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Wednesday, January 10, 2018
MRC's Double Standard on Salacious Books of Questionable Accuracy About The White House
Topic: Media Research Center

Unsurprisingly, the Media Research Center has gone ballistic over Michael Wolff's sensational book on the Trump White House, particularly focused on trying to discredit the book:

  • Tim Graham highlighted a claim that Wolff made up quotes in the book.
  • Scott Whitlock got angry when one TV host said that "Even if not all of it is true, the spirit of the book is," harrumphing, "And how much untruth is too much for the journalist?"
  • Kyle Drennen dismissed Wolff's book as "salacious and unverified."
  • Nicholas Fondacaro served up the requisite irrelevant, extremely narrowly defined coverage comparison, grousing that  TV network news "found more interest in Wolff’s palace intrigue that the Iranian people’s struggle for freedom." (The MRC has already praised the Trump toadies at "Fox & Friends" for catering to Trump's agenda by hyping the Iran protests.)
  • Drennen also highlighted a TV host he claimed "questioned [Wolff's] credibility," asserting that "Wolff has a long history of getting facts wrong or even making things up."
  • Fondacaro also complained about an ABC segment in which "Clinton lackey George Stephanopoulos led a largely liberal panel in fawning over the book even as he speculated that only ‘50 percent’ of the book was actually true."
  • MRC chief Brent Bozell groused that the media was, in the words of an anonymous MRC public-relations writer, "totally ignoring the books’s blatant falsehoods."
  • Chris Reeves asserted that the book commits "basic factual errors."
  • Drennen once again proclaimed the book to be "unsubstantiated," adding "When even harsh Trump critics like Colbert are unwilling to accept Wolff’s book as fact, perhaps it’s time for it to be labeled as fiction."
  • Curtis Houck insisted that the book is "error-laden."

But when a right-wing author penned about about a Democratic president it knew had factual issues, the MRC demanded media coverage of it.

In May 2012, the MRC published a NewsBusters post by Jill Stanek outlining factual errors in Edward Klein's book "The Amateur," that was heavily reliant on anonymous sources to bash the Obama White House. Stanek wrote that Klein's depiction of Obama's vote on an anti-abortion law when he was a Illinois state senator "was wrong on just about every point," adding that "I’ve been reading his book and find it quite interesting but wonder how much of it is accurate, if this was any indication."

But six days later, NewsBusters' Randy Hall demanded that the media cover Klein's book anyway:

Democratic political operatives have been furious in their denunciations of author Ed Klein and his new book The Amateur, a biography of President Obama which relies heavily (although not entirely) on anonymous sources to paint a highly unflattering picture of its subject.

That is to be expected but surely Klein’s tales might make for good television. Supposedly, journalists care primarily about a good story more than anything else. And Klein’s book certainly has them, including secret feuds between First Lady Michelle Obama and TV billionaire Oprah Winfrey as well as tales of former president Bill Clinton privately bashing Barack Obama as an “amateur.” Unfortunately for Klein, however, he is being almost totally ignored by the elite media.

[...]

Given that we don’t know who Klein’s sources were on some of his more sensational accusations, it’s tough to vouch for his credibility. On the other hand, given their previous love of repeating anonymous allegations against Republicans, the TV networks and other elite American media ought to at the very least examine and report on Klein’s allegations against President Obama. That, or stop reporting on such charges altogether.

Except that Klein destroyed his credibility a long time ago, to the extent that even top conservatives disregard his work. If nothing else, Wolff has a better track record for accuracy.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:34 PM EST
Tuesday, January 9, 2018
MRC: Why Can't Everyone Cover News Like 'Fox & Friends'?
Topic: Media Research Center

We know which morning TV show ex-Media Research Center researcher and current NewsBusters blogger Brad Wilmouth likes to watch:

Monday morning's newscasts made a stark illustration of how much importance FNC places in the issue of human rights in Iran in contrast with the broadcast networks and CNN as Fox and Friends managed to spend five times as much time on the anti-government protests as ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN all combined that morning.

CNN's New Day -- which was mostly pre-recorded due to the holiday but included live portions -- gave viewers three briefs which only totaled one and a half minutes, and barely scratched the surface of the weekend's events that turned deadly for about a dozen protesters.

[...]

NBC's Today show on Monday did not mention the Iran protests at all, and none of the briefs from CNN, ABC, or CBS on Monday morning gave any indication that Iranian government forces have a history of cracking down violently on protesters.

By contrast, Fox and Friends devoted four segments to Iran on Monday, totaling about 14 and a half minutes. Liberal attorney Alan Dershowitz, conservative activist John Bolton, and conservative commentator Michelle Malkin all appeared as guests and discussed Iran.

Dershowitz notably praised President Donald Trump's handling of Iran in contrast with President Barack Obama, and suggested Trump deserves credit for inspiring protests against the Iranian government. Malkin complained that the media have blamed the protests on economic issues like unemployment rather than the authoritarian nature of the government.

Wilmouth omits a couple things. First, he doesn't mention that "Fox & Friends" basically plays to an audience of one: President Trump. It reports what he wants to hear -- usually flattering things about him and his administration -- and he tweets about what he sees. "Fox & Friends" knew that focusing on the Iran protests would be good for the president's agenda, so that's what it did.

Second, while Wilmouth mentions "liberal attorney Alan Dershowitz" in an apparent attempt to show that "Fox & Friends" is trying to live up to its "fair and balanced" logo -- never mind that even other MRC writers concede that the show "presents a friendly viewpoint toward the Trump administration" -- is as pro-Trump as anyone else who appears on the show, making him the newest Fox News Democrat.

By demanding that the media act more like "Fox & Friends," Wilmouth is demanding that the media be pro-Trump toadies. You know, just like the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:43 AM EST
Monday, January 8, 2018
MRC Revels In Personal Problems of People It Hates
Topic: Media Research Center

The professionalism of the Media Research Center has been on a downward slide for a while. It slides even lower in a couple of NewsBusters post that take unseemly glee in the personal problems of a couple longtime targets.

Corinne Weaver is obsessed with playing politics as she cheers the resignation of the president of ESPN for substance-abuse issues:

The scandal-plagued sports network ESPN is suffering another blow -- the resignation of its left-wing president.

John Skipper, described in The Washington Post as a “gangly, Southern hippie,” announced his decision to resign as president of ESPN and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks on Monday, December 18. He cited a “substance addiction” as the main reason for his resignation. In his statement, he wrote: “I have come to this public disclosure with embarrassment, trepidation and a feeling of having let others I care down.”

Named president of ESPN in 2012, Skipper helped to usher in the dark ages of ESPN, with significant drops in ratings and subscribers. At least partial credit goes to the increasingly partisan approaches made by ESPN’s bloggers and journalists, as well as the network’s own decisions. Some of these include the decision to give Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner the Arthur Ashe Courage Award in 2015, letting an employee go for being conservative, and allowing one of its radio hosts, Tony Kornheiser, question whether or not the Tea Party movement was similar to ISIS.  

P.J. Gladnick was similarly schadenfreude-filled in a post headlined "Net Neutrality Obsessed Reporter Arrested for Drunken Rampage, recounting how "On the same day that net neutrality was repealed, a net neutrality obsessed reporter for the New York Daily News was arrested for going on a drunken rampage at a hospital." He snarkily added: "So did [Aaron] Showalter's despair over the repeal of net neutrality drive him to drink? One thing is certain, he's obsessed with the issue."

Neither Weaver nor Gladnick express any concern  for thehealth and well-being of Skipper or Showalter as they deal with personal issues -- so much for compassionate conservativism. Instead, it's cheering their downfall.

Then again, this is an organization that tried to capitalize on the death of Peter Jennings by touting how its archives were "packed with documentation of liberal bias" from him, so classlessness on such issues isn't exactly new.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:55 PM EST
Sunday, January 7, 2018
MRC's Graham Whines That Trump Is Being Fact-Checked
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Tim Graham complains in a Dec. 22 post (bolding his):

The least surprising thing about PolitiFact’s 2017 "Lie of the Year" is that it’s uttered by Donald Trump. Their biggest lie was “Russian election interference is a ‘made-up story.’” We’ll get to whether PolitiFact is quoting Trump in context in a minute.

But first, a quick study of that 2017 “Truth-O-Meter” reveals that once again, PolitiFact showed far more aggression in evaluating Trump’s statements than any prominent Democrat. The “independent fact checkers” singled out Trump for 140 evaluations, and 95 of them (68 percent) were Mostly False, False, and Pants on Fire. Just 19 (13.5 percent) were Half True, and 26 (18.5 percent) were Mostly True or True.

Now compare that 140 evaluations to the leading Democrats: Sen. Bernie Sanders (10 verdicts), Sen. Charles Schumer (eight) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (seven). Between them, they were evaluated as True or Mostly True on 11 occasions, False or Mostly False on nine occasions, and Half True on five.

Barack Obama in 2017 drew two Mostly Trues and one half True. Elizabeth Warren? One Mostly True. Kamala Harris? One Mostly True and one True.

Graham seems to have missed the relevant fact that Trump is president and all these other people are not. He also does not back up his suggestion that there should be balance in evaluation of statements by Trump and by Democrats -- perhaps because he knows that Trump is a singularly mendacious man.

While Graham whines that PolitiFact evaluated 140 Trump statements, that's a drop in the bucket; the Washington Post found that Trump made at least 1,950 false or misleading statements last year. So PolitiFact's evaluation proportion ratio seems to reflect real life.

Still, Graham whines: "In other words, PolitiFact ends up looking like the rest of the 'independent' liberal media. Republicans are hounded as routine liars, while the Democrats are much more likely to be handed the Mostly True." This is just more of the MRC's war on fact-checking because those fact-checkers expose Trump's lies for what they are.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:07 PM EST
Thursday, January 4, 2018
MRC Tries to Defend Fox News As A News Outlet
Topic: Media Research Center

We've shown that the Media Research Center has a Fox News-shaped blind spot when it comes to things it does that it criticizes other media outlets for doing. When it comes to Fox News' reputation as a right-wing opinion machine that's light on the news part, the MRC will rush to the defense of the channel that serves as the premier media outlet for its talking heads.

So when CNN's Brian Stelter questioned whether Fox News is actually news, the MRC's Alex Xenos was quick to retort in a Dec. 19 post, insisting that Fox News really does news, except for the stuff that's not, and that CNN is the real problem here:

Everybody understands that Fox & Friends presents a friendly viewpoint toward the Trump administration. Meanwhile, CNN still acts as if they are the arbiter of news as they fret over the President’s Diet Coke consumption and how he's a bully for taking an extra scoop of ice cream.

The point is that it's CNN's hypocrisy here that's troubling (not to mention that Fox News does excellent journalistic work and covers stories that the major broadcast networks refuse to even consider).

Sean Hannity is not a journalist. He is a pundit and admits to being one. Fox & Friends has had their reputation of being a right-of-center news program for years while Special Report will never be confused with Hardball or The Ingraham Angle. To Stelter's credit, he admitted as much regarding Shepard Smith and Special Report host Bret Baier. Using the former two examples to blugeon Fox News as an illegitimate news source is dishonest.

Actually, Hannity has claimed to be a journalist when it suits him to do so. And if "CNN's hypocrisy" is really the issue here, why is Xenos devoting so much time to defending Fox News' purported journalistic bona fides and dismissing its obvious right-wing bias as something "everybody understands" and, thus, something that doesn't need to be discussed?


Posted by Terry K. at 3:30 PM EST
Tuesday, January 2, 2018
MRC's 'Media Research' on NBC's Tur Mostly Just Personal Attacks
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has had it in for NBC reporter Katy Tur for some time, and it may have inspired attacks on her by Donald Trump that threatened her safety. That hostility has not abated.

A Dec. 19 post by Curtis Houck carries the hyperbolic headline "Grab Your Popcorn: Katy Tur Gets Annihilated by Dave Brat in Tax Policy Debate."But there's little actual annihilation going on; Brat simply disagrees with her. Houck is condescending to Tur throughout his post, ranting about her purported "smug factor" and mocking her status as a "MSNBC host extraordinaire" who's supposedly an idiot because she "grew up in a family of journalists." Perhaps Houck needs to be reminded that petty personal attacks on someoneyou don't like are not "media research."

Just as condescending and spiteful was Houck's MSNBC colleague Chris Reeves, whose Dec. 27 post ridiculously called Tur an "uber-liberal partisan" (what is an "uber-liberal"? Reeves never defines the term) and ranted that she was "fomenting political tribalism by promoting rank partisan propaganda" and is "a repeat offender when it comes to pure, unadulterated liberal lunacy."

One purported example of this, according to Reeves, is that Tur recently, and accurately, pointed out that President Trump has not held a full solo press conference since February. This, needless to say, sent the MRC into spin mode. Tim Graham retorted, "Trump has held a series of press conferences this year, but most of them have come with foreign leaders, and only two American reporters and two foreign reporters are allowed to ask a question. That’s a fraction of a press conference, perhaps, but it’s wrong to say he 'hasn’t had a press conference.'" Reeves joined in: "In reality, Trump’s last press conference was on October 16th, and the President regularly answers press questions in informal sessions on the White House lawn. This hardly constitutes a “laughable” fear of the press, as Tur characterized it." But that presser was an impromptu one, held in the White House Rose Garden with Sen. Mitch McConnell -- again, not the formal, planned press conference Tur was talking about.

Again: Personal attacks do not qualify as "media research" -- except, apparently, at the MRC.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:48 PM EST
Sunday, December 31, 2017
The MRC's 'Soros-Funded Journalism' Fail
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has long been obsessed with George Soros as some kind of liberal string-puller through his funding of allegedly liberal groups (despite the fact that the MRC has a string-pulling moneybags benefactor in the form of the Mercers). We see this again in Aly Nielsen's Dec. 13 post, in which she writes:

Soros-funded journalism is coming to seven states in 2018, thanks to ProPublica. The liberal journalism nonprofit announced on Dec. 9 it had chosen journalists in Louisiana, West Virginia, Oregon, New Mexico, Indiana, Illinois and Florida to receive year-long stipends to pursue ProPublica-approved investigations.

Nielsen's article is accompanied by a chart of dubious origin -- no source is given, but it's apparently taken from the MRC's apparently dormant "Buying Bias" website, which claims to track "the funding sources behind non-profit journalism" and where a version of Nielsen's post first appeared in October -- purporting to show donors to ProPublica over an unspecified period of time, but unfortunately for Nielsen's "Soros-funded journalism" angle, it shows that Soros' Open Society Foundation donated only $737,411, while five other foundations donated more than $1 million, and the biggest donor, the Sandler Foundation, utterly dwarfed OSF's conrtibutions with a whopping #44 million donation.

Yet, even though Soros' foundation donated less than 1/33 of the money of ProPublica's biggest donor,  Nielsen's headline claim is "Soros-funded journalism."

The MRC has done this before. For example, a 2013 post about ProPublica calls it a "Soros-funded news operation," and Nielsen herself did it again last January, using a similar chart that curiously omitted the Sandler Foundation's donations -- presumably to not undermine her Soros-bashing argument.

Nielsen also huffed that "ProPublica has a history of liberal alliances and reporting," but she cited random, cherry-picked examples and offered no comprehensive research on ProPublica's coverage.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:54 PM EST
Friday, December 29, 2017
MRC Writers Attack Mueller Probe As Biased, Ignore Ken Starr's Partisanship
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center just hates it when conservative media bias is called out. And they're really put out that the right-wing media's attacks on Robert Mueller's investigation into Trump-Russia links are being exposed for what they are.

In a Dec. 15 post, the MRC's Curtis Houck responded to CNN's Wolf Blitzer and "rabble rouser" Jim Acosta calling out those right-wing attacks by insisting that they're just asking questions and aren't trying to discredit the FBI at all:

What’s interesting was that the pair seemed to give zero thought to the possibility that this matter should be thoroughly examined in both the interest of transparency and the benefit of the investigation. 

One prevailing thought in the media has been if the President has nothing to hide, then he should be more cooperative with the Special Counsel. Using that logic, the same should be expected of the FBI when it comes to snuffing out claims of political bias. Most reasonable people should and do believe that the FBI (and CIA) are among the country's most cherished institutions. Simple questions don't harm that credibility.

The other tidbit is how the media have defended the Mueller probe to the ends of the earth, but did the opposite with the Ken Starr investigation into the Clintons. My colleague Rich Noyes published a fascinating story that showcased the press’s viciousness roughly two decades ago when the subject of a special counsel investigation was a Democratic President. 

And, indeed, Noyes did whine four days earlier:

In stark contrast to their supportive coverage of Mueller, the media’s treatment of Starr in the 1990s was savage. Almost as soon as he was named — and long before the Lewinsky story broke — Clinton-friendly journalists tried to discredit him as an unfair partisan.

[...]

The media’s Starr-as-partisan mantra was merely the first step. At the same time Bill Clinton was running for re-election in 1996, Starr was putting his ex-business partners, James and Susan McDougal, on trial for fraud uncovered during the Whitewater investigation. Again, Clinton’s friends in the press raced to innoculate the President from the damaging scandal.

[...]

It is, of course, impossible to imagine one of today’s journalists scolding Robert Mueller for distracting President Trump from important national business, or suggesting his investigation has become a partisan mission to destroy a President whom the Washington Establishment has never liked.

The double standard is obvious to anyone who will look.

That double standard is even more obvious at the MRC. Starr actually was the partisan the MRC insists Mueller is. As Joe Conason -- who covered the many bogus Clinton "scandals" in the 1990s -- explains, Starr "had served as solicitor general under President George H.W. Bush, who considered him for a Supreme Court nomination; he had raised funds for Republican candidates; he had served as a stalwart of the Federalist Society, the high-powered organization of right-wing Republican lawyers; and he had nearly run for the U.S. Senate in the 1994 Virginia Republican primary." He also provided legal advice to a conservative women's group in support of the Paula Jones lawsuit against Clinton. Starr was placed as independent counsel by Republican-appointed judges apparently upset that the original counsel, Robert Fiske, was going to clear Clinton in the Whitewater alleged scandal, Conason adds.

Needless to say, neither Houck nor Noyes mentioned that fears about Starr's partisan affiliations -- none of which, by the way, can be found with Mueller -- were well-founded. Neither did the MRC's Tim Graham and Brent Bozell, who whined in their Dec. 13 column that "among the 15 Mueller lawyers, nine are Democratic donors — several of whom contributed to Clinton's 2016 campaign" and complained that "Back then, anti-Kenneth Starr commentary wasn't 'shocking.' It was mandatory."

Just as it is currently mandatory for MRC writers to issue anti-Mueller commentary.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:56 PM EST
Wednesday, December 27, 2017
MRC's Persistent Fox News-Shaped Blind Spot on Sexual Harassment
Topic: Media Research Center

We've repeatedly highlighted the Media Research Center's Fox News-shaped blind spot on the issue of sexual harassment -- harping on allegations everywhere else but ignoring the ones at the MRC's favorite TV channel. And they keep piling up.

Tim Graham and Brent Bozell's Dec. 20 column highlights the "stunning announcements and admissions about the serious alleged sexual misbehavior of Harvey Weinstein and others." "Others" is the closest Graham and Bozell get to referencing the scandals at Fox News.

Graham and Bozell spend the rest of their column parsing the definition of sexual harassment. At first, it seems incongruous that they're giving  something of a pass to certain allegations against hated enemies like Chris Matthews ("he's a pig, not a harasser") and Matt Lauer (regarding a woman who had an affair with Lauer she now says was an abuse of power (italics theirs): "You were a 24-year-old woman. Act your age. If he's a scoundrel, so are you").

The reason becomes clear later in their column: They're trying to set up a defense against allegations made against Donald Trump. Here's how they attack one Trump accuser:

Speaking of makeup artists, Jill Harth filed a sexual harassment suit against Donald Trump in 1997 and renewed her allegations in the fall of 2016. John Solomon at The Hill reports that she repeatedly sent Trump gushing emails during his presidential campaign offering to do his makeup and even testify about how wonderfully he treated women. "I also want to put it out there that I would be willing to say at a rally or somewhere how DJT helped me with my self-confidence and all positive things about how he is with women to counter any potential negativity that may come out at some point in the campaign," she wrote.

(We're not watching CNN rushing to the president's defense.)

Then there's the old notion of cashing in on allegations. Solomon added that Harth's lawyer, Lisa Bloom, "eventually started a GoFundMe.com fundraising effort to help Harth and located a donor that paid off Harth's mortgage on her Queens apartment in New York City."

Imagine that.

Yes, imagine that. It's as if Graham and Bozell hae forgotten that Clinton accuser Kathleen Willey also tried to crowdfund paying off her mortgage. And for all we know, Willey may have found a donor to actually do so: Donald Trump.

The blind spot was even more obvious in Jeffrey Lord's Dec. 23 NewsBusters column, in which he served up a lengthy list of how "across the media landscape one player after another fell" by, among other things, "having let loose their private sexual demons on unsuspecting colleagues or others." Curiously missing from that list: anyone from Fox News.

That Fox News-shaped blind spot hasn't shrunk a bit.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:56 PM EST
Monday, December 25, 2017
MRC Wrongly Calls Wash. Post Reporter 'Liberal'
Topic: Media Research Center

Ex-Media Research Center researcher Brad Wilmouth huffs in a Dec. 15 NewsBusters post:

Some liberal journalists just can't get the notion out of their minds that George Wallace was a Republican, even though the former segregationist governor of Alabama was a lifelong Democrat. On Friday's Washington Week on PBS, host Robert Costa -- also a Washington Postreporter -- suggested that Wallace was a part of the Republican party's "past" as he recalled that some black voters in Alabama are worried about the direction the GOP is taking. Costa:

I spoke to a lot of African-American voters when I was down there, Jeff, and they said that they're worried that the Republican Party -- broadly speaking -- is turning back to its past. They cited the former governor of Alabama, George Wallace, a segregationist, and they say, in Roy Moore -- sometimes even in President Trump -- they hear echoes of a past that makes them uncomfortable.

Not one of the four panel members jumped in to correct the suggestion that Wallace was ever a Republican as CNN's Jeff Zeleny, CBS's Nancy Cordes, NBC's Kristen Welker, and Vice News's Shawna Thomas got their turns to speak.

In fact, Costa is not a "liberal journalist." He came to the Washington Post from National Review, and the MRC regarded his work so well at the time that a 2013 NewsBusters post celebrated Costa's hiring by crediting Post owner Jeff Bezos for "encouraging his staff to think outside the box" by hiring someone from "a right-leaning publication."

How quickly the MRC forgets that Costa was once their guy.

Further, Wilmouth's freaking out about the mere suggestion that Wallace was a Republican seems rather silly given that both Wallace and Trump share certain traits in exploiting peope's fears and promoting racially tinged populism.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:32 PM EST
Saturday, December 23, 2017
MRC Indignant NY Times Reporter Keeps Job Despite Harassment Claims, Silent On Fox Host Doing The Same
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Curtis Houck waxes indignant in a Dec. 20 post:

The New York Times decided that it would not fire Glenn Thrush following an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct, citing “dozens of interviews with people both inside and outside the newsroom” and that Thrush will seek workplace “training” to supplement his “counseling and substance abuse rehabilitation.”

The befuddling decision by executive editor Dean Baquet came exactly one month after Vox.com detailed disturbing claims of sexual misbehavior by Thrush from his tenure at Politico. The paper suspended Thrush that same day while MSNBC took him off the airwaves (where he’s a political analyst).

Baquet announced in a memo that Thrush will remain at The Times despite losing his title as one of the paper’s White House correspondents and moved to “a new beat upon his return.” In other words, Al Franken should consider sending his resume over when he leaves the Senate on January 2. Who knows, maybe Charlie Rose should do that too.

This is a good time to remind people that, as we've noted, the MRC has been completely silent about someone else who still has a job despite being accused of sexual harassment: Charles Payne, a host on Fox Business and a commentator on Fox News. Like Thrush, Payne was suspended after the allegations surfaced and, like Thrush, was allowed to return to his job a couple months later -- though, unlike Thrush, he appears to have suffered no penalty in the process.

Also unlike Thrush, Payne is currently being sued over allegations of sexual assault and defamation by Scottie Nell Hughes, a female former Fox News commentator who says he coerced her into having sexual relationship with him and that her appearances on Fox News were drastically curtailed after the relationship ended.

A search of NewsBusters' archive shows that MRC chief Brent Bozell has appeared as a guest on Payne-hosted shows on Fox Business five times since the beginning of 2016, while the MRC's Rich Noyes has appeared once. We've also noted that the last mention of Hughes at NewsBusters was back in December 2016, which seems to back up Hughes' stated inability to make a living as a pundit after being blackballed from Fox.

Consider this just another Fox News-shaped blind spot at the MRC.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:52 AM EST
Friday, December 22, 2017
NEW ARTICLE: Another Year of Hating Anita Hill
Topic: Media Research Center
A spate of sexual harassment allegations have given the Media Research Center one more opportunity to trash Hill and suggest her motivation for speaking out against Clarence Thomas was a book deal and a law-school job. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 8:43 AM EST
Thursday, December 21, 2017
Tim Graham, Hypocritical Media Concern Troll
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Tim Graham spends a Dec. 10 post huffing about the use of anonymous sources by the news media, this time complaining about how, in his words, "The Washington Postenjoys playing the game “Heads We Win, Tails You Lose” when anonymous sources lead journalists into looking stupid" in defending CNN's use of anonymous sources in a story that later had to be corrected. Let the huffing begin (boldface is his):

But here’s the “heads we win” part: since the sources are still anonymous, there can be no “evidence” -- unless either the sources or the source-exploiters own up to their little secret racket. We are prevented from knowing these are “Democratic sources” – most likely, because they’re Democratic sources, and that would make the story look more -- to use the Post term -- “vocally partisan.”

The “tails you lose” part is when the Post hides all their conservative-hating sources’ identities and then boasts the motto “Democracy dies in darkness.” The Post surely believes reporters are never manipulated by “puppet masters.” They’re always the smartest people in the room. Until it becomes obvious they trusted someone to just read them an email without looking at it themselves. That’s not what smart people do.

As @JohnSalmon859 tweeted: “Either CNN ‘got played’ - or it was purposeful. Trump Jr's being charitable here.” But in CNN's excuse-making, absolutely everyone had the best intentions, their journalists and their sources. The spin is furious, but not convincing.

It will not surprise you to learn that Graham has a double standard on the subject of anonmous sources in news stories. As we've docutmented, just before the 2016 election, Fox News heavily pushed a story -- sourced only to "two separate sources with intimate knowledge of the FBI investigations into the Clinton e-mails and the Clinton Foundation" -- suggesting that an indictment of Hillary Clinton was imminent and that her email server had been hacked. The MRC hyped this story to the point that MRC chief Brent Bozell himself ranted about the "media cover-up" and declared, "We will report developments on this continuing cover-up every hour from here on out."

One of those developments, however, turned out to be that the story was bogus; Fox News anchor Bret Baier, who first reported the story, retracted his claims. Not only wasn't Graham concern-trolling about how poor Fox News got burned by anonymous sources, the MRC never bothered to correct the story it had been relentlessly hyping despite Bozell's promise to report developments "every hour."

So, Tim, spare us your fake concern. If you actually cared about journalism, you wouldn't be exempting Fox News from criticism for doing the same thing you've bashed others for doing.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:28 PM EST
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Old News: MRC Ramps Up Ancient Attacks on Anita Hill
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center, it seems, just can't stop obsessing over Anita Hill, whom it has spent the past 25 years smearing and bashing for making sexual harassment allegations against conservative icon Clarence Thomas. If anything, the attacks are ramping up.

MRC executives Tim Graham and Brent Bozell took a minor potshot at her in their Dec. 8 column: "Anita Hill had no photograph of Thomas grabbing her; she never claimed that he did. He was accused of talking dirty, and for that alone, the Democrats wanted him voted down."

News that Hill has been named by a group of entertainment executives to lead a commission tasked to address sexual harassment and inequality in the entertainment and news industries, however, really cranked up the MRC's wrath.

Kyle Drennen denounced Hill as "discredited" and having "credibility problems" who made "disputed accusations." The only evidence Drennen provides for these claims is a less-than-objective blog post at MRC "news" division CNSNews.com that, as we've noted, has as its chief source an attack website started by a personal friend of Thomas who was a lawyer for the team assembled by George H.W. Bush to push Thomas' nomination through the Senate.

Graham, meanwhile, continues to despise Hill so much that he needed two posts to vent his rage. In the first, he actually calls Hill's allegations "fake news" then spins his own version of the Hill-Thomas controversy, in which he once again pushed his unproven conspiracy theory that Hill came forward because she was chasing a book deal and a cushy law-school job:

After months of trying to defeat Thomas, the Democrats were about to lose the confirmation fight. So at the last minute, NPR and Newsday introduced Anita Hill and her unproven story. Hill testified, and Clarence Thomas strongly rebutted her allegations. When the weekend of hearings were over, a New York Times poll found the American people strongly believed Thomas over Hill, even women:

[...]

Politically, that’s a fiasco for Hill. But all of the mythical treatments of Saint Anita ignored what the American people concluded. The liberal elites have spent the last 25 years trying to revise history and reverse public opinion.

Few remember troubling details that made Hill's account less credible. For example, she followed Clarence Thomas around from job to job in the federal government, from the Education Department to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which doesn't exactly sound like someone seeking a less hostile working environment. Hill denied she was making the charges for her own personal benefit, but liberals raised an endowment to get her a job at the University of Oklahoma. After five years, she gained a prestigious professorship at Brandeis University. In 1993, she signed a two-book deal estimated to be "well over $1 million."

In his second rant, Graham rails against Hill over her 1998 comments regarding allegations against Bill Clinton, in which she reacted the same way that some conservatives have regarding the similar accusations against Donald Trump: it was known before the election, and the voters elected him anyway. Graham didn't mention that parallel of course; instead, he huffed, "If you are a true fighter against any and all sexual harassment, why would one refuse to acknowledge the women accusing Clinton as experiencing sexual harassment?"

(Of course, Graham himself is not a true fighter against any and all sexual harassment, given that he and the rest of the MRC have a certain Fox News-shaped blind spot on the issue.)

Graham also whined that Hill "also poured a bucket of disdain on the Paula Jones lawsuit," but the reason why she did so is why Graham has been attacking Hill's claims: there's no evidence, and her backers are politically motivated. Graham's ranting obscures that relevant point.

Graham concludes by delcaring that Hollywood looks "desperate and preposterous" by appointing Hill to this effort. But is that more or less desperate and preposterous than Graham and the rest of the MRC look in their quarter-century Hill-trashing obsession?

Graham, of course, won't answer that question.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:05 PM EST
Updated: Friday, December 22, 2017 12:33 AM EST
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Brent Bozell's Fox News-Shaped Blind Spot on Sexual Harassment
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Brent Bozell blusters again in a Dec. 18 statement:

It is evident NBC has been breeding a culture of deviancy for decades and doing everything in its power to cover it up along the way. Two major on-air personalities and a top executive have already been fired from the network for sexual misconduct and now a fourth is being accused of the same. While at this time we do not know the full story behind these allegations against Chris Matthews, NBC’s history of covering for deviants creates suspicion.

[...]

Lauer’s lecherous behavior was well-known throughout the NBC hierarchy and went unchecked for years before they were forced to fire him. I can only speculate the same applies to others. If NBC wants to redeem any semblance of credibility they should be transparent and launch an independent investigation into their issues with sexual misconduct in the workplace.

If you substitute Matt Lauer for Roger Ailes or Bill O'Reilly (or Eric Bolling or Charles Payne), you can easily be talking about Fox News, which has also fired two on-air personalities and a top executive and has had a "culture of deviancy for decades." Their behavior was certainly known throughout the Fox News hierarchy and went unchecked for years before the company were forced to fire them.

Yet Bozell never called for Fox News to "launch an independent investigation into their issues with sexual misconduct in the workplace" as he is currently demanding from NBC.

How come? Perhaps because Fox News is the go-to TV outlet for Bozell and other MRC talking heads when they need a little TV exposure. Bozell and Co. don't dare put that free publicity in jeopardy. That's why they have virtually ignored the entire sexual harassment crisis at Fox News.

It's just another Fox News-shaped blind spot at the MRC.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:30 PM EST

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