Topic: Media Research Center
Conservative Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin has regularly been a target of the Media Research Center's Heathering -- its campaign of attacking conservatives it deems insufficiently loyal to right-wing orthodoxy. For example, the MRC's Tim Graham complained that Rubin in 2012 said that "every conservative presidential contender was unelectable except Mitt Romney, who was neither conservative nor electable, as it turned out" (though the latter didn't stop the MRC from supporting him in the 2012 election), and that she said mean things about Ted Cruz (who turned out in 2016 to be the former but most definitely not the latter).
Rubin and MRC chief Brent Bozell once held the same belief about Donald Trump: that he was neither conservative nor electable. Bozell changed his mind about that, embracing the "electable" part and all too happy to let conservative purity slide (the siren call of a certain big-bucks MRC donor and Trump supporter seems to have played a role), while Rubin remained a Trump critic through the election.
Cue the Heathering, because apparently it's conservative to embrace the pursuit of power over deeply held principles. And Rubin got a chunk of it during the campaign for failing to climb aboard the Trump train:
- In August, Brad Wilmouth sneered that she was an "allegedly right-leaning columnist" and complained that she (accurately) pointed out that Steve Bannon, before joining Trump's campaign, ran a website that "attracted a very anti-Semitic, anti-minority clique called the 'alt-right.'"
- In October, P.J. Gladnick derided Rubin as "'conservative' in the same sense that David Brooks is 'conservative,'" then rather narrowly focused on a tiny part of a Rubin appearance on "The O'Reilly Factor" in which she "struggled in a most hilarious fumbling way ... to find a quote where the host supposedly made excuses for 'lock her up'" while ignoring that that she called Bill O'Reilly out for his pro-Trump bias.
When Rubin wouldn't stop criticizing Trump even after his election victory, Rubin remained a Heathering target. In a Nov. 20 post, Wilmouth made his snide "allegedly right-leaning" comment again as he groused that Rubin "played the racism card" by (correctly) pointing out that Trump's immigration policy is obsessed with Mexicans.
On Nov. 26, Trump fanboy and apologist Jeffrey Lord called Rubin an "establishment Republican columnist" and bizarrely claimed she was "normalizing racism" by pointing out that Trump's base of Republican support is "White, unhinged men, most well past their prime, acting abusively toward women."Lord ranted that "The line was so casually racist, sexist and ageist," while quickly changing the subject to Michelle Obama taking her daughter to a concert by Beyonce and Jay-Z.
And on Dec. 11, Wilmouth was back to sneer once again that Rubin is "allegedly right-leaning" and complain that Rubin (accurately) pointed out that Trump's Cabinet picks included "ignoramuses, billionaires, and a few generals." Wilmouth didn't dispute any of it -- he's just mad she said it in public, apparently.
That's the price Rubin is paying for holding to the conservative prinicples Bozell abandoned in a pursuit of power -- which makes all the MRC's sneering that she's "allegedly" conservative all the more sadly ironic.
Expect much more of this as the Trump presidency continues -- and sooner rather than later. A Dec. 19 CNN Money article details her journey from Romney shill to Trump critic, and she has a few choice words for her fellow conservatives, particularly the ones at a certain media watchdog group:
After frequently complaining about the press coverage of Romney in 2012, Rubin now sees problems with the right's media criticism.
"I think it's very difficult for many in the conservative movement to get away from this obsessive blame the mainstream media habit," she said. "I don't think it's particularly productive. I think there is bias, and there's also good honest reporting. Of course, in this election, Trump blames the media for accurately reporting and playing back what he has said."
Tim Graham's probably sharpening up his Heathering stick as we speak.