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Tuesday, September 1, 2015
MRC's Laughably Anti-Sanger Censorship Crusade of Lies and Out-of-Context Quotes
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's crusade to censor an art exhibit at the Smithsonian by demanding that a bust of Margaret Sanger be forcibly removed from the building -- a crusade MRC has used its "news" division CNSNews.com to promote despite the breaches of journalistic ethics this has brought about -- is little more than kneejerk right-wing ranting that relies on lies and out-of-context quotes.

More evidence of this comes in the MRC's email campaign trying to get its followers to endorse its censorship effort. Check out this bit of ranting and egregiously out-of-context quotes the MRC servedup in an Aug. 26 email:

Margaret Sanger was arguably the largest advocate of eugenics in United States history, and her influence lives on in the 700 Planned Parenthood abortion clinics throughout the country -- 79 percent of which are located in predominantly black and Hispanic communities.

Eugenics (the notion and practice of removing “unfit” members of society through selective breeding and sterilization) was Sanger’s largest and most lasting crusade. Here are some of her controversial statements on the matter:

  • “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population."
  • “Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race."
  • “I believe that there should be no more babies.”

The first quote is a favorite for Sanger-haters to take out of context. As we've pointed out, FactCheck.org states that that quote belongs in the context of Sanger saying that a minister could debunk the notion, if it arose, that the clinics that were a part of her "Negro Project" bringing birth control to black women in the South aimed to “exterminate the Negro population.” The Washington Post notes that this quote "is frequently taken out of context to suggest Sanger was seeking to exterminate blacks."

The second quote is heavily edited. According to Wikipedia, the full quote is: "Knowledge of birth control is essentially moral. Its general, though prudent, practice must lead to a higher individuality and ultimately to a cleaner race." While the MRC champions individuality,it would rather that be applied to conservative principles and not a woman thinking for herself.

The final quote is ludicrously out of context. It's taken from a 1947 interview in which Sanger was asked about an earlier statement that European women should refrain from having babies for 10 years (this being after a world war that devastated much of Europe). She clarified her answer by saying (the MRC's quote in italics), "Well I suppose a subject like that is really so personal that it is entirely up to the parents to decide, but from my view, I believe there should be no more babies in starving countries for the next ten years."

The MRC's commitment to lying about Sanger starts from the top. In his speech at the tiny pro-censorship rally, MRC chief Brent Bozell -- who also heads ForAmerica, a right-wing group that worked with the right-wing black pastors who are purportedly leading the censorship effort -- said

"Planned Parenthood and others inside this building want to pretend that what we really don't know," said Bozell. We do know. She wrote books, she gave speeches, she wrote letters. She organized organizations like the Negro Project to eradicate blacks, why? Because you weren't quite, human. You were weeds, you were waste. And that couldn't stand in a fixed society. Ladies and gentlemen so did Goebbels. He thought the exact same thing and did the exact same thing through eugenics.”

In fact, there's no evidence Sanger sought to "eradicate blacks" or considered them "weeds" or "waste." As fact-checkers have noted, while Sanger likely held paternalistic attitudes toward blacks that were common during her lifetime, there's no evidence she was an avowed racist or that she coerced black women into using birth control.

And Bozell's eagerness to liken Sanger to Nazis, in addition to being counterfactual -- she was a member of an anti-Nazi committee and claimed her books were burned in Nazi Germany -- it's rather hilarious given the MRC's current outrage over Hillary Clinton making an apparent Nazi allusion about Donald Trump. Apparently, only conservatives are allowed to go Godwin.

The MRC also gave a free past to far-right pastor E.W. Jackson, who lied that Sanger “was a white supremacist” and screeched that “If Margaret Sanger had her way MLK and Rosa Parks would have never been born.” While CNS prominently promoted those statements, it refused to fact-check them because that rally was created by the MRC and ForAmerica for the apparent sole purpose of having CNS cover it as "news," and since it's part of the MRC's propaganda machine, fact-checking a conservative who's spouting the MRC's agenda is not "news" at CNS -- even though Jackson, who claims to be a Christian pastor, is telling demonstrable lies.

But a Christian pastor being caught in a lie is not "news" at CNSNews, just like the right-wing Christian Josh Duggar's peccadilloes were buried as far down as one could do so until we shamed CNS into a little honest coverage.

Again: CNS is simply the MRC's right-wing agenda put into news-article form. Its role as a player in the MRC's Sanger censorship attempt and insistence on presenting lies as truth and refusing to hold the liars accountable is all the evidence one needs of that.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:47 PM EDT
Friday, August 28, 2015
MRC's Double Standard on Presidential Interrupters
Topic: Media Research Center

Unsurprisingly, Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell took a dim view of Univision's Jorge Ramos interrupting Donald Trump at a press conference:

Jorge Ramos is a pro-amnesty activist masquerading as a journalist. The stunt he pulled at Donald Trump’s press conference reflects poorly on Univision -- again. Ramos is not a 'reporter' nor does he therefore have the 'right to ask questions.' Ramos embarrassed both himself and his profession by becoming the story with his unseemly antics. Those who expect a fair and honest debate on the policy issues impacting the U.S. Latino community should ignore Jorge Ramos.

Bozell was joined by MRC Latino director Ken Oliver-Mendez, who claimed that "Jorge Ramos clearly crossed the line between reporting and editorializing" and is "operating outside the confines of honest journalism."

It also shouldn't be a surprise, then, that Bozell doesn't feel the same when the interruptor is a conservative and the person being interrupted is a Democratic president.

A search through the MRC archives found no indication that Bozell said anything about a 2012 incident in which conservative Daily Caller reporter Neil Munro heckled President Obama during a news conference -- no declaration that Munro was an activist masquerading as a journalist, or that Munro embarrassed himself and his profession, or that Munro is operating outside the confines of honest journalism, or that conservatives who expect fair and honest journalism should ignore Munro.

Meanwhile, the rest of the MRC was more than happy to cheer Munro's stunt. Clay Waters mocked the New York Times for supposedly being "aghast at the audacity of a reporter from a conservative news site interrupting President Obama's Rose Garden speech."

At Newsbusters, Noel Sheppard tried to temper things by baselessly claiming that "we are by no means condoning Munro's behavior" (even though we could find no criticism of Munro by anyone at the MRC), but then tried to justify that same behavior: "As the Daily Caller is a conservative website, isn't it far more likely Munro doesn't agree with the new immigration policy the current White House resident was presenting that just so happens to be an edict without any approval from Congress?"

Tom Blumer huffed that Munro's stunt was hardly "the first time any reporter has ever shouted a question at a U.S. president out of turn," then touted Munro's defense "as well as sturdy defenses from Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson and Publisher Neil Patel." He concluded by whining of Munro's critics: "What a bunch of flaming, presidential boot-licking hypocrisy."

And Jack Coleman offered his own defense of Munro: "Henceforth the Obama administration might want to signal when questions will be allowed from the media and when reporters will be expected to emulate statuary." We suspect Coleman won't be asking Trump to make that same signal.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:06 PM EDT
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Ted Cruz Makes MRC Proud By Dismissing Megyn Kelly's Questions As 'Liberal'
Topic: Media Research Center

When Ted Cruz dismissed Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly's questions to him on immigration as something a "liberal journalist" would ask, the Media Research Center applauded it. After all, the evasion tactic is straight from the MRC playbook.

The MRC reinforces to conservatives that any tough question would want to ask them is, by definition, a "liberal" question and, thus, does not need to be answered. After all, conservatives know that they will never face tough questions when they appear on Fox News.

Here's how this works in practice, as seen through MRC blog posts and items:

  • Jeffrey Meyer claimed that in an interview with Ben Carson, "CBS This Morning’s Norah O’Donnell repeatedly hit the famed neurosurgeon from the left on abortion," though Meyer never explained how the question O'Donnell asked Carson -- whether he woudl ban abortions in the case of rape, incest, and life of the mother -- was "from the left." Still, Meyer praised Carson for having "pushed back against O’Donnell’s liberal question."
  • Meyer insisted that asking whether the Republian Party has issues with women and minority voters was a "liberal assertion," complaining that in an interview with Republian Gov. Nikki Haley, CBS' O'Donnell "made sure to push the liberal line about whether or not the GOP has a 'problem with women voters?'"
  • Rich Noyes declared that CBS anchor Scott Pelley was pestering House speaker John Boehner with "obnoxious liberal questions," like whether President Obama deserves any credit for an improving economy or if "just sending bills up to the White House that are gonna get vetoed" is an effective way to govern.
  • MRC chief Brent Bozell sneered that during a Republican debate, NBC's Brian Williams "pounded Ron Paul like a haughty Swedish socialist to defend his libertarian views." Bozell offered no examples of these allegedly "haughty Swedish socialist" questions.
  • Bozell's lieutenant, Tim Graham, complained that in the same debate, Williams asked "nasty, shamelessly liberal questions," but the only one he cited was asking Rick Perry if he "struggled to sleep at night" over the idea that any of the 234 inmates on death row executed under Perry's watch might have been innocent. Graham didn't explain how that question is "shamelessly liberal."
  • Rich Noyes wrote that in presidential candidate townhall debates, journalists favor "liberal questions" over "conservative questions." But Noyes offered no definition of what constituted a "liberal question" for thepurposes of his survey, beyond the vague notion that it's something that would "favor liberal causes."

Notice a pattern there? The MRC effectively defines the nebulous "liberal question" to a conservative candidate as nothing more than a tough question that challenges them to explain their views. Because they don't want to answer the question anyway, deflecting it as a "liberal question" gives them an excuse not to answer it, as well as having the side benefit of playing to the base, whom the MRC and other conservative organizations have spent millions of dollars over the past few decades conditioning to despise as "liberal media" any outlet that dares try to ask tough questions of conservatives.

So of course Cruz would invoke the MRC-approved tactic of deflecting a question he didn't want to answer as something a "liberal journalist" would ask, even though the idea that anyone would consider Megyn Kelly a "liberal journalist" strains logic.

But then, the MRC seems content to throw its conservative friends at Fox News under the bus for the sake of ideological purity; it was curiously silent about the questions Fox anchors asked at the recent Republican presidential debate after they proved a little too challenging for some of the candidates. Perhaps it had to stay silent; this was the debate setup the MRC wanted after years of complaints that Republicans were holding debates on non-Fox news channels where they are in danger of those nebulous "liberal" questions.

The MRC conditions conservative candidates to dismiss tough questions as "liberal." Ted Cruz showed the results of that conditioning.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:49 AM EDT
Sunday, August 23, 2015
MRC's Tim Graham Gets It Wrong
Topic: Media Research Center

Tim Graham is the director of media analysis at the Media Research Center, so you'd think he'd care at least somewhat about getting his facts straight. If he ever did, he doesn't now.

Graham begins an Aug. 19 NewsBusters post this way: "Very liberal 'Very Rev.' Gary Hall is stepping down at the end of the year after just three years as dean of the Washington National Cathedral, reported Washington Post religion reporter Michelle Boorstein." By putting "Very Rev." in scare quotes, he seems to be suggesting that it's a made-up title that Hall was using for self-aggrandizement.

In fact, according to the Episcopal Church's style guide, "Very Rev." is a title used for the dean of a cathedral, which Hall was. Indeed, the bio for Hall on the National Cathedral's website identifies him asa the dean and as "Very Rev."

As much as the MRC rails against alleged mocking of the Christian faith, Graham should know better than to suggest that Christian denominations that don't align with his own (as far as we know, Graham is a Catholic) are making up things.

Graham followed that up by parroting a few conservative myths about convicted criminal James O'Keefe in  an Aug. 22 post railing at Time magazine reporter Zeke Miller for noting that O'Keefe acolytes are trying to infiltrate the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign:

Miller showed a tilt by noting “O’Keefe rose to fame in 2009 with edited videos appearing to show employees of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) encouraging criminal behavior, resulting in the freeze of federal funding to the organization.”

“Appearing to show”? Why do liberal journalists pretend what these videos show is in doubt? (As they presently do with Planned Parenthood!)  In 2009, O’Keefe and his colleague Hannah Giles posed garishly as a pimp and a prostitute and asked ACORN staff in their Baltimore office how to shelter their illegal income from taxes, even as they claimed they were bringing in under-age girls from Latin America to be their sex workers. The reality of this and videos taken in other cities caused ACORN to lose their federal funding, despite minimal liberal media coverage.

In fact, as Media Matters' Eric Boehlert detailed at the time, there's no evidence O'Keefe went to any ACORN office to pull his undercover scam dressed "garishly as a pimp"; he wore normal street clothing, and the stereotypical pimp getup was used in promoting his scam.

Further, most of O'Keefe's ACORN videos show that he does not explicitly explain that he's trying to engage in child prostitution, O'Keefe and co-conspirator Hannah Giles lied for more than two months about an ACORN employee who had allegedly helped them but in fact did not (O'Keefe was subsequently ordered to pay the employee $100,000 over the lies), and no official investigation found criminal wrongdoing on ACORN's part.

We're unsure what "reality" Graham is referring to, but it sure doesn't seem to involve the actual content of the ACORN videos -- only what the heavily edited versions claimed to say. Sounds a lot like the Planned Parenthood attacks, doesn't it?

When the name of your organization has "media research" in its name, you'd think it would excel at, you know, media research. Graham's work puts the lie to that.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:56 PM EDT
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
MRC Censors Complain About Censorship (And Deny Anti-PP Videos Were Heavily Edited)
Topic: Media Research Center

There's some serious denial going on in Brent Bozell and Tim Graham's Aug. 19 column:

After six devastating hidden-camera interviews, the best Planned Parenthood and its top-dollar crisis managers can muster in their defense is to protest that they were "heavily edited."

Of course they were. All video is edited. It's why they call it "produced." Without offering evidence of exculpatory evidence withheld, the charge is as meaningless as Planned Parenthood is evil.

Actually, exculpatory evidence highlighting the information the Center for Medical Progress' undeniably heavily edited videos has been repeatedly offered. And that goes for the seventh video that was released the same day as the Bozell-Graham column.

Surely Graham and Bozell cannot be unaware of criticism that the CMP videos are heavily and dishonestly edited. For them to deny that the evidence exists is truly bizarre.

The rest of their column is dedicated to whining that the big, bad liberal media is "censor[ing]" the story of the (again, heavily edited) CMP videos. That's rich, given that the organization Bozell and Graham run, the Media Research Center, is conducting a major censorship campaign of its own.

As we've noted, no MRC website has reported on Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson's apparent use of fetal tissue in his medical research. The blackout has continued: It's been nearly a week since the story broke, and the MRC still hasn't told its readers about it.

It's the height of hypocrisy to accuse someone of engaging in the same exact behavior you are. But hypocrisy, it seems, is part of Bozell and Graham's job description.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:12 PM EDT
Monday, August 17, 2015
MRC Censors Ben Carson's Fetal Research
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is all over the secret, deceptively edited videos by anti-abortion activists regarding Planned Parenthood's use of fetal remains for research. The news that a Republican presidential candidate used fetal tissue in his research? Not so much.

In fact, the MRC has effectively censored the news that a medical study conducted in part by Ben Carson used fetal tissue. Further, Carson has defended his fetal-tissue research even as he has hypocritically joined in right-wing attacks on Planned Parenthood for providing fetal tissue for the kind of research he conducted.

You won't read about any of that at any MRC website, though. For instance, CNSNews.com prominently placed on its front page two articles attacking abortion and Planned Parenthood:

Neither article mentions Carson's fetal tissue research, even though that story broke the very same day those articles appeared. Nor has it reported on Carson's research in another article. It's as if CNS is trying to cover up the story.

Indeed, an Aug. 17 CNS article by Patrick Goodenough highlights how Carson "made an fervent case for talking about God" -- but, again, made no mention of Carson's fetal research.

Meanwhile, an Aug. 14 NewsBusters post by Claire Chretien complains that the Associated Press did an article noting that scientists have called fetal tissue essential for research, whining that the AP "promoted what might cure ailments, not what has." Chretien made no reference to Carson's fetal-tissue research -- nor has any other NewsBusters post.

The fact that the MRC is censoring the Carson fetal-research story tells us that the whole Planned Parenthood is not about fetal tissue used for research -- as the right-wing media keeps telling us -- but solely about trying to destroy a political enemy.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:03 AM EDT
Sunday, August 16, 2015
Clay Waters' NY Times Derangement Syndrome
Topic: Media Research Center

Oh, Clay Waters. What would we do without you? Have fewer posts, for one.

Waters spends a July 28 NewsBusters post doing what he strangely likes to do, complain that the New York Times labels conservatives as conservatives:

Jackie Calmes, one of the New York Times' most reliably pro-Democratic, Obama-supporting reporters, lit into the "conservative media" as leading the Republican Party to perdition in her Tuesday "Political Memo," "As the G.O.P. Base Clamors for Confrontation, Candidates Oblige."

Calmes' story was packed with labeling bias and dismissive, hostile portrayals of conservatives as angry, robotic followers of Rush Limbaugh and the like. There were an impressive 24 "conservative" labels in her 1,167-word story (almost beating the common conjunction "and," which appeared 29 times).

Wait -- it's "labeling bias" to accurate describe conservatives as conservatives? That's a new one.

This being the MRC, Waters doesn't actually bother to counter anything Calmes writes; he just complains that the mere fact it was written is an act of bias in itself. Check out this rant:

Calmes forwarded the liberal talking point of the conservative "echo chamber," though such a concept might apply more to liberals who get their news solely from the New York Times, MSNBC, or Comedy Central:

But spreading that notion is the conservative media, which has expanded in recent years, on air and online, to become many conservatives’ sole source of news, according to the Pew Research Center.

As opposed to liberals, who would never get their political talking points solely from Jon Stewart or MSNBC hosts like Rachel Maddow or Chris Hayes?

Of course, the goal of Calmes' article was not to make such a comparison -- it was to outline how the conservative media works. But Waters wants to district you from Calmes' valid observation -- and at no point does he deny that the conservative media echo chamber exists.

Waters' post is headlined "Anti-Conservative Hostility of the New York Times's Jackie Calmes Edges Toward Parody." Actually, it's Waters' hostility to the Times that has ventured well into parody territory.

Waters makes his Times derangement even more clear in a July 30 post railing at Calmes' report on the right-wing media for the Shorenstein Center at Harvard's Kennedy School, which Waters sneered was an "exhaustive 16,000-word report with the oh-so-objective title, ''They Don't Give a Damn about Governing' -- Conservative Media’s Influence on the Republican Party,' blaming the 'far right' for killing the moderate, pragmatic GOP, while dismissing the very idea of a liberal mainstream media."

In none of Waters' railing, however, does he attempt to contradict anything Calmes wrote, let alone her central thesis that the conservative media (of which Waters is a part), not the Republican Party, is driving the Republican agenda and pulling it rightward.

Waters was so incensed by Calmes' report that he devoted a second post to it, this time huffing that "Calmes offered a skewed history of talk radio, and saw the dark shadow of right-wing hate hovering over its birth."But beyond offering a more nuanced version of Father Charles Coughlin than Calmes did, Waters again never contradicts her central thesis or main conclusions.

The only message we can gather from all of Waters' ranting is that he thinks only conservatives should be allowed to analyze conservative media. Of course, his ranting shows he doesn't believe in the full logic of that stance: that conservatives have no business analyzing "liberal media." Such logic would put the MRC out of business, after all.

This is what the state of "media research" has become at the MRC these days.

P.S. Fun fact about Waters: Since losing his full-time gig as the MRC's professional Times-basher (he's now freelancing this stuff for NewsBusters), Waters has been writing Agatha Christie-inspired mysteries. Curiously, the list of other writing he does on his personal website makes no mention of his MRC work, though it links to his work at right-wing websites like PJ Media and National Review.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:29 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, August 16, 2015 7:55 PM EDT
Saturday, August 15, 2015
Bozell's Laughable Claim: Clinton Email Kerfuffle Is '100 Times More Serious' Than Watergate
Topic: Media Research Center

In an Aug. 12 NewsBusters post, Melissa Mullins mocked the Washington Post for reporting a poll finding that "Apparently, parenthood is so devastating that it’s even 'worse than divorce, worse than unemployment, and worse even than the death of a partner,'" calling it little more than "clickbait." But when the Media Research Center has a hyperbolic claim to make, clickbait is just fine.

The same day as Mullins' post, NewsBusters posted a clip of MRC chief Brent Bozell laughably asserting that the manufactured "scandal" over Hillary Clinton's private email server is "100 times more serious" than Watergate.

According to who? Based on what? Bozell never says what his metrics are or how he came up with the "100 times more serious" formulation. Here's the full quote from Bozell:

I go back to Nixon and the Watergate tape is 17 and a half minutes log long. His entire presidency was destroyed because of this. Now, compare that to what we're learning about Hillary Clinton. Which is 100 times more serious. And yet it was fixation on Nixon and no coverage of this woman and the great irony of course is that she was on the Watergate judiciary committee investigation of Richard Nixon.

So Bozell thinks Watergate was only about the erased tape? Really? Apparently he forgot all about the rest of the scandal -- attempted bugging of Democratic headquarters by Nixon's re-election campaign (starring Bozell buddy and domestic terrorist G. Gordon Liddy) and Nixon's direct knowledge of, and involvement in, covering up its involvement in that and other clandestine operations. While there was an 18 1/2-minute gap in the Nixon White House tapes (Bozell can't even get the number correct) later found to have been deliberately erased, the tapes also revealed Nixon helping to orchestrate a coverup of the Watergate break-in by having the CIA block the FBI from investigating it.

By contrast, Clinton has not been accused  of committing a criminal offense, let alone of covering one up. The only thing Bozell cites is alleged handling of classified documents on an allegedly insufficiently secure server; he rants that "the intelligence communities inspector general says that she's holding onto classified material." In fact, it's unclear whether that material was classified at the time it was being circulated, and that the IG is effectively calling for retroactive classification.

Yet somehow, in Bozell's Clinton Derangement Syndrome-infected mind, this is "100 times more serious" than Watergate.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:15 AM EDT
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Did Right-Wing Filmmakers Buy Favorable Coverage From MRC? It Appears So
Topic: Media Research Center

Last year, we highlighted how the Media Research Center was effectively serving as a public relations agent for right-wing filmmaker Phelim McAleer, not only promoting a campaign to raise money for McAleer's proposed film about rogue abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell but also promoting a costly billboard McAleer petulantly bought to bash a crowdfunding site that kicking him off while not asking the question of why he needs funding for his film when he is apparently not hurting for funds.

Turns out we were more right than we knew.

An Aug. 8 MRC email touts McAleer and his wife, Ann McElhinney, as the latest "fantastic speakers" added to next year's MRC junket -- er, Caribbean cruise. The email notes what "Ann and Phelim said about the upcoming MRC cruise": 

“We’ve had the privilege of working with Brent Bozell and his team to promote our movie about the crimes of Dr. Gosnell. We’ve never been around a more dedicated team of professionals. When they commit to something, they do it right. So we expect nothing but the best on this cruise.”

Here's a screenshot of the statement from the email:

That looks to us like an admission that those MRC posts on McAleer's fundraising campaign were at least done on McAleer's request, if not actually paid for by McAleer -- something that the MRC never disclosed to its readers.

And that's not all: At the same time the MRC was publishing those articles last year at McAleer's behest if not his subsidy, Terry Jeffrey, editor in chief of the MRC's "news" division, CNS News.com, conducted a 13-minute video interview with McAleer that was set up to promote his Gosnell crowdfunding project. As one might expect inan interview where the subject is paying for the microphone, Jeffrey tosses softball after softball and doesn't challenge anything McAleer says. Jeffrey laughably asks how McAleer's funding his film when, as we now know, he knows perfectly well how it's being done and he's being paid to help raise that money.

Jeffrey also emphasized that McAleer will be making a "factually accurate, true-to-life dramatization" of the Gosnell case, even though McAleer has a history of distorting facts in their previous work.

Demonstrating that all of CNS' "news" managers were in on the deal, managing editor Michael W. Chapman wrote an article touting how a couple of has-been right-wing actors "call upon viewers to donate to gosnellmovie.com, a proposed documentary on Gosnell by filmmakers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney."

Neither Jeffrey nor Chapman disclose that their promotions were done with the full cooperation, and possibly the money, of McAleer.

If a "liberal media" outlet had committed this severe breach of journliastic ethics, the MRC would be screaming bloody murder. But the MRC has never been interested in holding itself to the standards it demands that others follow.

Combined with recent allegations that Donald Trump is paying Breitbart.com for favorable coverage, this sort of apparent pay-for-play isn't making the right-wing media look good.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:00 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, August 11, 2015 9:21 PM EDT
Monday, August 10, 2015
MRC Won't Criticize Fox News' GOP Debate Questions
Topic: Media Research Center

With Fox News acting as host and Fox anchors acting as moderators, the Media Research Center presumably got the Republican presidential debate setup it wanted, free of influence from that nasty "liberal media" and their silly gotcha questions. The MRC has railed against the idea of other networks that don't identify as explicitly conservative getting involved in talking with GOP candidates over various perceived slights.

MRC chief Brent Bozell declared back in 2007 that "the GOP put an end to this charade by refusing to debate on CNN or MSNBC" and put his stamp of approval of Fox as being in charge of GOP debates, declaring that "They ought not to suggest, but demand, a Brit Hume or a Chris Wallace as moderators."

So Bozell and the MRC got what they wanted -- including Chris Wallace as one of the moderators. But the Fox News anchors sounded a lot like they weren't employed by Fox, according to much of the ConWeb:

  • At Newsmax, Dick Morris complained that the Fox moderators "pummeled Trump with such personal attacks and treated all of the other candidates like enemies," adding that "Megyn Kelly was especially partisan, her bias showing through her questioning of Trump.
  • Newsmax also highlighted how "Fox News is facing a backlash from conservatives after critics felt the network was biased and unfair in the manner it approached the forum for the Republican presidential candidates' debate Thursday, and namely, Donald Trump."
  • WorldNetDaily declared that Fox News "had launched a full-blown assault on" Trump and that "Megyn Kelly took dead aim at Trump all evening." Garth Kant and Chelsea Schilling went onto huff, "Few of the other GOP candidates were on the receiving end of such pointed attacks by Fox News debate moderators."
  • WND's Joseph Farah grumbled: "When Fox News gets rave reviews from the fringe MSNBC for its aggressive pursuit of the leading Republican presidential contender and kid-glove treatment of GOP establishment figures, you might think the big audience could prove to be a mixed blessing for the future of Fox."
  • Even MRC fave Mark Levin ranted about Fox's bias and how Kelly's question about Trump's misogynism was just "stuff that’s cherry-picked out of Season 6 of ‘The Apprentice.'"

Even though the Fox anchors were apparently sounding just like the "liberal media" in their debate questions, and much of the right-wing media has been quite vocal about it, the MRC has been almost completely silent, even though accusing the media of unfairly targeting conservatives is kind of its job.

In fact, quite the opposite happened: an Aug. 7 Newsbusters post by Tim Graham touted how "The first GOP debate's Fox News moderators were so hard on the candidates that a New York Times columnist called it an "inquisition" and said the debate 'compels me to write a cluster of words I never imagined writing: hooray for Fox News.'" Graham did conceded that there is an issue of "whether the Fox moderators have provided Democratic operatives with priceless video for negative commercials," but he didn't criticize the apparent slant of the questions.

Then, in an Aug. 10 post, Mark Finkelstein noted MSNBC host Joe Scarborough reiterating our point, that a non-Fox News network that asked those questions would be the victim of "trashing" for months to come -- then says only that it's an "interesting point." He doesn't note that his employer has been conspicuously silent on the issue.

So what happened? Did the MRC not see the Fox moderators' questions as bias because they are from Fox? Or is Fox exempt from MRC scrutiny because it's too important a booster of conservatives to criticize publicly -- that is, effectively buying the MRC's silence?

The MRC will probably never cop to its silence (publicly, awanyway). After all, this is the debate lineup they demanded.

P.S. We suspect Levin's Fox-bashing quote won't be installed in the vast archive of Levin stenography the MRC operates over at its CNS "news" operation.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:08 PM EDT
Saturday, August 8, 2015
MRC Invokes A Fallacy to Bash Jon Stewart Out The Door
Topic: Media Research Center

We predicted that the Media Research Center would be hurling all sorts of envy and spite at Jon Stewart as he finishes up his run as "Daily Show" host, and we weren't wrong. The winner in that competition is Scott Whitlock, who served up this bit of sneering derision in an Aug. 7 NewsBusters post:

According to the networks on Friday, Jon Stewart's departure from the Daily Show means "America's satirical voice," the man who held the powerful "accountable," had said goodbye. A more honest reading would be that a low-rated liberal comedian left his basic cable television show.

[...]

On Thursday, the networks fretted the loss of America's "trusted, "profound" "beacon." But as the website FiveThirtyEight.com pointed out, Stewart's reach and ratings were always small[.]

Whitlock again invokes the MRC's favorite fallacy, that quality directly correlates with popularity. If there were true, the greatest movie of all time, "Citizen Kane" wouldn't have failed to make its production costs back on its initial release.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:38 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, August 8, 2015 10:39 AM EDT
Friday, August 7, 2015
MRC Bigwigs Shill for Levin Book, Don't Disclose Business Deal With Him
Topic: Media Research Center

In an August 5 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham mockingly wrote of "this week’s contest to see who can be the most obsequious Jon Stewart ring-kisser."

But when it comes to be the most obsequious Mark Levin ring-kisser, Graham has that covered. Graham and Brent Bozell let the Levin sycophancy fly in their latest column, which was posted the same day as Graham's above hypocritical sneering:

Arrogant liberal journalists naturally assume that conservative talk radio only succeeds in making Americans dumber. They reach this conclusion by avoiding conservative talk radio entirely.

The overwhelming majority would never dare appear on one of these shows and debate the conservative host.

If one of them ever entered the ring with Mark Levin, they'd invoke the "mercy rule" before the first commercial break.

In recent years, Levin has matched a brainy talk show with a series of brilliant political books. The latest is called "Plunder and Deceit: Big Government's Exploitation of Young People and the Future." It's a good bet that no liberal journalist will read it, no liberal newspaper will review it, and that no liberal network would imagine calling up Levin for an interview. They are too busy advocating tolerance and diversity.

Graham and Bozell won't tell you, of course, that Levin's on the payroll --  the MRC pays Levin to say nice things about it on his radio show, and the MRC recipriocates by saying nice things about him on its network of websites. Meaning that their column is, in fact, a paid advertisement for Levin's book.

How dedicated is the MRC to slobbering over Levin? For but one example: the blog at MRC-operated CNSNews.com has run a whopping 22 articles transcribing Levin's pearls of wisdom just since July 1. That's even more than the rate at which CNS managing editor Michael W. Chapman publishes the most hateful words he can find from Franklin Graham.

CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey joined his bosses in the paid-ad route, also devoting his August 5 column to slobbering over Levin and describing how his book "compelling argues [sic]" against "open-ended immigration" and "warns of the collapse of constitutional restraints on government power."

Like his bosses, Jeffrey didn't the business arrangement between Levin and and his employer.

We'd say how ironic it is that a self-proclaimed media watchdog would refuse to do something so fundamental to journalism as disclose an obvious conflict of interest, but the MRC has never subjected itself to the same rules it applies to others.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:46 AM EDT
Sunday, August 2, 2015
MRC's Bozell & Graham Cherry-Pick To Attack Stewart
Topic: Media Research Center

Kicking off what is sure to be a week full of envy and spite at the Media Research Centder as Jon Stewart finishes up his run as host of "The Daily Show," Brent Bozell and Tim Graham devote their July 31 column to raging over Stewart's "secret" meetings with President Obama. In particular, they obsessed over one particular line:

Naturally, on his way out the door at Comedy Central, Stewart tried to turn the whole story into a nasty joke. After playing a series of Fox News clips reporting on the secret meetings, he announced one Obama meeting included Elvis and a space alien and the meeting opened with "the traditional Saul Alinsky prayer" before they "took turns [sexually penetrating] a replica of the Reagan eye socket." But wait, it gets worse. "The real Reagan eye socket is kept in the Smithsonian, and is only f—-ed on Christmas."

This kind of "comedy" mocking Christian, Fox-watching, Reagan admirers is his daily dish. 

Actually, Stewart was mocking people and Bozell and Graham, who seem to think that's what actually happened during the Stewart-Obama meeting.

Apparently, Bozell and Graham stopped watching the "Daily Show" segment after that joke, for they missed Stewart explaining what happened in that White House visit and why he went.

Stewart pointed out that he had been mocking Vladimir Putin long before the "secret" meeting with Obama in which he was purportedly instructed to do so, adding:

Let me tell you how this happened. The president asked me to come to Washington, and I did. Because if the president tells you and you don't, who the [expletive] know what would happen?And by the way, to all future presidents: If you ask me to do that, I will do that, because I have no idea how to react to that other than, "What time?"

And here's how the meetings went. Here's what happened: We spent about five to seven minutes with Obama kind of scolding me not to turn young Americans cynical. And then I spent five to seven minutes explaining to him I'm actually skeptically idealistic and smiling like this. And then we spent about 45 minutes arguing about "really, the VA can't befixed any quicker?" of "Healthcare.gov can't come online without crashing my son's Minecraft game?" And then the whole thing basically takes place over some of, truly, the best salmon you have ever had.

Remember my interview with Obama last week? It was that, but with salmon.

Don't expect Bozell and Graham to provide the behind-the-scenes transparency for its "news" operation, CNSNews.com, that it demands (and ultimately received) from Stewart because, well, the MRC does not believe CNS should operate by the same rules it demands the "liberal media" follow.

Stewart also noted he had an actual secret meeting with Fox News chief Roger Ailes. But none of this matters to Bozell and Graham. Stewart committed the unforgiveable offense of making a joke at the sainted Reagan's expense, so he must be destroyed.

Well, that and the fact that Bozell and Co. are insanely jealous of Stewart's free-market success, especially compared to its own  attempt at political satire, "NewsBusted," which is so painfully unfunny the even other right-wing websites ignore it.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:19 PM EDT
Friday, July 31, 2015
MRC's Double Standard on Crisis Management
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is tickled to death that Planned Parenthood has hired a crisis management to deal with the onslaught of dishonestly edited videos by anti-abortion activists (and extremists).

Brent Bozell ranted in a July 29 press release that "Planned Parenthood's newly-hired PR firm is encouraging the media blackout." It couldn't possibly be, in Bozell's mind anyway, that the dishonestly edited videos have been proven to push charges that the unedited videos don't support.

Bozell and Tim Graham rant in unision in their column the same day: "Politico reported Planned Parenthood hired the crisis communications team at SKDKnickerbocker, who circulated a memo pressuring reporters and producers from showing any more videos, 'arguing they were obtained under false identification and violated patient privacy.'"

Funny, we don't recall the MRC making a big deal out of Rush Limbaugh hiring a crisis manager-- perhaps because they were a crisis manager for him.

As we documented at the time, the MRC and its employees were fully on board with Limbaugh's 2012 denigration of Sandra Fluke as a "slut" for daring to talk about birth control in public, helpfully adding some denigration of their own -- until  they realized Limbaugh's usual absurdity-to-highlight-absurdity wasn't working this time. So Bozell slammed the MRC into crisis-management mode, meekly conceding that Limbaugh "crossed a line" but he apologized so everything's hunky-dory now, but it isn't since the liberal media want to destroy him. Bozell then launched an MRC-run "I Stand With Rush" website to show appreciation for "the massive contribution that he has made to the conservative movement and our nation over the last 25 years." and insisting the controversy really "isn't about what Rush said."

That's not all. In 2014, the MRC touted a Limbaugh-issued report purporting to claim that a grassroots campaign critical of Limbaugh isn't grassroots at all. Graham quoted a Limbaugh press release quoting "Rush Limbaugh Show spokesperson" Brian Glicklich dismissing the critics as "politically motivated out-of-state activists," and Jeffrey Lord praised Limbaugh's "thorough, highly detailed investigation," also quoting Glicklich.

But who is Glicklich, really? He's the crisis manager Limbaugh hired in 2012, when advertisers were abandoning his show in the wake of his Fluke remarks. The fact that Glicklich's Twitter account still lists him as a "spokesperson for Rush Limbaugh" seems to indicate that the crisis is ongoing and still in need of management more than three years after the fact.

Bozell and Graham were silent about Limbaugh's crisis management (and their role in same), but chortle about Planned Parenthood hiring a crisis manager. Hypocrisy, defined.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:16 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, July 31, 2015 6:18 PM EDT
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
MRC's Double Standard on Mass Murderers' Motivation
Topic: Media Research Center

When Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez shot and killed several people in Chattanooga, the Media Research Center was upset that the media wouldn't jump to conclusions that Abdulazeez was a jihadi doing the direct bidding of ISIS and/or Al Qaeda, despite the lack of any solid evidence he was actually associated with Muslim extremists.

In a July 21 NewsBusters post, Tom Blumer was offended that a news article asked why Abdulazeez committed two attacks on military facilities and if "was he propelled to do so by his own demons or at the direction of someone else," sneering in response:

Gee, those questions aren't too tough.

The answers to those two questions aren't difficult to discern to a high confidence level.

According to ABC News, Abdulazeez "was following a radical American member of al Qaeda online in 2013, as well as pages of writing that showed the young man was suicidal and looking for a way to absolve what he considered were his sins, according to a representative of Abdulazeez's family." So if he wasn't "directed," he at least appears to have been "inspired" to attack "military sites" — a task made easier by prohibitions against soldiers carrying guns in "gun-free zones" at those installations.

But here we are, five days after Abdulazeez's massacre, with far more than enough evidence, yet virtually no one in authorty or in the establishment press wants to point directly at "radical Islam" or "Islamic jihad" as the likely or even possible motivation.

But when a non-Muslim commits a massacre -- like John "Rusty" Houser tried to do in a Louisiana movie theater, killing two before killing himself -- the last thing the MRC wants to talk about is the killer's motivation. Matthew Balan complained in a July 24 NewsBusters post:

On Friday's World News Tonight, ABC's Ryan Owens played up how Lafayette, Louisiana mass shooter John "Rusty" Houser was "politically active – even running for office as an ultra-conservative, anti-tax crusader in Georgia." Owens also spotlighted how "investigators are scouring Houser's postings on known anti-government websites – hoping, perhaps, to find some answers there." [video below]

The correspondent included his political superlative near the end of his report on Houser's background. Moments earlier, Owens outlined the perpetrator's "troubled past" – including his "'extreme erratic behavior'...'various acts of family violence'... [and] 'manic depression and/or bipolar disorder.' He continued by noting that "in 2001, Houser placed a swastika on the outside of the bar he owned, but denied he was a Nazi sympathizer." The journalist then continued with his "ultra-conservative" label of the murderer.

It seems the MRC only wants to hear the truth about mass murderers when they can easily be defined as an "other," not when the killer's views are not as far from their own.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:51 PM EDT

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