Topic: Media Research Center
Corinne Weaver's Aug. 22 Media Research Center item is a defense of Western Journal, a right-wing clickbait site run by longtime right-wing activist Floyd Brown and his son, from a New York Times profile of it that describes how it's a "disinformation mill" that churns out stories that tend to be "sensationalized, misleading or entirely made-up." But Weaver doesn't see anything wrong with Brown's operation -- suggesting it peddles nothing more than mainstream conservatism -- just with the "hit piece" the Times wrote about it:
The New York Times wants readers to believe that to be right wing is to be evil.
In a scathing hit piece written about the conservative outlet Western Journal, Nicholas Confessore and Justin Bank smeared the website as a “potent online disinformation mill.” While the executive editor, Shaun Hair, admits openly that the content on the site is written from a conservative point of view, the Times sins it as “sensationalized, misleading, or entirely made-up.”
Hilariously, the very partisan Times criticized Western Journal for “using misleading headlines and sensationalized stories to attract partisans.” One of the criticized pieces was about the “so-called War on Christmans.” The site supposedly “profited from their anger.” There was no mention of how the Times pushed the Russian conspiracy for more than two years.
The authors of the piece compared the Western Journal to President Donald Trump, saying that like Trump, it is battling Big Tech due to censorship. Whereas most liberal hit pieces decry conservative censorship as a conspiracy, this piece actually admitted that Google News blacklisted the Western Journal, as did Apple News.
Even worse, some of the people who wrote for the Western Journal didn’t use their real names! Perhaps not wanting the Times to do to them what it was doing to their publisher.
The entire point of the piece seemed aimed at justifying why Google and Apple blacklisted the site. It also claimed that Facebook down-ranked the site on its platform because of the false material.
Weaver offers no evidence that anything in the Times article is misleading or false, or even that the Western Journal didn't deserved to be downranked. It's unclear why this item even exists.
Unless... it was done as a favor to Floyd Brown.
You see, Brown has been a signatory to several letters from "conservative leaders" over the past year or so promoting the MRC's causes du jour, usually regarding its bogus war on social media for purported bias against conservatives -- see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. The MRC has also quoted Brown issuinga statement in support of a similar MRC-approved cause.
One can theorize that Brown would like to stop being thought about as a purveyor of fringe, false right-wing clickbait and would prefer that he be thought of as a mainstream conservative activist. What better way to do that than to ingratiate himself with solidly conservative folks like Brent Bozell and thet MRC? Interestingly, Bozell himself is tacking rightward, joining Brown and other far-right-wingers in signing an amicus brief supporting convicted felon Steve Stockman in his conspiracy theory that he was wrongfully convicted.
In that light, Weaver's piece can very well be seen as Bozell welcoming Brown to the mainstream conservative club.
P.S.: The Times article didn't note this, but the Western Journal is a direct descendant of the Western Journalism Center, founded by Joseph Farah in the early 1990s mostly as a vehicle to attack President Clinton, and from which WorldNetDaily sprang in 1998. One of the Brown-led WJC's earliest efforts after he took over in 2008-ish was a laughable "Case for Impeachment" of President Obama that was filled with factual errors and outright lies, not to mention pushed birther conspiracy theories.