MRC Still Lashing Out At Facebook Whistleblower For Not Supporting Right-Wing Narratives Topic: NewsBusters
The Media Research Center loved Frances Haugen when the former Facebook official's whistleblowing revelations about the company were anonymously reported by the Wall Street Journal in 2021 -- but when she went public and it turned out she wasn't a conservative and wouldn't boot right-wing victimhood narratives, the MRC turned against her and used talking points issued by Facebook itself in an attempt to discredit her. Nearly two years later, it's still attacking Haugen. Gabriela Pariseau lashed out at her again in a June 16 post, putting a description of Haugen as a "whistleblower" in scare quotes in the headline:
CNN host Jake Tapper and Facebook “whistleblower” Frances Haugen lamented that Facebook has lessened its assault on free speech.
Haugen, a data scientist and former Facebook employee, went on The Lead with Jake Tapperto express concerns that Facebook has not announced its plans to censor users, or in her words, ensure the “safety” of the 2024 elections. Tapper escalated the conversation to a whole new level. “These companies are worth billions … trillions of dollars,” he said. “ They can hire more people to weed out the Nazis and take down misinformation and all that. Why don’t they?” Haugen claimed that Facebook doesn’t because it doesn’t have to, ignoring the fact that Facebook has cut back on many of its unpopular censorship rules.
Remember that what Pariseau considers an "assault on free speech" are actually efforts to stem hate, falsehoods and misinformation. Pariseau continued to dishonest frame content moderation as "censorship":
Haugen also whined about the fact that Facebook cut much of its safety researchers. “I’m deeply concerned that going into 2024 we face much larger risks than we did, say, four years ago or three years ago at this point because Facebook dissolved the team that was responsible for making sure the 2020 election was safe.”
She noted that Twitter owner Elon Musk “fired 75% of the employees” and “fired 75% of the employees” and that shortly after Facebook had layoffs. “[H]e fired over 20,000 employees. Many of my favorite safety researchers are no longer at the company, and not voluntarily. Going into the … 2024 elections, I worry that many of the people who would have kept our elections safe were cut in the name of efficiency.”
Haugen ignores the possibility that Meta is rolling back on unpopular censorship and not simply censorship related to elections. Today the platform scaled back its restrictions against certain content related to COVID-19. “We will take a more tailored approach to our COVID-19 misinformation rules consistent with the Board’s guidance and our existing policies," Meta President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg wrote in an updated Meta blog.
Of course, the spreaders of false or hateful content would think that being moderated is "unpopular," so it's strange Pariseau would insist on making that argument (twice).
Pariseau concluded with more attacks on Haugen: "Haugen’s complaints should come as no surprise. In her whistleblowing days back in 2021, she over the safety of users who she claimed are harmed by misinformation." Aside from links to old attacks that proved nothing, Pariseau offered no evidence that Haugen was wrong about anything.
MRC Hypocritically Cheers Musk's Suspension of Journalists He Doesn't Like Topic: NewsBusters
For an organization that purportedly hates censorship, the Media Research Center sure loves it when journalists who don't share its right-wingn ideology get censored -- and even more when it's Elon Musk doing the censoring. Kevin Tober justified the censorship in a Dec. 16 post:
Late Thursday night, Elon Musk banned the Twitter accounts of a group of leftist reporters from various left-wing outlets like CNN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times for violating the site's terms of service agreement against doxxing. They weren't just doxxing anyone, they were dumb enough to reveal the location of Musk's private jet which puts his personal safety in jeopardy. Needless to say, the lefty meltdowns both on Twitter and cable news were explosive and fun to watch.
The leftist media tears were especially delicious on MSNBC & CNN where the respective networks gathered their panelists to wail about the attack on freedom of the press. On MSNBC's The 11th Hour, host Stephanie Ruhle was apparently terrified about Musk banning leftist reporters. "This seems really scary. Okay?"Ruhle cried.
"These are reporters who covered Elon Musk, who have covered the changes on Twitter since he took over. Now he's claiming these suspensions are taking place because these reporters put him at risk," Ruhle added. She then attempted to deny that the reporters have put Musk's safety at risk: "there's not even evidence any of them did that."
Ruhle's guest Alex Stamos from the Krebs Stamos Group claimed Musk was just trying to intimidate reporters from reporting critically on him:
Tober offered no evidence that the suspended reporters were "leftist," nor did he offer the evidence Ruhle said was lacking to justify the suspensions.He also failed to mention that the Twitter account that tracked Musk's jet -- which the journalists got suspended for linking to -- used publicly available data, or that Musk himself had previously said he would not ban the tracking account because of his claimed support for free speech.
Alex Christy demanded "nuance" on this discussion, something the MRC is not known for:
Friday’s CNN This Morning reacted to Thursday night’s suspensions with none of the nuance that a discussion about doxing and flight tracking information should have. Instead, it was claimed that non-democratic governments around the world will use the incident to clamp down on free speech in their own countries.
While some of the panel was hesitant to give Elon Musk more attention, senior media reporter Oliver Darcy claimed, “You don't want to give someone attention if they're looking for attention. But I think it's important to talk about what's happening on this platform because it is such a crucial information platform. This is how a lot of the world communicates. I mean, world leaders are on this platform.”
Christy didn't mention Musk's previous vow not to suspend the tracker program; instead, took offense when the CNN discussion turned to theidea of foreign dictators taking cues from Musk's banning of journalists:
Not only did CNN not have this story under the old Twitter leadership when they were banning New York Post< links, but the idea that dictators needed Thursday night to clamp down on free speech and press freedom is so obviously wrong, CNN should be embarrassed. Many of these countries had already banned Twitter.
The fact that dictators had already banned Twitter strongly suggests that pre-Musk Twitter wasn't as censorious as right-wing narratives depicted it, but Christy didn't comment on that.
Chrsity then tried to argue the tracker account was illicit because it "evaded the FAA’s privacy program," linking to a tweet claiming the account's owner made a workaround to get informaion on Musk's plane.
Curtis Houck served up more glee at the suspensions:
On Friday, ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s were in a state of anger, shock and sadness over a number of their fellow leftists propagandists being suspended from Twitter late Thursday over what new boss Elon Musk insisted was a violation of the company’s doxxing policies and sharing information about his movements.
Agree or disagree with the decision, but one has to acknowledge the irony of ABC and NBC setting aside time to lament the plight of their comrades in keyboarding whereas conservatives faced years of censorship, election interference, and anti-American browbeating from Big Tech and their media allies.
Houck agrees, obvioiusly -- while failing to prove thaty any of the suspended journlaists were "leftists" -- while adding: "The suspensions came after Musk said a stalker had tracked down his son Tuesday and attacked the car he was traveling in by even jumping on the hood." But that story turned out not to be true: There was no link between the tracking account and the alleged incident, which happened at a gas station and not an airport, and the stalker was actually more interested in Musk's ex-girlfriend and baby mama, the singer Grimes, than in Musk himself.
The MRC then dragged Rich Noyes out of retirement to complain about the coverage the suspensions were getting:
CNN and MSNBC are pouncing on Twitter’s suspension of several liberal journalists, but those same cable news giants had about 15 times less interest in evidence of the same platform’s suspensions, blacklists and shadow banning aimed at conservatives when the so-called Twitter Files were released two weeks ago.
Last night, CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 was first to report the suspension of the reporters, breaking the news at around 8:54pm ET. “Musk seems to be just stamping out accounts that he doesn’t like,” CNN reporter Donie O’Sullivan, one of those whose account was affected, told Cooper.
Between then and noon on Friday, CNN pumped out 38 minutes, 25 seconds of coverage to the suspension of these journalists. MSNBC didn’t pick up the story until shortly before 10pm on Thursday, but they have also been busily griping at the move, churning out 31 minutes, 51 seconds of coverage.
The whining continnued from Christy in a Dec. 17 post:
CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan was one of the journalists suspended by Twitter on Thursday for spreading information that Twitter considers to be reach the threshold of doxing. On Friday, he traveled over to Amanpour and Company which airs domestically on PBS and internationally on CNN International to warn of the “chilling effect” this may have on other journalists who cover Elon Musk.
With no sense of irony, guest host Paula Newton wondered if Musk is so sensitive, would he ban President Biden or French President Emmanuel Macron next, “Yeah. I mean, the point is -- Donie, it's you today. Is it the president tomorrow? Is Biden going to say something? Is Macron going to say something to criticize him? I mean, there is a lot at stake here.”
Christy didn't mention his own lack of irony in cheering these suspensions as his employer raged about "censorship."
Leftist MSNBC host Chris Hayes had an absolute conniption over Twitter owner Elon Musk not tolerating journalists sharing his real-time flight location on the platform.
Hayes went on a rant against Musk’s changes to Twitter on the December 16 edition of All in with Chris Hayes. He spewed that Musk was a “power mad billionaire attempt[ing] to coerce and capture the American discourse.” He argued that Musk’s suspension of journalists that shared information “doxxing” him and his children was somehow authoritarian.
“You cannot trust anyone with absolute power, in any domain,” Hayes flailed. “No matter if it is the U.S. presidency, a social media enterprise, a cable news show, a condo board association, even a pillow company. Left unchecked, they will drive it into the ground."
It’s worth asking what Hayes thinks about censorship-obsessed CEOs like leftist Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew and Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Perhaps Hayes doesn’t have as much of a problem with them since all three have the correct left-wing politics.
Johnson censored the fact that Musk reneged on his earlier promise not to suspend the tracker account. There was also no mention that the jet doesn't even belong to Musk -- it's owned by one of the companies Musk leads, SpaceX, which means that, since it's a corporate jet and not a personal one, there's no guarantee Musk would even be on the tracked plane.
CNN Newsroom host Jim Acosta returned to his old form on Saturday of hyperbolically warning about threats to press freedom as he compared the Twitter suspension of several journalists to the Trump White House revoking his press credentials. He also managed to compare tracking Elon Musk’s jet to reporting when senators arrive on the Senate floor or athletes who arrive at a stadium.
Acosta was not pleased with Musk’s trolling of hypocritical journalists, “Mike, Elon Musk initially mocked his critics over this ban, tweeting ‘so inspiring to see this newfound love of freedom of speech by the press.’”
Christy further whined that a CNN guest "accused Musk of making up the policy as he goes along and that he appears to be driven by emotion," which Christy didn't dispute.
Jeffrey Lord served up his own brand of whining in his Dec. 17 column:
Back in the early days of 2021, former First Lady Michelle Obama led the charge that Twitter and other social-media giants needed to permanently ban then-President Donald Trump. Twitter’s leftists scrambled to do as she asked.
Not to mention that one conservative after another was either suspended, banned or shadow-banned over the years. All of this has come tumbling out into very public view in recent days thanks to Twitter’s new owner, the redoubtable Elon Musk.
And there was not a peep of outrage from this interesting collection of left-wing journalists who suddenly are outspokenly outraged that - gasp! - they themselves have suffered a version of the fate Mrs. Obama was recommending for then-President Trump in 2021 and that had been regularly dished to a collection of conservatives.
Lord somehow forgot to mention that Trump was suspended for inciting an insurrection -- an arguably more serious offense than following the location of Musk's plane.
Tober ran to Musk's defense again in a Dec. 18 post:
During Sunday's edition of ABC's This Week, there was a lot of crying over Elon Musk suspending the Twitter accounts of lefty journalists who purposefully broke Twitter's rules against doxxing other people on the platform. New York Times national political reporter Astead Herndon either couldn't understand this concept or didn't care, and instead proceeded to ironically accuse Musk of violating the tenants of free speech and being a hypocrite.
In reality, Musk isn't being hypocritical since he bought Twitter to restore free speech to Twitter users who were suspended or shadow banned for saying objectively true things like "trans women" are men or tweeting out the New York Post's story about the massive scandal surrounding Hunter Biden's laptop.
Conservatives have been consistent that free speech doesn't protect you from threatening people by posting their real time locations, which is what the slew of leftist journalists did to get banned on Twitter.
Clay Waters mocked the New York Times' concern about the jornalists being suspended and cheered the revenge aspect: "Yes, after years of bans on conservative accounts and deletion of conservative content by social media behemoths Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, suddenly it’s a 'free speech and online censorship' problem when it happens to left-wing journalists." Waters offered no evidence the suspended reporters were "left-wing."
The MRC's Hypocritical Tolerance Of Trucker Convoy, Part 3 Topic: NewsBusters
Believe it or not, the Media Research Center stillwasn't done defending the Canadian trucker protesters even though they engaged in the same protest tactics the MRC deplored when non-right-wingers used them.
Reliable New York Times-basher Clay Waters huffed in a Feb. 12 post: "The New York Times continued to smear the Canadian truckers’ protest against vaccine mandates, a protest that has attracted other Canadians, sick of the country’s overzealous Covid regulations under smug liberal leader Justin Trudeau." He added the usual MRC whataboutism: "This sudden concern for small businesses was rich, considering how the paper ignored the plight of burnt-out businesses and shuttered shops that occurred after mass rioting on the streets of American cities connected to George Floyd-inspired protests."
P.J. Gladnick freaked out over what he insisted was a conspiracy theory in a Feb. 13 post:
The claim by the American intelligence community that the Hunter Biden laptop story is just a result of Russian disinformation is so 2020. Old news. The new hotness for 2022 is that the protesting truckers and their supporters in Canada are being manipulated by Russian agents.
And what both reports have in common is that the claims are/were based on exactly nothing. The latest iteration of Russian subversion comes to us by way of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. However, if you didn't know any better you could be forgiven for thinking that the video interview was produced by the Babylon Bee mocking the CBC for giving credence to a completely unhinged conspiracy theory.
By contrast, one Canadian writer pointed out that Russia propaganda network RT provided more obsessive coverage of the protest than even Fox News -- more than 1,200 stories -- adding that "prominent supporters of the Ottawa occupation like Ontario MPP Randy Hillier have urged Canadians to trust Russian state media over established news outlets in their own country." (This was a few weeks before Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which caused RT's English-language service to be pulled from prettly much all Western distribution.) So, yes, there clearly is some synergy going on there; meanwhile, Gladnick wants you to think that this CBC interview shows "just how desperate the CBC is to demonize the Canadian truckers and protesters by using an "expert" who, based on zero evidence of Russian agents, claims the government must crackdown on social media to keep the citizenry from being exposed to prohibited thoughts."
Tim Graham served up more whataboutism in a Feb. 14 post: "NPR provides a dramatic example of the national media's adoration of Black Lives Matter in dramatic contrast to their panic over "extremist" Canadian trucker protests. Don't forget that NPR embarrassed themselves trying to deny the obvious fact that the BLM founders are self-proclaimed Marxists. That was "disinformation" on the internet!" At no point did Graham dispute the claim that the trucker convoy organizers were "extremist."
Waters returned to serve up another dose of whataboutism: "Where were the police during the Canadian truckers protest against vaccine mandates? That’s what the hypocritical media is suddenly demanding, now from the front page of Sunday’s New York Times: “Ottawa’s Police Reacted Slowly As Protest Built.” The online headline: “In Ottawa Trucker Protests, a Pressing Question: Where Were the Police?” (Black Lives Matters protesters in the U.S. were apparently unavailable for comment.)"
Joseph Vazquez served up his own whataboutism-laden meltdown:
New York Times economist Paul Krugman spewed bile at the so-called “vandalism” by Canadian truckers protesting the country’s draconian COVID-19 policies. He did this while dismissing the 2020 Marxist Black Lives Matter riots across the U.S. that reportedly caused at least around $2 billion in damages.
His hyperbole-laced rant of an op-ed, headlined “When ‘Freedom’ Means the Right to Destroy,” buried the extent of the damages caused by BLM riots scattered across different states.
"so-called 'vandalism'"? Vazquez was too busy playing whataboutism to offer any proof for his assertion that there was no vandalism. Ironically, a couple weeks later his boss, Tim Graham, would complain about overuse of the "so-called" dismissal in the media (but he didn't criticize his employees for doing the exact same thing).
Waters, meanwhile, continued to be angry that the New York Times didn't cover the protest like Fox News would. On Feb. 18, he whined that the Times "remains breezily supportive of their socialist dreamboat Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his authoritarian crackdown on COVID protests, including even the deployment of troops. " Waters was presumably cool with authoritarian crackdowns on BLM protesters. Two days later, he was back in whataboutism mode:
The New York Times continues to smear the Canadian trucker protest against vaccine mandates as crazed angry haters, treatment that is nearly 180 degrees from the sympathetic tone it took with Black Lives Matter and Antifa protests turned riots fueled by George Floyd’s killing at the hands of police in the summer of 2020.
The latest example appeared in Wednesday’s New York Times, with Sarah Maslin Nir and Natalie Kitroeff reporting on “The Group Trying to Steer Ottawa’s Restive Protesters.”
As usual, right-leaning protests are characterized as well-organized and conspiratorial, not as organic.
Waters offered no proof the protest was organic. Nevertheless, he repoeated the complaint in a Feb. 27 post:
After its smear-filled coverage of the Canadian truckers’ protest over anti-vaccine mandates, now shuttered by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s authoritarian government, The New York Times is stoking fears of similar protests in the United States and New Zealand.
“A Truck Caravan With Far-Right Links Heads to Washington, D.C.,” Shawn Hubler and Alan Feuer reported from California for Thursday’s edition. Typically, the reporters characterized right-leaning protests as conspiratorial, not organic.
waters went on to sneer, "Apparently, protests destabilize democracies when they're against Democrats ." And violent protests are apparently cool with Waters and the MRC when their fellow right-wingers run them.
NewsBusters Defends Fox' Baier As Impartial. Forgets His Anti-Hillary Fake News Topic: NewsBusters
Randy Hall devoted a June 1 NewsBusters post to complaining about a purported "hit job" on Fox News anchor Bret Baier in the Hollywood Reporter arguing that he's not as impartial as right-wingers like to claim he is. Enlisting fellow right-winger Caleb Hull on defense, Hall was particularly unhappy that the article cited "more than a dozen cable news insiders and industry observers" to support its claim, huffing: "Cable news insiders? And because they're anonymous, we don't know if they're from CNN or MSNBC, or disgruntled ex-Fox employees."
Hall then exhibited the Media Research Center's hypocrisy on anonymous sources by further complaining that the supposed "hit job" cited as an example of Baier's bias a claim that the coronavirus originated in a labe in Wuhan, China, that was sourced only by "classified and open-source documents and evidence" that the network did not "directly view" -- in other words, effectively anonymous documents.
But neither Hall nor the Hollywood Reporter cited a more egregious example of Baier's bias: a report before the 2016 presidential election that Hillary Clinton's indictment was imminent -- another anonymous sourced piece that Baier had to retract. If you'll recall, the MRC enthusiastically promoted Baier's bogus story -- so much so that MRC chief Brent Bozell declared that "We will report developments on this continuing cover-up every hour from here on out" -- and never told its readers it was retracted.
If we know anything about the MRC, is that it's so far to the right that its judgment about the political leanings of others is so utterly skewed as to be unreliable. So if Hall is insisting that Baier plays it straight, that really means his conservative bias is quite pronounced.
Yes, Tim Graham, NewsBusters Did Push The Climategate Hoax Topic: NewsBusters
The most thin-skinned right-winger when it comes to criticism of his operation (behind WorldNetDaily's JosephFarah, of course) is the Media Research Center's Tim Graham. He can't admit his own errors, and he's certainly not about to admit when the MRC operation for which he serves as executive editor, NewsBusters, screws up.
Graham spent an April 30 post complaining about "one of those dramatically one-sided climate fearmongering-documentaries" hosted by CNN's Bill Weir. He went on to complain:
Weir ripped conservatives as part of a "machinery of denial" funded by the oil companies. As he promoted climate activist/scientist Michael Mann, he presented the 2009 scandal known as "Climategate" as a "malevolent hoax" created by, among others, the late Noel Sheppard of NewsBusters and other conservative bloggers, like Ed Driscoll and Geoff Metcalf. There was zero rebuttal offered to Mann's "malevolent" spin.
When Weir pointed out that "Multiple investigations from the EPA to the UK's House of Commons cleared them and declared Climategate was a malevolent hoax," Graham went on a tirade (bolding in original):
Weir failed to explain that the House of Commons inquiry took only one day of oral testimony and said it was not an inquiry into the science issues. I can't find the words "malevolent hoax" in there, or in the EPA press release. But Weir could always show us where he got that loaded phrase.
If you were to read the actual NewsBusters blog by Noel Sheppard -- as the scandal was breaking -- it's a very straightforward summary of what the hacked e-mails said. This is one of the "cherry-picked" phrases from Mann: "I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline."
"Mike's Nature trick" refers to a technique (a "trick of the trade") by Michael Mann to plot recent instrumental data along with reconstructed past temperature. This places recent global warming trends in the context of temperature changes over longer time scales.
There is nothing secret about "Mike's trick". Both the instrumental and reconstructed temperature are clearly labelled. Claiming this is some sort of secret "trick" or confusing it with "hide the decline" displays either ignorance or a willingness to mislead.
The common misconception that scientists tried to hide a decline in global temperatures is false. The decline in tree-ring growth is plainly discussed in the publicly available scientific literature. The divergence in tree-ring growth does not change the fact that we are currently observing many lines of evidence for global warming. The obsessive focus on a misquote taken out of context, doesn't change the scientific case that human-caused climate change is real.
So, yes, Climategate was a cherry-picked hoax pushed by right-wing activists -- the fact that it was malevolent would seem to be self-evident, even if Graham can't find the actual word in any of the debunkings he cites -- and Sheppard and NewsBusters indisputably pushed it.
We've documented Sheppard's lengthyhistory of climate change bamboozlement -- to the point where he pushed the bogus idea that back-to-back blizzards in Washington, D.C., somehow proved there was no global warming. Needless to say, the MRC has never corrected Sheppard's original "hide the decline" post where he deliberately misinterpreted the information, despite his similarly lengthy history of pushingfalsehoods in general. So maybe Graham shouldn't be so aggressively defending Sheppard's original work.
Then again, Graham is in full deflection mode. He won't concede that Sheppard and NewsBusters got it wrong, so he attacks studies that showed the hoax, then tried to misdirect by complaining that "these supposedly fact-based scientists worked to censor opposing viewpoints from the scientific literature."
Weir is not wrong, and Graham knows it. But Graham -- rather pettily and selfishly -- is not going to give Weir the satisfaction of admitting that.
MRC Finally Finds A Journalist Whose Political Opinions It Approves Of Topic: NewsBusters
A key piece of the Media Research Center's anti-media narrative is attacking anyone in the media who says anything even vaguely "liberal." But whwen a member of the media not only spouts conservativism but uses that media platform to do so? That bias is totally cool.
Thus, a Feb. 13 NewsBusters post by Randy Hall expressed unbridled joy that a member of thte media crossed over into politics to take on an MRC nemesis:
Liberals in the media have cheered the far-left Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, focusing more on her celebrity status and less on her rabid socialism. Ocasio-Cortez won New York’s 14th congressional district in November of 2018 after a shock primary win over another Democrat.
While several people have expressed an interest in running against her in this year’s primary and general election, the most recent person to challenge that member of the liberal “Squad” is Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, a former anchor for the CNBC channel who is a registered Democrat and a descendant of Cuban immigrants.
According to an article posted on Tuesday by Fox News Channel reporter Sam Dorman, the challenger “has been a fierce critic of socialism and an advocate for free markets.”
That viewpoint was especially evident in her 2010 book entitled You Know I'm Right: More Prosperity, Less Government, where she called out both major political parties for ignoring "fiscally conservative, socially liberal" Americans like herself.
In the introduction to her book, Caruso-Cabrera noted that the “core principles of Reaganomics rejuvenated an unstable economy,” and “the Clinton-era policy successes took power away from the federal government and put money in our pockets.”
Hall didn't seem curious why Caruso-Cabrera was running as a Democrat despite sounding like a conservative Republican with her praise of Reaganomics and attacks on socialism. Turns out the district that Ocasio-Cortez hasn't voted Republican in decades and leans heavily Democratic.
Hall also didn't mention that Caruso-Cabrera is just one of 13 declared candidates -- eight Republican and five Democratic -- looking to unseat Ocasio-Cortez, or that AOC has a multimillion-dollar campaign coffer and popularity within her district that will make her difficult to beat.
But, hey, intellectual consistency and full reporting of facts aren't exactly hallmarks of the MRC machine, are they?
MRC Pushes Bogus Trump Movie-Edit Story Topic: NewsBusters
NewsBusters blogger P.J. Gladnick complained in a Jan. 1 post:
One sign of Trump Derangement Syndrome is loathing any viewing of pre-politician Donald Trump popping up in old TV or movies. Every cameo could have been used to build Trump's celebrity, so they are all dreadful sins. This became apparent again when it was discovered CBC in Canada cut out the brief Donald Trump cameo scene in their broadcast of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Stick it to the Bad Orange Man of Baja Canada.
If the CBC thought that such a childish edit of that movie would go unnoticed, they were horribly wrong. The backlash was swift and strong as we shall see, starting with this December 25 report on their antics in ComicBook.Com,"Donald Trump's Cameo in Home Alone 2 Cut From Canadian Television Broadcast."
But this doesn't tell the whole story, since to do so would undermine the premise of Gladnick's post. As the CBC and others have pointed out, the cut was made, along with eight minutes of other edits for make room for commercials, in 2014 -- two years before Trump became president and one year before he even announced his candidacy.
So, apparently, editing for time and commercials is suddenly "childish" in Gladnick's world.
Gladnick eventually admits this, but then -- apparently decided that inventing a conspiracy theory was more important than telling the truth -- unilaterally proclaimed that this was a "lame" excuse that was "almost as funny as the movie," adding:
The problem for the CBC is that they will now be reminded constantly about their little hit and run deletion of that scene on social media.
Imagine how much work today's television networks will have editing all the Trump cameos out of their reruns. ... Good luck, Trump haters.
Gladnick offers no evidence that any media outlet is editing, or has even attempted to edit, Trump out of movies or TV shows.
But then, who is Gladnick to let the truth get in the way of a good, nonexistent conspiracy theory?
NewsBusters Blogger Tries To Whitewash Gingrich's Dubious Book Deal Topic: NewsBusters
In a Nov. 21 NewsBusters post, Clay Waters complained that a New York Times story about former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh being caught in corruption involving shady deals regarding sales of a children's book series she wrote "cynically lumped in non-criminal behavior with what Pugh was convicted of doing." This being NewsBusters, Waters was particularly upset that the Times referenced a shady book deal involving Newt Gingrich:
Finally, reaching back to 1988, [writer Emily] Eakin found a Democratic book controversy, involving powerful House Speaker Jim Wright, who had to resign. Yet unwilling to let a Democrat take the blame alone, she made a false moral equivalency, comparing Wright’s situation with another “unorthodox book arrangement” on behalf of Gingrich, who had made Wright’s reign a target of ethical scrutiny. Wright was engaged in genuinely sleazy activity, which resulted in 69 counts of ethics violations (he resigned to avoid being indicted), while Gingrich’s deal was above board.
Yet Eakin lazily equated the two stories[.]
"Gingrich’s deal was above board"? Not so much. The Washington Post explained it in 1989:
When Gingrich and his wife, Marianne, wrote the nonfiction book "Window of Opportunity" with David Drake in 1984, they signed a contract to share a standard 10 percent hardcover royalty. But they also took the unusual step of setting up a limited partnership, which raised $105,000 from Republican political activists and business people around the country, to promote sales of the book. Normally, a publisher pays for promotion. The idea, Gingrich said in an interview late Friday, was that a large publicity budget could "force a best seller. I was real naive." The 21 investors in the COS Limited Partnership each put up $5,000 and were to split half of the publisher's profits. But sales of the book were modest, and there were no profits. The publisher, Jim Baen, of Baen Enterprises, lost money on the venture. This created a tax benefit for the partners. Gingrich did not have a share of the partnership, but his wife, Marianne, said in an interview yesterday that she has been paid close to $10,000 by the partnership for her work as general partner. She said she put no money into COS but got a 2 percent share and thus a portion of the tax benefits from the partnership's continuing annual losses.
Another 1989 Post article pointed out that Gingrich's book was "paid for by political supporters and constituents, several of them with an interest in legislation," and that even Gingrich admitted the promotion scheme was "weird."
Just because it was apparently legal doesn't mean it wasn't a bit on the shady side.
UPDATE: A bio of Gingrich reported that he violated House rules by using his congressional office staff to work on the book by editing and sending out drafts of the book -- and it was just one of a number of shady book deals Gingrich has been involved with. Relly, "above board" is a phrase that has not normally been associated with Gingrich.
MRC Blogger Can't Handle Criticism of Right-Wingers Topic: NewsBusters
Clay Waters used to run the Media Research Center's New York Times-bashing operation with a particular obsession with complaining that conservatives were being labeled as conservatives, but these days he's just another NewsBusters blogger who likes to whine that conservatives face scrutiny in the media.
An Oct. 27 post by Waters whined about the idea of censoring extreme hate online:
New Yorker staff writer Andrew Marantz’s new book, Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation, is a nearly 400-page episode of moral panic about right-wing, anti-Semitic extremists on the Internet, who he blames for ushering in the Age of Trump.
Liberal journalists Jane Mayer and Chris Hayes provided back-cover blurbs, and Marantz has been making the liberal rounds, including Brian Stelter’s podcast, so you know where he’s coming from.
The book itself actually doesn’t go as far as his October New York Times essay, “Free Speech Is Killing Us.” Yes, he means it literally, calling for regulation of hateful social media memes and podcasts and forums on Reddit, which evidently directly caused ethnically motivated massacres in El Paso and Pittsburgh and New Zealand:
In Antisocial, only one extreme is an existential threat. There is nothing on the violence of Antifa, or threats by radical transgender activists against feminists on Twitter, nothing on the anti-Semitic left online. Many of the figures he interacts with in Antisocial have had their own controversies, sometimes involving anti-Semitic or otherwise bigoted remarks. But when he talks to Jesse Jackson there’s no mention of his “Hymietown” comment. He sympathizes with April Ryan, White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, whose bodyguard assaulted a journalist in August (albeit perhaps too late for inclusion in the book) .
There’s nothing on New York Times editor Tom Wright-Piersanti’s anti-Semitic tweets or Times editor Sarah Jeong’s anti-white tweets. The Southern Poverty Law Center is granted credibility, but its libelous “hate” designations of Muslim reformers are skipped. Violent rhetoric directed toward President Trump in works of art and even theNew York Times are ignored. A single example, of a Trumpian Julius Caesar, assassinated by stabbing for the benefit of a Central Park crowd during an outdoor production of the titular Shakespeare play, is hand-waved away as mere “ dramatic catharsis” for Trump haters.
As far as we know, Waters never spilt from his MRC colleagues by criticizing an Obama-esque Julius Caesar assassinated by stabbing for the benefit of a different crowd during an production of the titular Shakespeare play.
Waters closed by whining, "who appointed a left-wing writer in Brooklyn to decide what we should be able to watch, read, and write on social media?" Who appointed the MRC to pass judgment on media?
Then, in a Nov. 2 post, Waters did split marginally from his MRC cohorts by conceding that Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns numerous TV stations across the country, is conservative. Then he complained that the New York Times criticized Sinclair:
The New York Times, which dispenses unlabeled liberal reporting as slant every day, is keeping a wary eye on any conservative competition in the news business, eager to drop the “fake” label on their heads.
Friday’s Business pages included the warning, “Americans Trust Local News. That Belief Is Being Exploited,” by Dartmouth College professor of government Brendan Nyhan, who used to write for a liberal blog called Spinsanity. The URL includes the words “fake local news,” perhaps an artifact of a harsher previous headline.
Nyhan went further, attacking a television news conglomerate (regularly targeted by the Times) that doesn’t follow the left-wing conventional wisdom.
(The mainstream press doesn’t need to coordinate their liberal messages – it has always come naturally to journalists.)
The Times has previously singled out Sinclair as a stand-alone example of political bias in the news, ignoring the broadcast networks, CNN, and MSNBC.
At no point does Waters dispute anything in the Times article -- he simply complains that it was said at all, with the occasional bit of whataboutism.
As far as that last bit of whataboutism goes: CNN and MSNBC don't operate local TV stations, The broadcast networks own some, but not even the MRC has accused those network-owned stations of forcing their local newscasts to air politically biased segments the way Sinclairhasdone.
NewsBusters Blogger Touts Trump's 'Refreshing' Letter to Erdogan, Mad That Others Don't Feel The Same Topic: NewsBusters
CNSNews.com isn't the only Media Research Center division looking to put a positive spin President Trump's withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, which effectively gave Turkey a green light to invade the region and attack Kurdish fighters who had helped the U.S. fight ISIS in Syria.
Mark Finkelstein served up this bit of spin in an Oct. 17 NewsBusters post:
New Day co-hosts John Berman and Alisyn Camerota on Thursday took turns reading out loud a letter that President Trump recently sent to Turkish President Recep Erdogan. The letter contained blunt language in which Trump urged Erdogan not to be a "tough guy" or a "fool."
Berman then turned to Jim Acosta, CNN's White House correspondent, and Trump antagonist extraordinaire, and sneeringly said: "We have this letter with this language that isn't exactly at Ph.D. level."
Acosta took Berman's insult a step further, interrupting to say, "nothing unusual here." Agreed Berman, "Nothing unusual."
Question: Does CNN really care about the letter's language? Or is it just looking for any opportunity to mock President Trump, and by extension his supporters, who are likely to find his unvarnished approach refreshing?
As we've pointed out, Trump's letter has beenalmostuniversallypanned as unprofessional and disrespectful and, thus, utterly ineffective as a tool of diplomacy (Erdogan himself threw the letter away). Further, Finkelsteain seems to be unaware that the intent of diplomacy is to do what needs to be done in the appropriate language and tone to achieve the desired objective -- not play to your political supporters back home. Finkelstein also failed to acknowledge that Trump's "refreshing" and "unvarnished approach" was a complete failure here.
But then, he's one of those supporters back home who cares more about Trump playing the part of a tough guy than his actual achievements.
In an Aug. 17 NewsBusters post, P.J. Gladnick lamented that "Two more conservative commentators at CNN appear to have joined the growing club of suppressed conservative pundits," asserting that "the reason for the sidelining appears to have been due to pressure from the left."
But when it came to the actual reported resons for these two conservatives -- Ben Ferguson and Steve Cortes -- to be sideline, Gladnick a lot less forthcoming. He let pass without comment excerpts he inserted from The Hollywood Reporter that explained things way down in his post. In the 16th paragraph, he repeated a Reporter statement that "Ferguson's absence seems to have followed a March 6 story by the progressive media watchdog organization Media Matters for America called 'CNN commentator Ben Ferguson’s Facebook page is a cesspool of bigotry, false info and fabricated quotes.'"
Media Matters pointed out that Ferguson "regularly uses his Facebook page to post memes with false information and fabricated quotes" and engages in anti-black bigotry. He had even used his Facebook page to promote "vitriolic and conspiratorial attacks" against CNN, the network that employed him. Does Gladnick think this sort of thing is perffectly fine coming from a conservative commentary.
Gladnick's cut-and-paste of the Reporter's statement on Cortes appeared slightly earlier -- in the 10th paragraph -- but went similarly unremarked upon. The Reporter stated that Cortes' benching appeared around the time he appeared in a PragerU video insisting that media claims that President Trump praised white supremacists as "very fine people" were false. Except, well, it wasn't.
But who needs facts when there's a narrative to reinforce? Gladnick does his duty here, huffing that "Apparently that commitment to 'ideological diversity' by [CNN chief Jeff] Zucker at CNN is true but only if it runs from far left to merely very liberal" and that "Liberals can't stand a serious opposing view. They can only stomach never-Trump Republicans that sound like Democrats, like Max Boot."
That's the point of Gladnick's post. The facts are purely incidental.
After more than two fruitless years accusing President Trump of collusion with Russia, some liberals apparently still consider that tactic a winning strategy -- when used to attack anyone even remotely connected to the Republican occupant of the White House.
One example of that is the claim from MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Kevin Poulsen of the liberal Daily Beast website since both have suggested the One America News Network -- which Trump has called his new favorite news outlet -- is a fountain of Russian propaganda.
OANN has demanded retractions from Maddow and the Daily Beast with angry letters from their law firm Miller Barondess.
The controversy centers on a writer named Kristian Rouz, who the Daily Beast revealed is an on-air reporter at OANN while also writing for Sputnik News, a Kremlin-operated "news" operation. According to OANN's letter, Rouz "never had decision-making authority with respect to the content that is aired on OAN" and that "His outside work for other media outlets has no relation to -- or bearing on -- his work for OAN."
Neither of those statements contradict the central premise of the Daily Beast article: that OANN published someone who was also working for a Russian propaganda outlet while not disclosing that connection to its readers.
The thinness of OANN's case is such that Hall resorted to touting how the cease-and-desist letter included a personal attack on Kevin Poulsen, who wrote the Daily Beast piece, pointing out that he served prison time for computer hacking in the 1990s. There was no mention, of course, of how Poulsen has since become a tech journalist who busted registered sex offenders using MySpace to solicit sex from children and developing an open-source platform to facilitate secure communication between journalists and sources.
The OANN case is so thin, in fact, that even other conservative media outlets, unlike Hall, are pointing that out. The Washington Examiner reported that OANN really does have synergy with Russian propaganda, having repeated bogus Russian claims regarding a chemical attack in Syria.
Hall huffed: "It's all about mocking Trump and any media outlet he likes."Of course, it's not hard when said media outletsd make it this easy. Oh, and Hall never once admitted that OANN has a prounounced right-wing ideological tilt, though he claimed the Daily Beast is "liberal."
Friday’s New York Times showed the paper again trying to falsely link the publicly harmful anti-vaccination movement to political conservatism. Reporters Julie Bosman, Patricia Mazzei, and Dan Levin drew the strands together for “Celebrities, Conservatives and Immigrants in Disparate Groups of Skeptics.”
It’s not the first time the paper has tried to falsely smear “conservatives” as the main thrust of anti-vaccine action, even though the most recent polling on the matter suggests it’s more of a left-wing cause. In fact, two “red states” often mocked as backward, Mississippi and West Virginia, are nationwide leaders in getting their children vaccinated.
Amazingly for a story whose headline blasts “conservatives” for being anti-vaccine, the first sentence features the anti-vaccine conspiracist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., of the famous uber-liberal Democrat political family.
Robert F. Kennedy, who falsely believes that vaccines cause autism, was not even identified as part of the liberal Kennedy clan, though he is the son of the late Democratic Attorney General (in the administration of his brother John) and a Democratic U.S. Senator.
At no point does Waters prove that RFK Jr. is a "liberal," despite playing guilt-by-association, as it were, by invoking the politics of his family -- in fact, the Kennedy family has distanced itself from him on the issue of vaccines -- nor does Waters link him to any anti-vaccine movement on the left. To the contrary: When RFK Jr.'s anti-vaccine activism first became known, it was right-wing outlets like WorldNetDaily and Newsmax -- not liberal outlets -- that gave him an uncritical platform. Indeed, Waters unironically illustrates his piece with a screenshot of RFK Jr. on ... Fox News in 2017, where Tucker Carlson fed him softball questions and did not challenge his anti-vaxxer beliefs.
Waters' evidence that anti-vaccine activism is "more of a left-wing cause" is a 2014 article on the right-wing Real Clear Science website sorting states with the highest vaccine exemption rates by the margin by which a presidential candidate won in 2012 -- which, of course, is an imprecise measure because it says nothing about the individual political views of those seeking exemptions. After all, while New York is considered a liberal state, this year's measles outbreak occurred mostly among unvaccinated people in an ultra-Orthodox enclave in New York City not known for liberal politics.
And, of course, Waters also forgets that the publisher of his blog posts was anti-vaxxer at one point, fearmongering that HPV vaccines like Gardasil had "dangerous" side effects and even encouraged children to have sex.
NewsBusters Blogger Attacks Time For Covering Story -- But Not Fox News Topic: NewsBusters
A June 11 NewsBusters post by Randy Hall is your usual Media Research Center bias blather:
The dinosaur publication Time magazine, which you may have forgotten still existed (or you only see at the dentist now), still pumps out liberal spin and reporting from a left-leaning perspective.
The latest example of that trend is an article published in the Sunday, June 9 edition that focused on a small hotel in Michigan offering pregnant women free stays and no-cost transportation from states that have “severe restrictions” on abortion.
Of course, the article depicted those on the other side as representative of violent haters ready to attack O’Brien.
Hall does acknowledge that the hotel owner has received violent threats, so the "violent haters" stuff is an accurate representation of her situation, whether he admits it or not.
The headline on Hall's item claimed that Time was "promot[ing]" the hotel's offer -- another example of the Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy, which falsely assumes that a given news outlet approves of the given news it's reporting on because it doesn't explicitly denounce it.
Curiously, Hall's post is illustrated with a screenshot of ... a Fox News report on the same story. Hall made no mention of the Fox News story in his item, let alone complain that Fox News was, like Time, "promoting" the hotel simply by reporting on its existence.
It's as if the MRC refuses to hold Fox News to the same journalistic standards it demands from media that aren't slavishly right-wing.
NewsBusters Blogger Concerned About Notorious Prison ... When A Trump Associate Was Set To Go There Topic: NewsBusters
The Media Research Center, it seems, is concerned about prison conditions only when it's feared a prominent Trump supporter might end up in one.
Mark Finkelstein spent a June 10 NewsBusters post ranting at MSNBC's Joe Scarborough for being cheerful about the possibility that convicted felon Paul Manafort, onetime Trump presidential campaign manager, might be sent to a New York City prison whose reputation precedes it:
The liberal media feigns horror over "lock her up" refrains. But when it comes to a Trump associate actually being locked up in a notoriously awful jail, well, that's a cause for mirth and hilarity.
And thus it was that on today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough joked about Paul Manfort being confined at Rikers Island, which has been described as a "hellhole," as here, here, and "the most notorious jail in America."
At the end of the segment, there was more ribbing by the panel of Lemire's clothes. Meacham facetiously spoke of "the Paul Manafort Collection." Responded Scarborough: "available at Rikers Island." The panel found that amusing, with laughter all around.
A regular laugh riot, that Joe. Wonder if he's ever visited Rikers? Keep this one in mind next time you hear Scarborough or another member of the liberal media expressing righteous indignation about "lock her up."
It will not surprise you to learn that the MRC is not been concerned about conditions at Rikers Island before now. In 2014, Tim Graham cheered conservative actress Stacey Dash's retort to Kanye West's likening of paparazzi to rape that "maybe he needs to spend some time on Rikers Island. Go to Rikers for a little while and then he'll know what rape is." And in 2018, Randy Hall denounced the "progressive" leanings of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, expressed in part by his criticism of New York City's plans to take 10 years to build new jails to replace Rikers.
Manafort, though, escaped his Rikers fate after Trump's Department of Justice curiously and unusually intervened and had him placed at a less notorious NYC facility. Finkelstein has yet to provide a follow-up about that.