NBC News pans Trump’s trade deal with China

After two years of back-and-forth, the United States and China reached an agreement to settle the longtime trade dispute, called “Phase One.”

The Trump administration hailed the agreement as China finally conceding on issues such as intellectual property rights while the United States was able to hold the line on tariffs. The mainstream media remained skeptical of the trade deal and quoted multiple economists to prove their point.

NBC News published an analysis that panned the trade deal, only praising the deal as one that now “sets aside some of the economic uncertainty that has generated market volatility and depressed business investment.” Yet the news outlet quoted trade experts that criticized the deal, saying it “falls short of “justifying a globally damaging trade war between the world’s two largest economies” while leading to higher costs for U.S. companies and consumers in the long-term.

Nowhere in the analysis did NBC News mention the intellectual property component of the deal, instead focusing primarily on the United States’ tariffs on $370 billion worth of Chinese imports and criticizing the deal for creating unenforceable benchmarks. NBC News and the mainstream media have long criticized the trade dispute because economists believe that it will lead to companies raising prices of their goods. Yet during the long trade dispute, the media has not been able to pinpoint whether prices of goods have increased. The media published many articles and stories about farmers struggling due to the tariffs and trade dispute, but the farmers remained loyal to Trump’s overall goal of keeping China accountable on trade and intellectual property. Nothing the media said changed farmers’ minds, and nothing the media said about the possible rise in prices appeared to occur.

Against all conventional economic wisdom, the Trump administration negotiated a favorable trade deal for the United States and was able to accomplish its goal of holding China accountable for intellectual property. Economists long criticized the administration for engaging in a two-years-long trade dispute and claimed it would lead to overall U.S. economic struggles and possibly a recession, none of which happened.

Both economists and the mainstream media were mistaken about the impact of Trump’s trade dispute and negotiations with China, and they refuse to abandon their skepticism in favor of admitting that Trump’s tactics worked. This example of blatant media bias further diminishes trust between the U.S. consumer and the media, which trust continues to drop despite the media’s claim that they act as a neutral arbiter of truth.

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Author: Spencer Irvine


NBC News cites study critical of YouTube over ads algorithm, ignores the study’s source

Big Tech is no stranger to controversy, weathering scandals such as the United States federal government demanding Apple create a backdoor to its device encryption system and Facebook’s neutral stance on political advertisements ahead of the 2020 presidential race. Now, YouTube, a video-based social media platform, faces accusations from Greenpeace that its advertisement algorithm is faulty.

Greenpeace, a prominent left-wing environmental group, accused YouTube of featuring Greenpeace advertisements on videos that deny climate change and spread “climate misinformation.” The environmental group made its allegations based on a report that their commercials were being aired on videos that demonstrated climate change skepticism. Greenpeace spokesperson Travis Nichols said, “If we’re going to stop the climate crisis, we need tech and social media companies like YouTube to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.”

NBC News published an article detailing Greenpeace’s gripes with YouTube, citing a report from the advocacy group Avaaz. We covered Avaaz before, when Avaaz told the mainstream media that it conducted a study that concluded Facebook was permitting disinformation to run “rampant” on its platform. Avaaz did not publish or make available their study at the time, but the mainstream media took their word for it and published articles on its conclusions anyway.

Although Avaaz made its report on YouTube public, it still called into question the group’s leanings and methods. As we reported previously, Avaaz claimed it raises public awareness on public policy issues yet focused primarily on progressive policies. The group said it was a no-frills organization, but its tax returns told a different story. Avaaz received over $19 million in contributions in 2017 and grants and spent under $4 million on salaries, compensation and benefits for its employees. For a community organization, and one that focuses on global issues, it is a wealthy organization that keeps its backers away from the public eye.

NBC News did not bat an eye nor did it do a deep-dive into Avaaz, which it should have done to validate the study’s source. As much as the media criticizes the proliferation of fake news, it should do its due diligence in research sources of information, such as Avaaz. No such effort appeared to be made in researching Avaaz as we have at Accuracy in Media.

Yet Avaaz’s report validated many criticisms from the political Left and Right that YouTube is not doing a good enough job with its algorithms. As NBC News reported, the social media platform’s algorithm boosted videos that espoused conspiracy theories, misinformation and extremist views. Though YouTube said it has made strides in promoting authoritative channels and video content, the company has not made as many strides as the public would like.

Big Tech continues to struggle to sift through authoritative videos and content, while maintaining revenue and respecting freedom of speech. Based on the recent report, YouTube has a long way to go to gain the trust of the political Left when it comes to transparency and promoting accurate information on its platform.

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Author: Spencer Irvine

Ahead of 2020 Women’s March, few media outlets admit the movement’s anti-Semitic controversies

Unlike in previous years, the mainstream media has mostly remained silent on the fourth-annual Women’s March. The march is scheduled for Saturday but few mainstream media outlets have written preview articles ahead of the 2020 march.

Many local news outlets, in places such as Denver, Sacramento and San Luis Obispo, California, have written about local Women’s March events, but the likes of the New York Times, CNN, CBS News, ABC News, MSNBC and NBC News have not written any such articles on the upcoming march.

This lack of media coverage on a national level was a stark contrast to the past three marches, for which the media highlighted the hundreds of thousands — and by some estimates, millions — of Americans joined the movement, which protested the election of President Donald Trump in 2016.

Only USA Today, the Washington Post and the Daily Beast wrote about the Women’s March. Of the three, the Washington Post did not focus on the reasons why this year’s Women’s March will not have as many attendees as in the past and focused more on how to plan to attend the rally in Washington, D.C.

USA Today published an article about how the 2020 Women’s March “tries to re-energize amid flagging enthusiasm.”

The news outlet said that organizers “don’t expect Saturday’s protest in Washington, D.C. – the culmination of a week of events, with the slogan of “Women Rising” – to draw more than 10,000 participants” The outlet correctly noted that this was “a far cry from the estimated 100,000 who demonstrated despite chilly temperatures last year. The projections elsewhere are below past years as well.”

Yet USA Today took its time in discussing why the organization struggled in recent years, burying deep in the article that allegations arose against several of its co-founders that they had engaged in anti-Semitic rhetoric. The allegations eroded enthusiasm and support among its activist base. USA Today did not specify why the allegations disrupted the organization, such as co-founder Linda Sarsour’s long record of anti-Semitic rhetoric and co-founder Tamika Mallory’s support of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

Farrakhan has a long record of espousing anti-Semitic views, and Mallory was seen in attendance at one of Farrakhan’s events, where Farrakhan made controversial remarks about Jews.

The Daily Beast was fairer about the controversies surrounding the Women’s March organization, headlined, “The Women’s March Tries to Repair the Damage. Is It Too Late?”

Its lead pulled no punches: “After a bruising 2019, marked by shrinking crowds, dueling marches, and allegations of anti-Semitism, the Women’s March is attempting a rebrand.”

Unlike USA Today, the Daily Beast recognized that the group’s 2019 marches were a disaster, since “[n]early half of all local marches called off their 2019 event, and others put out statements declaring their independence from the national group.” It also reported how each year’s march diminished in attendance figures, from an estimated 4 million in 2017 to 2 million in 2018 and to 730,000 in 2019.

Based on the lack of mainstream media coverage, it appeared that the media preferred to bury the embarrassing fact that a movement they publicized has fallen on hard times and struggled to separate itself from anti-Semitic rhetoric allegedly espoused by several of its co-founders.

Though the Daily Beast fairly portrayed the organization’s issues, it could not offset the whitewashing of details from USA Today and the general apathy from the mainstream media.

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Author: Spencer Irvine

After Sanders-Warren post-debate audio surfaces, NBC News denies debate featured ‘personal attacks’

In its post-Democratic debate analysis this week, NBC News made the dubious claim that the debate’s “candidates avoided personal attacks.”

The claim overlooked the personal attacks between one candidate, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on whether Sanders told Warren that a woman could not become president.

But audio of the senators’ conversation after the debate demonstrated that both had an ax to grind and that the attacks were personal.

NBC News published an article on the audio clip, where Warren told Sanders, “I think you called me a liar on national TV.” Sanders responded, “What?” and followed up with, “Let’s not do it right now.  You want to have that discussion; we’ll have that discussion.” Warren said, “Any time,” to which Sanders replied, “You called me a liar. You told me – all right, let’s not do it now.”

As background, during the debate, CNN political correspondent Abby Phillip asked both Warren and Sanders about the alleged remark, during which Warren doubled down on the allegation while Sanders denied it ever was said.

Yet NBC News did not admit that one of its political analyses was incorrect in claiming that the candidates did not lob personal attacks at each other during the debate. It appeared that NBC News would prefer to ignore its dubious claim.

Photo by AFGE

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Author: Spencer Irvine

NowThis News sides with pro-Palestinian student activists in criticizing Trump’s executive order

In one of the more dishonest examples of journalism, NowThis News published a video where four pro-Palestinian student activists at George Washington University criticized President Donald Trump for signing an executive order on anti-Semitism.

The video echoed progressive activist rhetoric that Trump is not only a white supremacist at heart, but that he is an anti-Semite.

At least three of the students wore a keffiyeh, a checkered black and white scarf, which is considered a symbol of Palestinian nationalism. The students held up a flag that read, “Jewish Voice for Peace,” and the video referred to another pro-Palestinian activist group, Students for Justice in Palestine.

The website’s video selectively clipped some of Trump’s remarks and claimed it was anti-Semitic, but it missed that Trump cracked a joke to a mostly-Jewish audience. The video played his line, “You’re brutal killers. Not nice people at all. But you have to vote for me; you have no choice.”

NowThis News neglected to point out that he was joking and followed up with the line, “You’re not going to vote for Pocahontas, I can tell you that,” a reference to his nickname for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). The video also ignored many parts of his speech that praised Israel and championed his executive order to combat anti-Semitism. You can find the transcript of his speech on the White House website, which NowThis News does not appear to have consulted before publishing the video.

Additionally, one of the activists claimed that Anne Frank did not die in a concentration camp. Referring to Trump and his support for Israel, the activist said, “We’re already seeing what’s happening. We’re seeing people die at the border from lack of medical care. That’s how Anne Frank died. She didn’t die in a concentration camp. She died of typhus.”

But the video glanced over that comment and continued to espouse anti-Trump rhetoric.

NowThis News edited her comment in the subtitle and replaced “in” to “from” to mitigate the impact of what the activist said. Yet the damage was done and the video demonstrated that it was not factual nor accurate.

The video did not address the activist’s denial of the Holocaust and played it off as if nothing happened. Though Anne Frank did die of typhus, she died of typhus while living in a concentration camp. Concentration camps were Nazi Germany-run facilities where people died in various horrific ways, such as gas chambers, lack of nutrition, government experimentation, and abuse. The activist denied that Anne Frank died in a concentration camp and therefore implied that the Holocaust did not happen, which was an example of Holocaust revisionism and anti-Semitism at its worst.

Neither did the activists acknowledge how the Jewish community responded to Trump’s executive order, such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which tracks anti-Semitic crimes as a part of its mission. The ADL praised Trump’s executive order and said:

“In a climate of rising anti-Semitism, this Executive Order provides valuable guidance on anti-Semitism, giving law enforcement and campus officials an important additional tool to help identify and fight this pernicious hate. It also reaffirms protection of Jews under Title VI without infringing on First Amendment rights. These are all important steps forward.”

NowThis News’s video covered up a pro-Palestinian activist’s Holocaust denial and revisionism, for the sake of criticizing Trump. Among other inaccuracies, such as taking Trump’s comments out-of-context and failing to acknowledge the support Trump received from the Jewish community, NowThis News published a one-sided video supportive of pro-Palestinian causes.

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Author: Spencer Irvine

CNN has buyer’s remorse on impeachment, wonders if the Democrats made ‘a mistake by going fast’

In a recent CNN analysis headlined, “The Senate is now in charge of impeachment, but we might be missing the larger story,” the cable news network said that impeachment “has proceeded without so much of the information it should have.” CNN’s point echoed the sentiments of multiple senators, such as Susan Collins (R-Maine), which senators have questioned why Democratic congressional lawmakers failed to obtain testimonies of witnesses and insisted on the Senate to obtain those testimonies.

“There’s been no testimony from key White House and other officials. There is a document trail that could tell us so much.

“Democrats went quickly in order to get this done before the election and because the allegations involved Trump’s effort to use Ukraine to impact the 2020 election.”

CNN questioned whether the Democratic lawmakers in the House of Representatives did a competent job in gathering as much information as possible before voting on the impeachment of President Donald Trump. It blamed the Democrats for focusing too much on the 2020 election and suggested that the party should have “ignored the election, exhausted things in the courts and gotten as much information as possible.”

It was far too late in the process for CNN to express a sense of buyer’s remorse, which second-guessed the Democratic Party’s strategy in pushing for an impeachment vote without gathering all pertinent and relevant information. CNN validated one of the main concerns expressed by Republican lawmakers, which was that the impeachment vote happened too soon and without all relevant information.

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Author: Spencer Irvine

Iran So Far Away

As proof they would asphyxiate themselves if Donald Trump endorsed oxygen, anti-Trump journalists spent last week praising an Iranian general.

Gen. Qassam Soleimani’s Revolutionary Guard has been recognized as a terrorist organization, but the media described him as, “revered” and “beloved”.  Journalists compared him to Elvis Presley and Princess Diana.  

Judging by their reports, you’d swear these folks watched Argo and wept when the hostages escaped.  

But why did they become “useful idiots” for Iran?  Why did they share propaganda from Iran’s PR team and pass it off as news?  

To deny the president positive media coverage, of course.  Principles mean nothing when their political tribe is battling the enemy.

There’s a lot of media focus on conservatives who abandoned their principles in an attempt to align with Trump.  (Yes, Trump has enacted more gun control and spent more money than Barack Obama). However, these right wingers weren’t the only ones running far away from their core beliefs.

Radical Progressives and their allies in the media are consistently happy to abandon their own liberal beliefs to advance their political tribe.  And now that we’ve seen the Left adulating a leader of a regime that executes homosexuals for the “crime” of being gay, Trump should see how far the Left will go.

If Trump began a “War on Climate Change” would HuffPost columnists opine about the benefits of global warming?

If the president announced federally funded sex-change operations for all transgender people, would GLAAD officially remove the “T” from LGBTQ?

What if Trump adopted a puppy?  Would the New York Times publish columns declaring that cats are far better pets?

All of these things are worth trying, if only for the entertainment value.

And that’s all most of these political “elites” provide, anyway.  The difference between politicos in Washington and actors in Hollywood is that the actors actually care about political issues and the politicians are much, much better at acting.  Nancy Pelosi and her squad will adopt any belief at any time for any reason if it provides an opportunity to attack Trump.

As recently as last month, the Washington Post was still pushing the narrative that Trump is an anti-Semite.  Donald Trump’s daughter is an Orthodox Jew. He’s had the most pro-Israel foreign policy in the history of that nation. Trump has taken more action against Israel’s greatest adversary — Iran — than any other president before him, yet he still supposedly hates Jews.  

If Trump got Bar Mitzvahed on national television, the Post would claim he was dog-whistling white supremacists during his Torah reading.

I don’t personally believe the Washington Post’s editorial board to be anti-Semitic, but it shows how far they are willing to run from their principles to attack Trump.

This week, the Iranian people began chanting “death to the dictator” at anti-government protests.  I suspect the Post planned to run it as a front-page story until they learned the dictator being referenced was the Ayatollah and not the Donald.

Adam Guillette is the President of Accuracy in Media. 

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Author: Adam Guillette

NowThis News promotes Women’s March, glances over group’s controversies with generalities

This year will mark the fourth year of the annual, anti-Trump Women’s March in Washington, D.C.

NowThis News published an article that read more like an endorsement about the upcoming march this weekend.

The article, headlined, “Women’s March 2020: What’s In Store After Controversy” and acknowledged the group’s past mistakes. However, the article spoke in generalities and neutralized the negative fallout and impact from the controversies on the group.

Referring to the group’s controversies, NowThis News spoke in generalities and said the following:

“[S]everal of the group’s founding members faced scrutiny in 2019 when they were accused of Anti Semitism and financial mismanagement. Three of the original co-chairs stepped down amid the backlash and were replaced with 17 new leaders representing different races, religions, backgrounds and gender identities. To further quell controversy, the group also surveyed its members twice about the issues they care about most to determine what they should focus on in 2020.”

The allegations of anti-Semitism and financial mismanagement were serious allegations, such as co-chair Tamika Mallory’s public praise of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrahkan and her attendance at a Nation of Islam event where Farrakhan verbalized anti-Semitic rhetoric. Another co-chair, Linda Sarsour, came under fire for her anti-Israel political views and activism. Both have since resigned, but NowThis News did not mention either controversy in-detail nor the names of the aforementioned co-chairs.

Previously, we reported on NowThis News’s favorable coverage of Women’s March and how a NowThis News video did not mention these controversies. Yet NowThis News chose to praise Women’s March again, adding general statements about the group’s controversies while framing it as a positive step for the group going forward.

The article came off as a ringing endorsement of a politically-active organization, which violates journalistic ethics of neutrality and impartiality. NowThis News should remember journalism is supposed to be politically-neutral, but the website continues to espouse and promote left-leaning politics without apology or embarrassment.

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Author: Spencer Irvine

NBC News analysis downplays personal spat between Sanders, Warren

The mainstream media had positive takeaways from the debate and NBC News made the dubious claim that “candidates avoided personal attacks.” But to the debate viewers, there was at least one personal attack between candidates: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and her allegation that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) made a sexist remark in a private meeting.

NBC News’s analysis’s headline read, “Who won the Democratic debate in Iowa?” and included the following subheading, “Analysis: With less than a month to go before voters start to weigh in, the policy differences came into sharper focus Tuesday night — but the candidates avoided personal attacks.”

The last line of the subheading is at dispute and questions whether NBC News understands what constitutes a personal attack.

Warren, a day before the debate, accused Sanders of saying that a woman could not win the 2020 presidential election in a private meeting. Sanders denied the allegation and he claimed that he told Warren that President Donald Trump would use gender against a female presidential candidate. Both accused the other candidate of lying about the private meeting leading up to the Tuesday night debate in Des Moines, Iowa.

Contrary to NBC News’s assertion, accusing someone of lying can be considered a personal attack because the accusation implies that the accused lacks integrity and honesty. This is why the United States, and other countries, have libel and slander laws to litigate allegations involving lies about one’s character and other similar actions.

NBC News’s analysis, despite its subheading and overall theme, also mentioned how Warren refused to shake Sanders’s hand after the debate was over. Typically, candidates shake hands as a sign of civility and respect. Warren’s refusal to shake Sanders’s hand demonstrated that the debate turned personal, in addition to Warren and Sanders engaging in a heated conversation after the debate.

Despite NBC News’s spin on the debate and purported civility, the debate did feature personal attacks between Warren and Sanders. NBC News attempted to minimize and downplay the personal spat between two candidates to spin the debate in a positive light. It failed to act as an impartial arbiter of information in this regard because it was clear and obvious that the debate featured personal attacks between candidates.

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Author: Spencer Irvine

CNN moderator covers for Warren after she accuses Sanders of sexist remark

Last night’s presidential primary debate featured a public row between two primary candidates: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). A day before the debate, Warren accused Sanders of sexism and said that in a private meeting between the two senators, Sanders told her that he didn’t believe a woman could win in the 2020 presidential election.

Sanders confirmed that the private meeting did occur, but he denied Warren’s allegation that he made a sexist remark. Sanders said that he told Warren that President Donald Trump would use gender against a female candidate.

It did not appear that the media sought evidence (such as attendees of the private meeting) to confirm Warren’s or Sanders’s account of the private meeting, but the media was content with publishing the news of the public spat between the two candidates.

On the debate stage in Des Moines, Iowa, Warren and Sanders answered questions about the alleged sexist remarks. CNN political correspondent Abby Phillip asked Sanders the following question, “CNN reported yesterday that- and Senator Warren confirmed in a statement– that in 2018 you told her that you did not believe that a woman can win the election. Why did you say that?”

Sanders replied:

“Well, as a matter of fact, I didn’t say it. Anybody who knows me knows that it’s incomprehensible that I would think that a woman cannot be president of the United States. Go to YouTube today.  There’s some video of me 30 years ago talking about how a woman could become president of the United States.”

Phillip clarified Sanders’s reply, “Senator Sanders, I do want to be clear here. You’re saying that you never told Senator Warren that a woman could not win the election,” to which Sanders said, “That is correct.” In a puzzling turn of events, Phillip then asked Warren, “[W]hat did you think when Senator Sanders told you a woman could not win an election?”

Phillip’s about-face on the sexism allegation was shocking, considering that she had confirmed Sanders’s defense that he did not make the sexist remarks. Phillip’s question to Warren lacked impartiality and assumed that Sanders did make the offensive remarks. There were multiple ways that Phillip could have asked the question, but she chose to word it in a way that implied Sanders was the guilty party.

The overall consensus about the controversy was that the media could not determine if Warren or Sanders lied about their private meeting and conversation. For Phillip to take a hard line on the allegation, which was during a nationally-televised debate, violated journalistic ethics and integrity. Her question made it appear that she was covering for Warren’s allegation, which allegation was not confirmed by other parties or witnesses in subsequent reports. It was an example of shoddy journalism and ethics, which was broadcasted to a national audience.

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Author: Spencer Irvine