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Thursday, February 1, 2024
As Gas Prices Dropped, MRC Forced To Adjust Its Anti-Biden Narrative
Topic: Media Research Center

Because it's the Media Research Center's job as a right-wing activist group to talk down the economy when a Democrat is president, it unsurprisingly labored to blame President Biden for higher gas prices earlier this year, despite offering no evidence to support the claim. When one commentator pointed out that Biden has little control over gas prices, Alex Christy complained in an Aug. 8 post:

As President Biden prepares to travel to Arizona to declare a new national monument around The Grand Canyon, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell used her Tuesday show to lament how people’s basic needs to heat their homes and not break their wallets over gas prices have hurt his ability to cut back on fossil fuels. Mitchell and Politico White House editor Sam Stein also insisted that those gas prices have nothing to do with those high gas prices as he’s just a bystander to world events.


As Mitchell tells it, Biden had nothing to do with those high gas prices. She also does not explicitly mention the reason for the increased supply of natural gas to Europe, but the move came so that the Europeans could continue to have heat in the winter months as they seek to move away from Russian energy sources. If geopolitical realities and basic standard of living concerns force the U.S. and Europe to increase their reliance on fossil fuels, maybe that says something about the desire to move on from them.


You can do something about lower gas prices or appeal to your base. You can help the Europeans disentangle themselves from Russian blackmail or appeal to your base. For MSNBC, those, apparently, are difficult choices.

Christy, of course, is appealing to his employer's right-wing base by suggesting that Biden has total control over oil prices.

Ana Schau used an Aug. 11 post to complain that a CNN report focused on "'core inflation' that removed some of the most relevant factors, such as the cost of energy and food, from the final number to bring it to a place that looked better," though she was forced to concede that "These statistics showed that, in fact, gas prices were the only thing that had gone down, and that by enough to shift the average to a good-looking spot."

An Aug. 31 post by Craig Bannister, taken from the dessicted right-wing blog that used to be the MRC's "news" division, served up some RNC-approved (and cherry-picked) graphics to attack Biden's  economy, including gas prices:

While gas prices held steady under Pres. Donald Trump (down four cents a gallon), they’ve surged 53.1% in the first 31 months of Pres. Joe Biden’s term. From January 2021 to July of this year, the average price of a gallon of gas (all grades) has increased from $2.42 to $3.71, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

By August 28, that cost had risen another 24 cents, to $3.95 a gallon, bringing the increase under Biden to more than a dollar and a half per gallon.

Bannister offered no evidence that Biden and Biden alone is responsible for gas prices.

A Sept. 13 post by Joseph Vazquez complained that the New York Times called out exactly what he was doing -- cherry-picking bad inflation numbers to attack Biden:

The New York Times treated an expected spike in inflation as a problem because … Republicans could potentially pounce on the development to criticize President Joe Biden. Yes, the leftist rag actually did that.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released a report Sept. 13 at 8:30 a.m. showing that inflation came in hotter than expected in August with a 3.7 percent spike year-over-year. A glaring statistic showed that gas prices spiked a whopping 10.6 percent in August, significantly contributing to the overall inflation rate.


[Reporter Jim] Tankersley tried to throw Biden a lifeline before the BLS report dropped by gaslighting readers. “Prices at the pump remain well below their peak in June 2022, when a gallon of gas cost more than $5 on average.”

Of course, nowhere in his propaganda did Tankersley mention that the average gas price was $2.49 cents per gallon when former President Donald Trump left office, according to economist Stephen Moore. “No matter [how] you slice or dice it, the cost of filling up is about $20 higher today than under Trump,” Moore summarized in an Aug. 16 New York Post piece.

Meanwhile, gas prices were falling, so the MRC needed to adjust the narrative to make that somehow a bad thing. When Republican Rep. Tim Scott tried lecture NBC's Lester Holt about how gas prices supposedly work, Jorge Bonilla tried to boost him n a Nov. 8 post:

Holt tried, he really tried. Take note of the claim. “The idea”, said Holt, of increasing production isn’t enough to decrease prices. Scott folded that premise upon Holt’s head, Inception-like, by correctly pointing out that markets respond to the perception of confidence created by regulatory certainty.

We know this is true because of what happened to the price of gasoline after Election Night, 2020. The record reflects that it began to INCREASE based on the regulatory uncertainty that came with Biden’s election. And it really began to spike after Inauguration Day, 2021, the day he signed the executive order to tighten domestic energy production.

Actually, we don't know that -- Bonilla is simply taking refuge in the correlation-equals-causation fallacy, and he offered no actual proof to bolster his assertion. And Bonilla is certainly not going to tell his readers that U.S. oil production has increased under Biden.

When another news report noted the  lower gas prices, Bonilla had a conniption in a Nov. 29 post:

The pro-Biden media is doing its level best to mitigate the effects of inflation on the everyday finances of the American public: case in point, this weird report on the national gas price average.

Watch as anchor Lester Holt cheerfully frames today’s national gas price average as inflation relief:


God forbid, what happens to gas prices if OPEC cuts production or if the Biden administration’s deal with the Maduro dictatorship in Venezuela lapses due to noncompliance? Does NBC issue a correction for pretending that commodity speculation is news? 

More than anything, the report comes off as “Bidenomics” propaganda without that word, which journos openly lament “isn’t working”, ever being uttered.

Also unsaid: the reason gas prices got so high in the first place. Rhymes with Schmidenomics.

Um, wasn't Bonilla trying to portray "commodity speculation" as news by claiming without evidence that the mere election of Biden caused gas prices to increase? And if Biden deserves blame for higher gas prices -- and Bonilla offered no evidence that he was solely responsible -- shouldn't he also get credit if prices go down? Bonilla probably doesn't want to get into that.

Bannister returned with revised cherry-picked charts in a Dec. 15 post that had to acknowledg that gas prices have gone down since his earlier propaganda effort.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:27 PM EST
MRC Freaks Out Over Non-Heterosexual People In Macy's Parade
Topic: Media Research Center

Part of the Media Research Center's  Thanksgiving meltdown included freaking out that the idea that non-heterosexual people would be allowed to (gasp!) take part in a parade. Chief MRC transphobe Tierin-Rose Mandelburg raged in a Nov. 14 post:

Gone are the days in which I look forward to Thanksgiving morning, still in my jammies, fasting to save room for turkey and pie and curled up watching the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. That tradition ends this year. 

The 2023 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is reportedly going to feature a “non-binary and transgender extravaganza.” In response, more than 20,000 people and counting have signed a petition slamming the iconic parade for its propagandistic shift. 

Macy's presently has two "gender non-conforming" performers in the lineup. Non-binary singer Justin David Sullivan will be there to represent his new role as May in the Broadway production of “&Juliet.” Another Broadway star, Alex Newell, who goes by he/she/they, is supposedly also going to be featured during the parade. 

The petition by One Million Moms (OMM), a conservative advocacy group created by the American Family Association, encourages people to say “NO” to the parade and the involvement by these two individuals, Daily Mail reported.

“The non-binary and transgender extravaganza on display this Thanksgiving will be brought to you by Macy’s during their annually sponsored Thanksgiving Day Parade. Unless they are forewarned about it, this year’s holiday parade will potentially expose tens of millions of viewers at home to the liberal LGBTQ agenda,” the petition began.

Needless to say, nothing of that sort actually happened. THe parade has always featured actors from Broadway musicals, and that's what they're doing with Sullivan and Newell (who is in the musical "Shucked"). And despite rMandelburg aging about "trannies" in her headline, neither Sullivan or Newell is transgender; nonbinary does not equal transgender, even in Mandelburg's fevered imagination.

Mandelburg also failed to explain how, exactly, merely existing as someone who is not heterosexual equates to pushing the "liberal LGBTQ agenda"; instead, she continued that fact-free narrative: "This isn’t the first time the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has pushed the leftist narrative. In 2021, Kim Petras, a transgender pop star, was spotted on a float during the parade."

All Mandelburg is doing here is cranking out right-wing outrage stenography -- numerous other right-wing outlets have also promoted the OMM petition. And she's grossly overstating the issuewith her headline claim that the parade is "all about trannies" -- never mind that she didn't identify a single transgender person taking part in the parade.

That's the kind of inaccurate, mindless right-wing clickbait that continues to discredit the MRC.The fact that she didn't write any further about this issue after the parade tells us her outrage was all for show.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:48 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, February 1, 2024 2:50 PM EST
Wednesday, January 31, 2024
MRC's Hunter Biden Derangement, Tax Charge Edition
Topic: Media Research Center

There are few things that the Media Research Center hates more than Hunter Biden daring to defend himself. When Hunter faced the possibility of a closed-door hearing with House Republicans -- who have a penchant for dishonestly leaking excerpts of the testimony that don't hold up when the full tranascript is later released -- Alex Christy spent a Nov. 29 post complaining that Jimmy Kimmel made that point:

ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel expressed his concern with Hunter Biden possibly going before the House Oversight Committee on his Tuesday show claiming Republicans’ desire for a closed-door hearing will lead them to “make stuff up” because “they’ve seen no evidence that Joe Biden had anything to do” with Hunter’s business operations.

Kimmel actually began with a rare joke about Hunter himself, “Hunter Biden may be heading to Congress. He said—Hunter said he is willing to testify before the House Oversight Committee, but only if it is televised. He wants to do it in public, preferably nude, in a hot tub, smoking an unfiltered cigarette with a hooker.”

However, Kimmel quickly shifted to the substance of the matter and, like Hunter’s legal team, demanded a televised hearing, “but his legal team wants him to testify out in the open, but Republicans don’t want that. They don't want it on TV. They're like, ‘If we don’t do this behind closed doors, how are we supposed to make stuff up?’" 

If the positions were reversed, Kimmel would probably accuse Republicans of wanting the hearing televised so they could get their 30 seconds of fame by confronting Hunter and putting the clip on the internet while fundraising off it.

As it is, Republicans are seeking to deny Democrats the opportunity to get their own 30 second clips that would end up on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Christy was silent on the fact that Republican dishonesty on leaked testimony has been well documented.

The same day, Curtis Houck whined that non-right-wing media outlets aren't obsessing over this as much as he is:

Tuesday saw a possible monumental twist in the Hunter Biden saga as Biden said he would be willing to comply with a House Oversight Committee subpoena and testify publicly (even though the committee currently wanted a private deposition) about his life of ruin, corruption, and allegations of malfeasance involving his father, the current President. 

But like most Biden scandals, it barely received any attention on the flagship morning and evening news programs on ABC, CBS, and NBC, with only 31 seconds on Tuesday’s CBS Evening News.

Tim Graham spent a Dec. 2 post whining even more at the idea that Hunter defending himself could possibly be seen as a good thing:

On CNN’s The Chris Wallace Show on Saturday morning, they talked about Hunter Biden, but it was framed as Hunter making Republicans look dumb.

Wallace began: "Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. The president's embattled son Hunter Biden taking on House Republicans this week, agreeing to testify in their impeachment inquiry, but only if it’s in public. House Republicans quick to reject the offer, calling for Hunter to testify first in private."

After a soundbite of Rep. James Comer, Wallace then asked leftist podcaster Kara Swisher: "Kara, did Hunter Biden outsmart House Republicans, saying sure I'll testify -- in public?" The screen also asked 'DID HUNTER BIDEN OUTSMART HOUSE REPUBLICANS?'

Swisher agreed: "Yes, I thought it was brilliant actually, because he's a somewhat appealing character. People will get to see him for the first time rather than the cartoon and now they have to say 'no we don't want to see you,' and after all this time, we have to see Hunter Biden."

That's a weird flex, because Hunter Biden did a weird round of interviews when his addiction memoir Beautiful Things came out in 2021.

Graham didn't give CNN credit for having conservatives on the panel, though he eagerly quoted those conservatives portraying Hunter defending himself as a "stunt."

After Hunter faced new tax-related charges, Christy came back in a Dec. 8 post to complain that someone pointed out the charges disprove right-wing claims that the Department of Justice has bee "weaponized":

New York Times correspondent and author Michael Bender joined Friday’sCNN This Morning to react to Hunter Biden’s latest indictment on tax evasion where he proceeded to memory holed the IRS whistleblowers who alleged he received preferential treatment in order to proclaim that in “a normal world” these latest charges would debunk the idea that the Justice Department has been weaponized.

Host Poppy Harlow began with more of a statement or observation than a question, “Michael, this is a complete collision course between, you know, the political system and the legal system. What's fascinating is for both the president's son and for the former president, all at the same time.”

Bender concurred, but on the political ramifications, he accused Republicans of living in some sort of fantasy land, “normally the American people are less likely to penalize a candidate for his family's charges, and you would think, in, maybe, a normal world, all these charges against Hunter Biden might take some steam out of the Republican argument that Joe Biden has weaponized the Justice Department against his -- against his political enemies but, you know, the keyword there, in a normal time.”

Christy didn't explain how these charges don't disprove the right-wing "weaponization" narrative.

Graham returned to serve up his own complaint in a Dec. 8 post that the charges were being questioned:

While ABC, CBS, and NBC dryly and seriously addressed the new Hunter Biden indictment on tax charges in California, MSNBC’s Morning Joe didn't discuss the new Hunter indictment until a half-hour had elapsed, and then they implied this shouldn’t have happened.

Co-host Willie Geist walked legal analyst Lisa Rubin through all the reasons not to prosecute. Hunter repaid the tax debt, “maybe not by him specifically, but they were repaid.” And not in a timely manner, Rubin added, but “Hunter’s tax liability has been cleared."

Rubin then explained that back when Hunter’s plea deal collapsed, she told the MSNBC anchor that other people would have never been prosecuted for this, so the fact that these charges are added “shows me that there is a two-tiered system of justice, it just doesn’t go the way Donald Trump thinks it does."


They're so energetically doing Democrat Talk that they can't acknowledge that all of Hunter's millions came from selling access to his father. Joe Biden obviously knew his son was selling access. He cooperated with it, and met with his clients. next? [Jonathan] Lemire then made a speech that this indictment is "not a coincidence." (Like Biden's Justice Department is working with Republicans?)

Graham didn't explain that it's entire possible there could bepartisan DOJ holdovers from the Trump years who would act against Hunter the way he accuses DOJ operatives of acting against Trump.

Houck served up a Dec. 8 coverage time-count post (that oddly excluded Fox News), adding: "While the liberal media seem increasingly comfortable with throwing Hunter overboard, they’ve made sure to continue sheltering his father, President Joe Biden."

Nicholas Fondacaro grumbled in his own Dec. 8 post:

First son Hunter Biden got an early Christmas gift from Special Council David Weiss in the form of a brand new federal indictment on felony tax charges. That didn’t sit well with MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell, who opened her eponymous show on Friday by lamenting that Weiss “quoted gritty details from Hunter's own memoir to build his case,” how it was bad “optics” for White House, and that it could hurt President Biden’s 2024 chances.

Christy huffed in a Dec. 9 post: "With Hunter Biden being charged with multiple tax-related felonies, the cast of Friday’s PBS NewsHour wanted to emphasize what it considered the main takeaway “the indictment does not in any way implicate President Joe Biden.” He then ranted about "all the evidence that Joe was involved in those ill-gotten gains that he said doesn’t exist," though the MRC post he offered as proof failed to demonstrate that any of it was creidible evidence.

A Dec. 10 post by Jorge Bonilla complained that an ABC panel discussion "threatened to veer into 'a father’s undying love' territory, but it only took former DOJ spokesperson Sarah Isgur 39 seconds to bring the discussion back into focus." He censored the fact that Isgur is a conservative activist who was a DOJ spokesperson in the Trump administration. Bonilla also groused that the panel discussion didn't get into "the firing of Victor Shokin," but failed to disclose that Shokin (a prosecutor in Ukraine) was fired because he wasn't doing his job of prosecuting corruption, not because he was.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:06 PM EST
NEW ARTICLE: Adjusting Speakers At The MRC
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center tried to blame everyone but hard-right Republicans for the ouster of Kevin McCarthy as House speaker -- then downplayed the far-right extremism of his replacement, Mike Johnson. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 12:12 PM EST
Tuesday, January 30, 2024
MRC Plays Whataboutism To Defend Trump's 'Vermin' Attack
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center will defend Donald Trump no matter how extreme he becomes. So when he started ranting about his opponents being "vermin," the MRC quickly rushed to his defense and whined about the critics. Mark Finkelstein did thte latter in a Nov. 13 post:

Calling Donald Trump a "fascist" is Joe Scarborough's stock in trade. He works it into his spiel almost as often as he brings up the fact that he once was a Congressman.

But "fascist" apparently no longer suffices to express the depths of Joe's disdain for the Donald. On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough declared that Trump has gone "full-on Hitler." Trump's sin was vowing to root out "vermin," his term for "radical-left thugs."

Trump = Hitler? Hitler—who carried out history's greatest genocide of Jews?

Trump, the man who delivered on the failed promise of preceding presidents to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem? The man behind the Abraham Accords, by which several Arab states opened diplomatic relations with Israel? Trump, the man with a Jewish daughter and son-in-law, and Jewish grandchildren? That's Hitler?

Alex Christy recently looked at a year of media coverage and crowned Scarborough as the media's "King of Nazi Analogies." That didn't even count the use of "fascist." Joe's streak continues.

Surely Scarborough is aware that the scourge of antisemitism in America lies largely on the left. With the chanting on campus, on American streets -- even in the halls of Congress in the person of Rashida Tlaib -- of "From The River to The Sea," effectively a call for the destruction of the Jewish state.

Finkelstein didn't mention that his employer has its own affinity for Nazi analogies ("digital brownshirts," anyone?).

Curtis Houck was similarly quiet about the MRC's love of Nazi analogies in a post the same day complaining that Trump's analogy was pointed out:

On Tuesday, ABC’s chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl’s third anti-Trump book hits shelves and will send Resistance types into further episodes of collective hyperventilation over Trump and the GOP as threats to national security who must be crushed in 2024. Karl hawked the book on Monday’s Good Morning America and lashed out at voters for “not” having “paid much attention to what” Trump’s “doing and saying,” including his “Third Reich” rhetoric.

Tired of Winning: Donald Trump at the End of the Grand Old Party is likely to be another bestseller and only further underline the liberal media’s symbiotic relationship with Trump of shrieking about him (as well as his supporters) but dismissing and ripping any legitimate Republican who’d give him a run for his money in 2024.


“[T]his is a very dark, dark thing. We heard him refer to his opponents just the other day as vermin — using — using language out of the Third Reich,” he added.

Stephanopoulos interjected partway through with — wait for it — Trump-Hitler comparison, saying Trump’s engaging in “Adolf Hitler talk.”

Karl continued, warning Trump would “eliminate and annihilate his enemies and get retribution” and that his “hardcore base” believes him when he said his enemies as “coming after me because their real target is you and I’m standing in the way.”

Ignoring the dozens of campaign emails, videos from Trump himself, and an entire record of four years in office, Karl hilariously claimed Trump “doesn’t really have a policy agenda so much as a — as an agenda of getting revenge on his enemies and insisting on loyalty.”

Despite referencing "dozens of campaign emails, videos from Trump himself, and an entire record of four years in office," Houck quoted from none of them to show Trump cares about policy instead of revenge. And he's certainly not going to mention the video in which Trump says, "I am your retribution."

Clay Waters complained in a Nov. 15 post that a historian pointed out the Nazi parallels in the "vermin" remark:

The Monday evening PBS NewsHour starred recurring guest, New York University professor Ruth Ben-Ghiat, using Trump's talk of leftist "vermin" at a rally on Veteran’s Day to compare the former president to Hitler. (With the far-left’s public anti-semitic behavior of late, some are cheekily tempted to ask if being compared to Hitler is a good thing or a bad thing on the left.)

Ben-Ghiat likened Trump to fascists three times along with similar unseemly comparisons.


(If Ben-Ghiat truly thinks she's in danger of fascist political prosecution by Trump, she certainly doesn't seem concerned.)

My colleague Mark Finkelstein pointed out that President Trump actually moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and drove the Abraham Accords, by which several Arab states opened diplomatic relations with Israel and was a staunch ally of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In other words, Trump's the worst Hitler ever.

Tim Graham went for 25-year-old whataboutism in his Nov. 15 podcast:

Everyone from PBS to Rachel Maddow on CBS is freaking out over Donald Trump promising to root out the “vermin” from the radical left. Out came the allegedly nonpartisan historians like Ruth Ben-Ghiat to explain that Trump sounds almost exactly like Hitler. It doesn't matter that as president, Trump implemented a range of policies that were pro-Israel. They have to spread that "beware the authoritarian" messaging. They just can't let go...even if it helps Trump. Even if Trump wants them to trash him.

But they can’t find outrage when leftists described Republicans as a “crazed swarm of right-wing locusts.” That reduction of the GOP to insects came from NAACP leader Julian Bond in a National Press Club speech in 1998.

Mr. Bond said: "[Reagan] brought to power a band of financial and ideological profiteers who descended on the nation's capital like a crazed swarm of right-wing locusts bent on destroying the rules and the laws that protect our people from poisoned air and water, and from greed."

Did anyone think Julian Bond was some kind of dehumanizing authoritarian? No. It wasn't a story to them, only to The Washington Times and some conservative news-busters.

It says something about how desperate the MRC is to defend Trump no matter what that Graham had to go back 25 years to find something equivalent, and he could only find a policy official, not a presidential candidate.

Whwen Democratic Rep. Dan Goldman stated that Trump "has to be eliminated" -- in context, he's clearly talking about eliminating Trump from politics, not killing him -- Jorge Bonilla used the remark (and Graham's ancient whataboutism) to downplay Trump's rhetoric in a Nov. 20 post:

It wasn’t that long ago that the media went into high dudgeon over Trump’s use of the word “vermin”, and went out of their way to elicit comparisons to Hitler. But this standard seems to cut in only one direction. “A crazed swarm of right-wing locusts”, is how one speaker referred to Republicans a generation ago. No one clutched their pearls or went for the fainting couch. But no such deference for Trump.

Bonilla didn't deny, however, that it was accurate to compare Trump's rhetoric to Hitler.

Houck returned for even more ancient whataboutism in a Nov. 22 post:

With the chyron reading “Breaking News; Fears Grow Amid Trump’s Embrace of Authoritarianism”, supposedly objective and nonpartisan Washington Post journalist Carol Leonnig had a cartoonish claim of her own, huffing that “it was clear that Donald Trump…was not the president for all Americans” in contrast to “all of them before Donald Trump” who “made an effort to unite the country, to try to – even though they may have been elected by one party’s faithful or another, still tried to encourage and enable and kind of, in essence, charm the other side”.

Was Leonnig in a coma during, say, Obama’s Lawrenceville, Kansas speech? Or Woodrow Wilson with the Espionage and Sedition Acts? Or Bill Clinton’s vicious spin team led in part by current ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos?

Menendez went to McCaskill with more fear-mongering and stoking of divisions, huffing that Trump (and thus his supporters) just wrong, but “the threat from within” with his supporters representing possible actors in “domestic violence extremism”.

“He is the one stoking fear. He is the one stoking violence around this country,” she added.

Houck is so marinated in right-wing grievance-mongering that we're supposed to know what he means by dropping a reference to "Obama’s Lawrenceville, Kansas speech" without explanation. And since there is no town in Kansas named Lawrenceville (though there is one named Lawrence), we still don't know what he's talking about.

A Nov. 24 post by Waters complained that a couple of New York Times reporters "played along with Democratic scaremongering over Trump and his “vermin” insult," but doesn't explain why there shouldn't be any. Graham used a Dec. 4 post to whine that a TV host pointed out that Ron DeSantis refused to condemn Trump's "vermin" remark despite being asked multiple times to address it:

On Sunday, NBC Meet the Press host Kristen Welker displayed an interview taped on Saturday with Gov. Ron DeSantis. She repeatedly demanded the candidate denounce Donald Trump for his use of the term "vermin" to describe communists, fascists, and "radical left thugs" in America. She asked six times to try and force an answer, implying Trump sounded like a Nazi. DeSantis said he wasn't playing the media game on this.


After Welker's performance, she turned to her panel of pundits for their analysis. Stephen Hayes of The Dispatch hit DeSantis for "how small he felt in response to those questions." Tim Alberta of The Atlantic said "He seemed defensive, jumpy in that interview. He almost gives the vibe of a guy who sort of knows that the end could be near."

Graham didn't dispute that analysis of DeSantis, nor did he explain why the "vermin" remark shouldn't be criticized, or even offer a defense of DeSantis' "media game" evasion.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:30 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, January 30, 2024 10:06 PM EST
MRC Continued To Heather Liz Cheney
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Reesarch Center's Heathering campaign against Liz Cheney as she promoted her new book continued in a Dec. 6 post by Tim Graham:

Taxpayer-funded National Public Radio was aggressively competing to be the most interview spot for Liz Cheney on Monday's Morning Edition. Anchor Leila Fadel was every bit as promotional as say, Asma Khalid was with Kamala Harris a year ago. Cheney is now in the pantheon of Democrat heroes. The headline was a typical repetition of Liz's message: 

Democracy is at stake if Trump is reelected, Liz Cheney warns in her new book

Fadel surely enjoyed the idea of ripping House Republicans as spineless traitors to the Constitution:


Fadel asked small, facilitating questions to let Cheney spool out her story of the rotting of the Republicans: "What was it that stripped away that unanimity [after January 6]?" And: "What's at stake here for the country?" Then came the obligatory question about if she's a Republican, which nobody should imagine at this point, not with how the liberal media are spoon-feeding her:

As usual, Graham refused to offer any sort of fact-based rebuttal to anything Cheney said -- he just whined that she was given in platform to say it. He repeated his attack in a post the next day on a different interview:

NewsHour? Many nights, you couldn't tell the difference. Co-host Amna Nawaz interviewed Liz Cheney on Thursday, and she was just like NPR's Leila Fadel in merely facilitating all of Cheney's Republican-ripping talking points from her new book. Republican tax dollars are used to trash Republicans on "public" broadcasting. 

The segment's online headline was just a PR echo: Liz Cheney’s ‘Oath and Honor’ spotlights dangers of a potential 2nd Trump presidency. Nawaz's questions were fluffy softballs:

There was no mention of the fluffy softballs Graham's boss, Brent Bozell, tossed to Ron DeSantis in a gushfest a month earlier. It's as if Graham has a double standard on the issue.

Graham did actually attempt a substantive response regarding one exchange. When Cheney pointed out that Republicans were too scared to vote for Trump's impeachment, Graham huffed in response:

Neither Nawaz nor Cheney was going to explore how there were ten House Republicans who voted for the second impeachment of Trump days before he left office. Only two of them are still in the House. Some of them left to make big book deals and draw love on PBS.

The example Graham provided of a Trump-criticizing Republican who "drew love" on PBS? Adam Kinzinger. Graham did not explain why no Republican should have voted for Trump's impeachment.

When Cheney appeared on "The View," Nicholas Fondacaro had a huge meltdown in a Jan. 10 post:

With the calendar finally reading “2024,” the realization and panic seemed to be really setting in for the liberal cast of ABC’s The View. During an interview with former Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney, which spanned most of the Wednesday show, moderator Whoopi Goldberg and co-host Sara Haines literally begged Cheney to launch a third party and/or run third party in order to stop former President Trump from possibly beating President Biden, if he won the GOP nomination.

After returning from a commercial break, Goldberg immediately floated the idea of Cheney finding a “smart” Democrat to start a third party with. “I have felt for a long time that there's no reason why you can't find somebody smart on the left and somebody smart on the right and put them together and make that the new party,” she opined.

Faux conservative Ana Navarro quipped that a “Cheney/Goldberg” ticket could be in the works. Goldberg shot it down, saying that running for office wasn’t for her, but pressed Cheney on the idea and claimed elections would be outlawed if Trump was elected again:

Note that Fondacaro focused solely on irrelevant third-party discussions and ignored the substance of what Cheney said, which even he conceded "spanned most of the Wednesday show." That's how desperate the MRC is to smear Cheney for not marching in lockstep with its fellow Trump-lovers.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:30 PM EST
Monday, January 29, 2024
MRC Surprisingly Knocks NewsNation's Performance At Fourth GOP Debate
Topic: Media Research Center

As far as the Media Research Center is concerned, the loser of the fourth Republican presidential debate was ... NewsNation, the channel that aired it. That's a surprise, considering how much the MRC is desperate to tell you how wonderful and purportedly unbiased NewsNation is (despite that fact that it features former Fox News figures both on camera and behind the scenes). The first shot at NewsNation was paired with a move from the MRC's DeSantis Defense Brigade in a Dec. 6 post by Nicholas Fondacaro:

NewsNation was the new kid on the block in the television news space, and Wednesday was their first go at hosting a presidential debate. The moderators were NewNation's [sic] Elizabeth Vargas, The Washington Free Beacon editor-in-chief Eliana Johnson, and Sirius XM podcaster Megyn Kelly. While NewsNation claimed not to have an agenda, it was hard to see it as the first question and a series of audio/visual mishaps all seemed to go against one of the Republican candidates in particular.

Unfortunately, things didn’t start well as Kelly kicked off the debate with a long-winded fastball at Florida Governor Ron DeSantis pressing him to get out of the race[:]


When DeSantis went to answer the question, the NewsNation control room had apparently messed with his microphone and had him sounding like a colony of bees in a vacuum cleaner. Some may argue that it was just an accident since he was the first to speak. But that issue should have been worked out in a pre-debate walkthrough when they hooked up the candidates and adjusted their audio levels.

There was another snafu almost 10 minutes later where, as DeSantis was going after former Ambassador Nikki Haley and Black Rock, the camera started shaking wildly (both incidents are included in the video accompanying this piece). DeSantis had already spoken and had not moved, so camera adjustments shouldn’t have been necessary. Again, that’s usually worked out in walkthroughs.

Those were the only noticeable audio/visual issues during the debate.

Jorge Bonilla weighed in with his own NewsNation complaint in a post a couple hours later:

Tonight was NewsNation’s first foray into hosting a presidential primary debate, and then running a post-debate analysis special. No small feat for what amounts to a brand new network. And with that, comes the opportunity for self-congratulation. Which, unfortunately, did not happen off-air.

Watch as the all-star panel headed by Chris Cuomo effusively congratulates itself on a job well-done:


In fairness, congratulations are in order. But it wasn’t like the event went off without a hitch, as our friend Nick Fondacaro pointed out. The start of the debate was marred by technical glitches that could have been averted with a walkthrough. Or one more walkthrough. But NewsNation recovered and delivered a more substantive debate with a better panel asking more of the kinds of questions you’d expect in a Republican primary debate (unlike the Reagan Library fiasco).

From there, it was on to praising candidates for dutifully reciting right-wing talking points. A post by Tom Olohan cheered how "presidential candidate Nikki Haley called for a TikTok ban citing rampant antisemitism on the app." He made sure not to mention that Twitter/X, run by MRC fave Elon Musk, also has an anti-Semitism problem, some of it spread by Musk himself.

Alex Christy went into Defense Brigade mode to defend DeSantis over a reference to an older Republican president:

To close out the Wednesday GOP Presidential Debate, the Washington Free Beacon’s Eliana Johnson asked the candidates which former president they would draw inspiration from and for his choice, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis selected Calvin Coolidge. For some reason, PolitiFact decided to fact-check this.

DeSantis argued, “When Calvin Coolidge was president, "the country was in great shape," but PolitiFact claimed it is more complicated. On one hand, PolitiFact notes, “Coolidge’s reputation has risen in the past two decades, especially among conservatives, who value his record of balanced budgets, low taxes, light regulation and limited government. Biographer Amity Shlaes, who chairs the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation, wrote that, under Coolidge, Americans began buying cars and electric appliances, and patents "increased dramatically.”

On the other, "Coolidge’s hands-off approach appeared to be reasonably popular with Americans. But the Roaring ’20s ended abruptly with the Great Depression five months after Coolidge left office. This sequence of events has been hard for historians to ignore: A periodic survey of historians currently places Coolidge 24th in the ranking of presidents, just below average."

That survey PolitiFact cites also ranks Franklin Roosevelt as the nation’s third greatest president which says more about the people doing the ranking than FDR.


Was Coolidge a perfect president? No, none of them have been, but the economy performed great during his tenure and he understood the limits of the power of the office which is more than can be said of the current president. Most importantly, however, is that which president Ron DeSantis considers to be a worthy role model for his own presidency is an opinion.

Christy did not explain why an opinion can't be fact-checked.

From there, it was on to the usual complaining that non-right-wing media weighed on the debate. Tim Graham grumbled that CNN said nice things about Haley:

CNN came out of the NewsNation Republican debate with a typical flourish: Republicans are seriously evil. Analyst Van Jones, who had a cup of coffee in the White House in the earliest days of President Obama, compared Nikki Haley to "Wonder Woman fighting off like a mob of like, supervillains."

CNN host Kaitlan Collins thought DeSantis had a good debate, but there was a lot of yelling crosstalk, and "I think the most notable point was Chris Christie at the end saying picture Election Day and saying Donald Trump will not be someone who's voting on that day because he is going to be a convicted felon."

CNN has been savoring that idea for five years now.

Curtis Houck whined that the elephant who wasn't in the room was talked about:

Following the fourth 2024 Republican presidential debate, the “big three” of ABC, CBS, and NBC shrugged Thursday morning not only at the notion they matter, but showed varying degrees of rage over the fact that the debate helmed by NewsNation’s Elizabeth Vargas, SiriusXM’s Megyn Kelly, and the Free Beacon’s Eliana Johnson wasn’t dominated by questions about Donald Trump and instead beset with pesky policy issues (like, say, the economy and Israel).

ABC’s Good Morning America was disgusted. Co-host and former Clinton official George Stephanopoulos falsely claimed Trump only came up from “time to time” and was “hardly mentioned after [he] said he would govern like a dictator on the first day”.


Stephanopoulos then condescendingly added that “[i]t’s hard to think how much these debates even matter any more.”

Karl again gushed over his former ABC colleague: “Chris Christie, I thought, had a significant moment there, several significant moments. He’s clearly comfortable in being somebody who is not only not afraid to offend Donald Trump. He is not afraid to offend Donald Trump’s supporters, Donald Trump voters.”

On CBS Mornings, socialist co-host Tony Dokoupil had the same talking points, lamenting “most of [Trump’s] Republican rivals” were “reluctant to criticize him” and whining the four candidates who actually showed up to face questions “spent a lot of time slamming each other, more time doing that than criticizing” Trump.

Again, Houck's sole evidence that Dokoupil is "socialist" is that he did a single segment on income equality four years ago (the accuracy of which Houck did not dispute).

Christy then moved to comedy-cop mode to grouse in a Dec. 8 post that Seth Meyers didn't have anything nice to say about the debate:

An annoyed Seth Meyers reacted to the Wednesday GOP presidential debate on the Thursday edition of Late Night on NBC by claiming that “no one gives a [bleep]” and that the four debaters were all a bunch of “blowhards.”

Citing current polling, Meyers wondered what the whole point was before sarcastically conceding that maybe he should give the non-Trump candidates some credit, “Now, in fairness, I shouldn't be so glib I may disagree with these people, but they've stepped up to take on the responsibility of leadership, and who knows? Maybe there's a chance they'll beat Trump and become the nominee. So, I do think we should at least listen to what they have to say.”

Meyers then played a clip of Megyn Kelly opening the broadcast, “Welcome to the fourth and final—” but Meyers cut the clip short, “Just kidding. No one gives a [bleep].”

Claiming his dismissal was justified, Meyers continued, “Why should I-- why should I act like any of these people are actually running against Donald Trump when they won't even act like they're running against Donald Trump. They spent the whole debate fighting with each other like pigeons fighting over a French fry in the parking lot of a restaurant that is owned by a much bigger pigeon. In case you missed it -- sorry because you missed it, here's a quick recap of all these dweebs taking shots at each other.”


Of course, Republican candidates are going to try to tailor their message in a way that appeals to Republican voters and running around sounding like Seth Meyers is not the way to victory.

Christy didn't explain how the need for a Republican candidate running against Donald Trump to say how he or she would be different from Trump equates to "sounding like Seth Meyers."

Posted by Terry K. at 8:47 PM EST
Updated: Monday, January 29, 2024 10:26 PM EST
MRC's Anti-Abortion Extremist Would Force Woman To Carry Non-Viable Fetus
Topic: Media Research Center

The next time an anti-abortion activist tells you they're not about forcing women to give birth, we need simply point to the Media Research Center's resident anti-abortion extremist, Tierin-Rose Mandelburg. She demanded that a Texas woman be forced to give birth to a fetus that would likely not survive outside of the womb (if it didn't die inside the womb first, that is) and might jeopardize the woman's life and future fertility in a Dec. 8 post:

Kate Cox learned at 20 weeks gestation with her baby that the child had a fetal abnormality. Rather than allowing the child to grow to full term and giving it the best chance at life, Cox wants to kill her child. A Texas judge, surprisingly, is allowing it to happen.

Cox, a 31-year-old Dallas woman and mom of two and one on the way (for now) learned that her baby in the womb developed a rare fetal abnormality. Her unborn daughter was diagnosed with Trisomy 18, which oftentimes results in a fatal outcome either just before or right after birth however, that isn’t always the case. 

Nonetheless, Cox, who is past the limit for abortion in Texas, is suing the state so that she can obtain an emergency abortion as she doesn’t want a child with issues. As the lawsuit states, the baby girl “likely” has “an umbilical hernia; a twisted spine likely due to spina bifida, a neural tube defect; clubbed or ‘rocker-bottom’ foot; intrauterine growth restriction; and irregular skull and heart development.”

The lawsui also alleges that there would be risks for Cox during the delivery process, as there all with all childbirth processes but that if any of those risks resulted in actual harm, her chances for more pregnancies in the future could be at jeopardy[.]

Mandelburg's headlline screeched, "Judge Permits Mother to Illegally Dismember Her 20-Week-Old Preborn Daughter." But if the woman has gone through the legal process to obtain permission from a judge to get the procedure, it's not illegal. Given that the goal of anti-abortion extremists is to shame women for having abortions no matter how necessary and eliminating as many exceptions as possible -- and that their logical endpoint is to punish and imprison any woman who has ever had one -- Mandelburg cited her fellow activists to play the shame-and-punish card:

As of now however, Ken Paxton, Texas AG, insisted that he’d prosecute any doctor who performs an abortion on Cox as an abortion at this point in pregnancy in the state is illegal. 

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life tweeted the following about Cox’s case.

“This is eugenics and selfishness,” Hawkins wrote and then added what Cox may be thinking “I know my child may die after birth (which by the way many children with Trisomy 18 survive for years after) and I don't have to have to watch my child die in front of me, so I'm going to pay someone to kill her now.”

I’d like to think that Cox was an exception but as of now, that’s not how it looks. Just a few days after Cox issued her lawsuit, a woman in Kentucky asked a judge to grant her the same exception. “Two test cases for what could become a widely utilized strategy to access abortion care in post-Roe America,” an X user noted.

At this time there have not been reports indicating whether Cox has terminated her daughter’s life or not.

Mandelburg made no attempt to justify her anti-abortion absolutism and how she apparently hopes Cox will be harmed or killed by the nonviable fetus she would force her to carry. She's also no medical expert and has never examined Cox, so she has no basis to insist that the fetus is viable and that Cox would not be harmed.

When the co-hosts on "The View" pointed out this anti-abortion extremism applied to Cox's case, Nicholas Fondacaro objected in another Dec. 8 post:

Well, on Friday, co-host and pro-choice radical Sara Haines suggested that pro-lifers should stop receiving life-saving medical treatments because it was “God’s will” that they die, and that they were hypocrites for doing so.

Haines’s hate-filled attacks against pro-lifers came in response to the recent abortion court ruling in Texas. “Yeah, and this example should be one of the easy ones, because this actually also risked her future fertility and she wants to grow her family more and, of course, the baby is going to pass, all those things,” she said.

“[I]t's also not a universal truth when life begins,” she falsely proclaimed.

Despite being a mother herself, and her claims that she wanted to be a minister at one point in her life, Haines whined about people describing pregnancy as “a miracle” and “God’s will.”

Her swipes at pro-lifers grew more disturbing and dangerous as she declared that pro-lifers were hypocrites for receiving life-saving treatments for cancer and other ailments instead of just dying as part of “God’s will”:

[I]f it's God's will on the way in, it should be God's will on the way out too. That brings into question are you taking heart attack medication? Are you treating your cancer? Are you dying when you said you should? Because if we’re going to argue about life in, then let's be honest about life out. Don't go to the hospital if you're hurting because it is God's will. Like, I don't like the inconsistencies and the hypocrisy when people weaponize religion on this issue.

Receiving cancer treatment to extend one’s life is not going against God’s will. Butchering an unborn baby out of convenience was. If one received treatment and still passed away, that’s God’s will. Haines’s comments also betrayed her profound ignorance of the pro-life approach to end-of-life care and being opposed to medically assisted suicide, which is a closer analogy to abortion.

Fondacaro censored the fact that Cox's fetus was deemed by medical professionals to be non-viable, presumably so he could malicious ly smear Cox as being a bloodthirsty whore in "butchering an unborn baby out of convenience."

After the Texas Supreme Court blocked the judge's ruling, Cox went out of state to have an abortion. Mandelburg returned in a Dec. 11 post to smear and shame Cox for undergoing a necessary procedure:

Last week a judge in Texas ruled that a 31-year-old mother of three could dismember her innocent baby in the womb after finding out the baby had Trisomy 18. As of Monday, a Texas supreme court blocked the judges ruling and halted the murder. 

Kate Cox learned at 20 weeks gestation that her baby had a fetal abnormality. Rather than giving her child a chance at life, as many children with trisomy 18 end up surviving, Cox sought an emergency abortion insisting that she didn’t want to take any risks by delivering her baby.

Cox, fearful of her chance to have more pregnancies in the future, pleaded for a judge to allow her to have a dilation and evacuation abortion where a provider will reach up, grab the baby girl’s arms and legs and pull them off, one by one. It would be a brutal, gruesome and painful death for the little baby girl.

Again, Mandelburg has never examined Cox, so she cannot possibly know anything about Cox's health and that of her fetus. She concluded by ranting that Cox was somehow being lied to by following normal medical advice:

Ultimately, the story of Kate Cox is heartbreaking. It’s heartbreaking that her baby was diagnosed with a medical struggle but it's also heartbreaking that she’s being fed lie after lie that’s convinced her that dismembering her baby is not only an option but a good option. 

Prayers go out to Cox for clarity on truth and her innocent child for safety and sanctity.

The only liar we see here is Mandelburg. She doesn't want prayers for Cox -- she wants to shame and punish her for defying anti-abortion extremists like her and doing what was best for her health and not subjecting a fatally deformed fetus to more agony. She's mad that she couldn't inflict more state-mandated agony on her.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:44 PM EST
Sunday, January 28, 2024
MRC Smears Musk Critics As 'Digital Brownshirts' Again
Topic: Media Research Center

Despite its self-proclaimed hatred of Nazi analogies, the Media Research Center has no problem busting them out when doing so suits its partisan agenda. Thus, Catherine Salgado hauled out the "digital brownshirts" smear yet again in a Jan. 3 post:

The anti-free speech Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) has a slew of plans to crush speech in the new year.

CCDH, which has a long history of pressuring tech companies and government officials to silence conservative voices (including the Media Research Center), is not taking a break. It published its goals for 2024 on Tuesday, which included a plan to fight the lawsuit X owner Elon Musk’s has launched against the anti-free speech group and flagging alleged “disinformation” and “hate speech” for censorship going into the 2024 U.S. election. CCDH also boasted about its role in the passage of European pro-censorship legislation. The group has shown such a disdain for free speech that MRC President and Founder Brent Bozell previously called the non-profit “digital brownshirts.”

According to the new release, CCDH has many plans this year, which include “Producing brand new groundbreaking research on public health, kids, climate denial, reproductive rights, and of course countering hate speech and disinformation amid elections everywhere.” This appears to describe a goal to interfere in the election, along with CCDH’s usual radical pro-abortion and climate alarmist agenda.

Salgado offered no meaningful evidence that any of those positions are "radical." In whining about it being "climate alarmist," she simply linked to the group's 2021 report listing right-wing climate deniers -- a list that happens to include the MRC, which of course loudly whined about being included in the report while failing to substantively refute anything the CCDH said about it.

She also complained that the CCDH would fight the lawsuit Elon Musk has filed against it for exposing the hate and lies spread on Twitter/X:

The CCDH also vowed it would “Keep fighting back against Elon Musk’s X Corp ridiculous lawsuit against us.” Musk launched the so-called “ridiculous” lawsuit arguing that CCDH has falsely accused X of promoting hate speech and attempting to sabotage free speech.

Nonetheless, the group accused Musk of profiting off “the hateful anti-LGBTQ+ grooming narrative” and other supposed “hate and misinformation.”

Salgado did not explain how any of the things CCDH is fighting do not qualify as "hate and disinformation," nor did she offer any evidence that trying to stop hate and disinformation is "censorship." Instead, she whined that "While CCDH also tried to claim positive goals such as protecting teens and children online, the group’s track record shows blatant leftist bias trying to undermine free speech and enforce a certain ideology." Again, she didn't explain how fighting hate and disinformation is an "ideology," or why her own efforts to smear anyone trying to stop hate and disinformaiton as "censors" is not part of her own right-wing ideology.

And, of course, Salgado refused to justify her "digital brownshirts" smear in the face of her employer denouncing such Nazi insults -- which leaves the possibility that the MRC remains petulantly butthurt that the CCDH called out its misinformation.

Speaking of hypocrisy, Nicholas Fondacaro hypocritically played it in a Jan. 9 post:

He’s back!

On Tuesday, ousted CNN host Don Lemon announced that he would be attempting to break out of his newfound obscurity and irrelevance with a new show on X (formerly Twitter). The X Business account also said that in addition to Lemon, former Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), and veteran sports commentator Jim Rome would also be getting shows. But Lemon’s willingness to jump at a new gig on X had a strong dose of hypocrisy since he’s previously been very critical of the platform and owner Elon Musk.

“I've heard you... and today I am back bigger, bolder, freer! My new media company's first project is The Don Lemon Show. It will be available to everyone, easily, whenever and wherever you want it, streaming on the platforms where the conversations are happening,” he boasted in a post.


But Lemon’s excitement for his new show on X was steeped in hypocrisy seeing as, during his time at CNN, he had flaunted an obvious disdain for the platform and its new owner.

In December of 2022, Lemon had a bit of a meltdown when then-Twitter banned a handful of far-left journalists after they doxxed Musk’s location by sharing the location and traveling information of his private jet. Lemon described< the punitive actions the platform undertook as “madness” and “crazy.”

Lemon also didn’t seem to think the platform was a bastion of free speech at the time, asking: “Is it a free speech issue or is Elon Musk just on a power trip right now?”

Of course, Musk was and is on a power trip. Meanwhile, being the liar that he is, Fondacaro couldn't be bothered to justify his claim that any of the reporters were "far-left"-- they actually all worked for mainstream media operations -- and he didn't disclose that the creator of the jet-tracking account was a fan of Musk who used publicly available information to track his jet. Fondacaro also censored the fact that Musk backtracked on his own promise to leave the tracking account alone -- so much for Musk's dedication to "free speech."

Given Musk's longtime enthusiasm for suspending (or shadowbanning) the Twitter/X accounts of any journalists who don't fawn over him the way the MRC does, he appears to be the hypocritical one for giving Lemon a platform. But Fondacaro isn't going to mention that either -- or that he and his employer would be more than happy to censor Lemon and for Musk to ultimately deny him a platform.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:17 PM EST
Saturday, January 27, 2024
MRC Freaked Out Over Thanksgiving Being Critiqued
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center really hates it when anyone offers commentary about Thanksgiving. Geoffrey Dickens huffed in a Nov. 22 compilation post:

It’s that wonderful time of year when families get together to enjoy turkey, football and most importantly to express gratitude for all they’ve been blessed with. Of course the liberal media want you to use that day of giving thanks to instead lecture your conservative family members about America’s atrocities. 

Over the years the MRC has tracked liberal journalists’ hatred of this very American holiday and how they’ve tried to ruin it for everybody.

Dickens went on to cite what he called "some of the most egregious examples of lib journos attempts to wreck Thanksgiving." Of course, none of these people were actual "journos": rather, they were TV hosts or commentators.

Tim Graham huffed in a Nov. 23 post:

The radical leftists at The Nation can be counted on to be the Debbie Downers of Thanksgiving. In a feature they mysteriously called "The Debate," two native American activists both argue that the holiday is grievously wrong and it should be a day for "centering the Indigenous perspective." The headline:

Should America Keep Celebrating Thanksgiving?

Sean Sherman argues that we need to decolonize Thanksgiving, while Chase Iron Eyes calls for replacing Thanksgiving with a “Truthsgiving.”

Needless to say, Graham didn't even bother to respond to any of the arguments advanced in the piece -- he was more content to make sure the writer was labeled as "leftist."

The same day, Mark Finkelstein ranted about an editorial cartoon:

On this day of Thanksgiving, the Boston Globe has rendered itself the newspaper equivalent of the crotchety liberal uncle at the table, perhaps with one too many celebratory libations under the belt, spewing his political bile.

As its cartoon du jour, the Globe chose the one you see here: a vengeful Trump on his way to the tree stump, axe at the ready, to dispatch the turkey. And in turn, the turkey is regretting having rejected Biden because of his age.

For the record, not only is the cartoon utterly not in keeping with the spirit of the day, it is also ahistorical. Just like Biden and presidents before him, Donald Trump also pardoned turkeys during his time in the White House. But it's neatly in line with Joe Scarborough wildly claiming Trump will "execute" enemies if he gains a second term.

The truly vengeful actor in this scenario is the cartoon "artist" Christopher Weyant himself.

It's strange that Finkelstein got all bent out of shape over a cartoonist being "vengeful" when Trump has built his entire presidential campaign around seeking revenge on anyone who has ever criticized him (including, presumably, the cartoonist).

Posted by Terry K. at 9:37 AM EST
Friday, January 26, 2024
MRC's Jean-Pierre-Bashing, Doocy-Fluffing Watch, Question-Ignoring Edition
Topic: Media Research Center

A Jan. 8 Media Research Center post by Bill D'Agostino was all about whining that White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre largely declined ot answer biased quesions from right-wing reporters about purported Biden "scandals":

In the second half of 2023, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre answered only two questions about the scandals facing the President Joe Biden. That brings the yearly total to a paltry eight such questions that Ms. Jean-Pierre answered across 75 White House briefings.

MRC analysts examined official White House transcripts of every briefing Jean-Pierre conducted in 2023, recording every question she was asked about one of three major scandals faced by President Biden — his alleged mishandling of classified documents as Vice President, the corruption allegations against the Biden family, and the mysterious bag of cocaine found in the West Wing.

Of the 337 scandal-related questions that White House reporters asked, Jean-Pierre provided a definitive answer to just eight of them (2.37 percent). This figure tracks very closely with our findings from the first half of 2023, in which the Press Secretary answered only six out of 252 questions (2.38 percent).

Yes, the MRC apparently still believes that the handling of classified documents is a "scandal" only for Biden, even though he fully cooperated with authorities when it was revealed, while Donald Trump acted egregiously to deceive the authorities to the point that Mar-a-Lago had to be raided in order to retrieve them (which, of course, the MRC tried to defend).D'Agostino, meanwhile, is notgoing to discuss the hypocrisy of his complaint; we don't remember the MRC complaining when Trump's final press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, routinely refused to answer questions about things she didn't feel like talking about.

Because an MRC "study" -- however lame and hypocritical -- must be amplified, D'Agostino appeared on his boss Tim Graham's podcast that day, where he "discuss[ed] the consistency of KJP's stonewalling, and his generous definition of an actual answer." There was no indication in the writeup whether the two discuss McEnany similar aversion to answering questions.

Curtis Houck spent his writeup of the Jan. 10 post whining about Hunter Biden making House Republicans look bad when he showed up at a hearing where they talked about arresting him for not showing up before their committee, hyping more biased questions by his mancrush, Peter Doocy:

Wednesday’s White House press briefing saw a predictable drop-off in hardballs on the latest Biden administration scandal of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin going MIA for days with what he later revealed were a series of hospital stays for prostate cancer. Thankfully, there were a smattering of questions about Hunter Biden’s latest D.C. stunt as he appeared in-person for a House Oversight Committee hearing to discuss holding him in contempt of Congress.

Fox’s Peter Doocy was in the thicket of it. After two questions about whether President Biden cares more about illegal immigrants than Americans since a New York City school briefly went virtual to serve as a shelter, Doocy asked the ever-inept Karine Jean-Pierre to be honest: “And — and Hunter Biden on Capitol Hill today. How big of a headache is that for you?”

Jean-Pierre played up the “private citizen” excuse, arguing he’s “not a member of the White House, as you know, and I just don’t have anything else to share.”

Doocy really got to the heart of the matter with his next statement: “But the last time he was on the Hill, you said the President was certainly familiar with what his son was going to say.”

Jean-Pierre confirmed she said that, but didn’t go any further as Doocy interjected with this scorcher: “So, the official line that President Biden does not help him with his business deals, but he does help him skirt congressional subpoenas?”

This left the press secretary incensed: “That is not even true. That — that is a jump that is — that is incredibly disingenuous in that question.” Doocy countered she should then “help us out”, but Jean-Pierre insisted she was by saying she didn’t “have anything else to share.”

Interestingly, Houck didn't dispute that Doocy was acting like a jerk -- but he was apparently cool with it since Doocy got his boss' (and the MRC's) ight-wing talking points in.

Houck served up more Doocy-fluffing in a Jan. 12 post touching on briefings from the previous two days:

When you have the Fox News Channel and CNN asking the same thing this week during White House press briefings, that’s a bad sign for any administration. Such was the case as, on Wednesday and Thursday, CNN’s M.J. Lee and Fox’s Peter Doocy pressed the ever-inept Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre where has Joe Biden been this week as he wasn’t seen in public on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.

Lee asked on Wednesday a simple question: “[C]an you tell us what the President is up to today?”


A day later, Doocy reupped these concerns: “President Biden has not had any events at the White House in the new year, and he’s been kept from public view for three full days now. Why?”

This time, Jean-Pierre more or less admitted that Biden needed a few days off: “The President had a three-day swing, went to four states in the new year.”


Doocy’s other question was intriguing, but drew a filtered statement about how “proud” Team Biden is of “taking...rules very seriously”: “There’s an item in Axios that President Biden was advised by the White House Counsel to stop giving big-dollar donors tours of the Oval Office. While he has been out of view of the public for the last three days, has he given any wealthy campaign donors tours of the Oval Office?”

Houck also gave some love to another Fox employee, Edward Lawrence of Fox Business, for spouting his partisan talking points on inflation.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:02 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, January 31, 2024 6:23 PM EST
NEW ARTICLE: The MRC's Lingering Case of Stelter Derangement Syndrome
Topic: Media Research Center
Months after Brian Stelter left CNN, the Media Research Center was still attacking him any time he showed up in the (non-right-wing) media. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:04 AM EST
Thursday, January 25, 2024
Strike Three: MRC's Latest Attack On NewsGuard Again Filled With Bias, Shoddy Work
Topic: Media Research Center

For the third year in a row, the Media Research Center has issued a so-called study purporting to attack NewsGuard as having a political bias against right-wing websites. And unsurprisingly, it's as loud and lame as the first two. Jiseph Vazquez huffed in a Dec. 12 post:

Internet traffic cop NewsGuard has gotten worse. A new MRC Free Speech America analysis shows the notorious leftist media ratings organization is more biased against the right than ever before.

MRC Free Speech America investigated NewsGuard for a third year in a row, finding that its 0/100 ratings scale has once again overwhelmingly favored left-leaning outlets over right-leaning ones. “NewsGuard is just another leftist group trying to censor conservatives,” said MRC President Brent Bozell. “We have the proof.”

Using the media list provided by AllSides that classifies publications based on their “right” to “left” bias, MRC researchers determined that NewsGuard provided a stellar average “credibility” rating of 91/100 for “left” and “lean left” outlets (e.g. The New York Times, The Washington Post, TIME, Vox). At the same time, it dinged “right” and “lean right” outlets like Fox News, the New York Post and The Daily Wire with an outrageously abysmal average score of 65/100.The latest analysis denotes a 26 point disparity.

NewsGuard’s rating for right-leaning outlets in particular was worse than the still-low 66/100 average rating it slapped on right-leaning media across the prior two MRC studies released Jan. 6, 2023 and Dec. 13, 2021.

First of all, AllSides is a right-leaning organization that promotes the MRC's work, so its list is a bit suspect, given how it places most mainstream media outlets on the "left" side of the ledger and still lists Newsweek as in the "center" despite its undeniable move to the right. And of course, the disparity in group scores is not, in and of itself, evidence of bias, and Vazauez makes little attempt to prove that it is. Indeed, he follows that by rehashing old grievances about how the media handled Hunter Biden's laptop (ignoring that the New York Post did not offer any independent corroborating evidence to prove the laptop's authenticity, making it easy for non-right-wing media to dismiss the story as an October surprise by a pro-Trump rag) and complaining yet again that "NewsGuard still gives leftist outlet BuzzFeed a perfect 100/100 score despite the expired site continuing to host the widely discredited Steele dossier (ignoring the fact that BuzzFeed never claimed the dossier was accurate).

Vazquez's unprofessional bias is splayed throughout his so-called study, such as when he ranted about "NewsGuard’s perfect scores for blatantly liberal outlets like the explicitly left-wing New York Times"; by contrast, he refused to identify the New York Post as "blatantly conservative" and "explicitly right-wing." He also portrayed coverage of the Israel-Hamas war and related protests over it as being between "anti-Iksrael media" and "right-leaning media" -- a ridiculous comparison -- going on to whine that non-right-wing media coverage didn't adhere to right-wing narratives. That's another sign this is a political hit job, not a serious piece of "media research."

Vazquez also gave right-wing outlets space to complain about their relatively low ratings -- but he offered few specific examples to explain why they were so low. He did cite one instance, though, which comes off as whiny nitpicking (prefeaced by more whining):

The Heritage Foundation, one of the most prominent think tanks in the U.S. also received NewsGuard’s ire, getting hit with a 69.5/100 score. “The political hacks from NewsGuard claim they’ll help you decide what news outlets you can trust. In reality, you shouldn’t trust anything from this overtly biased organization,” said The Heritage Foundation Communications Director Rob Bluey. “Thanks to MRC, we now have proof that left-leaning outlets fare better than their conservative counterparts.”

One of NewsGuard’s nonsensical quibbles was The Heritage Foundation’s repudiation of the $80 billion earmarked in Biden’s extremist $749 billion Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) towards hiring 87,000 new Internal Revenue Service “agents.” NewsGuard split hairs by arguing that the onerous Biden bill simply allows the IRS to hire “86,852 full-time employees — not all audit agents, as the article suggested.” The headline of The Heritage Foundation’s article was “Fact-Checking Team Biden on Who Those 87,000 New IRS Agents Would Audit,” but NewsGuard didn’t disclose that The Heritage Foundation did note in its piece how “Calculations conservatively assume that only 57.3% of the Treasury Department’s estimated 86,852 new IRS agents (49,754 in total) would be assigned to enforcement.” In other words, The Heritage Foundation did specifically note that not all of the new “agents” would serve in auditing functions.

Of course, the fact that Vazquez referred to the Inflation Reduction Act as "extremist" further shows his disqualifying bias. He does seem to hint that Heritage showed its own inaccuracy in referring to "87,000 New IRS Agents" in the headline, but the article continued to refer to all 87,000 as "agents" throughout, and no evidence is provided to back up its alleged "calculations" about which new hires would be doing what.Further, that statement didn't appear until theh 13th paragraph and wasn't mentioned at all in the bullet-point "key takeaways" at the top of the piece, further showing the shoddiness of Vazquez's defense.

Vazquez, however, failed to discuss how Fox News was exposed as knowingly lying to its viewers about election fraud thorugh evidence released in the Dominion lawsuit -- resulting in a $787 million settlement with Dominion -- and how that blatant dishonesty may have affected its NewsGuard score. He was also silent about how Fox News quietly deleted a false story about a Gold Star family purportedly having to pay for a soldier's remains to be returned to the U.S. after being killed in Afghanistan without issuing a public retraction or apology. Instead, he defended Fox News by portraying its reporting on an incident involving the bombing of a hospital in Gaza to be "much more accurate" than the purportedly "anti-Israel" media. If Vazquez can't even bring up the biggest news-fraud story of the year, it shows how worthless this "study" is.

Vazquez refused to give NewsGuard an opportunity to respond to any of his bad-faith partisan attacks. He closed by rehashing his earlier screed demanding that NewsGuard not receive any federal contracts -- again showing the manufactured hit-job nature of his so-called study.

Meanwhile, what better place to promote such a wildly biased and flawed study than on the very accuracy-challenged right-wing outlets it's defending? That's what MRC chief Brent Bozell did in running to Fox Business, as Luis Cornelio dutifully transcribed in a Dec. 13 post:

MRC President and Founder Brent Bozell delivered a scorching rebuke of self-anointed internet traffic cop NewsGuard following the release of another report exposing the media ratings firm’s extreme leftist bias.

Speaking to Fox Business host Stuart Varney on Wednesday, Bozell highlighted an MRC Free Speech America report that exposed NewsGuard’s ratings as being disproportionately harsher to right-leaning media. “You've got this group … that calls itself, ‘objective,’” Bozell said of Newsguard, which gave left-leaning media an average credibility rating of 91 percent, while rating right-leaning media only an average of 65 percent.

Bozell ripped the legacy media for decades of tilted coverage under the guise of objectivity. “For years and years and years, the media has been telling the American people that they were objective,” Bozell told Varney on Varney & Co. The reality, Bozell warned, “They were left wing.”

Bozell blasted NewsGuard as a “new way to attack conservatives.” Indeed, MRC released a scathing report — for the third year in a row — that found NewsGuard provides consistently better ratings to leftist media on average while generally slapping down the scores of right-leaning media.

One can assume Varney and Bozell did not discuss how Fox News trashed its reputation for objectivity and accuracy by lying to its viewers. Meanwhile, MRC executives Tim Graham and Dan Schneider ran to Newsmax to spout the same talking points, transcribed in a Dec. 14 post by Catherine Salgado:

MRC’s Dan Schneider joined Newsmax to highlight explosive MRC research on how ratings firm NewsGuard has become more biased than ever.

For the third year in a row, MRC Free Speech America exposed NewsGuard’s worsening bias against right-leaning media. MRC researchers used the AllSides Media Bias Chart to analyze that NewsGuard provided a stellar average “credibility” rating of 91/100 for “left” and “lean left” outlets while slapping a low average of 65/100 on “right” and “lean right” outlets. MRC Free Speech America Vice President Schneider and NewsBusters Executive Editor Tim Graham went on Newsmax’s The Chris Salcedo Show to discuss NewsGuard’s real goals: choking off right-leaning media’s ad revenue and promoting leftist narratives. 

Schneider began, “NewsGuard, for years, has been silencing conservatives, directing ad revenue to liberals instead, choking off the life blood of conservative media outlets.” Schneider analyzed how NewsGuard’s gambit to silence the right was based on its overarching “zeal to defeat Donald Trump and any other conservative who wants to stand for basic American principles.”

Similarly, Graham and Schneider did not bring up how Newsmax is currently being sued by both Dominion and Smartmatic for the false claims it made about those companies in promoting falsehoods about election fraud in 2020.

Salgado concluded by whining that "NewsGuard targets free speech — it is not an objective arbiter of truth," despite the fact that none of the MRC's partisan attacks actually prove this beyond its empty right-wing ranting.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:40 PM EST
Updated: Friday, January 26, 2024 11:25 PM EST
MRC's Toto Loves Celebrities Spouting Right-Wing Views -- But Attacks Those Who Deviate From The Narrative
Topic: Media Research Center

Despite the fact that right-wingers regularly lecture their followers to ignore celebrities talking about politics, Christian Toto gave a platform to one in his Nov. 11 Media Research Center column:

No one held Gavin Newsom’s feet to the fire quite like Adam Carolla did a decade ago.

The podcaster grilled the future governor repeatedly during their 2013 exchange, turning every Newsom comment on its head in real time.

And no one will ever repeat the feat. Why?

Gov. Newsom knows better than to sit behind “The Adam Carolla Show” microphones again. He’d rather wear a red MAGA hat and play 18 holes with the 45th president.

Plus, no mainstream reporter will do what Carolla did. The news media supports both Newsom and his fellow Democrats.

None of that stopped Carolla from slamming Newsom for his revisionist history over the recent pandemic.

Carolla stopped by “The Megyn Kelly Show” for a fiery hour-plus conversation. The two explored Hamas’ defenders, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ BootGate and more.

Toto didn't mention that the interview -- done when Newsom was lieutenant governor of California and was promoting a new book -- also included Carolla going on a racially tinged tirade arguing that there was somenthing "flawed" about blacks and Latinos because many don't have checking accounts or ATM access, going on to blame the problem on the usual right-wing shibboleth of single-parent households. Instead, Toto touted how Carolla pushed old right-wing grievances about pandemic lockdowns, cheering that Carolla called Newsom "a sociopathic, tyrannical dictator and no one should listen to a God-d*** word this idiot says.”

But even a celebrity repeating right-wing talking points gets attacked if there's not total and absolute fealty to the narrative.In his Nov. 25 column, Toto praised actress Juliana Marguiles for speaking out against anti-Semitism in a USA Today op-ed, yet attacked her anyway because she also said "I jump at the chance to march in Black Lives Matter protests":

Full stop.

Let’s set aside how the “mostly peaceful” BLM protests caused billions in property damage.

Does Margulies realize how some Black Lives Matter groups responded to the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks?


Can’t Margulies and one of the largest newspapers in the country see why name-checking BLM in this article is a profoundly bad idea?

Another explanation? Neither Margulies nor the USA Today editors knew about BLM’s ghastly affection for Hamas. The BLM Chicago image generated some media attention, but a Google News search for those key words show most mainstream news organizations ignored the shocking news story.

It’s inexcusable either way.

Toto seems not to understand that there's no overarching Black Lives Matter organization -- it's a decentralized movement -- that issues unified messaging, let alone one that ordered protesters cause property damage, as he appears to insinuate; indeed, he offers no evidence that any person convicted of property damage was acting on BLM orders.

Toto is simply repeating lazy right-wing talking points instead of doing any sort of research to see if they have any basis in fact. One might call that inexcusable.

Toto did find a celebrity who was fully on message the following week, however, devoting his Dec. 2 column to cheering actress Mayim Bialik for criticizing women's organizations for being siient on alleged atrocities being committed in the war between Israel and Hamas.

What any of this has to do with Toto's supposed main job of reviewing movies is anyone's guess, other than him desperately trying to parlay that arguably lightweight endeavor into becoming a right-wing pundit.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:24 PM EST
Wednesday, January 24, 2024
MRC Keeps Up Loud And Lame War Against NewsGuard
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's loud and lame war against NewsGuard has continued apace. Joseph Vazquez wrote a Nov. 21 screed demanding that NewsGuard be barred from government contracts, regurgitating his employer's bogus claim that NewsGuard is "biased" against right-wing media:

Leftist internet traffic cop NewsGuard is the farthest thing from being the unbiased media referee it purports to be. It is a government-funded operation designed to attack right-leaning media by going after their advertiser funding.

There are at least five core reasons why Congress should strip funding from NewsGuard in the latest National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) since it received a $750,000 federal grant from the Department of Defense. The state funding of a leftist, so-called journalism gatekeeper that deceptively bills itself as “apolitical” is case in point. Such efforts by the government to censor media it does not approve of through the funding of a private organization is on its face unconstitutional. Moreover, NewsGuard’s inherent bias against right-leaning media and rubber-stamping of left-wing publications, its financing by special interests that compromise its objectivity, its apparent legitimization of communist Chinese government propaganda and its open celebration of its collusion with government make it little more than an Orwellian Ministry of Truth of the first magnitude. 

Couple all that with the MRC’s analysis across two studies on NewsGuard’s media ratings and “Nutrition Labels” showing how the so-called media ratings firm is nothing more than a leftist political tool intended to silence the right and the problem becomes all too clear. It’s time for America’s legislators to finally take action.

Vazquez went on to screech "five core reasons why Congress should ensure that NewsGuard doesn’t receive another cent in taxpayer dollars" that rehashed many of its old, lame attacks, then bizarre=ly claimed that it's unconstitutional for it to get funding:

In particular, the government is prohibited from censoring speech protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. These are basic, obvious, principles which the Biden administration has blatantly disregarded in its unlawful arrangement with NewsGuard, under contract to do the dirty work of government censorship. 

An even more fundamental maxim is that what cannot be done directly cannot be done indirectly. The Biden administration and its minions at NewsGuard are violating constitutional rights; this needs to be stopped.

Vazquez failed to explain what constitutional right protects liars and misleaders or why it is "unlawful" to point out those who lie and mislead, nor did he detail why it is "unconstitional" to do so. He went on to whine that NewsGuard identified those who spread misinformation about COVID and its vaccines, alleging a conflict of interest because it has received funding from a group in which one participant received funding from vaccine-maker Pfizer:

The [Washington] Times noted that The Daily Sceptic, another publication whose skepticism of vaccines drew the ire of NewsGuard’s web traffic monitors, got its score dinged down to a failing 37.5/100. “The site gets 1.8 million views every month, [Daily Sceptic Editor-in-Chief Toby] Young said, but its advertising has dried up since NewsGuard’s blacklisting.” NewsGuard’s “Nutrition Label” for the site updated Aug. 23, 2023, also openly defended Pfizer without disclosing the apparent conflict of interest.

You don't have work for NewsGuard to know that the Daily Sceptic, a British website, is unreliable -- others have documented the false and misleading COVID-related claims it has made, and Media Bias Fact Check called the website "a far-right biased quackery level pseudoscience website that frequently publishes false and misleading information regarding covid-19 and science in general." In short, Vazquez is dishonestly trying to give credibiliy to a thoroughly discredited conspiracy site, claiming that he merely offers "skepticism of vaccines" when it actively lies to and misleads readers.

Vazquez also rehashed an old complaint that NewsGuard rated "Chinese state propaganda to be more credible than American publications" but, of course, is devoid of any details surrounding that claim, including tyhe fact that one of the right-wing webistes he tried to defend, Newsmax, is currently being sued by Dominion and  Smartmatic over false claims it made about election fraud after the 2020 eleciton. He concluded by ranting: "Why would the federal government proceed to continue funding any outfit that considers communist agitprop to be more credible than U.S. media?" He didn't explain why known liars and misleaders deserve better rankings simply for being American, and he didn't prove that any of those sites deserved to be treated as credible by anyone outside his right-wing bubble.

Luis Cornelio also uncritically peddled the corporate line in a Nov. 22 post:

Members of the Free Speech Alliance and pro-free speech allies are calling on Congress to once and for all ensure that the Biden administration is prohibited from unconstitutionally funding Ministry of Truth operations like leftist internet traffic cop NewsGuard.

MRC and others signed the four-page letter addressed to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), urging congressional leaders to keep Rep. Richard McCormick (R-GA)’s free speech amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The amendment effectively bars the Department of Defense from contracting and funding infamous leftist tech entities like NewsGuard and the Global Disinformation Index (GDI) which are intent on crushing right-leaning media entities. 

Signed by 36 pro-free speech advocates, the letter drew attention to disturbing revelations miring both NewsGuard (which received a $750,000 payout from the Department of Defense in 2021) and GDI which is also funded by government entities, including the Department of State.

Like Vazquez, Cornelio failed to back up his claim that NewsGuard is "leftist" with any sort of credible evidence.

Unsurprisngly, the letter begins with the dishonest statement that "Our federal government never should have spent time and taxpayer money on censoring conservatives," despite a complete lack of proof that anyone is "censoring" conservatives solely for being conservative or even that NewsGuard is doing the purported censoring.

The list of signatories includes a little corporate padding -- not only is it signed by MRC chief Brent Bozell, he's joined by Dan Schneider of MRC division Free Spoeech America and Bozell's son David, who operates the meme factory ForAmerica out of the MRC's headquarters. It also includes representatives of a few low-reliability right-wing outlets: One America News Network, ConservativeHQ and the Western Journal. Also, Brigitte Gabriel (not her real name) of the anti-Muslim ACT for America is for some reason identified as "Lady Brigitte Gabriel."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:33 PM EST

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