CNN that it is “monitoring” Twitter’s “new direction” under Musk and will potentially re-evaluate its decision to remove ads from the platform.

“We have paused advertising on Twitter,” General Mills spokesperson Kelsey Roemhildt told CNN in a statement. “As always, we will continue to monitor this new direction and evaluate our marketing spend.”

Several leftist advocacy groups appear to be leading the ad suspension effort. Among them is one called Accountable Tech.

Johnson censored the fact that Musk threatened to "thermonuclear name and shame" advertisers who paused their Twitter spending -- which doesn't seem like a good way to encourage the advertisers who provide the biggest share of Twitter's revenue.

Johnson penned another press release for Musk in a Nov. 9 post:

Twitter CEO Elon Musk reaffirmed his commitment to free speech in a meeting with advertisers Wednesday.

The Washington Post reported that Musk discussed some of his plans for Twitter in an effort to attract advertisers to the platform. The public broadcast was viewed by over 100,000 people online:

“Musk took questions over the course of roughly an hour from two of his executives and a representative of the advertising industry during a Twitter Spaces meeting, which was broadcast live on the site midday. More than 100,000 people listened live.”

Musk suggested that while the platform’s content moderation standards have not changed yet, supporting free speech is not the same as amplifying so-called “hate speech.”

“We have to be tolerant of views we don’t agree with, but those views don’t need to be amplified,” he said, according to The Post.

Johnson somehow forgot to mention that Musk had spent the previous few days suspending Twitter accounts that made fun of him, strongly suggesting that his purported tolerance for differing views has clear limits.

The MRC even spun one of Musk's failures -- selling blue check marks for $8 a month without considering that people would buy them and masquerade as genuinely certified accounts -- because it helped make one of the MRC's enemies look bad. A Nov. 10 post by John Simmons insisted that Musk had "good intentions" in starting the feature, it was used for "mischievous purposes," one of which was an account masquerading as NBA star LeBron James demanding to be traded. Simmons declared: "hile it is humorous that someone created this headline to cause a stir, it isn’t entirely outside the realm of possibility that this could happen."

Jeffrey Clark helped Musk play the victim in a Nov. 10 post:

The pro-China outlet Bloomberg News attempted to defame Twitter CEO Elon Musk by portraying him as a threat to the United States.

“Mister President, do you think Elon Musk is a threat to U.S. national security?” Bloomberg White House reporter Jenny Leonard asked President Joe Biden during a Nov. 9 press conference at the White House.

But she didn’t stop there, also pressing Biden on whether the president should use government power to “investigate” Musk’s lawful purchase of Twitter. Musk is a self-described “free-speech absolutist” who has taken flack for tweeting in March that “[f]ree speech is essential to a functioning democracy.” 

But Leonard framed Musk’s Twitter deal as a shady partnership with “foreign governments, which include the Saudis.”

MRC Free Speech America President Dan Schneider slammed the liberal media for ignoring the obvious question: What about TikTok?

Clark's description of Bloomberg News as "pro-china" is laughable (not to mention unsupported by any actual evidence) because the MRC itself was accusing Musk of being pro-China less than a year ago. Clark was silent about that, of course. And the MRC's TikTok whataboutism lacks credibility because its attacks on the platform are clearly doing the bidding of Facebook, which hired a conservative PR firm to help spread anti-TikTok talking points in right-wing media. Clark went on to grumble:

The liberal media have repeatedly alleged connections between Musk and the Saudis, laying the groundwork for Leonard’s pointed question. Axios, Newsweek, CNN Business — and yes — even Bloomberg News all gave sensational coverage to reputed ties between Musk and the Saudi royal family.

Clark didn't even bother to disprove any of that reporting, which tells us he's complaining simply in an effort to distract from it (even though, again, the MRC itself was criticizing Musk's foreign entanglements before he showed interest in buying Twitter).

Tierin-Rose Mandelburg helped Musk slag Twitter employeees in a Nov. 11 post:

Work from home option is ELIMINATED.

ABC News somehow obtained an audio from a Twitter meeting where Elon Musk told his staff that if they don’t return to the office full-time, he’ll consider their absence their resignation. AKA, COVID-19 is over, get out of your pajamas and off the couch and get your ass to work.

"Let me be crystal clear, if people do not return to the office when they are able to return to the office -- they cannot remain at the company. End of story," Musk told an employee who asked about the company's new expectations.

[...]

Twitter employes are probably like the rest of the world who got used to working from home and are mad that they can no longer half-ass their jobs. 

As usual, Mandelburg provided no evidence to prove that was the case. She concluded with the slavishly loyal Musk hero-worship the MRC has become known for:

Why is it “ridiculous” for fully capable employees to — ya know — go to work? Firefighters can’t “work from home,” surgeons can’t operate from their couches, police officers can’t catch criminals virtually. They go into work because that’s what workers are supposed to do! 

Musk realizes this and is not going to take any bs regarding people who simply “want” to work from their homes.

Nobody has ever accused software engineers of being surgeons or firefighters -- which is why most normal companies, especailly in the wake of the COVID pandemic, allow at least some workers to work from home. This tells us Mandelburg is much more interested in doing PR for Musk than trying to understand how the working world works outside her right-wing media bubble.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:20 PM EST
Updated: Monday, November 28, 2022 1:27 PM EST
Saturday, November 26, 2022
MRC Downplays Racist Attacks On 'Rings Of Power,' Whines It Wasn't Masculine Enough
Topic: Media Research Center

A Sept. 7 post by Stephanie Hamill began by whining:

Not a fan of the new Lord of the Rings TV series? Well then, you might just be a racist or a bigot according to some on the left.

Apparently, you can’t give an honest review about Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power without being called a racist or bigot because of Middle-earth’s new more "diverse and gender-balanced characters."

You see, movies and shows that have the right amount of diversity appear to be off limits when it comes to critiques about the quality and content, or at least that’s what it seems like these days.

After citing someone calling out right-wing trolls for launching vicious attacks on the series because some of the dwarves were not white -- even though J.R.R. Tolkien put implied racial undertones into his Middle-Earth that would make a depiction of some underclasses very much true to canon -- Hamill tried to frame these racist attacks as mere concern about "integrity":

So what some J.R.R Tolkien fans were concerned about was whether or not the new series on Prime Video would respect the integrity of his legendary work. Which is a legitimate concern considering many of us have noticed how Hollywood producers tend to ruin sequels and remakes when they focus on skin color and woke messages rather than the story and production value, among other things.

So being against racism is being "woke" instead of a commonsense position every sentient being should have? 

Hamill then tried to downplay the idea that racist trolls were spamming review sites with bad reviews, insisting they were really concerned about content:

But the release of the episodes clearly didn’t get the reaction and reviews Amazon was hoping for. So much so that Amazon halted reviews to prevent trolling. According to the Hollywood Reporter an Amazon source told it that reviews are being held for 72 hours to "help weed out trolls and to ensure each review is legitimate."

It’s very possible that this is a sincere effort to combat internet trolls, but this also could just be a ploy by Amazon to hide bad reviews.

Now over at Rotten Tomatoes the situation isn’t much better for Amazon, as The Rings of Power has an average audience score of 39 percent, which is rather interesting considering the TV critics gave it a score of 85 Percent.

As for what some viewers aren’t liking about the show? Well, the reviews and responses on social media vary.

Now we move on to the narrative Hamill really wants to push: the show's males aren't masculine enough. She uncritically quotes Elon Musk tweeting that "Almost every male character so far is a coward, a jerk or both. Only Galadriel is brave, smart and nice," as well as her own tweet calling the show "wokified" without offering any examples beyong an accompanying picture of a black character. (The MRC has a bit of a thing about masculinity.) She continued to insist this, and not racism, was the real issue the trolls have:

These were just a few examples, if you go through social media and read the reviews you will find that the majority of people didn't actually take issue with the new diverse characters. Those who weighed in were complaining a lot about the plot, the dialogue, the special effects, the list goes on. 

Either way, the series drew more that 25 million viewers according to Amazon, making it the biggest premiere in the history of Prime Video.

Hamill touted those review-bombed low ratings again in a Sept. 19 post:

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings Of Power's fourth episode, 'The Great Wave,' was released on Friday, September 16, which means we are now halfway through the new Lord of the Rings series' first season (of a reported five), and it doesn’t look like things are getting much better when it comes to the reviews of Amazon’s latest high profile show.

Things have gotten so bad that The Rings of Power is comparable in low user ratings to the Disney+ series, She-Hulk: Attorney-at-Law on not only movie and TV review site Rotten Tomatoes, but also Metacritic.

But not so much, Metacritic users are giving the series an unfavorable user score of 2.4 out of 10. And over at Rotten Tomatoes, the audience reviews are still hovering in the upper 30's (out of 100), which hasn't changed since the release of the first two episodes.

If you compare the numbers to She-Hulk, you will notice the two series have strikingly similar marks, high critic scores and low audience reviews.

The Disney+ series has been described as a "woke, feminist mess" by Newsbusters contributing writer Elise Ehrhard, and I couldn't agree more.

Yes, the MRC did heavily whine about "She-Hulk" being "woke," whatever that is.

Hamill was also still insisting that it's not racist for online trolls to complain that the existence of non-white races in the show, and you're part of the "woke mob" for even pointing that out:

Some in the media and the "woke mob" have been labeling those with legitimate critiques about the series as "racists," including some of the hosts over at The View  who went off on those who weren't gushing over the 'The Rings of Power' and other new shows with diverse casts.

You see, no one is allowed to have a negative opinion about the series because of Middle-earth’s new more diverse and gender-balanced characters - or at least that's what is seems like. 

The problem with this idea is that it's intellectually dishonest. You're not by default an angry racist because you don't like the new series. Those who are going along with this notion clearly aren't listening to what viewers are complaining about in regards to the new Lord of the Rings series, which Kain perfectly describes in his article.

The problem with Hamill's line of logic is that complaining about the show's "diverse and gender-balanced characters" is very much a racist and sexist criticism -- something to which Hamill is (perhaps deliberately) oblivious.

Hamill spun again in an Oct. 16 post, whining that the "beta male" characters was really the most "common" criticism of the show"

The first season of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings Of Power has come to an end, with the eighth episode titled, ‘Alloyed,’ airing on Friday, October 14. I must say it's been a long journey filled with disappointment and too many cringeworthy moments to count.

Now one of the most common complaints among J.R.R Tolkien fans and popular critics was that male characters were portrayed as ‘weak’ and ‘cowardly’ throughout the series, among other things.

[...]

I think it’s safe to say that most of us don’t take issue with strong female characters in shows - I certainly don’t. That being said, it would be nice if there was a little balance, right?

The key to good fiction is believability, and one could argue that the writers of Rings of Power focused on cramming in the woke feminist agenda, in turn, throwing plausibility out the window. 

In this Amazon series you get the sense that the writers wanted you to know that women are stronger, smarter and better than men. It felt forced to say the least, which lead to a plethora of cringy, awkward, and unrealistic looking scenes — filled with beta males.

Hamill once again insisted that none of the criticism of the show could possibly have been racist:

You see, no one is allowed to have a negative opinion about the series because of Middle Earth’s new more diverse and gender-balanced characters - or at least that's what is seems like. 

Those who are accusing critics of 'racism' are dishonest and lazy. Want proof? Take a look at the difference between audience scores for The Rings of Power and House of Dragon

The House of Dragon is also a high-profile, fantasy TV show with a diverse cast, and it happens to be hugely successful, with an average audience score of 84 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. 

So it appears the so called 'racist backlash' against Rings of Power actually had nothing to do with the new diverse cast and more to do with the plot, the dialogue, the special effects, the list goes on.

Note to Hamill: Complaining about the show's "diverse and gender-balanced characters" is an inherently racist criticism, and if you're still whining about that, all the attempts to distract from said racism by huffing about "beta males" and citing reviews of a completely different show (in which she assumes without proof that the two shows appeal to exactly the same audience) doesn't change its racist nature.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:43 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, November 27, 2022 12:17 AM EST
Friday, November 25, 2022
MRC Complains Again That Coverage Of GOP Candidates Was 'Negative' (Read: Accurately Reported)
Topic: Media Research Center

Rich Noyes was roused out of retirement to crank out one of his usual highly subjective coverage "studies" for the midterm elections, which got featured in a Nov. 1 post:

Four years ago, TV’s midterm coverage hammered Republican candidates and then-President Trump with 88 percent negative spin while sparing Democrats similarly bad press. This year, Democrats are in charge of the White House and both chambers of Congress, yet a new Media Research Center study of ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts finds that Republicans are receiving coverage that is just as negative (87% negative) as in 2018, while Democrats — including the President — are drawing far less scrutiny than the party out of power.

And another favor for Team Blue: the dominant topics within these campaign stories — GOP candidate controversies, abortion rights and the danger of “election deniers” — perfectly match the topmost items in Democrats’ campaign playbook. Our study shows discussion of these issues within campaign stories far eclipsed that of the economy and inflation, issues that voters deem most important.

This year’s study looked at the same period of time as we did in 2018, from September 1 to October 26. This year, the Big Three evening newscasts aired 115 stories which mentioned or discussed the midterm elections during, with a total airtime of 213 minutes, or about 60 percent more than the 130 minutes we tallied four years ago.

As with every other similar study the MRC does, it's highly flawed:

  1. It focuses only on a tiny sliver of news -- the evening newscasts on the three networks -- and suggests it's indicative of all media. Fox News was not evaluated at all.
  2. The study explicitly rejects the idea of neutral coverage -- even though that's arguably the bulk of news coverage -- dishonestly counting only "clearly positive and negative statements."
  3. It fails to take into account the stories themselves and whether negative coverage is deserved or admit that negative coverage is the most accurate way to cover a given story.
  4. It fails to provide the raw data or the actual statements it evaluated so its work could be evaluated by others. If the MRC's work was genuine and rigorous, wouldn't it be happy to provide the data to back it up?

Indeed, Noyes whined:

Most of this year’s discussion centered on four candidates: Republicans Herschel Walker, Mehmet Oz and Kari Lake, and Democrat John Fetterman. Fetterman’s bad press (81% negative, mostly comments panning his dreadful debate performance) was the worst of any Democrat, but it was better than any of the top Republicans. His Senate rival, Oz, was hit with 82 percent negative press, while Georgia’s Herschel Walker was slammed with 50 negative statements vs. six positive ones, an 89 percent negative spin.

That’s still better than Arizona’s Kari Lake, who was on the receiving end of nine evaluative comments, all negative, giving her a 100 percent negative press score.

While no Democratic candidate other than Fetterman received heavy coverage, there were occasional positive features for several of them, contributing to the Democrats’ more positive press. Alaska House candidate Mary Peltola, for example, was profiled in a glowing September 24 CBS Evening News story about her “milestone” status as the first native Alaskan in Congress.

Of course, the MRC hurled nothing but negativity at Fetterman and played defense for Walker over the abortion allegations. Noyes offered no advice on Walker's abortion scandal should have been covered in a "positive" manner (read: framed in right-wing talking points).

Noyes dishonestly whined further:

Viewers and voters seeking election news have more choices than ever, but even today, the Big Three remain uniquely powerful, with relatively large audiences (collectively, about 20 million viewers per night) of citizens who are not as ideologically-established as the fans of wall-to-wall cable news.

So while the establishment media fret about dangers to democracy, there’s a danger in a powerful partisan media passing itself off as objective or centrist, when the reality is that the networks are now open advocates for the success of one party over the other.

Meanwhile, the MRC refuses to admit that right-wing outlets like Fox News have an ideological bias, let alone spend some of its "media research" evaluating just how biased they are. That's because it depends on those outlets to advance its partisan talking points, and exposing their bias would be counterproductive to an ally.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:14 PM EST
MRC Ignores Facts To Cheer Alleged Demise Of Batgirl Film, Bisexual Superman
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center likes nothing more to lash out at superhero franchises who dare to offer protagonists who are anything other than white and heterosexual. An Aug. 4 post by Michael Ippolito -- under the headline "Get Woke, Go Broke" -- cheered the new owners of Warner Bros. and its DC comic franchises shelving a new Batgirl movie despite it being nearly completed, whining that the titular character wasn't white:

Some corporations have finally gotten the memo and are pumping the brakes on producing woke garbage. 

According to The Wrap, Warner Brothers will not release the $90 million project BatGirl either theatrically or on HBO Max. The movie was slated for release later in 2022, and numerous worrisome reports, such as the race-swapping of the main character, indicated it was going to be another leftist propaganda film. 

“The decision to not release Batgirl reflects our leadership’s strategic shift as it relates to the DC universe and HBO Max. Leslie Grace is an incredibly talented actor and this decision is not a reflection of her performance,” said a Warner Bros. Pictures spokesperson. “We are incredibly grateful to the filmmakers of Batgirl and Scoob! and their respective casts and we hope to collaborate with everyone again in the near future.” 

The total movie budget reached a whopping $90 million due to COVID shutdowns, reshoots, and an increased budget. The movie was set to be the character’s big breakthrough with veteran actor Michael Keaton reprising his role as Batman. Early tests revealed that the moviegoers did not enjoy the film at all. Holy woke propaganda, Batman!

Ippolitio did not explain now, exactly, making Batgirl not white (she would have been Hispanic in this film) made the film "woke," nor did he identify any other content from the film -- which he could not possibly have seen -- that warranted the "woke" slur. Seems that Ippolito can't handle a person of color starring in a superhero film.

(Warner Bros. itself stated that a change in corporate strategy was the cause of the film's cancellation, and nothing was said about the film being too "woke," whatever that is.)

Matt Philbin was even more whiny and snarky -- with added homophobia -- about the alleged cancellation of another project in the DC universe in an Oct. 13 post:

Look! Up in the sky: it’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a woke bisexual guy in tights! Except he’s not going to be there much longer.

According to Brittany Bernstein at National Review Online, DC Comics announced at the New York Comic Con that it’s canceling Superman: Son of Kal-El because it turned out nobody was really interested in an excruciatingly woke comic book. 

Go figure.

Don’t ask me how comic book fans can pass up riveting story lines about Clark and Lois’s light-in-the-tights teenage son fighting climate change and other progressive bugaboos, but the series was less popular than CNN+.

“The fourth issue of the series sold just 37,500 copies, earning it an abysmal 55th place in October 2021 sales,” Bernstein reported.  

So what the hell was DC thinking when it dreamed up this dud? According to the series author, “The idea of replacing Clark Kent with another straight white savior felt like a missed opportunity.” 

So this was an expensive exercise in virtue signaling. Lot of that going around.

Philbin was too invested in his homophobia that he ignored the inconvenient fact fact that the comic isn't getting canceled at all -- it's being re-launched in a new six-issue series as "Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent." And despite Philbin's gloating about the series' purportedly terrible sales, CBR pointed out that at the time this narrative appeared, "the best-selling comic book on Amazon was Superman: Son of Kal-El #16, the series' most recent issue," and "Son of Kal-El" writer Tom Taylor said that he will contiunue to write the new series. Perhaps that will teach Philbin to not get his comic book news from a right-wing commentary magazine.

The MRC previously whined about the creation of the bisexual Superman, because, again, it thinks superheroes should only be white heterosexuals.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:51 AM EST
Updated: Friday, November 25, 2022 10:56 AM EST
Thursday, November 24, 2022
Welcome To The MRC's COVID Cruise!
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is sponsoring a Mediterranean cruise next summer, and all the usual right-wing folks will be on this junket. Aside from the MRC's own Brent Bozell, Tim Graham and Terry Jeffrey, other right-wing activists getting their cruise comped include Rick Santorum, Dean Cain, Charlie Hurt, Cal Thomas, Jason Chaffetz and Joe Concha. The one unsusual guest -- in that he's not a prominent right-wing activist like the rest -- is Jim Jimirro, who has actually done something with his life by creating the Disney Channel and running Disney's home video operation, and he has an "impact series" on media issues named after him at the Paley Center for Media. Jimirro did, however, moderate a panel last year in which Graham went off on a New York Times reporter, so maybe that's how he got the invite.

Even though the MRC regularly rants that the "liberal media" isn't diverse enough, there will be no diversity of opinion allowed here. This cruise is all about figid ideological uniformity, as one of the features being promoted is the opportunity to hang out with "like minded fellow cruisers."

But there's another thing these cruisers may share: COVID. A key part of the MRC's cruise promotion is that nobody is required to be vaccinated. Ads promoting the cruise on MRC websites proclaim that "NO VACCINES OR TESTS REQUIRED," and the top of the cruise website has a sticker declaring "Covid19 VAX no longer required."

Actually, it's a little more complicated than that. Celebrity Cruises, which will run the MRC cruise, has protocols that it follows; while vaccines are not required, it does state that "Unvaccinated guests ages 5 and older will need to test 3 days prior to boarding U.S. sailings; and ages 12 and older for select Europe sailings" and that "Boosters are highly recommended, but not required, for those eligible at least 7 days before" (text color in original). It's also noted that "Guests must provide proof at terminal check-in of a negative viral COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) taken within two days of their embarkation." The protocols further state: "Masks on board will be recommended, but not required, in the vast majority of venues. There may be select venues or certain situations in which masks are required. Celebrity Cruises is currently providing complimentary surgical mask(s) on board with replacements available upon request."

Given the MRC's penchant for spreading misinformation about COVID vaccines and overall hostility to COVID-related health protocols, the number of "like minded" cruisers who will be unvaccinated is likely to be higher than the general population and masking for onboard events will be minimal at best despite Celebrity's protocols, so these cruisers should prepare for a likely outbreak.

Bon voyage!


Posted by Terry K. at 11:27 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, November 24, 2022 11:33 AM EST

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

« December 2022 »
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 31

Bloggers' Rights at EFF
Support Bloggers' Rights!

News Media Blog Network

Add to Google