Topic: Media Research Center
In addition to glomming on to Newt Gingrich's anti-media crusade to the point of condoning adultery by declaring Gingrich's past off-limits, Brent Bozell and his Mecdia Research Center has moved onto the next step of defending Gingrich: attacking Marianne Gingrich for making inconvenient and unflattering allegations about her ex-husband.
Appearing on the Jan. 20 edition of CNBC's "Kudlow Report," Bozell questioned whether Marianne's allegations were "newsworthy." Then insisting he wasn't "passing any aspersions on the former Mrs. Gingrich," he said "How do we know? ... This is one woman's opinion, and there's no quantifying evidence on this on the other end. How do we know that her statement is true?"
Then, on the same day's edition of Fox News' Hannity, Bozell again asserted the story wasn't "newsworthy," declaring, ""there's nothing -- let me underscore, nothing -- in the story last night that wasn't in that interview."
NewsBusters associate editor Noel Sheppard followed his boss' lead in a Jan. 23 NewsBusters post, denouncing "decades old charges by a bitter ex-wife."
This raises the question: Did Bozell or the MRC raise similar red flags about sexual allegations made against liberal politicians? Not that we're aware of.
Take the example of Paula Jones, who accused Bill Clinton of sexual allegations. Unlike Marianne Gingrich, who made her comments from the point of view of an 18-year marriage, Jones was speaking about an alleged proposition. There was "no quantifying evidence on this on the other end," as Bozell demanded in the Gingrich story, and Jones was clearly acting as a front for enemies of Clinton.
Yet Bozell -- like Jones' backers, an enemy of Clinton -- insisted on vouching for Jones' veracity. In a 1997 column, Bozell complained that Jones was being discredited, and dismissed the idea that she was fronting for Clinton-haters:
What's most striking about the Paula Jones story is how uncomplicated it is for a reporter. ... So it's one of two things: either Jones and her six confederates hatched a massive conspiracy designed to get Clinton to apologize (and nothing else), or she's telling the truth. That the media would not explore and report this simple reality shows they were active participants in Clinton damage control.
Similarly, the MRC teased Tim Graham's 1996 book "Pattern of Deception" as demonstrating "How the media campaigned to discredit Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, and Troopergate."
As with defending an adulterous candidate, this is all a massive flip-flop -- Bozell is once again throwing away principles he once claimed to have in order to make a political argument. He gave Paula Jones the benefit of the doubt; why not Marianne Gingrich? If she's "bitter" over her treatment by Newt, as Sheppard claims, doesn't she have a right to be?
By embracing Newt Gingrich and trying to smear his critics no matter how credible they appear to be, Bozell is throwing away any moral grounds he has to make an argument.