Topic: Media Research Center
Last year, we highlighted how the Media Research Center was effectively serving as a public relations agent for right-wing filmmaker Phelim McAleer, not only promoting a campaign to raise money for McAleer's proposed film about rogue abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell but also promoting a costly billboard McAleer petulantly bought to bash a crowdfunding site that kicking him off while not asking the question of why he needs funding for his film when he is apparently not hurting for funds.
Turns out we were more right than we knew.
An Aug. 8 MRC email touts McAleer and his wife, Ann McElhinney, as the latest "fantastic speakers" added to next year's MRC junket -- er, Caribbean cruise. The email notes what "Ann and Phelim said about the upcoming MRC cruise":
“We’ve had the privilege of working with Brent Bozell and his team to promote our movie about the crimes of Dr. Gosnell. We’ve never been around a more dedicated team of professionals. When they commit to something, they do it right. So we expect nothing but the best on this cruise.”
Here's a screenshot of the statement from the email:
That looks to us like an admission that those MRC posts on McAleer's fundraising campaign were at least done on McAleer's request, if not actually paid for by McAleer -- something that the MRC never disclosed to its readers.
And that's not all: At the same time the MRC was publishing those articles last year at McAleer's behest if not his subsidy, Terry Jeffrey, editor in chief of the MRC's "news" division, CNS News.com, conducted a 13-minute video interview with McAleer that was set up to promote his Gosnell crowdfunding project. As one might expect inan interview where the subject is paying for the microphone, Jeffrey tosses softball after softball and doesn't challenge anything McAleer says. Jeffrey laughably asks how McAleer's funding his film when, as we now know, he knows perfectly well how it's being done and he's being paid to help raise that money.
Jeffrey also emphasized that McAleer will be making a "factually accurate, true-to-life dramatization" of the Gosnell case, even though McAleer has a history of distorting facts in their previous work.
Demonstrating that all of CNS' "news" managers were in on the deal, managing editor Michael W. Chapman wrote an article touting how a couple of has-been right-wing actors "call upon viewers to donate to gosnellmovie.com, a proposed documentary on Gosnell by filmmakers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney."
Neither Jeffrey nor Chapman disclose that their promotions were done with the full cooperation, and possibly the money, of McAleer.
If a "liberal media" outlet had committed this severe breach of journliastic ethics, the MRC would be screaming bloody murder. But the MRC has never been interested in holding itself to the standards it demands that others follow.
Combined with recent allegations that Donald Trump is paying Breitbart.com for favorable coverage, this sort of apparent pay-for-play isn't making the right-wing media look good.