Topic: Media Research Center
Months ago, the Media Research Center tried to downplay the importance of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal. Now that the scandal has proven to be even worse than imagined, the MRC is trying to mitigate damage by trying to separate Rupert Murdoch's U.S. operations -- like Fox News -- from his scandal-tarred British operations.
A July 15 NewsBusters post by Ken Shepherd gleefully reprints a blogger who "pours cold water" on the idea that there's something to the claim that News of the World hacked the phones of 9/11 victims. Shepherd added, without providing supporting evidence: "It's politics that accounts for the probe being initiated, not rational detective work. And it's politics that has and will account for liberal Foxophobes cynically using the development to openly fantasize about a media environment devoid of Fox News."
Meanwhile, Tim Graham went ballistic after the Washington Post published an op-ed by pornographer Larry Flynt criticizing News Corp. over the scandal, sneering, "After all, to the WashPost elite, pornography is just harmless fun, while Fox News is ruining democracy and civil discourse."
Graham made a big deal out of one of the phone-hacking claims Flynt cited against News of the World (which he misleadingly portrays as "some") being "debunked." Actually, what happened is that the British newspaper the Guardian had reported that Murdoch paper The Sun had hacked the medical records of then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown's infant son and discovered he had cystic fibrosis; The Sun claimed that it learned that information from "a member of the public whose son also suffered from the condition" and then discussed the matter with Brown before publishing a story on it. The Sun claimed that "Mr Brown was very co-operative at the time of the original story and was keen to be a friend of The Sun," but the Guardian stated that "their decision to publish the story clearly caused Gordon Brown and his family considerable distress."
Graham went on to complain that the correction in the Guardian "ran on page 36 – not exactly where the original story ran," but the Guardian noted that the correction appeared where corrections always appear. Funny, we don't recall NewsBusters publishing a front-page correction to a false post, even though every post starts out there.
Graham even got himself quoted in Fox News protection mode in a Washington Post article examining coverage of the scandal:
“The radicals at the Guardian have clearly salivated to ruin Old Man Rupert,” said Tim Graham, director of media analysis at the Media Research Center, a conservative watchdog group based in Alexandria. The American media, he said, have joined in: “It’s blatantly obvious that this pile-on . . . is all about Murdoch and his perceived noxious effect on American politics and media.”
Graham singles out NPR, which has received funding from “Murdoch-hating” billionaire financier George Soros, as having “a special financial interest in going after Murdoch’s media properties.”
“We’re making decisions about the coverage of the News Corp. story, as we do with all stories, based on its importance and news value,” said Dana Davis Rehm, NPR’s head of communications. “This is very big news with global impact, and we’re really proud of our coverage.”
The non-Murdoch media’s larger goal, Graham said, is “to rid America of the Fox News Channel,” which has provided a prominent platform for conservatives.
NewsBusters also published a column by R. Emmett Tyrrell claiming that Murdoch is a victim of the "Kultursmog," which he defines as "that set of ideas and tastes that are utterly polluted by left-wing values and carried by the liberal news media to pollute people's minds." Newsmax published this same column.