Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Tim Graham did a lot of sneering at the New York Times's story about the speeding tickets Marco Rubio and his wife racked up.
"Is this supposed to punish the Rubios when Hillary Clinton hasn’t driven a car during this entire 18-year period?" Graham huffed in a June 5 NewsBusters post.
Graham followed that up later in the day by suggesting that the story had "Democratic oppo fingerprints" on it, highlighting the #RubioCrimeScoop Twitter hashtag that "describe[d] tiny offenses – stealing a bank pen, failing to return a library book – in the same vein as the Times gumshoes."
The funny thing? The MRC used to think speeding tickets warranted national media coverage.
In a June 2001 MRC CyberAlert, Brent Baker howled that "speeding and reckless driving citations issued to Albert Gore III for going 97 mph in a 55 mph zone", which happened the weekend before the 2000 Democratic convention that nominated his father as the Democratic presidential candidate, demanded media coverage. That was intended as a form of punishment of the kind Graham claimed the Times was doing to Rubio -- Baker's goal was to distract from the foibles of President George W. Bush's twin daughters, who were busted twice in a month for underage drinking and using a false ID to obtain alcohol.
Baker did concede that Gore III was 17 at the time and, thus, a minor, while the Bush twins were 19. He didn't note that Gore's father was merely a candidate while the Bushes' father was the sitting president, and the children of sitting presidents are by definition newsworthy, especially when they break the law -- or that one reason the Bushes got busted was because of a law their father passed while Texas governor that aimed to get tough on underage drinking.
(As we noted at the time, the ConWeb did a lot of excuse-making to distract attention from the Bushes, of which the Gore speeding ticket was but one.)
Graham himself demanded media coverage of Gore's speeding ticket in a November 2000 pre-election column written for National Review. He was trying to punish and distract as well, this time from news of George W. Bush's mid-1970s drunk-driving conviction. Graham admits Gore III "is not supposed to be a public figure," but then demands that he be made one: "But is it fair to spike the unfavorable news angles — especially when a presidential nominee's child breaks the law — and then celebrate the child, or more precisely, celebrate the parenting of the child, on a different day?"
As far as spiking unfavorable news angles go, Graham might want to have a chat with the folks at CNSNews.com, down the hall at MRC headquarters, which has done everything it can to censor and bury the Josh Duggar molestation scandal.
Graham even demanded that the media get tough on then-tennage Chelsea Clinton despite the lack of any evidence she had ever done anything to warrant it: "Chelsea Clinton has never had a brush with the law, but how can the public judge what a 'princess' she is when the media have placed her in a plastic bubble?"
Also: If the Times' story was supposedly Democratic "oppo research," we should then assume that the MRC's desperate attempts to maker Gore III's speeding ticket a national issue was its attempt to serve as oppo research for Republicans. Doesn't that cross the line of what the MRC is permitted to do under its nonprofit tax designation? Graham might want to think twice before making such an allegation.