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Saturday, June 1, 2019
The MRC Hate-Watches 'Supergirl' For Trans Character, Pro-Journalism Storyline
Topic: Media Research Center

Lindsay Kornick has been stuck with the Media Research Center assignment of hate-watching the CW show "Supergirl." And as is her job, she found a lot to late.

At the top of that list is the fact that the show has a transgender character named Nia. We've already noted that Kornick ranted about it in February, insisting that "most children who go through gender dysphoria eventually outgrow it by the time they become adults." and that "transitioning Nia at a young age is probably the opposite of affirming her authentic self."

She wasn't done ranting, though. In an April 29 post, Kornick complained:

Let’s face it, CW’s Supergirl has always been preachy. But there’s preachy, and then there’s obnoxiously, sycophantically preachy. The superhero series flies towards the latter in yet another episode >proclaiming how being trans is being "strong" and "authentic" nowadays.

[...]

In the meantime, our transgender hero Nia Nal (Nicole Maines) has stepped up to protect the city as the superhero Dreamer - and, yes, that is what they’re calling her with a straight face. Despite not having the mantle for long, she’s apparently doing a decent job against crime. However, that doesn’t stop all of the xenophobic attacks. The super friends then decide to come up with another idea to combat hate.

Supergirl, using her alter ego as reporter Kara Danvers, gives a public interview with “Dreamer” to promote a positive image of human and alien unity. After all, Nia is the product of a human father and an alien mother as well as a trans woman. That last detail really has nothing to do with the alien crisis, but the show just can’t help but remind us in this pandering speech.

[...]

The other characters predictably hail her words as brave and inspiring instead of the preachy and cringey mess they really are. They act like we’ve never heard these words before in the media or even on th>The Children of Liberty then come to arrest Dreamer for “an illegal seditious broadcast,” only to be stopped by CatCo Media editor James Olsen (Mechad Brooks). In full social justice warrior fashion, he defends the broadcast saying, “All I see are journalists exercising their right to freedom of speech and doing their duty to uphold freedom of press.” Strangely, I doubt that these characters would say the same thing about people discussing how men cannot be women. Or how landing on Earth shouldn’t automatically make you an American citizen. Then it would probably be considered a hate crime.

Supergirl continues to be one of the more hypocritical shows on the air, but now it’s definitely one of the more obnoxious shows as well. If we never get another episode waxing about sharing "our authentic selves," it’ll be too soon.

Meanwhile, nobody's stopping Kornick from being as preachy as she wants to be. But that's the only reason she hate-watches "Supergirl": She's also mad that ity says nice things about journalism that deviate from the MRC's anti-media narrative.

Kornick huffed in a March 10 post that the show gave "unmitigated praise towards journalism," which is apparently forbidden at the MRC. She lectured: "It’s so annoying that Supergirl acts like its storyline and journalism are apparently single-handedly stopping bigotry. The only bigotry I see is assuming everyone on the opposite side are angry, hateful jerks. Maybe Supergirl isn’t above this, but most of America should be."

And in a May 19 post, Kornick whined that the show's season finale was "honoring the real heroes of the show: journalists." She complains that Lex Luthor "is literally winning because of fake news and a stupid public" and was stopped only because Supergirl's alter ego "writes an expose on Luthor, detailing evidence that he committed treason, along with the President, to orchestrate his heroism. The article is so successful it leads to the Cabinet invoking the 25th Amendment. It’s truly a liberal dream come true."

And since only liberals like journalists, gaying good things about journalists is clearly an evil liberal plot:

I’m honestly surprised anyone can brag how “the fourth estate saved the day” with a straight face anymore, but that’s how delusional this show has become over the last four years. It somehow imagines a world where noble journalists can take out evil presidents and single-handedly stop all political tension. In the meantime, it never seems to discuss journalists causing harmful tension or spreading fake news or genuinely not saving the day. Maybe that’s why they call it science “fiction.”

Kornick's link on "spreading fake news" was to a NewsBusters post about one of the Covington kids suing CNN even though CNN eventually corrected the story. It did not link to any MRC post that heavily promoted a false Fox News story during the 2016 election that Hillary Clinton faced imminent indictment. The MRC never corrected the record, let alone apologized.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:07 AM EDT
Friday, May 31, 2019
MRC's Graham Mocks Complaints About WH Press Pass Purge
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's utter disdain for journalists and journalism is legendary. We see that again in a May 10 MRC post by Tim Graham mocking the Washington Post's Dana Milbank for being among the dozens of journalists whose permanent White House press passes were effectively revoked in favor of a system that requires renewals every six months. Graham began with the sneering headline "Democracy DIES in Darkness! WashPost's Dana Milbank Offered Lesser Press Pass!" and descended from there:

It might surprise you that Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank has a White House press pass. Six other Post correspondents have them. But since his was revoked.....DEMOCRACY DIES IN DARKNESS. He wrote about it in a column appropriately titled "The White House revoked my press pass. It’s not just me — it’s curtailing access for all journalists."

Milbank announces up front that he's a had a "hard pass" for 21 years. I can tell you this from my two years in the White House press corps. Milbank's almost never there for the briefing. That's why no one can remember him lobbing smirky self-satisfied questions at Sarah Sanders. But of course, he says "I strongly suspect it’s because I’m a Trump critic." 

Insert laugh track. As if everyone else there (including the six Post reporters who still have passes) are wearing MAGA hats.

Of course, a White House press corps full of MAGA hat-wearing scribes engaged in dutiful stenography of Dear Leader -- you know, kinda like the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com -- is exactly what Graham would like to see.

Being a loyal Trumpist, Graham proclaimed that the White House restrictions for a permanent press pass -- being at the White House 90 of the previous 180 days, which most reporters can't fulfill even without factoring in that the Trump White House has effectively discontinued standard press briefings,  giving reporters even less of a reason to be there -- to be "not an unreasonable place to start."

Graham is also giving too much credit to his "two years in the White House press corps" to ground his experience. First of all, that was nearly 20 years ago, when Graham briefly left the MRC to work for the religious publication World. Second, he didn't say if his time then met the new, restrictive standard.

Needless to say, if the Obama White House had done this, Graham would be screaming bloody murder about how Obama was restricting press access. But because it's the Trump White House, it's "not unreasonable."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:42 AM EDT
Thursday, May 30, 2019
MRC Dismissed 'Decades Old' Trump Tax News -- But Did a Post On Even Older Chappaquiddick
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Ryan Foley did his best to downplay as old news the significance of the New York Times' report on how Donald Trump lost massive amounts of money in the 1980s and 1990s -- and even proof that Trump is a total success now -- devoting a May 9 post to bashing CNN's Don Lemon for bringing it up.

If Lemon had bothered to do his homework, he would have found out that this Earth-shattering news has been out in the open for a long time. The New York tabloids heavily covered Trump’s financial woes and Trump himself admitted on the pilot episode of The Apprentice that “it wasn’t always so easy. About 13 years ago, I was seriously in trouble. I was billions of dollars in debt.” 

In spite of his past difficulties, even The New York Times had to admit that President Trump turned his financial situation around. So, Lemon’s premise that President Trump was lying about his success is just not true.

CNN’s obsession with President Trump’s decades old tax returns continued on Wednesday night. 

Nicholas Fondacaro pushed the same narrative a few days later: "After The New York Times published their story last week about President Trump losing $1 billion in the 80s and 90s, did you feel like you already knew about that? So did everyone else, because Trump’s financial problems during that time were well documented." He praised Fox News ranter Greg Gutfeld for "suggesting the paper just discovered the popularity of the movie Home Alone and the singer Vanilla Ice." Gutfeld then "turned to call out the liberal media writ large for all reading off the same 'script' and being 'sheep,'" Fondacaro declared.

First: We just doucmented how the MRC sheepishly reads from the same script as the rest of the right-wing media in pushing the dubious narrative that the internet discriminates against conservatives, so Fondacaro might want to slow his roll on that.

Second: These complaints about covering old news might have some validity if the MRC hadn't just devoted itself to covering even older news.

The day before Foley's post, the MRC's Alexis Moutevelis Coombs wrote about a 50-year-old story: "Almost 10 years after the death of Democrat Senator Edward 'Ted' Kennedy of Massachusetts, and 50 years after the death of Mary Jo Kopechne  -- and almost two years after a major Hollywood film on the incident -- the media are starting to finally reveal the truth about what happened at Chappaquiddick."

As Foley's post did, Coombs' item had a current hook -- an ABC docuseries episode on the incident -- Coombs didn't frame it as a "decades old" story despite it being decades older than the Trump tax story.

Then again, the MRC is so weirdly obsessed with Ted Kennedy and Chappaquiddick that it can't even bring itself to admit it has repeatedly -- and, we can say at this point, deliberately -- misinterpreted a writer's statement about Kennedy and Mary Jo Kopechne as praise rather than the criticism it was intended as.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:05 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, May 30, 2019 12:42 AM EDT
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
MRC Misrepresents Study To Push Right-Wing Victimization Narrative
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Corinne Weaver complains in a May 13 post:

Google’s methods of curating news involves infusing a heavy dose of liberal ideology. That’s not just the opinion of conservatives, it’s the opinion of a top journalism publication.

A study done by the Columbia Journalism Review, released on May 10, stated that out of the top 20 search results in Google’s “Top Stories,” the search engine relied on CNN more than any other news site. Furthermore, the top 20 news sites that made it to Google’s “Top Stories” had only one outlet that didn’t lean left, Fox News.

Aside from Fox News, Google didn’t feature prominently any other news site that doesn’t lean left. “Our data shows that 62.4 percent of article impressions were from sources rated by that research as left-leaning, whereas 11.3 percent were from sources rated as right-leaning,” explained CJR. That’s more than a 5-to-1 ratio.

Weaver's shallow reading of the study is designed to support the MRC's dubious insistence that Google and social media discriminate against conservatives. But the truth is a bit different than that narrative.

As one of the researchers explained, the ideological labels on news sources were borrowed from another study published in Science magazine, and they "don’t measure the slant of the media outlet per se, but rather reflect the self-reported political affiliation of Facebook users sharing content from those sources."

Weaver's claim that CNN and every other news outlet on CJR's list that isn't Fox News peddles "a heavy dose of liberal ideology" is ridiculous on its face, not to mention lazy, kneejerk right-wing ideology. She would never concede that there's such a thing as straight reporting, let alone that Fox News peddles "conservative ideology" -- heck, she never even straight-out admitted that Fox News is a "right-leaning" outlet.

Nevertheless, Weaver claimed this was bias because "on TV, vastly more people watch Fox News over CNN" -- apparently not understanding the difference between TV and online content. She further huffed that "CJR came to the laughable conclusion that “simply more news was produced on the left” than the right." She omitted the fact that CJR backed up that latter assertion, citing the GDELT database of news articles, where there are "2.2 times as many articles from left-leaning sources as right-leaning sources."

The fact that Weaver's claims are little more than an attempt to perpetuate a narrative is underscored by how how other ConWeb outlets pushed the exact same talking point. A WorldNetDaily article on the study carries the misleading headline "Google's 'Top Stories' shows obvious left-wing bias, audit reveals."

UPDATE: The narrative continued at Fox News, where the MRC's Dan Gainor -- who, weirdly, does not get published at the MRC's main content sites despite being an executive there -- ranted that the study demonstrated "how Google News is biased wildly toward liberal outlets." Gainor even repeated some of the same talking points as Weaver; for instance, he similarly didn't understdand the difference between TV and online: "CNN tallied 10.9 percent of the total. Fox mustered 3 percent, finishing far below its cable news competitor. You know, the outlet that Fox News regularly trounces in the ratings."

And the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, which published a May 14 column by Jeff Charles claiming that the study proves that Google "favors progressive sites" and that "it is likely that the company will become more brazen in its campaign to magnify progressive views while minimizing conservative ideas."


Posted by Terry K. at 7:41 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, May 30, 2019 12:22 AM EDT
Tuesday, May 28, 2019
MRC Defends Meghan McCain From Seth Meyers, Censors Her Husband's Homophobic Attack
Topic: Media Research Center

We've seen how the Media Research Center will do damage control for conservative figures by hiding inconvenient facts.

Kristine Marsh touted in a May 8 post that "The View co-host Meghan McCain had a tense exchange with Late Night host Seth Meyers Tuesday night, after the liberal host repeatedly berated McCain for criticizing Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar. As Meyers couldn’t get McCain to admit she had said anything wrong, she turned the tables on the host by calling out his liberal bias. She was joined the same day by the MRC's Dan Gainor writing at Fox News (weirdly, he's not allowed to post much of anything at the websites run by his employer), who gushed that McCain "deserves an award as the conservative most willing to fight with Hollywood liberals on their home turf" and complaining that "Meyers has a history of taking the left’s side of almost every debate."

Tim Graham and Brent Bozell weighed in as well, whining that McCain was "getting thrown under the bus" for saying "conservative things on television," claiming that Meyers was "shaming" her for criticizing Rep. Ilhan Omar.

But none of these MRC writers mentioned what happened after the interview, even though it's very much a part of the story. McCain's husband, Ben Domenech -- the noted plagiarist who is now publisher of the right-wing opinion operation The Federalist -- went into a homophobic rage on Twitter, calling Meyers a n"untalented piece of shit who only has his job because he regularly gargled Lorne Michaels’ balls," as well as "an awful person" and a "monumental asshole" and "proof that white men get ahead despite their obvious lack of talent ... a perfect definition of a cuck."

Called out on his rant, Domenech tepidly ofered a non-apology apology, claiming that "I'm sorry to anyone I offended."

The MRC's silence is doubly ironic because Graham and Bozell attacked Meyers for asking people to be careful about their language with a fit of whataboutism: "Does Meyers really think he and his fellow late-night lecturers are careful about their language? Stephen Colbert calling Trump Russian President Vladimir Putin's 'c—k holster'? Samantha Bee calling the president's daughter a 'feckless c—t'? Is that 'careful'?"

If the MRC gang could find nothing wrong with Domenech's vulgar rant, they're utterly hypocritical in taking it out on Meyers and other late-night hosts.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:46 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 28, 2019 5:48 PM EDT
Monday, May 27, 2019
MRC Unhappy With Possible Comeback of Brian Williams
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center -- where name-calling is more important than "media research" -- loves to tag MSNBC's Brian Williams as "Lyin' Brian" for exaggerations he told about his work as a journalist that cost him his job as NBC Nightly News anchor. But that was four years ago, and the MRC is still mad that Williams is still around, did his penance, and may be making a comeback.

An April 18 post by Scott Whitlock is typical MRC Williams-bashing couched in whataboutism: "Disgraced former NBC anchor Brian Williams on Thursday morning compared the Attorney General to a former Iraqi propaganda minister. Williams, who falsely claimed he was shot down over Iraq in 2003, slimed Bill Barr as just like Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, better known as Baghdad Bob. " Whitlock also sneered: "Again, just to be clear, Brian Williams is calling out someone else for falsehoods and questionable character."

On April 24, Tim Graham whined about a report that Williams might be making a "big comeback." First, he tried to denigrate Williams' ratings victory on MSNBC over CNN and Fox News: "he anchored live Mueller Report coverage with Nicolle Wallace and beat CNN (as if that's much of an achievement), but not Fox. The disgraced NBC anchor wins his 11 pm time slot, but that might be in part because Fox News viewers have retired for the evening."

Graham then huffed: "This only reminds people who don't love NBC/MSNBC that it's pretty funny if they would demand the fullest possible disclosure of the Mueller Report, since NBC never released any shred of a report of its investigation into the Williams fabrications....and never released any shred of a report on Lauer's sexual predations, either. Those probes 'died in darkness.'"

You mean like those MRC probes over why Brent Bozell spent years taking sole credit for columns that Graham ghost-wrote (until shamed into sharing the byline)?

Nicholas Fondacaro joined the name-calling bandwagon in a May 1 post, grousing that "serial liar Brian Williams took to MSNBC Live and was infatuated with the radical California Senator Kamala Harris (D) and how she had 'drew blood' from" Aggorney General William Barr. Fondacaro seems to have forgotten that his boss was a serial liar twice a week by putting his name on a column he didn't write.

The next day, Kyle Drennen got mad that MSNBC interrupted its live coverage of Barr's Senate testimony: "The one thing all those moments had in common was that Republican lawmakers were the ones talking when anchor Brian Williams chose to cut them off to 'correct the record.'" In a separate post on the subject, Drennen ranted: "The unmitigated gall for Williams, who notoriously lied about his experience reporting on the Iraq war, to pretend to be the arbiter of anyone else’s credibility is truly amazing."

Graham returned on May 14 to express horror that Williams really is making a comeback: "NBC surprised TV writers on Monday by putting disgraced NBC anchor Brian Williams into their 'upfront' event for advertisers to stand with his successor Lester Holt, as well as Chuck Todd, Savannah Guthrie, Rachel Maddow, and others." Meanwhile, unlike Williams, Bozell never issued a public apology -- let alone face any consequences we're aware of -- for falsely presenting Graham's work as his own.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:20 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, May 27, 2019 10:53 PM EDT
MRC's Philbin Is Mad Right-Wing Double Standard Called Out on Massacre Motivation
Topic: Media Research Center

Matt Philbin -- apparently weary of complaining about coverage of massacred Muslims -- began his May 2 Media Research Center post complaining that "To be a Washington Post staffer is to simultaneously believe that a) when teenager shoots up a school, it’s about guns; b) when a jihadi shoots up a church, it’s not about religion; and c) when a Christian shoots up a synagogue it’s ... about religion." The rest of his post is spent complaining that right-wing double standards on religiously motivated massacres got called out. He huffed:

John Earnst, the alleged murderer, posted a manifesto in which he “spewed not only invective against Jews and racial minorities but also cogent Christian theology he heard in the pews” of his Orthodox Presbyterian Church. In Zauzmer’s summation, Earnst believed “Jewish people, guilty in his view of faults ranging from killing Jesus to controlling the media, deserved to die. That his intention to kill Jews would glorify God.” He also explained something about his Calvinist beliefs in salvation.

Are the two related? [Post reporter Julie] Zauzmer and some liberal Christians want it to be.

Philbin then complained that one evangelical pastor interviewed by Zauzmar Christians should rush to condemn the synagogue shooter the way moderate Muslims are demanded to every time "somebody claiming they’re motivated by their Islamic faith" commits an act of terror:

That’s very brave of him. I bet he felt a thrill of defiance when he slapped the “COEXIST” sticker on his Prius and drove around Ft. Meyers. But white nationalists are like the Illinois Nazis; everybody hates them. Woolf is a virtue signaller, and the point of Zauzmer’s piece is to slime the POC, which was “founded to counter liberalism in mainline Presbyterianism.”

Zauzmer addressed some of the theological questions surrounding evangelical views of the Jews. (Unlike some other evangelicals, OPC believes in “replacement theology” so Jews and Israel aren't important to them. If it seems to you like a big leap from “The Jews are no longer God’s chosen people” to “go gun ‘em down,” it is.) But they were at best window-dressing on a hit piece.

[...]

Earnst wouldn’t be the first psychopath to twist religious beliefs into a justification for murder. Nor would he be the first to cynically hide behind them. We don’t know which is the case. Could there be some dark corner of OPC theology that encourages Jew-hatred and other bigotry? Maybe. Maybe they have “Zap a Zionist” airgun game at the church picnic or an “Adopt an Aryan” ecumenical outreach program. But there’s no evidence of it.

The fact is, OPC preachers don’t exhort their flocks to kill Jews and infidels or drive Israelis into the sea. Until the OPC-related body count reaches 0.1% of militant Islam’s, Zauzmer’s article will remain a smear.

Of course, moderate Islam doesn't do that either, yet Philbin expects such adherents to denounce every single act of violence claimed to have been committed in the name of "militant Islam." Just like Philbin and his employer won't admit that militant anti-abortion rhetoric is not so far removed from the anti-abortion movement and occasionally inspires people to do things like murder abortion doctors.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:59 PM EDT
MRC Mad At Media For Reporting The Obvious About WH Visit By Red Sox
Topic: Media Research Center

The mysterious Jay Maxson falls into the usual Media Research Center trap of complaining that the media reports facts, in a May 10 post insisting that the obvious truth is just a liberal media "narrative":

President Donald Trump divided the 2018 World Series champion Boston Red Sox along racial lines. That's a recurring narrative of media reports on today's visit by the baseball champs to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Some in the press mocked the visit as mostly made up of the “white sox.” 

Maxson then recounted news stories that, indeed, proved  that was the case -- the Red Sox contigent visiting the White House was effectively all-white, while nearly all non-white players, including manager Alex Cora, declined to attend, at last some of whom cited Trump's divisive statements and policies as the reason.

After the recounting, Maxson then huffed, "Notice any pattern here?" Yes, we do, Jay: There's a pattern of the media reporting what it actually sees instead of following the right-wing narrative of pretending something in plain sight doesn't actually exist.

Maxson seems to know the point he/she is trying to make is rather lame, since so little is done to defend it; the only counter offered is a statement from one of those supposedly biased articleshe cites taht "The Red Sox repeatedly denied that there was any sort of racial divide caused by the White House visit."

Maxson also whined: "Critical media also chastised the Trump White House for a tweet referring to the 'Red Socks' and a reference to the 2018 "World Cup Series Champions." Yes, it's only a "critical media" that would point out such an embarrassing error.

Yet Maxson wasn't done, further whining that USA Today "ridiculed the president for the Red Socks and World Series Cup comments and posted 18 negative tweets about those errors." As if Maxson wouldn't engage in such "ridicule" had a Democratic White House done the same thing.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:17 AM EDT
Saturday, May 25, 2019
Acosta Derangement Syndrome Watch, MRC Edition
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's near-pathological hatred of all things Jim Acosta hasn't exactly abated. An April 17 post by Corinne Weaver ranted that Acosta was to win an award:

CNN’s most obnoxious White House correspondent is about to get rewarded again from his peers for his unprofessional behavior. According to a press release on April 12, the New York Press Club will give Jim Acosta their “Truth to Power” journalism award.

The Wrap reported that the award honors “an individual whose body of work challenges the power establishment and/or defends journalists.” The establishment being, the Trump administration of course.

[...]

“We are proud to honor a man such as Jim Acosta, who has proven himself throughout his storied, decades-long career to be a journalist of the utmost integrity, ” Jane Tillman Irving, president of the Press Club, said in the release. “For his unwavering commitment to fact and journalism, we are pleased to add to Jim’s many accolades with the Gabe Pressman ‘Truth to Power’ award.”

Facts and journalism? How about bbullying, over-inflated ego, and petty meltdowns? That seems more like what Acosta is known for than being a “truth teller.” Just about every chance he gets in the press briefings, he tries to hog the spotlight and frequently misconstrues situations for his benefit.

His combativeness and rough handling of a White House intern during one such briefing last November even got his White House press credentials temporarily revoked.

It seems bad behavior is a badge of honor to the left-wing media.

And it seems unprofessional name-calling is a badge of honor at the MRC.

Not to be outdone in the name-calling department, the MRC's chief Acosta-hater, Curtis Houck, just can't stop spewing juvenile insults:

All set with his hair sloshed to one side (presumably by the wind), CNN chief White House correspondent and carnival barking extraordinary Jim Acosta reported on Wednesday’s Situation Room ahead of a Trump rally that the President has plunged America “toward a constitutional crisis” while solidifying a reputation as a con-man, turning “the art of the deal...into the art of the conceal.”

[...]

Clearly locked and loaded (while feeling quite proud of himself), Acosta parroted House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) in telling viewers that “President Trump appears to be heading toward a constitutional crisis with House Democrats as he continues to hide the Mueller report as well as his tax returns from lawmakers.”

[...]

After recapping the Trump controversies concerning the Mueller report, whether Don McGahn should testify before Congress, and the President’s tax returns, Acosta ruled as if he weren’t alive in 2015, 2016, or even three decades ago: “Mr. Trump's steep losses in real estate call also into question his main pitch to voters in 2016, that he was a business genius.”

In the next hour, Acosta reiterated his nonsense about “a constitutional crisis” and “the art of the conceal.” How cute.

Houck clearly feels quite proud of himself, thinking in his own mind how cute all those sick burns of Acosta are. Of course, in reality, he just comes off as a right-wing hater.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:27 AM EDT
Friday, May 24, 2019
MRC Can't Quite Admit That Far-Right Figures Are Far-Right
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Alexander Hall wrote in a May 3 post:

Instagram and its parent company Facebook have purged several what it called “extremist” figures ranging from controversial Jewish activist Laura Loomer to anti-Semitic hate preacher Rev. Louis Farrakhan. 

In the latest round of tech bans, Facebook and Instagram have deplatformed conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, Infowars, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, Loomer and Farrakhan. According to The Atlantic, the ban on Infowars is the strictest, in that they will remove “any content containing Infowars videos, radio segments, or articles (unless the post is explicitly condemning the content).” In addition, any groups set up to share Infowars content on Facebook or Instagram will also be removed[.]

The headline of Hall's item reads "Facebook Purges ‘Dangerous’ Farrakhan, Controversial Activists." But as the item's URL indicates, it originally carried the headline "Facebook Purges ‘Dangerous’ Farrakhan, Far-Right Figures." The item otherwise applies no ideological labels on the non-Farrakhan figures, despite the fact they are indeed on the far right.

Hall goesa on to add that "Loomer was one of the early examples of big tech deplatforming and depersoning on multiple platforms." We've documented how the MRC has downplayed how extreme and rabidly Islamophobic Loomer is in order to portray her as a victim of social media "censorship" against conservatives. Hall goes on to repeat Loomer's lament that "I am banned by Uber an [sic] Lyft" without mentioning that it's because she went on an Islamophobic rant complaining that the ride-sharing services employ Muslim drivers.

Similarly, the MRC has tried to mainstream Jones' Infowars (of which Watson is a part) by ridiculously claiming it's no different than CNN -- all the better to shoehorn it into that victimhood narrative.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:20 AM EDT
Thursday, May 23, 2019
MRC's Graham Nitpicks Over Trump Crossing 10,000-Falsehood Threshold
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Tim Graham spent an April 30 post complaining that the Washington Post had counted 10,000 false or misleading claims made by President Trump. At one point he groused that "Trump haters quickly say '10,000 lies' instead of the milder 'false or misleading statements' line. 'Facts First' types messed up."

Of course, Graham may as well be talking about himself -- he's just as sloppy about the distinction between the two. Back in 2008, Graham got mad at us for pointing out that his insistence that Hillary Clinton should have been indicted for making what were found to be false statements in the White House travel office controversy runs counter to the findings of the independent counsel, which brought no charges because there was no evidence the statements were deliberately false.

Graham then expanded his complaint into a column for Brent Bozell to slap his name on. They handwaved Trump's history of lies, then portrayed the count as a liberal conspiracy: "Everyone knows the president can unload a whopper, like when he recently suggested of wind turbines, 'they say the noise causes cancer.' But the Post's 10,000 is a Democratic Party talking point, a marketing strategy to build a liberal subscriber base." Graham and Bozell then provide a list of reasons why the list means we shouldn't take the Post seriously. Most of it is your usual anti-media whining -- two of the five items on the list are about whining that Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler is "nitpicking" -- but this one stood out to us:

4. Lack of transparency. The Posties have dramatically increased the rate of the "false claims" it is finding. In announcing the 10,000 number, it claimed, "the president racked up 171 false or misleading claims in just three days, April 25 to 27." It admits that's a bigger number than it used to find in a month.

It claims Trump has literally said a falsehood a minute, counting 45 in a 45-minute Sean Hannity interview, 17 falsehoods in a 19-minute Mark Levin interview and 61 false claims in the president's Saturday night rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin. But the Post doesn't list them individually so you can check its work.

Funny, that's the same exact complaint we've repeatedly made about the MRC's so-called "media research" -- it almost never makes public the raw data it uses to reach its almost preordained conclusions.

Graham and Bozell are effectively complaining that the Post's research standards are the same as the MRC's. That doesn't seem like a smart argument to make.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:00 AM EDT
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Naked Athlete-Hating NewsBusters Blogger Dances on ESPN Magazine's Grave
Topic: Media Research Center

The past two years, mysterious NewsBusters sports blogger Jay Maxson had a meltdown over ESPN magazine's annual "Body Issue," featuring photos of naked athletes (with the naughty bits tastefully covered). So it's no surprise that when ESPN announced it would stop publishing the print edition of the magazine later this year -- but not before only final "Body Issue," Maxson was eager to dance on its grave with a special meltdown directed at, yes, those nekkid athletes:

Come September, ESPN The Magazine will take its place in the ash heap of history. The Worldwide Leader in "Progressive Sports and Naked Athletes" is discontinuing the magazine this fall, after 21 years in operation, but will make sure it ends with one final edition featuring nude athletes. When its business was flagging, ESPN The Magazine merely resorted to glorifying athletes out of uniform, and the strategy still didn't prevent it from going under.

The late F. Darrin Perry designed the magazine's format in 1998 as something akin to "a Rolling Stone of sports magazines, in which athletes were presented as rock stars," wrote The New York Times' Steven Heller in Perry's 2004 obituary. He placed an unconventional emphasis on big and dramatic photos that drew more attention -- especially to those naked athletes, one-upping Sports Illustrated's swimsuit editions.

[...]

ESPN spokesperson Paul Melvin said, “Storytelling is central to what we do and ESPN The Magazine drives some of the best sports writing and storytelling in the world. The Magazine has just enjoyed its finest creative year and we’re looking forward to a tremendous 20th year of more award-winning narratives, features, imagery and reporting.”

Journalists? Storytelling? There are no journalists telling stories behind the cameras at the naked body shoots, where no extravagance was spared. Those appeals to viewers' prurient interest will likely continue to appear on the main ESPN website. Javier Baez standing naked holding a baseball bat, Colin Kaepernick walking naked on a beach, softball player A.J. Andrews sailing over baked desert ground with glove outstretched don't even constitute "photo journalism."

The 2018 Body Issue featuring the raw variety of sport utilized 352 employees requiring months of preparation and multiple shooting locations. Apparently draining the bank in the process.

The Chicago Tribune's  Phil Rosenthal wrote with a straight face that the body issue is intended to showcase athletes’ toned bodies. Fitness Magazine shows toned bodies; ESPN's Body Issue peddles bare flesh. Some sports media refuse to stick to sports; ESPN refuses to stick to clothing, and it's not working.

Reprising his anger at people in sports  whocommit the offense of talking about things that don't involve sports, Maxson alsohuffed that "ESPN The "Woke" Magazine is where one could go to read about U.S. Olympian fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad saying minority athletes must look up to (disgraced) 1968 Olympic protester John Carlos, Kaepernick, Serena Williams, Megan Rapinoe and so many activists in the WNBA.

By contrast, Maxson was never bothered by fleshiness of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue. Perhaps fearing the loss of something to write about with the ESPN magazine's imminent demise, Maxson redirected his ire at SI's swimsult models:

The idea of actually covering sports has become so passé for two iconic sports media organizations that they've devolved into a lusty competition to determine which can one-down the other in so-called artistic nudity. ESPN presents full buff arrays of athletes "performing" their respective sport, and Sports Illustrated is pulling out every PC trick in the book — hijabs and burkinis, painted ladies and politically correct subjects bearing virtue messages on their naked flesh — to gain attention. All in the name of progressive art moving sport and society forward toward the nirvana of diversity.

Just days ago, ESPN fired the latest shot in the woke/buck naked photo wars with its 2019 deviation from sport to hedonism. Seeking to maintain relevance, Sports Illustrated answers with woke, politically correct displays of flesh, only now with hijab- and burkini-clad, plus-sized and nude models adorned only with words like "tolerance" and "diversity."

Maxson was put out that SI's models include a plus-size woman -- purportedly evidence that SI is "trying to divert readers' attention from the fact that the magazine is leaving sports to the wind, wallowing in PC and starving for relevance -- and an out lesbian.But Maxson was really freaked out by one particular model:

The conflicted messages of the 2018 SI "#MeToo" Swimsuit photos cannot go unmentioned either. That's when several women posed completely naked with words written on their bodies. Aly Raisman, the Olympic gymnast who suffered sexual abuse at the hands of former Team USA Dr. Larry Nasser, inconceivably disrobed for this issue. Her body was "tattooed" with the words "abuse is never okay," "live for you" and "trust yourself." She's figuratively saying "I was abused ... but look at my body!" Unbelievable.

Actually, Raisman is saying that "being a survivor is nothing to be ashamed of, and going through a hard time does not define you," and that "women do not have to be modest to be respected. We are free to draw confidence and happiness in our own way, and it is never for someone else to choose for us or to even judge us for that matter."

Clearly, Maxson is more than happy to judge and demand that Raisman live her life the way Maxson deems appropriate.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:02 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, June 2, 2019 3:22 PM EDT
Monday, May 20, 2019
MRC Falsely Puts A Swear Word In A Commentator's Mouth
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Brad Wilmouth was in full rage mode, and it seemed justified at first (by right-wing standards, anyway). Under the screaming headline "Heilemann Slams 'Big Fat Steaming Plate of Hannity,' 'Pig in ****'," Wilmouth huffed in a May 3 post:

On Wednesday's The 11th Hour with Brian Williams on MSNBC, during a discussion of Fox News reaction to Attorney General Bill Barr's testimony on the Mueller report, John Heilemann derided FNC host Sean Hannity as a "steaming, hot pile of Hannity" who is as "happy as a pig in ****" as the MSNBC national affairs analyst seemed annoyed at having to react to the conservative Fox News host's commentary.

Just one problem: Heilemann never said the swear word that Wilmouth portrays him as saying. As Wilmouth later writes in his piece, Heilemann actually said: "There's a phrase, people talk about a 'pig in,' you know. That's Sean right now -- he's happy as a pig in, you know."

So Wilmouth is lying. There's a difference between implying a swear word and speaking around it -- which Heilemann did -- and actually saying the word, which Heilemann did not but Wilmouth portrays him as doing.

Wilmouth's sloppiness goes even further. His first paragraph misquotes Heilemann by claiming he referred to a "steaming, hot pile of Hannity," when Heilemann actually said "a big, fat, steaming plate of Hannity." Doesn't anybody edit anything at the MRC these days? (Ask Tom Blumer.)

As of this writing, the MRC has not acknowledge Wilmouth's falsehood or issued a correction. Its failure to do so hurts whatever credibility it has.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:04 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, May 20, 2019 3:09 PM EDT
Sunday, May 19, 2019
MRC Does Damage Control For Ben Shapiro's Temper Tantrum
Topic: Media Research Center

First the Media Research Center rushed to Ben Shapiro's defense over alleged mislabeling of his conservative views (despite its own long history of sloppy labeling of liberal views). Now, in a May 10 post, the MRC's Scott Whitlock is doing cleanup work on a disastrous TV appearance by Shapiro. Whitlock glowingly writes:

Conservative host Ben Shapiro appeared on the BBC, Thursday, in a contentious interview and attacked the bias and agenda of the network. After host Andrew Neil derided Georgia’s new pro-life abortion bill as “extreme,” “hard policies” that would “take us back to the dark ages,” Shapiro unloaded, “Okay, so you’re supposedly an objective calling polices with which you disagree barbaric.” 

Neil huffed that “I’m not taking a view” of abortion. Shapiro shot back: “Sir, you just suggested that the pro-life position is inherently brutal and terrible. So, I’m asking you, as an objective journalist, would you ask the same question to a pro-choice advocate by calling their position brutal and horrible?” 

Neil doubled down: “What I’m asking you is why is it that a bill banning abortion after a woman has been pregnant for six weeks is not a return to the dark ages?” The conservative author and commentator called out the cultural bias of the BBC:

My answer is something called science. Human life exists at conception. It ought to be protected. You purport to be an objective journalist. BBC purports to be an objective, down-the-middle network. It obviously is not and never has been. And you as a journalist are proceeding to call one side of the political aisle ignorant, barbaric and sending us back to the dark ages.

What Whitlock didn't tell you: Shapiro's attack on the BBC was followed by a massive temper tantrum in which Shapiro complained that Neil "simply going through and finding lone things that sound bad out of context and then hitting people with them is a way for you to make a quick buck on BBC off the fact that I’m popular and no one has ever heard of you" -- then stormed out of the interview.To which Neil deliciously responded, "Thank you for your time and for showing that anger is not part of American political discourse."

Whitlock also cut off his blockquote of Shapiro to eliminate his attack on Neil: "Why don't you just say you're on the left?" Well, that's because he's not. Whitlock noted deep in the post that "Neil is an editor of the British Spectator and not a man of the left, as Shapiro initially thought." Whitlock then linked to a post-interview tweet as stating that Shapiro had "since admitted this", but didn't call Shapiro out for failing to sufficiently prepare for the interview by figuring out beforehand that Neil likes to play devil's advocate; instead, he tried to give Shapiro cover by claiming that "it’s easy to see why one would have been confused," oblivously adding that "The classifying of the pro-life position as 'extreme,' 'hard' and 'taking us back to the dark ages' is hardly objective. It’s typical of the sneering BBC view of anything culturally conservative." Whitlock provided no evidence to support his claim that the BBC has a "sneering view" of cultural conservatism.

Shapiro totally botched that interview, but the MRC wants to use alternative facts to make you think differently.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:18 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, May 19, 2019 11:21 PM EDT
Saturday, May 18, 2019
MRC Sneers At Obamas' Netflix Deal
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's hatred of non-conservative media and its hatred of everything Obama found a nexus when Barack and Michelle signed a content development deal with Netflix.

There's actually some lead-up to this, in the form of a December  2016 post by Calista Ring trashing a made-for-Netflix film about the young Barack Obama, where she claims "most of the film focuses on Obama’s obsession with race," then sneering, "Now, it’s 35 years later, a black man named Barack Hussein Obama has been elected President of the United States twice, and still everything is about slavery for him."

When the Obamas first signed the deal a year ago, the sneering headline on Randy Hall's NewsBusters post read, "$$$ for 'Empathy': Obamas Sign Deal with Netflix to Produce Their Kind of Movies and TV." Hall also had trouble acknowledging that Obama was president, huffing that they were "the former Democratic occupants of the White House." Hall also complained that Netflix's chief content officer is a former Obama campaign donor and that the company "named scandal-plagued former national security advisor Susan Rice to its board of directors."

In November, Tim Graham complained that the first project the Obamas optioned was the book "The Fifth Risk" from "liberal author" Michael Lewis, a book "obviously addressing the Trump administration, since it 'details the chaos at the federal departments of Agriculture, Commerce and Energy in the transition from the Obama to Trump administrations.'" Graham doesn'tdispute any of the evidence Lewis presents in his book, only complains that it was written at all. It's not until the final paragraph that Lewis also wrote "The Blind Side," which suggests that he likely can't be pigeonholed as a "liberal author."

The winner for MRC-style sneering at the Obamas, though, is Gabriel Hays, who devoted a May 1 post to unprofessional condesension toward the Obamas:

Well, we finally have the opportunity to see what the Obamas have up their media mogul sleeves. After announcing a multi-million dollar Netflix deal, the former first couple have spilled the beans on their new streaming content, offering diehard Obama fans several options for clinging to the “Hope” and “Change” social justice dream from the comfort of their living rooms.

Grab that quart of Haagen Daaz and curl up in front of the laptop to reminisce about a more “tolerant” time in America’s history. Also, don’t forget the tissues.

CNN.com just unveiled the Obama production company’s list of upcoming streamable shows. Called — wait for it — Higher Ground Productions (it seems the names Take The High Road Pictures and Forgive Them, They Know Not What They Do Studios were taken), the company has already slated seven new projects for Netflix, including several docuseries and full-length films. Including “a drama set in post-WWII New York City, a scripted anthology, a children's series, and a number of non-fiction projects.”

Hays concluded with one final sneer: "While we certainly can never get enough of that special Obama flavor, that amount of content should at least be enough to tide us over until Michelle gets into office. If you didn’t have Netflix before, this should convince you to grab a subscription. (As if.)"

The MRC is morphing from "media researchers" into insult comics.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:15 AM EDT

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