MRC Throws Shade At Megyn Kelly for Leaving Fox News Topic: Media Research Center
Megyn Kelly is leaving the Fox News for NBC -- and that means she's now a target of the Media Research Center.
You might recall that the MRC wouldn't defend Kelly in the face of Donald Trump's sexist attacks on her after her tough questioning of him during Republican presidential debates, yet neither would it criticize her or take Trump's bait about Fox News being biased -- Brent Bozell and Co. were more interested in preserving its seat at the Fox News table (read: TV appearances). It even gave a platform to Kelly to claim against all evidence that Fox News is "fair and balanced."
But now that Kelly has left the protection of Fox News employment, the MRC is letting her know she's on the hit list.
The MRC's first reaction to Kelly's new job was a post by Tim Graham already writing her off as a liberal:
How much will Kelly have to shift to the middle or even the left to fit in at NBC News? The last nightly host to leave Fox was Paula Zahn, and she quickly became a liberal cog at CNN like every other host. A similar right-to-left pattern happened with former Fox & Friends hosts Kiran Chetry and Alisyn Camerota.
Graham doesn't consider the possibility that Kelly was forced to shift to the right to work at Fox News and might simply become an actual fair-and-balanced anchor.
On Twitter, meanwhile, Graham sneered: "I first started thinking 'Yeah, Megyn Kelly's de-Foxifying' at the NY Times Book Review interview on her book choices on November 13."
In a Jan. 6 post, Graham got mad that a NPR host pointed out Kelly's long history of offensive out of touch comments about minorities," like her insistence that Santa Claus is white, declaring it to be "Fox-hating leftist commentary." He then described the Twitter argument he had with NPR media critic David Folkenflik (as he is wont to do), this time over Folkenflik's claim that Kelly is "desperately hoping to get away from ideology" by going to NBC and engaging in soft-focus interviews like "the model of Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters, a Charlie Rose at CBS."
Kyle Drennen then complained that NBC's "Today" show "welcomed Kelly with an online article recalling her six 'finest moments' during her tenure at FNC. Strangely, those moments focus exclusively on Kelly taking on Republicans – not a single instance was featured of her going after liberal guests," further huffing that none of them included "Kelly’s routine hammering of the press over its blatant liberal bias throughout the 2016 campaign."
Geoffrey Dickens, meanwhile, lamented that Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple "reminded his readers of FNC’s controversies," including Trump's sexism toward Kelly, reminding us again that protecting Fox News is Job 1 at the MRC.
At MRCTV, Craig Bannister groused that "NBC has earned a reputation for journalistic bias and baloney that might be hard for even Kelly to overcome."
The hardest shot came in a Jan. 5 CNSNews.com column by Leesa K. Donner, an ex-journalist who now writes for the far-right American Thinker, headlined "It’s All About Me: The Cult of Megyn Kelly." While denying that her column was "a hit piece on Ms. Kelly," it reads like one anyway; she declares that "Ms. Kelly’s stardom as a “journalist” is emblematic of a serious problem within the broadcast journalism industry that has metastasized into an Ebola-style plague across the airwaves," that of broadcast journalism becoming "a vehicle for self-discovery" and "a sick cult of personality." Donner concludes:
So, perhaps an Oprah slot on daytime TV across from the soap operas is precisely where Ms. Kelly belongs. Any which way you look at it, the mainstream broadcast news industry should reflect upon this little sideshow with Kelly and learn that when you feed the hungry monster of ego, sometimes you find you can get eaten by the very monster you have created.
You can be assured that CNS would not have publichsed the column had Kelly decided to stay at Fox News. But she's out of that bubble, which means she's now fair game for the boys at the MRC.
MRC Writer Pushes 'Fungible' Canard About Planned Parenthood Funding Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has been asserting a common -- and dubious -- argument against federal funding for Planned Parenthood to get around the inconvenient (for conservatives) fact that federal funding for Planned Parenthood is prohibited from paying for abortions and there's no evidence Planned Parenthood has broken that prohibition.
Katie Yoder asserts in a Jan. 6 post that "government money is fungible, which means Planned Parenthood could offset costs with public funds to free up other resources for abortion." Yoder repeated her assertion again in a Jan. 10 post, saying that "while the Hyde Amendment stipulates that federal funding, with a few exceptions, cannot be used for abortion, government funds are fungible. This means Planned Parenthood could offset costs with public funds to free up other resources for abortion."
As proof of this claim, Yoder links back to a post she and Sarah Stites wrote in October in which they made this claim:
Although the Hyde Amendment stipulates that this money cannot be used for abortion (with a few exceptions), government funds are fungible. This means Planned Parenthood could offset costs with public funds to free up other resources for abortion. As an analogy, which Stites and Yoder illustrate, imagine giving your teen $20 to use specifically for gas. Although he can’t buy beer with that $20, he can now use his own $20 to purchase alcohol since the gas was covered by you.
First, that argument is ridiculous on its face, since because a teenager is not legally permitted to buy beer -- the drinking age is 21.
Second, Yoder and Stites are wrong about the entire fungibility issue. As Slate explains:
Republicans who tout the "money is fungible" line want you to imagine that Planned Parenthood draws on one big pot of government money for all its services. But since medical services are billed and funded individually, that's not actually how this works. For instance, if subsidies that discount contraception disappear, the price of contraception goes up, but the price of abortion will stay the same.
We know this because recent experience shows it. A few years ago, the price of some birth control pills at Planned Parenthood and other family planning clinics suddenly skyrocketed, because drug companies jacked up the price they charged non-profits for the pills. Faced with growing expenses to provide contraception, clinics charged more for contraception, often seeing costs soar to two or three times what they were before. But during this same time, the price for an abortion stayed the same. That is because, despite the endless repetition of "money is fungible," it is not. You cannot cut off subsidies and discounts for contraception in hopes that will drive up the price of abortion. It might make abortion more common, because women will have a harder time obtaining contraception, but it won't make it any pricier.
This argument makes some sense, but it also has dangerous implications. If you accept this premise, there’s almost no limit to what we could consider “government funding” or “government support.” Would a federal employee, whose salary is paid by the government, be violating the Hyde Amendment if she spends some of that money to obtain an abortion? Would she be using “government funds” to “keep the lights on” at Planned Parenthood if she donates to the organization?
And what about other government programs that have funding restrictions? Should we ban Safeway from accepting food stamps as long as it sells wine — because food stamps aren’t allowed to pay for wine, but accepting food stamps gives Safeway extra revenue and helps it “keep the lights on” to sell wine to other customers?
But fungibility is too entrenched of an argument for people like Yoder to simply abandon it. So expect her and others to keep pushing this highly dubious claim.
MRC Asks: 'Can Speculation Be Defined as News?' It Is At The MRC Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Tim Graham and Brent Bozell began thair Jan. 4 column this way:
At the dawn of 2017, let us offer a philosophical question for the news media. If the scourge of the new year is "fake news," should we not concede that it's not news to speculate about what will happen after a news event? The problem is, without speculation about the future — whether immediate or distant — cable news channels and radio news outlets would surely enter a crisis about how to fill 24 hours a day, and newspapers would struggle to fill their pages.
True. But if Graham and Bozell are really concerned about speculation being presented as news, the "news" division of the MRC, CNSNews.com, would be prohibited in engaging in it.
For example, just two days after Graham and Bozell's column appeared, CNS published a "news" article by Patrick Goodenough declaring, "Gohmert: Promoting a ‘Two-State Solution’ Could Bring God’s Judgment." In it, Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert is quoting as saying that expressing support for a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians means one is "advocating what Joel 3 say will bring judgment down upon our nation for trying to partition Israel."
So, is biblical speculation exempted from Graham and Bozell's anti-speculation wrath? We're confused.
Oops: MRC Email Promotes 'Marijuana Investment Jackpot' Topic: Media Research Center
On Jan. 11, the Media Research Center sent out to its email subscribers a paid message from advertiser Agora Financial touting "The $50 Marijuana Investment Jackpot," which claimed: On Election Day, California, Nevada and Massachusetts all roundly voted to legalize recreational marijuana use. And that means that very soon dozens of tiny marijuana firms could skyrocket by 100%, 300%, 500% or higher. This is your chance to turn a single $50 bill… into an absolute fortune."
The subject matter of the email, though, was a bit of a surprise. The MRC is not exactly pro-pot -- it dismissed 2016 Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson as a "pot-smoking" guy , and one of the few times it has anything nice to say about the so-called "liberal media" is when it notes criticism of pot and its legalization.
We can't imagine that went over well with the MRC's readership. Sure enough, the next day, the MRC sent out an apology email:
Dear MRC Supporter,
Yesterday morning, you may have received an email that was sent on behalf of one of our regular sponsors, Agora Financial. The email offered financial advice in the form of investing in marijuana stocks.
This message should have never been sent in conjunction with the Media Research Center. We are deeply sorry that you received it, and the MRC certainly does not condone marijuana use or investment in marijuana stocks.
Once again, we apologize for this mistake, and encourage you to contact us directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to discuss this further.
The MRC Action Team
We don't know enough about the MRC's inner workings to assess blame, but something cldearly slipped past the "MRC Action Team" and the email didn't get properly vetted before getting sent out.
MRC Pretends Trump Didn't Mock A Disabled Reporter Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center reacted in two predictable ways to Meryl Streep's Golden Globes speech calling out Donald Trump.
First was to declare that she should not be listened to because she's a rich Hollywood liberal. For instance:
Karen Townsend and Alexa Moutevelis Coombs huffed that Streep "delivered a dramatic, sanctimonious diatribe to the viewing audience and her fellow leftists in the audience" that featured "laundry list of perceived wrongs that must be righted by liberal Hollywood." They added: "Hey, Meryl, shut up and act."
Dan Gainor pointed out that Streep is "a major Democrat funder -- giving $113,810 to Democrats since 2012" and "appeared at the DNC convention as part of a huge lineup of Hollywood celebrities."
Scott Whitlock grumbled that "All three networks on Monday eagerly hyped liberal celebrities trashing Donald Trump at Sunday night’s Golden Globes awards."
Matt Philbin harrumphed that Streep's speech was "just another instance of an entitled Hollywood gasbag using her position to speak whatever the opposite of truth to power is."
The second was a lame attempt to counter Streep's claim that Trump once maliciously mocked a disasbled reporter. Townsend and Coombs claimed Streep "accused Trump of mocking a disabled reporter for gestures he regularly uses." Whitlock dismissed the mocking as mere "comments and gestures Trump made about journalist Serge Kovaleski in 2016." Philbin insisted that the mocking was "something that didn’t happen" and that "the incident that gave Streep the genuine frowny face wasn’t itself genuine."
The evidence Townsend and Coombs and Philbin cited to deny the mocking was a post by an obscure pro-Trump blog purporting to offer "The Catholic Case for Donald Trump" insisting that Trump mocks everyone like that so it's totally OK.
In fact, as actual fact-checker Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post documents, Trump's claim that he did not know Kovaleski prior to the incident he mocked the reporter for -- pointing out that Trump's assertion that "thousands" of Muslims celebrated the fall of the World Trade Center on 9/11 lacked a factual basis -- was not credible, and "as the evidence shows, Trump clearly mocked Kovaleski."
The MRC's Curtis Houck later mocked the Associated Press for doing a fact-check on Trump's tweet-storm dismissal of Streep as "overrated." He said nothing about the fact-checks proving the MRC wrong about Trump's mocking of Kovaleski.
MRC's Graham Hypocritically Attacks Wash. Post for Exposing TV Station Owner's Right-Wing Bias Topic: Media Research Center
The Washington Post did a big story last month on how Sinclair Broadcast Group, the largest owner of TV stations in the country, required its local news operations to run negative stories about Hillary Clinton during the election and worked with Donald Trump's campaign to air interviews with him on those stations.
The Media Research Center's Tim Graham was mad about this, becuase he is a terrible media critic and doesn't think right-wing media should face the same scrutiny as the "liberal media" the MRC pays him to attack. So he ranted about it in a Dec. 25 post:
Washington Post media reporter Paul Farhi dug into the Baltimore-based Sinclair Broadcast Group to warn of conservative pro-Trump bias. The headline at the top of the Style section front page was “How a giant TV company helped Donald Trump's campaign.” It’s nothing like giant TV companies like, say, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, or (“not for profit’’) PBS. But pro-Trump bias is offensive inside the Post headquarters. The major networks demonstrating a pro-Hillary bias is just favoring compassion, intelligence, and diversity.
A hostile source inside Sinclair leaked internal e-mails to the Post. We can only imagine how much fun it would be to read internal e-mails from the Post (especiallywhen the managing editor was Kevin “I Love Obama” Merida).
Needless to say, Graham offered no evidence that any of those "liberal media" outlets he cited issued "must run" orders from corporate on stories attacking Trump, like Sinclair did for anti-Hillary stories.
Graham also defended Sinclair's softball questions to former presidential candidate and later Trump surrogate Ben Carson: "How does Farhi think these questions are remarkably biased? They might not be hardballs, but they’re not kissing Carson’s ring. They’re bland and open-ended inquiries. It's nothing like Gayle King (from the "giant TV company" CBS) gushing to the Obamas about her favorite Obama inauguration photos."
Graham didn't mention how Farhi rep orted that Sinclair "managers have been particularly close to Carson, who practiced medicine in Baltimore for many years," and "aired his hour-long autobiographical promotional film, called 'A Breath of Fresh Air, A New Prescription for America,' just before Carson’s official announcement [of his presidential campaign]. The Carson infomercial was produced by a company run by Armstrong Williams, which paid Sinclair an undisclosed fee for the airtime."
Neither Graham nor Farhi noted that Williams, who is also Ben Carson's handler, is in business with Sinclair. His Howard Stirk Holdings owns several TV stations that are operated by Sinclair through "sidecar" LMA agreements.
If any of this bias and cozy self-dealing happened with a non-conservative owner of TV stations, Graham would be screaming bloody murder. But Sinclair's bias is the kind of bias he likes.
MRC Proves NY Times Right About Conservative Use of 'Fake News' to Bash Media Topic: Media Research Center
Clay Waters devoted a Dec. 27 Media Research Center post to complaining that the New York Times wrote an article about the fact-checker Snopes, complaining that it was designed to counter Snopes' purportedly "liberal reputation" amid "allegations of hypocrisy." Waters also grumbled that the article "accused conservatives of crying 'fake news' to discredit the mainstream media."
Waters cannot credibly counter that claim.The MRC is so dedicated to blaming fake news only on the "liberal media" that it actually reached back to 1980 to rehash the Washington Post "Jimmy's World" hoax as evidence "the liberal media elite" put out fake news.
Indeed, after quoting the offending passage, Waters does exactly what he complained about being accused of:
Rolling Stone and The Washington Post are not immune to bogus reporting. The Times went all-in on the made-up liberal narrative of racist Duke lacrosse players guilty of raping a stripper. One more recent example of “fake news” from the NYT: Its utter gullibility (and failure to follow up) in swallowing the claims of YouTube hoaxer Adam Saleh, allegedly removed from a Delta plane in London for speaking Arabic on his phone, a tale which conveniently played into the paper’s narrative of Islamophobia but which has been declared false by -- guess who? -- Snopes.
Waters is self-discrediting in another way: by admitting that Snopes debunked a New York Times, he undid his claim of Snopes' "liberal reputation." Whoops.
Waters also takes offense to the article noting "efforts by highly partisan conservatives to claim that their fact-checking efforts are the same as those of independent outlets like Snopes." He offers no evidence to rebut the claim, only mockingly references "pristinely objective fact-checkers at Snopes" and whining that "apparently only Snopes and the liberal media are allowed to fact-check," unlike "Sean Hannity and Michelle Malkin."
Waters cites no alleged "fact-checks" done by Hannity or Malkin, let alone an instance in which they ever found a fellow conservative in the wrong.
MRC Restarts the PR Machine For Upcoming Anti-Abortion Film Topic: Media Research Center
We've documented how the Media Research Center enthusiasticallyshilled for the crowdfunding campaign for Phelim McAleer's film about rogue abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell -- shilling for which McAleer appears to have paid the MRC, which bought its silence about where the money came from for McAleer to buy a billboard mocking one crowdfunding website for cutting off his campaign.
Well, that film is close to being release, which means the MRC must crank up the publicity machine once again.
Thus, we have a Dec. 2 article by Katie Yoder touting this "record-breaking abortion movie." But how can it be a "record-breaking" film if it hasn't been released yet? She's apparently referring to it being "the most successful crowdfunded movie on Indiegogo."
Yoder uncritically quotes McAleer making suspiciously evidence-free assertions about the film, such as how it purportedly hasn't found a distributor because it's "too controversial" ("Because of non-disclosure agreements, the producers didn’t name names," Yoder writes, but why would McAleer be contractually obligated not to reveal who's not distributing his film if there's no contract in the first place?) or that the film "has scored off the charts at test screenings. ... Test audiences in their feedback have cried and praised the storytelling but also praised the movie Gosnell for its accessibility."
Naturally, this leads to a conspiracy theory about why Hollywood won't touch his movie when it will make other films about abortion: "This is continuing the media cover-up – they don't want anything that asks difficult questions about abortion," McAleer is quoted as saying.
McAleer and Yoder don't broach the possiiblity that "Gosnell" is simply an amateurish, terrible film. Rewire saw an early version of the film, and notes that its apparent goal is to suggest that all abortion doctors are Gosnell wannabes:
Like any crudely made horror movie, the film seeks to achieve these ends by using the most gruesome aspects of an egregious crime to inflame passions. Sensational footage of “baby parts,” filthy conditions, and untrained assistants all are part of a movie that seeks to implicate abortion providers in the crimes of a felon whose practices were unquestionably and undeniably horrific and do not comport with standard or accepted medical practice of any kind, nor do they have anything to do with the clinics in which legal abortions are performed.
Like any good PR shill, Yoder makes sure to plug the ancillary products, noting that McAleer has written a companion book and "Regnery Publishing will release the book for sale on January 24th, although it is already available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million."
McAleer is so invested in putting ideology first by turning Gosnell into a anti-abortion bogeyman that he's not going to tell the truth about the safety of the abortion prodecure, or that the vast majority of abortions take place before the 12th week and, thus, have nothing whatsover to do with the contents of his film.
Yoder, as McAleer's loyal stenographer, will continue to tell that story, because that's what she's getting paid to do -- either as part of her MRC job or by McAleer himself.
MRC Defends False Fox News Attack on Food Stamps Topic: Media Research Center
The headline of Nicholas Fondacaro's Dec. 29 Media Research Center post complains, "MSNBC Analyst Smears Conservatives as Racist for Caring About Food Stamp Fraud." He complains further:
MSNBC’s Ari Melber was up in arms Wednesday night, as he filled in on The Rachel Maddow Show, at Fox News for daring to report that food stamp fraud was up to roughly $70 million in 2016. But the outrage at Fox gave way to outrage at the white working class for falling for the racist “dog whistle” of caring about said fraud. “Why is this all coming up again now,” he inquired to his radical leftist guest Joan Walsh from The Nation.
“Well, why now is because we have Fox News, which is awaiting a President Donald Trump by rerunning their greatest hits,” she declared, “I mean, Fox has done this before. They did it under Obama. They chased this idea of food stamp fraud.” Walsh completely wrote off the facts and pretending like the fraud was not happening, while smearing everyone who brought it up as racist:
Ironically, the whole discussion was started when Melber claimed that Fox News had lied about the $70 million in food stamp fraud. Melber claimed that MSNBC called the Agriculture Department and were told they didn’t know the origin of the number. He cited the radical leftist website Mother Jones as a “fact checker” who found “There's zero evidence that fraud is at an all-time high.”
But according to a Washington Post piece criticizing the Fox News report, the number is not an issue but arguing it requires the end of the program is.
Actually, according to an update of that Washington Post article, the number is, in fact, an issue. The Post's Erik Wemple reports that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the food stamp program, was seeking a correction from Fox News because the $70 million number seems to have been plucked out of nowhere.
And as Wemple also points out -- but Fondacaro doesn't admit because it destroys his attack on Mother Jones as a "radical leftist website" who can't be trusted -- food stamp fraud is not at a record. The latest numbers available show fraud is around 1 percent of the program, down from 4 percent in the 1990s.
The USDA got its correction: Fox News has admitted the $70 million number is incorrect and that "nationally food stamp trafficking is on the decline." Will Fondacaro do the same by admitting by defending Fox News, he's defending a false claim?
Move over, transgenders. There’s a new kid in town.
Huffington Post reported that Billions will make “TV history” for featuring the first gender non-conforming star in a mainstream show. Showtime, Billions host network, has a history of pushing boundaries with its leading characters. Season seven of Shameless included a major character who was transgender, played by a transgender actor.
Billions new star is the next politically correct step for the network. Asia Kate Dillon, from Orange Is the New Black and Master of None, has been cast as Taylor, the new intern at the hedge fund run by billionaire Bobby “Axe” Axelrod. In addition to, and probably more importantly than, her prowess at navigating the financial world, Taylor identifies as gender non-conforming.
From Law & Order, Chicago Med, Star, and others, the networks have been following the Hollywood agenda and making transgender characters an ordinary occurrence onscreen. If normalizing non-gender characters are the subsequent item on the to-do list, one can only wonder who (or what) will be next.
McKneely does not explain why transgenders and the gender non-conforming must be denounced in the media as abnormal.
The transgender child on the cover of National Geographic resulted in predictable outrage from Melissa Mullins:
Transgender, cisgender, gender nonconforming, genderqueer, agender, or whatever name you want to call it, this “fluidity” seems to be the trending topic covered in the media these days – and although it may appear an unlikely outlet for such a topic, National Geographic is the latest to jump on the bandwagon by featuring a nine year old transgender girl by the name of Avery Jackson on the cover of its upcoming issue. If you are unaware of the aforementioned names, no worries – the upcoming issue comes complete with a glossary of more than 20 terms redefining gender.
Mullins went on to huff that despite national Geographic being absorbed into Rupert Murdoch's empire, "the magazine can still be a progressive darling….even as its claims to respect 'science' go up in smoke in the pursuit of political correctness, declaring gender is a 'spectrum.'" Mullins doesn't explain how "science" doesn't show that gender is not a spectrum.
The Washington Post easily proves it's a secular liberal newspaper at Christmas time. On Friday, the Post promoted a "dragapella" quartet mocking Christmas (and the incoming administration) in two different sections of the paper, in the Style section and in the Weekend tabloid. In Style, theatre critic Celia Wren hailed the Kinsey Sicks and their show "Oy Vey in a Manger!" at the D.C. Jewish Community Center.
Yes, it seems Graham really had nothing better to do on Christmas than complain about this.
Sarah Stites was upset that a story about a transgender boy who's being prohibited from joining the Boy Scouts is getting media attention, whining, "The fact that Boy Scout membership is limited to males has not always been newsworthy. However, in the current media landscape, such a 'controversial' claim garnered three minutes of network airtime and copious online news coverage."
Stites further fretted that the Boy Scouts of America may "buckle from the pressure of media and activist groups." She's also worried that Scouts for Equality, which "was partially responsible for pushing BSA to lift its national bans on gay scouts and leaders in 2015," is weighing in on this issue and will "force" BSA to make a decision on the issue.
And Graham and Brent Bozell ranted about non-straight people in the media in their Dec. 31 "cultural winners and losers" column:
Winner: Transgender propaganda products. The Danish Girl, a fictionalized account of the first man to undergo a sex change operation, led to an Oscar for Alicia Vikander, who played the man’s supportive wife. The Amazon web show Transparent was showered with TV awards again. ABC’s Modern Family made “history” by featuring an eight-year-old girl (“transgender boy”) to raise our awareness of “gender fluidity.”
Leave it to LGBT-haters like Graham and Bozell to insist that portraying transgender people as actual humans and not freaks is "propaganda."
MRC's Jeffrey Lord Pretends Limbaugh Isn't Hurting Talk Radio Topic: Media Research Center
Jeffrey Lord's Dec. 24 Media Research Center column is dedicated to fluffing Rush Limbaugh and his alleged infulence. He quotes extensively from a press release announcing that Limbaugh's syndicator, Premiere Neworks, had extended a "multi-million dollar deal" contract to continue appearing on several stations owned by Cumulus Media:
It goes on with tributes to Rush, well deserved I should add. Realizing this is only a portion of the stations that air Rush’s show (he is on over 600 stations), this moment of Rush’s resigning is exactly a good moment to reflect on the fact that only a few years ago his critics and the critics of talk radio in general were cheering - because, they insisted, talk radio was dying.
Actually, it has been dying, and Limbaugh is a prime factor in that -- not that Lord will tell about it, of course.
Indeed, Lord is very careful to ignore and write around the key event that made people question talk radio's future: Limbaugh's three-day tirade of misogyny against Sandra Fluke. As Politico reported earlier this year, the huge backlash to Limbaugh's hate like advertiser boycotts -- so harsh the MRC started a desperate "I Stand With Rush" campaign to try and save him -- resulted in a 38 percent loss in revenue to the talk radio industry.
When Limbaugh re-upped with Premiere in August 2016 -- succeeding an eight-year contract that paid him $50 million a year plus a $100 million signing bonus -- Premiere never disclosed how much it will be paying him, which tells you that it's much less than he was getting paid.
Limbaugh's ratings plunged so deeply that stations inmajormarkets dropped him, forcing Premiere's parent company, iHeartMedia (formerly Clear Channel), to put his show on typically less powerful and desirable stations owned by iHeartMedia itself in order to claim it still had clearance in those major cities.
The fact that these other major-market stations carrying Limbaugh are owned by Cumulus -- which is to say, not stations owned by iHeartMedia, therefore depriving the company of revenue it could otherwise be keeping within the company -- also tells us that Limbaugh is making nowhere near what he had been udner his new contract.
One of those Cumulus stations, WLS-AM in Chicago, illustrates this new reality. There were reports in 2015 that WLS was considering dropping Limbaugh's show because the station couldn't sell ads for it. Chicago media writer Robert Feder made it clear that WLS keeping Limbaugh's show was a corporate mandate, not a local decision. And as of September -- and despite Cumulus' and Premiere's spin that Limbaugh's ratings are up -- WLS-AM doesn't register among the top 20 highest-rated Chicago radio stations in either total listeners or the key 25-54 demographic.
Nevertheless, Lord still insisted that "the critics of these talk hosts and talk radio in general gotten it wrong repeatedly." It's easy to pretend that others have gotten things wrong when you ignore inconvenient facts.
MRC's Graham Hypocritically Attacks Media Citing 'Anonymous Government Sources' Topic: Media Research Center
The other day, we noted that the Media Reearch Center's Tim Graham huffed that "Donald Trump correctly felt NBC reporter Katy Tur was hostile to him on the campaign trail." While we looked at how the MRC appears to have helped Trump target Tur -- which resulted in threats to Tur's safety -- there's more to the story.
What launched Graham's complaint was Tur pointing out how the intelligence community agrees that Russian hackers meddled in the U.S. presidential election with the apparent goal of getting Trump elected. That set off Graham, going once again into self-righteous media-bashing mode:
This is how the liberal media try to inflate their own authority and credibility. They use anonymous government sources and then insist that when you attack their ginned-up hit jobs, you’re undermining the government. What would it look like if the anonymous sources were publicly named, and the public could judge their political or career motives? The “intelligence community” could be Obama’s CIA director John Brennan, as many suspect, a Democrat appointee spinning for the Democrats right before the Electoral College votes. That’s why the anonymity can be a very secretive and dishonest tactic.
Funny, we don't recall Graham or anyone else at the MRC demanding that Fox News reveal the anonymous government sources behind its pre-election claim that Hillary Clinton's indictment was imminent -- heck, rather than denouncing this "very secretive and dishonest tactic," the MRC was demanding that the media report the story. And when Fox's Bret Baier had to walk back his claim -- thus, making it fake news a few days before the election -- Graham and the MRC could not be bothered to issue a prominent correction, let alone apologize to its readers for promoting a fake story.
Graham can't have possibly forgotten that just two months ago his employer was promoting fake news based on the "nonymous government sources" he now derides. He has simply tried to flush it down the memory hole and is hoping MRC readers don't realize he's a massive hypocrite.
MRC Complains Media Isn't Thanking Trump Enough for Stock Highs Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Sam Dorman complains in a Dec. 19 post:
As the Dow Jones Industrial Average neared the 20,000 mark for the first time in history, the index set 16 closing-day record highs since Donald Trump’s election.
Even some liberal media outlets have drawn a direct connection between the soaring stock market and Trump’s election, going so far as to label it a “Trump stock market rally.” But the broadcast networks often ignored any connection.
In just over a month’s time, ABC, CBS and NBC evening news shows aired fewer stories combined than the number of records. The evening shows reported the market records in just 11 stories between Election Day and Dec. 13, despite huge investment gains. Forty-five percent of those stories ignored Trump in their market reports (5 of 11).
Meanwhile, the Dow industrial average has more than doubled under President Obama, and we don't recall anyone at the MRC crediting Obama for it even once.
Did The MRC Prime Trump's Attack On NBC Reporter? Topic: Media Research Center
In a Dec. 16 post, the Media Reearch Center's Tim Graham huffed that "Donald Trump correctly felt NBC reporter Katy Tur was hostile to him on the campaign trail." Graham doesn't mention how the MRC played a big role in ginning up the idea of that purported hostility.
At a Nov. 2 rally, Donald Trump singled out Tur, complaining about the purportedly "dishonest" media before shouting at Tur: "There's something happening. They're not reporting it. Katy -- you're not reporting it, Katy. But there's something happening, Katy. There's something happening, Katy." Tur respondedafterwards by pointing out that while attacking reporters is part of Trump's "schtick" on the campaign trail, and his complaints about how the media covers the rallies is false, "it does make the crowd very angry and it does concern a lot of folks about the safety of journalists."
this wasn't the frist time: Tur wrote that after Trump targeted her in a December 2015 rally, the Secret Service hed to walk her to her car for her protection.
Did Trump get advice for choosing Tur as a target from the MRC? Let's look at the evidence.
In an Oct. 24 Media Research Center item, Nicholas Fondacaro complained that "The 'Big Three' networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) put their undying loyalty to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton on full display Monday evening, as they completely blacked out two news stories with explosive consequences for the campaign," in contrast to the reporting of pro-Trump Fox News. He sneered: "NBC Nightly News led with Clinton fangirl Andrea Mitchell talking about how comfortable Clinton is with her lead, then pivoting to Katy Tur who mocked the GOP candidate." Curiously, Fondacaro provided no evidence whatsoever of the "mocking" he claimed Tur did.
That seemed to be a catalyst for Trump's Nov. 2 attack on Tur, but the MRC has long bashed her for not being a right-wing shill throughout the 2016 campaign:
In a September 2015 post, Ken Shepherd huffed that Tur "trashed Values Voters Summit attendees as the 'far right' of the GOP" (though Shepherd doesn't prove otherwise), but he cheered when she "was interrupted by an attendee who told her to quiet down."
In December 2015, Curtis Houck asserted that Tur "hyped that the crowd at the Trump rally on Monday 'was anything but merry and bright' as reporters like her were 'booed and cheered' by the 'riled up and angry' crowd."
On March 11, Houck was upset that "Tur took to MSNBC to air a multitude of concerns about the growing number of violent incidents at Trump rallies to go along with Tuesday’s alleged bruising of Breitbart’s Michelle Fields by Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski."
On March 30, Kristine Marsh complained that Tur "slammed" Mike Huckabee as a "hardline anti-abortion rights conservative," declaring that "anti-abortion" a "biased" term (even though it's a more accurate term since all "pro-life" activists are, in fact, opposed to abortion).
In May, Mark Finkelstein grumbled that Tur suggested that it's "veiled sexism" to suggest that Hillary Clinton lacked the stamina to be president, arguing that it wasn't sexist because Trump said the same thing about Jeb Bush.
Marsh cheered in July when Trump "shushed" Tur for "continuing to press her question after he briefly answered it then shifted the focus to Hillary Clinton," justifying Trump's rudeness by delcaring that "Trump is universally brusque to reporters regardless of gender."
Sam Dorman complained on Aug. 9 that when Tur reported on Trump's sketchy tax plan as revealed in a speech, she "framed it as an attempt to appease disgruntled republicans."
On Sept. 26 Kyle Drennen was angry that Tur pointed out that Trump was trying to "game this system" by pre-emptively bashing media debate coverage"; according to Drennen's interpretation, Tur "denounced Donald Trump’s campaign team for demanding fair treatment from the press ahead of the upcoming debate."
A Oct. 2 post by Nicholas Fondacaro complained that Tur "seemed outraged that being able to write off net-losses on taxes was legal."
The MRC -- as its agenda dictates -- had a definite interest in painting Tur as hostile to Republicans in general and Trump in particular, even though much of the criticism was because Tur accurately reported events in a way that didn't advance the agenda of Trump and Republicans. It wasn't necessarily "correct" -- it was a politically motivated campaign.
The MRC was determined to paint Tur as "hostile" to Trump simply because she was not a Trump sycohpant. And it appears they made Trump know that Tur was not a sycophant, which encouraged him to single her out with anger on the campaign trail.
MRC's Graham Bashes CNN's Stelter For Making Accurate Observations Topic: Media Research Center
One of the ways Media Research Center Tim Graham loves to slag the so-called "liberal media" is by asserting the prowess and alleged robustness of right-wing journalists -- minus any actual proof to back it up, of course.
Graham does this again in a Dec. 14 post attacking CNN media critic Brian Stelter for daring to criticize those who dismiss journalism:
Stelter maligned Trump voters and supporters of Trump’s media critiques as anti-journalism: “A big part of the country has opted out of journalism and opted in to an alternate reality.”
Liberals always think that you either swallow the liberal media consensus whole, or you've "opted out of journalism." Why don't they understand conservatives are journalists? Could they acknowledge conservatives were tougher journalists in the last eight years?
Again, if would be nice if Graham had cited any examples of conservatives being "tougher journalists" than non-conservative ones in the last eight years, but of course he doesn't.He certainly can't point to his fellow MRC co-workers at CNSNews.com as an example, since all they care about is slavish stenography of Donald Trump and his minions and snide attacks on liberals.
Further, his view of the media is unrealiastically binary -- in his eyes, any media that's not slavishly right-wing is "liberal." That view may bring in the big bucks from right-wing donors, but it's not how the media world works.
Graham also complains that "Stelter also predictably bashed Fox News in the usual Clintonista terms as a kind of super PAC instead of a news channel," but again, Graham offers no proof that it's not.
So it seems that Graham is once again criticizing others for making accurate observations about the right-wing media.