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Monday, September 20, 2021
MRC's Sports Blogger Goes Anti-Vaxxer, Whines About Vaccine Mandates For Athletes
Topic: Media Research Center

When he (or she) isn't hating on LGBT people or spreading conspiracy theories about election fraud, Media Research Center sports blogger Jay Maxson is going anti-vaxxedr, raging at sports teams and leagues for requiring their players to receive the COVID vaccine. Maxson ranted in a June 17 post:

The micro-managing, freedom-stifling NFL control freaks are going way out of bounds in newly announced vaccination requirements. The league on Wednesday released a list of 10 ways it can punish teams without a full roster of vaccinated players. 

SB Nation reports teams without 100 percent of their players vaccinated “will have a much, much more difficult season under new rules.” Along with: “Players can still choose not to get vaccinated, but they’re not free from consequences.” Both are huge under-statements.

The NFL’s new guidelines are so petty that they extend to family interactions and player use of team cafeterias, weight rooms and saunas. Fully vaccinated teams don’t have any restrictions in these regards.

[...]

It’s fair game to say some of these draconian rules challenge individual and civil rights.

Maxson followed that up on June 21 by complaining that anti-vaxxer athletes were getting called out:

Sports media outlets over the weekend unleashed their fury on former and current pro athletes who spoke out against COVID-19 vaccinations. NBA Hall of Famer John Stockton and current Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley are expressing concerns about vaccines.

NBC Sports Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio went ballistic on Beasley, saying he “unfairly assailed the NFL Players Association for agreeing to rules that give vaccinated players far more freedom in 2021 than players who refuse to get vaccinated.”

[...]

Deadspin writer Bryan Fonseca piled on Stockton, too: “The ex-Gonzaga Bulldog even went on to add that he conducted his own research, which he’s holding to a higher regard than the health professionals who are researching all this for a living, a common pivot from people who have yet to be vaccinated, and probably won’t be.” 

Research can apparently only be trusted if it’s in agreement with the beliefs of the left-stream media. Or if it comes from the mouth of LeBron James, who boasts of how well he educates himself on issues (but won't say if he's been vaccinated or not). Then it’s the Gospel truth.

On July 30, Maxson grumbled that one NFL player ultimately did the right thing:

Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill was not planning to get the COVID-19 vaccine. However, he has backed down out of fear that the NFL will make his life miserable if he refuses to get the shots, and he’s getting the vaccine.

Many are roasting the NFL for his draconian vaccine-or-else pressure. Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins >even suggested he may end his pro football career over being made to get vaccinated.

On the flip side, Vanity Fair thinks the NFL imposing the choice on athletes is peachy-keen. Its headline declares "The NFL Is Setting the Standard for COVID Vaccine Crackdowns."

Maxson then forwarded a typical anti-vaxxer argument, claiming that "Numerous athletes have tested positive for COVID despite having been vaccinated." Maxson didn't mention that the Delta variant is much more transmissible than the original strain of COVID-19 -- even among vaccinated people -- or that vaccinated people who catch COVID are much less likely to be severely ill from it, which is the best argument for getting vaccinated.

Maxson huffed on Aug. 13 that a college football team was making the safety of its spectators a priority:

Vaccine mandates have reached into college football. Tulane University is the first major college football school to require so-called vaccine “passports,” and it now remains to be seen if other universities will follow like lemmings.

To attend a Tulane home game this season, fans will be required to prove they’ve been vaccinated or have tested negatively for COVID-19 within the past 72 hours. On top of these stipulations, all fans must wear masks at the outdoor game site.

[...]

All of this assumes that vaccines still lacking full FDA approval are the be-all, end-all to the spread of coronavirus infections. When in fact, that’s not true. News apparently hasn’t yet reached New Orleans about vaccine failures and complications, or people catching COVID-19 for the second time. Tulane only averages 20,000 fans per home game to begin with, and now the school wants to make it tougher to draw fans? Go figure.

Maxson then sounded like a full anti-vaxxer by pushing horror stories of alleged adverse effects to the vaccine:

A few weeks ago, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (Rep-Wis.) held a press conference featuring individuals who’ve suffered terrible reactions to vaccines. Among them was the wife of former Green Bay Packer Ken Ruettgers, who received the Moderna vaccine in January. Four days after receiving the first dose, she experienced severe neurological reactions that still inhibit her ability to live a normal life, including muscle pain, numbness, weakness and paresthesia. Others told similar horror stories, including one woman who incurred $250,000 in medical expenses.

Does Tulane University really want to flirt with liability for similar stories resulting from its football games? Do other universities across the nation want to be complicit in health horror stories as well? Football fans can choose to stay home and direct their own health decisions, rather than take unneeded risks forced on them by football teams. This fall, we’ll find out how essential Tulane football really is in the minds of fans.

Maxon is apparently referring to a June 28 press conference that Johnson held. Johnson was later forced to concede that there's no actual evidence any COVID vaccine caused the side effects he was hyping. Maxson didn't mention that more than 600,000 Americans have been killed by COVID, and that many millions of Americans have received the vaccine without incident.

Maxson moved his (or her) ire from football to basketball in an Aug. 30 post:

The National Basketball Association announced over the weekend a new vaccine mandate for its referees, coaches and others who work with players. With few exceptions allowed, these people must get the jab and recommended boosters. However, players and fans are not facing a vaccine ultimatum. How unfair is that for those under the mandate?

Referees – as well as trainers and coaches -- appear to be the NBA’s low-hanging fruit. The league may be too cowardly to try to force LeBron “King” James and other high-profile players to take the jab. The National Basketball Referees Association sold out its constituency on the vaccination mandate. What will happen with referees who suffer adverse reactions to vaccines is anybody’s guess at this point.

Maxson spent an entire Sept. 2 post ranting about "draconian vaccine mandates": "Like the rest of society, the sports realm is spinning out of control over draconian vaccine mandates. Vaccine-related madness is dominating today’s media reports on pro football, basketball and baseball." Like mosdt anti-vaxxers, Maxson never explains why it's so "draconian" to try to save lives and maintain public health so sports can go on.

Maxon went on to rant about his current cause celebre, NFL player Tyrann Mathieu: "He got vaccinated. Then he caught COVID-19. So vaccines do not guarantee insulation from the coronavirus. And besides, the vaccine gestapo are now hyping boosters, which further undermine the efficacy of vaccines." Again: Vaccines don't completely eliminate the threat, but they do keep you from getting severely sick if you catch it again. (Again, Maxson censored the fact that the Delta variant has changed the game.) And the claim that vaccine boosters "undermine the efficacy of vaccines" is nonsensical. The effectiveness of many vaccines wane over time, and at least some of them require booster shots -- there's a reason one gets a flu shot every year.

The MRC has generally not been an anti-vaxxer organization -- it's all about politics, being against whatever liberals are for just to be contrarian -- but it allows Maxson to act like a far-right anti-vaxxer. Not good for the MRC's image.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:32 PM EDT
Sunday, September 19, 2021
MRC Cranked Out Numerous Posts Attacking Critical Race Theory
Topic: Media Research Center

We've noted that the Media Research Center has posted more than 132 articles referencing critical race theory, which is typically attacked with hate, invective and extremism. Let's go back and take a look at a few more of those.

A June 11 post by Kayla Sargent declared that Twitter was "seemingly taking its orders from the left" because it had suspended a right-wing think tank's account after it "posted resources combating Critical Race Theory." Her accusation of order-taking came from the suspension happening after  "leftist group" Media Matters "called the toolkit “a conspiracy theory about the overthrow of America’s constitutional system," adding that Media Matters "also somehow drew an arbitrary connection between the toolkit’s language and what the organization called the “infamous white nationalist march in Charlottesville, Virginia.'" Actually, it was not arbitrary at all; Media Matters detailed how the group's literature "echoes the 'Great Replacement' conspiracy theory, which posits that white people are being systematically “replaced” by people of color through mass immigration at the behest of shadowy elites, often referring to Jews."

Abigail Streetman ranted on June 15 in a post complaining that the media wasn't swallowing right-wing narratives about CRT:

Critical Race Theory has been all the rage this year, literally. The media have adopted its language and assumptions, while companies, governments and even the U.S. government have inflicted the ideological poison on their personnel. And yes, it has crept into some schools. the mainstream media can’t stop talking about it. Conservatives have had enough of the left-wing indoctrination and many states have stepped up by creating legislation that prohibits schools from teaching curriculum that paints one race as superior to another. But now the backlash is sparking a backlash of its own, as progressives swear up and down they don't see what the big deal is.

Nicholas Fondacaro went on a massive anti-CRT tirade in a June 23 post, calling the educational concept "poison":

In a disturbing segment of Wednesday’s World News Tonight, ABC came out in support of poisoning the minds of students with Critical Race Theory. And instead of showing the parents of Loudoun County, Virginia rising up against their radical school board who wanted to teach it to their kids, the network promoted Joint Chiefs Chairman, General Mark Milley defending the teaching of the racist theory to West Point cadets.

Foncacaro further screeched that "Milley disgustingly defended Critical Race Theory by suggesting it would help cadets understand why the Capitol Riot happened."

A June 25 post by Joseph Vazquez touted how a new "education organization" has declared its "commitment to fighting against woke school boards indoctrinating students" in the form of a $1 million ad campaign opposing "the despicable movement propagating hate-filled critical race theory in schools." Vazquez didn't ask where this group got its money from.

On June 27, Alex Christy complained that NBC's Seth Meyers called the CRT controversy an "astroturfed moral panic" and insisted that CRT is really about how "the CRT adherent starts with a provocative conclusion and then shoehorns evidence to fit that predetermined conclusion. It's this backwards reasoning that leads to everything from math to pedestrians on sidewalks being cited as examples of systemic racism." Or, you know, how the MRC starts with the conclusion that "the media" has a "liberal bias" and shoehorns evidence to fit that predetermined conclusion.

When Meyers pointed out that anti-CRT laws would prohibit certain teachings of history and that the frist most Americans heard about the Tulsa race massacre was on the TV show "Watchmen," Christy retorted: "Of course, people learn all sorts of history from TV and movies that they didn't learn in school. One could argue the Mountain Meadows Massacre could be taught alongside the Tulsa race massacre, but that is a Mormon bloodbath, and isn't useful for a perpetual-systemic-racism narrative." Given that the Mountain Meadows Massacre was perpetrated in 1857 in Utah territory -- so, technically not part of the U.S. at the time -- by Mormon militia members against a wagon train of settlers seeking to move to the West, it's utterly irrelevant to talk about systemic racism.

On July 12, Streetman sneered that actor John Leguizamo is "another left-wing Hollywood star who thinks being famous makes them an expert" and complained that he "has joined CRT-enthusiasts in the fight to indoctrinate our children." In the great MRC tradition of belittling actors who weigh in on political issues by portraying them as emblematic of a part they once played, Streeman insisted that Leguizamo is "famous mostly for his voice role of Sid the Sloth in Ice Age" and called him "John 'Sid The Sloth' Leguizamo" in the headline, going on to dismiss him as "Sid the socialist sloth" later in her piece.

Kyle Drennen melted down in a July 19 post over a "left-wing Florida teenager" who supports CRT running to join his local school board, whining that NBC gave what "amounted to an in-kind political donation" by doing a story on him (as if teenagers running for political office were not newsworthy). Drennen did not counter any of the statements regard CRT made in the interview; instead, he further, complained: "When can NBC viewers expect the network to offer similar free campaign advertising to one of the numerous conservative candidates running in local school board races across the country? As if the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews, were not in the habit of doing exactly what Drennen demands.

Bridget O'Neal complained in an Aug. 3 post:

PoliticsNation, host Al Sharpton warned that conservatives are showing up to school board meetings, and encouraged his left-wing viewers “to rise up together and show up to those same meetings, demanding that our children get a full and accurate history curriculum.”

[...]

What Sharpton doesn’t seem to understand is that parents who are fighting against critical race theory are already paying attention to their child’s education. The reality is, teaching students that America is inherently racist is historically inaccurate, and parents have every right to stand up and voice their concerns. The liberal media are just upset that parents are fighting against the left, not with them. 

O'Neal did a fine job of spouting right-wing talking points. The MRC has indocrinated her well.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:34 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 19, 2021 10:45 PM EDT
Saturday, September 18, 2021
MRC: Robin Committing 'Sexual Deviancy' By Not Being Heterosexual
Topic: Media Research Center

WorldNetDaily's Michael Brown isn't the only ConWeb denzien to freak out over the idea that Batman's sidekick Robin might not be heterosexual. Over at the Media Research Center -- which already has a problem with DC Comics characters failing to be heteronormative -- Gabriel Hays whined about in in an Aug. 12 post:

Holy shoehorned sexual deviancy, Batman! The Dark Knight’s greatest sidekick, the Boy Wonder himself, Robin has finally come out of the closet. What, really? Yep, in one of the latest Batman comics from DC, Robin is interested in men. 

Oh, thank goodness for that. 

According to nerd culture outlet Polygon, Tim Drake, AKA Robin, came out in the latest volume of DC’s new anthology series, Batman: Urban Legends. This unique series takes detours from Batman’s main story and focuses each volume on a specific character in the DC Batman universe. This latest volume apparently includes a story beat on the sex life of Bruce Wayne’s most trusted crime-fighting friend.

[...]

Imagine how exciting the next installment concerning Robin’s sex life will be. Does the date go well? Does Robin get cold feet? Is Bernard actually the Joker hiding an evil plot behind an innocuous dinner date? Oh yeah, the suspense is just killing us.

Joking aside. It’s just the latest pop culture staple pandering to the ever-present, ever-complaining LGBTQ crowd. Maybe DC can stay relevant for a few more years, until the woke crowd demands that the Dark Knight himself becomes gay or some other sort of non-hetero sexuality.

p>Though, for real old school Batman fans, there’s no need to get too angry about Robin being gay, bi or pansexual. At least this new queer Robin is not the Robin introduced in the 1940s. That Robin was Dick Grayson. Nor was it the second Robin, Jason Todd. Tim Drake is the third Robin iteration who was introduced in 1989. There’s some consolation ... maybe?

If Hays thinks DC is "pandering" to a certain crowd for this character interpretation, Hays' homophobic meltdown -- decdlalring that if you're not a solid masculine heterosexual, you're committing "deviancy" -- is pandering too. It's also clear that Robin doesn't fit into Hays' imagined effeminite stereotypes of LGBT people. We know who we're rooting for in a fight between Hays and Robin.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:03 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, September 18, 2021 11:04 AM EDT
Friday, September 17, 2021
MRC Psaki-Bashing, Doocy-Fluffing Watch, Doocy-Gasm Edition
Topic: Media Research Center

Peter Doocy man-crusher Curtis Houck went a-crushing twice on Aug. 26. First, he gushed that Doocy asked President Biden biased questions:

After hiding for hours since word came in that there had been a string of deadly bombings at the Kabul airport, President Biden addressed the nation early Thursday night and, thankfully, he not only took questions, but he went off-script to call on the perspicacious Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy and Philip Wegmann of Real Clear Politics. 

In Doocy’s case, he found himself in a back-and-forth with Biden that, at one point, left Biden burrowing his head in his hands and leather notebook after he tried to pass the blame of the collapse of Afghanistan to Donald Trump.

[...]

To the likely horror of White House staff, Doocy came next because Biden wanted to take “one more question...from the most interesting guy I know in the press.”

Unsurprisingly, Doocy was ready and made it count as he wanted to know about how much he  “bear[s]...for the way” things transpired:

Later, Houck rolled more right-wing reporters into his crush-fest -- all the better for trashing Jen Psaki -- for the Aug. 26 White House press briefing:

Less than an hour after President Biden addressed the nation early Thursday night on the deadly terror attacks at the Kabul airport, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki took to the podium and continued her terrible, horrible, no good, very bad return Thursday’s episode of The Psaki Show featured usual cast members in Fox’s Peter Doocy, the Daily Caller’s Shelby Talcott, Real Clear Politics’s Philip Wegmann, and plenty of liberal media reporters, but it also featured the briefing debut of Fox Business Network correspondent Hillary Vaughn (who also happens to be Doocy’s wife).

Thursday’s episode of The Psaki Show featured usual cast members in Fox’s Peter Doocy, the Daily Caller’s Shelby Talcott, Real Clear Politics’s Philip Wegmann, and plenty of liberal media reporters, but it also featured the briefing debut of Fox Business Network correspondent Hillary Vaughn (who also happens to be Doocy’s wife).

Fresh off his back-and-forth with Biden, Doocy was called on third and wanted to know how it’s possible the U.S. will “still...work with the Taliban...to get American citizens and Afghan allies out” considering one of the suicide bombers had successfully passed through Taliban security without being stopped.

Psaki stuck to the party line, which was that “they’re not a group we trust” but it’s “necessary” to rely on them because they control most of the country.

Note that Houck labeled non-right-wing reporters as "liberal," but he censored the fact that Doocy, Wegmann and Talcott are conservatives. Also note that Houck did not put up with similarly tough (and less biased) questioning when it came from the "liberal" media and was addressed to his beloved Kayleigh McEnany.

Houck again failed to honestly label Doocy and Wegmann in his writeup of the Aug. 27 briefing:

Despite it being a Friday afternoon after a long, difficult week for the country, many in the White House press corps kept up the heat against Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Afghanistan with Fox’s Peter Doocy, the New York Post’s Steven Nelson, Real Clear Politics’s Philip Wegmann, and even some liberals testing Psaki’s patience.

Houck didn't have Doocy to crush on for the Aug. 30 briefing:

Hours before the U.S. military announced the official end of the war in Afghanistan, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki took heavy fire on Monday afternoon from a litany of establishment liberal media outlets, Fox’s Jacqui Heinrich, and usual cast member Philip Wegmann over the administration’s handling of the withdrawal, what to say to those being left behind, and whether America is now less safe of a country.

Again, Houck refused to tag Doocy, Heinrich and Wegmann as biased conservatives, even as he insisted every other reporter was "liberal." Houck chortled at the end: "If Monday’s briefing were any indication (and the world didn’t know that the war was about to end), Tuesday’s episode of The Psaki Show will be a must-watch."

Indeed, he touted the Aug. 31 briefing that way:

President Biden stuck to form Tuesday by refusing to take questions after his speech on the end of the war in Afghanistan, so they fell to Press Secretary Jen Psaki and she found a cadre of reporters who were loaded with queries on topics such as Biden’s “angry” tone, Biden checking his watch during Sunday’s dignified transfer or remains, blaming Americans for not getting out in time, and whether Afghanistan will resume being a terrorist safe haven.

And while it continued a petering out from previous briefings of almost universal hardballs, there were still reporters from a diverse range of outlets who came ready.

Houck didn't accuse his beloved McEnany of cutting and running from her job after the Trump-instigated Jan. 6 riot. Indeed, he was completely silent on her refusing to do the job she was paid to do.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:33 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, September 17, 2021 10:45 PM EDT
Thursday, September 16, 2021
MRC Rushes To Defend DeSantis Over COVID -- Again, Part 2
Topic: Media Research Center

We've detailed how the Media Research Center once again rushed to the defense of Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over his lackluster response to spiking COVID cases in the state. There's much more where that came from.

Mark Finkelstein lost it on Aug. 6 when commenters on CNN  pointed out the ultimate implication for DeSantis' inaction and attempt to punish anyone trying to do anything useful like making schoolchildren wear masks:

Appearing on CNN's New Day this morning, a Democrat [sic] strategist accused Republicans of wanting "to basically turn Florida into a morgue."

But in a mark of just how deep CNN and the Dems have dived into loony-left extremism, the guy, Michael Starr Hopkins, was brought on to represent the centrist wing of the party!

[...]

In attacking Florida Republicans, the real target for Hopkins, his fellow Democrats, and the liberal media, is, of course, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, seen as a real threat to whoever the Dems nominate in 2024.

Jeffrey Lord played whataboutism in his Aug. 7 column, declaring thatcriticism of DeSantis by CNN's Chris Cuomo "can quickly be perceived as an attempt, yet again, to use his show to distract from his brother’s Covid record by attacking DeSantis," adding:

To say the least, this isn’t good for Chris and it isn’t good for CNN. But the idea that his show would focus on attacking DeSantis - while being strangely silent not only on his brother’s nursing home scandal or the rest of his mess - but being silent on President Biden’s policy that has resulted in thousands of Covid-infected illegals swarming across the US border? All that does is increase the perception that Chris is really about liberal or Democratic Party activism as opposed to journalism.

The fact is that the surge in Covid cases in the illegal immigrant detention centers is also resulting in a rise in Covid cases around the country. Which is a direct result of Biden’s policy of dispersing the migrants around the country.

Again, that's not true.But that didn't stop Krstine Marsh from complaining that CNN's Brianna Keilar "accused Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Texas Senator Ted Cruz of perpetuating a 'dangerous trope' that illegal immigrants were spreading Covid," insisting that "this isn’t a figment of Republicans’ imaginations."

Finkelstein melted down again on Aug. 9 over "Morning Joe":

With Joe away,  Mika jumped on his repetition hobby horse on today's Morning Joe. Her phrase: "death cult." In the opening segment, Mika used "death cult" no fewer than eight times to hammer DeSantis, Florida, and others over the Covid vaccine. In her melodramatic spiel, Mika veered from haranguing her audience to choking up. 

She seethed, "And in Florida, we have a governor more interested in playing politics than saving lives: the DeSantis Variant. That's why nearly one-in-four new Covid cases are coming out of FLOR-I-DA!"

[...]

It's simply false to claim that, because the governor isn't in love with four-year-olds being forced to wear a mask all day, he's somehow a death cult-loving anti-vaxxer.

Kyle Drennen complained the same day:

After denouncing the Trump administration for banning travel from China in 2020, during the early days of the pandemic, on Monday, CNN’s New Day actually promoted the notion of somehow imposing a travel ban on the state of Florida over a recent rise in COVID cases there. Without a sense of irony, the show hyped the notion that travel from the Sunshine State would have already been banned if it were a foreign country.

[...]

The leftist media obsession with trying to deflect blame away from President Biden and onto Republican governors is transparently partisan. For CNN to go so far as to hypocritically start throwing around talk of “banning travel” to certain states just brings it to a whole other level of shamelessness.

On Aug. 10, Gabriel Hays declared that actor Bill Burr "revealed his disdain for freedom" by committing the offense of criticizing DeSantis:

Bill Burr is the champion of waffling between good opinions and downright awful ones. On a good day he hates cancel culture or CNN, but on a bad day he targets Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis and calls him a “piece of shit” for blocking mask mandates.

So DeSantis is a POS for allowing more freedom? Kind of a stupid point to make, Mr. Burr.

[...]

So he became the useful idiot and slammed the media’s new conservative bogeyman. “These fucking piece of shit politicians,” he stated, adding, “[DeSantis] knows that that’s what his fanbase wants him to do, so that’s what the fuck he’s gonna do. Unbelievable.” Oh you mean DeSantis is representing the Republicans that put him in power? You don’t say?

Well why would a lefty elite like Bill Burr understand that concept? His preferred politicians – those on the left – want to rule people, rather than represent them. Burr’s whole anti-DeSantis diatribe boils down to him bleating like a sheep for government control over his life – excuse the cliché.

It’s not like Governor Ron DeSantis is saying that no people in Florida can wear masks, he’s making sure that people will not be forced to wear them.

It was then Curtis Houck's turn to lash out at criticism of DeSantis, thistime from MSNBC's Joy Reid: "On MSNBC’s The ReidOut, host Joy Reid and lefty guests Tim Miller and Rick Wilson decided on Tuesday to go full Alan Grayson or the late Ed Schultz in proclaiming that not only does Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) not 'care' 'about the well-being of' Floridians, but he himself is 'rooting for' his 'strategy' of 'killing children in [his] own state.'"

Finkelstein returned to complain about "Morning Joe" again:

Joe, back this morning, bought into Mika's "death cult" trope. Scarborough was responding to a report from NBC's Kerry Sanders, who said that a Collier County [Naples area] mom who was sending her children to school without masks was doing so because "we believe our faith will protect us."

That set Scarborough off. Scarborough scratched his head at the idea that parents were relying on "Jesus" to protect their children. He also questioned whether Jesus wanted 600,000 people to die from Covid.

[...]

It is ugly for Scarborough to call people with deeply-held religious beliefs members of a "death cult." Would Scarborough have done so if the person sending her kids to school without masks was a devout Muslim? For that matter, Sanders didn't say that the mom in question was a Christian: Scarborough simply assumed it when "faith" came up. 

Houck lashed out at Reid again on Aug. 12:

On Wednesday night’s ReidOut, MSNBC’s Joy Reid decided to double down on her poisonous narrative that not only are right-of-center Americans bad people, but they’re murderous terrorists. Along with a series of like-minded guests, Reid insisted these conspiracy theory-laden savages want to overthrow the government while having their Covid-infected children flood schools.

This came after a deranged Tuesday episode that posited that Governors Greg Abbott (R-TX) and Ron DeSantis (R-FL) are purposefully killing their citizens with Covid.

Tim Graham rehashed much of this in his Aug. 13 column, huffing, "This was their 2020 playbook on Trump, that he was killing his own supporters." He then reignited his war on fact-checkers by complaining they weren't fact-checking any of this, despite not providing evidence that the statements that so offended him and the rest of the MRC are anything other than hyperbolic criticism not meant to be taken literally.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:20 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: The MRC Loves COVID Misinformation
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center doesn't understand how bad it looks to defend lying or misinforming about coronavirus and its vaccines because it's somehow "free speech." Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:59 PM EDT
Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Mean Girls At CNN Insist On Immaturely Mocking CNN's Allegedly Low Ratings
Topic: Media Research Center

How do we know that the Media  Research Center is a partisan attack dog that cares nothing about actual "media research"? Because actual media researchers wouldn't engage in abject gloting when a channel's ratings drop. But that's what the MRC -- mostly NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck -- has been doing for months when reporting on ratings at CNN.

Houck immaturely cheered back in March under the sneering headline "How Refreshing":

Showing just how far CNN has fallen as they continue to struggle with symptoms of Trump withdrawal, Reliable Sources and host Brtian Stelter suffered their worst rating of the year on Sunday as Nielsen Media Research showed a scant 936,000 total viewers subjected themselves to his hour of hate against Fox News and conservative media.

Worse yet, CNN’s ratings overall plummeted to their worst week of 2021.The Washington Post’s Paul Farhi dug into the Nielsen ratings on Monday and found CNN had hemorrhaged “45 percent of its prime-time audience in the past five weeks” with MSNBC down “26 percent in the same period” and the Fox News Channel only off by six percent.

Houck went on to huff: "On this past Sunday, Stelter’s show was more of the same, spewing hate in his never-ending quest to send Fox News employees to the unemployment rolls" -- as if Houck doesn't want to do the same to Stelter and every other CNN employee -- and complained he said of Fox News, “Bottom line here, you are what you watch and it could make you sick.” Houck retorted, "Trust us, Brian. The feeling is mutual."

In April, Houck chortled under the immature headline "Sad Trombone":

On Monday, CNN’s Brianna Keilar began her new gig as New Day co-host after just over two years helming CNN Right Now and the weekday afternoon edition of CNN Newsroom, where she had come to establish herself as a condescending, far-left, Fox-hating, smug pundit with commentaries masquerading as journalism. 

Unfortunately for Keilar, the ratings were in and the show was down 30 percent in total viewership from last year and 33 percent in the 25-54 demographic. This should come as no surprise, but that would mean that the show had continued to reign as the least-watched show on CNN, Fox News, or MSNBC.

Nielsen Media Research ratings revealed that Monday’s debut featured a paltry average total of 495,000 viewers and a minuscule average of 122,00 viewers in the 25-54 demographic.

Houck was back in May to mock CNN ratings again:

Along with its ongoing ethical problems, a deceptive marketing campaign, and a continued hatred for non-liberal voices, it’s been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year for the Jeffrey Zucker-led CNN. And as per the latest Nielsen ratings, CNN has continued to hemorrhage viewers with primetime and entire day total viewership down over 70 percent since January.

Nielsen Media Research has the breakdown and it’s not pretty, no matter how the Zucker Borg would spin it. Since a January high of roughly 798,000 primetime viewers and 530,000 total day viewers in the 25-54 demographic, CNN has fallen off a cliff and into the pit of misery with the network fetching only 229,000 in primetime and 152,000 in total day over the past month.

That, dear NewsBusters readers, would represent a cratering of 71 percent for both metrics. Granted, January saw the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the second Trump impeachment, and the Biden inauguration, but to lose anything by such a large metric wasn’t anything one should brag about.

Houck loves to portray Zucker -- who is Jewish -- as CNN's puppetmaster, an anti-Semitic trope. As if Roger Ailes didn't do the exact same thing at Fox News, which Houck presumably had no problem with at all. Houck actually uses the racially charged "puppetmaster" insult to mock CNN's ratings again in a June 2 post:

On Monday, one could have diagnosed CNN’s New Day co-host Brianna Keilar deciding to eat cicadas as the show’s “shark jumping” moment, but that would have meant that the show was successful to begin with when, in reality, it’s been a dumpster fire since its April 19 reboot.

Nielsen Media Research has the numbers and, unless you’re puppetmaster Jeff Zucker and his minions with their heads in the sand, they’re not pretty with an audience of under 500,000 total viewers for five weeks in a row (with only the first week being north of that).

Houck's weird CNN-hating obsession continued on June 29:

When it rains, it pours. And when it comes to ratings at the Jeffrey Zucker-led clown show known as CNN, it’s a monsoon. The second quarter’s ratings came out on Tuesday and the immature, noxious, and repugnant network suffered its worst month in total viewers and the 25-54 demo since June 2019. And that's not to mention that primetime ratings have tumbled 71 percent in total viewers and 78 percent in the demo since January.

Meanwhile, the Fox News Channel continued to assert its dominance over the competition with its 78th consecutive quarter leading cable news and sixth straight win in all of cable, led in part due to the continued success of shows like The Five, Gutfeld!, and Tucker Carlson Tonight.

Scott Whitlock took tie CNN mocking stick from Houck for a July 23 post: "Apparently, Americans don’t want to watch 80 minutes of CNN’s Don Lemon sucking up to Joe Biden. The July 21 town hall special bombed the ratings, losing not only to Fox News (which would be expected), but even MSNBC."

So pathological is the MRC's hatred of Stelter that it even tried to blame him for tanking the ratings of someone else's show , as Abigail Streetman did an an Aug. 13 post:

Stephen Colbert is wrong about a lot, but his biggest mistake yet was allowing Clown News Network’s Brian Stelter onto his show this week. The Late Show saw a drastic decrease in viewership during Colbert’s segment with the news anchor who scrambled helplessly in an attempt to defend Chris Cuomo.

[...]

When Stelter appeared on the show, ratings for his interview revealed it as Colbert’s least watched segment of the night. Wow, shocker! People hate Stelter’s show and it seems like they can’t even stand to watch him on Colbert’s show. 

Demonstrating she's a Mean Girl with nothing to offer but lame, juvenile insults, Streetman concluded, "The Lame Show will be no more if Stelter ever makes an appearance again."

Yet the MRC wants to be treated as serious "media researchers." Go figure.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:35 PM EDT
Tuesday, September 14, 2021
MRC Rushes To Defend DeSantis Over COVID -- Again
Topic: Media Research Center

Last year, the Media Research Center fawned all over Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for his hands-off approach to the coronavirus epidemic in his state -- then had to switch to defense mode when the state became an epicenter of COVID infection. Well, Florida has become an epicenter of the Delta variant this summer, and the MRC is back in defense mode.

Alex Christy complained on July 17 that CNN's Chris Cuomo spread "disinformation" by "insinuating" that DeSantis isn't encouraging people to get vaccinated, then made excuses for DeSantis' abhorrent behavior: 

DeSantis has been vocal in his opposition to vaccine passports, mandates, and is selling anti-Fauci merchandise, but has never said "don't get vaccinated." The anti-Fauci fundraising is about masks and lockdowns, not vaccines. If Cuomo can't understand the difference between being against mandates and being against vaccines, that's on him, not DeSantis.

Christy also falsely identified guest Leana Wen as "Planned Parenthood president" -- she hasn't worked there for two years, and even then was the group's president for only nine months. (the MRC is weirdly obsessed with tagging Wen as tied to Planned Parenthood even though it's irrelevant to her current TV appearances as a health expert.) Christy then justified people who refuse to get the vaccine by blaming others, not them, for their own behavior:

The people who remain unvaccinated need to be convinced and telling them that nothing will change regardless will just confirm their suspicions that restrictions will last forever, or worse, that the vaccines don't work. That is far more damaging to the vaccination campaign than any anti-Fauci beer koozie. 

Christy returned on July 31 to portray any criticism of DeSantis' handling on COVID as an effort to derail his potential 2024 presidential camapign:

It is obvious that the media view Florida Governor Ron DeSantis as a 2024 threat; hence every discussion about COVID and the Delta variant must include an implication that Florida is a uniquely dire situation.

On his Friday show, CNN's Chris Cuomo blamed Florida for the CDC's revised mask guidelines, saying the country was being "held hostage" because of DeSantis' anti-science governance.

Mark Finkelstein peddled the same angle in an Aug. 2 post:

As the number of COVID cases rises in Florida, opportunistic liberal talk shows are taking more pot shots at Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential 2024 presidential candidate. It's never too early to bury him.  

Morning Joe regular Dave Aronberg, the Democrat Palm Beach County State Attorney, twice claimed today that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis's stance on Covid constitutes—of all things—"socialism." 

Mika Brzezinski melodramatically teed him up by suggesting you'd oppose DeSantis, too, if "you’re actually getting correct information on the science, and not a bunch of stupid, crazy, Trump-driven conspiracy theories that could kill you."

Clay Waters complained that New York Times columnist Paul Krugman "pointed out that over 10,000 Floridians are currently hospitalized with Covid, then blamed DeSantis," adding that "Krugman was obliged to note, but strenuously attempted to discount, the inconvenient fact that Florida is actually doing just fine with vaccinations." Waters then huffed:

Speaking of life, DeSantis kept Florida schools open, as the luckless children under blue state regimes suffered developmental setbacks and loneliness. How rejecting masks for the upcoming school year could possibly impact case levels in the present day is a baffler, but intellectual consistency has never been Krugman’s strong suit.

After MSNBC's Joe Scarborough pointed out that DeSantis' pandering to his right-wing supporters on COVID made him sound a bit like "Simpsons" character Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel, Finkelstein returned to sneer: "Was Joe Scarborough ever a good ol' Southern boy, as he still likes to portray himself? In any case, that persona has definitively disappeared. On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough exposed himself as the worst kind of condescending Upper West Side snob."

As the COVID death toll mounted in Florida, Kristine Marsh helped DeSantis distract and play whataboutism while decrying a new nickname for the guy:

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has increasingly become one of the left’s favorite targets. So it should come as no surprise that he drew the ire of the media on Thursday after he fired back at President Biden for lecturing him on his coronavirus leadership.

After Biden publicly rebuked the governor for banning mask mandates in Florida schools, DeSantis slammed the president for allowing COVID positive illegal immigrants into the country and flying them to states like Florida. Both Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough and The View’s Sunny Hostin went after DeSantis this morning in a pathetic effort to defend Biden.

On The View, Hostin maliciously smeared the Governor as “directly” responsible for people dying from COVID. She touted debunked allegations that he “hid” the death toll in his state, calling him “DeathSantis:”

Christy then served up more defense for DeSantis on Aug. 5 by insisting that he's not terrible on COVID, he's merely average:

The media's obsession with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis continued on Tuesday as Katy Tur Reports guest host Geoff Bennett let gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried spread multiple untruths about DeSantis' pandemic response. That Fried was allowed to spread such claims was not surprising as Bennett's questioning relied on similarly false premises.

Ironically, before the segment even started, Bennett showed why the segment should never even happened as he went to a commercial teasing, "Still ahead, summer surge. At least 42 states are seeing COVID infection rates spike over 100 percent in the last two, we’ll go live to the new pandemic epicenter which is Florida."

If 42 states are seeing over 100% increases, then it can not simply be boiled down to politics or the governor's policies, but that didn't stop Bennett from trying. Leading Fried with a false narrative he asked, "What's your take-away about what's to come?...Why are do you think so many Floridians still aren't vaccinated?"

Florida's vaccination rate is essentially the same as the national average. As of August 3, 58.2% of Floridians have received at least one shot compared to 57.9% of all Americans.

Christy is rather desperately understating the situation in Florida. As week after his post, Florida alone accounted for nearly 18 percent of all new COVID cases in the U.S. And if the vaccination rate of Florida and Texas had been higher, 70,000 hospitalizations and 4,700 deaths could have been prevented through July.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:39 PM EDT
Monday, September 13, 2021
MRC Runs The Larry Elder Defense Committee, Part 2
Topic: Media Research Center

We've detailed some of the Media Research Center's defense of right-wing California gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder -- and burying of credible claims of misbehavior with women -- and it has continued. But first, Rich Noyes rehashed a complaint about how the media covered the 2003 recall in California: "Arnold Schwarzenegger is no conservative, but the liberal media are smearing him as if he were." But the MRC also defended Schwarzenegger as if he were, playing Clinton whataboutism to complain that it was "last minute dirty tricks" for the media to cover accusations of alleged sexual misbehavior (and  Schwarzenegger praising Hitler).

Gabriel Hays whined that actors are donating money to Newsom:

Hollywood is dead. The movies are derivative and most of the industry’s big name personalities have destroyed their popularity with their incessant leftwing politics. Though that doesn’t seem to stop them. In a mad dash to kill off whatever remaining dignity any of them had, several actors, producers and showbiz moguls are campaigning for Gavin Newsom (D-CA), one of the worst governors in American history.

[...]

Conservative talk radio host Larry Elder, who has a sizable lead in polling, could become the governor of one of the bluest states in the union. Though Newsom is still slightly favored to survive the recall, Elder as California governor is a terrifying prospect for the leftists in Hollywood.

Actually, the article Hays linked to back up his claim stated that "only about a quarter of the electorate supports" Elder, which would not be a "sizable lead" in any real election. Also, Hays is the guy who can't even correctly define what a "Hollywood film" is, so maybe he should sit this one out.

Kyle Drennen complained that MSNBC "brought on far-left Los Angeles Times columnist Jean Guerrero to hurl invective at the organizers of the effort and leading Republican contender Larry Elder. She ranted that the recall was fueled by “anti-immigrant nativists” who would spell doom for California and the Democratic Party," adding that she "was particular aghast [sic] that the conservative Republican wanted to rollback radical left-wing policies like sanctuary laws, driver’s licenses, and in-state tuition for illegal immigrants." Drennen complained that "Guerrero was never challenged on any of her outrageous rhetoric against Elder or Republicans in general" -- though he didn't dispute anything Guerrero said either.

Kristine Marsh groused that MSNBC host Joy Reid couldn't hide her disdain for black conservative radio host Larry Elder, on her show last night while talking about California’s upcoming recall election. The Chicken Little commentator panicked that if Elder was elected governor, the state would go to hell in a handbasket (as if it wasn’t already?) and turn into “nightmare” states California [sic: Florida] and Texas."

Marsh returned on Sept. 9 to try to make a big deal out of someone throwing an egg at Elder:

The big three networks this morning didn’t seem to care that a black man running for office was assaulted by a white woman in a gorilla mask yesterday. Probably because that man was conservative radio host, Larry Elder, running for governor in the blue state of California.

Only ABC and CBS covered part of the vile incident on their morning shows Thursday, while NBC ignored it all together.

[...]

This attack surely would've been labeled as racist by the media had Elder been a Democrat running in a red state.

This was followed by Curtis Houck giving Ben Shapiro a platform to complain about "the liberal media refusing to give real airtime to the egg attack

We would remind Houck and Marsh that the MRC has amply demonstrated its indifference to the safety of journalists who aren't also right-wing activists, so perhaps they should sit this one out as well.

Tim Graham served yet another Brian Stelter whine-a-thon in a Sept. 12 post:

Brian Stelter just adores new Los Angeles Times columnist Jean Guerrero. He put her on his Reliable Sources podcast and now he's put her on his Reliable Sourcesshow to keep repeating her smears of black conservative California gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder. On Sunday, she repeated the slur that he's the "black face of white supremacy."

[...]

Stelter never asks Guerrero to explain herself on this bizarre comparison. But then, Stelter doesn't push back when his guests suggest Donald Trump will kill more people than Hitler, Stalin, and Mao combined. 

Then again, Graham spent the past four years attacking fact-checkers for daring to fact-check Trump while refusing to concede that Trump ever lied about anything, so he needs to do some sitting down as well.

None of these posts, by they way, mentioned the credible accusations of sexual harassment and gun-waving made by an ex-girlfriend of Elder. The MRC is doing quite a job of trying to shove that down the memory hole.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:38 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, September 13, 2021 9:41 PM EDT
Sunday, September 12, 2021
MRC Runs The Larry Elder Defense Committee
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is undoubtedly happy Larry Elder came along to be the leading Republican canddiate in the California governor recall election. Otherwise, it would have to continue to fight its transphobic urges as it played defense for Caitlyn Jenner.

The MRC began by touting Elder's chances against the incumbent facing recall, Democrat Gavin Newsom. On July 28, Scott Whitlock gushed that Fox News was touting Elder was emerging as the frontrunniner ina "perfect storm" against Newsom (and that non-right-wing media outlets weren't reporting on an state election that was a month and a half away). On Aug. 12, Kyle Drennen complained that non-right-wing outets weren't repoirting that Newsom "was beginning to crack under the pressure of an upcoming recall election that looks increasingly likely he may lose." Kristine Marsh wrote on Aug. 16 that CNN "tried to help out the embattled Democrat Governor Newsom with a puff piece that completely ignored his critics and glossed over his failures" while it "actually helped Newsom attack his conservative competitor, radio host Larry Elder, as the next Trump." Marsh didn't dispute that characterization.

But as Elder started drawing more attention -- much of it negative -- the MRC got upset. On Aug. 18, designated New York Times-hater Clay Waters whined that the paper was "smearing the idea of the recall and Newsom's leading conservative opponent, black conservative talk show host Larry Elder" and that it was "calling Elder a liar for accurately stating that no one knows how much human action contributes to rising global temperatures." Brad Wilmouth then came to Elder's defense over a sexist view he espoused that CNN correspondent Kyung Lah highlighted:

After showing a couple of clips of Elder -- one complaining that welfare has hurt women, and the other complaining about the many accusations of racism and sexism made by the left -- Lah read from a piece published by Elder in May 2000 in which he asserted that women are less informed about political issues than men. The CNN correspondent recalled: "In May 2000, Elder penned this editorial, writing, 'Women know less than men about political issues, economics and current events,' adding, 'The less one knows, the easier the manipulation.'"

But Lah omitted Elder's few sentences which demonstrated that his claim wasn't just an unsubstantiated opinion, but that it had been verified by a recent University of Pennsylvania study involving left-leaning researcher Kathleen Hall Jamieson.

As criticism of Elder mounted, the MRC made sure to emphasize the more strident ones, thus suggesting that all criticism of Elder was outlandish:

  • Tim Graham complained of the "mudslinging tactics" of a Los Angeles Times columnist Erika D. Smith that called Elder "the Black face of white supremacy." Graham he huffed that "No 'fact checker' will check any of this lying garbage," but he identified no "lies" that needed to be fact-checked.
  • Marsh claimed that an MSNBC guest and newspaper columnist painted Elder "as an apostle of white nationalism who would “make life harder” for black and Latino Americans," going on to smear the commentator as someone Divorced from any sort of rational analysis" and "believes voters can’t think for themselves," and adding that she shows "just how far removed liberal journalists are from the average American" (though she's a columnist, not a journalist).

But even the MRC couldn't ignore accusations about Elder's history with women -- so it was time to downplay those claims. Waters was first up complaining that an ex-girlfriend's claim that Elder showed a gun to her while high on marijiana was merely "personal attacks and speculation in a way that under-substantiated allegations made against Democrats never get (see: Tara Reade)." Does this mean we can say the MRC was indulging in "personal attacks and speculation" when it uncritically repeated and breathlessly touted Reade's accusations?

Graham similarly played Reade whataboutism -- and 30-year-old Anita Hill whataboutism -- in an Aug. 26 post:

NPR's public editor Kelly McBride confessed in 2020 that NPR was slow to address Tara Reade's sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden. But NPR wasn't slow at all to highlight an ex-fiancee's allegation that black conservative California gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder waved a gun at her while high on marijuana during a breakup in 2015. It dominated their segment on the California recall on Wednesday's Morning Edition. 

It's easy to recall that NPR jumped first on the unproven allegations from Anita Hill that Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her. Their California expert, Scott Shafer from San Francisco affiliate KQED, implied there was probably more dirt on Elder they hadn't dug up yet.

Graham added: "The ex-fiancee is Alexandra Datig, who has endorsed Republican Kevin Faulconer in the recall election. Politico's Carla Marinucci first reported Datig's claims on August 19. What about the timing? California expected counties to begin sending mail-in ballots on August 16." Funny, we don't recall Graham or anyone else at the MRC questioning Reade's motivations or her timing.

Marsh returned on Aug, 27 to mock Smith for highlighting the hate mail she received about her "Black face of white supremacy." Jeffrey Lord followed with an Aug. 28 column attacking Smith and another Los Angeles Times columnist, and he too played Anita Hill whataboutism -- while being completely silent about the accusations Elder's ex-girlfriend made.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:05 PM EDT
Saturday, September 11, 2021
MRC Got Mad Apple Store Removed Anti-Vaxxer Dating App
Topic: Media Research Center

How determined is the Media Research Center to align itself with the worst, most extreme people to perpetuate its dubious (and false) narrative of conservatives being deliberately and solely "censored" by social media? It's complaining that an anti-vaxxer dating app was removed from the Apple store. Autumn Johnson wrote in an Aug. 2 post:

Apple has removed a dating app from its App Store for violating its COVID policies.

Unjected, a dating app focused on partnering individuals who are opposed to getting the COVID vaccine, was removed from the store.

Shelby Thomson, the founder of the app said the removal was deliberate censorship on Apple’s part.

“Apparently, we are considered ‘too much’ for sharing our medical autonomy and freedom of choice,” she said in a video.

“[W]hen one report gets you deleted off every platform instantly. We must be doing something right,” the app’s Instagram page posted with a screenshot of an article discussing the app.

Because Johnson is so busy defending the app's right to exist, she didn't mention that it was busted for spreading COVID misinformation. She linked (but didn't otherwise acknowldge the contents of) a Bloomberg article that apparently got the app the boot, which noted the bogus conspiratorial claptrap the app was promoting: "A routine update to the app triggered a review by Google Play that found it hadn’t sufficiently policed user-generated content for misinformation. In emails to Unjected, Google flagged posts that included claims of vaccines being 'experimental mRNA gene modifiers,' 'bioweapons' and 'nano-technology microchips' used to link people to the 5G network."

But because she want to paint the app's makers as victims, Johnson doesn't point out the obvious regarding Thomson's defense: If your app is so irresponsible that "one report gets you deleted off every platform instantly," you are not "doing something right" -- your wrongness and irresponsibility is simply that obvious.

The inability of Johnson and the MRC to see that an anti-vaxxer dating app is such an objectively bad idea that it shouldn't be defended shows just how far down the victimization rabbit hole they have descended.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:32 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, September 11, 2021 10:34 AM EDT
Friday, September 10, 2021
MRC Psaki-Bashing, Doocy-Fluffing Watch, Bombing-Psaki Edition
Topic: Media Research Center

Media Research Center writer Curtis Houck buries any news of a #PsakiBomb -- he'd rather bomb Psaki. Amid the fall of Afghanistan, Houck showed he was mnre interested in taking partisan shots than suypporting America with his near-orgasmic glee over White House press secretary Jen Psaki taking tough questions from reporters on the subject -- and without his man-crush Peter Doocy on duty. Houck harrumphed after the Aug. 17 briefing:

Though most of it didn’t make the Tuesday network evening newscasts, the White House press corps made an effort to raise tough questions with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Press Secretary Jen Psaki amidst the collapse of Afghanistan, showing that neither had the answers to basic questions about how they’ll ensure the safe departure of American citizens and Afghan allies, the plight of Afghan girls, and what this means for our commitments around the globe.

[...]

With Fox’s Peter Doocy not in the room, the most effective reporter fell to his colleague Jacqui Heinrich (who only questioned Psaki) and, surprisingly, CBS’s Weijia Jiang, who did the opposite of Shear with short, pointed questions.

Doocy was back for Houck to swoon over (anlong with fellow right-winger Philip Wegmann) for the Aug. 23 briefing:

To go along with two horrendously bad Pentagon press briefings and another at the State Department, the White House joined in Monday afternoon with a shellacking at the hands of the press corps on Afghanistan. For this installment, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Press Secretary Jen Psaki took fire from all angles, ranging from Fox News to NPR.

Led by Fox’s Peter Doocy and Real Clear Politics’ Philip Wegmann, Team Biden was grilled about whether Americans have been “stranded” by their own government, whether Americans outside Kabul will be rescued, and how can the U.S. take to heart anything that emanates from the Taliban.

[...]

Fast-forward a few minutes to the one-two punch of Doocy and Wegmann, which featured the latter telling Sullivan that Biden “has criticized his predecessor,” “the Afghan army,” and “the Afghan government for all of their failures,” but not the Taliban.

It was a full-on Doocy-gasm, however, for the Aug. 24 briefing:

Appearing almost four hours late in the White House Briefing Room, Press Secretary Jen Psaki faced more excellent questions Tuesday afternoon over the Biden administration’s handling of Afghanistan. As was the case on Monday, Fox’s Peter Doocy led the way with questions about vetting Afghan refugees, whether she’d take back her claim that people aren’t “stranded” in Afghanistan, and whether the Taliban now has “the same kind of influence over military planning as” Biden.

Called on sixth, Doocy got right to work: “Is there any concern that maybe trying to reach this deadline and get everybody out, mistakes are being made, now that there is a report that at least one of the Afghan evacuated to Qatar has suspected ISIS ties?”

Psaki replied there’s “a stringent vetting process which includes background checks before any individual comes to the United States” and thus is something the administration has taken “incredibly seriously.”

Psaki also had a Baghdad Bob moment as she proclaimed that “this is now on-track, Peter, to be the largest airlift in U.S. history” and thus “I would not say that is anything but a success.”

Houck's beat ( or, perhaps, the beating off) continued for the Aug. 25 briefing:

After almost an entire week away on vacation (aside from an August 23 briefing), The Psaki Show hasn’t exactly gone swimmingly for the Biden administration and, like Monday and Tuesday, Wednesday was no exception as Press Secretary Jen Psaki had little in the way of friendly reporter questions as Fox’s Peter Doocy had the cavalry on his side in pressing on issues surrounding the collapse of Afghanistan.

In Doocy’s case, he called out Biden cracking a joke about the humanitarian disaster, why did Biden spend so much time on Tuesday talking about his Build Back Better, and does the U.S. still have a policy of not negotiating with terrorists since we’ve had to lob constant pleas at the Taliban to not attack U.S. troops or those fleeing the country.

Doocy led off with how Biden had brushed aside NBC reporter Peter Alexander’s Afghanistan question hours earlier during a pool spray about cybersecurity by saying this when asked what he’d do for Americans still in Afghanistan after the August 31 deadline: “You’ll be the first person I call!”

Doocy posed a simple question: “So, what’s so funny?”

Houck thinks it's quite hilarious any time he can denigrate Psaki. That does seem to be where he gets his jollies these days.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:56 PM EDT
Thursday, September 9, 2021
MRC Censors News That Whistleblower It Attacked Got A Government Settlement
Topic: Media Research Center

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic past year, the Media Research Center was attacking anyone who dared to question how President Trump was handling the crisis or pointed out he was handling it poorly. ONe of those targets was Rick Bright, a federal employee who was fired as head of a HHS agency because he didn't promote Trump's pet drug hydroxychloroquine. The MRC insisted that Bright was "discredited' because a Politico article attempted to contradict his claims -- but it did so by citing only anonymous Trump officials, and we know how the MRC feels about anonymous sources.

Well, it tiurs out that Bright may have been more correct than the MRC will ever admit. Last month, Bright settled with HHS in "a financial agreement that compensated him for losses including salary, benefits and pension contributions after he was abruptly removed in April 2020 from his role as the head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority." Bright even got HHS to say nice things about him:

In a statement, an HHS spokesman confirmed the settlement on the whistleblower claim.

"The Agency would like to thank Dr. Bright for his dedicated public service and for the contributions he made to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic while he served as BARDA Director. We wish him well in his new endeavors."

Bright's attorney added that Bright is working with the government on a second complaint he made to investigate "the prioritization of the Trump political agenda over the health of the American public constituting a grave danger to the public health and safety, and the circumvention of established protocol in order to award lucrative contracts without scientific merit."

Needless to say, the MRC has completely censored this story, and its certainly not going to update any of its previous attacks on Bright to reflect that he was right enough to get a nice settlement from the government.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:11 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE -- The MRC's War on Jen Psaki (And Man-Crush On Peter Doocy): The Profiles
Topic: Media Research Center
Media Research Center writer Curtis Houck can't handle it when White House press secretary Psaki doesn't face hatred in media interviews -- or that Fox News reporter Doocy's right-wing bias gets called out. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 12:55 PM EDT
Wednesday, September 8, 2021
No, MRC, Demonitization Of Piers Morgan Column Is Not 'Censorship'
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center loves to describe things as "censorship" that are not censorship at all. Casey Ryan took that to a new level by complaining in an Aug. 4 post:

Talk about Olympic-sized censorship. Google admitted that the platform demonetized a column from former talk show host Piers Morgan that merely criticized Olympic gymnast Simone Biles for abandoning her team at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

In a column for the Daily Mail headlined “Free speech is dying and woke Google is helping to dig its grave,” Morgan said Google demonetized a column he wrote critical of Biles only eight hours after it was published. “This meant they banned all adverts from appearing alongside it, so the Mail would receive zero revenue from the column appearing on Google,” Morgan wrote.

He emphasized that the platform’s censorship was “a big deal” because “Google and Facebook have a virtual monopoly on online advertising revenue, hoovering up 80% of the entire market between them.” In a response to MRC Free Speech America, Google admitted to demonetizing Morgan’s column.

Google did not accuse Morgan of making a racist or bigoted remark, but accused readers leaving comments under his column of racist activity. “Our systems detected racist content in the comments under a recent MailOnline article from Piers Morgan so we blocked ads from showing against the article in accordance with our policies. The article remains on MailOnline, but advertisers using our ad tech will not see their ads running alongside it while those comments remain,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

This was not "Olympic-sized censorship." Indeed, it was not "censorship" at all. Nobody was prevented or even mildly inconvenienced from reading Morgan's column. No commenter was prevented or inconvenienced from commenting.  The column is stil available. The Daily Mail -- a notoriously biased and inaccurate newspaper -- just can't make any money from people's eyeballs. And the last time we checked, private companies still have the choice to not associate themselves with content they find offensive.

Nevertheless, Ryan continued: "No website appears safe if Google is willing to censor stories with anonymous comments." Again: Morgan was not "censored," and the comments section was not "censored." Ryan never called out the Daily Mail's responsibility to run a comments section that's properly moderated and free of racism and bigotry, or that perhaps Google's demonitization of Morgan's column might nudge the Daily Mail toward accepting that responsibility.

THe MRC and its Free Speech America project will continue to discredit themselves if it continues to false describe any criticism of a conservatve "censorship."


Posted by Terry K. at 9:52 PM EDT

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