Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has had some weird freakouts in the aftermath of the El Paso and Dayton massacres, blaming Dr. Seuss and melting down over a planned CNN townhall (and let's not forget that pre-massacre post denying that white supremacy was an issue). But protecting President Trump is Job 1 at the MRC, and it tried its best to spin away the fairly obvious link between Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric and that in the El Paso shooter's manifesto.
Scott Whitlock whined that CBS "uncritically parroted talking points from the 2020 contenders on how the President should is [sic] responsible" -- thus invoking the Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy that assumes any action reported on a newscast is automatically an endorement of that action. Nicholas Fondacaro took a similar tack, ranting that by repeating what Democratic presidential candidates said, ABC was "spewing the liberal hate that demanded that President Trump be considered the cause of the violence." He didn't mention the shooter's manifesto, even though it had been reported on before his item was posted. Kyle Drennen kept this narrative alive, complaining that "the Today show eagerly touted Democrats rushing to blame President Trump’s rhetoric for the attack in El Paso, Texas."
In another post, Fondacaro declared that "The liberal media hate machine was running at full steam on Sunday in the wake of two mass shootings the left wanted to blame President Trump for" and that "the liberal media has taken every opportunity to smear and label Trump voters as racist and worthy of contempt." Fondacaro didn't mention the double standard of how he and his employer treat Democratic politicians and voters as worthy of contempt.
From there, it was time for massacre whataboutism. Cue Kristine Marsh:
Monday morning following horrific, deadly mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas over the weekend, as well as Gilroy, California last week, the networks were eager to pin blame on President Trump for “fueling” the violence with his “hateful rhetoric” against immigrants. What they were not eager to do was point out that the alleged social media accounts of one of these shooters revealed he was a radical leftist, who supported socialism, antifa, and Elizabeth Warren for president.
While it is the media’s responsibility to share unverified information responsibly, they’ve already shown they don't care about acting ethically or responsibly when it comes to these tragedies, by immediately blaming Trump for any violent act that happens in this country.
Whitlock reacted badly to a reporter who pointed out that the shooter's language on immigration was "almost identical" to Trump's, huffing: "Almost identical? In his manifesto, the alleged killer offered support for the mass murder in Christchurch, New Zealand. He ranted about the “great replacement” of white people and discussed the best way to pull off a mass killing. That’s identical?" Whitlock is being dishonest here; the reporter specifically referenced the language similarly "with regard to illegal immigration" -- as he quoted the reporter saying earlier in his piece.
Whitlock went on to suggest Trump's post-massacre speech critical of white supremacy somehow indemnified him from criticism over his previous racially charged remarks, lamenting that the speech "wasn't enough" for some.Marsh took a similar tack, lamenting that some "slammed Trump’s words as 'empty' and 'lacking self-reflection' on how his 'rhetoric contributed' to these shootings."
Bill D'Aogstino followed by complaining that the speech didn't stop some in the media from assigning blame to Trump. He then tried a lame whataboutism: "Since Sunday, supposedly objective reporters have framed the President’s supposed culpability as established fact. If these members of the press truly believe that the President’s rhetoric is responsible for the deaths of dozens of innocents, one wonders how they would like us to assess their own rhetoric about him and his administration."
Fondacaro similarly complained: "Despite President Trump’s full-throated denunciation of racism and white supremacy on Monday, NBC Nightly News was determined to place the weekend’s mass shootings at his feet."
Marsh whined again that an MSNBC correspondent was "sounding more like a Democrat [sic] politician" by claiming he said "it was 'clear as day' he was to blame for this weekend’s shootings."
Under the hyperbolic headline "Mulvaney RIPS INTO Chuck Todd Over Atrocious Shooting Blame Game," Drennen cheered a servile Trump White House official doing his job by defending the president.
Clay Waters returned to the massacre whataboutism narrative, claiming a New York Times columnist "tried to suggest Dayton shooter Betts was motivated by anti-black racism, ignoring his alleged Twitter account where, as NewsBusters Kristine Marsh pointed out, 'he identified as a "leftist" "atheist" who wanted socialism, and he said he’d vote for Elizabeth Warren. In his tweets, he supported antifa using violence against "white supremacists" and "right wingers" even calling the antifa terrorist who attacked an ICE facility in Tacoma, Washington, a "martyr."'"
Whitlock returned to grouse that "The Daily Show" made a compare-and-contrast video between the shooter's manifesto and rhetoric on Fox News, calling it "ugly" and "a pure political attack on Fox." At no point did Whitlock dispute the similarities between the two.
(Ironically, in another example of a post that didn't age well, Brad Wilmouth complained in a July 24 post -- just 11 days before the El Paso massacre -- that a CNN guest suggested that Fox News gave racists and white supremacists a platform. Wilmouth then tried an incredibly lame bit of whataboutism by claiming that a chart showing that right-wing violence is a threat "manages to overlook the substantial amounts of violence committed by Americans who go on to register as Democrats after being released from prison.")
And Drennen was appalled that anyone would like a commentary that pointed out flaws in American culture that ought to be addessed:
On Tuesday afternoon, MSNBC hosts Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle marveled at an unhinged diatribe delivered by left-wing Princeton University professor and MSNBC contributor Eddie Glaude during Monday’s Deadline: White House. In the nasty rant, Glaude dismissed the “myth” of American “goodness,” referred to the conservative Tea Party movement as the “ugly underbelly of the country,” and labeled President Trump the “manifestation of the ugliness that’s in us.”
Rather than challenge a single portion of Glaude’s racially-charged rhetoric, on Tuesday, host Ali Velshi simply praised the incendiary remarks: “Powerful words from Eddie. Hard to fathom, hard to sort of digest. But there is nothing I can debate him on that one. There is nothing I could tell him he’s wrong about.” Ruhle chimed in: “If it’s hard to digest, I recommend watching it again.”
It’s bad enough that MSNBC brings on left-wing rhetorical bomb throwers like Glaude, let alone that supposedly objective journalists like Ruhle and Velshi then endorse such language.
Meanwhile, nobody at the MRC has offered any criticism whatsoever of Trump's racially charged rhetoric.