Newsmax apologizes for election fraud allegations

The right-wing media organization that is owned and run Christopher Ruddy, a close friend of Trump, has withdrawn its claim that Dominion Voting System’s head of product strategy and security Eric Coomer colluded with Antifa to rig the elections results so that Trump would lose. Coomer has been subjected to death threats as a result and had for a while gone into hiding. He had sued Newsmax for defamation.

Coomer sued Newsmax in December in state court in Colorado over false claims that he took part in an “Antifa conference call” to rig the 2020 presidential election against Donald Trump. He revised his lawsuit in February to bolster his claims against Newsmax, as Insider previously reported.

Coomer first became the subject of conspiracy theories after Joe Oltmann, a right-wing political operative, claimed without evidence that he was a member of “Antifa” — a loosely linked group of left-wing activists who oppose fascist movements — and worked to rig the 2020 election.

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British TV criticized for blanket coverage of Prince Philip’s death

It appears that British TV, especially the BBC, decided to go to wall-to-wall coverage of Prince Philip’s death and viewers were not pleased, flooding them with complaints about it all being a bit much.

Viewers switched off their TVs in droves after broadcasters aired blanket coverage of Prince Philip’s death, audience figures revealed on Saturday, and the BBC received so many complaints it opened a dedicated complaints form on its website.

BBC One and BBC Two cleared their schedules of Friday night staples including EastEnders, Gardeners’ World and the final of MasterChef to simulcast pre-recorded tributes from the Duke of Edinburgh’s children.

TV viewers were not pleased. BBC One, which is traditionally the channel that Britons turn on at moments of national significance, was down 6% on the previous week, according to analysis of viewing figures by Deadline. For BBC Two the decision was disastrous – it lost two-thirds of its audience, with only an average of 340,000 people tuning in at any time between 7pm to 11pm. ITV suffered a similar drop after it ditched its Friday night schedule to broadcast tributes to the duke.

The death of a 99-year old man is hardly shocking news. This whole business of ‘official mourning’, where the media pretends that the entire nation is highly upset over the death of someone and is collectively mourning has always been a fiction, to be used as cudgel to beat one’s political opponents with. In reality, apart from close members of the dead person’s family, most people may feel some momentary pangs of sadness but then go on with their lives. They dislike being pressured to be feel something they do not feel.

The other legal shoe drops

Dominion Voting Systems has hit Fox News with a $1.6 billion lawsuit for defamation for its wild allegations against the company that it engaged in massive election fraud to deprive Trump of the presidential election victory. It had earlier sued Trump’s erstwhile lawyer Sidney Powell for $1.3 billion.

The company alleged that the network “recklessly disregarded the truth” and participated in a disinformation campaign against it because “the lies were good for Fox’s business.”

n the immediate aftermath of the 2020 election, then-President Donald Trump falsely asserted that the election had been rigged against him. His allies promoted outlandish conspiracy theories about Dominion to support Trump’s false claims.

“Fox took a small flame” of disinformation and “turned it into a forest fire,” Dominion said in its lawsuit.

“The truth matters. Lies have consequences,” Dominion’s lawsuit added. “Fox sold a false story of election fraud in order to serve its own commercial purposes, severely injuring Dominion in the process. If this case does not rise to the level of defamation by a broadcaster, then nothing does.”

In its lawsuit, Dominion specifically mentioned hosts Maria Bartiromo, Tucker Carlson, Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity, and Jeanine Pirro, three of whom were named as defendants in Smartmatic’s lawsuit. Fox is the sole defendant in this suit.

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We need more Chelsea Handlers and fewer Piers Morgans

Smarmy Piers Morgan has resigned as co-host from a British morning show after getting blasted for saying he did not believe what Meghan Markle said in her interview with Oprah Winfrey and storming off the set when another host criticized him for his remarks. His behavior did not surprise me. What does is that people keep giving Morgan jobs even though he has demonstrated over and over again that he is a grade A reactionary jerk.

After his latest exit, Chelsea Handler posted on Instagram a clip of her experience with Morgan when she was invited onto his show when he was on CNN as the replacement for Larry King.

I am sure that Morgan can get another job with some Murdoch outfit or Newsmax or something. That would be a natural home for a person such as he, smug, arrogant, and proud of his ignorance.

The use of elite media as agents of propaganda

Some media outlets are better than others when it comes to providing news but we should be alert that because of their reputations they are sometimes co-opted to promote propaganda. Max Blumenthal writes about recently leaked documents that claim that Reuters and the BBC seemed to be willing to work covertly with the British government in advancing its propaganda goals.

The new leaks illustrate in alarming detail how Reuters and the BBC – two of the largest and most distinguished news organizations in the world – attempted to answer the British foreign ministry’s call for help in improving its “ability to respond and to promote our message across Russia,” and to “counter the Russian government’s narrative.” Among the UK FCO’s stated goals, according to the director of the CDMD, was to “weaken the Russian State’s influence on its near neighbours.”
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The grubby world of social media influencers

It is fascinating to read about cultures that one is ignorant of and with the arrival of the internet and social media, one hears of many such micro-cultures. I have been vaguely curious about the phenomenon of so-called ‘influencers’ who are, as far as I can see, people who promote themselves via social media and as a result others take their opinions on things seriously, even if they have no credentials whatsoever other than their social media popularity. It seems pretty weird to me but then I am not of the social media world.

This article examines a new documentary that looks into the creation of three such people.
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Sanitizing Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh died earlier this week. Dan Froomkin castigates the media’s downplaying of Limbaugh’s toxic legacy after his death, by portraying his vilest racist, misogynistic, homophobic, xenophobic attacks on his political enemies as humor.

Our newsroom leaders still cannot bring themselves to declare that the hysteria and conspiracy theories that once only inhabited the lunatic fringes of our political discourse — until Rush Limbaugh, and then Donald Trump, came along — don’t merit respect, but should be banished, rejected and denied.

And that is why, even with a year to pre-write and edit them, major media outlets on Wednesday published obituaries celebrating Limbaugh’s extraordinary success as a “conservative provocateur.” They whitewashed his once-unimaginably vile and divisive demagoguery as “comic bombast.” They hailed him as “the voice of American conservatism,” when what really matters about Rush Limbaugh is that he spread hatred more effectively and lucratively than any American before him. He didn’t hide his bigotry and, eventually, neither did the Republican Party.

“What he did was to bring a paranoia and really mean, nasty rhetoric and hyperpartisanship into the mainstream,” said Martin Kaplan, a University of Southern California professor who is an expert on the intersection of politics and entertainment and a frequent critic of Limbaugh. “The kind of antagonism and vituperativeness that characterized him instantly became acceptable everywhere.”

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The conservative media bind

Conservative media like Fox News, One America News (OAN) and Newsmax are finding themselves in a bind. Since they are competing for the support of the Trump cult, they need to feed them the red meat about how the election was stolen. This requires them to bring on their shows the loonies who are propagating outlandish conspiracy theories.

But now that the two companies Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic are unlashing massive lawsuits against those who they claim are defaming them, these media outlets have to take defensive actions. What they have chosen to do is to give detailed disclaimers before they put on these people, saying that these are not their opinions but purely those of the speaker.
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Why did Giuliani, Powell, and Fox News pick on Smartmatic?

Smartmatic is a software company that works with election systems. They became the target of a systematic campaign by Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sydney Powell and Fox News personalities Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo, and Jeanine Pirro, who accused the company of rigging the votes in order to enable Joe Biden to win. The puzzling thing is Smartmatic’s only involvement in the election was in Los Angeles county where there was never any need to to fraudulently aid Biden to win since California was assured. So why pick on this company? The answer may be that its founder Antonio Mujica is originally from Venezuela. Aha! There was the smoking gun!

On that flimsy basis this bunch of loonies spun their fantastic yarn of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, George Soros, and the international Communist movement working to steal the election from Trump. Smartmatic has had enough and, like the Dominion Voting Systems company that manufactures voting machines who were also accused by this crew of stealing the election, they have initiated a massive $2.7 billion lawsuit against these five people as well as Fox News and its parent Fox Corporation.
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