Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center -- mostly in the person of Tim Graham -- has long waged war on media fact-checkers for purported bias (though really just for pointing out that conservatives in general, and President Trump in particular, lie on a depressingly regular basis). Let's take a quick look at how that war has ranged from the nitpicky to the dishonest in recent months.
In January, Graham once more denounced the very act of Trump being fact-checked, complaining about fact-checkers' "one-sided aggression toward Trump" -- seemingly oblivious to the idea that perhaps the president of the United States should be held to a higher factual standard than the "liberal Senators" he thinks should be fact-checked a lot more. Of course, nobody's stopping Graham and the MRC from setting up their own fact-checking operation; it seems complaining makes for a more exploitable narrative than actually doing something about it.
In April, Graham complained that Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler hasn't denounced Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg for claiming that Vice President Mike Pence supported anti-gay conversion therapy -- only to admit that "Buttigieg hasn't expressly attacked him for it." He then complained that Kessler said that "Pence could certainly settle this conundrum if he has rejected such therapies in his own words, rather than through a spokesman. Then there would no longer be any question," adding that "It's especially weird for Kessler to diss [Pence spokesperson Alyssa] Farah like this. ... Those aides are good enough for him to make a ruling (or avoid a ruling)."
That might be a good argument had the MRC not done the same exact thing. In 2016, disgraced NewsBusters blogger Tom Blumer insisted that Bill Clinton's denial that he raped Juanita Braoddrick isn't real because the denial came from spokesmen and not directly from Clinton's mouth.
In May, Graham tried to justify Trump's statement at a rally abpout laws protecting the right to abortion that "The baby is born and you wrap the baby beautifully and you talk to the mother about the possible execution of the baby" was somehow true because the statement was "borrowing from what Gov. Northam said in an awkward radio interview about how a baby 'unsuccessfully' aborted would be treated." But Northam's spokesperson pointed out later that the governor misspoke and was not endorsing infanticide but, ratrher, "the tragic and extremely rare case in which a woman with a nonviable pregnancy or severe fetal abnormalities went into labor." Shouldn't Graham have given Northam the benefit of the doubt here because of the spokesman's statement, just like he demanded Pence's spokesperson be treated as the real thing?
In a June post, Graham stuck the right-wing narrative while grousing that a fact-checker pointed out that there's "little evidence" to support Trump's claim that the real Russian collusion was done by Democrats and not with the Trump campaign, further whining that "he won't explicitly acknowledge the Russian cooperation in the Steele dossier, where an ex-British spy dug up salacious dirt on Trump from Russian sources. He only mentioned it to deny it had any importance (and forget the fact of the FISA warrants spawned by it)." But as others have pointed out, the Steele dossier was not the basis for the FISA warrant to invesitgate onetime Trump campaign official Carter Page.
PolitiFact actually boasted on Twitter during the debate: "We've been fact-checking @ewarren since 2014. She has never received a rating lower than Half True." How is that possible? Easy. For one, PolitiFact has never issued a Truth-O-Meter ruling on Warren's claim of being part Cherokee Indian.
Perhaps because there's no evidence that Warren ever deliberately lied about her heritage -- she was simply repeating family stories about it that were ultimately found not to be true. Graham and Bozell presented no evidence whatsoever of deliberate deception.
That kind of partisan pettiness permeates the column; at one point they grouse that "Our favorite whopper of the night was when Julian Castro asserted that a 'trans female' should have a right to an abortion, when a 'trans female' is someone who is born male, born without a uterus." As leaders of a partisan political operation that sneers at transgenders, they would say this.