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Friday, October 18, 2019
MRC Joins Right-Wing Revenge Mob Against Reporter
Topic: Media Research Center

Revenge is rarely justified and never pretty, as we've seen when the Media Research Center does it. That doesn't keep them from engaging in that ugliness again, of course.

The story begins with a Iowa man, Carson King, whose sign pleading for more beer money via his Venmo account appeared on ESPN's college football show and he got thousands of dollars in contributions, which he ended up donating to the local children's hospital; additional donations pushed that amount to over $1 million. A Des Moines Register reporter looked into his background and found some offensive tweets he had issued during high school, which prompted a pre-article apology from King.

But the right-wing media is always in search of a new victim, and King fit the bill -- and any old villain will do in that victim's defense. And who does nonsensical attacks on the media better than the MRC? Curtis Houck signed up for this mission, and he had his vitriol thesaurus ready to roll for a sept. 25 post:

Illustrating the putrid state of the liberal media and their gleeful embrace of the “cancel culture,” the Gannett-owned Des Moines Register and reporter Aaron Calvin decided late Tuesday to impugn the character of Iowa State-fan-turned-cancer fundraiser Carson King using tweets from when the 24-year-old Iowan was 16.

Their reason? It was just “a routine background check” and done for “the public good.”

King took the high road, insisting that the newspaper “has been nothing but kind in all of their coverage, and I appreciate the reporter pointing out the post to me.” However, it doesn’t change the fact that a major media organization decided to engage in character assassination of someone who, if it weren’t for his act of kindness, would be a private citizen.

But Houck's fellow right-wing mobsters -- which he innocuously credited as "our friends and other accounts across Twitter " -- dug into the reporter's tweeting history and found offensive tweets there, and the revenge plot was set into motion:

So to be clear, dumb tweets from someone raising money for children with cancer is a horrendous offense. But racist, ugly tweets from the journalist assigned to scrutinizing this person like an elected official? Supposedly, it’s more of an imperative to destroy the former.

Perhaps folks should keep all this mind before deciding to do something undeniably good or risk having the news media try to destroy them.

At no point does Houck challege the accuray of the reporter's work; he's simply mad that it was reported at all.

But Houck and his right-wing mob got its scalp; the reporter was fired. But that wasn't enough for Houck -- he wanted more blood, more revenge. He screeched the next day in a headline with "WIMPS" in all-caps:

With a stench of arrogance that can only emanate from the news media, Des Moines Register executive editor Carol Hunter published a Thursday night column expressing no apologies for their campaign to ruin viral sensation Carson King “because readers depend on us to tell a complete story” and, as per her past statement, was done for “the public good.”

Hunter also revealed reporter Aaron Calvin was “no longer with the Register” after his ghoulish hatchet job against the cancer fundraiser over tweets King sent in high school, but the damage was done. As if they had let Jay Rosen or Brian Stelter pen this, she demonstrated a holier-than-thou proclamation from on high to us peons below that the paper will do better. Yeah right.

[...]

And in true Oliver Darcy or Stelter fashion, Hunter lashed out at those criticizing them: “We hadn’t yet published anything about his tweets when some people on social media began accusing the Register of doing King wrong and ruining a potential opportunity to continue raising millions of dollars to help sick children.”

On her first point (“Doing background work”), Hunter lectured readers like kindergarteners: “Some of you wonder why journalists think it’s necessary to look into someone’s past. It’s essential because readers depend on us to tell a complete story.”

Funny, because Houck has been an enthusiastic mob member with even ghreater arrogance, all too happy to destroy a reporter's career not because he reported anything wrong or false, but because he reported something Houck didn't like. Houck is the one being holier than thou by decreeing -- along with his mob -- who can never be critically reported upon and how pure the reporters must be who report on them.

The MRC doesn't care about journalism -- it cares only about working the refs (in this case, the media) to advance its political agenda. This sort of revenge campaign is working the refs in its most extreme form.

Houck is too indoctrinated in the MRC's anti-media philosophy to understand -- or care -- that he's damaging people; after all, damaging people who get in the way of his employer's agenda is what he's been trained to do.

Revenge is not "media research." But Houck thinks differently.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:22 PM EDT
Thursday, October 17, 2019
The MRC's Idea Of A 'Legitimate Journalist'
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Scott Whitlock wrote in a Sept. 26 post (bolding in original):

Joe Biden took another slap at the press on Wednesday night, falsely stating that “no legitimate journalist” gives any credibility to claims that, as vice president, he improperly  intervened on behalf of son Hunter Biden. After Jimmy Kimmel Live host Jimmy Kimmel wondered about the “gossip element” of the Ukraine story, Biden responded with an unprompted attack on unnamed reporters: “Look, you know, when you step back from it, this is not about me and my family. There's not one single solitary legitimate journalist in the world given any credibility to this.” 

He added, “They've debunked all of what he had to say for the past —  since Giuliani started this a while ago.” Of course, Kimmel let this go and didn’t challenge the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.

In fact, award-winning investigative journalist John Solomon has written about Biden’s efforts on behalf of his son. Writing in The Hill, Solomon explained: 

As I have reported, the pressure began at least as early as January 2016, when the Obama White House unexpectedly invited Ukraine’s top prosecutors to Washington to discuss fighting corruption in the country.

The meeting, promised as training, turned out to be more of a pretext for the Obama administration to pressure Ukraine’s prosecutors to drop an investigation into the Burisma Holdings gas company that employed Hunter Biden and to look for new evidence in a then-dormant criminal case against eventual Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, a GOP lobbyist.

In a separate story from April, Solomon detailed: 

At the time, Burisma [Holdings] allegedly was paying then-Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter as both a board member and a consultant. More than $3 million flowed from Ukraine to an American firm tied to Hunter Biden in 2014-15, bank records show.

According to [political officer in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington Andrii] Telizhenko, U.S. officials told the Ukrainians they would prefer that Kiev drop the Burisma probe and allow the FBI to take it over. The Ukrainians did not agree. But then Joe Biden pressured Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to fire Ukraine’s chief prosecutor in March 2016. 

Of course, Kimmel didn’t mention any of this or challenge Biden’s attacks on the press.

And, of course, Whitlock didn't mention that John Solomon isn't exactly a "legitimate journalist." He's a right-wing shill who's working for the benefit of Trump, and his Ukraine narrative is factually flawed -- fake news, one might say. In fact, Solomon worked with Trump atorney Rudy Giuliani -- who leaked to Solomon a dossier regarding his dirty-tricks work in Ukraine -- to publicize this story (factual flaws and all) with the goal of hurting Biden presidential campaign and boost Trump's re-election. Solomon's shoddy reporting has paid off in a sweet new contributor spot at Fox News.

But Whitlock and thte MRC aren't interested in looking into Solomon's veracity -- at least, as long as he tells them what they want to hear.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:29 PM EDT
Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Tim Graham's Double Standard on Softball Interviews
Topic: Media Research Center

In a Sept. 26 post, the Media Research Center's Tim Graham ranted about Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy's "day of softballs," in a series of TV interviews, claiming that the interviewers "often come across as stenographers -- extremely accomodating, and not at all challenging." three days later, Graham was promoting a softball interview his favorite TV channel conducted with his favorite right-wing radio host. Graham began his Sept. 29 post this way:

Fox & Friends invited author and national talk-show host Mark Levin on Sunday to discuss the budding effort by House Democrats to impeach President Trump. Levin ripped the media repeatedly, and protested the idea that the Democrats are going to try and remove the president from office by using an anonymous "whistleblower" who didn't even have first-hand access to the events that are allegedly impeachable.

Graham somehow didn't mention that Levin also has a show on Fox News, which means this was never going to be a contentious interview -- it would serve as a platform for Levin to push his anti-media narrative at a friendly venue.

"Fox & Friends" co-host Ed Henry even gamely allowed himself to be a (mild) punching bag for the good of advancing Levin's narrative -- which, of course, is not the way Graham presented it, stating only that "Levin told Ed Henry, 'You know, Ed, I've been watching you and a lot of reporters, and you haven't once asked for the identity of the so-called whistleblower. Why is that?'" Grahamcontinued to portray Henry as a non-conservative (and this, suspect) interviewer: "Henry pressed on Levin with the usual morally intimidating question: 'Are you okay with a president asking his counterpart -- this is a simple yes or no -- to dig up dirt on former vice president Joe Biden and his son?' Many reporters using this line of questioning find nothing unseemly about President Obama and his government trying to spy on the Trump campaign in 2016. They don't talk about it."

But "President Obama and his government" did not spy on Trump's campaign -- it was gathering information on Trump campaign officials who had contacts with Russian operatives.

Graham didn't note that Levin didn't bother to answer Henry's question, instead uncritically quoting Levin changing the subject by saying that Trump "wouldn't have to reaise the issue" of the Bidens if the media "would do your damn job."

So irt appears Graham loves softball interviews after all -- when his ideological buddies are on the receiving end, anyway.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:52 PM EDT
Tuesday, October 15, 2019
NEW ARTICLE: The Epstein Deflections
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center first tried to make political hay over convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein's links to Bill Clinton -- then got mad that the media pointed out he was also linked to Donald Trump (not to mention the MRC's favorite "liberal," Alan Dershowitz). Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 7:14 PM EDT
Monday, October 14, 2019
MRC's Double Standard on Praising People Later Caught In Scandal
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Geoffrey Dickens sneered in a Sept. 20 post:

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may very well survive his current “blackface” scandal, because he – like Virginia Democratic Governor Ralph Northram [sic] before him – is already getting the best protection possible from his allies in the liberal media, as they focus on conservatives “pouncing” on their precious prince from the North. 

On Thursday morning, MSNBC’s Ron Allen seemed shocked that a “progressive” could ever be racist: “He is very progressive. To see this sort of thing happen is a head turning thing. It came out of nowhere, came as a big surprise” and noted “I can remember days when he was feted at the White House by President Obama. He is that young telegenic guy that a lot of media in Canada, and elsewhere certainly, love. So this is really quite a fall from grace. It’s really quite stunning.” 

Indeed, the American press fell head over heels for the lefty Canadian PM when he first hit the scene in 2016. He got the pop star treatment with network anchors catching “Justin Fever” as they swooned over the “super hunky” “dreamy” and “adorable” politician they dubbed “Canada’s Obama.”

Dickens then listed "a few examples of the liberal media’s infatuation with Trudeau, as culled from the MRC’s archives." But he's not going to tell you that his employer is guilty of similarly falling for someone who later fell prey to scandal.

Aas we've documented, Alan Dershowitz was one of the MRC's favorite sources as a self-proclaimed liberal who was defending President Trump and other MRC-friendly causes. But as Dershowitz's ties to convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein became clear -- not only did serve as an attorney for Epstein, one of Epstein's victims accused him of having sex with her while she was underage -- he quietly disappeared from the pages of MRC websites with no admission of his ties to Epstein.

It seems, however, that the MRC is slowly easing into a little image rehab for Dershowitz. A Sept. 27 post by Brad Wilmouth cited Dershowitz among the "high-profile liberal professors" who have argued that the transcript of the phone call between President Trump and the Ukranian president "does not constitute proof of lawbreaking" -- his first mention at the MRC in two months. Needless to say, Wilmouth didn't mention Dershowitz's links to Epstein.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:01 PM EDT
Sunday, October 13, 2019
MRC Follows Trump's Narrative By Invoking Adam Schiff As A Distriction From Ukraine Scandal
Topic: Media Research Center

As we've documented, the Media Research Center is acting much more like an arm of President Trump's re-election campaign than a fair and balanced provider of "media research" in its coverage of the Trump-Ukraine scandal, rushing to Trump's defense at every opportunity. It's continuing to follow the Trump script by playing the distraction card away from Trump's alleged offenses and attacking Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff for relatively minor missteps.

When Schiff read what he described as "the essence of what the president communicates" during his infamous phone call with the president of Ukraine seeking dirt on Joe Biden in apparent exchange for U.S. aid, Nicholas Fondacaro ranted in a post that screamed "FABRICATED" in all-caps in the headline:

As part of his opening remarks during the highly anticipated House Intelligence Committee hearing with acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire Thursday, chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) read from a transcript of President Trump’s call with the president of Ukraine. The only problem was; he was making it up with the goal of dramatizing it into a mafia-style shakedown. And, while the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) were busy pushing the narrative of a White House cover-up, they ignored Schiff’s wild tale.

Luckily, Fox News Channel and The Story with Martha MacCallum gave Schiff’s stunt the air time and criticism it deserved.

Fondacaro failed to mention that Schiff described it as the "essence" of what Trump said, not a verbatim transcript, or that he said afterward his reading was "meant to be at least part in parody" -- let alone the fact that the released transcript itself is not verbatim but, rather, a rough version of what was said. He also didn't mention that Fox News, like the MRC, is an agent for Trump rather than a fair and balanced source.

Tim Graham touted how "Rush Limbaugh and conservative Twitter made a big deal on Thursday out of Rep. Adam Schiff with the president of Ukraine" and complained that NPR "never brought it up" in an interview with Schiff, whining: "Is it appropriate to make up stuff the president says? NPR doesn't seem to care." Like Fondacaro, Graham failed to tell his readers that Schiff didn't intend to do a verbatim reading.

Kristine Marsh huffed that Schiff "lied, fabricating quotations from President Trump and then claimed it was a 'parody' when called out for it," failing to note that Schiff described it beforehand as the "essence" of what was said, not a verbatim transcript.

Scott Whitlock declared that Shiff's reading was "fake," fabricated" and an attempt at "deception" -- again, ignoring the "essence" part -- and cheered Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow's attempt at MRC-esque deflection by attacking Schiff instead of answering questions he was asked during an interview.

Graham returned to whine that Schiff's "completely phony summary of Trump's phone call with the president of Ukraine" was a "false 'parody.'" Clay Waters groused that Schiff "grossly mischaracterized President Trump's phone call with the president of Ukraine, making up quid pro quos where none actually happened" (as if Trump had to explicitly verbalize the quid pro quo instead of merely implying it).

When Schiff claimed that he had no contact with the whistleblower on Trump's Ukraine phone call when it turned out his staff did have contact with him -- again, a minor concern given that the whistleblower's complaints about Trump have been largely corroborated -- the MRC was quick to go into a Trump-approved distraction rage.

Graham crowed that Schiff "Schiff was caught in a lie by The New York Times on Wednesday" when it reported the discrepancy -- never mind that the report disproves the MRC's narrative of the Times as a relentlessly liberal publication. He went on to whine that "PolitiFact has exactly ONE evaluation of Schiff over the last 12 years, from 2017. Naturally, it's a 'True.'"

Mark Finkelstein bashed one commentator for noting an inconvenient truth for conservatives: that "the substance of the whistleblower complaint is more important than the process by which it was made public."

Fondacaro declared that ABC and CBS evening newscasts "suppress[ed]" the "bombshell" news about  Schiff, going on to heap praise on his favorite biased "news" outlet: "Meanwhile, on the Fox News Channel’s Special Report, anchor Bret Baier recognized the seriousness of the report and led the program with it." Fondacaro also declared that "This seems to be another win for The Federalist, who noted yesterday that there were serious discrepancies in the timeline of events being put forward by though itching for impeachment," even though 1) the Times first reported this story, not the Federalist, and 2) Fondacaro's linked example of a previous Federalist "win" was the conspiracy theory he promoted about changes in a whistleblower reporting form.

Drennen followed up by complaining that network morning shows "worked to downplay the bombshell revelation." Then came a mini-lecture from Alex Christy:

If Schiff did in fact do nothing wrong, then at the very least he should be asked why he felt the need to lie about it to a friendly audience and whether this damages the credibility of his investigation, because it is just one more piece of evidence than he is just another run-of-the-mill political hack, not the great defender of national security his media defenders portray him as. 

Finally, Graham clucked that the Washington Post fact-checkers gave Schiff four Pinnochios for his claim, but was less happy it pointed out that "Trump's earned a gazillion Pinnochios."


Posted by Terry K. at 9:37 PM EDT
Saturday, October 12, 2019
What LGBT Stuff Is The MRC Freaking Out About Now?
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center just loves to descend into anti-LGBT freakouts. Let's look at the latest ones.

Gabriel Hays cheered a study arguing that there isn't a "gay gene" (though several genes do have an influence on sexuality), crowing that it threw "more skepticism on the idea that homosexuals are born that way. Hays then ranted that media outlets wouldn't put his preferred anti-gay spin on the findings: "What lefty rag would ever admit that homosexuality may just be is a lifestyle choice egged on by a increasingly degenerate society?" Of course, the research didn't prove that either.

Brad Wilmouth complained that, after an NFL player came out as bisexual, a CNN commentator was "essentially pining for more high-profile gay athletes to come out of the closet," huffing that "if there's any issue that CNN is more transparently to the left on than gun control, it's gay rights. Wilmouth later groused when another commentator brought up Michael Sam as an NFL player who didn't play after he came out: "They never considered that Sam just wasn't good enough for the NFL."

The mysterious Jay Maxscon was upset that  NFL quarterback was branded as anti-gay because he appeared in a video for anti-gay group Focus on the Family, calling that a "smear" and complaining that one writer "incorrectly accuses Focus of the standard Big LGBT lie that conversion therapy relies on physical abuse to bring people out of homosexuality." Maxson then ran to the defense of the anti-gay group: "The Focus website lists referral services that do not engage in shaming, manipulative or shock therapy techniques, including the Restored Hope Network and The Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity. Organizations offering this kind of counseling only do so for people who submit that their same-sex attractions are unwanted." In fact, the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity is a rebranding of the virulently anti-gay National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality.

Maxson ranted in a different post:

Rice University's intolerant marching band turned Saturday's halftime performance into a protest against visiting rival Baylor University's biblically based policy on sexuality. Rice's Marching Owl Band and fans displayed anti-Christian bigotry and showed their support for LGBTQ students at Baylor who recently tried and failed to start an LGBTQ club there.

Actually, all that happened was that the Rice band spelled out "PRIDE" on the field while playing "YMCA" as people waved rainbow flags, as a tweaking of Baylor for rejecting the formation of an LGBTQ club on campus. But Maxson stayed in full froth, huffing that the Rice band was "anti-Christian" and "demonstrated intolerance and hypocrisy," while Baylor is simply "calling its students to live biblical lives."

Hays returned to sneer:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been doing a lot of IMPORTANT work in past week. You know, postponing a bipartisan gun control compromise, risking the credibility of her entire party over a shaky at best impeachment initiative, and hanging with super flamboyant queer TV star Jonathan Van Ness while the Republic is in turmoil.

But she’s San Fran Nan, so kissing the fabulous rings of the Queer Eye squad for Instagram photos probably counts as constituent relations.

Hays also trashed the Eqality Act, declaring: "Too bad the reality is that this bill is about getting normal Americans to bend to the will of bearded crossdressers. Thanks, Nancy. You definitely have got your priorities straight these days." Hays didn't specifically identify any "bearded crossdressers" who would benefit.

Hays kept the gay-bashing alive in a freakout over the "Star Wars" universe adding same-sex couples:

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

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

[...]

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

Lindsay Kornick similarly lost it over the new "Batwoman" series: "Batwoman, featuring the first lesbian superhero lead on television, is the latest comic-book series adapted by the CW. Unfortunately, following in the footsteps of Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow, Batwoman also is annoyingly preachy and obsessed with social justice. Even worse, it’s not even fun about it."

Dawn Slusher got upset when a 12-year-old boy character, Austin, on the show "The Conners," declared that he was "glad" he's gay: "Could it be possible that Austin might really be confused? Why isn’t that possibility mentioned? Puberty is a confusing time and the rush of hormones can cause you to feel some strange attractions and feelings that don’t necessarily stay. But Hollywood is really pushing the homosexual angle on children lately. Last fall ABC had pre-teens come out as gay on This Is Us and A Million Little Things. How long until they're declaring kids to be pansexual?"


Posted by Terry K. at 9:47 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, October 13, 2019 1:58 PM EDT
Friday, October 11, 2019
MRC's Graham Complains About Media 'Stenographers,' Forgets About Stenography At MRC's 'News' Division
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Tim Graham complained in a Sept. 26 post:

It's always amusing when reporters insist that they're not "stenographers to power," but when you look at their interviews with Democrats, they often come across as stenographers -- extremely accomodating, and not at all challenging. Take for example, Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut in his interviews on the Ukrainian kerfuffle on Wednesday. None of his three national TV interviews seriously raised the idea that he or other Democratic senators pressed Ukraine in a similar way to President Trump to cooperate with their domestic political goals.

CNN reported earlier that three Senate Democrats pressed in a letter that Ukraine had better cooperate with Robert Mueller's probe in the Ukraine, so as not to disturb the "robust and close" U.S.-Ukraine relationship.

Despite citing a CNN report, Graham did not link to CNN or even to the letter; instead, he linked to a Washington Post column by Trump toady Marc Thiessen ranting about the letter: "So, it’s okay for Democratic senators to encourage Ukraine to investigate Trump, but it’s not okay for the president to allegedly encourage Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden?"

Of course, the 2018 letter's content is different the either Graham or Thiessen portrayed it. The senators point out that while the suspended investigations had links to the Mueller investigation, they were also about corruption in Ukraine -- a key interest in the current Trump impeachment inquiry -- and they expressed concern that the probes were frozen because, according to a New York Times article, they were considered "too politically sensitive and potentially jeopardizing U.S. financial and military aid to Ukraine" and, specifically, "to avoid the ire of President Trump." Also, the investigations concerned former Trump campaign manager Paul Manfort's work in Ukraine, not Trump directly.

Shouldn't Graham and Thiessen be concerned that Trump was apparently using his influence as president to threaten to cut off aid to Ukraine if it didn't stop investigating a political ally? Apparently not.

Also: Graham's mocking reference to reporters and "stenographers to power" is highly ironic, given how his colleagues down the hall at the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, are very much pro-Trump stenographers.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:56 PM EDT
Thursday, October 10, 2019
MRC Sticks To Trump's Script, Blames Bidens For Ukraine Scandal
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center knows who the real wrongdoers are regarding President Trump's phone call to the president of Ukraine insisting that he investigate Hunter Biden for the benefit of Trump's re-election campaign ... and it is Hunter Biden and Joe Biden. The MRC did its bnest in the early days of the Ukraine scandal to follow the Trump White House's marching orders and make it about the Bidens instead of Trump.

Curtis Houck got upset that the mostly right-wing reporters pushing the idea of Biden wrongdoing in Ukraine were chasing a conspiracy theory, complaing that one commentator "relied on — what else — anonymous sources to tell her that there’s nothing to worry about because Biden’s intentions of having the Ukrainian prosecutor axed or have the U.S. withhold aide from the country was “because they felt like he wasn’t doing his job” even though that same prosecutor had been investigating the energy company Hunter worked for." But Houck is pushing a conspiracy theory too. In fact, the Ukrainian prosecutor in question was fired -- at the request of not only then-VP Biden but also the European diplomatic community and reformers inside Ukraine -- because he was not investigating corruption, including at the energy company Hunter worked for.

Tim Graham rushed to the defense of an anti-Biden reporter who got snapped at by Biden for pestering him about the non-scandal: "Shortly after noon on Saturday at the Polk County Steak Fry in Iowa, Fox News reporter Peter Doocy asked a mild, Brit Hume-esque question to Joe Biden and drew a hostile response, as if Doocy were yelling like Jim Acosta." Graham then huffed that "Doocy wasn't at all like Acosta, and still the other journalists don't show him support," but he failed to acknowledge that Fox News has a pro-Trump, anti-Biden bias. This was followed by Nicholas Fondacaro complaining that other media coverage of the encounter "seemed to come at the behest of former Vice President Joe Biden" about Biden's "directions to the press" -- never mind that the MRC continually issues directions to the press. Like his boss Graham, Fondacaro doesn't address the issue of Fox News' political bias.

Graham returned to whine that CNN's Brian Stelter "only talked about how Biden fans were delighted with the finger-pointing at the Fox journalist. After all the raging about reporters being insulted by powerful leaders, this reporter getting yelled at is a magic moment?" Again, Graham failed to acknowledge Fox News' bias, though he was quick to portray Stelter as biased by serving up "the Liberal Twitter take."

In yet another post, Graham tried for whataboutism when another commentator likened the alleged Biden scandal to birtherism: "Somehow this B-word does not apply to the Russian collusion conspiracies that Adam Schiff pushed, but Robert Mueller never found." Remember, the MRC couldn't be bothered to get worked up about Obama birtherism, not authoritatively denouncing it until it was used against Ted Cruz.

Mark Finkelstein complained that the Biden thing was still not a scandal:

Okay, so Hunter Biden was peddling influence to a Ukrainian company at the rate of $50,000 a month. And the only influence he could possibly have been peddling was that of his father, who at the time was the sitting Vice-President of the United States. But hey, why should that be a problem for Joe Biden?

That was Alisyn Camerota's apparent logic on CNN this morning.

[...]

Camerota would never try to claim that it's not Donald Trump's problem that Donald Trump Jr. met with Russians at Trump Tower. That's the level of brilliance she's displaying today. 

Perhaps that's because Donald Jr. was more intimately involved with his father's political campaign than Hunter ever was with his father's political career.

Houck returned to huff that NBC's Chuck Todd "emotionally lashed out at Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) as a gaslighter doing harm to American politics for daring to ask questions about the Bidens," putting "SHILLS" in all-caps in the headline and going on to rant: "So for Chuck Todd, the children of Democrats can do important, noble work in countries while their parents set foreign policy, but the First Family could be corrupt. So journalists asking questions during the summer was fine, but now it's not okay. Got it." With all that sneering bile, it appears the Houck was the one who was getting emotional.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:46 PM EDT
Wednesday, October 9, 2019
Impeachment Letter Proves MRC Puts Pro-Trump Loyalty Over 'Media Research'
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has made its decision: it's putting politics -- and an aggressive pro-Trump agenda -- over facts. Sept. 30 letter to its mailing list begs for money to stop the impeachmentof President Trump -- not because it isn'ty warranted, but because it wouldgive a win to the "leftist media" (typographical enhancements in original):

The leftist media are DESPERATE to unseat President Trump. And, as we all know, sometimes desperation can be dangerous

The liberal media are the ones leading the charge in this impeachment witch hunt. They are placing our country at risk as they work to unseat a democratically elected president in order to further their own extremist agenda!

The Media Research Center is putting everything we’ve got into stopping the liberal media in their tracks before they drag our country down the rabbit hole of leftist insanity, but your support is critical to our success.

If the liberal media and their congressional cronies win this battle, it will mean bad news for all of us as we approach the 2020 election. Will you consider contributing $75, $50, or even $25 to help fuel the fight against the liberal media’s impeachment crusade?

The situation is URGENT. The liberal media have been trying to oust President Trump since before he even set foot in the White House. Their Russia propaganda failed and now they are determined to take him down with their latest propaganda, regardless of how flimsy their evidence is. 

The MRC is the only organization dedicated to taking on the liberal media and exposing and neutralizing their toxic bias. The media are not simply the Left’s megaphone, they are leading the charge against President Trump. And we are the only organization with the experience and skill to knock them off their high horse.

The liberal media think they can just spread their lies and the American people will swallow them. We are here to expose the truth and make sure that they are checked at every turn. 

But we need your help to do it!

Please contribute $75, $50, or even $25 to fuel the fight again the liberal media’s impeachment crusade and help us stop them in their tracks!

Fight on!

The bottom of the MRC's letter claims it's a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization aimed at improving "media culture" -- but such groups are largely prohibited from engaging in political activity. And this letter  isn't about "media culture," it's a political letter about saving a political figure. On its face, it certainly appers to be a violation of its nonprofit status.

Remember this letter the next time the MRC claims it's only about "media research."


Posted by Terry K. at 9:37 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, October 9, 2019 9:41 PM EDT
Tuesday, October 8, 2019
MRC Skips From States' Rights To Abortion -- In A Post About Pollution
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Nicholas Fondacaro groused in a Sept. 18 post:

The same networks that banded together to bully pro-life states earlier this year after they passed sweeping legislation to protect the life of unborn children, spent Wednesday evening whining about President Trump threatening to revoke California’s self-prescribed emissions standards in favor of a national standard.

ABC, CBS, and NBC were up in arms following a tweet from the President. “Next, this evening, President Trump and a new feud with California tonight, telling that state it cannot set its own emissions standards, revoking that state's rightnto set its own limits for cars and trucks,” declared ABC’s World News Tonight anchor David Muir.

That network even had the nerve to play a sound bite of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) proclaiming: “Our message to those to claim to support state's rights, don't trample on ours.”

Of course, Fondacaro doesn't mention his own sudden disdain for states' rights -- a bedrock conservative principle -- since that would expose how he (and the MRC) have put loyalty to Trump ahead of any coherent conservative policy advocacy.

Meanwhile, Fondacaro wasn't done ranting about abortion in a post that had nothing to do with it. After noting that a CBS corresponded repeated a "dubious claim" by California officials that the state's stricter emission standards prevented 29,000 premature deaths a year -- a less dubious claim, we would argue, than his completely false assertion that a documented gun-death statistic he didn't like was an "absolute lie" -- he concluded with a whataboutist huff: "Speaking of premature deaths, abortions killed close to an estimated one million unborn children every year. Meanwhile, the networks treated the nationwide proliferation of pro-life legislation as a scourge that was plaguing the country."


Posted by Terry K. at 10:11 PM EDT
Monday, October 7, 2019
MRC Pushes Bogus Conspiracy Theory About Whistleblower
Topic: Media Research Center

We've already caught Media Research Center writer Nicholas Fondacaro telling a lie. Now he's using his MRC perch to spread a right-wing conspiracy theory.

In an Oct. 1 post quibbling about whether the whistleblower who launched what became an impeachment inquiry of President Trump, Fondacaro wrote regarding a form change by the Intelligence Community's Inspector General office:

The Federalist was the first publication to expose how the ICIG recently and secretly edited their whistleblower form to eliminate the need for first-hand information. In a follow-up report out Tuesday, co-founder Sean Davis pointed out that in a recent statement (the same one Vega cited) the ICIG admitted to editing the document.

[...]

The Federalist raised serious questions about the timeline of events concerning the edit, when the press was inquiring about the complaint, and when Congress and the DNI were informed about the complaint. They also reported that the ICIG had obfuscated when and which version of the form the whistleblower filled out.

What Fondacaro didn't tell you: The form change is irrelevant. As an actual news outlet reported, the underlying rules regarding whistleblowers -- under which firsthand knowledge is not required -- never changed, the ICIG's office found that the whistleblower's statement was credible,and the whistleblower did indicate firsthand knowledge of some events in the case. The Federalist also suggested the form change was linked to the current whistleblower case, which there is no evidence to support.

Despite the fact that the bogus, conspiratorial nature of the Federalist article had been exposed, Fondacaro repeated the claim in an Oct. 3 item, asserting that an unrelated whistleblower complaint regarding the handling of President Trump's tax returns "came after the Intelligence Community Inspector General admitted to secretly editing their whistleblower guidelines to allow for second-hand and hearsay information," with a link to the Federalist article.Again, Fondacaro refused to tell his readers that the form change is irrelevant because the underlying rules never changed.

By hiding important facts, Fondacaro is effectively spreading a conspiracy theory. His maliciously sloppy and biased writing isn't helping the MRC act as a credible "media research" institution.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:07 PM EDT
Sunday, October 6, 2019
MRC Complains Racist Comedian Got Hired At SNL -- Then Complains He Got Fired
Topic: Media Research Center

At the Media Research Center, writers must always be on the attack -- even when those attacks contradict previous MRC attacks made just a few days earlier. Gabriel Hays wrote in a Sept. 13 post regarding comedian Shane Gillis:

For a group of entertainment producers who kill to come off as condescendingly woke, Saturday Night Liveshowrunners look super inept for hiring an apparent racist as one of their new cast members. One of the sketch comedy’s new talents has been labeled a racist by CNN journalists for making fun of Chinese people in 2018. SNL is in an even deeper pickle because another new cast member for the upcoming season is actually Chinese.

If only outraged libs could cut you a break because you’ve been so anti-Trump.

Hays suggested that Gillis "just may be fired before he even starts his new job"-- and he was right. So Hays should have been happy, right? Wrong. In a Sept 16 post, Hays downgraded Gillis' offensive comments from "racist" to merely "insensitive," and complained that "SNL" fired him "although Gillis apologized for the insensitive comments." He then downgraded Gillis' offense even further by huffing that "NBC would never risk a politically incorrect liability even if it’s a talented rookie who could use just a bit of forgiveness."

Thus, the narrative was changed. Hays wrote two posts over the next two days citing comedians who we're pretty sure the MRC has bashed over the years criticize Gillis' firing, in which he further downgraded Gillis' offense to a simple case of "making fun of Chinese people" and invoked the new right-wing obsession of "cancel culture" -- never mind that trying to get people canceled for saying thing it doesn't like has been an MRC cultural staple for 30 years.

NewsBusters' Randy Hall joined the narrative swap with one post also invoking "cancel culture" and another complaining about a claim that Gillis' hiring was an attempt by "SNL" to appeal to conservatives, which made him concede that Gillis had made "racist remarks" -- something Hays hasn't mention since his first post on the subject -- if only to insist that racism isn't conservatism.

Hays returned with an Oct. 1 post wrestling the narrative back to its new track citing Gillis' firing  -- not for racism, of course, but for "offend[ing] sensitive millennials" -- among the examples of "woke culture" that allegedly caused director Todd Philllips to abandon "raunchy comedies" to helm the new "Joker" movie.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:40 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, October 6, 2019 9:41 PM EDT
Saturday, October 5, 2019
MRC Mourns Right-Wing Financier, Doesn't Disclose He's An MRC Benefactor
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Brent Baker somberly wrote in a Sept. 15 post:

Business tycoon T. Boone Pickens passed away this past week at age 91. In 2005, he took part in the Media Research Center’s “DisHonors Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of 2004,” where he accepted, in jest on behalf of PBS’s Bill Moyers, the “Send Bush to Abu Ghraib Award.”

Pickens offered a humorous allegory about a cowboy with a rattlesnake and wrapped up with a joke about a monkey in tree, both to convey his scorn for the news media.

Baker curiously failed to disclose one key fact about Pickens: He didn't just randomly show up at that 2005 shindig. He had donated millions of dollars to the MRC.

As we documented, Pickens -- who made his money in the oil and gas industry -- gave a $1.5 million challenge grant to the MRC for the creation of its Business & Media Institute. As a result of that donation, MRC vice president Dan Gainor holds the title of T. Boone Pickens Fellow, and in 2011 he attacked ProPublica for investigating the oil and gas industry where Pickens made his millions. MRC chief Brent Bozell considered him an "old friend," devoting a 2011 column to gushing over his charitable donations while hanging out in the plush skybox at the Oklahoma State football stadium he funded through a $165 million donation to the school (while not admitting that the organization he runs has also been a beneficiary of Pickens' largesse). Pickens has also been a longtime meber of the MRC's board of trustees.

The MRC does not do itself any favors when it refuses to hold itself to the same standards of disclosure and transparency it demands from the "liberal media."


Posted by Terry K. at 10:05 AM EDT
Friday, October 4, 2019
MRC Hurls Insults At Teen Climate Change Activist
Topic: Media Research Center

Greta Thunberg is a British teen making her name as a climate change activist. And the Media Research Center had nothing but disdain and insults for her over the past couple months as she sailed across the Atalantic Ocean to give a speech at the United Nations.

  • On Tuesday, CBS This Morning was in awe of radical climate change activist Greta Thunberg, hailing the 16-year-old from Sweden as “the voice of the planet” and touting her plan to sail across the Atlantic to attend a United Nations climate summit in New York. -- Kyle Drennen, Aug. 13
  • On New Day Sunday, CNN promoted global warming activist Greta Thunberg as the climate alarmist prepared for a publicity stunt to precede her appearance at the United Nations climate summit[.] -- Brad Wilmouth, Aug. 18
  • CBS Cheers Extremist Teenage ‘Climate Activist’: ‘Voice of the Planet’ -- Scott Whitlock, Aug. 28
  • "radical teenage climate change activist " -- Kyle Drennen, Aug. 29
  • Greta Thunberg wouldn't be a global figure if the media wasn't "smitten" with her and used her to do their bidding. -- Alex Christy, Sept. 7
  • At no time, then or now, did CBS not her extreme positions, including that eating meat is “stealing her generation’s future” and will lead to a climate apocalypse. Additionally, the teenager has touted “flygskam” or flight shaming for anyone who dares use an airplane regularly. -- Scott Whitlock, Sept. 10
  • Journalists simply can’t get enough of Greta Thunberg, the radical 16-year-old Swedish climate activist who wants people to stop flying in order to save the planet. ... Mitchell ignored the extreme nature of her views. -- Scott Whitlock, Sept. 18
  • "Swedish 16-year-old activist and media darling Greta Thunberg"-- Kristine Marsh, Sept. 20
  • Celebs were overjoyed at the sight of millions of young people around the world taking to the streets for 15-year-old pied piper Greta Thunberg and her climate change hysteria. -- Gabriel Hays, Sept. 20
  • Radical climate activist Greta Thunberg threw a temper tantrum at the United Nations on Monday where she claimed the world ruined her childhood, and threatened her opponents, and made faces at President Trump’s back. ... Of course, none of the networks dared to share the most radical parts of her screed before the U.N. -- Nicholas Fondacaro, Sept. 23
  • "the bitter ranting of radical climate teen Greta Thunberg at the United Nations on Monday" -- Nicholas Fondacaro, Sept. 23
  • "16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg’s disturbing speech yesterday at the United Nations" -- Kristine Marsh, Sept. 24
  • It’s climate change hysteria week and all the best in melodramatic, manipulative, and grotesque activism has been put on display for Mother Earth. Most notably,16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg’s dramatic meltdown at the U.N. went over about as smoothly as Harrison Ford landing a Cessna. -- Gabriel Hays, Sept. 24
  • The New York Timesjoined the rest of the mainstream press in hiding behind 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg’s angry, unscientific ranting before the United Nations, in order to push a message of environmental apocalypse. -- Clay Waters, Sept. 24

Finally, Jeffrey Lord huffed in his Sept. 28 column: "Greta Thunberg is on the politically correct side of the climate change debate. Had she been on the opposite side one can easily imagine that she would have received a ton of Covington-style press, mocked and ridiculed endlessly for her ignorance." Apparently, the Covington-style press from right-wing outlets like the MRC doesn't count.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:29 PM EDT

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