MRC Covers Woodward Book of Trump Interviews By (Of Course) Attacking Woodward Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center was in the midst of pro-Trump damage control over an Atlantic article about President Trump disparaging U.S. troops when it had a new crisis to contend with: Bob Woodward's book based on hours of interviews with Trump. Naturally, the MRC went into shoot-the-messenger mode, attacking Woodward as biased even if it couldn't dispute that he was directly quoting what Trump told him.
The MRC's first post on Woodward's book was, oddly, from Gabriel Hays focused on the reaction of "Hollywood Twitter." But he was already defending Trump's remarks to Woodward about publicly downplaying the coronavirus threat when he knew it was more serious, declaring that the remarks "occurred during the early stages of the Trump administration’s Chinese virus response (when people like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and former Vice President Joe Biden sat on their thumbs, badmouthing the president’s xenophobic actions)."
Tim Graham complained that Trump was criticized for talking to Woodward, making sure to portray Trump as the real victim: "So, to review: Trump is stupid to grant all his interviews to Sean Hannity and Fox. And now he's stupid to grant interviews to Bob Woodward. These leftists will criticize the president no matter which decision or direction he takes. The only consistency they show is that they always want Trump defeated, removed, finished."
Curtis Houck churned out another gushing piece on Kayleigh McEnany, huffing that "Acela corridor-based journalists... tried (and failed) to browbeat Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany over claims that Trump 'lied to the American public' about COVID-19’s threat to America and was therefore complicit in having murdered nearly 200,000 people. And yes, that actually was the narrative these vile hacks peddled."
Alex Christy groused that people on MSNBC "came together for some Monday morning quarterbacking on President Trump's handling of the pandemic, with Woodward's Washington Post colleague Phillip Rucker using the book to blame Trump for 190,000 COVID deaths," adding, "It's one thing to criticize Trump, but it is unscientific nonsense to say that he is responsible for 190,000 deaths from a novel virus."
Mark finelstein grumbled about MSNBC host Joe Scarborough's "grim, paternalistic, pursed-lip approach to the anti-Trump coronavirus spin coming out of the latest Bob Woodward book."
Scott Whitlock complained: "It’s Bob Woodward, so it must be another Watergate scandal, right? That’s the thinking on CBS This Morning on Thursday as Gayle King and John Dickerson compared the leaked quotes in the latest Woodward tome Rage to the 1970s scandal that brought down Richard Nixon."
Kristine Marsh touted Meghan McCain's spin that "the media has an agenda against Republicans so if you talk to them you’re guaranteed to 'look bad,'" ignoring the fact that Woodward has his Trump interviews on tape.
Kyle Drennen insisted that "Dr. Anthony Fauci completely dismantled the anti-Trump narrative being pushed by Bob Woodward regarding the President’s handling on the coronavirus pandemic" by claiming that Trump didn't mislead the public, playing the victimization card by claiming that "Any evidence, like Dr. Fauci’s comments, that runs counter to the narrative the leftist media wants to push will simply be censored or downplayed in a desperate attempt to damage Trump."
Nicholas Fondacaro huffed that CNN's Jake Tapper interviewed Joe Biden in footage that featured him "going off on President Trump and Tapper slow pitching him excerpts from Bob Woodward’s new anti-Trump book."
Houck returned to bizarrely turn the story into anti-Biden spin: "On Thursday afternoon, President Trump continued to distinguish himself from Joe Biden on access with another White House press conference that featured snarky, Jim Acosta-like questions from ABC’s Jonathan Karl (even though he’s written about his disdain for Acosta’s style) and far-left Washington Post reporter and MSNBC contributor Phil Rucker as they both accused him of having lied to the American people about the severity of the coronavirus pandemic."
Graham devoted an entire column to deflecting from Trump's words by blaming the media and playing whataboutism: "Let’s put aside the nagging question of why Republican presidents grant interviews to this liberal Watergate war horse. Let’s focus instead on the nastiness of blaming hundreds of thousands of deaths on the president. Imagine, for a minute, that President Hillary Clinton was in power when the coronavirus arrived from China. Would the press place a single death at the White House door?" Well, Graham certainly would.
Geoffrey Dickens registered his own complaint: "A Bob Woodward book with so-called embarrassing details about a Republican president is like catnip for the DC/NY media crowd. ... If it all sounds familiar, it is: the commotion over the leaks and Woodward interviews follows a pattern when it comes to his previous books that bash GOP presidents."
Finally, Graham ranted about an interview Scott Pelley of "60 Minutes" did with Woodward:
How stupid does Scott Pelley think we are? Can we really be told after five years of fire-breathing televised Trump hatred that we live in a world where reporters stick to reporting, not editorializing?
Pelley touted Woodward as a destroyer of presidencies, the man whose "first investigation, reported with Carl Bernstein, led to the resignation of Richard Nixon." But there it was near the end of Sunday night's interview, Pelley claiming reporters are "not supposed" to reach "editorial conclusions" about presidents!
The only conclusion that can be reached here in this discussion between two gray-haired retirement-age journalists that this is simply a shameless infomercial, using the antiquated notion of journalistic objectivity to add shock value and sell more books for Simon and Schuster, another affiliated Viacom-CBS property. The corporate synergy requires this kind of con artistry.
Graham cranked out another column dismissing Woodward as "the most overpraised journalist in Washington ... who is the same age as Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden but is still trotted out with great fanfare as the conquering hero of Watergate."
Anything to avoid having to discuss what Trump actually said to Woodward, eh?
MRC Goes Into Full Defense Mode Over Allegations Trump Disparages Military Topic: Media Research Center
Because the Media Research Center is the media arm of the Trump campaign, it acted like an extension of the White House press secretary in trying to stamp out an Atlantic story citing numerous people claiming that President Trump privatedly dismissed fallen U.S. soldiers as "losers" and "suckers."
Curtis Houck complained that the Atlantic piece was anonymously sourced and that its editor is a "liberal," attacking media outlets for reporting it: "And because conducting journalism isn’t what they do, they also couldn’t be bothered to mention both the excerpt of John Bolton’s book on the day in question that made no mention of these comments and a White House e-mail also debunking them."
Tim Graham dismissed the Atlantic as "the exquisitely partisan source of today's anonymously-sourced anti-Trump hit piece" on Trump.
Houck returned to gush that "White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany continued the full court press from the Trump administration and campaign to debunk, deny, and dispose of Thursday’s Atlantic hit piece against President Trump from liberal hack editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg, calling it 'conspiracy-laden propaganda' and 'fake news' that abandoned 'all journalistic integrity.' And in a true mic drop moment, McEnany read the roughly four-minute statement and left the podium without taking questions." Houck doesn't seem to understand that a denial from the White House is not the same as a "debunking." (The MRC loves to gush over McEnany.)
Alex Christy was mad that the Atlantic's sources chose to stay anonymous, declaring that "without names, it looks like a combination of confirmation bias (Goldberg, in his article, cited Trump's feuds with veterans and their families where he has gone too far) and political gossip" and adding that "some accusations are so serious, in order to run them they need more than Twitter-fearing anonymous sources commenting on an event from 2018."
Graham joined the whining about the Atlantic's anonymous sources, then went on to whine about "Brian Stelter's anonymous sources for his Fox-bashing book Hoax. If they've left Fox News for greener pastures, why don't they show some guts and go on the record?"
Graham later grumbled that "the traveling/groveling Biden press corps" wasn't asking if "The Atlantic article trashing the president for allegedly trashing our war dead was coordinated with the Biden campaign."
P.J. Gladnick complained that "CNN's Chris Cillizza hyped the Atlantic magazine smear upon President Donald Trump" but "never even mentioned the one very prominent non-anonymous source that came forward to upend that story, namely John Bolton." Actually, Bolton has said, "I’m not saying he didn’t say [the remarks] later in the day or another time."
Kristine Marsh huffed that ABC's George Stephanopulos "badgering" Sarah Huckabee Sanders over the Atlantic story and "spent the majority of the interview arguing with her over whether or not President Trump hates the military." In another post, Marsh touted how "several named witnesses have shot down the story told in the Atlantic as false." In fact, few of the "named witnesses" can credibly deny the story in full.
Atlantic editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg must have thought early Tuesday evening that he was making matters better when he appeared on CNN’s The Situation Room to discuss his hit piece against President Trump, but despite host Wolf Blitzer’s gushing praise for his “amazing” “bombshell” we all should be “grateful” for, he continued to undermine the central claims of his tale.
Throughout the eight-minute-and-35-second segment, Goldberg faced no real challenge from Blitzer, showed us how he’s long been a go-to messenger for what some call the Deep State, and illustrated why he was a reliable flack for the Obama regime.
Graham devoted an entire column to denouncing the Atlantic as a "hyperpartisan outlet" (ironic, since Graham is a hyperpartisan critic). Graham also devoted a podcast to attacking the Atlantic piece.
Jeffrey Lord devoted an entire column to hyping a claim from a right-wing blog post written by onetoime NewsBusters blogger Rusty Weiss claiming that Atlantic editor JeffreyGoldberg admitted the story was "shoddy." Weiss has since softened and recast his original claim.
It's as if the MRC was being paid by the Trump campaign to do this.
MRC's Houck Dishes It Out, Can't Take It Topic: Media Research Center
Curtis Houck is among the most vicious of the Media Research Center's writers. He routinely slings personal insults at CNN personnel -- he has called CNN employees "deranged" "lemmings," smeared another as "immature" with an "incapacity to behave like an adult" (one of his favorite attacks against CNN) and was absolutely giddy that pro-Trump protesters heckled the network. And that's just at NewsBusters, where he serves as managing editor; on his Twitter account, he obsessively bashes CNN's Oliver Darcy as a "conservative Benedict Arnold," whatever that means, accused another CNN personality of having "sold her soul" to join "Zuckerville," insists that "liberal media" like CNN are "the enemy of the people," has ranted that CNN and other outlets "want vaccines to fail and don't see any problem with people going full anti-vaxxer" to spite Trump and smeared the channel as "bad people. They're purposefully spreading fake news, but they don't care. Why? Because if you don't agree with their hysteria-filled way of doing things, they hate you."
But it seems Houck can dish it out, but he can't take it. Responding to a snarky tweet from CNN official Matt Dornic, Houck served up his usual nastiness: "CNN's 'head of strategic communications' reminding us that CNN should come out and endorse Biden. Because if you're not a liberal and actually want to vote for Trump, CNN and people like Matt probably think you're racist, stupid, and just not that smart." Dornic -- clearly aware of Houck's history of responded unhinged invective -- responded in kind: Your gaslight game has improved significantly, Curtis. [clapping emoji] If I didn’t know better, I‘d blame your tweet on an actual personality disorder rather than a desperate plea for attention and approval.
Suddenly, Houck decided to play the victim: "Actually, I've suffer [sic] from depression and attempted suicide, so nice of you to invoke mental illness as a joke to try and attack me instead of respond to the merits of CNN's hatred for people who disagree with them." Houck wrote in a separate tweet: "CNN PR lead joking about mental illness to someone who's battled depression and attempted suicide. That would be me."
Now, we don't attack people on the basis of their mental health, and we have never criticized Houck on that basis. But for Houck to hide behind his mental health issues (which, by the way, are not a secret; he has a thread regarding them pinned to the top of his Twitter page) as a way to change the subject and avoid engaging with people taking issue with his repeated nastiness is unfair, not to mention little more than a way to avoid responsibility for one's own words.
We are very much sympathetic to Houck's mental health struggles -- we'd be happy to talk with him about it sometime (though, in another attempt to evade criticism for his work, he's muted us on Twitter). But he doesn't get to hide behind them to keep from being called out on his nastiness. And if it's his job that makes him so vicious toward CNN that it feeds into such issues, maybe he should find another line of work.
MRC's Graham Demands False Equivalence On Fact-Checking Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Tim Graham keeps trying to dunk on fact-checkers, and he continues to fail. He ranted in a Sept. 4 column:
Apparently, the proper role of the "independent fact-checker" during today's presidential campaign is to present the consistent opinion that Joe Biden is a force for truth and light, and President Donald Trump is a rampaging liar who never says anything true.
No one should suggest that these "fact-checker" groups need to parcel their rulings out in a completely even fashion so everyone gets a participation trophy for being half-right. But the dramatic tilt in these "fact-checkers" betrays an obvious partisan bias.
Just look at PolitiFact's Truth-O-Meter rulings for Biden for the month of August: Mostly True, Mostly True, Mostly True, Mostly True, Mostly True and Half True.
Now let's compare that to Trump's August Truth-O-Meter rulings: one Half True, two Mostly False, 11 False and four Pants on Fire.
Overall, from the start of 2019 through August 2020, Trump has gotten 197 Truth-O-Meter ratings, and Biden has only gotten 64. Trump rated Mostly False or worse in 156 of them (79 percent). He was only Mostly True or True in 17 ratings (8.6 percent). By contrast, Biden rated Mostly True or True in more than half: 33 of 64 (52 percent), and then there are 29 Mostly False or worse (45 percent).
Does anyone less partisan than Brian Stelter think these "fact-checkers" should boast of their "independence"?
As usually happens when he makes this complaint, Graham offers no evidence that Biden tells falsehoods at the same rate as Trump, or that there's any reason to fact-check Biden at the same rate as Trump other than his demand for false equivalence. Nevertheless, he continued:
Some might suggest this is just about a serious aversion to Trump's casual relationship with the truth. So let's take a broader view. Take the dates of the party conventions, from the start of the Democratic one, on Aug. 17, to the aftermath of the Republican one, on Aug. 28. Over those 12 days, PolitiFact checked Republicans and their affiliated PACs and pundits 32 times and only checked Democrats and their equivalents 11 times. The disparity of checks alone implies a partisan tilt.
Again, Graham offered no evidence that Democrats told falsehoods at an equivalent rate to Republicans. The only thing being "implied" here is that Graham cannot be bothered to do even the most basic research to lend any kind of factual basis to his biased, partisan rantings.
Desperate to spin away any suggestion, no matter how well documented, that Trump is an inveterate liar, Graham spent a Sept. 13 MRC post whining that Trump's claims of mail-in voting being massively fraudulent were being fact-checked. In devising a new spin on Trump falsehoods, he insulted a Washington Post fact-checker as not smart enough to tell the difference between a fact, and a prediction," going on to huff: "This is one of the most annoying dirty tricks of the 'fact checking' trade. Smear your target as a 'liar' because you don’t like the predictions they’re making."
There is a long history of mail-in voting not being fraudulent, but Graham doesn't want to talk about that. He still in campaign-style spin mode as befits the MRC's status as themedia arm for the Trump campaign:
That's not to say that everything Trump says about mail-in voting is impeccable. Constantly predicting the election will be "rigged" or fraudulent is inflammatory, but it's in the future, so it's not factual/unfactual. Rizzo and his bosses don't care. They want the "fusillades of falsehood" headline and all the clicks that come from the trash talk.
The Post and other Democrat-helper media outlets have an emotional investment in crushing anyone claiming mail-in voting could be problematic.
Graham clearly has an emotional investment in trying to discredit fact-checkers because they threaten Trump's re-election by telling the truth about the president.
Graham managed to appear even more desperate in a Sept. 17 appearance on the right-wing safe space that is Newsmax TV:
NewsBusters Executive Editor Tim Graham appeared on Newsmax on Wednesday night to hammer the liberal media for fake and misleading fact checking. Talking about the grilling Donald Trump endured during his Tuesday night town hall on ABC, Graham dismissed the efforts of host George Stephanopoulos as “I'm a Democrat. I'm going to stick up for the Democrats.”
He zinged, “It's not fact checking. It's just playing the Democratic Party rebuttal.”
That's not a "zing" -- that's flailing spin from someone who might as well be on the Trump campaign payroll (if he isn't already).
MRC Mad GOP Congressman Got Caught Editing A Video (Not At The Edit) Topic: Media Research Center
In addition to defending the worst people in the name of "free speech," the Media Research Center gets mad when their fellow conservatives get busted messing with video clips, apparently believing that the right to manipulation is "free speech" as well. Kayla Sargent complained in an Aug. 31 post:
Twitter has, once again, bowed to pressure from the left to silence conservatives.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) reportedly removed a video from his Twitter account on Sunday after the platform flagged the video as having been “manipulated.”
The video featured Ady Barkan, a man with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), in an interview with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden discussing police reform. Barkan speaks with the help of computerized voice assistance.
In the original video, Biden discussed his plans for police reform, and Barkin asked “But do we agree that we can redirect some of the funding?” Biden then replied, “Yes, absolutely.”
The Scalise video had reportedly added the words “for police” to the end of Barkin’s question, according to Fox News. As Fox reported, “The context of the original exchange made clear that Barkan was talking about redirecting police funding, but the edit drew strong criticism nevertheless.”
No, Twitter is not trying to "silence conservatives"; it's trying to shut down manipulated images and videos. If Scalise had not manipulated the video, this would not be an issue. Sargent and the MRC are simply mad that Scalise got caught doing it -- and to someone it had dismissed as a "radical-left activist" just a month earlier and as a "far-left activist" a couple weeks earlier when he spoke at the Democratic National Convention. (No explanation, of course, of what exactly makes Barkan "radical" or "far-left"; he must be demonized no matter what).
The MRC, meanwhile, is certainly not going to tell readers what Barkan had to say a couple days later about conservative media outlets like the MRC who bolstered Scalise's misleading video:
Scalise has since conceded the video “shouldn’t have been edited” in an interview on Fox News — even as he attempted to claim there was an underlying truthfulness to the message. That isn’t the same as an apology to me, or, more important, the more than 2 million people in this country who communicate using assistive technology like I do.
It’s specifically insulting to witness actors with the worst intentions hijack the technology that has allowed me to speak to try to speak for me, but this duplicity also exposes the broader information crisis in our society. When President Trump claimed, as he did in the run-up to the 2018 election, that a “migrant caravan” threatened the safety of the United States, he was bolstered by a vast conservative media that runs coverage amplifying his claims from morning to midnight. The inauguration crowd size, the repeated lies about voter fraud, claims about wiretapping, all of it is part of an attempt to shear one half of America away from the other by creating an alternate reality for Trump’s supporters.
In that context, “deepfakes” such as the one Scalise posted aren’t missteps. They’re disinformation test balloons that should put every single one of us on alert. If they can without consequence make it seem as though I said something I didn’t, what else can they do? What else will they do? What fearmongering words can they put in Biden’s mouth in a video doctored to tip the election?
Nope, the MRC definitely does not want to have that conversation.
MRC Tries To Cancel Jim Gaffigan For Daring to Criticize Trump Topic: Media Research Center
We've documented how the Media Research Center hated celebrities like Ricky Gervais and J.K. Rowling for holding non-conseravative views -- until they both decided to start hating transgenders as much as the MRC does. Now we have a case where that happens in reverse.
Jim Gaffigan was an MRC favorite for years. In 2015, it cheered how the comedian "got off a great zinger on Twitter yesterday aimed straight at Hollywood folks who look down on the average American who has given American Sniper their vote at the box office"; in 2017, Tim Graham and Brent Bozell praised a movie Gaffigan co-starred in trashing Ted Kennedy over Chappaquiddick (which tanked at the box office). As recently as August 2019, Christian Toto waspraising Gaffigan in a post headlined "Jim Gaffigan Veers to the Right, Slams Woke Film Critics," for not liking his "Chappaquiddick" movie enough; the next month, Toto praised Gaffigan again, this time for being "critical of how wokeness influences their business."
But last month, Gaffigan did the one thing that is absolutely forbidden at the MRC: criticized President Trump. And the MRC turned on him immediately. Gabriel Hays ranted at him in a Sept. 1 post that went personal and attacked his religious faith:
Jim Gaffigan is so secure and proud of his expletive-laden tirade against Trump, the GOP and their supporters from the last night of the Republican National Convention that he used nearly 2000 words on Facebook to convince fans that it was about him saving the country.
He indicated that his obnoxious and mean-spirited personal attacks on Trump’s family and Trump supporters from August 27 were just him speaking out against the current president’s destruction of America. He’s preserving democracy for his grand kids, one “hey fuck you karen" at a time. Give him a break!
In a massive Facebook status, the nice “Catholic” comedian and future Joe Biden voter (those are irreconcilable by the way) tried to explain his full blown Trump Derangement Syndrome-caused break from reality.
Gaffigan believed his posts were righteous. He wrote, “I feel a responsibility to coming generations, my children but selfishly I didn’t want to explain to my grandchildren that I didn’t fight to stop Trump.” The comedian added, “Maybe they will see that I stood up for decency, rule of law, and equality.”
Well the bile Gaffigan threw out on Twitter spat in the face of decency, and the fact he claimed he stands for BLM means he stands for the opposite of “rule of law” and “equality.” Just look at the BLM-inspired hate crimes and riots.
Toto -- who had formerly lavished praise on Gaffigan -- went into attack mode as well in a judgmental post headlined "Here’s Everything That’s Wrong with Jim Gaffigan’s Anti-Trump Rant," sneering that Gaffigan's "Tweets themselves sound like a combination of Cher, Rob Reiner and Judd Apatow. That’s never a healthy cocktail in 2020. And let’s trot out the obligatory, “Gaffigan has the right to Tweet anything he pleases” explainer." Of course, Toto -- like all other MRC-affiliated writers -- doesn't believe people have that right if they tweet things that aren't conservative; otherwise, he wouldn't have written this post in which he ranted that "Gaffigan is a victim of Fake News, for sure. He’s also an adult who has access to a wealth of news sources to get the full picture. He’s as guilty of gaslighting his followers as the news is of outright lying to its readers."
You sure you're not the one who's a victim of fake news and gaslightling people, Christian?
Geoffrey Dickens included Gaffigan in a post detailing what he dismissed as "Hollywood celebrities screaming and tweeting about the 'chaos' in the streets that somehow was Donald Trump’s fault," huffing that he "condescendingly attacked Trump supporters for voting for a 'criminal' 'traitor.'"
Criticism -- any criticism -- of Trump is verboten at the MRC, and they must ridicule and shout down anyone who does, even former friends like Gaffigan. Cancel culture, anyone?
Wacky MRC Tries To Portray Harris As Anti-Vaccine Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's failedmicroagressions against Joe Biden have spread to his running mate, Kamala Harris. Scott Whitlock ranted in a Sept. 8 post that Harris is somehow an "anti-vaxxer":
The media love to mock conservatives and Republicans as kooks who are prone to all sorts of conspiracy theories. Yet Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris is sounding like the most extreme anti-vaxxerand journalists are trying to give her a pass. The three networks on Tuesday downplayed or offered no critique of her attempts to turn Americans against a COVID vaccine.
On Good Morning America, Cecilia Vega highlighted a “Trump administration vaccine” and played a clip of Harris spouting conspiracy theories about the completion of one: “It would have to be a credible source of information that talks about the efficacy and the reliability of whatever he's talking about. I will not take his word for it.”
Vega offered no objection to this silly image of Dr. Trump on the White House lawn with viles and beakers, encouraging people to take something that he personally came up with.
Whitlock is simply lying to you -- at no point did Harris ever suggest Trump "personally came up with" a vaccine. She merely pointed out an inconvenient fact Whitlock would rather keep censored: Nobody trusts Trump's word on anything. In a link on the words "extreme anti-vaxxer," Whitlock referenced a Hill article that, in addition to Harris' comments, highlighted a poll finding that only 14 percent of respondents would get a coronavirus vaccine if Trump recommended it, compared with 46 percent who’d take one on the advice of their family and 43 percent who would on the advice of the CDC or Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert.Indeed, Trump has been extravagantlypromising that a vaccine will appear before election day, which further raises public concerns.
Instead, Whitlock ranted that "the vice presidential nominee of one of the two main parties is pushing unproven conspiracy theories," dishonestly adding: "If people don’t take a vaccine because the Democrats want to deny Donald Trump a win, Americans could die. But apparently that doesn’t matter to ABC, CBS and NBC."
Indeed, since the MRC is the media arm of the trump campaign and will hide or spin any negative news about him lest it hurt his re-election chances, it continued to blame everyone by Trump for the fact that nobody trusts him. Kyle Drennen wrote in a Sept. 11 post:
After repeatedly sowing fear and doubt about a potential COVID-19 vaccine in an effort to undermine President Trump’s handling of the pandemic, on Friday, NBC’s Today show was suddenly concerned by a new poll showing that many Americans would not trust a vaccine developed under the Trump administration. Of course rather than blame themselves for politicizing the vital medical research, the network hacks instead rushed to blame the President once again.
During a report early in the 7:00 a.m. ET hour, correspondent Tom Costello warned of “new evidence that the public’s trust has been shaken.” He then touted a new poll from a left-leaning group:
As with its insistence that Biden is an "extreme" "radical," the only reason Drennen sees the issuer of the poll, the Kaiser Family Foundation, as a "left-leaning group" is because the MRC is so far right. Outside the MRC's right-wing bubble, it's a highly credible group on medical and health issues.
Drenne went into shoot-the-messenger mode, referencing Whitlock's wacky post:
In reality, the hosts and correspondent at NBC need look no further than their own reporting if they want to know why people are so distrustful of any potential vaccine. Just over the past three days, the morning show has routinely suggested without evidence that Trump would somehow force a vaccine to be approved prematurely to help his political chances in November’s election:
In fact, on Tuesday, all three network morning shows touted the Biden-Harris campaign sounding like anti-vaxxer conspiracy theorists as it tried to exploit the health crisis to smear the President. There was no challenge or fact-check of the irresponsible quackery.
A Sept. 17 post by Kristine Marsh also went into shoot-the-messenger mode:
The media is so desperate to get President Trump out of office they are actually willing to scare vulnerable Americans into not taking a vaccine that could save their lives. Earlier this month, the big three networks touted Kamala Harris warning Americans not to trust Trump with a vaccine. Yesterday, Biden came out with his own dangerous message telling Americans to not take any vaccine that comes out while Trump’s in office.
Good Morning America Thursday, White House correspondent Cecilia Vega and anchor George Stephanopoulos spent a good deal of time deflecting blame from the Democrat ticket sowing fear about a COVID vaccine to project it was actually being “politicized” by President Trump.
Stephanopoulos openly floated the left’s anti-science conspiracy that President Trump was somehow involved in compromising the safety of the vaccine.
Marsh offered no proof that Trump wasn't interfering in the vaccine development process, and she censored the fact that he promised a vaccine by Election Day.
Nicholas Fondacaro did much the same thing in a post the same day, with additional lying about what Harris has actually said:
In recent days, the liberal media have dedicated a lot of effort into stoking fear the coronavirus vaccines being developed by multiple pharmaceutical companies under the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed, which put the full weight of the U.S. government behind developing and distributing a safe and effective vaccine. Of course, they were taking their cues from the Biden campaign and Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), who said last week she “would not trust” a vaccine developed under President Trump.
But during a taped interview withCBS Evening Newsanchor Norah O’Donnell, which aired Thursday evening, Moderna president Dr. Stephen Hoge shot down their coordinated fear-mongering by admitting he was NOT feeling political pressure.
Now, despite Hoge’s admission of feeling no political pressure from the White House, the liberal media will likely still stoke fear of the vaccine and blame Trump for polls showing a lack of trust in the vaccine.
No, Nick, Harris did not say she "would not trust" a vaccine developed under President Trump; she said that she would trust it if someone more credible were vouching for it. But then, we know Fondacaro is a documented liar.
MRC Censors The Fact Trump Won't Commit To Accepting Election Results Topic: Media Research Center
Back In April, NewsBusters blogger Mark Finkelstein complained:
Today's Morning Joe came close to accusing President Trump of plotting a coup d'etat to remain in office if he loses the election in November.
The President has been openly critical of the loosened vote-by-mail measures that Democrats have proposed, suggesting that vote-by-mail facilitates voter fraud. Since the individual states control voting rules, many states are likely to adopt such measures in time for the November election.
Joe Scarborough suggested to John Heilemann that Trump's criticism of vote-by-mail indicates that he is "preparing already to undermine any results that may be unfavorable to him in the fall."
Heilemann not only agreed, but took it a stunning step further: "If he loses the election, he will stand up and say, 'This election was rife with fraud. We had way too much vote by mail.' I guarantee you that President Trump is thinking already about trying to build that predicate so that he can dispute the result of the election on this basis."
So Heilemann can "guarantee" that President Trump is thinking of ways to refuse to accept an election loss! Amazing powers of mind-reading. Also, an exceptionally insidious accusation against the president.
Heilemann's prediction has largely unfolded exactly as he said -- Trump has repeatedlyrefused to state that he will accept the results of the election, and Republicans are indeedpreparing to contest the election if Trump loses. Yet the MRC has regularly dismissed the idea that Trump won't accept an election loss as a conspiracy theory.
Clay Waters complained in May that a New York Times reporter was filled dwith "anti-Trmp paranoia" when he raised the possibility that Trump will reject the election results. Another Waters post listed the idea that Trump won't acceptthe result as among "feverish conspiracy theories" the Times allegedly holds, then played whataboutism by claiming that "Democrats have been trying to discredit the 2016 results from Day One."
That whataboutism was common. In a July post, Kristine Marsh grumbled about CNN host Alisyn Camerota leading a panel discussion about Trump: "During this show she also floated left-wing conspiracies that President Trump will refuse to leave office, asking, 'Show of hands, how many people that President Trump may not accept the election results?' Show of hands, how many journalists at CNN haven't accepted the 2016 results?"
Also in July, Duncan Schroeder asserted that CNN host Jim Sciutto went "into tin-foil hat territory" by "fearmongering about Trump not accepting the election results," then played the whataboutism card again: "Sciutto and his fellow Democrats have yet to “accept the results” of the 2016 election and attack Trump still."
None of these posts admitted that Trump has refused to say whether he will accept the election results if he loses. Nor have any of these posts been corrected to reflect that fact.
It's as if the MRC is the media arm of the Trump campaign and won't admit to any negative news about him.
Posted by Terry K.
at 9:07 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 23, 2020 9:28 PM EDT
Trump Stenographers: MRC Denies Biden Is a Moderate Topic: Media Research Center
It'sindisputablethat the Media Research Center is the media arm of the Trump campaign and, thus, its aggressively biased "media reserarch" can't be trusted. One of the many ways it has performed this service is by attacking anyone who delcares Joe Biden to be a moderate -- because from its right-wing pro-Trump perspective, there are no moderates, and anyone even slightly more liberal than them is without question a far-left extremist of some kind.
Mark Finkelstein, for instance, complained in a July 17 post:
If the Democrats nominated Karl Marx, they'd describe him as a "moderate Marxist" . . .
It's SOP for the Democrats and the liberal media: they invariably try to peddle their presidential candidates as "moderates" or "centrists."
But on today'sMorning Joe, MSNBC's John Heilemann took things an absurd step further, actually describing Biden as "culturally conservative." That, of course, is baldfaced balderdash.
Finkelstein went on to present as evidence of Biden's purported extremism the ratings of him from various political interest groups, which gave him either 100% or 90% depending on their political persuasion. But such ratings are dubious as an objective method for evaluating politicians, since they're usuallybased on roll call votes on selected issues, not a politician's entire record.
A July 21 post by Duncan Schroeder huffed: "The idea of Biden being a moderate is a joke. Biden just created his policy platform with the help of far-left, communism-loving Bernie Sanders. Sanders even said that Biden might be the 'most progressive president since FDR.' Among many radical proposals, Biden plans to spend $2 trillion on fighting climate change, transition all Americans to electric cars by 2035, and to raise taxes by $4 trillion. Biden also said that the police have 'become the enemy.'"
Schroeder repeated his attack in an Aug. 6 post, smearing media people making the claim as "propaganists" (as if Schroeder isn't one himself).
Bill D'Agostino devoted an entire Aug. 10 post to ranting against the idea:
TV journalists have insisted throughout the 2020 election cycle that Democratic Presidential hopeful Joe Biden represents the “moderate,” “centrist” wing of his party, with some even worrying that his agenda might be too far to the right for his party’s progressive base to stomach. Yet not even Biden himself agrees with that lame spin, having promised his administration would be among the “most progressive” in “American history.”
Considering Biden’s platform is indeed more “progressive” than that of any Democratic nominee in history, it is deceitful for the media to mislead audiences into believing he is a “centrist” or a “moderate.”
An Aug. 11 post by Scott Whitlock spread the attack to Biden's running mate, Kamala Harris, citing a dubious interest group score, "Kamala Harris is the most liberal vice presidential nominee to ever be nominated. Her lifetime American Conservative Union Score (meaning the number of times she voted with conservatives as a Senator) is 3.03. In 2019 it was 0." Nicholas Fondacaro joined in the same day, ranting that "the liberal media will flood the zone with lies about who Harris was and what she has supported in the past in order to protect their 2020 presidential ticket," though "her radical policy positions were exposed" during CNN town halls.
Michael Dellano declared that the Biden-Harris ticket "is, in fact, a radical-left ticket. ... The leftist media wants Americans to think that Harris is a moderate, because her actual policy perspectives are not very palatable." He ranted the next day: "Every major media outlet have pushed this lie that Harris is some sort of moderate, when it has been widely known that she has supported far left policies. Some metrics stated that Harris is more radical than self-proclaimed socialist Senator Bernie Sanders." Kyel Drennen harrumphed that one commentator "kept pushing the lie that the leftist presidential ticket was just a couple of moderates."
Kristine Marsh grumbled on Aug. 19: "Despite ample evidence from the candidate’s own mouth that he has embraced the radical-left wing of the Democrat party [sic], CNN’s New Day tried to make the case Wednesday that Biden was someone who 'crosses the aisle.'"
A month later, Alex Christy was still pushing this same narrative: "Considering Biden's allies have also hyped the possibility of him being the most progressive president since Franklin Roosevelt, maybe the idea that he's 'more of a moderate' is badly sliced baloney."
As is the MRC's determination to do anti-Biden messaging on behalf of Trump. It's "media research" is a sham, in no small part because it has put advancing political narratives ahead of reporting facts, and it devises metrics designed to do exactly that (witness its bogus "evaluative statements" metric to measure "bias," an entirely subjective concept, and its refusal to make its raw data public). The MRC's depiction of Biden's political views as "extreme" or "radical" are not based on objective fact -- they're opinions based on, again, it being so far right that anything that is not also far right must be attacked as "far left" or extreme.
Again, keep in mind that the MRC is an arm of the Trump campaign -- which should be the lens through which everyone views what comes out of there right now -- and its deliberate dishonesty and spin makes sense.
MRC Tries To Invent Another Biden 'Scandal' Topic: Media Research Center
Nicholas Fondacaro is such a loyal, obedient Trump-bot and Bozellbot that he's desperately trying to manufacture "scandals" to hang on Joe Biden. Last we checked in on this, he was ranting that Jill Biden leaving her first husband (whom she had married at age 18) to be with Joe Biden was a massive "scandal" that demanded wall-to-wall coverage -- never mind that he finds no scandal in Trump being on his third wife and paying hush money to porn stars.
Fondacaro believed he had another gotcha winner in an Aug. 23 post:
For at least the second time in two months, Democratic nominee Joe Biden used a quote made famous by communist leader Mao Tse-tung when it came to women. Calling it simply an “old expression,” Biden got away with quoting the communist monster (who killed millions of people) because his interviewer, ABC’s Robin Roberts refused to call out, push back, or question her candidate as to why he was doing it.
Biden’s quotation of the communist butcher came when explaining why he chose Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) to be his running mate.
Fondacaro clearly can't object to the sentiment of the statement, so he must raise a ruckus about its supposed source and play politics because it involves Mao, whom he mnakes sure to call a "communist butcher" who "killed millions of his own people."
This is an echo of what the ConWeb did in 2010 when itfrothedover Obama White House adviser Anita Dunn referencing Mao in a speech, making sure to pull it out of context in the process.Needless to say, the MRC raged about it as well, ranting that it wasn't being covered toits satisfaction, then raging some more at Dunn's explanation that she was inspired by Republican strategist Lee Atwater to quote Mao, then took Dunn out of context in complaining further that the "old media" failed to cover the story sufficiently. The MRC reamins obsessed by this to this day; it published a Sept. 16 column by Walter Williams complaining that Dunn "said Mao was one of her heroes" (which, again, dishonestly takes her out of context).
In other words, the MRC ran this exact same playbook a decade ago against Obama, and it didn't work. Why does Fondacaro think it will work now?
MRC's Embellishes Google 'Blacklist' Narrative Topic: Media Research Center
The right-wing victimization campaign at the Media Research Center over social media's purported "censoring" of conservatives -- it that was really happening, would the MRC have to include right-wing extremists in their count? -- has been so intense that we forgot to point out the MRC's own attempt at claiming victimization. Corinne Weaver complained in a July 21 post:
Google users wouldn’t know that conservative websites like NewsBusters, The Daily Wire, and Breitbart exist if they consulted an organic search result on the platform today.
The company has seemingly blacklisted numerous conservative websites like NewsBusters, MRCTV, CNSNews, Free Beacon, Breitbart, The Resurgent, Twitchy, RedState, PJ Media, Judicial Watch, The Blaze, Townhall, Project Veritas, LifeNews, PragerU, and The Daily Wire. None of these websites show up in an organic search on Google. While more than 3.5 billion Google searches are performed per day, certain conservative news sites appear prohibited from appearing in the general results.
Mediaite reporter Charlie Nash noted that Google had “removed several conservative websites from search results.” These sites included RedState, Breitbart, Daily Caller, and Human Events.
Weaver is so dedicated to pushing the MRC's narrative that she censored the fact that Nash also noted some left-leaning sites were also suffereing the same Google search issues.
But since she's paid to push a narrative and not tell the full truth, Weaver rushed straight to conspiracy mode, huffing that "It seems as if Google has a new blacklist from organic results." MRC chief Brent Bozell ranted on Twitter, "We want official answers now! Congress needs to demand that Google tell why they temporarily blacklisted conservative sites. We know why it happened. And it’s 100% unacceptable." Like his subordinate, Bozell too censored the fact that left-leaning sites were also "blacklisted."
For all this conspiracy-mongering, the actual cause appears to have been much more benign: a technical error. But again, narrative trumps facts at the MRC; Alexander Hall dismissed the cause as "Lame!": "Talk about living down to expectations. Google gave a measly mea culpa after several conservative websites were delisted from its general search and appeared to have been blacklisted."
Hall went on to mislead his readers by claiming that "Liberal sites such as Newsweek, The Daily Beast, The Washington Post, HuffPost, and Teen Vogue, had no issue. Their websites showed up on Google organic search." As noted above, left-leaning sites were affected; Hall just cherry-picked ones that weren't. Hall also dug up another disgruntled ex-Google employee to push the conspiracy narrative:
Google may have a 'secret blacklist' of conservative news outlets, former Google engineer Mike Wacker claimed.
He suggested to Mediaite, “It appears to have revealed the existence of another blacklist that disproportionately targets conservatives.”
Wacker speculated: “The glitch is that sites on this blacklist disappeared from Google search results, but the existence of the list is very much by design. And that raises a major question: Why was this blacklist created in the first place, and what else is it used for?”
There's apparenly good reason why Wacker -- like James Damore, Kevin Cernekee and Zachary Vorhies before him -- are former Google employees: it seems he was aggressively pushing his right-wing views at work. A statement from Google, as reported by Fox Business, stated that Wacker had been given multiple warnings “related to a pattern of threatening communications to co-workers and managers” which eventually led to his dismissal.
But, again, who needs facts when there's a narrative to push? A few days later, the MRC's "Free Speech Alliance" -- which cares only about "free speech" for right-wing ideologues -- sent a ranty letter baselessly accusing Google of lying: "This past Wednesday July 21, several conservative media platforms, including four of Media Research Center’s (MRC) major sites, were removed from Google’s search results. Google’s official response was that this was the result of a technical glitch. We don’t believe you. We believe Google is lying yet again. It's the same old game. ... You need to answer for this."
Needless to say, the letter completely censored the fact that the glitch also blocked left-leaning sites.
Bozell kept up the conspiracy-mongering and unproven accusations against Google in a July 28 column published not at his own operation but, rather, at the right-wing Daily Caller: "This past week, Google knocked more than a dozen prominent conservative sites off of its main search. The company claimed it had been a 'technical error,' not that anyone believes it. Former Google engineer Mike Wacker wondered if the company had a 'secret blacklist' of conservative sites." Again, no mention that left-leaning sites were also affected.
Bozell's accusations because more grandiose in a July 29 statement, in which he asserted that "Last week, the entire universe of conservative media vanished from Google’s search results in the blink of an eye." But the original post by Weaver linked in the statement never claimed that "the entire universe of conservative media vanished" -- only randomly checked right-wing websites like those run by Bozell.
Since the timing of this "blacklisting" coincided with a congressional hearing at which Google CEO Sundar Pichai would be present, the MRC made sure to exploit the situation with a "demand" for answers about this, in the form of a question Republicans could ask him -- which ultimately argued that Google should be broken up:
Mr. Pichai, Google inexplicably shut down the general search for at least 15 prominent conservative sites. Then those searches magically reappeared. How does something like that happen? Even if it’s just a technical error, as Google claimed, why does any company have that incredible amount of power, and why should U.S. regulations facilitate it? Isn’t your company simply too big, and doesn’t it need to be broken up?
(Note to Bozell: "at least 15" does not equal "the entire universe.")
As you can see, the MRC has continued to embellish its "blacklist" narrative until it largely strayed from established facts. That's what happens when narratives are more important than facts.
Oh, and shortly after all this drama played out, it was revealed that a bug in Instagram's algorithm systemically shielded Donald Trump from negative hashtags without doing the same for rival Joe Biden. The MRC said nothing about this, let alone attack the explantion as a lie. Narrative before facts, remember?
MRC's Graham Bizarrely Imagines CNN's Stelter Has A 'Head Wound' Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Tim Graham has a clear case of Brian Stelter Derangement Syndrome, as demonstrated by his rantings about Stelter's new book on Fox News that are heavy on personal attacks and light on critical analysis. Graham took that to another level in an Aug. 31 post:
If something demonstrates the hilarity of Brian Stelter’s CNN hootenanny – bizarrely titled Reliable Sources -- it’s airing a seven-minute segment insisting President Trump is a fascist like Adolf Hitler, and at the end, asking the question “How can fact-checkers break through at this point?” Exactly.
Down in the Stelter Fallout Shelter, America is forever on the brink of an American Holocaust, or at least until the Democrats are back in the White House. His most ridiculous guest on Sunday was Yale professor Jason Stanley, a Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren donor.
As per usual, there's no attempt at analysis of Stanley's claims, only outrage that they were made and sniping at Stelter for having Stanley as a guest.
But the bizarre thing is the headline Graham put on his post: "Stelter's Reliable Head Wound." What does that even mean? There's no reference to head wounds anywhere in his piece. Is Graham saying that Stelter's purported liberalism is the result of a head injury of some kind?
Graham concluded his piece by ranting: "Dear Brian: Do NOT try to tell us CNN presents 'Facts First.' This is, plain and simple, a smear." Apparently, only Graham is allowed to smear people with bizarre accusations of head injuries.
Is Kyle Rittenhouse's Lawyer the MRC's Own Michael Avenatti? Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center just loved to spew outrage at Michael Avenatti, onetime lawyer for Stormy Daniels, the porn star to whom President Trump paid hush money to cover up their alleged affair, for doing a lot of TV, and it cheered when he got in trouble with other extralegal shenanigans, while still complaining that his misdeeds didn't get the media coverage it demanded.
But do right-wingers have their own Avenatti? Nicholas Fondacaro harrumphed dramatically in a Sept. 1 post:
With the liberal media claiming 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse was a “murderer” who shot “unarmed” “protesters” in a supposed rampage through Kenosha, Wisconsin last Tuesday, someone had to set the record straight. And in a Monday appearance on Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson Tonight, Rittenhouse’s lawyer, John Pierce blew up their lies and smears with evidence backed up by a New York Times visual investigation” and with video widely accessible online.
Making the case for how “this is 100 percent self-defense,” Pierce started where many on the liberal media vaguely reference: how his client was running for his life from a mob of leftist radicals who wanted to kill him, before any shots were fired.
After noting that Rittenhouse had helped to clean up graffiti earlier in the day and was asked to help protect a local business (and was not part of militia as the media initially lied about), Pierce detailed how a moving of the police line left his client stranded and subject the villainous hands of the rioters:
As the segment came to a close, both Carlson and Pierce sat dumbfounded as to why Rittenhouse was charged with a crime while the rioters destroying the city were getting off Scot-free. Both of them deduced that what was happening to the country was “sickening.”
But Fondacaro has censored the fact that Pierce has his own legal problems. The Daily Beast reported that Pierce and the law firm he founded "are mired in millions of dollars of debt, while a payday-lender-style loan to cover his own expenses prompted him to take a leave of absence. As Pierce’s firm totters around him, he appears to be using Rittenhouse’s legal defense to give himself a new persona as a trash-talking, right-wing firebrand." At the same time, according to the Beast, "Pierce began to behave erratically toward his ex-wife, according to records of text messages filed in a Los Angeles child-custody case. In those messages, Pierce allegedly made references to the Apocalypse" and "allegedly taunted his ex-wife over politics."
His record raised the possibility that the money Pierce was soliciting for Rittenhouse's defense through his #FightBack Foundation might be misused. Pierce has since resigned from the defense fund.
A co-founder of that fund is L. Lin Wood, the QAnon-sympathetic lawyer for Nick Sandmann, on whose behalf he filed numerous nuisance lawsuits against media outlets for needlessly huge damages, for which the MRC joined Wood in touting settlements with the outlets as victories even though it's entirely likely that the confidential settlements gained them little more than a token amount to go away.
Fondacaro is demonstrating the old MRC double standard of holding media outlets to standards it has no intention of following for itself.
MRC Cheers Sports Operation Run By Right-Wing Woman-Hater Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's favorite sports website is the right-wing Outkick the Coverage, now known just as Outkick. In June, Matt Philbin cheered how commentator Jason Whitlock moved there from Fox Sports (how far-right do you have to be to think that a Fox-run operation is not conservative enough for you?) and touted how "Whitlock and partners Clay Travis and Sam Savage want to turn "Outkick.com into a powerful media platform, a national distiller of truth, humor and fun." In july, the mysterious Jay Maxson promoted Whitlock declaring that "LeBron James and Colin Kaepernick are 'useful idiots,' a reference to Vladimir Lenin's strategy of spreading communist propaganda through uninformed people who don't fully comprehend the agenda."
The MRC loves Outkick cofounder Clay Travis as well. for example, in 2016, then-sports blogger Dylan Gwinn gushed at how Travis "let the knowledge bombs fall" in a defense of police, and and Maxson wrote in 2017 on how Travis declared that Colin Kaepernick "gets a ton of press only because left-wing media are using him to advance their own political beliefs."
When the Washington Post did a profile of Travis and Outkick that was not sufficiently laudatory, the MRC rushed to their defense with not one but two posts by Philbin. In the first, he got mad that the Post pointed out Travis' polarizing right-wing political views, and the second was devoted to rehashing Travis' own attack on the Post "hit piece."
The MRC, however, is not going to tell you about Travis' sleazy past. As Media Matters documented:
In 2008, Travis -- credited alongside “the deadly hippos” -- wrote Man: The Book, an effort at “satire” that instructed men to “Be A Man” and includes in the Amazon description, “If it gets you into bed with a girl, it isn’t a lie.”
In the “satirical” book, Travis instructs men to go to hospitals to hit on rape victims, “dash” a woman’s head “on the fireplace,” refer to a wife or girlfriend as a “cockmitten,” murder a woman’s cat in front of her and feed it to your dog, and says, “If you remember nothing else from this book, make this phrase your credo: All women are sluts.”
In May, Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James reported that a racial slur had been spray-painted on his Los Angeles home, reporting the incident to the Los Angeles Police Department with a photograph of the vandalism. Travis alleged that James, one of the highest-paid athletes in the world, staged the incident in order to build up goodwill prior to the 2017 NBA finals.
So Travis is not just a woman-hater, he's a bit racist too. This is who the MRC thinks is a credible conservative to promote.
NEW ARTICLE: Loving The Fringe To Own the Libs Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center embraces and mainstreams crazy conspiracy theories like QAnon and extremist candidates because they can be shoehorned into its pet narrative of social media conspiring against conservatives. Read more >>