Topic: Media Research Center
Oh, Clay Waters. What would we do without you? Have fewer posts, for one.
Jackie Calmes, one of the New York Times' most reliably pro-Democratic, Obama-supporting reporters, lit into the "conservative media" as leading the Republican Party to perdition in her Tuesday "Political Memo," "As the G.O.P. Base Clamors for Confrontation, Candidates Oblige."
Calmes' story was packed with labeling bias and dismissive, hostile portrayals of conservatives as angry, robotic followers of Rush Limbaugh and the like. There were an impressive 24 "conservative" labels in her 1,167-word story (almost beating the common conjunction "and," which appeared 29 times).
Wait -- it's "labeling bias" to accurate describe conservatives as conservatives? That's a new one.
This being the MRC, Waters doesn't actually bother to counter anything Calmes writes; he just complains that the mere fact it was written is an act of bias in itself. Check out this rant:
Calmes forwarded the liberal talking point of the conservative "echo chamber," though such a concept might apply more to liberals who get their news solely from the New York Times, MSNBC, or Comedy Central:
But spreading that notion is the conservative media, which has expanded in recent years, on air and online, to become many conservatives’ sole source of news, according to the Pew Research Center.
As opposed to liberals, who would never get their political talking points solely from Jon Stewart or MSNBC hosts like Rachel Maddow or Chris Hayes?
Of course, the goal of Calmes' article was not to make such a comparison -- it was to outline how the conservative media works. But Waters wants to district you from Calmes' valid observation -- and at no point does he deny that the conservative media echo chamber exists.
Waters' post is headlined "Anti-Conservative Hostility of the New York Times's Jackie Calmes Edges Toward Parody." Actually, it's Waters' hostility to the Times that has ventured well into parody territory.
Waters makes his Times derangement even more clear in a July 30 post railing at Calmes' report on the right-wing media for the Shorenstein Center at Harvard's Kennedy School, which Waters sneered was an "exhaustive 16,000-word report with the oh-so-objective title, ''They Don't Give a Damn about Governing' -- Conservative Media’s Influence on the Republican Party,' blaming the 'far right' for killing the moderate, pragmatic GOP, while dismissing the very idea of a liberal mainstream media."
In none of Waters' railing, however, does he attempt to contradict anything Calmes wrote, let alone her central thesis that the conservative media (of which Waters is a part), not the Republican Party, is driving the Republican agenda and pulling it rightward.
Waters was so incensed by Calmes' report that he devoted a second post to it, this time huffing that "Calmes offered a skewed history of talk radio, and saw the dark shadow of right-wing hate hovering over its birth."But beyond offering a more nuanced version of Father Charles Coughlin than Calmes did, Waters again never contradicts her central thesis or main conclusions.
The only message we can gather from all of Waters' ranting is that he thinks only conservatives should be allowed to analyze conservative media. Of course, his ranting shows he doesn't believe in the full logic of that stance: that conservatives have no business analyzing "liberal media." Such logic would put the MRC out of business, after all.
This is what the state of "media research" has become at the MRC these days.
P.S. Fun fact about Waters: Since losing his full-time gig as the MRC's professional Times-basher (he's now freelancing this stuff for NewsBusters), Waters has been writing Agatha Christie-inspired mysteries. Curiously, the list of other writing he does on his personal website makes no mention of his MRC work, though it links to his work at right-wing websites like PJ Media and National Review.