Topic: Media Research Center
Last week, it came to light that members of the conservative media are working to coordinate messaging on the government shutdown with the office of Sen. Ted Cruz. The Media Research Center has not mentioned this development to its readers (just like it has yet to mention the existence of another right-wing message coordination effort, Groundswell, despite its outrage ofer a liberal-leaning listserv, Journolist).
Whether or not anyone at the MRC is actually involved in Groundswell or Cruz's office, it's certainly trying to reinforce right-wing talking points. That was made even more clear with its effort to distort something Sen. Harry Reid said.
Susan Jones writes in an Oct. 3 CNSNews.com article about an exchange between Reid and CNN reporter Dana Bash about a Republican attempt to fund the government on a piecemeal basis by, for instance, funding cancer research at the National Institutes for Health:
Bash tried again: "But if you can help one child with cancer, why won't you do it?"
"Listen," Reid said. "What -- why would we want to do that? I have 1,100 people at Nellis Air Force Base that are sitting home. They have -- they have a few problems of their own. To have someone of your intelligence suggest such a thing maybe means you're as irresponsible and reckless."
Jones conveniently left out the fact that Reid's statement "why would we want to do that?" wasn't a response to Bash. As the video accompanying Jones' article shows, after Bash answered her question, Sen. Charles Schumer said, "Why pit one against the other?" and Reid picked up on that.
The rest of the MRC ran with the distortion:
- NewsBusters' Tom Blumer got angry with responsible reporters putting Reid's words in their proper context, insisting that Politico's Dylan Byers "pretended that an interjected remark by New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer meant something, when it didn't."
- NewsBusters' Randy Hall also edited out Schumer's statement in recounting how Reid's response was "loaded with venom."
- The MRC's Matthew Balan wrote that "Nancy Cordes stood out on Wednesday's CBS Evening News for pointing out Senator Harry Reid's eyebrow-raising "why would I want to do that" answer to a question about approving funding for cancer research for children."
- NewsBusters' Blumer later huffed in response to a claim that Republican outrage over Reid is "manufactred": "As to what Harry Reid said on Wednesday, it was self-evidently outrageous. CNN reporter and virtual card-carrying liberal Dana Bash, the person who questioned Reid, certainly felt that way. As if that wasn't enough, Reid, attacked Bash for having the nerve to ask a reasonable question."
Of course, at the MRC, full context matters only for conservatives, not liberals.