Topic: Media Research Center
We documented how the Media Research Center was in full working-the-refs mode on Lester Holt, moderator of the first presidential debate, trying to brand him as a liberal even though he's a registered Republican and was reportedly chosen as a moderator to appease Donald Trump.
Well, the debate has come and gone, and Trump lost, as many conservatives are even admitting. So, according to MRC logic, that means Trump lost because Holt used his purported liberal-bias mojo on Trump.
Thus, having seen its ref-working efforts fail on Holt, the MRC declared war on him.
Brad Wilmouth was mad that Holt "repeatedly challenged Donald Trump ... but refrained from going after Hillary Clinton in the same aggressive manner. He also complained that others engaged in the same ref-working behavior the MRC did, though with supposedly better results: "Prior to the debate, the Clinton campaign repeatedly worked the refs to get tougher questions for Trump. In the case of Lester Holt, the strategy worked." Geoffrey Dickens served up "questions [Holt] could have asked Clinton, if he had any interest in being fair and balanced" and complained that Holt "repeatedly cross-examined and fact-checked GOP nominee Donald Trump" (no mention of how Trump made so many more false claims during the debate than Clinton did). Curtis Houck complained that during the debate Clinton "implored her friends in the liberal media and especially 'the fact-checkers' to 'get to work' on Trump (again, no mention of how badly Trump needs to be fact-checked, but then, the MRC has also declared war on facts to protect Trump).
But it was MRC chief Brent Bozell who was Trump's chief surrogate on the Holt-bashing front.
Immediately after the debate, Bozell issued a statement whining that "Holt continually challenged, fact-checked, and interrupted Trump and not once challenged Hillary," therefore "Lester Holt failed in his role as a moderator. Period."
Bozell then trotted over to friendly Fox Business to rehash his whining, adding that he doesn't understand why Republicans are "choosing these people, it happens almost every day debate. They behave like Lester Holt behaved tonight and then they’re shocked. They’re absolutely shocked that a left-wing journalist behaved like a left-wing journalist." Again, no mention of the fact that Holt is a registered Republican or was reportedly chosen as a sop to Trump. Bozell then played Trump campaign adviser: "I think that, if I were Donald Trump — if I were advising Donald Trump, don’t come out — don’t come out as a spoiled sport, but do make hay over this one. Do raise hell about this. If they can work the refs, so should he and I think he should start working the refs and he should start making an issue about this, how one-sided these debates are and it will work in his favor. At least, it might make them do a good job."
Bozell then issued another statement lamenting that Trump was challenged on his lies by Holt and declaring that "Holt did the bidding of his colleagues in the media, revealing himself to be nothing more than a pawn of Hillary’s campaign."
Bozell later ran over to Fox News to do another friendly, this time with Megyn Kelly. Unsual for him, it wasn't a solo appearance; Bozell appeared with "liberal former congressional candidate and ex-MSNBC host Krystal Ball," whom he basically ignored. Bozell was in full froth: "[W]here’s the fact-checking? Where's the follow-up? There was a follow-up to everything Donald Trump said. Where was the follow-up on this? She didn’t — what was more important, Megyn, birther issues or Benghazi medical records of the Clinton Foundation. There's so many — the e-mails. What's so important? How could he not have asked these questions?"
The anonymous author of the NewsBusters piece accompanying this clip huffed that Ball was "pathetically arguing that 'one candidate lies disproportionately more than the other candidate [so] of course you're going to have more pushback'" -- not conceding that Trump telling more falsehoods during the debate is as "irrefutable" as Bozell asserts Holt's lack of pushback on Clinton was.
But Holt was Trump's guy. And Chris Wallace, who will moderate the Oct. 19 debate, is Bozell's guy, having said he's the kind of guy Republicans should demand as a debate moderator. Plus, he's also on record as saying he doesn't think it's his responsiblity to fact-check candidates during a debate -- which makes him not only Bozell's guy but Trump's guy as well.
UPDATE: Bozell still isn't done. In his column with Tim Graham, he rants that "Holt's performance was a partisan disgrace" and touted a poll saying that "46 percent of Americans believe most moderators will tilt the debates in favor of Clinton," adding, "Holt confirmed the wisdom of the American people."
Bozell and Graham added that "It became obvious that Holt internalized all the howls of outrage from the liberal media against Matt Lauer for being even-handed with the candidates at the commander-in-chief forum earlier in the month." That would be the same Matt Lauer the MRC was mocking as a lightweight before that forum by posting photos of him in women's clothing (known to the rest of us as Halloween cosplay). But because Lauer did the MRC's duty by being harder on Trump than Clinton, Bozell should be crowing about how his working-the-refs campaign worked on Lauer.