Topic: Media Research Center
After Michael Wolff's unflattering book about the Trump White House was published, the Media Research Center fired off a fusillade of posts denouncing it. By contrast, a book written by an employee of the MRC's favorite TV channel, Fox News, got a much more favorable reception.
In a Jan. 24 post, the MRC's Tim Graham cheerfully touts Howard Kurtz's book "Media Madness" and his claim that reporting critical of President Trump has "radicalized" him. Graham did not raise the question of why eight years of anti-Obama reporting and commentary at Fox News somehow did not "radicalize" Kurtz.
Graham did note that New York Times reporter Jonathan Martin challenged a claim Kurtz made about him in the book, then framed the possible false claim as just desserts:
How many times have anonymous sources said ridiculous things that Trump thinks are "fake news"? But the New York Times and The Washington Post think their anonymous digs at the president are what keeps "democracy out of darkness." A spokesman for Regnery, which published the book, said the publisher and author “absolutely stand by everything reported in the book.”
Graham didn't identify Kurtz as a conservative, nor did he point out that Kurtz's publisher, Regnery, is in the business of publishing conservative books.
And the book can certainly be criticized; Mediaite's Lloyd Grove points out that the book does have decided pro-Trump slant, that Kurtz is apparently close enough to Trump that the president calls him "Howie," and that Kurtz never bothered to talk to most of the journalists he spends his book atacking.
A few days later, Graham attacked Washingotn Post media writer Margaret Sullivan for doing what he wouldn't -- acknowledge that Kurtz and his employer have a definite bias:
Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan unleashed a personal attack on Fox News host Howard Kurtz in a Sunday book review at the most transparent “Pot, meet kettle” level of criticism. She attacked Kurtz as an insincere creature of Fox News and as a tool of White House adviser Kellyanne Conway. Dear Margaret: Has your column ever boldly attacked The Washington Post, or strayed from its everyday spin?
She writes "Kurtz’s allegiance to his masters at Fox News is evident right from the start, when he offers something I never thought possible: a heartfelt defense of Kellyanne Conway’s coining of the infamous phrase ‘alternative facts’...He takes Conway’s side (as he does so often and so sympathetically that you may be tempetted to look for a Conway co-author’s credit)....”
The headline on B-5 of the Sunday Outlook section even bluntly accuses “Did Kellyanne Conway ghostwrite this book?”
If she hadn’t kicked Kurtz in the shins enough, Sullivan repeats her thesis near the end: “Overall, you can best understand Media Madness by considering the source: Despite his long history in journalism, Kurtz is a creature of Fox News now, as the host of a show called Media Buzz.”
It’s a shocking personal attack on Kurtz, and self-refuting in that Margaret does it while at the same time kissing up to the man who hired her at The Washington Post, with the apparent task of defending the liberal media at their most aggressively liberal: “For the most part, though, they (the media) are trying to cover him, not take him down. (As Post editor Martin Baron put it, ‘We’re not at war. We’re at work.’)”
Liberals like Baron (and his admiring employee Margaret Sullivan) think journalism and liberalism are the same thing. Sullivan concluded: “Although Kurtz emphasizes he is a journalist, through and through, with printers’ ink running through his veins, Media Madness clearly is meant to reinforce Fox Nation’s disdain for legitimate journalists who are trying to hold a norm-busting president accountable.”
In his book, Kurtz offers an entirely different conclusion on who is busting norms: "A common refrain among Trump's antagonists in the press is that they must resist normalizing his presidency. But in the process, they have abnormalized journalism."
Pointing out the indisputable fact that Kurtz is toeing the pro-Trump party line of his employer in his book is a "shocking personal attack"on him"? Maybe Graham should just rename the MRC -- which uses much harsher language against the people it hates -- the Shocking Personal Attack Center.