Topic: Media Research Center
At the Media Research Center, context is only for conservatives -- the MRC has no problem using facts out of context when it makes Democrats look bad.
Tim Graham, the MRC's chief context-complainer, tried to play gotcha with USA Today in a June 26 post over a fact-check of a Facebook meme claiming that Democrats filibustered the 1964 civil rights bill for 75 days. As USA Today accurately pointed out, the filibuster lasted only 60 days, and it was only Southern Democrats who were filibustering. How dare USA Today include context, Graham nuffed: "This is why it’s maddening that 'authoritative' news outlets end up blocking or obscuring social media posts over 'distinctions' that remind voters – some of whom aren’t very wise about 1964 -- the Democrats used to have a pile of staunch racists in their caucus."
Graham isn't going to clearly explain to you that many of the Southern Democrats who took part in the filibuster eventually either stopped being racist (like Robert Byrd) or became Republicans (like Strom Thurmond). See, Tim? Context matters.
Scott Whitlock tried to pull another gotcha on USA Today in a July 1 post headlined "FAKE HISTORY":
Apparently, if you don’t like certain facts, you can just declare them false. That seems to be the thinking behind a USA Today “fact check” pretending that Democrats didn’t start the Civil War and found the KKK. But, they did. In a June 30 assertion USA Todayrated “false,” the paper began, “Claim: The Democratic Party started the Civil War to preserve slavery and later the KKK.”
The entire article essentially conceded that the Confederacy was run by Democrats, made up by Democrats, as was the KKK. But don’t blame the Democratic Party for that! USA Today writer Devon Link calls the claim “an oversimplified trope about the Democratic Party.”
The article is made up of “yes, but…” concessions. Link squirmed, “Historians agree that although factions of the Democratic Party did majorly contribute to the Civil War's start and KKK's founding, it is inaccurate to say the party is responsible for either.”
Despite offering no evidence whatsoever to disprove USA Today's claim that the KKK was never any official part of the Democratic Party, Whitlock insisted that there's a difference between the party and the actions of some individual members to be a "flimsy distinction," sneering: "Yes, the Democratic Party may not have officially started the Civil War, but the Confederacy was made up of strident Democrats."
Being a good MRC employee, Whitlock smelled conspiracy by complaining that one of the historians USA Today called upon to tell the truth about the lack of a link was "a Barack Obama donor. USA Today gets a Democratic donor to defend the party against its true, racist past."
Whitlock wasn't done harping on this. On July 7, he devoted a post to recounting a Fox News segment attacking USA Today for its "ridiculous — and false — 'fact check' claiming that Democrats didn’t start the Civil War and found the Ku Klux Klan." Whitlock is lying here; as he very well knows, the fact-check was about the Democratic Party and the KKK. And because he's complicit in spreading the lie, he's certainly not going to call out Fox News for getting it wrong.
The goal of Graham and Whitlock is to push some bogus history of their own: They want you to think that the Democratic Party of 1860 and 1964 is exactly like the Democratic Party of today, and that there was never a realignment of views that made Democrats the champions of civil rights and Republicans the new home of Souythern Democrats who wouldn't accept this shift.
Who's the one peddling "fake history" here? It isn't USA Today.