Topic: Media Research Center
We've detailed how the Media Research Center is not particularly interested in doing research, especially when it conflicts with its right-wing, pro-Romney agenda. The MRC does it again with attacking President Obama over taped comments, ignoring their full context and bashing anyone who tries to point that context out.
A Sept. 19 NewsBusters post by Jeffrey Meyer highlighted "audio of then-State Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.) speaking at Loyola University talking about his support for wealth redistribution, complaining that MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell wouldn't play the tape becuase it hadn't been "authenticated."
That caution was justified. The full version of the 1998 Obama video -- the edited version of which had been promoted by the Drudge Report in a clear attempt to distract from a leaked video of Mitt Romney denigrating the 47 percent of Americans who Obama supporters as freeloaders -- shows that Obama was referring to "redistribution" as a way to "decentralize delivery systems in ways that both foster competition, can work in the marketplace, and can foster innovation at the local level and can be tailored to particular communities." In other words, Obama was not talking about advocating socialism at all.
Nevertheless, the MRC continued to push Obama's "redistribution" comment while not lifting a finger to verify, let alone mention, its proper context:
- Brent Baker referenced "video of Barack Obama in 1998 advocating redistribution of wealth," calling it a "display of Obama’s far-left economic philosophy."
- Clay Waters complained that a New York Times writer "took pains to point out that the old Obama segment was 'carefully clipped,' implying it was misleading." Which, of course, was entirely true.
- Geoffrey Dickens huffed that "when tape emerged of Barack Obama stating he was in favor of “redistribution” of wealth," the Bit Three networks (no mention of Fox News, of course) devoted "just six and a half minutes" to it, compared with 88 minutes to the Romney tape.
- In his weekly appearance on Fox News' "Hannity," MRC chief Brent Bozell ranted that Obama's comment "confirms ... that he's a socialist who believes in the redistribution of wealth."
- Matt Hadro grumbled that "NBC failed to press Obama adviser David Axelrod over the President's remarks about redistribution" but "did find time, however, to cover the 'Honey Boo Boo' nickname generator."
- In an MRC press release, Bozell touted how "the Romney campaign exposed a 1998 video showing then-State Sen. Barack Obama espousing his far-left philosophy of wealth redistribution." Bozell also referred to when "Obama disparaged small business" -- which the MRC also deliberately took out of context.
When Washington Post political fact-checker Glenn Kessler dared to put Obama's words in their proper context, the MRC attacked him -- never mind that no Bozell employee could be bothered to do so.
In a Sept. 21 Newsbusters post, Ryan Robertson began by ranting about how Obama and Vice President Biden "are given the benefit of the doubt by the supposedly non-partisan media" because "we're told by liberal media 'fact checkers' that Republicans end up using them out of proper 'context.'" Of course, Robertson is really whining that conservatives get busted taking their opponents' words out of context on such a regular basis that he must regurgitate the right-wing attack line of trying to discredit all fact-checking.
Robertson went on to claim that Kessler "furiously spun" Obama' statement and that the edited clip has just "one missing sentence, one that somehow redeems Obama for his previous statement." Robertson then nit-picked that Kessler's Pinocchio rating was too severe:
By excluding the last sentence, Kessler thought this was a "whopper" of a lie. Yet according to his own scale, this doesn't make any sense. "One Pinnocchio" statements are marked by "some shading of the facts and selective telling of the truth. Some omissions and exaggerations, but no outright falsehoods." Two Pinocchio-defined statements are said to be "significant omissions and/or exaggerations. Some factual error may be involved, but not necessarily." Three Pinocchios, as Kessler notes, are merited when there is "significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions."
By his own rating system, at worst this only deserved two. What's more, keep in mind that this has not yet been made into a campaign ad, and yet Kessler and his staff eagerly set to excoriating the Romney camp, giving them the worst-possible score on their Pinocchio scale.
At no point does Robertson explain why the full context doesn't redeem Obama. And he falsely claims that Kessler did not "quote anything Romney or a Romney surrogate said about it per se." But Kessler did:
Nevertheless, the Romney campaign had seized on the remark as evidence of Obama’s apparently socialist tendencies. “You know, President Obama said he believes in redistribution,” GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan said Tuesday. “Mitt Romney and I are not running to redistribute the wealth. Mitt Romney and I are running to help Americans create wealth.”
Apparently, if we are to believe Robertson, Paul Ryan is not part of Romney's campaign.
That's the level of self-deception the MRC must practice in order to justify its laziness in trading what little "research" it actually does for mindlessly repeating anti-Obama partisan attacks.
Bozell claimed in his press release: "Like an overeager Labrador retriever, the liberal media will do anything to please their master, even if it means biting his opponent every day between now and the election." And Bozell is desperate to please his master, Mitt Romney, by using his multimillion-dollar organization to dishonestly attack Obama.