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Friday, December 2, 2016
MRC Still Won't Be Honest About 'Fake News'
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is not done trying to change the subject away from the issue of "fake news" that may have helped Donald Trump get elected president.

A Nov. 28 post by Tim Graham freaks out over a Washington Post article on the group PropOrNot accusing the Russians of planting misleading article boosting Trump and bashing Hillary Clinton that were picked up by many right-wing (and some left-wing) website.Graham cites criticism of PropOrNot from the left-wing sites it named, complaining that the group is biased against Russia and Trump's ties to it and "are promoting bizarre conspiracy theories using overwrought numbers from a source that won’t identify its own authors or funders."

Funny, we don't recall the MRC having a problem with the anonymous basis of the false Fox News pre-election story claiming an indictment of Clinton was imminent that it heavily promoted. Still, Graham ranted that the PropOrNot claim is an "anonymously-sourced conspiracy theory" -- something it has never admitted the Fox News story was.

Mesnwhile, the MRC's Scott Whitlock attempted to redefine fake news in a Nov. 29 post:

ABC’s Nightline, a program that has covered such non-stories as “bootleg butt injections” and “cat poo coffee,” actually complained about “fake news” websites. Co-anchor Juju Chang on Monday huffed that “established media outlets are built on accuracy” as she wondered if scam websites resulted in Hillary Clinton losing.

[...]

Nightline journalists are in no position to judge ridiculous stories. This is a program that in 2014 actually did a story on “bootleg butt injections.”  In 2015, the show’s reporters covered “cat poo coffee.” The show also looked into “polyamory” and the “trailblazing triad” of threesome fans. Is this news?

On Monday night, Chang complained, “Separating fact from fiction is not easy when mistrust of mainstream media is at an all-time high.” Perhaps one reason for that is because Nightline is promoting ridiculous click bait stories. 

No, Scott, fluffy news is not fake news. Fake news is the false Fox News story your employer promoted and has never admitted was false, let alone apologized for it.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:45 AM EST
Thursday, December 1, 2016
MRC Flip-Flops on Jorge Ramos' Credibility
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has had its knives out for Univision's Jorge Ramos for quite some time now, determined to silence him for being critical of Donald Trump. When Trump actually won the election, the MRC gloated.

In a Nov. 14 post, Jorge Bonilla cheered how "Smiling faces grew somber" on Univision's election-night newscast as Trump won, complained that the network "amplified what it perceived to be inflammatory statements" by Trump (now that Trump is the MRC's boy, Bonilla won't concede that anything he was was actually inflammatory)and accused Ramos of having "staged his explusion from a Trump press conference in Iowa." Bonilla ranted:

Now trapped in its own death spiral, Univision's TV news division is quadrupling down on the identity politics that have left a sour taste in viewers' mouths. Rather than examining whether its coverage of the 2016 election turned off viewers and potential voters, Univision decided to push fear as a response to Trump. Ramos' promise to continue asking tough questions rings hollow because there was an astonishing lack of curiosity when it came to Hillary's email scandal.

Univision News' time is better spent in deep self-reflection and evaluation of its own journalistic practices. But it appears that the network has learned nothing.

This from an organization whose own "news" division served as Trump's stenographer and offered critical coverage only of Hillary Clinton.

The next day, Bonilla targeted Ramos further under the headline "Jorge Ramos Lost All His Credibility And Learned Nothing," in which he huffed:
"Some time ago, Ramos admitted that he understood the risks to his credibility by taking such open stances. 2016 will be remembered as the year that Jorge Ramos gambled away his credibility. America, however, is about second chances and redemption. Here's hoping that Ramos -as well as the rest of the media- acknowledges the scope and breadth of his failings and strives to hold all sides accountable going forward. This is certainly a much more constructive endeavor than the current lashing-out we've seen so far."

But, suddenly, Bonilla decided that Ramos was filled with credibility. Why? Because he said something Bonilla agrees with.

In a Nov. 28 post, Bonilla praised how Ramos finally got in line with right-0wing talking points on the death of Fidel Castro:

Fairness compels us to memorialize what Al Punto did right...which in this case, was everything. Jorge Ramos broke sharply from the rest of the media by simply calling a dictator a dictator. The tone of the show was proper in that it was somber. Viewers got to see the reality of Fidel Castro through the voices of people whose lives were affected by the tyrant, and were given space to come to their own conclusions.

Oh, please. Bonilla doesn't give a damn about "fairness" -- he cares only about pushing a political view. The fact that Bonilla forgot completely about his attacks on Ramos when he echoed right-wing orthodoxy on Castro shows that all too clearly.

The next time Ramos sasys something Bonilla doesn't like, the knives will be out again. That will have nothing to do with fairness either.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:18 PM EST
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
NEW ARTICLE: Faking It At the MRC
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center does everything it can to avoid discussing the problem of "fake news" -- and certainly not how Brent Bozell's attack on purported bias at Facebook helped create it. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 8:26 PM EST
The Clinton Equivocation Continues At the MRC
Topic: Media Research Center

Just because Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election doesn't mean the Media Research Center will give up invoking the Clinton Equivocation -- which, in this election year, has meant the MRC excusing any and every Donald Trump transgression by claiming a Clinton did it first and worse.

In a Nov. 18 NewsBusters post, Jack Coleman complained that MSNBC's Rachel Maddow "is raising the issue of Trump possibly hiring his son-in-law Jared Kushner, husband of daughter Ivanka, for a high-profile role in the White House as advisor or special counsel" and pointing out the federal anti-nepotism laws that forbid it. Coleman huffed in response:

One need venture all the way back to the just-completed campaign to see a prominent beneficiary of it -- Trump's Democrat opponent in the general election, Hillary Clinton.

For those too young to have lived through it or old enough but selectively forgetful, Hillary Clinton was appointed by her husband to one of the most high-profile positions in government in 1993, the first year of his administration -- head of the task force that sought to overhaul health care in the U.S.

Her efforts ultimately failed and an enormous backlash took the form of the GOP's historic gains in the 1994 midterms when they won control of both chambers of Congress for the first time in 40 years.

Coleman eventually conceded that a federal appeals court found that the anti-nepotism law did not appear to cover appointments to the White House staff. Oops!

Nevertheless, he asserted that "perhaps the Clintons simply didn't care about federal law when Hillary was appointed head of the health task force (similar indifference to perjury and obstruction of justice would eventually catch up with them). More importantly, their party affiliation shielded them against undue scrutiny from a compliant media. A generation later, it shields them still."

Then, on Nov. 22, Nicholas Fondacaro noted an ABC report on the growing conflicts of interest the Trump presidency has with Trump's business operations, whining that "such concern over conflicts of interest were scant when they covered Hillary Clinton pre-election."

Fondacaro complained that "ABC completely ignored the WikiLeaks e-mail exposing how the king of Morocco donated $12 million to the Clinton Foundation. In exchange for the money, the king expected a private meeting with the former secretary of state. The donation came just before she planned to announce her doomed run for president."

But Fondacaro is censoring the full story. In fact, as Vox explains, Hillary Clintron never personally benefited from that money, and she was not in a position of authority at the time of the donation, and there's no evidence no foreign government received any preferential treatment from the State Department as a direct result of a Clinton Foundation donation.

Fondacaro harrumphed: "It’s amazing how much a network cares about conflicts of interest when the candidate they didn’t want becomes the president-elect." It's even more amazing how much a partisan organization cares about such alleged conflicts of interest -- to the point of distorting the record and hiding inconvenient facts -- when they involve the candidate it didn't support for president.

And once again, the MRC refuses to hold a Trump to the same standards it holds a Clinton.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:11 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, November 29, 2016 5:12 PM EST
Saturday, November 26, 2016
MRC's Gainor Redefines Fake News To Attack 'Liberal Media'
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has had trouble dealing with the issue of fake news getting Donald Trump elected president -- in particular, its own enthusiastic promotion of a false Fox News story about Hillary Clinton's purportedly imminent indictment.

Now, it appears the MRC has simply decided to redefine the term as something only the "liberal media" does.

Loyal MRC apparatchik Dan Gainor made a Nov. 21 appearance on Fox Business -- where, like sister network Fox News, MRC talking heads are all but assured their anti-media views will never be subject to question -- in which he was called on to rant about an incomplete quote of Reince Priebus that NBC tweeted out (yes, this outrage is centered on a tweet). Asked if the Trump administration would establish a registry for Mulsims, Priebus responded, “Look, I’m not going to rule out anything, but I wouldn’t, we’re not going to have a registry based on a religion.” Gainor and Fox Business anchor Melissa Francis were incensed that NBC tweeted out only the first part of Priebus' statement, even though it actually negates the latter half of it.

Gainor ranted in response: "Of course it's something to get upset about. This is the same network that gave us Brian Williams and fake news. The media are all upset about fake news and they’re giving us fake news!"

No, Dan, Williams did not report "fake news" -- he embellished his personal association with certain news events. Not fully quoting Priebus to the MRC's satisfaction, even though his statement was self-contradicting, is also not fake news.

Fake news is what Facebook allowed to appear from shady websites that cared more about making money and creating clickbait than telling the truth -- a situation that came about in no small part because Facebook was afraid of Gainor's boss, Brent Bozell, accusing it of liberal bias (again). It's the MRC promoting that fake Fox News story, then refusing to clearly tell its readers the story was fake.

As long as Gainor and the rest of the MRC desperately try to obfuscate and redefine and change the subject, there will never be a serious discussion of fake news in which the MRC takes part.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:54 PM EST
Friday, November 25, 2016
MRC Doesn't Understand How Twitter Works, Blames It For Hashtag Mocking Pence
Topic: Media Research Center

Does the Media Research Center not understand how Twitter works? Apparently not.

In a Nov. 21 post headlined "Twitter Jabs Trump Administration After Hamilton Hubbub," Sarah Stites complains that "Following the Hamilton cast’s public message to Mike Pence at a weekend performance he attended, Twitter erupted into controversy surrounding the appropriateness of the comments." She strangely vascillates between blaming Twitter users and Twitter itself for this:

With the intention of lampooning the Trump Administration, people tweeted out the names of popular shows, but with words changed to achieve relevancy in the current state of American politics.

How to Succeed in Government without Really Trying, The Book of Moron, The Tantrum of the Opera, Guys and Walls and Oklahomophobia reflected new takes on the classics. Seven Brides for Seven Bigots, The Kids Are Alt-Right, Singing in the Reich and There's a Tranny, Get Your Gun were also among the titles devised.

This is not the first time Twitter has wielded hashtags to exaggerate or caricature the President-elect, his administration or his policies. In October, with #TrumpBookReports, Twitter users imagined how the incoming POTUS would summarize the plotline of a classic novel in 140 characters or less.

Note to Stites: Twitter is a medium, not a singular organization. It, as an organization, is not responsible for creating the #NameAPenceMusical hashtag -- people who use Twitter did. Attacking Twitter for the proliferation of the hashtag is nonsensical.

And why is Stites so upset about a hashtag, anyway? Does she want Twitter to censor all criticism of Donald Trump and his incoming presidency? Does she agree with Twitter cutting off the accounts of some of the more offensive elements of the alt-right, or does she think that's censorship? If the latter, why try to pressure Twitter into curbing criticism of Trump, which seems to be what she's trying to do?


Posted by Terry K. at 10:29 AM EST
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Tebow-Touters At The MRC Won't Mention His Miserable Fall Season
Topic: Media Research Center

We noted how Media Research Center writers such as NewsBusters Dylan Gwinn and CNSNews.com's Michael Morris crowed about football player-turned-baseball player and right-wing fave Tim Tebow hit a home run in his first instructional league game (while ignoring he went hitless in his other five at-bats in that same game). Well, that wasn't the only Tebow-touting the MRC engaged in.

Gwinn dedicated another post to Tebow, this time about an incident in which Tebow prayed over a fan who had a seizure while waiting in line for an autograph, adding, "If Tim Tebow lays hands on you, you’re in…well…good hands."

Morris gushed about that as well, adding that while Tebow went 0-for-3 at the plate that day, "one fan will likely remember the game for the exceptional character Tebow continues to exhibit off the field." Morris went on to spin Tebow's not getting a hit in his first three Arizona Fall League games ("Tebow responded in typical upbeat fashion") and touted another game in which he "just experienced what might be his best moment in his young professional baseball career with the New York Mets, hitting an opposite-field, walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to lift his team to victory." In between, Morris wrote a post plugging Tebow's new book "that deals with how to handle life’s struggles."

One thing you're not likely to hear about from Gwinnn or Morris, however: Tebow's full record in the Arizona Fall League, a developmental league for Major League Baseball's top prospects (and Tebow).

NBC baseball blogger Craig Calcaterra reports Tebow hit a dismal .194 in the league's month-long season, adding that the assessments of Tebow by baseball scouts were even more so:

More important would be the assessment of scouts who would be in a position to look past the results and determine whether there was anything promising there. Batting approaches that, even if they didn’t result in a lot of hits, could provide the scaffolding for something he could build in the low minors next spring. What do the scouts think on that score?

“Awful,” said one AL scout.

“Stinks,” said one from the NL.

“Ugly,” said another executive. “In the field and at the plate, nothing looks natural.”

Yikes.

Executives quoted in that story, from the New York Post, are a bit more charitable. They note that he did improve with instruction and that he was “not an embarrassment.” One notes that he was, as expected, a good influence on his teammates.

Nope, Gwinn, Morris nor anyone else at the MRC won't be telling you all that bad stuff.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:46 PM EST
Monday, November 21, 2016
Yes, NewsBusters And the MRC Have Dabbled In Pushing Fake News
Topic: Media Research Center

CNN's Brian Stelter mentioned NewsBusters in a segement on right-wing faker news -- actually, didn't even mention it; he just used a screenshot of a couple of NewsBusters items in passing -- and the Media Research Center got the vapors. Brad Wilmouth wrote:

In a pre-recorded piece aired on New Day Saturday, CNN's Brian Stelter included images of two NewsBusters articles (here and here) as he complained that many people were fooled by "BS" and "fake news," sharing such material with others through social media during the 2016 presidential election.

As the CNN media analyst fretted that Donald Trump's campaign had benefited from "fake news" articles, Stelter did not take the time to inform viewers of what he found to be "fake" about the NewsBusters articles that were that were authored by our Matt Philbin and contributing writer Christian Toto.

[...]

As articles from several websites appeared on screen, two NB articles were among the group -- "Hypocrisy: Net Frets About Bannon; Gave Catholic-Hating Podesta a Pass" and "Amy Schumer: Trump Voters Weak, Clueless KKK Members." As Stelter did not specify his problem with either article, a similar article regarding Amy Schumer, albeit with a different title, had appeared at the Huffington Post.

After recalling that "Even President Obama is raising the alarm," Stelter recalled an article from one of the other websites which falsely claimed a protester was paid to disrupt Trump rallies.

[...]

There was still no explanation for why either NewsBusters piece was included among "fake news" articles as of this post's publication. 

Wilmouth went on to state that "NewsBusters executive editor Tim Graham demanded that Stelter issue a correction and emphasized that all of us at NewsBusters take issues of accuracy seriously (despite what Stelter may consciously or erroneously think and opine to viewers)," adding links to Graham tweeting that "If you can't explain where we FAKED it, @BrianStelter we at NewsBusters want a correction" and "Anyone who reads @newsbusters -- if you find something "Pants on Fire" or "Fake" on NB, we will take it seriously. No flies in our soup!"

Wilmouth and Graham have a point -- to a certain extent. Of the two NewsBusters posts that got blink-and-you'll-miss-them appearances in the CNN segment, one is as run-of-the-mill right-wing rant by Christian Toto overstating what comedian Amy Schumer said about Trump voters; while she mocked them by questioning if they could read her Instagram post "through the holes in your sheets," the headline of Toto's post claims she called them "Clueless KKK Members." The post did contain an added editor's note asserting that Hillary Clinton's emails, which  Schumer said caontined "nothing incriminating," actually contained "Classified information very likely hacked by foreign agents."

The second post was one by Matt Philbin, and as we noted, it complained that the media was examining the white-nationalist ties of Steve Bannon instead of Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, who Philbin smeared as an "anti-Catholic bigot."  In fact, Podesta is a Catholic himself, and he merely complained about conservative Catholics, not attacked the entire religion.

In the MRC's defense, these types of items are not the fake news that has people concerned -- this sort of hyperbolic ranting is par for the course at NewsBusters.That's not to say the MRC hasn't been promoting fake news, however.

As we've documented, the MRC went all in in relentlessly promoting the Fox News story that  an indictment of Hillary Clinton was imminent and that her email server was almost definitely hacked, with MRC chief Brent Bozell vowing to report "every hour" on the issue. But none of those hours were devoted to a post that told readers Fox News effectively retracted both claims -- in other words, fake news.

That not only undercuts Wilmouth's claim that "all of us at NewsBusters take issues of accuracy seriously" and Graham's assertion that "if you find something "Pants on Fire" or "Fake" on NB, we will take it seriously," it proves that the editor's note in Toto's post on schumer was fake as well. So maybe Stelter wasn't that much out of line.

There are also things like NewsBusters blogger Tom Blumer deceptively trying to blame all birtherism on Hillary Clinton (which, to the very limited extent her campaign was associated with the issue, ended around the time her 2008 campaign did) as a ploy to get Trump off the hook for pushing the issue for five years. NewsBusters also has a blogger hiding behind the fake name of "Bruce Bookter"and hired aggressively pro-Trump partisan Jeffrey Lord to blog there as well, who has his own history of fake news.

The fake news the MRC puts out isn't the crude clickbait eesigned to make money; it's things like dubious studies so narrowly defined and unscientifically conducted they're meaningless as anything except a partisan cudgel.

On Nov. 20, the MRC went after Stelter again; this time, Nicholas Fondacaro complained that, in repeating the claims of a fake-news writer reported by the Washingtion Post, he "taking the opinion and the insults of a fake news publisher as fact. On top of ranting that "Stelter tried to smear the Media Research Center by including images of two NewsBusters articles during his shtick about fake news," he offered his own pass-the-buck take on the fake-news controversy:

The public is smarter than they are given credit for, and are very perceptive. So, the fear that fake news is what drove a Trump victory over Clinton is powered by a distrust with the intelligence the public. If Stelter and the media want their credibility back, then they need to show some trust in the public and not just demand that the public trust them. 

Of course, neither of these two posts noted that Facebook reportely refused to implement standards that would weed out fake news in order to avoid provoking another attack from right-wingers -- like Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell -- over claims of bias and censorship, such has what happened earlier in the year.

If the MRC was really as interested in accuracy as Graham and other employees claim it is, it would address that claim in its discussions of the fake-news controversy.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:35 PM EST
Sunday, November 20, 2016
MRC Actually Blames 'Liberal Bias' For Alt-Right Fake News
Topic: Media Research Center

We've noted that one key reason why pro-Trump fake news proliferated during the presidential election is that, according to Gizmodo sources, Facebook refused to implement standards that would weed out fake news in order to avoid provoking attacks from right-wingers -- like Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell -- over claims of bias and censorship.

The MRC has finally noticed the debate -- and is eager to do anything but discuss its own role in helping create it. Like blaming the so-called "liberal media" for it.

IN a Nov. 18 MRC post, Kyle Drennen writes of "network coverage hyping liberal fears that fake news stories shared on Facebook and across social media fueled Donald Trump’s election victory and actually came to this conclusion: "Perhaps if journalists were more concerned with policing their own liberal bias, the public would be less inclined to seek out alternative news sources."

Yep, that's what he wrote.

Kyle complained that "That question was never broached in any of the coverage" of the issue -- but Drennen never broached the question of the Bozell-led intimidation of Facebook allegedly being a factor in Facebook refusing to do anything about fake news before the election.

So the "liberal media" is somehow to blame for fake right-wing news. That's the way logic works at the MRC these days. And about all one can do in response is facepalm.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:06 PM EST
Friday, November 18, 2016
Doesn't Skewed MRC Poll Show Media Rejected Bias of CNS Too?
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center released a poll it conducted this week claiming that, among other things  "7 in 10 (69%) voters do not believe the news media are honest and truthful" and "8 in 10 (78%) of voters believe the news coverage of the presidential campaign was biased."

Curiously, the full poll results weren't provided in the NewsBusters article announcing the poll. A link for that is buried in the article at the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, touting the poll. And that's where we find a bit of bias in the poll itself: The detail of sampling by region shows that just 16.9 of respondents were from the Northeast, while 24.6 percent were from the Midwest, 21.9 from the West and a whopping 36.6 percent were from the South. That seems a bit skewed.

The full results also show that respondents were questioned about "the media" or "the news media" in the broadest possible sense. This means respondents were responding not just to the MRC's favorite (andlconveniently narrow for research purposes) target, the three main broadcast networks, but to cable news and websites as well -- including the MRC's own CNS.

While the MRC is interested in promoting only the poll results that further its anti-media agenda -- i.e., "nearly a 3-to-1 majority believing the media were for Clinton (59%)" -- it also found that 21 percent of respondents thought the media was biased in favor of Trump.

And while Brent Bozell rants about the "institutional bias at major media networks" -- even though, again, the poll he paid for never asked about that specifically -- and insisted that "The public has rejected this institution as being either objective or truthful," he must apply those results to his own "news" operation, CNS.

As we've documented, CNS' election coverage was egregiously biased,with its reporters pouncing on everyalleged Hillary Clinton scandal while playing stenographer for Trump, uncritically transcribing his speeches and statements.

If the public has rejected the media, that means it has also rejected Bozell's own "news" operation. You'd think Bozell would be concerned enough about that to do something about it -- after all, it's what the MRC presents as the ideal website.

One last note: The press-release description of the MRC at the end of the NewsBusters article laughably states this: "We don’t endorse politicians and we don’t lobby for legislation." The MRC has to say that because it's not allowed to endorse candidates or act as lobbyists under its 501(c)3 nonprofit tax designation, but let's not pretend that its election-year work is anything other than endorsement of the Republican candidate for president, if not by name.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:02 PM EST
Thursday, November 17, 2016
MRC Would Rather Distract Than Talk About Steve Bannon
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has decided how it will address the controversy of Donald Trump naming white nationalist- and anti-Semitic-linked Breitbart News leader Steve Bannon as his top adviser: distract, distract, distract.

First up is Matt Philbin, who wonders why the media wants to talk about Bannon and not "anti-Catholic bigot" John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's campaign manager.Of course, the reason is that Podesta is not an "anti-Catholic bigot" at all -- as Philbin admits, Podesta -- a Catholic himself -- was critical only of conservative Catholicism. Nevertheless, Philbin sneered that Podesta is a "self-hating Catholic" and should "try the Episcopalians" if he wants a religion that respects gender equality.

Philbin then dismissed a media report pointing out Bannon's links to white nationalism because it came from "from Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is itself a left-wing hate group whose business model is screaming 'Neo-Nazi!' at conservative groups and then letting donations from aging lefties pour in." At no point does Philbin actually address the white nationalism charge -- he's attacking the messenger.

Sarah Stites was next in the distraction brigade, with the subject of distraction this time being gay activist Dan Savage: "The networks have all written stories condemning Bannon’s alleged anti-semitism, but what about Savage’s hateful words about the Catholic church?" Um, because nobody has appointed Savage to be a presidential adviser?

She was followed by Rich Noyes, who pointed to yet another not-conservative the media is purportedly ignoring to focus on Bannon:

Since Sunday evening, ABC, CBS and NBC (along with a host of other establishment media outlets) have been engaged in a feeding frenzy over Donald Trump’s appointment of Steve Bannon, with reporters relentlessly employing phrases such as “white nationalist,” “white supremacist,” “extremist,” “racist” and “anti-Semitic” to solidify the image of Bannon as a dangerous pick for a top White House position.

But since Friday, those same networks have been blind to the controversies surrounding the top candidate for Democratic National Committee Chairman, Rep. Keith Ellison. Ellison has been accused of ties to the radical Nation of Islam, the Muslim Brotherhood, and once suggested the 9/11 terrorist attacks were akin to the infamous Reichstag fire used to propel Hitler’s Nazi party into absolute power in 1933 Germany.

In fact, as Media Matters documented in noting the Islamophobic nature of the attacks on Ellison, the congressman hasn't had a link to the Nation of Islam since 1995 when he organized a group to attend the Million Man March, and Ellison has since denounced the Nation of Islam's "bigoted and anti-Semitic" statements.

By contrast, Noyes lamented that Bannon was being targed with "long-dropped charges of 'domestic violence,' and unsubstantiated accusations from Bannon’s ex-wife that he didn’t want his children 'going to school with Jews.'" When has the MRC ever refrained from attacking a liberal because the charges were "long-dropped" or unsubstantiated?

Finally, Brittany Hughes pops up at MRCTV -- seemingly replacing Dan Joseph, who near as we can tell is no longer an MRC employee after being a fervent never-Trumper during the election -- to harangue the media for even questioning Bannon (and found even more people to distract with) because HOW DARE THEY:

So, to all of you out there in the media who suddenly decided that you give a rip about ethics and morality, here's my response: Just. Shut. Up. This is why Americans are sick of you and it's why your ratings are in the toilet. They're sick of left-wing journalists pointing their almighty finger at conservatives whenever they scratch their nose wrong, while totally ignoring liberals who spew all kinds of filthy, nasty mess.

The Clintons have lined their pockets with millions from Middle Eastern countries that stone gay people and deny women basic rights, and somehow Hillary is still a feminist LGBT champion.  Huma Abedin's family published a radical Muslim magazine that promoted Sharia law and advocated against women's rights, and Huma Abedin was listed as an editor on it for years, and you never batted an eyelash.

Actually, according to people who actually read such things and are not right-wing former WorldNetDaily employees taking articles out of context, that "radical Muslim magazine" is a mostly staid academic journal that covers a broad range of issues.

But who cares about facts? Hughes doesn't. She's on a spittle-filled roll, having apparently taken ranting lessons from her boss, Brent Bozell:

You just spent the last eight years defending a president who actively incites racial divides and who thinks terrorists are just climate change victims with employment problems. Yeah, it matters who Trump surrounds himself with. It matters that they have principles and ethics. But you do not get to point a finger at anyone in the Trump camp when you have done nothing but ignore the left's lies, race-baiting, Christian-bashing and open deception for years. So consider this your invitation to Shut. Up.

If Hughes' screed was meant to signal that only conservatives would judge Bannon, that part is a bit unclear because she was too busy screaming at the media to issue any sort of judgment.

The furious pace (literally, in Hughes' case) at which the MRC is trying to talk about anything but Steve Bannon tells us that they know his record is a legitimate issue to attack.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:52 PM EST
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Mission Accomplished: Facebook Too Intimidated By Right-Wingers To Stop Fake News
Topic: Media Research Center

Earlier this year, we detailed how Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell joined other conservatives in attacking Facebook for alleged bias on its "trending topics" feed, even taking part in a right-wing delegation to Facebook HQ to rant at them the error of their ways. The MRC censored the views of delegation member Glenn Beck, who portrayed the visit as a shakedown.

Well, the visit had its intended effect -- and proved Beck right. Gizmodo reports that Facebook's news feeds have been swamped by items from fake news sites designed to boost Donald Trump's presidential campaign, and sources said Facebook was afraid to do anything about it lest it offend Bozell's brigade again:

According to two sources with direct knowledge of the company’s decision-making, Facebook executives conducted a wide-ranging review of products and policies earlier this year, with the goal of eliminating any appearance of political bias. One source said high-ranking officials were briefed on a planned News Feed update that would have identified fake or hoax news stories, but disproportionately impacted right-wing news sites by downgrading or removing that content from people’s feeds. According to the source, the update was shelved and never released to the public. It’s unclear if the update had other deficiencies that caused it to be scrubbed.

“They absolutely have the tools to shut down fake news,” said the source, who asked to remain anonymous citing fear of retribution from the company. The source added, “there was a lot of fear about upsetting conservatives after Trending Topics,” and that “a lot of product decisions got caught up in that.”

Now that the election is over, Facebook is finally cracking down on fake news.

It looks Bozell and the MRC got what it wanted -- media outlets too intimidated by right-wing activists to something even so basic as fix a flaw that permits the dissemination of fake news. And as long as that fake news benefited a Republican, we have to assume the MRC is perfectly fine with that -- after all, we'd never hear the end of it from Bozell and Co. if the fake news Facebook wouldn't stop benefited Hillary Clinton.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:54 PM EST
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
MRC Suddenly Loves People Mag's Fluffy Profiles (When They're About Trump)
Topic: Media Research Center

A Nov. 11 Media Research Center post by Sarah Stites detailed the hostile reaction some people had to the new issue of People magazine featuring Donald Trump and his presidential victory. Stites complained that "Many people are taking the hashtag #NotMyPresident seriously, believing that any endorsement or recognition of Donald Trump’s new role is an acceptance of the man himself," adding, "In the end, Donald Trump is the President-elect, whether the media world likes it or not. So yes, news coverage is to be expected."

But Stites revealed her hypocrisy on the issue of fluffy celebrity coverage, making sure to also complain: "However, prior to the election results, People’s pro-liberal bias was clear. In the election weekend issue, a Hillary Clinton interview revealed softball questions about such topics as the candidate’s coping mechanisms and her thoughts on being the first female president." Stites linked to a post by the MRC's Tim Graham complaining about said interview. 

Indeed, the MRC regularly denounces People any time it includes a liberal on its pages, with Graham apparently serving as the MRC's designated People reader:

  • Graham ranted that People covered Trump's history of sordid sexual behavior.
  • He whined that "People magazine’s interview with Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine in the October 3 issue carried the usual hard-hitting questions from Sandra Sobieraj Westfall: 'Here’s one you probably won’t get in the debates: What emoji best describes you?'"
  • He also complained that the magazine did interviews with Huma Abedin, apparently mad that it noted Abedin tried to fix her marriage to Anthony Weiner before apparently finally giving the boot after another sexting scandal.

So if People covers Trump it's just "news coverage," but if it covers Clinton or Abedin it's "liberal media bias"? That's how the MRC mind works, it seems.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:53 PM EST
Sunday, November 13, 2016
MRC Plays Dumb About Trump's Anti-LGBT Connections
Topic: Media Research Center

In a Nov. 11 Media Research Center post, Sarah Stites dismissed reports of an increase in suicides by transgender youth as probably not true and tried to downplay the idea that a Donald Trump presidency will be any sort of threat to the LGBT community as president:

This anxiety-ridden reaction to Trump’s ascendency is concerning, especially in consideration of the fact that the president-elect has not voiced strongly conservative views on LGBT issues. In fact, in an April 21 interview with Matt Lauer, Trump recommended leaving the bathroom situation “the way it is.” "People go, they use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate,” he explained, “There has been so little trouble.” When Lauer pressed, “So if Caitlyn Jenner were to walk into Trump Tower and want to use the bathroom, you’d be fine with her using any bathroom she chooses?” Trump’s answer was telling: “That is correct.”

Based on his historically unpredictable policy positions, it is probably safe to assume that Trump is no solid social conservative. Additionally, he has discussed his open employment of LGBT people and has voiced no ill will against them. If transgender youth have anything to worry about regarding America’s 45th president, it should be his caprice—not his ideology.

While Trump himself may not care about LGBT issues, he has surrounded himself with people who care about them very much, and not in a positive way.

The head of domestic policy for Trump's transition team, Ken Blackwell of the right-wing Familiy Research Council, believes that being gay is no different from being a kleptomaniac or arsonist and is a "lifestyle" that "can be changed." He has also compared same-sex couples to farm animals.

Trump also named several anti-gay leaders to a campaign advisory council, including Michele Bachmann, James Dobson and Robert Jeffress.

Trump's apparent disinterest in LGBT issues may very well mean that the anti-gay leaders riding his coattails will have free rein to impose their agenda. Stites, however, thinks LGBT people haven't been paying attention to that and is simply playing dumb about the threat.

UPDATE: Also, let's not forget that Trump's vice president, Mike Pence, is considered one of the most anti-gay governors in America.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:47 PM EST
Updated: Monday, November 14, 2016 8:32 AM EST
Friday, November 11, 2016
Bozell's Trump Sellout Is Complete
Topic: Media Research Center

Brent Bozell wrote in the National Review in February:

Longtime conservative leader Richard Viguerie has a simple test for credentialing a conservative: Does he walk with us?

For the simple reason that he cannot win without conservatives’ support, virtually every Republican presenting himself to voters swears so-help-me-God that he is a conservative. Many of these politicians are calculating, cynical charlatans, running as one thing only to govern in a completely different direction. See: McConnell, McCain, Hatch, Boehner, et al. And for decades it’s worked. Conservatives look at the alternatives — Reid, Pelosi, Obama, Clinton, et al. — and bite the bullet. We so often “win” — only for nothing to come of it.

The GOP base is clearly disgusted and looking for new leadership. Enter Donald Trump, not just with policy prescriptions that challenge the cynical GOP leadership but with an attitude of disdain for that leadership — precisely in line with the sentiment of the base. Many conservatives are relishing this, but ah, the rub. Trump might be the greatest charlatan of them all.

A real conservative walks with us. 

How times change. In May, Bozell flip-flopped and threw the full resources of his Media Research Center behind Trump, later enthustiastically endorsing and parroting Trump's anti-media strategy (which, after all, was based on that of the MRC).

Now, it appears that Bozell's sellout to Trump is complete. A Nov. 9 article at Bozell's CNSNews.com by Matthew Hrozencik uncritically quotes Bozell, at a press conference of conservatives, fawning over Trump's skills as a businessman:

I told [Trump] that the only way you’re going to fix broken government, I believe, is to bring a businessman into Washington. And the only way that you’re going to manage this kind of level of financial output is somebody with business sense, who brings in people who have management experience. I would hope that he would do that and I think he will.

Curiously, Hrozencik first describes Bozell only as "president and treasurer of ForAmerica," not mentioning his MRC connection until the final paragraph.

Hrozencik didn't mention Bozell's previous attack on Trump, let alone provide an explanation of why Bozell made a complete 180 on him.He did note, though, that among the other conservatives at this little presser was none other than Richard Viguerie, who inspired Bozell's earlier rejection of Trump.

Hrozencik also edits out a telling statement from Bozell. If you look at the full video of the event, Bozell prefaced the above statement by saying, "My first in an endless number of miscalculations in this campaign was when I told Donald Trump he couldn't win, and -- which was in May of last year. But I told him that I thought he should run anyway, because with his money, why not."

That's a step toward a mea culpa, but it's not a full explanation. It also suggests that Bozell is not operating based on any fixed set of principles but on "calculations" -- in other words, craven politics.

In short, Bozell sold out his claimed values to stay on the correct side of the Republican Party and remain a player in the conservative movement.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:51 PM EST
Updated: Friday, November 11, 2016 6:23 PM EST

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