Topic: Media Research Center
Donald Trump's complaint that the media is "rigged" has always been an empty complaint -- heck, even Fox News' Greg Gutfield, no liberal he, admits that Trump has received much more free media than any other presidential candidate and has benefited greatly from it. Trump is simply making the claim now because he's losing because of his own mistakes and he refuses to take responsibility for it.
The Media Research Center used to believe that about Trump -- it used to complain how NBC created the candidate Trump by airing "The Apprentice" -- until it flipped to such a magnitude that it's now criticizing others for making that exact same argument. Similarly, the MRC wouldn't recognize Trump's complaints of media bias against Fox News; it was only when he focused on the MRC's pre-approved targets that it paid attention.
Brent Bozell and crew almost certainly know that Trump's "rigged media" crusade, like much of the rest of the campaign's claimed ideological leanings, is empty -- after all, Bozell wouldn't support Trump in the primaries because he doesn't "walk with" conservatives. There's no reason to believe Trump's heart has changed, but because he's now saying some of the things a Republican candidate is supposed to say, the MRC will blindly play along.
And because Trump is now giving the "liberal media bias" meme the biggest megaphone it's ever had -- again, regardless of the fact that Trump only cares about it because he's losing and needs someone to blame -- the MRC will happily ride Trump's coattails.
Thus, Bozell and Tim Graham's Oct. 19 column, headlined "Trump's Right: The Media Is Rigged." Bozell and Graham engage in their usual tired anti-media ranting:
A charge of leftist media bias this election cycle is about as ludicrous as claiming that the sun rises in the east. All these WikiLeaks emails give firsthand evidence of the so-called "objective" press acting like badly disguised Clinton campaign workers. If this sort of fraud were illegal, these reporters would be headed for Sing Sing.
What's false, ludicrous and damaging to democracy is the idea that this sort of journalistic betrayal is ethical and permissible.
What is the evidence they present of this? A few minor things. First, a report that Democratic strategist and then-CNN contributor Donna Brazile allegedly forwared a question from an upcoming CNN-hosted candidate forum to Hillary Clinton, as revealed in the stolen WikiLeaks emails. The veracity of the email has never been examined, and Brazile has denied doing any such thing -- and the question itself was a fairly standard query about the death penalty that any competent candidate would have a position staked out on, not any sort of sneaky gotcha question -- yet Bozell and Graham huff that Brazile was "a CNN contributor rigging a CNN event,"adding, "If Corey Lewandowski were feeding town-hall questions to Donald Trump, we can guess Stelter would have a heart attack on air."
If the latter were true, Bozell and Graham would likely be praising Lewandowski -- who, unlike Brazile at the time, remains on the payroll of a presidential campaign -- for his cunning and willingness to stick it to the "liberal media."
The second example Bozell and Graham cite is the Washington Post's breaking the news of the tape o' vile misogyny from Trump, and it goes full Clinton Equivocation on that: "So what do you call the Washington Post publishing the Trump sex-talk tape in six hours, whereas it sat on the Paula Jones story for months? What's absurd is denying that liberal bias is in full corrosive effect."
Bozell and Graham conveniently forget that Paula Jones' allegations were being shopped by Clinton's political enemies, not preserved on a network-recorded videotape, so there was much skepticism about her motivation.
Bozell and Graham also complain about how "ABC's George Stephanopoulos harshly interviewed 'Clinton Cash' author Peter Schweizer" over his Clinton Foundation hit job, with behind-the-scenes assistance from the Hillary Clinton campaign. Bozell and Graham apparently wanted Schweizer to be able to present his attacks without challenged -- you know, like Bozell gets to do every time he appears on Fox News.
But as we've noted, even Bozell's own organization has conceded that Schweizer's Schweizer is a conservative activist who wrote his book as a partisan attack against Clinton and, as he himself appears to admit to WorldNetDaily, has no actual proof to support his allegations. That leaves him open to hard questioning, and apparently Schweizer couldn't handle it.
Bozell and Graham even complain about WikiLeaks revelations that some reporters worked with the Clinton campaign to clear quotes, but we're willing to bet that the MRC's own "news" division, CNSNews.com, does that sort of thing pretty regularly. The authors don't bring up CNS' supposed journalistic standards as a rebuke -- perhaps because there may not be any.
Bozell and Graham howl that "Wikileaks is exposing the media-Democrat collusion that is utterly routine in every election cycle ," but don't discuss the media-Trump collusion happening right now at Breitbart News. They cannot name any major "liberal media" figure who moved straight from that job to running a political campaign, like Breitbart's Steve Bannon did for Trump's campaign -- because there hasn't been one.
Trump is parroting the MRC's message, and so Bozell and the MRC will parrot him -- that much is obvious. Pointing that out, though, tends to get one smeared as a drunk by Graham.