Topic: Media Research Center
We've documented how the Media Research Center's rage against any media outlet that's not reflexively pro-Trump led it to wholehearedly embrace lawsuits against media outlets filed on behalf of Nick Sandmann, a Catholic high school student caught in a 2019 protest whom the MRC wants you to believe was libeled by initial reports of the protests that were all ultimately corrected as the full picture. As some of those media outlets reached settlements with Sandmann's grandstanding lawyers, the MRC is lying to you by portraying those settlements as victories, since the terms of the settlements have not been disclosed and the outlets were not required to issue any additional apology or correction.
After Sandmann's lawyers settled with CNN in january, Curtis Houck cheered how "despicable" CNN was somehow forced to settle after "CNN decided to falsely tar and feather Sandmann and his fellow students as racist rascals" and "comes as the Jeffrey Zucker-led left-wing activist network faced yet another year of pathetic media coverage." Houck concluded by sneering, "So, congrats were in order to Baldwin, Briggs, Cuomo, Cupp, and Marquez for this lawsuit being settled...or something."
As even Houck conceded, the terms of the settlement are confidential, so it's entirely possible that Sandmann's lawyers didn't get anything more than a token amount to just go away.
Nevertheless, a few days later Houck huffed that CNN "all but ignoted" the settlement in on-air coverage "and had help with blackouts from ABC, CBS, MSNBC, and NBC," while gushing over the minutes of attention Fox News lavished on the settlement. He quoted one Fox News commentator calling the settlement a "legal win" despite the fact there's no way to know.
In March, Houck again played the go-to MRC "media outlets we hate won't report news that advances our right-wing agenda" card by ranting that the media won't report that "Sandmann and his legal team intend to keep up the fight against the liberal media that tried to ruin his life" by filing more specious lawsuits.
When Sandmann's lawyers reached a settlement with the Washington Post -- again, a confidential settlement in which the terms were not disclosed and the Post was not made to issue any correction or apology -- the MRC again rushed to falsely portray this as a victory. In a July 24 post, Houck cheered that "Sandmann racked up another legal win against these same partisan tools that tried to ruin his life," adding, "With Sandmann having been both a minor and private citizen at the time of the incident and the liberal media’s reports being completely false, Sandmann looks poised to add more settlements before things are all said and done.
MRC chief Brent Bozell joined in on the false "victory" celebration. He first tweeted: "Congratulations to Nick Sandmann on his victory against The Washington Post! These reporters are lying scum who tried to destroy a teen just because he was pro-life. Big mistake. He just beat the crap out of them like he did to CNN. I hope it costs the Post millions of dollars." This got expanded to a full press-release statement in which he repeated the bogus "victory" claim and the "millions of dollars" payout wish.
But the MRC does seem to suspect that Sandmann's "victories" aren't that at all, as a July 28 post by Kristine Marsh suggests:
After recent Covington Catholic High school graduate Nicholas Sandmann won yet another lawsuit against a media giant this week for their defamatory coverage of him, bitter CNN journalists took to Twitter to try to dunk on the eighteen-year-old with gossipy tweets as an act of revenge. But Sandmann’s eagle-eyed lawyer Lin Wood caught the tweets and called them out for breaking the two parties’ confidentiality agreement.
Even though CNN already settled with Sandmann back in January Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter was clearly still reeling from the suit, as he decided to weigh in on the Post's payout. He retweeted a liberal attorney, also not involved in the court hearing, who mocked Sandmann getting a “nuisance value settlement.”
Actually, lawyer Wood would seem to be the one violating the confidentiality agreement by getting so riled up over this speculation. After all, if Wood had gotten anything more than "nuisance value" for his client, it would have been substantial enough to get a public concession regarding it from CNN or the Post. Remember, when WorldNetDaily rather abruptly settled the lawsuit filed against it by Tennessee car dealer Clark Jones, who claimed defamation in a series of WND stories attacking Al Gore during the 2000 presidential election, the terms of the settelement were confidential but WND had to state publicly that the smears it published about jones were not true.
Nevertheless, Marsh declared, "Looks like CNN might be facing another lawsuit from Sandmann’s attorney. " She did not explain why speculation presented as nothing else but speculation could be considered potentially libelous. Nor did she explore why, at the time he was ranting about this, Wood has in his Twitter bio the hashtag #WWG1WGA -- short for "where we go one, we go all," the slogan for the far-right-fringe QAnon conspiracy theory, or why Sandmann would have such a fringe extremist as his lawyer.