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Friday, April 28, 2017
MRC Bashes Anyone Attacking Ivanka Trump ... Except Fox News
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center started off the week in full Ivanka Trump defense mode:

Nicholas Fondacaro complained that media outlets "hype[d]" -- read: reported on -- Ivanka getting booed during an appearance in Germany, further whining: They had the option to simply note the heckling and move on to what else she said about women in business. But they chose to hyper-focus on the most sensational and inconsequential moment."

Dawn Slusher grumbled about an Ivanka joke on the new TV show "Great News," huffing that "the left" would never do such a thing about Chelsea Clinton. "So much for children of presidents being off-limits," Slusher added, apparently unaware that Chelsea never worked in the White House as a senior presidential adviser to anyone, let alone her mother.

But when Fox News' Jesse Watters made the creepy comment that Ivanka was in Germany, "I really liked how she was speaking into that microphone," the MRC couldn't be moved to express any outrage. Indeed, it tok the MRC nearly two full days to respond -- and it sought to distract from the incident.

In an April 27 post, Kristine Marsh declared Watters' comment to be "offhanded" and "innocuous" and blamed the media for covering it:

That offhanded comment has thrown the media in a tailspin of ridiculous accusations of oral sex innuendo, riding on the heels of O’Reilly’s departure from the network.For example last night on CNN, host Don Lemon hosted a whole panel segment on the throw-away comment as if it were an actually newsworthy controversy. 


Watters explained shortly afterwards that the comment was about how Ivanka’s cadence reminded the panel of how smooth jazz radio hosts crooned, and was in no way a blow-job joke, as the media has spun it.

It’s no surprise that CNN would want to continue the Fox News sex scandal storyline as long as they can after O’Reilly and Ailes ousting. But to read something sexual in Watters’ comment is just plain grasping at straws.

Marsh offers no reason why we should take Watters' denial of malicious sexual intent in his Ivanka comment at face value -- and she also didn't mention the hand gesture he made while saying it. (Nor did Marsh feel the need to embed a video clip of Watters' comment so we could judge for ourselves.)

Instead, Marsh rants about "faux-outrage from the left" and offered "small sampling of actually misogynistic comments made on-air by liberal tv hosts about Ivanka Trump" and others. Marsh labels a couple clips "incest joke about Trump and Ivanka," failing to mention that Donald Trump's own comments about his daughter invited such a response.

It seems that the MRC's Fox News-shaped blind spot is current coalescing into the shape of Jesse Watters. Is the guarantee of talking-head time on Fox worth all this hypocrisy?

Posted by Terry K. at 10:06 AM EDT
Thursday, April 27, 2017
MRC Bashes 'Girls' From Its Right-Wing Media Bubble
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center loves to indulge in the logical fallacy that a TV show that is not massively popular cannot possibly be very good. The latest is Sarah Stites, qwho spends her April 18 post bashing the TV show "Girls" upon the end of that series:

The media love to analyze Girls. Somehow, despite its low viewership, Lena Dunham’s raunchy show about four millennial women finding their way in New York City captured the fancy of the journalistic world – from Jezebel to the New York Times. Now, in the wake of the final episode, writers and critics are “mourning the end of an era” with the loss of the “influential” HBO series.

But, amidst all the ruminations on the show’s legacy, no one is asking: what does the journalist-hype for Girls say about the media?


The final season’s debut was watched by only 519,000 viewers, Hibbard noted, with a poor Nielsen rating of .2 among adults ages 18-49.

But the writers who loved it, really loved it. And even if they didn’t love it, they wrote extensively about it. In other words, ratings didn’t seem to mean much.


The media has promoted the idea that Girls is a reflection of our culture today. In reality, it’s more a reflection of a distinct segment of society: the bubble of liberal, feminist writers.

“I'm sure there are people who watched this show who didn't see a reflection of them or their lifestyle,” HBO CEO Richard Plepler conceded, “but there were millions and millions of people who did.”

What kind of people? The young, New York-based writers working for feminist outlets? The liberal journalists immersed in the progressive culture Girls promotes? 

Of course, Stites would never admit that she's bashing "Girls" from her own bubble: that of right-wing activist media critics.

She would never admit that films that pleased people like Stites and her MRC co-workers for conforming to their political agenda -- such as "For Greater Glory," "13 Hours" and the "Ben-Hur" remake -- were low-quality films because they were box-office failures. To the contrary: they would somehow blame the "liberal media" for the films' failures. Heck, the MRC never even admitted that the films were unpopular.

That bubble is just as real as the one Stites accuses the "liberal, feminist writers" of being in.

Stites makes her contempt for "Girls" more than clear:

Let’s be clear. Girls normalized avoidable messiness. It promoted free sex and wild living. It encouraged irresponsibility by suggesting that it’s just a phase, instead of encouraging young women to strive for better.

So to Girls I say: good riddance.

Let's be clear: Just because Stites didn't like the plot doesn't mean it's a bad show or an artistic failure.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:24 AM EDT
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
MRC Suggests Birth Control Is Eugenics
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Sarah Stites devotes an April 19 post to complaining that the National Geographic channel is producing a documentary about birth control.Despite the program still being in production -- meaning she can't possibly have seen it yet -- Stites was quick to assert that "a biased perspective is likely" from the documentary.

One of the people to be featured, Stites writes, is "Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, a noted advocate of eugenics."

Huh? Is Stites suggesting that birth control is a form of eugenics? She provides no other reason from mentioning that otherwise-irrelevant claim. While the MRC loves to lie about Sanger, she was an advocate of eugenics, though Stites conveniently omits the fact that it was a popular view in America during her early lifetime.

To equate birth contol with eugenics, as Stites is apparently doing, is malicious and counterhistorical since nobody is forcing women to take it. Is that the standard at the MRC these days?

Posted by Terry K. at 2:00 PM EDT
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
MRC Tries to Spin Away Dem Nearly Winning Seat In GOP Congressional District
Topic: Media Research Center

Jon Ossoff came very close to winning a majority of the vote in a multi-candidate race for the seat in Georgia's 6th Congressional District formerly held by Rep. Tom Price, now President Trump's Health and Human Services secretary. But the Media Research Center wants to make sure it's perceived by its right-wing readership as nothing more than a loss.

Kristine Marsh complained that ABC "used the race’s closeness as a reason to bash Trump while political analyst John Avlon spun that Democrats had 'an emotional victory.'" Marsh added: "Ironically, the ABC chyron was more accurate than what was actually said during the report. It read: 'Democrat fails to win after Trump endorsement.'" But Trump didn't endorse any of the 11 GOP candidates; he merely encouraged Republicans to vot and attacck Ossoff.

Kyle Drennen huffed: "Despite acknowledging that the media’s chosen candidate in Georgia’s special congressional election on Tuesday, Democrat Jon Ossoff, had fallen short of the 50% threshold necessary to avoid a runoff, on Wednesday, NBC’s Today touted the failed liberal effort as a near win that would send an 'ominous sign' to Republicans."

Scott Whitlock grumbled that MSNBC "hyp[ed] John Ossoff’s failed effort to win outright against 11 Republicans" and "have been doing their best to salvage the non-win." LIke the MRC isn't doing its best to salvage the near-loss.

Drennen then promoted White House press secretary Sean Spicer's spin on the race insisting that "They said on the record that their goal was to win this race. They lost. And the reaction has somewhat been, you know, that they almost won. No, they lost."

Randy Hall was also in propaganda mode, cheering a CNN appearance by Ossoff's runoff opponent, Republican Karen Handel. Hall put in boldface type Handel's assertion that Ossoff doesn't live in the district, but failed to mention that it's not a requirement that he do so and that numerous members of Congress don't live in the districts they represent.

Brad Wilmouth dissembled when CNN portrayed the district as solidly Republican: "While it is true that the seat could be accurately described as 'traditionally Republican' since there is a history of Republican presidential candidates performing well there through 2012, districts can change, and it is at least debatable whether the district should still be considered 'deeply Republican.'"

Nicholas Fondacaro, meanwhile, fretted that "the Republican vote was dangerously split between 11 different candidates" and whined that "NBC embarrassed themselves the night of the election with how much they gushed over" Ossoff.

Clay Waters complained that Ossoff "may have failed to take advantage of glowing media coverage and huge out-of-state donations by falling short in a special election to fill a congressional seat," but the New York Times "hyped Ossoff optimism even after he failed to win on Tuesday." Waters made sure to add that Ossoff, "despite great publicity and enormous spending outlay failed to attain the 50% mark necessary to avoid a runoff."

Finally, apparently oblivious to the his own right-wing spin and that of his employer, Curtis Houck groused that USA Today "continued the liberal spin about the Georgia congressional special election" and called the race a "non-win" for Ossoff.

That's nine posts by eight different MRC writers to spin this race the way conservatives want it spun. Talk about an all-hands-on-deck effort.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:10 PM EDT
Monday, April 24, 2017
Hypocrisy At The MRC Over O'Reilly's Sexual Harassment
Topic: Media Research Center

Tim Graham and Brent Bozell begin their April 21 column this way:

Fox News took Bill O'Reilly off the air after a heavy campaign to fire him led by CNN's media unit and The New York Times. If all the charges of sexual harassment are true, his case is indefensible. That said, it's time for his media critics to stand down. They are guilty of rank hypocrisy.

Hold it right there. Two guys who couldn't be bothered to say anything publicly about the accusations against O'Reilly until Fox News had safely fired him -- and after Graham had appeared on the final episode of O'Reilly's old show, renamed "The Factor" after O'Reilly's official departure, where even then he couldn't be moved to say a word about O'Reilly -- are accusing others of hypocrisy? It's as if Bozell and Graham care more about ensuring they continue to appear on Fox News in the future than speaking truth to power.

Graham and Bozell go on to play the Clinton Equivocation card, complaining about a Times editorial that "noted that Hillary Clinton had told a New Hampshire town hall questioner a month earlier that Juanita Broaddrick's tale of rape was not to be believed." Well, that's not exactly what happened; the Times editorial did note that Clinton responded to a question about whether Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones should also be believed -- but added that "Mrs. Clinton’s response was odd, and unhelpful."

The two also fail to mention that there's a good reason why Broaddrick's accusation has believability issues: she spent nearly two decades denying that any rape had taken place.

Graham and Bozell huffed that the Times editorial was in service of bashing Trump as "sexist and beyond the pale" for bringing up old Clinton stuff -- but then, they went even harder on the Clinton Equivocation when tales of sexual harassment against Trump began to surface late in the 2016 campaign. Bozell whined that "you did not get as much coverage of Juanita Broaddrick as you got on Donald Trump in 48 hours."

That's hypocrisy.

Speaking of which, Graham and Bozell weren't done with their hypocritical ranting:

On April 2, 2017, the Times published a 3,148-word front-page article lamenting "O'Reilly Thrives as Settlements Add Up." Reporters Emily Steel and Michael Schmidt declared that their investigation found five women who received payouts from either O'Reilly or Fox "in exchange for agreeing to not pursue litigation or speak about their accusations against him. The agreements totaled about $13 million."

As they noted, the lion's share of that total came in a $9 million settlement from 2004. That was 13 years ago, but it didn't qualify as a "tired subject" or some "ancient scandal."

CNN relentlessly pushed for O'Reilly's dismissal, calling up advertisers and pressuring them to take commercials off their competition. Bashing O'Reilly dominated their Sunday show "Reliable Sources" for weeks and their "news" programming after their victory.

But two days after the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke in 1998, CNN aired a town hall meeting titled "Investigating the President: Media Madness?"


Back then, it was "media madness" to investigate whether then-President Bill Clinton might be assaulting women in the workplace — the Oval Office. There was zero concern about a "culture of abuse" inside the White House. For good measure, CNN moved on to specials attacking special prosecutor Ken Starr for prudishly investigating where CNN and the rest of the press never wanted to go.


Women deserve a workplace where men don't harass them for sex. But that's not what these sanctimonious liberal journalists care about. It just doesn't matter how brutal the alleged rape of Juanita Broaddrick was. What matters is that Bill O'Reilly had to go.

Bill Clinton is laughing.

Probably because he, like the rest of us, can see through the sanctimonious load of horsepuckey Graham and Bozell are serving up here.

Bozell and Graham have no problem with sexual harassment if a conservative or a Republican does it, and they cannot criticize a conservative's harassment on its own. They rant at length about Clinton's sex life at the slightest provocation, but they offer only a token one-word criticism about the terrible behavior of O'Reilly and Trump -- then rant about Clinton some more. Their outrage is driven by partisan politics, not by any sense of morality they claim to hold, which is why they give O'Reilly and Trump a pass. They're more mad that the media exposed O'Reilly's bad behavior than by the behavior itself.

And that is the biggest hypocrisy of all.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:37 PM EDT
Thursday, April 20, 2017
Why The MRC's New Study of 'Negative' Trump Coverage Is Bogus
Topic: Media Research Center

Last month, the Media Research Center put out a so-called study claiming that the "liberal media" (read: just the evening news on CBS, NBC and ABC) was overwhelmingly negative toward President Trump.

Well, Rich Noyes and Mike Ciandella have apparently updated that study, and its predictable results (the MRC wouldn't be touting if it didn't conform to its agenda) making the right-wing rounds once again:

As President Trump approaches the end of his first 100 days in office, he has received by far the most hostile press treatment of any incoming American president, with the broadcast networks punishing him with coverage that has been 89% negative. The networks largely ignored important national priorities such as jobs and the fight against ISIS, in favor of a news agenda that has been dominated by anti-Trump controversies and which closely matches what would be expected from an opposition party.

Unusual for an MRC study, the MRC prominently touts what it claims to be a methodology for its study:

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

Using these criteria, MRC analysts tallied 1,687 evaluative statements about the Trump administration, of which 1,501 (89%) were negative vs. a mere 186 (11%) which were positive.

This prominently stated methodology, however, can't hide the fact that it's not a valid one. "negative" and "positive" are subjective values, and thus, difficult to quantify for the purposes of objective research. Given, for example,  the MRC's propensity to label anything and everything as "far left," its sense of value judgment in research probably shouldn't be trusted.

The study also fails to account for negative news reported objectively in its methodology. That means a negative story about Trump is classified as "negative" even if it was reported accurately and without bias. There's also no comprehensive list of evaluated statements, so less subjective observers can evaluate their work.

Finally, the MRC offers no baseline from which to judge the relative purported "liberal bias" of the networks. The MRC would never subject the Trump-fluffers at Fox News to such a study -- in addition to not wanting to jeopardize future appearances on Fox News and Fox Business by MRC talking heads, the fact is that even conservative-leaning researcher Robert Lichter admits Fox News' coverage of Trump has skewed negative.

Indeed, MRC chief Brent Bozell has already appeared on Fox Business to promote the study, where he ludicrously ranted that "This is not a press that has any interest in objective truth." So the guy whose organization effectively denied the existence of objective truth in order to protect Trump from his continual stream of lies is now passing judgment on the media for refusing to be as sycophantic toward Trump as he demands them to be?

Trump and the MRC really are in this together, given the fact that both have benefited from the largesse of right-wing philanthropist Robert Mercer and his family (Mercer's daughter Rebekah is on the MRC board of directors).

Bozell and the MRC are in working-the-refs mode here -- they simply don't want any negative coverage of their boy Trump.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:59 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, April 20, 2017 11:31 PM EDT
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
MRC Won't Tell Readers How Reporter Who Exposed Trump Won His Pulitzer
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Curtis Houck rants in an April 12 post:

Speaking to a packed audience at Washington’s The Newseum, Washington Post reporter and new Pulitzer Prize winner David Fahrenthold proclaimed that the Trump era has yielded “a time of extraordinary power for the media in Washington and that — I mean that, power.”


With some laughter, Fahrenthold got serious as he touted the media’s “extraordinary power” that miraculously appeared starting on November 9. He fretted about Trump supporters who would be speaking later at the event, noting that they “have called us fake news or the enemy of the people.”

“We actually — the truth is we live in a time when the folks in power — the folks with power in Washington often lack the cohesion, the ability, the organization to shape the narrative about themselves. Usually, one of the dynamics we deal with in Washington is that a presidential administration sort of acting as a unit to shape the way the public sees them,” he added.

Translation? The media now has the power to destroy you if you stand in their way or don’t fit their narrative. With journalism largely on a hiatus the last four years, the profession has found new energy since their pals in the Democratic Party lost the chance to stay in the White House.

Curiously, Houck never mentions how Fahrenthold won his Pulitzer: for exposing Donald Trump's failure to follow up on his charitable giving promises until those broken promises were reported, as well as the self-dealing of his family charity. It's as if Houck is a little jealous of the attention.

That's a bit of misplaced pettiness, given that even the MRC found little to criticize in Fahrenthold's reporting on Trump. When mentioned at all, it was usually only in passing, according to a search of the NewsBusters archive. If the MRC couldn't find anything to attack Fahrenthold on, his reporting must have been especially solid.

Also, Houck's interpretation of Fahrenthold's remarks as claiming that "the media now has the power to destroy you if you stand in their way or don’t fit their narrative" is rather rich, given how the MRC uses its power to try and destroy all liberals they despise and even any conservative who fails to toe right-wing or pro-Trump orthodoxy.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:35 PM EDT
Monday, April 17, 2017
MRC on Spicer's Hitler Gaffe: He Apologized, Quit Talking About It!
Topic: Media Research Center

The unenthusiasm with which the Media Research Center greeted the subject of White House press secretary Sean Spicer trying to argue that Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad was worse than Hitler was demonstrated by its first post about it, by Curtis Houck -- which focused on a typo in The Hill that was corrected 20 minutes after it was originally posted.

In other words: deflect and distract.

Nicholas Fondacaro followed with a post complaining about the coverage of Spicer's comments, not about the content of what Spicer said:

Tuesday was an, unfortunately, embarrassing day for White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, after he made a self-admitted “blunder” while trying to compare Syria’s Bashar al-Assad to Adolf Hitler. Spicer claimed that not even Hitler used chemical weapons on his own people, even though he did during the Holocaust. In response, all three of the liberal Big Three networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) lead their evening programming with the gaffe. But CBS got bizarrely personal by mocking him directly and even questioning his intelligence.

In other words: Spicer apologized, so why is everybody criticizing him?

Fondacaro followed that with another post in which he conceded Spicer made a "historical gaffe" but also suggested that NBC reporter Katy Tur not being on top of every right-wing anti-Obama obsession was a blunder akin to Spicer's, huffing: "Tur getting on Spicer’s case in regards to “stepping in it” when it comes to history, is sort of like when serial liar Brian Williams chastised the White House for creating an 'alternative universe.' It brings to mind the old saying that 'people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.'"

Kristine Marsh downgraded Spicer's remarks to a "Hitler blunder" while attacking a reporter for discussing it.

Scott Whitlock, meanwhile, was angry that Spicer was still being discussed the next day even though the guy apologized:

Sean Spicer’s Hitler gaffe on Tuesday was dumb and embarrassing, something he’s since admitted. Yet, that wasn’t enough for the journalists on Wednesday's CBS This Morning. They hyped attacks from an organization that smeared the White House press secretary, calling him a “Holocaust denier.” The Anne Frank Center, which famed lawyer Alan Dershowitz has derided as “tiny” and "phony,” also called for Spicer to be fired. This neatly ties in with what Nancy Pelosi is demanding. Of course, CBS also touted her remarks.


Now, does it seem more likely that Sean Spicer is a Holocaust denier or that he simply fumbled for an ill-conceived analogy?

Would the MRC give the same pass to a liberal who made an "ill-conceived analogy"? Doubtful.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:59 PM EDT
Saturday, April 15, 2017
MRC Heathers More Anti-Trump Conservatives
Topic: Media Research Center

It's not just Jennifer Rubin: It seems that any conservative who dares to be critical of Donald Trump has earned the opportunity to be Heathered by the Media Research Center.

One of those is Wisconsin radio host Charlie Sykes. Years ago, the MRC came to Sykes' defense after another radio host made a nasty remark about the death of Sykes' mother in a house fire. Back when the MRC was anti-Trump in early 2016, it noted that Sykes conducted a tough interview with Trump.

But the MRC flip-flopped and boarded the Trump train, while Sykes didn't. Cue the Heathering.

In a Feb. 8 post, Curtis Houck called Sykes a "former conservative host" and complained that he appeared on MSNBC "to lambaste conservative media (like the one you’re reading) for being why no one trusts mainstream media in the age of Trump and alternative facts" and launched "an exclusive attack on conservatives for supposedly enabling President Trump to offer misstatements without consequences." Houck also complained that Sykes wrote a piece on the subject for the New York Times, which "sent liberals swooning."

Houck doesn't refute anything Sykes wrote or said; instead, he whines that Sykes had purportedly "fail[ed] to realize that he’s joined an echo-chamber in which Manhattan elites sit around reading The New York Times and The New Yorker while watching The Daily Show," then lamely blamed the "mainstream media" for starting all of this: "If Sykes wants to blame conservatives for simply pointing out the faults of the mainstream media, perhaps he should instead emphasize that legacy media should think twice before concocting untrue narratives or going forward with stories without sufficient fact-checking."

Houck offered some backhanded praise for Sykes in a March 29 post, claiming that in another appearance on MSNBC he "took time away from being the token right-of-center guest who agrees with his liberal colleagues on everything to push back on these praises for Obama’s environment moves in the last eight years."

On April 5, Brad Wilmouth grumbled that Sykes "took aim at President Trump" over his actions in Syria.

Wilmouth further trashed Sykes in an April 9 post, calling him "an alleged conservative guest for the purpose of having him bolster the views of the liberal host rather than provide a contrarian point of view." This time, though, it was over Sykes' telling the truth about Milwaukee County sheriff and right-wing darling David Clarke, whom Sykes said was using his uniform as a prop to push his political ambitions while being AWOL from his day job.

Another conservative who has gotten the Heathering treatment from the MRC is libertarian P.J. O'Rourke, who earned the scorn of Nicholas Fondacaro in a March 15 post by nothing that Trump is "a giant toddler and there's nothing going around inside his head except, you know, when do I get to suck my thumb next?" Fondacaro complained that the "toddler" insult is "nothing original" and "low hanging fruit," and huffed: "It’s difficult to determine what’s worse: their raging disdain for the President of the United States or their utter lack of creatively [sic] in their jokes."

Posted by Terry K. at 10:27 AM EDT
Friday, April 14, 2017
MRC Bashes Anita Hill Yet Again
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's obsessive hatred for Anita Hill pops up yet again in an April 7 post by Scott Whitlock, in which he attacks the Washington Post for publishing an op-ed by Hill on the Bill O'Reilly sexual harassment scandal. Whitlock huffed that Hill is a "partisan" who "accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment and excused Bill Clinton’s actions."

Whitlock refers only obliquely to O'Reilly's scandal, keeping O'Reilly's name a full paragraph away from the words "sexual harassment."Instead, he nurses his employer's grudge, whining that "Hill’s outrage at sexual misconduct is rather selective. On September 28, 1998, she came to the defense of Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal." He then quoted his boss, Tim Graham ranting that Hill "comically pretended not to know that Lewinsky came up in a sexual harassment case brought by Paula Jones."

But Graham and Whitlock seem to have forgotten that Clinton was not being impeached over the Jones case but, rather, over his affair with Lewinsky.

Whitlock concluded by grumbling: "To recap Hill’s contention: Accusations against conservatives and Republicans warrant swift actions. Accusations against liberal Democrat Bill Clinton are no big deal. It’s no wonder why the Post turned to her for an op-ed on O’Reilly." Of course, the situation Whitlock reductively describes is the complete opposite for his employer -- which is why you've read virtually nothing about the O'Reilly scandal at the MRC.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:53 PM EDT
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
The Clinton Derangement Never Stops At The MRC
Topic: Media Research Center

Even though the election ended several months ago, the Media Research Center has a lingering case of Clinton Derangement Syndrome. Scott Whitlock whined in an April 5 MRC post:

What a difference a day makes. CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King on Wednesday grilled Ivanka Trump on being “complicit” in her father’s administration, one that many are “very afraid” of. This contrasts to the fawning interview with another first daughter, Chelsea Clinton, on Tuesday. For that, fan girl King gushed over the younger Clinton’s political prospects: “Are you running? Are you running? Are you running?”


The interview, nearly 15 minutes over three segments, gave King time to hammer that question over and over: “Can you give us an example of something you disagree with [your dad] on and that you think by speaking up to him it made him change his position or soften his position?”

Citing those mysterious “critics” again, King pushed the Trump administration as scary: “There are critics who are very worried and very afraid. Who are concerned about the direction that country is going in. And what do you say to those people?”

In contrast, Chelsea Clinton on Tuesday endured no such grilling. Her mom’s private e-mail server never came up. The Clinton Foundation and its sketchy donor base never came up. Instead, Charlie Rose breathlessly wondered, “The question everybody wants to know, how is your mother?” He added, “Do you think [your mom] will run for public office again?” 

The difference, of course, is that Ivanka is serving as a key adviser to her father, the president; Chelsea served no such role for her mother and was not expected to had Hillary won the presidency.

Whitlock's bosses, Brent Bozell and Tim Graham, expanded this fit of Clinton derangement into an entire column:

King channeled all the liberal outrage that Trump should be like a younger version of Hillary Clinton inside the White House, stopping everything that liberals don't like. She cited anonymous "critics" — i.e., the people she'd just spoken with down the hall at the water cooler — bemoaning her failure to foil the conservatives.


Now compare: The day before CBS launched into Trump, it offered a typically fawning interview to Chelsea Clinton. No one has ever asked Chelsea Dearest whether she was "complicit" in her father's sexual offenses, or "complicit" in her family's corrupt foundation, even though she's a vice chair. Put the emphasis on "vice."

Instead, America witnessed all the mandatory mewling over her wonderfulness. Will she run for president? King couldn't curb her enthusiasm. She said: "Is there anybody else in the Clinton household thinking about running? And by anybody, I mean you. You could take your book on the road while you're campaigning with 'Get Informed, Get Inspired, Get Going.' I feel like deja vu with your mom all over again. Are you running? Are you running? Are you running?"

Earth to CBS: The country just said no to a Clinton dynasty.

If "the country just said no to a Clinton dynasty,"w hy is the MRC insisting on obsessing about them still?

Posted by Terry K. at 3:59 PM EDT
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
MRC Splits on Trump Missile Attack on Syria
Topic: Media Research Center

We seem to have found the one thing where right-wing dissent on Trump is apparently permissible: President Trump's missile attack on Syria in retaliation for its gas attack on civilians.

The main part of the Media Research Center was in full rah-rah mode, offering implicit justification for Trump's actions:

  • Nicholas Fondacaro declared Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad to be a "war criminal" and  howled that the " dictator ... killed dozens and wounded hundreds more in a chemical weapon attack on his own people. Fondacaro also called Assad a "butcher."
  • Curtis Houck called the gas attack "one of the worst atrocities this generation has ever seen " and mocked the idea that Trump's missile atack was a distraction from the growing controversy over links between Trump aides and Russia.
  • Scott Whitlock huffed that Assad "brutally massacred over 70 of his own people" in the midst of mocking ABC's BarbaraWalters for having said nice things about Assad nearly a decade ago, when he was not involved in a brutal civil war.
  • Kristine Marsh insisted it was "absurd" for "The View" co-host Joy Behar to claim that if Presidenet Obama had done the same thing, Republicans would have tried to impeach him.

But the tone was much different at the MRC's "news" division, It reposted to its front page a 2014 item on James Madison noting that the president should use military force without prior authorization from Congress only "to repel sudden attacks" (yes, Madison gets a byline, continuing CNS' absurd insistence on giving bylines to dead people) and a 2013 column by CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey asserting that the president had no constitutional authority to launch military action in Syria when that president was Obama.

CNS also posted an April 10 column by the Cato Institute's Daniel Mitchell arguing that the U.S. shouldn't get involved in Syria and an April 11 column by Pat Buchanan making a similar anti-war argument.

So CNS is capable of being consistent on something after all, unlike, say, reporting on unemployment numbers.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:36 PM EDT
Who Is The MRC Gratuitiously Labeling 'Far-Left' Now?
Topic: Media Research Center

Media Research Center blogger Tom Blumer complains in a March 26 post:

Sadly, U.S. readers need to understand, and I daresay most don't, that reporters in Europe, including those for U.S.-based news outlets, routinely tag anyone who supports any form of border control — or, for that matter, advocates freer markets, or is prolife, or holds virtually any center-right view, i.e., what most people in the U.S. would consider "moderate" or "mainstream" — as "far-right." Meanwhile, the use of the term "far-left" is extraordinarily rare.

Blumer doesn't read his own website, does he?

As we've documented, the MRC is a leader in the gratuitous usage of "far-left," applying it to things that clearly are not (like the sports blog Deadspin). This fascination has continued in the past month since our previous compilation (with helpful added bolding):

  • Curtis Houck called MSNBC host Chris Matthews a "far-left pundit."
  • Houck also called Planned Parenthood a "far-left group."
  • Blumer himself ranted that Erica Groshen, head of the Bureau of Labor Statistics during the Obama administraiton, was a "far-left partisan." (In fact, the evidence to support Blumer's claim about Groshen is laughably scant.)
  • Brad Wilmouth declared Joy Reid to be a "far-left MSNBC host."
  • Blumer returned to complain about "far-left institutions of what used to be higher learning."
  • Houck claimed that David Cay Johnston is a "far-left journalist."
  • Blumer ranted that "decided to turn itself into a de facto online far-left, anti-Trump, political action platform."
  • James Powers called Les Leopold a "far left economic activist."
  • Wilmouth proclaimed Bill Maher to be a "far-left comedian."
  • Matt Norcross declared that Joshua Safran, creator and showrunner for the ABC show "Quantico,"  is a "far-left man."
  • Jay Maxson insisted that ESPN is "aligned with the Far Left."
  • Houck complained about the New York Times' alleged "Far-Left, Snarky Headlines Editorializing Against Trump."
  • Houck called Michelle Barnard a "far-left panelist."
  • MRC chief Brent Bozell ranted about the "far-left" media who are purportedly plotting to completely destroy Donald Trump’s administration.
  • Houck called Mother Jones a "far-left rag."
  • Wilmouth called Jeremy Scahill a "far-left journalist."
  • Houck called Phyllis Bennis a "far-left loon."
  • Norcross called Gabriel Sherman a "far-left New York magazine writer."

As we noted on our previous list, some of these people and things may legitimately be described as "far left," but most cannot be; they only look "far left" to people who are far on the right, like MRC employees and bloggers.

Blumer's rant over labeling was set off by Reuters calling France's Marine Le Pen a "far-right leader." Oddly, Blumer didn't dispute the labeling of Le Pen beyond his rant -- perhaps because there's plenty of evidence to back up the label.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:44 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 11, 2017 12:46 AM EDT
Sunday, April 9, 2017
MRC Tries to Defend Dubious Clinton-Uranium Link
Topic: Media Research Center

In a March 29 post, the Media Research Center's Nicholas Fondacaro tried to dismiss how President Trump's accusation that Russia paid off the Clintons in return for control of part of the uranium supply in the U.S. has been largely discredited:

But Pelley’s bold assertion is highly misleading. It wasn’t Hillary who was alleged to have been paid for the Uranium, it was her husband and the family foundation. And there was not one, but two credible sources who found those connections.

As many would remember, these assertions were brought up in the book Clinton Cash, which was written by Peter Schweizer.  One of his earlier books, Throw Them All Out, opened the nation’s eyes to how members of Congress take advantage of their insider knowledge and position to enrich themselves. The book was so successful that Congress was forced to pass bill limited that ability, even though they later removed it.

In addition to Schweizer, The New York Times spent considerable time looking into these claims and found them to be credible. The Times found that Uranium One’s chairman used an intermediary organization to donate $2.35 million to the Clinton Foundation “as the Russians gradually assumed control”[.]

Fondacaro omits two pertinent facts. First, the New York Times' report was based on Schweizer's claims. Second, Schweizer's book "Clinton Cash" was funded by a group called the Government Accountability Institute, which was headed by one Steve Bannon, who later joined the campaign of Hillary Clinton's opponent, Donald Trump, and is now a top aide to Trump in the White House.

Bannon's hands and cash on Schweizer's work should taint it just as much as the MRC loves to claim any accusation made about a Republican or conservative by a "liberal" group is similarly tainted.

Will Fondacaro or the MRC ever admit that? Not a chance.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:18 PM EDT
Saturday, April 8, 2017
MRC Mocks LGBT Youth As Victims of 'Indoctrination,' 'Stupid Trendiness'
Topic: Media Research Center

The anti-gay hate and condescension oozes from the Media Research Center's Matt Philbin in a March 31 post headlined "Study: 20% of Millennials Are LGBTQ; Indoctrination Wins! Or Not":

BREAKING: Younger people are more susceptible to stupid trendiness. That’s if you believe a new study from Harris Polling and GLAAD, the speech police for all things gay. The online survey of 2,037 purports to show that one in five millennials swims in the LGBTQ (and sometimes Y) alphabet soup.  Even more exciting, according to Logo’s Dan Avery, "more of this generation is comfortable identifying outside traditional binaries such as 'gay/straight' and 'man/woman.'"

As you might have suspected, the results aren’t exactly super-scientific, given the methodology can’t even provide a margin of error. But only a cynic doesn’t trust the veracity of all online interactions. (Sadly, the study doesn’t tell us how many nephews of deposed Nigerian oil ministers identify as gender-fluid, but we suspect fewer are checking the M/F box on the forms giving them access to your savings account.)


Of course, compared to the last generation, young people who identify as LGBTQ are twice as likely to garner unmerited attention, and those who are gender non-conforming are three times as likely to be celebrated as a courageous grievance group. So some movement of the numbers is to be expected, and it’s easy to see why Americans wildly overestimate the real percentage (3.8) of LGBTQ in their midst. But America is not yet the high school from Glee.

Philbin, interestingly, does not prove his contention that more youth identifying as LGBT is the result of "indoctrination" or "stupid trendiness." In fact, one could plausibly argue that Philbin's hatred of gays is itself the result of right-wing indoctrination and stupid trendiness.

And after quoting a GLAAD representative saying that "Though laws can be unwritten, hearts and minds in America have been changed for the better," Philbin sneered: "If you just threw up in your mouth a little, sorry."

It takes dedication to hate an entire class of people that completely -- indoctrination, if you will.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:37 AM EDT

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