Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has long had an obsession with hating the Kennedy political dynasty -- so much so that it falsely attacks columnist Charles Pierce for a cutting remark about Ted Kennedy and Chappaquiddick that it wrongly interprets as praise for him.
So when news broke of a film that purports to tell the unvarnised truth about what happened at Chappaquiddick -- and, more importantly, make Ted Kennedy look bad -- the MRC was so giddy, it served as an unpaid (?) PR agent for the film.
In December, P.J. Gladnick cheered the trailer of the film for adhering to the Kennedy-hate that is right-wing orthodoxy: "If anybody feared that the upcoming Chappaquiddick movie would be a whitewash of Ted Kennedy, the recently released trailer should disabuse them of that notion."
Promotion of the film ramped up as its release date moved closer, led by Scott Whitlock:
- Whitlock cheered the film's producer for refusing the "take the bait" from a Washington Post interviewer asking if the film had any resonance for the Trump era.
- Whitlock also uncritically repeated the film producer's unsupported allegation that "powerful people" tried to stop the film (and included the film's trailer in his post).
- Another Whitlock post gushed that "The movie, in unflinching terms, shows Kennedy abandoning victim Mary Jo Kopechne to die in an overturned, submerging car" and complained that a Washington Post article about the film didn't like it enough.
- Corinne Weaver lamented that "liberal Hollywood" allegedly kept a proposed Chappaquiddick film from being made 40 years ago.
- Tim Graham raged when a writer argued that the film shows Democrats are addressing their issues with women while Republicans still have not: "For one, not all Democrats tried to rid themselves of Weinstein money. Take the Clinton Foundation keeping their quarter-million. And trying to argue Roy Moore "nearly won a Senate seat" is proof that the GOP is Worse Than Chappaquiddick?"
- Christian Toto gave Jason Clarke, who plays Ted Kennedy in the film, lots of space to offer his political opinions, mainly about how terrible the Kennedys are. We thought the MRC opposed actors having political opinions.
- Tom Blumer ranted at an "insufferably liberal" writer who thinks the film's portrayal of Ted Kennedy is inaccurate: "Anyone who knows the history, dramatically retold in the movie I saw Sunday afternoon, can only hope that the actually despicable Massachusetts senator accurately portrayed in the film makes the history books."
- Bill D'Agostino complained that the media wasn't following the right-wing, anti-Kennedy line by promoting the film.
- Graham and Brent Bozell wrote a column promoting the film, cheering how it's "drawing favorable reviews from the movie critics." They even used Ted Kennedy as a way to ludicrously portray Donald Trump as a wonderful guy by comparison: "[M]any older voters thought liberals sounded preposterous when they suggested Donald Trump's presidential campaign should be canceled over the "Access Hollywood" tape of him boasting of grabbing women in the crotch. Kennedy had a woman's death on his resume, and it never stopped the left from boosting him as the finest presidential timber."
One thing you won't read about at the MRC: How nobody wants to actually see this film.
In its opening weekend, "Chappaquiddick" made a paltry $5.7 million despite appearing on more than 1,500 screens. At that rate, it's highly unlikely to make back its production budget, despite it not being publicly disclosed.
That didn't keep MRC "news" division CNSNews.com from trying to spin away this dismal performance. Craig Bannister found someone who predicted the film would make only $2 million in its opening weekend, so he laughably proclaimed that it "far surpassed box office predictions."
In its second weekend, "Chappaquiddick" saw its box office drop by about half. The MRC hasn't mentioned a thing about that.