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Saturday, November 28, 2015
MRC Is Now Mad Jeff Bezos Was Allowed To Appear On TV
Topic: Media Research Center

Jeffrey Meyer is apparently the Media Research Center's "researcher" in charge of being angry that an MRC enemy is allowed to be on TV. He's already gone off on Ted Koppel twice this week.

Now Meyer has found another person to be angry about appearing on TV. From Meyer's Nov. 24 NewsBusters post:

On Tuesday’s CBS This Morning, co-host Charlie Rose teed up liberal Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos to provide a free advertisement for his newspaper, calling it “the new paper of record” and a “bright light that helps shine light on all of our institutions in this country and the political process.”

Bezos, who has donated thousands of dollars to Democratic candidates over the years, refused to admit the Post’s liberal agenda and instead spun that the role of the paper is to make sure that the political institution in America “stays strong so that it can shine a light on all of these important players, especially in Washington.”

Meyer didn't mention that the segment he's obsessing over is part of a larger, 6-minute interview with Bezos that mostly focused on his rocket company (as if the giant rocket behind Bezos wasn't a clue to that) and which also included questions about Bezos' day job as the head of

If Meyer is so upset that Bezos "refused to admit the Post’s liberal agenda," he should be similarly demanding that his boss, Brent Bozell, admit the right-wing agenda of the MRC's "news" outlet,

Really, we see no reason for Meyer's posts on Bezos and Koppel to exist other than as petulant rants -- after all, the only thing he's really complaining about is that they appeared on TV, which means he, and the MRC, are effectively advocating censorship.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:25 AM EST
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
MRC: How Dare Anyone Say Nice Things About Ted Koppel!
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has decided that merely saying nice things about retired ABC newsman Ted Koppel is "liberal media bias." In the past week, it has devoted not one but two posts to the idea.

Jeffrey Meyer whines in a Nov. 19 NewsBusters post:

On Wednesday night’s Daily Show, host Trevor Noah gushed over veteran liberal ABC reporter Ted Koppel, proclaiming that there isn’t “anybody in the news who can arguably say they have had a more accomplished career than you have had.” 

The liberal Comedy Central host proclaimed that the name Ted Koppel “is synonymous with great journalism, and not just great TV personality but great journalism” and despite Koppel’s push back, Noah insisted “I'm very honest to say that. I'm very honest to say that.”

After Noah finished sucking up to Koppel he wondered if “there's still journalism in the news or is it personality driven?” and the ABC veteran eagerly returned the favor by praising the role liberal comedians like Trevor Noah have in supposedly acting as journalists by mixing news and humor:

When Koppel appeared on Stephen Colbert's CBS show a few days later, Meyer was once again on it:

On Monday's Late Show, liberal comedian Stephen Colbert heaped praise on liberal journalist Ted Koppel, who hosted ABC’s Nightline for 29 years, and called him “one of the most respected journalists of our time.” 

Colbert provided a fawning introduction of Koppel and touted how he “won eight Peabody awards, 11 Overseas Press Club awards 42 Emmys, you’ve been managing editor of the Discovery Channel, and news analyst for BBC America, a commentator right now on NPR.”

Rather than ask Koppel about the embarrassing decline of Nightline, the CBS comedian instead sympathetically asked “[a]s someone who is been in journalism for a long time, what do you think of the state of today's journalism? How is it doing? And please give your answer in the form of a list of 17 casts that look like world leaders.”

After Koppel explained that journalism is “so fragmented now, we have so much journalism” competing for “a tiny fragment of the audience” the veteran ABC reporter eagerly cheered how people like Colbert “end up doing more serious studies of serious subjects in a funny way than news people.”

Meyer offered no evidence that "Nightline" is suffering an "embarrassing decline." But he did make sure to brand Koppel and everyone involved in saying nice things about him as "liberal." So much for labeling bias.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:23 PM EST
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Bozell & Graham Whine About 'Christian Terrorism' Claims, Ignore Pastor Who Called For Execution of Gays
Topic: Media Research Center

In their Nov. 20 column, Tim Graham and Brent Bozell rant that "what is wholly unacceptable is any attempt to drag Christianity into a moral-equivalency game with radical Islam." They continue:

Then there are the feminists who love to make comparisons of Christianity and radical Islam by implying that Christians should be defined as abortion-clinic personnel killers. Late-term abortionist George Tiller was shot at his Lutheran church in 2009, and then you have to go back to Dr. Barnett Slepian being shot in his own home in 1998. How many tens of thousands have perished at the hands of Islamic radicals during that time frame?

Christians immediately condemned the killing of abortionists, evil as they are, as immoral. 

But Bozell (and, presumably, Graham as his ghostwriter) didn't condemn Tiller's death with any hint of enthusiasm -- it was more of a defensive move. In a June 2009 column just after Tiller's murder, Bozell complained that Keith Olbermann called Tiller's murder an "assassination," adding: "Olbermann insisted that the mere act of denouncing Tiller as killer of babies - as if he were instead removing tumors - is an invitation to terrorism and murder." 

Bozell cited "an avalanche of press releases from pro-life groups denouncing the killing," but he omitted anti-abortion leader Randall Terry -- whose activism the MRC has promoted over the years -- expressing apparant joy over Tiller's murder, saying that "I believe George Tiller was one of the most evil men on the planet; every bit as vile as the Nazi war criminals who were hunted down, tried, and sentenced after they participated in the 'legal' murder of the Jews that fell into their hands."

Yet Bozell aped Terry's rhetoric, declaring: "George Tiller was a monster who personally murdered 60,000 babies. May God have mercy on his soul." Bozell can't denounce Terry because he sounds exactly like him.

Later, one of Bozell's employees sought to justify Tiller's murder by complaining that "reporters do nothing to help their audience understand why this man was targeted," albeit buried in blather about how "loss of human life is a tragedy."

In short, Bozell and Graham may or may not approve of the method of Tiller's death, but they are certainly gleeful about the results.

There was a more recent example of Christian terrorism Graham and Bozell could have denounced in their column: Iowa pastor Kevin Swanson declaring that gays should be executed. He made this claim at a conference attended by three Republican presidential candidates.

But the entire MRC organization, from Bozell on down, has remained silent about Swanson's anti-gay rant and what it means for the three GOP candidates who were introduced to the stage by Swanson (one of whom, Bobby Jindal, has since exited the race).

Shouldn't Bozell and Graham have addressed this by now, instead of enforcing a code of silence and letting it fester for more than two weeks -- presumably because MRC favorite Ted Cruz is one of the candidates who took part?

It seems that Bozell and Graham can't condemn all Christian terrorism, it shouldn't be complaining about the subject being brought up.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:28 PM EST
Monday, November 23, 2015
MRC's Graham Cynically Suggests He's Really Sincere About His Anti-Media Quest
Topic: Media Research Center

Tim Graham begins his Nov. 16 NewsBusters post with a complaint: "Can prominent liberal journalists ever get their brain around the idea that conservatives are sincere and not cynical when they protest liberal media bias?"

That's rich coming from a well-paid official at a eight-figure-budget organization whose entire purpose is to flog the "liberal media bias" narrative. Who wouldn't question sincerity when there's that kind of money at stake?

The answer to that question, if Graham wants to hear it, is that he and the MRC behave so cynically in promoting their anti-media narrative that there's no reason to believe they're sincere about it.

The most recent example: its treatement of allegations of bias in the Republican presidential debates. As we documented, when Donald Trump complained about liberal bias in the debate hosted by Fox News -- where MRC chief Brent Bozell has a weekly segment on Sean Hannity's show -- the MRC said and did nothing; similarly, Bozell couldn't say enough good things about a debate hosted by Fox Business while making an appearance on Fox Business.

But for CNBC's debate, the MRC cooked up a bogus "study" about how purportedly biased the questions were, and Bozell creepily declared that hearing Republican candidates complain about liberal media bias was "better than sex." Does that sound like someone who's sincere about protesting "liberal media bias"?

Other recent examples of the MRC's cynical attitude include:

Of course, the most concrete evidence comes from Bozell himself, who told Rush Limbaugh that his main goal is not to correct "bias" but to discredit the media -- and that the only thing Bozell has offered as a replacement for that discredited media is his even more biased and discredited "news" outlet,

If Bozell was really sincere about "liberal media bias," he'd be trying to repair things. He'd be working with liberal groups also concerned with media bias, like Media Matters, to address the issue. Instead, no MRC official has ever appeared in public or on TV with any Media Matters official. And as I know from my years working for Media Matters, it's not because anyone at Media Matters ever declined an invitation to do so.

No matter how much they try to deny it, Bozell, Graham and the MRC are working the refs (as Eric Alterman has put it) with the goal of knocking the refs out of the game.

That's not sincerity; that's cynicism, a desire to push the narrative, no matter how hackneyed, in order to keep the money train rolling.

Graham -- whose question about sincerity vs. cynicism was driven by New York Times editor Dean Baquet calling out Ben Carson for following the MRC's template in complaining about media bias -- displayed his own cynicism in pushing his view, huffing about "how the Clintons and their assorted 'correcting' organizations hammered the Times into submission on their story reporting [Hillary] was under criminal investigation on her e-mails. The Clintons are never cynical when they complain!"

Even though Graham is suggesting the motives of Bozell and himself are pure as the driven snow, he cynically bashes anyone who disagrees with him as pawns of the Clintons. (The MRC boys are rather obsessed with the Clintons.)

Also, the Times story claiming that Hillary Clinton "was under criminal investigation on her e-mails" was, in fact, false. Why shouldn't she request a correction? And why is the MRC so upset that she did so?

Claiming that someone has no right to correct false information in the media because you personally don't like them is the height of cynicism. And Graham is too cynical to recognize it.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:21 PM EST
NEW ARTICLE: The Debate Double Standard at the MRC
Topic: Media Research Center
When Donald Trump complained about biased debate questions from Fox News, the Media Research Center said nothing. But CNBC asks questions of GOP candidates that weren't right-wing-friendly, and it goes ballistic. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 8:44 AM EST
Sunday, November 22, 2015
Politico Hires A Republican Operative -- And MRC's Bozell Still Isn't Happy
Topic: Media Research Center

Right-wingers' insistence that Politico is a part of the "liberal media" has never had a basis in reality -- after all, it had a strategy to gain traction after its founding by doing stories the Drudge Report would promote.

Politico has taken it a step further by hiring an actual Republican operative, Brad Dayspring, as its VP of communications. He has an unambiguous partisan pedigree, serving as a top aide to former top Republican Eric Cantor and an adviser to Republican Gov. Scott Walker, as well as work with the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

You'd think such a clear step to the right as Politico's hire of Dayspring demonstrates would make Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell happy -- after all, a media with a right-wing bias is what he is spending millions of dollars a year to create. But it doesn't.

Why? The Republican isn't far enough to the right for him.

A Heathering-laden Nov. 20 MRC press release complains that Dayspring is a "beltway establishment Republican operative" with "a history of antagonizing conservatives, both on the national and grassroots level, smearing them on countless occasions." Bozell himself whines:

“Personnel is policy. Brad Dayspring has made his name by running to left-wing outlets to slime and disparage the Tea Party and grassroots conservatives. Some in the media and some in the GOP establishment have expressed enthusiasm for Politico’s hiring of a Republican. That does nothing for conservatives but that's not what is most important here. What matters is that Dayspring not only holds conservatives in utter contempt but has a rich history of ugly, dishonest behavior against them. Dayspring is an unethical anti-conservative hitman for hire.  And Politico hired him. It speaks volumes about Politico, none of it good."

But Bozell and the MRC are oddly short on particulars in its evidence against Dayspring. Here's what it cites:

  • At the NRSC, Dayspring repeatedly attacked Dr. Milton Wolf (challenger to Sen. Pat Roberts) with hit pieces filled with half-truths and smears.
  • Dayspring attacked Sen. Thad Cochran’s primary challenger Chris McDaniel with a “dishonest, dishonorable, and disreputable campaign” that focused more in disparaging the Republican challenger than building up Cochran or attacking the Democrat.

To back up the allegations regarding Wolf -- the press release links to a Breitbart article that claims Dayspring "spread harsh stories about Wolf all over the place in the media," but only offers as proof links to an article about Wolf's "interest in sharing medical X-rays on the Internet" which does not mention Dayspring (and which resulted in an investigation by the medical licensing board in Kansas), and a Dayspring tweet promoting that article. That's hardly proof of anything.

Bozell and the MRC also don't mention Wolf's extremist views that include likening President Obama to both Hitler and Mussolini, or that it might be one major reason why the NRSC, where Dayspring was employed at the time, would choose Roberts as its preferred candidate.

The quote that Dayspring's campaign against McDaniel for the NRSC-backed Cochran was "dishonest, dishonorable, and disreputable" comes from a RedState article that calls Cochran "profoundly senile, corrupt, and adulterous," which apparently is not a dishonest, dishonorable, and disreputable thing to do.

Again, Bozell and the MRC ignore negative information regarding their preferred candidate -- notably, that the campaign was dominated by an incident in which a McDaniel supporter and three others were arrested for illegally shooting video of Cochran's infirm wife in a nursing home.

However, a more likely explanation of Bozell's hostility toward Dayspring is noted elsewhere in the RedState article, which complains that Dayspring "accused Mark Levin and the Senate Conservative[s] Fund of pay-to-play purchases of Levin’s book." While RedState claims this is a "lie," the link it supplies on the controversy (from Politico, ironically) doesn't debunk the pay-to-play charge, but simply quotes Levin denying it, while also noting that the Senate Conservatives Fund spent a whopping $427,000 on copies of a Levin book to give to donors.

Bozell and the MRC are stenographers for, and protectors of, Levin.

It appears that Bozell is letting his personal grudge against Dayspring drive the MRC's agenda, refusing to acknowledge that a media organization hiring a partisan Republican is a victory for him. Not only is it very unprofessional behavior, it's self-defeating.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:16 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, November 24, 2015 10:50 AM EST
Friday, November 20, 2015
Palin, Of All People, Blows Up A Key MRC 'Liberal Bias' Talking Point
Topic: Media Research Center

Since the 2008 election, the Media Research Center has held as a cornerstone of "liberal bias" Katie Couric's 2008 interview with Sarah Palin, in which she could not give a coherent answer to Couric's simple question about what newspapers and magazines she read:

  • Tim Graham asserted that it "was designed as a 'gotcha' question to underline Palin's lack of worldly sophistication."
  • Brent Baker declared that the question was designed to show how "Palin is an ill-informed dolt."
  • A 2008 MRC report whined that media focus on Palin's inability to answer the question "left the impression that Palin was unable to identify any news sources because she isn’t interested in current events – an implausible supposition to make about an accomplished politician."
  • Lachlan Markay grumbled that the interview was "perhaps the left's favorite Palin-basing talking point."
  • Kyle Drennen sneered that Couric receiving an award for the interview was  yet another testament to liberals celebrating liberal."
  • The MRC gave a platform to Palin fanboy John Ziegler, who dismissed the Couric interview as "bogus."Ziegler was also permitted to claim that Palin's "non-answer" to the question "has been totally misunderstood and misrepresented."
  • Graham also laughably suggested that Couric was "holding the microphone like a baseball bat" during the interview.
  • Noel Sheppard claimed that Couric was an "arrogant moderator doing his or her best to make the former Alaska governor look foolish" and insisted that the interview was a "hit job." Sheppard also grumbled: "So because Palin didn't answer that idiotic question by Katie Couric two years ago, morons in the media believe she doesn't read" and touted how Palin finally got around to answering the question some time later in Ziegler's fanboy documentary.

Well, toss all that out the window.

In an interview last week, Palin conceded that Couric's question on which publications she read was "a fair question" and that "I had a crappy answer" to it.

Unsurprisingly, the MRC has not posted this interview anywhere on its network of websites. They don't want to blow up one of their key talking points, after all.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:41 PM EST
Thursday, November 19, 2015
MRC Tries To Distract From New Film About Catholic Priest Sex Scandals
Topic: Media Research Center

With the release of the film "Spotlight," about how the Boston Globe broke the story of systemic sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, the Media Research Center is trying to do what it always does when the subject pops up in the media: spin and change the subject.

The Catholic League's Bill Donohue -- who likes to falsely claim that the abusive priests were all gay -- takes a crack in a Nov. 6 NewsBusters post, complaining:

The media are pushing Spotlight, the movie that opens on Friday about the Boston Globe team that exposed priestly sexual abuse in the Boston Archdiocese prior to 2002. But there is little interest in this issue when non-Catholics are implicated in such crimes. As recent cases show, many courts around the nation evince disparate treatment as well.

Donohue then selectively recounts random, isolated cases of abuse from across the country. For instance:

In May 2014, Michael Travis, an assistant softball coach at a Nebraska high school was arrested for sexually assaulting two softball players. Two more alleged victims came forward in December. This past August, he cut a deal with prosecutors. He pleaded guilty to simple assault, and was told he would not have to register as a sex offender or spend a day in jail. It received little media coverage.

Actually, the case in question happened in Iowa, not Nebraska. Donohue doesn't mention that the plea deal was approved by the alleged victims because it would force Travis to surrender his teaching and coaching licenses and agree to never teach or coach again, or that some of the charges against Travis had to be thrown out because they took place before a law specifically outlawing the alleged behavior was enacted.

Donohue goes on to whine: "If any of these accused men had been a priest, both the media and the courts would have acted differently. This is not even debatable." But Donohue delierately omits the reason why the Catholic abuse cases were especially newsworthy, not just in Boston but in other dioceses as well: they were widespread, and church officials spent decades covering them up. Donohue cannot say that about any of the isolated cases he cites as a distraction.

(On the other hand, kudos to the MRC for disclosing at the top of Donohue's post that MRC chief Brent Bozell is a member of the Catholic League's board of advisers, which it didn't do until we started pointing it out.)

Then, in a Nov. 15 post, MRC official Tim Graham sneers that the film "claims to be an accurate representation of the Boston Globe's Pulitzer Prize-winning crusade in 2001 and 2002 against clerical sex abuse in the Catholic Church," then goes into distraction mode by also falsely playing the blame-the-gays card:

Surely, it's a true story that there were monsters disguised as men of God that abused children. But it's also true that there are contrary facts that this reporter-boosting movie excluded, like the gay-activist priests that the Globe promoted in its pages -- until it turned out their gay liberation was unleashed on children.

The headline of Graham's post reads, "WashPost Critic: Heroic Liberal Reporter Movie Like 'Watching Porn'." But Graham gets this wrong too: As the excerpt he uses makes very clear, the Washington Post critic is actually quoting someone else saying that.

Graham's manufactured freakout over that statement is odd, since he apparently wasn't offended by his boss, Brent Bozell, creepily called Republican ranting about media bias "better than sex."

Posted by Terry K. at 5:13 PM EST
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
At The MRC, Reporting The News Is A 'Liberal Outburst'
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is so terrible as a group of media analysts, it seems that it largely has to find "liberal media bias" where it doesn't exist.

Example: Geoffrey Dickens' Nov. 14 attack on CBS' Nancy Cordes in advance of her co-hosting a Democratic presidential debate. His title: "CBS Debate Co-Moderator Nancy Cordes’ Worst Liberal Outbursts." Let's take a look at what he claims is a "liberal outburst":

-- "Cordes Shocked GOPers Criticize 'Undisputed Front-Runner' Hillary Clinton": Actually, all Cordes is doing is doing a debate preview in which she notes that Republicans targeted Hillary at their last debate. She expressed no shock whatsoever about this in the video clip accompanying the item. pointed out the game the MRC is playing here: "The conservative media watchdog site Newsbusters has convinced itself that this banal recap she did of the fourth GOP debate exhibits liberal media bias, so be on the lookout for post-debate complaints about her questioning almost regardless of what she actually says."

-- "Carly Fiorina Is Just as Neanderthal as the Men": Cordes notes that Fiorina claims that Hillary won't be able to play the "gender card" against her if she gets the Repubican nomination, then adds taht "many so-called women’s issues ... Fiorina’s views are identical to the men she shared the stage with last night." Cordes did not use the word "Neanderthal"; Dickens is putting words into her mouth.

-- "How is Next House Speaker Going to Deal with 'Knucklehead' Conservatives?" Cordes is not calling House conservatives in her question to outgoing House Speaker John Boehner; he's noting that Boehner himself called them that. That isn't "liberal bias."

-- "Preparing to Blame Conservatives for Any Lack of Progress." This is a question from Cordes to Boehner after the 2014 election, in which she notes that some conservatives "don’t think you’re conservative enough." Given that there has, in fact, been little progress in Congress due in no small part to conservative refusal to compromise, and that Boehner quit as House speaker in part because he was under attack by conservatives who didn't think he was "conservative enough," Cordes seems rather prescient here.

-- "Fretting Obama Will Lose a Vital Critic from the Left." Dickens provides no evidence of "fretting"; Cordes is simply pointing out in this 2011 quote -- yes, Dickens apparently had to go back that far to find a suitable "liberal outburst" -- that Anthony Weiner, who had just gotten caught in personal scandal that would force him to resign his House seat, is a liberal who wasn't afraid to criticize Obama. Again, that's not "liberal bias."

Most of what Cordes is quoted doing here is reporting the news. That Dickens and the MRC thinks these are "liberal outbursts" says much more about the MRC's highly distorted vision of what reporting is.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:42 PM EST
Monday, November 16, 2015
MRC 'Study' Says It's 'Labeling Bias' To Refer To Conservatives As 'Conservatives'
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has long had a very strange and ridiculous quirk in its "liberal media bias" business model: it regularly complains that it's somehow biased for media organizations to refer to "conservatives  when reporting on conservatives.

Now, it claims to have an entire study based on complaining that it's "labeling bias" to call a conservative a conservative, at one point even complaining that it's "heavy-handed" to do so.

Rich Noyes wrote about this so-called study in an Oct. 28 NewsBusters post, to which he referred in a Nov. 7 post:

From September 25 to October 23, MRC analysts reviewed all 82 ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news stories about John Boehner’s resignation as House Speaker and the race to succeed him. CBS provided the most coverage (31 stories, totaling 54 minutes of airtime). NBC was next (30 stories, 38 minutes), followed by ABC, which aired just 21 stories (24 minutes) on its morning and evening newscasts during this period.

In these stories, MRC analysts documented how network reporters assigned a whopping 106 ideological labels to House Republicans — either to individual members of Congress, or factions within the GOP.

Overwhelmingly, the networks used “conservative” tags to talk about Republicans. Fully 98 percent of these labels (104) talked about “conservatives” or those “on the right;” just two referred to either “moderate” Republicans or a “mainstream” Republican (that would be Representative Kevin McCarthy, according to ABC’s Martha Raddatz on the September 27 Good Morning America).

One-third of the conservative labels (35) painted the targets as somehow extreme: “far right,” “hardline,” “very conservative” or “ultra-conservative.” Such deliberate labeling is designed to stigmatize conservatives, casting them as outside-of-the-mainstream ideologues, as compared to their (usually unlabeled) adversaries.

Noyes, however, fails to concede that such ideological labeling is relevant, given that Boehner's resignation was driven by conservative Republicans, who cheered the news. He also can't be bothered to review, say, Fox News to offer a comparison of how the word "conservative" is used on a conservative-friendly network. Which makes this about as meaningless as most other MRC studies.

Noyes whined that the House Freedom Caucus of farther-right conservativfes were, in fact, described as being farther right:

According to its mission statement, the Freedom Caucus in the House of Representatives stands for “limited government, the Constitution and the rule of law.” While the group has clearly generated a debate among conservatives about specific political tactics, there’s nothing radical about the group’s obviously mainstream conservative positions.

Network reporters also assured audiences that, despite the misgivings of some conservatives, there is no reason to doubt Paul Ryan’s conservative credentials. On the October 9 Today show, NBC’s Willie Geist said Ryan was “highly respected among conservatives and Republicans on the Hill.” Then on the October 21 Evening News, CBS’s Cordes insisted Ryan “should be a conservative’s dream Speaker.”

Noyes didn't mention that Ryan couldn't get the 80 percent support from the Freedom Caucus that would have generated an automatic endorsement from the group. Nor does he explain why Freedom Caucus members are justified in rejecting him as speaker.

Noyes bizarrely decries use of the word "conservative" in the media as away to "marginalize conservatives." It's very confused logic. At no point does he offer a term that would be somehow less marginalizing -- perhaps because he's using the word himself.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:01 PM EST
Friday, November 13, 2015
MRC Whines About Comedian 'Exploiting' Paris Attacks, Ignores Right-Wingers (And MRC Employee) Doing Same Thing
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Geoffrey Dickens got his dudgeon up in a hurry in a Nov. 13 NewsBusters post:

Disgusting! Comedian Michael Ian Black Exploits Paris Attack

Actor/comedian Michael Ian Black wasted no time, on Friday, exploiting the Paris attack as he tweeted within an an hour of the breaking news: "Awful, awful, awful news in Paris. 18 shot dead. If only we could get our daily shootings down to 18 here in America."

This isn't the first time the member of the '90s comedy improv group The State and star of the cult flick Wet Hot American Summer propagandized for gun control. After the Roseburg, Oregon shooting in October he raged: "Another massacre. Don’t wait to talk about it. Gun control now."

Dickens, however, has remained silent on right-wingers exploiting the attack. Like Newt Gingrich:

And Dickens' very own MRC co-worker, Dan Joseph (h/t Chastity):

That's probably not "disgusting" at all to Dickens. Right-wing expoitation of a tragedy is perfectly fine at the MRC, it appears.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:28 PM EST
Thursday, November 12, 2015
MRC's Bozell, Regular Fox Guest, Loved The Fox Business GOP Debate
Topic: Media Research Center



 Two things to know about Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell: He loves Fox News -- so much so that he has been given a weekly segment for the past few years, which currently airs on "Hannity" -- and he doesn't like Donald Trump.

These two things are directly reflected in the way the MRC pushes its anti-media "liberal bias" agenda. When Trump complained about how Fox News anchors moderating the first Republican presidential debate displayed liberal bias against him, the MRC ignored him and refused to criticize Fox News. By contrast, Bozell and the MRC couldn't stop whining about the questions at the CNBC-hosted Republican debate despite being unable to demonstrate any actual "liberal bias" at a network whose financial news caters to conservative-leaning viewers.

Given that history, how do you think Bozell reacted to the Republican debate hosted by Fox Business? Well, "fawning" isn't nearly strong enough a word. Try "slobbering."

The MRC telegraphed its reaction in an email sent the day of the debate in which it confidently declared: "FOX Business and The Wall Street Journal will be moderating tonight’s fourth Republican presidential debate this evening. Unlike the rabidly left-wing, anti-conservative CNBC moderators, we expect tonight’s moderators to exhibit journalistic integrity and basic decency."

Apparently, the MRC's idea of "journalistic integrity" was for the moderators to refuse to correct the candidates when they got a fact wrong, or even to answer the questions that were asked; as TPM's Josh Marshall noted, it was a debate "debate structured around letting candidates say absolutely anything -- because scrutinizing candidates is liberal."

Needless to say, Bozell couldn't be happier. (Was it better than sex, as he creepily declared it was for him when Republicans squawked about the purported bias at the CNBC debate? He hasn't shared that with us yet.) Bozell issued a statement immediately after the debate that did suggest some orgasmic satisfaction:

"Fox Business promised to best CNBC in the management of a debate. Fox did not best CNBC, Fox utterly humiliated their competition. Quite simply, this network did a fantastic job moderating both of tonight’s GOP primary debates. They asked fair serious, substantive questions, and did so respectfully.

"It’s amazing what you can learn from debates when obnoxious liberal moderators aren't there. I hope CNBC and future debate moderators took notes. The Fox Business moderators didn’t engage in personal insults or ad hominem attacks. Fox Business completely outclassed CNBC."

And to further demonstrate he knows what side his bread is buttered on, Bozell appeared on Fox Business -- a channel he likes to appear on -- to slobber all over the Fox Business debate, asserting that the moderators "asked good questions, it was all about the candidates, and this is what a debate is supposed to be about." Bozell added that "you certainly in three minutes got more out this Fox Business debate than in two ours, or seemingly eight hours, on CNBC."

Of course Bozell will proclaim his love for the Fox Business debate. He wants to continue appearing on Fox Business and Fox News, after all.

In other words, he has skin in the game, which is more than enough reason to dismiss his opinion on debate quality.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:51 PM EST
Updated: Saturday, November 21, 2015 12:40 AM EST
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
MRC's Bozell Proves CNN Correct By Defending Carson, Whining About Obama
Topic: Media Research Center

On CNN, host Chris Cuomo asked Republican strategist Matt Lewis: "Why are there those ironically on the right side of the media defending Ben Carson so zealously against routine vetting and planting all these seeds about they didn't talk about Obama that way." Lewis responded that Republicans are "defensive" about previous alleged bias: "I think there's an overreaction. I think there's a circling of the wagons. Whenever it's perceived that a Republican is being attacked, rather than ask whether or not it's fair, a lot of times conservatives reflexively push back. And I think that's sometimes counterproductive."

As if to illustrate what Cuomo and Lewis were talking about, Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell chose that very same day to issue a column -- so special it was published at Fox News instead of an MRC joint -- that does exactly what they discussed: zealously defend Carson against being vetted while also complaining that Obama wasn't. And we mean exactly:

This vetting process is not designed as a disinterested pathological examination of a pertinent statement or significant event.

No, the objective of the vetting process is to impair, even to fatally damage, the image of the conservative target du jour.

Dr. Ben Carson recently topped the charts in some national polls, and immediately the long knives came out.

In 96 hours there were three media bombshells:

1. CNN reported breathlessly that contrary to Carson's assertion that his youth was plagued by anger, it had located no less than nine acquaintances that maintain he was a nice kid a half century ago.

2. Politico published a national broadside suggesting Carson's campaign had admitted he'd "fabricated" a story about applying to West Point.

3. The Wall Street Journal disclosed it could find no records validating his anecdote about a Yale course called "Perceptions 310" and in fact there is no evidence of a course by that name taught.

Ben Carson is a fraud.

Except that he's not.


It continues to amaze me that the national "news" media believe anything, no matter how trite, or how old, is newsworthy -- if the author is a conservative Republican. If the author is a Democrat, everything is unimportant and anything in the past should remain there.

Consider Barack Obama's autobiographies “Dreams from My Father” and “The Audacity of Hope.” During his 2008 campaign there was nothing but fawning praise for these books.


What if Cruz lied this way?

So what. Why vet when there's a president to elect?

So Obama was showered with accolades instead. According to Time magazine's Joe Klein: "’Dreams from My Father’ may be the best-written memoir ever produced by an American politician."

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews found it "unique" and "refreshing."  "It's almost like Mark Twain. It's so American, it's so textured. It's picturesque."

Years later they're still at it. Matthews’ MSNBC colleague Lawrence O'Donnell recently stated he believes “’Dreams from My Father’ stands today as the finest literary work ever authored by a president of the United States. The book doesn’t contain the whole truth of Barack Obama’s life. Books can’t do that, but it is, by far, the most honest and open book, an artful book, ever written by a president.”

Of course, Bozell is lying when he claims Obama was never vetted before his election in 2008. As The Daily Show's Trevor Noah points out (with accompanying video), "they vetted Obama to the point where they questioned that he was a legitimate, natural-born American citizen." And as Paul Waldman details, in the 2008 campaign the supposedly liberal New York Times mentioned Jeremiah Wright "in no fewer than 419 stories in the Times. William Ayers was mentioned in a mere 130 Times stories in 2008."

Further, as Bozell and Tim Graham (who also probably actually wrote the above column as well, since he ghost-writes for his boss) admitted in their sour-grapes 2013 book "Collusion," Obama's 1995 memoir admitted that some people in it were composites and some conversations are "necessarily an approximation of what was actually said or relayed to me." So there was not an urgency to do anything.

Bozell is also silent on what happened on his own side -- specifically, how the right-wing media's "vetting" of Obama was even more inept than what he accuses the "liberal media" of doing to Carson. From claiming Obama went to school at a radical Islamic madrassa (he didn't) to pushing birther claims (and pretending they were never discredited), right-wing media so botched things that Americans assumed that every look into Obama's past would be similarly tainted. Bozell never took his fellow right-wingers to task for that; indeed, his MRC did little to shoot down birther claims it must have known were false.

Bozell could have chosen to counter the "liberal media" with a media outlet that  was truly fair and balanced. Instead, he created, which is, if nothing else, even more biased that the media he makes his living criticizing. But Bozell won't talk about that either.

Bozell must content himself with having just proven Chris Cuomo correct. Sad, really.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:28 PM EST
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
At The MRC, Questioning A Republican Is 'Verbal Assault'
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center takes its unquestioning defense of Ben Carson's biography -- and its hatred of anyone who dares to question it -- to a ludicrous extent in a Nov. 6 post by Curtis Houck, whose headline screams that CNN's Alisyn Camerota engaged in a "verbal assault" on Carson. No, really:

What evidence does Houck have that Camerota engaged in a "verbal assault" on Carson? Not much; he asserts, but doesn't prove, that it was "an extremely tense and combative interview," and he calls Camerota a "liberal anchor" and a "liberal co-host," as if the simple act of questioning a Republican while on a network that isn't Fox News automatically makes one "liberal." Houck also complained that Camerota played a Carson video clip "from the far-left site Mother Jones," but doesn't deny that Mother Jones got the clip correct.

Houck also gives Carson's crack to Camerota that "I can't believe used to work on Fox" a pass, even though it's probably more of a "verbal assault" than anything Camerota said, as well as an indicator of the kind of softball treatment he's used to from conservative Fox News.

We somehow doubt Houck -- or anyone else at the MRC -- was concerned about any bias Camerota expressed while a Fox News employee.

extremely tense and combative interview
extremely tense and combative interview,"
extremely tense and combative interview


Posted by Terry K. at 4:48 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, November 10, 2015 4:55 PM EST
Friday, November 6, 2015
MRC Doesn't Deny Transgender 'Bathroom Myth' Is A Myth, Is Mad Truth Was Told About It
Topic: Media Research Center


Kristine Marsh writes in a Nov. 5 NewsBusters post:

Since Houston voters overwhelmingly rejected the “transgender bathroom rights” law known as “HERO” Tuesday night, the media have been frantically trying to spin the story as a case of anti-LGBT, religious extremists getting their way.

NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers was no different, and, in a rant, the host found a way to bash both Houston voters and GOP candidate Mike Huckabee.

Seth Meyers opened the segment by boasting of the high-profile support for the ordinance from President Obama and major companies like Apple, General Electric and Hewlett-Packard.  Meyers then proceeded to trash opponents’ argument that this law would open the door for a biological male to enter a women’s restroom or locker room.

“That’s right,” Meyers scoffed. “Opponents of the law claimed falsely that the bill would allow anyone of any gender to walk into any bathroom they wanted,” he argued. “The idea is known as the ‘bathroom myth’ and the anti-HERO ads focused heavily on it,” Meyers lectured.

Interestingly, Marsh makes no effort to counter Meyers' assertion that the bill's opponents falsely portrayed it or that the "bathroom myth" is exactly that. Perhaps because she knows she can't.

Marsh then complained that "Meyers played the silliest ad he could find by opponents to mock Houston voters as fear-mongers instead of using an ad, like the one below, from FRC Action." But that ad invokes the "bathroom myth" -- which, again, Marsh refuses to prove is not a myth.

Still, Marsh pressed on:

Meyers insisted again that the majority of Houston voters were wrong. “So the ads focused exclusively on the bathroom issue even though the law had nothing to do with that,” he claimed. “There's also no evidence that this has ever been a problem in places that do have these laws,” he argued.

Apparently Meyers hasn’t heard of Hillsboro High School, where students complained and led a protest because girls had been exposed to a transgender male student in the women’s locker rooms and restrooms. Or of Springfield, MO, where voters rejected a similar bill to HERO after the city council had signed it into law.

But Marsh is just repeating objection to the idea instead of citing any problems with implementation. In the Hillsboro case, the transgender student did nothing to make the "bathroom myth" reality be engaging in anything approaching lewd behavior. The students who walked out, CNN reported, had their parents' support, which raises questions about just how spontaneous and genuine it was. Similarly, those who opposed the Springfield HERO law also pushed the "bathroom myth." 

If Marsh can't defend the "bathroom myth," she has no basis for criticizing Meyers for pointing it out. Which means Marsh is simply mad that he told the truth -- hardly a compelling bit of "media research."

Posted by Terry K. at 2:55 PM EST

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