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Wednesday, September 20, 2017
MRC, CNS Have A Sally Quinn Freakout
Topic: Media Research Center

CNSNews.com managing editor Michael W. Chapman is horrified in a Sept. 13 blog post that "In her new book, Finding Magic: A Spiritual Memoir, Washington Post journalist Sally Quinn, the widow of former Post Executive Editor Ben Bradlee (d.2014), admits that she believes in and has practiced the occult since childhood, and even placed hexes on people. He concluded by huffing: "The liberal media and Washington insiders, incidentally, mocked Nancy Reagan for consulting an astrologer. Why were they so silent, for decades, about Sally Quinn and her occultism?"

Perhaps because Quinn married to a journalist and was not the first lady of the United States, perhaps? That distinction appears to have escaped Chapman, who's much more comfortable promoting so-called Christians expressing their hatred for the LGBT community.

Chapman isn't the only Media Research Center employee huffing and puffing about Quinn. Tom Blumer is in full dudgeon at NewsBusters, somehow equating the lack of public knowledge about Quinn's occultic tendencies to a political scandal akin to Watergate (and cites co-worker Chapman along the way):

The reception given to Sally Quinn's new book, Finding Magic, has been strangely quiet.

Perhaps that's because the book shamelessly reveals that since 1973, if not earlier, Quinn, who was the nation's capital's de facto social gatekeeper for several decades, deceived the world about the true nature of her "religious" outlook, and did so with the help of the rest of the Washington press corps — that is, if one considers belief in the occult, practicing voodoo, and supposedly communicating with ghosts (sound familiar?) the foundations of a "religion."

[...]

The bolded sentence in the final excerpted paragraph is very telling. It reveals that Quinn's occultism was an open Beltway secret for over four decades which no reporter in the media echo chamber had the courage to share with the public this crowd of alleged journalists piously claims to serve.

[...]

Quinn, like so many other reporters who were or still are at the Post, was a fan of citing unnamed "sources." Ronald Reagan himself insisted that "no policy or decision in my mind has ever been influenced by astrology."

As to what's really "frightening and shocking," I'd place a closeted practitioner of occultism who believes in murderous hexes pretending to be offended by astrology to score cheap political points against the First Lady of a wildly successful two-term presidential administration several "frightening and shocking" notches above a protective First Lady who allegedly consulted the stars and had "a role" in Ronald Reagan's "scheduling."

[...]

Otherwise, media coverage of Quinn's new book has been very light.

It's understandable, given how this book effectively shames members of the Washington press corps irrevocably for the history books for a disgraceful four-plus decade coverup.

If Blumer could demonstrate when Quinn's personal life was relevant to anything she had done in public, he might have a point. Since he can't, he's just engaged in a meaningless right-wing rant.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:24 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 9:25 PM EDT
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
MRC Churns Out Another Bogus Study
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center appears to be on a roll with its biased so-called "studies." It served up another one on Sept. 13 courtesy of Mike Ciandella:

The twin disasters of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma showcased once again the media's reflex to use such tragedies to push for liberal climate change policies.

In their pursuit of this agenda, the broadcast networks' have heavily criticized the Trump administration's policies on the environment. From January 20 through August 31, MRC analysts tallied 75 stories discussing the President and climate change, totaling 73 minutes, 43 seconds of network airtime.

The commentary in these stories was as one-sided as the rest of Trump's coverage has been, with 88 percent of evaluative statements criticizing the President, vs. a mere 12 percent that praised him.

Once again, Ciandella ignores the vast majority of of the media universe to portray a half-hour of time on three channels as representative of the entire "media." Also note that Ciandella is trying to politiclze science by declaring that anything that supports the scientific consensus on climate change to be "liberal."

And we have another dubious "methodology":

Methodology: Our measure of spin was designed to isolate the networks’ own slant, not the back-and-forth of partisan politics. Thus, our analysts ignored soundbites which merely showcased the traditional party line (Republicans supporting Trump, Democrats criticizing him), and instead tallied evaluative statements which imparted a clear positive or negative tone to the story, such as statements from experts presented as non-partisan, voters, or opinionated statements from the networks’ own reporters.

Using these criteria, MRC analysts tallied 121 evaluative statements about the Trump administration’s approach to the environment from January 20 to August 31, 2017, of which 106 (88%) were negative vs. a mere 15 (12%) which were positive.

Again, "negative" and "positive" are subjective values, not objective ones that can be subject to scientific definition and rigor, and Ciandella is either ignoring neutral statements or forcing them into "negative" or "positive" camps.

Ciandella's bias is obvious in the examples he cites (again, the MRC refused to release full documentation of the study results), in which he portrays the reporting of facts as negative:

The most consistent factor in all of this coverage was the criticism. NBC Nightly News correspondent Matt Bradley’s July 30 quip that “President Donald Trump shifts American climate commitments into reverse” was typical of the media attitude towards the president’s environmental policies.

On June 2, Nightly News correspondent Kristen Welker promoted an anti-Trump protest over this decision, hyping “the backlash is only heating up.”

The same night, CBS Evening News’s anchor Anthony Mason spoke of the “world of opposition to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.” Correspondent Chip Reid echoed by referencing “worldwide condemnation.”

NBC Nightly News, anchor Savannah Guthrie on June 1 criticized the move to withdraw from the climate treaty: “detractors say it is a stunning abandonment of the U.S.’s leadership in the world, and a grave threat to the planet itself.”

To their credit, CBS stood alone in interviewing a conservative to hear the other side of the climate change debate. On April 22, CBS Evening News, correspondent Dean Reynolds noted that Joe Bast, CEO of The Heartland Institute, “looks with approval on Mr. Trump’s decision to roll back regulations limiting greenhouse gases, and to his appointments of fellow skeptics in the administration. Climate change, he [Bast] says, is a naturally occurring cyclical phenomenon caused mostly by the sun, not an approaching disaster accelerated by carbon dioxide emissions caused by humans.”

However, before stating this position, Reynolds noted that “most climate scientists, the United Nations, as well as NASA, dismiss these arguments as propaganda for fossil fuels.

So Ciandella is effectively proving Stephen Colbert correct once again: Reality does have a well-known liberal bias.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:14 PM EDT
Monday, September 18, 2017
MRC Writer Is Still Defending Gay Conversion Therapy
Topic: Media Research Center

Media Research Center writer Dawn Slusher has been extremely concerned that the TV show "Greenleaf" has a storyline about Kevin, a married man who is conflicted by his attraction to other men and attempts to deal with them by attending a church group involved with gay conversion therapy, fretting that the oft-discredited therapy will be discredited further and insisting that conversion therapy works.

Remarking in an Aug. 17 post on a scene in which Kevin confronts the leader of the conversion therapy program on how it's not working, Slusher rants (bolding is hers):

Suddenly, instead of Kevin voluntarily wanting to change because of his faith, he's now blaming the group leader for driving him crazy? And this was never about the group leader or anyone other than God, telling His followers what is right in His Word.

The question is, will the show use this storyline to show that Kevin truly wants to continue fighting his urges and is only angry because he failed, and that maybe he will try again once he calms down?

Or will they make Kevin to be the hero against those horrible conversion therapy groups that try so hard to help Christians make their own choices based on their faith rather than their flesh? (So awful of these groups to help such people despite the many success stories, right? God forbid people seek to live as they feel called to by their faith and voluntarily seek out the support of such groups to suppress urges they’d rather not have.)

Seeing that this is liberal Hollywood, and the Oprah Network at that, my money is on the former. Especially since Charity finds a letter Kevin left behind before leaving the house to confront the group and she seems extremely concerned. My guess is that the show will paint Kevin as suicidal in a future episode. Not because of his inner struggle between his faith and his desires, though, but because of Fortitude Families and intolerant Christians.

All the blame must lie with those who are trying to help Christians live out their faith. Because, of course.

Note to Slusher: Just because someone voluntarily seeks out something that's been proven to be psychologically harmful doesn't mean they should be encouraged to do it.

And, as before, Slusher's evidence that gay conversion therapy is a "success" are a pro-conversion therapy group that cites the virulently anti-gay group NARTH for backup, as well as Walt Heyer, a current fave of anti-gay activists who admits he was misdiagnosed as transgender.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:21 PM EDT
Sunday, September 17, 2017
MRC Decrees: Don't Talk About Climate Change During A Hurricane
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center gets plenty of love from conservative writers like Joe Concha, and it makes sure to return that love.

In a Sept. 11 MRC post, Curtis Houck cheers on Concha's haranguing of MSNBC's Ali Velshi for committing the offense of talking about climate change during a hurricane:

On Sunday night, MSNBC’s Ali Velshi showcased his desire to not let a deadly crisis like Hurricane Irma go to waste, reaffirming his belief that it’s appropriate to discuss climate change as the cause of hurricanes like Irma while lives were at stake.

Velshi made this pathetic proclamation during a Twitter debate with The Hill’s Joe Concha, who had tweeted that the media had largely been doing their job when it came to the hurricane.

[...]

Concha calmly replied that there was a “[t]ime and a place for that conversation...[b]ut while people’s homes & business are being devastated isn’t that time.”

When Velshi hit back that “I think this is the perfect time to have that discussion,” Concha seemed exasperated:

[...]

Just as the left largely congregates to gun control after a shooting while people lay dead, many of those same folks can’t help but talk up global warming while lives are at risk from flooding, high winds, storm surge, and tornadoes. And this doesn’t even touch the fact that these storms have been causing catastrophic damage for centuries.

People can debate the issue like any other topic, but as Concha astutely argued, the day of landfall isn’t the time for that.

Note Houck's biased language designed to paint those who point out that climate change have a role in hurricanes as irrational if not completely crazy: Velshi is "pathetic" and "hit back" at Concha, while Concha responded "calmly" and "astutely."Houck also attacked Velshi as among "liberal journalists" who were confined to comfy, safe studios in New York City and Washington" during the hurricane. But Concha, we can presume, was nowhere near the hurricane either, but he doesn't get slammed as a liberal elite.

Yet for all of this manufactured indignation over the proper time to discuss climate change in relation to hurridcanes, neither Houck nor Concha identified a specific time when that conversation could take place. We suspect that for them, the real answer is never.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:55 AM EDT
Thursday, September 14, 2017
MRC Shocked To Discover TV Show About Porn Has A Lot of Sex In It
Topic: Media Research Center

In a Sept. 10 post, the Media Research Center's Lindsay Kornick is shocked -- shocked! -- to that the new HBO show "The Deuce," about the porn industry in the 1970s, has a lot of sex in it:

The description of the newest HBO show, brought to us by Marxist creator David Simon, The Deuce reads, “The story of the legalization and ensuing rise of the porn industry in New York beginning in the 1970s.” If a plot like that doesn’t make your stomach churn, get your supply of eye-bleach ready for what’s sadly up to be the latest hit show on HBO’s hands - because this story, along with HBO itself, is all too ready to remind us that sex sells.

The September 10th pilot introduces us to New York City in 1971 and follows a variety of characters ranging from mob members to street pimps to sex workers to college students. I would tell you the plot, but this show seems far more interested in sexual imagery than original characters and storytelling that might mean something. The gratuitous sex I can almost forgive (okay, that’s a lie, I never will), but the sheer and mind-numbing boredom is the waterboarding icing on top of this torture cake. And there’s a lot to cover.

Over the course of this way-too-long pilot, we are treated to not one, not two, but FIVE graphic sex scenes. Forget everything you’ve known about the old X-rating, apparently everything goes now on television. Naked breasts or even an exposed penis is no longer a taboo but a feature. This show may try to lean on the “realistic” element of it being based on a true story, but that assumes that people want to get these scenes seared into their brains on a Sunday night.

Hang on, there’s more! One of those sex scenes just so happens to involve an underaged participant with "sex worker" Candy (Maggie Gyllenhaal). For a sexually hungry boy’s birthday, his friends pool their funds together for some time in a motel where he fondles her bare breasts. We’re now throwing all forms of morality to the wind for, what the New York Times review calls, “Pure capitalism: desire quantified in $20 bills and in the quarters pumped into peep-show booths.” Sorry liberals, you don’t get to pawn off your failures to society onto capitalism this time. I’ve seen mud puddles less dirty than this show.

Kornick's evidence that Simon is a "Marxist creator" is a 2013 NewsBusters post on a speech by Simon in which he at no point calls himself a Marxist but says Marx accurately described the state of America now.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:27 PM EDT
There's Plenty Wrong With The MRC's Latest So-Called Study
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has been getting some great right-wing press for its latest so-called study. For example, conservative media reporter Joe Concha gushed in an appearance on Fox News, "I get they're conservative, but no one challenges their data."

Wrong, Joe. We've always challenged the MRC's data, and we'll do so once again here.

The MRC's new "study" by Rich Noyes and Mike Ciandella arrived under the headline "The Liberal Media’s Summer of Pummeling Trump." And therein lies the MRC's first deception. The "study" does not examine the entire media, or even the entire "liberal media" -- it looks only at the evening newscasts on ABC, NBC and CBS. That's a very tiny sliver of the media, a half-hour on three channels. Throughout their report, Noyes and Ciandella repeatedly conflate this sliver with all of "TV."

Noyes and Ciandella then offered what they claimed was a "methodology":

Methodology: Our measure of spin was designed to isolate the networks’ own slant, not the back-and-forth of partisan politics. Thus, our analysts ignored soundbites which merely showcased the traditional party line (Republicans supporting Trump, Democrats criticizing him), and instead tallied evaluative statements which imparted a clear positive or negative tone to the story, such as statements from experts presented as non-partisan, voters, or opinionated statements from the networks’ own reporters.

Using these criteria, MRC analysts tallied 1,567 evaluative statements about the Trump administration in June, July and August, of which 1,422 (91%) were negative vs. a mere 145 (9%) which were positive. Since Trump took office on January 20, there have been 4,144 such evaluative statements, of which 3,712 (90%) were negative, vs. 432 (10%) which were positive.

First: "Spin" is not something that can be measured objectively -- it's an entirely subjective value. Similarly, "positive" and "negative" are subjective as well. Given the MRC's inherent bias against those very evening newscasts, it's predisposed to find negative evaluations, making its results even more biased and making that 91% number highly suspicious.

Second: The "evaluative statements" were only only positive or negative? There were no neutral evaluations? It's unlikely that all of the statements were so binary.

Third: Noyes and Ciandella make no evaluation of whether the Trump actions that were evaluated deserved the negative responses they claim to have documented, despite claiming that "All Presidents deserve critical news coverage from time to time." Instead, they assert without evidence that Trump is as "highly controversial" as President Obama was, but "Obama’s policies matched the liberal media’s preferences, while Trump’s agenda clearly clashes with the establishment media’s world view."

Fourth: Noyes and Ciandella don't provide a list of the "evaluative statements" they tallied, which makes this something of a black-box exercise. Perhaps they don't want people to know just how subjective their judgments are.

While Concha doesn't appear to think so, there's plenty to challenge about the MRC's data -- and it demonstrates that this study does not display scientific rigor and is too biased to be taken seriously as anything other than red meat for right-wing activists. You know, like most MRC "studies."


Posted by Terry K. at 8:43 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, September 14, 2017 8:53 AM EDT
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Yes, The MRC Is Anti-Media
Topic: Media Research Center

In an Aug. 29 post, the Media Research Center's Curtis Houck denounces the whole minor imbroglio over Melania Trump wearing stilettoes on her way to a presidential trip to visit victims of Hurricane Harvey. Houck insisted that this was "why people hate the media" and that the number of media outlets that reported the story "showed that many in the national and political media have no foresight for what actually matters." Then he added:

Liberal media defenders can claim that such criticism is delegitimizing the news media and that’s not what NewsBusters is dedicated to be doing. Rather, we’re simply bringing to light stories like these in which the media have done themselves a disservice to the public. 

Wrong. The MRC's goal is exactly to delegitimize the news media -- or, more to the point, any media that doesn't mindlessly promote right-wing talking points. That's why there is a Fox News-shaped blind spot in its media coverage (plus, it doesn't want to alienate the main TV outlet for its talking heads).

If the MRC really cared about "stories like these in which the media have done themselves a disservice to the public," where was its outrage when the right-wing media went crazy because President Obama put dijon mustard on his hamburger? Or when he mentioned arugula? Nowhere that we could find.

And if the MRC wasn't trying to delegitimize the media, it wouldn't be such a slavish acolyte to Donald Trump's even more hateful anti-media rhetoric.

Yes, Curtis, the MRC's job is to delegitimize any media that fails to advance a right-wing agenda. Until it can find it within itself to hold all media to account, let's not pretend otherwise.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:27 PM EDT
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
MRC Tries To Make 'MSNBC Conservative' A Thing
Topic: Media Research Center

Back in 2012 or so, the Media Research Center tried to float the idea of the "MSNBC conservative" -- an attempt to bash conservatives (in this case, the target was Joe Scarborough) who failed to be conservative enough for the MRC that was really just another form of Heathering.

Now, it looks like the MRC is trying to make "MSNBC conservative" happen again.

Brad Wilmouth tries to define the term in the midst of tagging someone as one in an Aug. 1 post:

The caricature of an MSNBC conservative is a commentator with a right-leaning background who -- when appearing as a panel member on the liberal news network -- either agrees with the liberal guests or fails to rebut liberal analysis while offering little actual right-leaning analysis to the discussion. Washington Post columnist and regular MSNBC guest Jennifer Rubin may have gone beyond caricature on Monday's Hardball as she actually seemed to enjoy reporting that "social conservatives" are "dying off."

In an Aug. 22 post, the person getting the "MSNBC conservative" tag from Scott Whitlock is P.J. O'Rourke, for mocking President Trump -- as if Trump had ever exhibited conservative tendencies before the 2016 election. (Remember, MRC chief Brent Bozell declared that Trump didn't "walk with" conservatives like him until a little Mercer money apparently changed his mind and he turned the MRC into a total Trump tool.)

Wilmouth took another shot at Rubin in a Sept. 4 post, calling her not only an "MSNBC conservative" but also "allegedly right-leaning."

This attempt at nomenclature comes with no acknowledgement whatsoever of its inspiration: the "Fox News Democrat," who actually lives up to the description Wilmouth ascribes to people like Rubin, who merely holds the same views on Trump Bozell did until mid-2016. 


Posted by Terry K. at 9:21 PM EDT
Did Mercer Money Make MRC Bury Bannon's Catholic-Bashing?
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Reserarch Center is usually quick to pounce on any real or perceived slight of Catholics made in the media. After all, the MRC's leaders, Brent Bozell and Tim Graham, are Catholic, and Bozell is a member of the advisory board of Bill Donohue's right-wing Catholic League.

But when that anti-Catholic slight comes from a trusted adviser to a Republican president, the MRC decided to look the other way.

In an excerpt from a "60 Minutes" interview released before its airing, recently departed Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon -- who claims to be a Catholic -- said that the Catholic Church has been "terrible" on the subject of undocumented immigrants, adding: "You know why? Because unable to really to come to grips with the problems in the church, they need illegal aliens, they need illegal aliens to fill the churches. That's -- it's obvious on the face of it. ... They have an economic interest. They have an economic interest in unlimited immigration, unlimited illegal immigration."

Now, that's the kind of anti-Catholic insult that normally gets people like Bozell and Graham in a froth. But the MRC did everything it could to distract from it.

In a Sept. 7 post, Scott Whitlock didn't criticize Bannon's Catholic-bashing -- the remark was noted only in the transcript and written around in the body of the item, in which Whitlock stated only that "Bannon shot back that the 'Catholic Church has been terrible about this' issue"  --  but instead attacked Bannon's interviewer, Charlie Rose, for questioning if Bannon was being a "good Catholic" since even influential Cardinal Dolan opposes the Trump administration's stance in trying to end DACA. Whitlock huffed: "Apparently, the CBS position is that a 'good Catholic' supports the liberal agenda and conservative Catholic positions are to be ignored or dismissed." He didn't mention that it could be argued that CBS and Cardinal Dolan are on the same side.

A Sept. 8 post by Kristine Marsh  bashed late-night comedians for mocking Bannon, but she would concede only that "Bannon admitted he disagreed with the Catholic Church’s stance on DACA" and not offer a direct, full quote of Bannon's remarks. Rather, she actually complained that Stephen Colbert "bashed Bannon for implying the church had ulterior motives for wanting to help 'strangers who desperately need help'" -- the same thing the MRC would be bashing Bannon for if he wasn't a key Trump adviser.

A Sept. 11 post by Nicholas Fondacaro complains that Rose "lectured and berated Bannon about America and his worldview." Fondacaro is careful to edit out Bannon's Catholic-bashing from the transcript, replacing it with ellipses:

ROSE: Can I remind you, a good Catholic, that Cardinal Dolan is opposed to what's happened with DACA. Cardinal Dolan!

BANNON: The Catholic Church has been terrible about this.

ROSE: OK.

BANNON: The bishops have been terrible about this.

(…)

ROSE: Boy, that's a tough thing to say about your church.

(…)

ROSE: You will not be attacking Donald Trump?

Meanwhile, over at the MRC's "news" division CNSNews.com, no stories were published about Bannon's remarks. CNS did, however find the time and space to highlight two other alleged Catholic slights, plus a column by David Limbaugh attacking one of those slights.

The Catholic League's Donohue even wrote an article critical of Bannon -- but neither the MRC nor CNS published it despite both having no problem giving space to Donohue in the past.

Why did the MRC give Bannon a pass? One possible, if not likely, explanation: Mercer money. We've already noted how Mercer family interests are the single largest donor to the MRC; likewise, Bannon is heavily tied to the Mercer empire, which began when Bannon worked for the Mercer-owned data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica and continues through Mercer's part-ownership of the Bannon-headed Breitbart.com.

As with their stance on Donald Trump, Bozell and the MRC have proven they're not afraid to flip-flop and put money ahead of previously declared principles.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:55 AM EDT
Monday, September 11, 2017
MRC Rushes to Limbaugh's Defense (Again)
Topic: Media Research Center

Is there anything Rush Limbaugh can do that the Media Research Center won't defend? It seems not.

The headline of a Sept. 7 MRC  item by Tim Graham declares: "Al Roker Uncorks False Charge That Rush Limbaugh Said Irma Was 'Fake,' Not 'Dangerous'." Actually, it's Graham who's making the false charge: The Roker tweets Graham includes in his post makes it clear that he was saying that Limbaugh was downplaying warnings about Hurricane Irma, not that the entire hurricane was "fake." Nevertheless, Graham goes on to rant:

Neither of these tweets stand up to an actual reading of the Tuesday Limbaugh transcript. Read it. Nowhere did Limbaugh say Hurricane Irma was "fake" or "not a dangerous storm." He never told anyone to "ignore" the forecasts. No one should expect the liberals at PolitiFact/PunditFact to award Roker with a big "FALSE" on the "Truth-o-Meter." But he deserves one. 

Actually, as the Washington Post's Callum Borchers summarizes:

Limbaugh, a fellow Trump booster, didn't say the deep state causesstorms, but he did say “you have people in all of these government areas who believe man is causing climate change, and they’re hellbent on proving it, they’re hellbent on demonstrating it, they’re hellbent on persuading people of it.”

Limbaugh didn't say the deep state directs storms toward major cities, but he did say “hurricanes are always forecast to hit major population centers because, after all, major population centers is where the major damage will take place and where we can demonstrate that these things are getting bigger and they’re getting more frequent and they’re getting worse — all because of climate change.

Thus we have two of the president's biggest promoters in the media [Limbaugh and Alex Jones] telling people that news about a storm — or perhaps even the storm itself — is fake. There could be serious consequences to Trump's ceaseless effort to lower trust in institutions such as the government and the press — consequences that the president and his team might not have fully considered.

But tell that to Graham, who was too far into full Limbaugh defense mode -- with an added healthy dose of mindless media-bashing -- to be concerned by the facts:

As for the "profit" part, Limbaugh also drew media ire for suggesting the local media and local advertisers profit from driving panic about an incoming storm: "the TV stations begin reporting this and the panic begins to increase. And then people end up going to various stores to stock up on water and whatever they might need for home repairs and batteries and all this that they’re advised to get, and a vicious circle is created. You have these various retail outlets who spend a lot of advertising dollars with the local media."

Limbaugh told listeners that you can't find any bottled water in his Palm Beach area, days before an accurate storm track. He talked about his experience of living in Florida since 1997 and he wasn't just talking about Irma, or Harvey, but about both the storm forecasts that are real, and those that turned out to be overhyped, because the hurricane track moved or the storm weakened.

But the media always take offense when someone says they profit from tragedy. Broadcasting before a hurricane or a snowstorm is a public service....and it naturally causes a big ratings increase. It naturally also causes a run on the stores for supplies. All of that is true. It's just....insensitive to suggest anyone consciously benefits from tragedy -- or the fear of tragedy. As the old Don Henley song "Dirty Laundry" implied, the media thrive daily on the worst news...because it's much more interesting than planes landing safely on time. 

The Left certainly accused the major media of putting profit ahead of stopping the election of President Trump. Was that a bizarre conspiracy theory, that the media's dramatic and heavy coverage of Trump meant profit came ahead of public service?

Of course, Graham and the MRC repeatedly complained that the media wasn't publishing enough bad news about Democrats, real or fake. (Graham and the MRC never did apologize or correct the record after enthusiastically promoting Fox News' fake-news story before the election taht Hillary Clinton's indictment was imminent.)

Meanwhile, Limbaugh didn't have the courage of his own words to ride out the hurricane whose threat he downplayed; he evacuated from Florida before Irma hit.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:53 PM EDT
Thursday, September 7, 2017
MRC's Graham Loves Fox News Poll Question Equating Media, White Supremacists
Topic: Media Research Center

You could almost hear the Media Research Center's Tim Graham grinning as he wrote in a Sept. 3 post:

Allahpundit at Hot Air pointed out Fox News did a poll asking a question liberal journalists would surely find revolting: Who's the bigger threat to America? White supremacists, or the news media? Overall, white supremacists won, 47 to 40 percent, but as usual, there's a dramatic partisan split. Democrats went with white supremacists, 76 to 12 percent, while Republicans picked the news media, 69 percent to 18. Independents were almost evenly split, 43 percent racists to 39 percent media (people could also pick that the threat was equal).

This from a guy who helps run an organization that is incredibly quick to whine about any slight to the reputation of conservatives -- i.e., calling them "far right" and pointing out that they're hostile to facts.

Then again, Graham thinks the mere act of a journalist asking questions is inherently liberal and he basically cheered a GOP candidate's physical assault of a reporter -- and employs a researcher who is incapable of telling the difference between journalists and "the left" -- so equating the media to white supremacists is only a tiny mental leap for him.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:06 PM EDT
Tuesday, September 5, 2017
MRC Tries to Put Words In Trump's Mouth
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Nicholas Fondacaro complained in an Aug. 27 item:

With the remains of Hurricane Harvey still threatening the communities and lives of the people living along the coast of Texas, the liberal media still couldn’t put their obsession with President Trump aside. In a segment of CNN’s Reliable Sources on Sunday, host Brian Stelter wanted to talk about Trump’s description of political journalists as “sick people” from earlier in the week. But his panel twisted Trump’s words to connect them to those reporters covering the hurricane and those in war zones.

Wait a minute. Trump never specifically said he was singling out "political journalists" in his Phoenix speech, nor did he specifically exclude non-political journalists; he repeatedly refers to "the media" throughout the speech. Trump's reference to "sick people" was arguably framed as an attack on journalists who criticize his tweets, but even that did not specifically single out "political journalists."

Which means Fondacaro is putting words in Trump's mouth, insisting that his criticism of "the media" is limited to only national political journalists when he has never specifically made that distinction.

He went on to complain about the "conflation between the national political reporters and local news people" when, again, Trump has never specifically excluded "local news people" from his repeated attacks on "the media," concluding that the "Reliable Sources" panelists "politicized a natural disaster, which had taken lives, for political gain." How so? By defending the honor of journalists from a critic who's using a broad-brush smear?

Fondacaro went on to complain that one "Reliable Sources" panelist pointed out that Sean Hannity wasn't on the ground in Houston, "while ignoring the fact that Sean Hannity was just a political commentator and not a journalist." But Hannity has, in fact, called himself an "advocacy journalist" earlier this year, and he said he was a "journalist" in 2008 when he was relentlessly attacking Barack Obama.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:44 PM EDT
Sunday, September 3, 2017
MRC Curiously Leaves Megyn Kelly Alone Despite Working for 'Liberal Media'
Topic: Media Research Center

We've noted that when then-Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly asked pointed questions of Donald Trump at a 2015 presidential debate -- which caused Trump to complain about Fox News' bias -- the Media Research Center refused to take a side in the matter, presumably because it neither wanted to offend the network on which its employees appear most often or admit that Trump was right about Fox News' bias (though it eagerly signed on to Trump's "fake news" rants). The MRC effectively let Kelly twist in the wind.

When Kelly bolted Fox News for NBC after the 2016 election, you think the MRC -- freed from having to defend her as a Fox employee -- would take the opportunity to bash her work for the purportedly "liberal" NBC. But it mostly hasn't, even with Kelly providing ample ammunition in the form of low ratings and a controversial interview with Alex Jones, the kind of fringe figure the MRC loves to excoriate the "liberal media" for "mainstreaming" for simply doing stories about.

The lone piece the MRC did on the entire eight-episode summer run of Kelly's NBC was indeed about the Jones segment. A June 18 post by Melissa Mullins, posted before the interview, noted that Kelly "completely reconfigured her Sunday night show by bringing on the families of Sandy Hook and editing her interview to seem tougher on Jones." Mullins wrote at the end of her tepid post, "But I guess we will have to wait and see, when Kelly’s interview airs tonight. Or in most cases, wait to hear."

The only follow-up the MRC did on the interview was not about the interview itself, but bashing former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw, who appeared at the end of Kelly's show, for issuing a "liberal lecture" calling conspiracy theorists like Jones a "common threat" against the country. The MRC's Curtis Houck ranted that "Brokaw’s two-minute-plus commentary wasn’t used to make a broader argument against far-left rhetoric that nearly did the same to Republican congressmen," referring to the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise.

It seems Kelly has done enough for the conservative movement and the MRC -- remember, the MRC cheered how Kelly insisted against all evidence that Fox News wasn't biased and perpetuated the notion of a "left-leaning bias in news" -- that it will apparently give her a pass on her NBC work.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:37 PM EDT
Saturday, September 2, 2017
MRC Likens Jorge Ramos To A White Supremacist
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has long despised Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos, mainly for daring to be critical of President Trump. This is taken to a new level in an Aug. 24 post by Ken Oliver (bolding his):

As President Trump recently stated, many media outlets are currently having a field day giving  platforms to hate groups, on both ends of the country’s political spectrum.

At Univision, activist anchor Jorge Ramos decided to replay on his weekly Al Punto show his 2016 interview with white nationalist leader Jared Taylor. 

In the segment, one of the central exchanges between Ramos and Taylor reveals how both men actually share a similar, race-based view of American politics that is inherently divisive (not to mention un-American).

JARED TAYLOR, WHITE NATIONALIST: You want more power for Latinos.

JORGE RAMOS, HOST, AL PUNTO, UNIVISION: Exactly.

TAYLOR: That comes at the expense of my people’s power.

RAMOS: We are 17% of the population.

TAYLOR: Correct.

RAMOS: And we only have three senators. Therefore, we do not have the political representation we deserve.

TAYLOR: And you want more and more.

RAMOS: Of course, because we only have three senators.

RAMOS: Right now, 14 more senators.

As MRC Latino pointed out when the segment originally aired as part of Ramos’ pre-election horror film, titled Hate Rising, both Ramos and Taylor exhibit a race-based logic that is inimical to the core, color-blind ethos of the American political project.

It is, at both extremes, an identity politics gone mad, that only serves to divide Americans, rather than heal and unite them as President Trump has urged. In other words, in Jared Taylor’s America, as a white man he evidently cannot be adequately politically represented by a non-white, nor in Jorge Ramos’ America can Ramos be adequately politically represented by a non-Hispanic.

It is a race-based logic that the vast majority of Americans roundly reject.

The fact that Oliver invokes Trump twice in an item that has nothing whatsoever to do with Trump tells us the level of bias he's going to serve up. Oliver also fundamentally misunderstands the concept of identity politics -- and, thus, the difference between Taylor and Ramos.

Taylor wants all power to be kept in the hands of whites and no other races to have a voice -- he is a white supremacist after all (which Oliver strangely softens as being a "white nationalist"). Ramos is arguing for Hispanic political representation proportional to their portion of the U.S. population, which is not the same thing. Oliver doesn't explain how it's racially divisive to include more Hispanics or any other minority in politics.

That's important because history has shown that minority legislators represent the concerns of minority constituencies better than non-minority legislators, which suggests that those concerns are not adequately addressed by non-minority legislators. And rightly or wrongly, voters use a candidate's race as a proxy for ideology.

No, Mr. Oliver, Ramos is not a Hispanic supremacist, and wanting proportional political representation doesn't make him one. Ramos wants Hispanics to have a meaningful voice; Taylor wants Hispanics to have no political voice at all. Taylor wants supremacy for his race; Ramos just wants a proportional voice. In other words, Ramos and Taylor couldn't be more different in their "race-based view of American politics."

Portraying Ramos as no different from a white supremacist is nothing but a lazy, hateful slur.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:14 AM EDT
Wednesday, August 30, 2017
MRC Plays the Reagan Hagiography Card
Topic: Media Research Center

In the middle of an Aug. 23 post comlplaining that CNN's Don Lemon had a "deranged reaction to President Trump's Arizona rally," the Media Research Center's Curtis Houck took a little time to complain that "Lemon falsely claimed that Ronald Reagan already had Alzheimer’s Disease while President," later restating that "Lemon promoted fake news about Reagan."

How does Houck know that this is "false" and "fake news"? The only evidence he cites is from conservative columnist George Will and a review of a book by conservative Craig Shirley on Reagan done by "conservative scholar Lee Edwards."

Meanwhile, Reagan's son, Ron Reagan Jr. -- who likely had a closer, more realistic view of the situation than a couple of Reagan hagiogrphers -- argued that his father may have shown some early signs of Alzheimer's during his presidency, such as the occasional bout of forgetfulness.

So it appears that, at best, the jury is out on the issue. Perhaps Houck shouldn't be making such a definitive claim without examining evidence from people not predisposed to default to polishing Reagan's legacy.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:03 PM EDT

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