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On Russia, Media Sticks to Its Foregone Collusions

Tony Perkins · Feb. 21, 2018

There’s the media’s usual treatment of conservatives — guilty until proven innocent — and then there’s the Donald Trump treatment: guilty even after proven innocent. Unfortunately for this president, there’s no winning under this toxic cloud of media bias. Barack Obama could do no wrong — and Donald Trump can do no right. Even after a nine-month investigation proves he is.

Nothing seems to move the needle on the press’s contempt — not even Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s 13 indictments in the Russia probe, which should prove what the president has said all along: There is no collusion! Under normal circumstances, the detailed charges should have gone a long way to softening the media’s stance on what they claimed was a coordinated effort between the Trump campaign and foreign nationals to interfere in the 2016 election. “Russia started their anti-U.S. campaign in 2014,” the president tweeted when Mueller’s announcement came down, “long before I announced that I would run for president. The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong — no collusion!”

But what should have been validation turned to indignation when outlets like the Associated Press and New York Times refused to accept Mueller’s findings as fact. “Trump’s claim of vindication appeared to be unsupported by the indictment and premature,” reporters said, “as Mueller’s probe has shown no signs of abating.” Then, later, “The cries of vindication seem to be more show than substance.” And, “Neither [the Deputy Attorney General] nor Mueller’s office has ruled out any potential collusion in any other plot to disrupt the election.”

Even in the face of the Special Counsel’s own evidence, liberal reporters refused to accept the fact that Trump had no role in teaming up with the Russians to sway the election outcome. “The fake news media never fails,” he tweeted. So, instead of harping on his involvement, they started to attack him for being right. The New York Times continued to bash Trump for insisting the allegations were a hoax. “The president’s mood began to darken as it became clearer to him that some commentators were portraying the indictment as nothing for him to celebrate, according to three people with knowledge of his reaction. Those commentators called it proof that he had not won the election on his own, a particularly galling, if not completely accurate, charge for a president long concerned about his legitimacy.”

Even now, without a scrap of evidence to stand on, some outlets refuse to give up their bogus theories of Trump’s involvement. Maybe they’re upset about being duped. After all, as Media Research Center (MRC) points out, they were the ones who were played the fool. Liberal networks were airing almost around-the-clock coverage of the anti-Trump rallies after the election — only to learn that the Russians had organized the whole thing! MRC combed through the Mueller indictments and found that, “Like their counterparts at CNN and MSNBC, multiple news outlets were quick to promote anti-Trump protests in New York City on November 12, 2016 — and in doing so became unwitting promoters of Russian propaganda… Special Counsel Robert Mueller revealed that this protest, as well as one in Charlotte, NC on November 19, 2016, was organized by Russian operatives.”

Congressman Don Bacon isn’t surprised. On “Washington Watch,” he explained that Russia does this same thing all over the world. Why? Because, as he explains, “When we turn on each other, we’re less focused on what they’re doing in Ukraine, what they’re doing in Syria, and how they’re threatening the Baltics. And they gain more leeway in their part of the world. This is their way of distracting us from what they’re doing and helps them further their goals, while it undermines our ability to stop that.”

And the media played right into the Russians’ hands. Slate, The Daily Beast, and Huffington Post seized on the rallies, planting seeds of distrust and disunity. “If the goal of the secret Russian organizers was to inject nonsense like that into the American political dialogue,” MRC said, “then their unwitting helpers on CNN and MSNBC certainly gave them plenty of assistance that day.” Even radical filmmaker Michael Moore was suckered into the scam, tweeting photos from a protest that had been secretly orchestrated by the Russians. “If it was the goal of Russia to create discord, disruption and chaos within the U.S.,” President Trump said, “then with all of the Committee Hearings, Investigations and Party hatred, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They are laughing [at us] in Moscow. Get smart America!”

In the end, this had nothing to do with propping up Trump and undermining Clinton; it was about dividing America. And the media took the bait, ultimately playing a bigger role in tearing the country apart than anyone.

Originally published here.

Grassley Gives Opponents the Slip on Judges

It’ll take years for the dust to settle on the Trump presidency — and when it does, conservatives will have a lot more to celebrate than they thought. A lot of the credit for that will belong to one man: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA). The Judiciary Committee Chair has been the unsung hero of the Trump administration, working quietly to help the White House confirm more solid constructionists to the bench than any president in history. And he shows no signs of slowing down.

You can usually measure how successful conservatives are by the level of the other side’s outrage. In the Senate, Democrats are roiling over the long list of the Judiciary Chair’s accomplishments. Last week, while Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) party dragged its feet on immigration, Grassley was more than happy to fill the void with another slate of judicial nominees. On Thursday, the chairman moved another conservative winner out of committee and onto the floor — putting judge Michael Brennan one step closer to a seat on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Not surprisingly, Democrats are pulling their hair out at the pace of Grassley’s votes. Now, they’re desperately grasping for something to put the brakes on this train of nominees.

What they’ve settled on is the tradition known as the “blue slip.” Since 1917, it’s been common courtesy for the Senate’s Judiciary Chair to send an evaluation form of sorts to the nominee’s hometown senators. They could return it, signaling their willingness to hold a hearing, or withhold it — usually grinding the progress on that nomination to a halt. Democrats, who never met an obstructionist tool they didn’t like, have been using their slips to slow down the president’s judicial nominees. That worked for a while, until it became clear to Grassley that Senate liberals were trying to use the slips as a veto.

On Brennan’s nomination, Grassley decided to move forward without the green light from Wisconsin’s senators. “The Democrats seriously regret that they abolished the filibuster, as I warned them they would. But they can’t expect to use the blue slip courtesy in its place. That’s not what the blue slip is meant for.” Ranking Judiciary Democrat Pat Leahy (D-VT) was outraged. “This basically says we don’t care which state you represent — you’re irrelevant as senators, We’ll forget the 100 years of senators having involvement.” Actually, senators have involvement — it’s called voting. If they’re upset about not having enough votes, win back the majority. Until then, don’t try to hijack the process.

Ironically, Grassley’s office pointed out, “In the case that’s before us, the White House consulted with both Wisconsin senators. The White House considered two candidates suggested by Senator Baldwin, but the president opted for Judge Brennan. That’s the president’s prerogative under the Constitution.” As for the blue slip, it cuts both ways. “Leahy refused to hold hearings on six of George W. Bush’s circuit nominees even though all of them had the support of their home-state senators,” the spokesman went on. Now, when the shoe is on the other foot, they want to pretend that a Senate tradition is a hard and fast rule, which it’s not.

In the meantime, conservatives have plenty to be happy about where the courts are concerned. Before the month is out, Trump may even rack up another victory: Ryan Bounds, his nominee to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Whether or not that progress continues is up to us. The president can’t balance the courts without a majority. So make sure that factors in your decision-making this November.

Originally published here.

Pornography: The Biggest Crisis No One’s Talking About?

“The potential detrimental effects of pornography include emotional, mental, and medical illnesses, deviant sexual arousal, difficulty forming and maintaining intimate relationships, altered brain development and functioning, and problematic and harmful sexual behaviors.”

That’s just part of the text of House Joint Resolution 5, introduced in the Maryland General Assembly by Delegate Neil Parrott. If adopted, Maryland would become the sixth state to formally declare that “exposure to pornography is a public health crisis.” This movement, backed by our friends at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), tries to raise awareness of the tangible harms associated with pornography, whether legal or illegal. FRC Senior Fellow Peter Sprigg traveled to Annapolis to testify in favor of the resolution at a hearing. He cited a recent, long article in The New York Times Magazine under the headline, “What Teenagers Are Learning from Online Porn.” As Peter described, the article “explains how the ever more extreme behavior depicted in today’s pornographic films and videos — much of it reflecting violent and misogynistic fantasies involving males coercing, degrading, and hurting females — is being taken by both young men and young women as a model of how sex is done.”

Also testifying were two professors who are experts in the field, Dr. Mary Anne Layden of the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Joseph Prud'homme of Washington College in Maryland. Perhaps the most powerful testimony of the day, however, came from a father who testified about his former addiction to pornography — and from his 13-year-old son, who spoke about how casually pornography is accessed on students’ smart phones in his middle school cafeteria.

Arkansas, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia have already passed resolutions warning of the public health crisis of pornography. If your state isn’t on this list, contact your local legislators and urge them to help educate the public by introducing, co-sponsoring, and/or voting for such a resolution.

For more on the devastating effects of porn, including its influence on the latest sex-ed curriculums, don’t miss this piece by FRC’s Kelly Marcum in the Federalist, “Despite Leftist Outcry, Americans Don’t want Federally-Funded Pornographic Sex Ed.”

Originally published here.


This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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