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Monday, January 6, 2020
The MRC's Own 'News' Operation Fails Bozell's Test Of News Operations
Topic: Media Research Center

During a Dec. 13 Fox Business appearance (apparently he couldn't get on Fox News proper), Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell huffed:

Look at CNN's audience. It’s collapsed. It's a worldwide network and it can't get 750,000 people in the United States of America. Its credibility has collapsed. The networks have collapsed. And it should collapse. If they are not going to report the news, if they are not going to investigate any story, if they are not going to tell the truth, I hope it does collapse.

The "news" he is demanding that CNN report, mind you, is not about the Ukraine shenanigans that got President Trump impeached -- it's Hunter Biden's deal with Burisma. He went on to rant that "no one thinking clearly or honestly is going to deny that the only reason Burisma got this guy on the payroll at $50,000 a month is because his last name was Biden. And everyone knows that." Never mind that the same question can also be posed about his own son, David, who's running the MRC-linked activist group For America. would he be there if his dad wasn't in charge of the entire operation?

There's another bit of hypocrisy going on here: Bozell's claim that if CNN is going to investigate any story, if they are not going to tell the truth, I hope it does collapse." If Bozell is so concerned about news organizations that don't investigate stories and don't report the truth, all he has to do is look down the hall at MRC headquarters at the "news" organization he runs, CNSNews.com.

CNS regularly publishes fake news, mostly in the form of uncritically repeating false and misleading statements by Trump and his allies. And what little investigative reporting CNS did has largely disappeared, replaced by sycophantic pro-Trump stenography.

By Bozell's own definition, CNS deserves to collapse. He'll never admit that, of course.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:24 PM EST
Sunday, January 5, 2020
MRC Lionizes YouTube Videomaker PewDiePie, Is Silent On His History of Offensive Content
Topic: Media Research Center

For some reason, the Media Research Center is enamored with YouTube videomaker PewDiePie -- we've already highlighted how it's trying to portray him as a champion of politically incorrect humor while hiding his history of far-right sympathies. Now it's trying to portray him as a "free speech" advocate of some kind. Alexander Hall wrote in a Dec. 16 post:

YouTube’s Vice President and Global Head of Trust & Safety Matt Halprin released a blog on Wednesday, Dec. 11, titled “An update to our harassment policy.” Halprin proclaimed in the blog that YouTube would be taking a harder stance on “malicious insults,” “veiled threats” via simulated violence and “hate speech.” Content creators ranging from gamers like PewDiePie to conservatives like Steven Crowder across the political spectrum saw this vague and slippery update as potentially damning for the platform’s future.

Felix Kjellberg, better known as PewDiePie on YouTube, hosts one of the largest channels on the platform. He blasted YouTube’s harassment policy update in a recent video, stating, "The thing I've learned about YouTube's policies is that it doesn't matter what they say. What matters is how they enforce it."

Content creators have warned about a potential flaw in the new harassment policy update, suggesting that old content that has already been posted and allowed to remain by the social media platform in accordance with previous YouTube policies may now be retroactively removed.

“Why retroactively take down videos?” PewDiePie asked. “If you’re gonna make a new policy change, then go from there. Don't go back in old videos to say, ‘Actually, this one, this one bad!’ What does that fix?”

In portraying PewDiePie only as a "gamer," Hall didn't mention any of the guy's content he might have to worry about getting removed -- he has, after all, put up content described as racist, insensitive and anti-Semitic and got a shout-out from the perpetrator of the New Zealand mosque massacre. Hall also failed to mention that Crowder is best known for his rampant homophobia (which the MRC has defended) than being any sort of "conservative."

In a Dec. 30 post, Hall lionized PewDiePie as a "YouTube influencer" and "a leading content creator on YouTube for years" and touted how he "questioned the future of the entire platform and its relationship with its creators. Again, Hall failed to mention the offensive subjects of that content; instead he made sure to hype how PewDiePie is "the only solo creator to pass the 100 million subscriber mark" and presents his view as authoritative and not at all trollish: "As a leading creator he has watched a widening gulf between YouTube’s corporate leadership and its community of grassroots creators who made it a thriving platform in the first place."


Posted by Terry K. at 10:01 PM EST
Saturday, January 4, 2020
MRC Intern Melts Down Over Colbert Song Parody
Topic: Media Research Center

For as much as the Media Research Center loves to mock those who fact-check right-wing satire sites like the Babylon Bee (though, as those fact-checkers point out, right-wingers have a bad habit of treating Babylon Bee items as fact), it can't stop freaking out about jokes.

As an adjunct to the MRC's defense of conservative journalist James Rosen after Nancy Pelosi once again called him out for who he is, Aiden Jackson had a freakout over something comedian Stephen Colbert did, under the headline "Colbert PRAISES Nancy Pelosi in Bizarre Video":

Everyone should find a person that looks at them the way Stephen Colbert looks at Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. On Thursday’s Late Show, Colbert did everything short of throwing rose petals at Pelosi’s feet as he opened his show with a fawning video tribute to his idol.

Hardly inexperienced in the practice of creating nauseating segments to appease his ultra-left audience, the music video salute to Pelosi may take the cake for worst of the worst. If you thought the “impeachment tree” was egregious…proceed to look at the clip below with caution.

The song begins with a snippet of CNN’s Jim Sciutto alerting his audience of Pelosi’s decision to move forward with impeachment: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announcing to the country and to the world that Articles of Impeachment against President Trump will proceed.” In an effort to create the image of a ‘strong woman,' a soundbite from Pelosi’s press conference then cuts in as she says, “Don't mess with me.”

To a wildly applauding audience, the video proceeded to cast Pelosi as a heroic woman who has been tasked with saving the country from peril (something that Colbert clearly believes to be the case):

Since Jackson is an MRC intern and, therefore, apparently a young person, she apparently missed the fact that Colbert's video is not particularly "bizarre" but, in fact, was a song parody of the kind he does regularly -- in this case, of Jim Croce's 1972 hit "You Don't Mess Around With Jim." Apparently, nobody else at the MRC apprised her of this fact (or were similarly ignorant about '70s music), which might have saved her from embarrassment over this meltdown.

Otherwise, Jackson is showing herself to be a student of the Curtis Houck School of Needlessly Vicious Partisan Hyperbole, declaring Colbert's humor to be "nauseating" and his audience "ultra-left."

Makes fact-checks of the Babylon Bee look rather tame in comparison, don't you think?

A couple weeks later, after the House voted for Trump's impeachment, the humorless Jackson lashed out at Colbert again, complaining that he "did not conceal his elation for President Trump’s impending impeachment in any way. His exuberance was uncontainable; so much so that the show began with a “merry impeachment” jingle sung by Pelosi, Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler characters." Jackson closed by declaring: "The impeachment of a duly elected President of the United States should be handled with grave importance and the utmost seriousness. Colbert’s excitement is telling of his disregard for the Constitution he purports to be protecting."

Making jokes about Trump is now a violation of the Constitution? When did that happen?


Posted by Terry K. at 10:53 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, January 4, 2020 11:23 AM EST
Friday, January 3, 2020
MRC Helps Eric Trump Lie About Wash. Post's Readership
Topic: Media Research Center

On Dec. 13, the Media Research Center's NewsBusters Twitter account tweeted out a graphic with the MRC's logo and a quote from President's Trump's son, Eric Trump:

How few people read The Washington Post? You know who reads The Washington Post? The people in the Beltway, right. And universally they're the most hated people in America by Americans.

The tweet added, "Eric Trump doesn't mince words." But he-- and, thus, the MRC -- is lying.

The Washington Post stated in April 2019: "The Washington Post recorded 86.6 million unique visitors in March 2019, according to comScore. This is a 5.5 percent increase month-over-month. The Post’s mobile audience also grew, increasing nearly 6 percent month-over-month to 71.8 million monthly unique visitors."

Now, 86.6 million unique visitors is not a "few" by any stretch of the imagination.Given that the population of the entire Washington metro area is a little over 6 million -- only about one-third whom live inside the Beltway -- we can safely assume that the Post's readership extends well beyond the DC region.

In other words, only a small fraction of the Post's readership is inside the Beltway. But since when is the MRC interested in promoting facts when they contradict its anti-media agenda?


Posted by Terry K. at 1:35 PM EST
Thursday, January 2, 2020
MRC Again Defends Conservative Journalist Who Tangled With Pelosi
Topic: Media Research Center

We've previously noted how defensive the Media Research Center is of right-wing reporter -- formerly of Fox News and currently with Sinclair Broadcasting -- when Nancy Pelosi calls out his bias. Well, Pelosi did it again, and the MRC defended him again after Rosen followed another Republican talking point by asking Pelosi if she wants President Trump impeached because she hates him.

Nicholas Fondacaro unsurprisingly took Rosen's side, pejoratively declaring that Pelosi's "anger flared as she lashed out in response (something they would have condemned President Trump for)," going on to complain about media coverage of the incident: "When President Trump slammed the press, it was a destructive attack on the First Amendment, our institutions, and our democracy. But when Pelosi did it, it was considered her just flexing her power."

Curtis Houck kept up the pejorative language, attacking Pelosi's "lashing out" at Rosen and complaining that "the liberal media decided to play it up as a testament to Pelosi’s 'stunning' leadership."

Alex Christy grumbled that CNN "explicitly took the side of a politician railing against a journalist. Because the politician was liberal, and the journalist works for a conservative-owned set of TV stations. The words 'Jim Acosta' never crossed their lips." At least Christy admitted that Sinclair is conservative-leaning, which is progress. Of course, if Acosta had asked such a question of a Republican politician, the MRC would have lost its collective mind.

Krstine Marsh also bashed Pelosi for "angrily lecturing" and "lashing out at" Rosen,  but she did concede he's a conservative reporter. She went on to huff: "This isn’t the first time Pelosi has been hostile to Rosen. Just two weeks ago, Pelosi bashed Rosen as “Mr. Republican Talking Points,” at another presser." Marsh refused to admit that characterization is accurate.

Houck whined in a Dec. 6 post:

While CNN host Jake Tapper has defended journalists on numerous occasions over the course of his career, he chose not to during Thursday night’s CNN town hall with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, allowing her to jab Sinclair Broadcast Group as not a real news organization and James Rosen as not a real journalist.

In other words, it was more of the route he took toward Dana Loesch and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) during the Parkland show trial.

Tim Graham complained that "Supposedly right-leaning New York Timescolumnist David Brooks once again demonstrated it's hilarious he's supposed to represent a more conservative point of view in the NPR and PBS week-in-review roundtables. He paid unctuous tribute on both networks Friday night to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's slashing attack on Sinclair reporter James Rosen, going on to whine: "NPR offered no audio of Rosen, or the point he was trying to make -- which was Republicans claimed the impeachment attempt was because Democrats hated Trump. Neither did PBS. Putting reporters in context isn't important when it's time to praise Nancy Pelosi as she boasts of her devout Catholicism."

Yes, Graham has once again decided that context is an important thing after all.

Marsh returned to be appalled that comedian Stephen Colbert made comedy out of the situation, huffily adding: "Perhaps someone should inform his audience that Rosen was one of the conservative reporters who was spied on by the Obama administration. In the age where there is never enough outrage from the left over press freedom, Colbert sure doesn’t seem to care about that, if the journalist isn't beholden to the Democratic Party."

If Rosen wasn't beholden to President Trump and Republicans, the MRC wouldn't give a damn about him.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:59 PM EST
Wednesday, January 1, 2020
MRC Promotes Jordan Peterson's So-Called 'Free Speech' Website (Where The MRC Has Its Own Space)
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center -- as part of its failed narrative that conservatives are being uniquely discriminated against on social media -- spent 2019 touting right-wing motivational speaker Jordan Peterson's new social media platform. Alexander Hall -- who has previously touted Peterson as "the famous academic who has made a career out of intellectually sparring with political-correctness" -- gushed in June:

An upcoming free speech platform promises to provide users the best features of other social media, but without the censorship.

The subscription based “anti-censorship” platform “Thinkspot” is being created by popular psychologist Dr. Jordan B. Peterson. It’s being marketed as a free speech alternative to payment processors like Patreon in that it will “monetize creators” and also provide a social media alternative to platforms like Facebook and YouTube. 

Peterson discussed Thinkspot with podcaster Joe Rogan on June 9, emphasizing a radically pro-free speech Terms of Service. He described freedom as the “central” aspect saying, “once you're on our platform we won't take you down unless we’re ordered to by a US court of law.”

That will be a profound contrast to platforms that ban users for “misgendering” people who identify as trans, or for tweeting “learn to code” at fired journalists.

When October rolled around, Hall breathlessly declared: "BREAKING: Beta Testing for Jordan Peterson’s Free Speech Platform Thinkspot Goes Live!" He did, however, disclose that the MRC has a vested interest in the project:

Dr Jordan B Peterson’s meteoric rise in popularity has started intense intellectual conversations on topics from free speech to gender politics. Now, after seeing free speech threatened by Big Tech censorship, he worked with experts to create his own platform for people to have just those kinds of discussions.

MRC Techwatch, which covered the creation of this new platform, was selected as one of the first users.

One has to wonder if Hall's earlier piece, plus his predeliction to grant Peterson the "Dr." honorific and his middle initial, prompted Peterson to give the MRC that early access. Hall wasn't done gushing, though:

The main page of the website shows a menu of intellectual commentators to follow, podcasts to listen to, and thought-provoking articles to read. 

One of the features shown is that users can purchase access to dozens of e-Books ranging from Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life to the Communist Manifesto or Little Women, and be able to converse with other users about the ideas in various passages. Users can also annotate podcasts, adding their comments to specific times in the podcast.

Hall did concede that ThinkSpot isn't as "free speech" friendly as he portrayed, admitting that the site "may remove any content or comments from contributors or users at any time if we deem the content is in violation of law or otherwise violates these terms."

Hall hasn't said anything about ThinkSpot since then -- perhaps because the reality of Peterson's website is not nearly as rosy as he portrayed.

Right Wing Watch delved into ThinkSpot and declared it "an absolute mess that is ripe for disaster" -- and, essentially, a money-making scheme for Peterson. Users are expected to pay $30 a year for basic content, but must pay $120 a year to access "exclusive" content from Peterson. Those e-books Hall touted are only functional within ThinkSpot, limiting their usefulness. Gizmodo similarly sees ThinkSpot as a Peterson cash grab.

You're not going to hear about any of that from Hall and the MRC, though -- they have a vested interest in making sure Peterson doesn't come off as a grifter.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:44 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, January 1, 2020 7:11 PM EST
Tuesday, December 31, 2019
VULGAR: MRC's Houck Calls CNN's Avlon A 'Prick' For Ciriticizing Trump
Topic: Media Research Center

For all of its lecturing about non-right-wing media being insufficiently "family friendly" (for, among other things, acknowledging that LGBT people exist), the Media Research Center is no stranger to offensive vulgarity. Take, for example, a Dec. 17 post by Curtis Houck that currently carries the headline "Smug: CNN’s Avlon Says Trump Letter Will Cause Questions About His ‘Mental State’."

But as the item's URL makes clear, the word "smug" wasn't originally in that headline; it replaced the word "prick"  -- which, as we all know, is a vulgarity to describe the penis.

While the headline on NewsBusters was changed, the reposting of Houck's item at MRCTV retains "prick." 

The post itself offers no clue as to why Houck would desperately invoke such a tired vulgarity -- or why he apparently thought better of it and tried to change it -- but he was in full lecture mode, hurling every condescending descriptor he could think of at Avlon for daring to point out the unhinged nature of President Trump's letter to Nancy Pelosi:

Who died and made CNN senior political analyst/supercilious wingnut John Avlon the bearer of what’s right, wrong, partisan, and non-partisan? Well, apparently his smug, ruling class attitude and lectures to flyover country was on-brand for CNN and boss Jeffrey Zucker. 

On Tuesday afternoon’s CNN Newsroom, Avlon proclaimed that the President’s “embarrassing” letter responding to his impending impeachment would cause Republican Senators to raise questions about his “mental state.” Ah, so Avlon decided to play psychiatrist!

[...]

And for good measure, Avlon reveled in the claim by liberal media-pleasing Republicans Jeff Flake and Mike Murphy that between 30 or 35 Republicans would vote to impeach Trump if the process were done in secret. So, that shows you who Avlon thinks was an authoritative voice on the “right.”

He also lectured Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as disgraceful for refusing to hear more witnesses and information at the Senate trial, but thought differently in 1998. Avlon alluded to Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s change from 1998 and 1999, but when you’re a hack like Avlon, liberal flips are minor inconveniences.

It's so entertaining when conervative activists like Houck attack liberals  for having a "smug, ruling class attitude" -- as if his job at a prominent Washington political organization doesn't make him part of a certain "ruling class" or hasn't given him a attitude so smug that he feels entitled to hurl vulgar insults at those with whom he disagrees.

Since he is managing editor of NewsBusters, Houck presumably plays a role in setting the website's tone, so his superiors such as Brenet Bozell and Tim Graham apparently have no problem with the increasingly offensive direction that tone is taking. After all, he was managing editor for at least part of the time that Tom Blumer was inserting white nationalist links into his NewsBusters posts, and it was only when others caught the links that they were deleted and Blumer was fired -- with no apparent discipline handed out to anyone at the MRC who should have caught those offensive links beforehand and saved the organization from embarassment.

Houck's -- and the MRC's -- hatred and intolerance for media people who are not unquestionigly pro-Trump is becoming less veiled and more vicious. So pardon us if we think their concerns about "family-friendly" media ring more than a little hollow.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:26 PM EST
Monday, December 30, 2019
MRC 'Reviewer' Hates 'High School Musical' Series For Having Gay Characters
Topic: Media Research Center

We've noted that the Media Research Center has flagged streaming channel Disney+'s extremely meta "High School Musical" series -- a mockumentary about a high school students staging "High School Musical," a musical about high school students staging a musical -- for committing the offense of having too many apparently gay characters (which is to say, any at all). Lindsay Kornick huffed at the time, "And this wouldn’t be a high school theater department without the effeminate male co-star. This show actually has two."

Well, Kornick has been made by the MRC to hate-watch the show, and true to form, she's finding any and all gay-related stuff positively icky. In a Nov. 29 post, she whined that "the show appears to be leaning more to the left than a show aimed for kids should be. Case in point, the latest episode literally has a character wearing a Pride shirt." Yes, Kornick was triggered by a T-shirt.

She went on to complain that because one of the show's characters has two moms, "there’s practically an obligation to promote Gay Pride, even on a show for kids," adding: "I know promoting the LGBT agenda is becoming unfortunately popular for children’s programming, but that doesn’t make these moments any less disappointing. And coming from famously family-friendly Disney, it’s even worse." Or perhaps it's because Disney wants to include all families in its quest to be "famously family-friendly."

Kornick's gay-bashing continued in a Dec. 9 post, where she ranted that the show "seems to be continuing its sad decline into liberal propaganda" as it "piles on its progressive image with the franchise’s first gay romance." She then attacked one of the actors taking part in it for cheering the subplot as a sign of progress in Hollywood, sneering, "That assumes that people beyond Hollywood degenerates are clamoring for kids to talk about sexual orientation and that no show between 2006 to 2019 ever showed that. Both of those things sadly couldn’t be more wrong."

So including gay-related material in a TV show makes one a "Hollywood degenerate"? Apparently so, because Kornick hammers that point further in her conclusion: "Hollywood will stop at nothing to normalize any degeneracy, and it looks like Disney+ is just another platform to do it."

Note to Kornick: If you think all non-heterosexuals are "degenerates" and you're capable of doing nothing beyond denigrating them, maybe you have no business pretending to objectively "review" a TV show that has such characters in it.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:04 PM EST
Updated: Monday, December 30, 2019 1:23 PM EST
Sunday, December 29, 2019
MRC Is Appalled At The Idea of Non-Heterosexuality In 'Star Wars'
Topic: Media Research Center

Just as it has meltdowns about pretty much any media portrayal of anything not heterosexual, the Media Research Center has been melting down over the idea that there be non-heterosexual characters in the "Star Wars" universe. Gabriel Hays kicked off the meltdown when it was announced in October:

The only surprising thing about Disney putting an alien gay couple in a Star Wars series is that it took this long. Now LGBTQers can finally dry their eyes because the galaxy far far away is incorporating otherworldly sexualities into the mix.

Because according to Disney, kids need to know that even indiscernable, non-human biological entities have same sex relationships too.

Indiewire reported that Disney Channel’s Star Wars Resistance debuted the beloved sci-fi universe’s first ever gay couple made up of aliens Orka and Flix. Though many might claim, “So what? It’s a kids’ show,” there are plenty of grown men who will tell you that anything introduced to the franchise in any capacity becomes canon. Perhaps just in time to get audiences primed for a gay couple in the final movie this Christmas?

I mean what else would you expect from Disney’s social conditioning?

[...]

So this isn’t only about gay sex, but about inter-sepcies sex too? And to think, If we’re confused, how are the kids going to react to it? Granted you might accuse us of being the kinds of people who would complain that Donkey and Dragon got together in Shrek but that was obviously a joke. The difference here is that people at Indiewire see this as a milestone for representation and that’s disturbing.

On Dec. 4, Hays took another shot at melting down, complaining that "director J.J. Abrams and Disney can finally claim that the LGBTQ representation is strong with this one" and lamenting that some fans were shipping the two male leads in the current film trilogy. He went on to sneer, "I miss the days when the biggest Star Wars controversy was whether Hans shot first."

Hays went on to whine about the actual non-heterosexual scene in the new Star Wars film, under the mocking headline "Two Lesbians Walk Into a 'Star Wars' Bar":

At this point, there really is only one major unresolved plot point remaining in the endless Star Wars saga: Where are the gay space aliens?

Surely a story that spans galaxies and light years and campy dive cantinas must have run in to some, er, marginalized sexualities. Surely space pirates must have accidentally raided a “Wookie Cruise.”

The good news — for progressives that is — is that there is a gay scene stitched in with all the lasers, quips and intergalactic turmoil. The bad news is that it’s clearly just a cheap throwaway compared to what LGBTQ fans were hoping for.

Hays added that Abrams "can’t please everyone, not the diehard gays, nor the normal folks who don’t want to see it." Actually, it's the vicious homophobia from people like Hays that's not "normal."

Hays is so homophobic that he even devoted a Dec. 2 post to mocking "Star Wars" actor Billy Dee Williams for allegedly declaring himself to be "gender-fluid," huffing: "But seriously, you can still get in touch with your feelings without having to manifest a gay split personality. Real men throughout history wore capes and had canes and they were still secure in their masculinity."

It turned out that wasn't true, however. An editor's note appended to the post states that "Billy Dee Williams has since clarified that his statements on gender were not about a specific sexual orientation, but rather a figure of speech alluding to him getting in touch with his feminine side. Multiple sources which this post was based on incorrectly assumed that Billy Dee Williams had come out as 'gender-fluid'."

right-wing film critic Christian Toto also weighed in with a Dec. 14 post portraying the "LGBTQ messaging" in the new film as something that will purportedly "alienate, mock or downright dismiss right-leaning fans," adding: "The vast majority of conservatives have no issue with people in that demographic. What they object to, though, is pushing social agendas in their beloved stories."

Oh, Mr. Hays has amply demonstrated that he very much has issues with LGBT people, which Toto bizarrely dismisses as a "demographic."


Posted by Terry K. at 11:03 AM EST
Saturday, December 28, 2019
MRC Also Feels Sadness That Chick-Fil-A Stopped Hating Gays Like The MRC Does
Topic: Media Research Center

So invested was the Media Research Center in Chick-fil-A supporting anti-gay causes that when a newspaper noted that Kanye West gave a shout-out to the "notoriously anti-LGBTQ" fast food chain in his new Christian album, Alexa Moutevelis enthusiastically wrote, "Pardon me as I listen to Kanye’s new album while picking up Chick-fil-A on my way to the next pro-life rally."

But Chick-fil-A has changed its charitable giving strategy to de-emphasize anti-gay activism, the MRC -- along with WorldNetDaily and MRC "news" division CNSNews.com -- is having a major sad. Gabriel Hays was feeling particularly betrayed after all that conservatives have done to support the chain's gay-hating tendencies:

The fact that once-proud Christian establishment Chick-fil-A has just been scared off from donating to its Christian allies by the leftist mob feels like a betrayal and the end of an era. For the past seven years, the chain has championed conservative Christians and their values and now, by ditching their donations to Christian charities to appease a vocal 4 percent of the population, it’s clear they care more about their PC image than the Christians who stuck by them through thick and thin.

[...]

Conservatives and Christians immediately went to Chick-fil-A’s defense, slamming the media’s glaring double standards. Media Research Center’s Founder and President Brent Bozell led a conservative coalition for the Christian company, including other conservative groups like Family Research Council, the Alliance Defending Freedom, and the Susan B. Anthony List, among others. In a press release, Bozell claimed, “The media smeared anyone who lined up for a chicken sandwich as an anti-gay bigot instead of a proud Christian or free speech patriot.”

[...]

It’s clear that Chick-fil-A has flipped on what appeared to be rock-solid convictions and abandoned many of the conservatives who have bent over backward to protect it. The saddest aspect is that the chain is selling out the values of at least 35 percent of the population (conservative Americans) to appease the Christian-hating anger of a much smaller 4 percent (LGBT Americans) who, as we’ve seen, will never be satisfied. 

Just because hating gays is popular among Christian conservatives doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. Hays doesn't explain why people must do the allegedly popular thing even if it's wrong.

Two days later, Hays returned to rage that the Salvation Army was among the groups that Chick-fil-A would no longer fund, even though it "discriminates against no one" (though it has been linked to anti-gay sentiments): "The fact that Chick-fil-A’s move was clearly a response to its leftist media detractors — who have smeared it for giving to 'anti-LGBTQ' groups — also bolstered the Salvation Army’s image as a discriminatory group rather than a company that gives aid to all because of its overtly Christian message." But if the Salvation Army truly doesn't discriminate against gays, why is Hays defending it? If hating gays is as fundamental to Christianity as Hays insists, he should be angry with the group for its delcared non-discrimination policy, right?

Still, Hays lamented: "Sadly, Chick-fil-A’s been made to back away from its Christian image for the sake of thriving in the lefty dominated corporate world. And, you know, Chick-fil-A can sink its own ship if it wants, but the fact that it’s hanging the Salvation Army out to dry is a shame and pretty much proof that its Christian-ness isn’t such a priority anymore."

Matt Philbin weighed in as well on a side issue:

Conservatives were surprised when it was announced in November that Chick-fil-A was ending its philanthropic partnerships with the Salvation Army, The Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Paul Anderson Youth home, three organization repeatedly targeted by the left as being “anti-LGBT.” But the news that the chain gives to (among other objectionable groups) the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is simply stunning.

Philbin then invoked the bogeyman of Floyd Corkin's failed shooting attack on the Family Research Council to attack the SPLC, whom Philbin blames for the incident because Corkins claimed to have found the FRC on a list of hate groups on the SPLC's website: "SPLC is a progressive direct mail giant -- a lefty hate group that makes money screaming “Hate Group” at anyone to the right of People for the American Way. It trades in slander and fear, and in the case of FRC, it nearly got people killed."

But the basis for Philbin's post isn't true: It turns out that the SPLC donation was made by a volunteer for the company's charitable foundation, not by the foundation itself. No correction has been made to Philbin's post.

Hays, meanwhile, wasn't don't ranting, compelled to bring up Chick-fil-A in  posts on other subjects. On Dec. 18, he huffed that the situation involving the Hallmark Channel's botched ban of a commercial featuring a same-sex couple "sounds like every ransom note sent to Chick-fil-A by LGBTQ groups before the chicken restaurant caved," adding that the chain was "forced to capitulate" to LGBT advocacy groups. On Dec. 20, he whined that advocacy group GLAAD "is just up to its ridiculous playground bullying. With the blessing of the media, it gets to strut around and bully folks like Hallmark and Chick-fil-A into doing its bidding, while crying about victimization."

Hays seems to be feeling particularly victimized that his safe space where he can bash and mock gays with impunity is being infringed upon.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:19 AM EST
Friday, December 27, 2019
MRC Ignores Context To Push Pro-Trump 'No Quid Pro Quo' Talking Point
Topic: Media Research Center

As we know, the Media Research Center is not really about its stated purpose of trying to "create a media culture in America where truth and liberty flourish" -- it's all about serving as an adjunct to the Trump presidency and re-election campaign (possibly violating its nonprofit tax status in the process). As a result, the MRC is in no small part pro-Trump and pro-Republican talking points masquerading as "media research."

A good example of this is a Dec. 2 post by Nicholas Fondacaro:

In a recent interview with TIME magazine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he never approached conversations with President Trump “from the position of a quid pro quo.” It was a declaration that poked a major hole in the left’s impeachment narrative, but the liberal broadcast networks would have none of it during their Monday evening newscasts. Two of them downplayed the comments and one just flat out refused to report them.

“Trump's strategy all along: deny he's done anything wrong and trash the process. Today, he argued the president of Ukraine backs him up,” scoffed ABC senior national correspondent Terry Moran on World News Tonight.

[...]

There was a similar song and dance on CBS Evening News with chief congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes. After another soundbite of Trump telling people to check out what Zelensky said, Cordes downplayed the quid pro quo balloon being popped:

Fondacaro pushed this same pro-Trump talking point in another post the same day:

Just as the liberal broadcast networks did Monday evening, CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta batted away an interview Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky did with TIME magazine, in which he stated he did not approach his conversation with President Trump “from the position of a quid pro quo.” Despite that fact, Acosta treated the development as some kind of unimportant statement Trump was “seizing on.”

“The President will be spending the week meeting with NATO leaders here in London. But he’s also latching onto comments made this week by the leader of Ukraine saying, that those comments really exonerate him in this impeachment process. But that's not really the case,” Acosta scoffed as he began his report.

For Fondacaro to embrace this pro-Trump narrative, however, he must focus only on that statement and deny the importance of other things Zelensky said in the Time interview. Here's the full statement from which Fondacaro (and Trump) cherry-picked that line:

Look, I never talked to the president from the position of a quid pro quo. That’s not my thing. … I don’t want us to look like beggars. But you have to understand. We’re at war. If you’re our strategic partner, then you can’t go blocking anything for us. I think that’s just about fairness. It’s not about a quid pro quo. It just goes without saying.

It seems clear that Zelensky was not denying a quid pro quo was made; rather, he said that he would never have accepted one and was upset that Trump was "blocking" aid to Ukraine.

Fondacaro did note Zelensky's "you can’t go blocking anything for us" statement -- he simply dismissed the fact that it undermined the "quid pro quo" statement. In the first post, Fondacaro huffed that an ABC reporter "interrupted a soundbite of Trump explaining what Zelensky said to contradict the President" in bringing up the "blocking" statement and that a CBS reporter also bringing it up meant that she "downplayed the quid pro quo balloon being popped." In the latter post, Fondacaro noted that "Acosta read from Zelensky’s statement" including the "blocking" remark while failing to acknowledge its importance.

Fondacaro also complained that "the liberal media and left will downplay, deflect, and ignore Zelensky’s comments" -- even though he was ignoring and downplaying critical context showing that Zelensky was not saying what he and Trump wanted him to say.

Ignoring inconvenient facts to forward a partisan political narrative isn't "media research" -- it's the work of a political campaign. Which makes Fondacaro a political activist, not a "news analyst."


Posted by Terry K. at 1:28 PM EST
Thursday, December 26, 2019
MRC's Hypocritical Attacks On Bloomberg News
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is needlessly inserting itself into the Democratic presidential campaign in a way that seems to push against its nonprofit tax designation that prohibits most partisan political activity.

The MRC has been incensed by Bloomberg News' decision not to investigate Michael Bloomberg, its owner and newly minted Democratic presidential candidate, or other Democratic candidates in order ot avoid a conflict of interest -- but will continue to report critically on President Trump. Jjoseph Vazquez complained that this comes "at the expense of the credibility" of Bloomberg News -- as if he or anyone else at the MRC cares about the outlet's credibility.

Nicholas Fondacaro declared that "Some might argue it was the weaponization of a media outlet for personal gain,"huffing: "For all the liberal smears against Fox News claiming they’re 'state-run media,' it has become clear that's exactly what Bloomberg News would become if former Mayor Michael Bloomberg wins in 2020."

Tim Graham and Brent Bozell predictably whined in their Nov. 27 column:

In reality, Bloomberg's journalists have been compromised ever since Bloomberg first ran for mayor of New York City in 2001. After 12 years as mayor, Bloomberg became a big-time sugar daddy to liberal activists pushing government crackdowns on fossil fuel production and gun ownership. How "objective" reporters could ethically navigate all of their owner's political activism seems impossible.

But let's face it: Back then, the rest of the "news" media never found this objectionable. Bloomberg News was branded in a business-news niche and, in that sphere, looked like a progressive influence, so they didn't care.

[...]

Journalists who perpetually lament Trump's destruction of "democratic norms" now face a candidate who's obliterating all the journalistic norms. This is an ethical test. Let's see how many will try to skip the class and hope it goes away.

The funny part here is that Bozell runs a "news" operation, CNSNews.com, that is not allowed to report critically on him or its parent organization. For instance, when Bozell was exposed in 2014 as simply slapping his name on columns that Graham ghost-wrote for years -- thus shaming him into adding Graham as a credited co-author -- CNS not only reported nothing about the controversy, it froze comments on a Bozell column after too many commenters pointed out the deception. Indeed, it seems one of CNS' main function is to repeat right-wing talking points generated by the MRC, seemingly demonstrating that it has no editorial independence at all. Which makes Bozell's concern about Bloomberg "obliterating ... journalistic norms" more than a little hypocritical.

Meanwhile, the MRC continued to exploit the story:

  • Jeffrey Lord ranted that "What Americans are witnessing at Bloomberg is up-front corruption. ... Bloomberg News will now be an in-kind campaign contribution — and not only to owner Michael Bloomberg but to every other candidate in the race for the Democratic nomination."
  • Fondacaro touted how the move "was almost universally panned, with the media beat Sunday shows on both CNN and Fox News criticizing the Bloomberg News.
  • Curtis Houck cheered how "the Trump campaign announced in a statement they would not be credentialing anyone from “Bloomberg News for rallies or other campaign events” due to the news outlet’s policy of banning their journalists from investigating founder Michael Bloomberg and his 2020 Democratic opponents but insisting they continue digging into President Donald Trump."
  • Graham complained that TV networks have not reported on "Bloomberg’s destruction of journalistic norms."
  • Houck served up a similar "the media isn't covering a story that advances the MRC's agenda" piece, grousing that "CBS News has refused to show on its morning or evening newscast 2020 Democratic Michael Bloomberg telling CBS This Morning co-host and Democratic friend Gayle King that Bloomberg News journalists need “to live with” the company policy that Bloomberg and primary opponents can’t be investigated but President Trump can."

None of ehse writers disclosed that the MRC does not allow its "news" division the same freedom it's demanding from Bloomberg.

The MRC then inserted itself into the story, as a Dec. 10 post (which was also translated into Spanish) announced:

On Monday, The Media Research Center (MRC) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against Bloomberg LP, the owner of Bloomberg News, Michael Bloomberg and Mike Bloomberg 2020, Inc.

The complaint maintains that the policy adopted by Bloomberg News to omit investigating Mike Bloomberg and the other Democratic presidential candidates while continuing to investigate Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump potentially is an improper contribution to Bloomberg’s campaign under FEC regulations.

[...]

“Bloomberg News is making a mockery of legitimate journalism. They have consciously chosen to abandon their journalistic responsibilities in favor of what is politically convenient,” stated MRC President Brent Bozell.

“This is a public declaration that Bloomberg’s newsroom is adopting media bias as an official policy,” Bozell added.“This is not only categorically unethical, but potentially illegal, which is why we are calling for an investigation.”

Of course, Bozell's own "news" division actually does what Bozell is accusing Bloomberg News of: adopting media bias as an official policy and abandoning their journalistic responsibilities in favor of what is politically convenient. He'll never admit that, of course.

The press release also noted that "According to FEC law, the 'media exemption' that would normally exempt media organizations from federal campaign finance disclosure laws does not apply if 'the facility is owned or controlled by any political party, political committee, or candidate' should the organization fail to 'give reasonably equal coverage to all opposing candidates.'"

As we've noted, CNS does not give "reasonably equal coverage," attacking Democratic presidential candidates while cranking out pro-Trump stenography that even uncritically repeats his falsehoods. Does this violate FEC law? After all, the MRC is arguably choosing to operate as a "political committee" in apparent violation of its 501(c)(3) nonprofit tax status.

Almost as if proving our point, CNS managing editor Michael W. Chapman published a rewritten version of the MRC press release the same day -- under the exact same headline as the press release -- instead of offering an indepenvent view of the issue. Chapman couldn't even be bothered to seek comment from Bloomberg News or the Bloomberg campaign.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:36 PM EST
Wednesday, December 25, 2019
MRC Is Unhappy That Hallmark Channel Reversed Ad Featuring Same-Sex Couple
Topic: Media Research Center

At first, the Media Research Center was happy that the Hallmark Channel banned an ad featuring a same-sex couple. In a Dec. 15 post, Alexa Moutevelis touted how the right-wing anti-gay group One Million Moms demanded that the channel "stop airing LGBTQ ads and to never air LGBTQ-themed Christmas movies," praising the channel's initial decision to drop the ads as a blow for "preservation of sexual morality."

But Moutevelis had to do an update lamenting that "Hallmark folded already" and reversed the ad ban.

Cue resident MRC gay-hater Gabriel Hays:

Hallmark’s reversal on pulling Zola’s “lesbian” wedding ad sent another shockwave through the media world Sunday night after it had just been whipped up into a frenzy. CBS, ABC and NBC’s Monday morning shows all featured news on the “controversial” redecision, though unsurprisingly they leaned almost exclusively on LGBTQ talking points from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD.)

As he has before, Hays went on to attack GLAAD leader Sarah Kate Ellis as "the woman who insists that TV shows need 20% LGBTQ representation by 2025, even though only 4% of the population is LGBTQ. Wouldn’t it seem that her ideas on representation are a little skewed?" Not as skewed as Hays, who clearly believes that non-heterosexuals should be forbidden from appearing on TV at all.

Hays also whined that those who support the channel's reversal of the ad ban "are under the false impression that the difference between heterosexual and homosexual relationships is merely superficial, so this entire debacle is touted as a win for human decency. Though we know it’s just another media-sanctioned rebuke against conservatives."

This was followed by another Hays post ranting about the mere idea that a Hallmark Christmas movie could feature a same-sex couple:

The pro-LGBTQ media is now giving advice to the Hallmark Channel on how best to redress offending gays after the network reversed their decision to pull a lesbian ad last week. Of course, it came as no surprise that entertainment outlet Indiewire insisted that Hallmark make a gay movie to prove where its loyalty really lies.

You’ve already bent the knee, Hallmark, but you’re going to have to kiss the rainbow ring.

[...]

For conservatives, particularly One Million Moms — the conservative group that encouraged Hallmark to pull the Zola ad featuring a lesbian wedding — this adds insult to injury. On top of Hallmark distancing from conservatives, and apologizing and expressing desire for more gay ads after LGBTQ backlash, the media jumped on One Million Moms and other “anti-LGBTQ” groups, tarring and feathering them with smears like the SPLC’s infamous “Hate Group” label. Indiewire’s advice is again asking the once apolitical channel to continue thumbing its nose at conservatives.

Hays also invoked the anti-gay MRC talking point du jour that GLAAD "represents a measly 4 percent of the population, but demands 20 percent of TV characters be LGBTQ by 2025, for the sake of 'inclusivity.'"

And, of course, Tim Graham and Brent Bozell had to rant about it in their Dec. 24 column dismissing the Hallmark controversy as a media-manufactured "outrage of interest" (complettely omitting that it was a right-wing anti-gay group that started it):

This time it was the Hallmark Channel, perhaps the last "safe zone" for families honoring Christmas. The LGBT fascists declared war on the network after it failed to air an ad during their usual holiday fare for the wedding website Zola that featured lesbians kissing. The networks were completely in sync with their allies in the gay community. The Hallmark surrender came quickly, and everyone cheered.

So to sum up: turning Jesus into a gay druggie is not an outrage. Sparing a family audience from a lesbian kiss is an outrage. No wonder they're upset when a Supreme Court justice says "Merry Christmas." 

The duo didn't explain why anyone has to be "spared" from a "lesbian kiss."


Posted by Terry K. at 3:00 PM EST
What LGBT Stuff Is The MRC Freaking Out About Now?
Topic: Media Research Center

There's been so much anti-LGBT stuff at the Media Research Center lately that we've had to split up the transgender, drag queen and nonbinary stuff. But don't worry -- the MRC is making sure to freak out about the regular ol' gay stuff too.

Freakouts over gay penguins are a right-wing thing, and Elise Ehrhard added to the canon in a post complaining that a Netflix show "pushes the “gay penguin” myth," insisting that "penguins are not gay. They are just lonely." She further whined: "Penguins are gay and they are supposedly all going to die from climate change anyway. Brave New World was saner."

Gabriel Hays whined that there are too many gays on TV and that GLAAD wants to see 20 percent LGBTQ representation:

Congratulations to GLAAD. A group that claims to speak for four percent of the population has already reached its 2020 goal of bullying Hollywood into over-representing gays on TV. In fact, according to the organization’s “Where We Are On TV” report, gay characters are at an “ all-time high.” The group boasts “10 percent LGBTQ inclusion among broadcast series regular characters on primetime scripted series,” with all LGBT series regulars comprising 10.2 percent of network characters.

Well done. Now how about taking a breather — bask in the accomplishment for a minute and … Nope.

[...]

Again, there is no dearth of LGBTQ representation, but an overabundance. Just four percent of the American population is LGBTQ (some even report that it’s less,), but they’ve long been over-represented in lefty Hollywood. Make-believe numbers have real-life implications, though. A 2011 Gallup poll reported that Americans were convinced that gays made up 25 percent of the population.

Is that inflated perception any wonder when GLAAD’s on track to quintuple the actual population on screen? And what if Hollywood makes 20 percent of its fictional characters gay? We’ll start presuming every other person’s LGBT? And if we start questioning that, they’ll still be insisting that we’re oppressing their exposure and hindering their freedom of expression.

Ehrhard returned to rant about a commercial for a car that isn't even sold in the U.S.:

It is 2019 which means that all childhood innocence must be sexualized and weaponized for the LGBT movement. Introducing the latest entry in this slow-burn of Western Civilization: a viral car commercial.

The new ad for the Renault Clio in the UK, released on November 7 and titled “30 Years in the Making,” begins with a sweet childhood friendship between two girls. The friendship becomes more…intimate…as the girls grow-up. The children give each other mix tapes, run along the beach and hug. Their girlish hug transitions into a more romantic adolescent embrace. The two burgeoning women eventually make-out in the rain. Their lesbian relationship ends in a “marriage” with a fatherless little girl in the back seat of the Renault. Interestingly, the ad chose not to sexualize two boys to generate sales.

Ehrhard managed to leap to this to huff that "No one dares probe why lesbian relationship have shockingly high rates of domestic violence or the tragic physical consequences of sodomy in the lives of gay men.

Dawn Slusher was mad that CW’s teen drama "All American" commited the offense of having "featured a song that preached tolerance for gays being “who they are” while subtly showing disdain for God and the Bible." She defends Christians hating "homosexuality" by denying there's any hate there:

We can see homosexuality as a sin and still love gay people. A true Christian who follows the Bible also follows God’s Word about putting others above ourselves and loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. That includes all sinners. A true Christian doesn’t believe they’re any better or above someone else just because they sin differently.

You can stay or you can leave, but this is us. And we’re not changing who we are for anyone or anything, either.

Yet the MRC doesn't obsess over the immorality of President Trump the way it obsesses over the existence of gay people in the media. There seems to be a double standard to Slusher's version of Christian love.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:12 AM EST
Tuesday, December 24, 2019
The MRC's Gender-Neutral and Nonbinary Freakouts
Topic: Media Research Center

In addition to hating transgenders and drag queens, the Media Research Center has serious issues with anything or anyone considered to be nonbinary or gender-neutral. We've already noted its freakout over a nonbinary villain in the new "She-Ra" cartoon, and there's more where that came from.

Sadi Martin complained that an episode of the CBS series "All Rise" "reeked of political correctness and liberal bias, focusing on non-binary identification," going on to whine: "All Rise is trying to take everything and make it out to be about feelings, rather than logic and justice, and now they have taken the law, which while it is open to some interpretation, is not 'binary' as [defense attorney] Emily claims, in a desperate attempt to relate the law to her client, but is ordered and rational."

Following up on an earlier freakout over gender-neutral Barbie dolls that he called "plastic monstrosities" that mean "now your son can occupy the budding years of his childhood fantasizing about what it’s like being some androgynous weirdo," Gabriel Hays complained about an op-ed that, in his description, made the argument that gender-neutral dolls are "not woke enough," prompting Gabriel to go into full mocking sneer mode about people he personally despises: "But then again, how does one represent mental illness in a plastic doll?"Hays also had a major meltdown over Merriam-Webster choosing "they" as its word of the year:

Wonderful. The folks behind the leading English dictionary are now complicit in the left’s vendetta against biology, naming “they” as 2019’s “Word of the Year” and explaining that this achievement is very much based on the word’s newfound gender-neutral usage.

[...]

With a quick Google search, anyone can see the travesty for themselves. The definition of what used to be a simple third-person pronoun has a second official meaning: they can also be “used to refer to one person whose gender identity is nonbinary.” Well there you have it, folks. The lefty lunacy of “they/them” has been codified.

So, why did Merriam-Webster feel confident enough to buy into this mental illness? Well, because progressive lawmakers, agenda-driven psychologists and Hollywood wack jobs have been employing the term, of course. Merriam-Webster defended the pronoun’s “Word of the Year” status because Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), for instance, “revealed in April during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Equality Act that her child is gender-nonconforming and uses they.”

In any other society, Jayapal’s actions may be seen as child abuse, but in our PC wasteland it’s just a new parenting style you can look up in your current dictionary.

Only at the MRC could speaking a word in a way it doesn't like be seen as "child abuse."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:58 AM EST

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