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Thursday, April 18, 2019
MRC Parrots Anti-Omar Narrative -- Then Gets Mad When The Narrative Is Pointed Out
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has eagerly parroted the right-wing narrative that Rep. Ilhan Omar insulted America by allegedly describing 9/11 as "some people did something."

For instance, Kristine Marsh huffed that Omar "outrageously called the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil as simply the event where 'some people did something'" and that an interview with CBS' Stephen Colbert "intentionally didn’t mention what she actually said." But in complaining that the interview focused on Fox News "daring to air these comments," Marsh intentionally didn't mention that one Fox News host -- outrageously, one might say -- questioned whether Omar was a real American.

Kyle Drennen called Omar's comments "offensive" and whined that some media outlets didn't give the right-wing narrative the coverage the MRC demanded in favor of other news, sarcastically complaining that  "those stories were much more important that a Democratic politician dismissing the worst terrorist attack in American history."

Curtis Houck whined that the Omar's alleged characterization of 9/11 was "bizarre" and that the story was being framed as a "Fox News-fueled controversy" -- though it was largely driven by Fox News.

But when anyone tried to counter the right-wing anti-Omar narrative -- or even point out the fact that it was a narrative -- the MRC cried foul.

Tim Graham was upset that a Washington Post fact-check put Omar's remarks in context -- and we know how much Graham hates that non-conservatives are given context (though he demands it when conservatives are selectively quoted). He was further upset that the fact-checker pointed out that PresidentGeorge W. Bush also vaguely described 9/11 in one speech, dismissing it as "weak connective thread."

Nicholas Fondacaro, went into rage mode when CNN's Brian Stelter pointed out the manufactured nature of the Omar controversy. After calling Omar's comments "disgusting," Fondacaro gratuitously insulted Stelter by calling him a "media dung-sweeper" with "few viewers." He then attacked Stelter for accurately pointing out that Omar's right-wing critics are acting in bad faith, then went into whataboutism mode:

Stelter paints these terrible phantom motives on his political opponents and then has the nerve to declare others were acting in bad faith. He described conservative media as the “right-wing rage machine”, but never considered that Omar’s comments were actually offensive to most Americans. Nope, to him, it was all part of some insidious plot.

Pretending to be an intellectual, Stelter opined about how “the big questions” needed to be asked: “where does the controversy come from? How was it created in the first place? Who created it? Who stands to benefit from it being created? And who stands to lose, who stands to suffer?”

That’s actually some good advice. People should think about how CNN creates controversies, how CNN stand to benefit from it, and who CNN is trying to hurt.

We already know that CNN boss Jeff Zucker likes to cook up entertainment instead of actual news. We know the network likes to pretend the revolving door between the White House and the media came into existence with this administration, or at least wasn’t used often. Pushing the collusion conspiracy was in their best interest because their ratings tanked (and still are) after Attorney General Barr announced no collusion was found. But Stelter defended their years of speculation. This is CNN.

Responding with rage at the idea of being called part of a "right-wing rage machine," while also hurling unprofessional, rage-filled insults in the process? This is the MRC.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:08 AM EDT
Monday, April 15, 2019
MRC Loves The Lazy 'Meathead' Insult of Rob Reiner
Topic: Media Research Center

We noted a couple of years back how the Media Research Center loves calling Rob Reiner "Meathead" as a cheap, lazy insult whenever he expresses an opinion it doesn't like. Indeed, that cheap, lazy insult has only increased in frequency during the Trump years, many them coming from the lazy keyboard of MRC writer Corinne Weaver:

  • "actor/director and famed Meathead Rob Reiner" -- Matt Philbin, Jan. 20, 2017
  • "Meathead is on the case." -- Corinne Weaver, Sept. 19, 2017
  • "we don't trust you, Meathead, nor should we." -- Tom Blumer, Sept. 24, 2017
  • "When Meathead isn’t pushing Russian conspiracy theories on news networks, he spends his free time … complaining about Donald Trump." -- Weaver, Oct. 25, 2017
  • "Rob Reiner, aka Meathead, thought he was so close to making Donald Trump 'go away.'" -- Weaver, Oct. 30, 2017
  • "Meathead has returned again (does he ever really go away?) to tell the people all about President Trump." -- Weaver, Nov. 17, 2017
  • Rob Reiner decided that the Alabama vote was indicative of events to come. In true Meathead fashion, he tweeted..." -- Weaver, Dec. 13, 2017
  • "Leave it to Hollywood to offer some less than valuable commentary on breaking stories. Actually, leave it to Meathead." -- Weaver, Jan. 11, 2018
  • "The actor and director more commonly known as “Meathead” decided that the problem with Roseanne Barr, a real-life Trump supporter, is that she and her character are too similar." -- Weaver, April 2, 2018
  • "MSNBC host Joy Reid served up a double helping of 'Meathead' as liberal film maker Rob Reiner and his wife, Michele Reiner, spent a segment ranting against President Donald Trump and his "hardcore racist" supporters." -- Brad Wilmouth, June 24, 2018
  • "Behold the ridiculousness from Meathead." -- Curtis Houck, June 29, 2018
  • "Actor Rob “Meathead” Reiner tweeted..." -- Weaver, July 9, 2018
  • "Conservatives got a kick out of how Meathead's movie flopped." -- Tim Graham, July 21, 2018
  • "She pleaded with Reiner to help her figure this out, so Reiner responded as only Meathead could, which is double down[.]" -- Houck, Aug. 1, 2018

The latest lazy insult came in an April 3 post by Tim Graham headlined "'Meathead' Rob Reiner Still Cries Collusion: 'The Russians Robbed the Bank,' Trump Hid Them." Graham also dropped the insult in his piece as well, claiming that "'Meathead' has dramatically changed his spin to suggesting special counsel Robert Mueller had a 'very, very narrow charge' to investigate."

The fact that the MRC as a whole apparently can't separate an actor from a role he hasn't played in 40 years -- and can't rise above cheap, lazy insults -- does not inspire a sense that anyone should take it seriously.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:03 PM EDT
Sunday, April 14, 2019
MRC Is Offended That TV Characters Aren't Shamed For Having Abortions
Topic: Media Research Center

In a March 15 Media Research Center post, Rebecca Downs was offended that a character of the TV show "Shrill" had an abortion and didn't feel guilty about it or wasn't shamed for having one, that the procedure was portrayed as "relatively nonchalant" and that the character later feld "all empowered and glowing as she tries on a new dress." Downs continued to be offended that "the rest of the show delves into [the character's] life as if the pregnancy and abortion never happened" and that "the abortion is only mentioned in two of the six episodes for this first season."

Downs' rage was renewed in a March 28 post, in which she lectured a writer for "Shrill" who described the abortion scene as "almost boring television" and who pointed out that abortion clinic workers get harrassed and murdered:

No, we shouldn't normalize the fact that thousands of babies are killed from abortion each day, no matter how long the abortion procedure--which sucks the child out with a powerful vacuum--takes. Women are not dying because they do not have access to abortion, especially in the United States, which has some of the most permissive abortion laws in the world. 

It’s not merely “anti-choicers” who describe abortion as something that “hurts” or is “scary” or “traumatic” or “evil.” Post-abortive women share the regret they themselves felt after their abortions, though for many women these effects were not necessarily felt right away. Those women who initially feel "really, really good" or "very fucking powerful" and want to partake in #ShoutYourAbortion may not feel that way in a few months or years.

Violence against abortion workers is not pro-life and is unacceptable. West is correct that abortion workers “don’t have to do this work,” but the success of former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson’s And Then There Were None organization that helps abortion staff transition out of the industry should give people pause.

The idea that violence against "abortion workers" is "unacceptable" seems to run counter to a recent tweet on the NewsBusters Twitter account declaring, "There is no such thing as being 'extreme' when it comes to protecting innocent lives in the womb."

Downs then served up a list of "recent examples of TV series with scenes that showed abortion in a nonchalant or positive way."

Similarly, a March 29 post by Karen Townsend was annoyed that a character on "Gray's Anatomy" said she wasn't ashamed of an abortion she'd had years earlier when she was in an abusive relationship, grumbling that the abortion "is written off as something she just 'had' to do."


Posted by Terry K. at 9:35 PM EDT
Thursday, April 11, 2019
MRC Mad At CNN For Accurately Reporting Trump Is Not Exonerated
Topic: Media Research Center

As we know, the Media Research Center just hates accurate reporting when it makes its look bad. And the MRC's Bill D'Agostino was mad that CNN pointed out that, according to William Barr's summary of the Mueller report, President Trump has not been completely exonerated on the issue of obstruction of justice:

Attorney General William Barr's inclusion of the phrase “does not exonerate” in his summary on Sunday afternon of the Mueller report has become a much-needed security blanket for liberal journalists. For the past 24 hours, CNN analysts, commentators, correspondents, and hosts have clung to the phrase, repeating it ad nauseam in a vain attempt to reassure themselves that maybe — just maybe — President Trump might still be found guilty of obstruction of justice.

MRC analysts looked at the past 24 hours of CNN coverage (from 5:00 p.m. Eastern on March 24 to the same time the following day), and found a total of 120 instances in which hosts or other journalists asserted that President Trump had not been exonerated. Those 120 cases did not include quotes from Democratic politicians or other explicitly partisan sources.

[...]

About one third of those 120 instances were journalists reading aloud the same phrase found in Barr’s summary of the Mueller report, which read:

…while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.

Every show featured at least one direct reading of that line, while some uttered it at a considerably higher rate.

That's right -- D'Agostino is mad that CNN directly quoted from Barr's letter.

D'Agostino then cast doubt upon whether that claim was even true: "As far as the veracity of the claim that the President has not been exonerated? That’s only true of [sic] one believes Special Counsel Mueller is the only individual capable of doling out said exoneration. Mueller himself left the determination of whether to prosecute President Trump for obstruction of justice up to the Attorney General, who in turn determined that the President was not guilty of any such crime."

So, apparently, it's OK if the media reports a false claim as long as it makes Trump look good.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:49 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, April 11, 2019 12:54 AM EDT
Tuesday, April 9, 2019
MRC Thinks Chick-fil-A Was 'Smeared' Because Anti-Gay Donations Were Accurately Reported
Topic: Media Research Center

When is telling the truth a smear? When someone reports accurately on the political activities of a fast-food chain.

The headline on Gabriel Hays' April 1 Media Research Center post blared, "NY Airport Bans Chick-Fil-A Over Malicious ThinkProgress Smear." What was that "smear"? ThinkProgress accurately reported that Chick-fil-A Chick-fil-A donated $1.8 million in 2017 to organizations like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Salvation Army, as well as to other anti-gay organizations, and the airport in Buffalo, N.Y., declined to allow a Chick-fil-A restaurant based on that reporting.

Accurate reporting that has consequences? That will not do for Hays, who went into a frothing rant:

Another airport has just banned Chick-Fil-A from setting up shop on account of the fast food chain’s financial ties with Christian groups. Buffalo, New York’s regional airport just followed a San Antonio airport’s lead in being delusional enough to trust the judgment of crazy lefty outlet ThinkProgress and banned Chick-Fil-A on account of their supposed anti-LGBTQ discrimination.

ThinkProgress wrote about the latest installment of #boycottChickFilA with all the smugness of someone who just cheated their way to victory and got away with it -- which is, of course, what the outlet’s crazed lefty journalists did. They claimed the company promoted “anti gay positions” via donations to Christian non-profits and now more pencil-necked lawmakers feel the need to embrace the petty outrage game.

[...]

“Setback?” How cute. To think that a boycott by a few deranged progressives will slow down Chick-Fil-A’s momentum is absurd. How delicious will it be when these people are found to be discriminating against the proud Christian chain for its religious affiliation?

For those of you counting at home, that four whacked-out attacks on ThinkProgress in three paragraphs: two variations of "crazy," one reference to "deranged," and  a claim that it "cheated their way to victory and got away with it."

Hays then rushed to Chick-fil-A's defense, denying it was targeting the LGBT community with the donations, and besides, the company can donate to anyone it wants:

Chick-Fil-A feels that it has every right to donate to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Salvation Army, for example. Still, ThinkProgress spun the negativity, claiming that the franchise’s donation of “$1.8 million in 2017” to such Christian groups amounts to an attack on LGBTQ rights. Yes, these groups believe in traditional marriage, but that is their prerogative as well as it’s Chick-Fil-A’s. It also certainly doesn’t mean that LGBTQ employees or customers are in Chick-Fil-A’s crosshairs.

It’s just heavy spin to destroy a political enemy and, in the case of the ThinkProgress-inspired San Antonio Chick-Fil-A ban, investigations are underway to prove it was an unfair hitjob.

Spinning things in order to destroy a political enemy? Isn't that what Hays is trying to do to ThinkProgress here?

This is not the first meltdown Hays has had over accurate reporting. When the San Antonio airport similarly declined to allow Chick-fil-A a slot over the donations a couple weeks earlier, Hays declared that the company is "Jesus-loving" and "may actually believe in biology," then reframed the anti-LGBT stance of evangelical Christians in order to portray them as victims: "Traditional Christians tend to stick with the belief that homosexuality is not an optimal life choice, so of course LGBTQ groups want them wiped off the map -- even at the expense of free speech or freedom of religion." Hays also claimed ThinkProgress was engaged in "bullying" by, yes, accurately reporting the company's anti-LGBT leanings.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:24 PM EDT
Sunday, April 7, 2019
Flip-Flop: MRC Trashed Clintons After Probes Cleared Them, Attacks Anyone Who Does The Same To Trump
Topic: Media Research Center

As Trump loyalists, the Media Research Center was eager to portray Attorney General William Barr's brief summary of the Mueller report as the final word on Trump's complete exoneration -- and not, you know, the actual report, which the MRC has yet to see -- and portray anyone who doesn't accept the Barr summary as delusional partisans who won't accept reality. Typical is the March 27 column by MRC bigwigs Brent Bozell and Tim Graham:

The psychedelic balloon of liberal hope in Robert Mueller is no more. It started to leak helium months ago, and some liberals worried that his final conclusions might be ... "disappointing."

They wanted the special counsel to deliver the goods, the evidence of collusion. This would not make Donald Trump an ordinary run-of -the-mill felon. This would make him complicit in an effort to subvert the federal government. Donald Trump would be a traitor.

What a pound full of sick puppies.

To wish this against your own president is its own form of anti-Americanism, if one contemplates the ensuing constitutional upheaval at home and the truly frightening international scenarios abroad. Russia, China, Iran and North Korea would run wild, as would every dangerous terror movement across the globe.

A patriotic liberal would set aside personal and political hostilities and celebrate the vindication of his president. We're not seeing this because the loudest of President Trump's detractors — especially in the press — are radicals, not liberals, and they're quite willing to endure existential chaos if that's the price for Trump's removal.

Needless to say, Bozell, Graham and Co. acted exactly the same way they now deride when the various invesigations into President Clinton and his wife uncovered nothing more damning against them than Bill Clinton lying about sex. 

Indeed, for years after Clinton left office, the MRC -- and Graham in particular --  got mad any time someone pointed out the inconvenient fact of the Clintons not getting charged with anything, insisting that that didn't mean they weren't guilty.

For instance, Graham whined in a 2007 post:

Clearly, Robert Ray’s (and Kenneth Starr’s) office investigated the FBI files matter and brought no criminal charges. But as usual, the Clintons always suggest that if they’re not indicted, then they have "done nothing wrong." They would say that even if they were indicted.

[...]

I’d say Ray’s text dismissing culpability in the FBI files matter seems to go beyond the legal questions to suggesting that there was somehow no scandal or wrongdoing anywhere in the chain of acquisition and archiving of Republican FBI files by the Clinton team. But then consider that this same Robert Ray also concluded that Hillary Clinton provided "factually false" testimony in the Travel Office case – even though he declined to prosecute it as "beyond a reasonable doubt."

Graham even got mad at us for pointing this out. in a 2008 post, Graham got indignant after we pointed out that he and Bozell, in their anti-Hillary book "Whitewash," ignored the context in which the independent counsel decided not to charge Hillary in response to the firings in the White House travel office by finding that while she made false claims (a key charge against her from Bozell and Graham), it was determined she had not deliberately lied:

In his article, Krepel is playing the same old Not a Crook card to exonerate his heroine. We said Ray found her testimony to be factually false. He notes that Ray declined to prosecute, citing "insufficient evidence." The Clintons and their Arkansas toadies like Krepel athletically raise the bar, implying that the Clintons didn’t lie unless they were indicted for it. But our goal in the book was not to establish that she should have been indicted. It was the simple fact that she lied when she claimed to be uninvolved in the Travel Office firings. 

As we note in the book, Hillary’s lawyers baldly claimed to the General Accounting Office: "Mrs. Clinton does not know the origin of the decision to remove the White House travel office employees...She had no role in the decision to terminate the employees." That's not how Robert Ray saw it.

Our book isn’t claiming Hillary should be behind bars. Our book is claiming that the media cannot be relied upon to investigate the Clintons with any vigor, especially the television networks. See our very next sentence after we quote the Ray report: "Why didn’t any reporter unearth anything about Hillary’s direct involvement in the Travelgate scandal on his or her own? Why did the public have to wait more than two years to learn this critically important aspect of the story?"

Graham then served up the conspiracy theory that Robert Ray, the final independent counsel who succeeded Ken Starr, declined not to charge the Clintons with anything because he wanted to run for Senate in 2002 and "the Clintons and their media friends would punish him severely for any indictment."

Claims like that belie Graham's assertion that he's not arguing that "Hillary should be behind bars" -- it's obvious he thinks she shoud be, regardless of what the independent counsel ruled. Now he's going to attack anyone who dares to point out that not only does the Barr summary not completely exonerate Trump, the Mueller report hasn't even released yet so we can judge for ourselves.

Double standard, anyone?


Posted by Terry K. at 9:07 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, April 7, 2019 9:07 PM EDT
Saturday, April 6, 2019
MRC's Houck Still In Throes of Acosta Derangement Syndrome
Topic: Media Research Center

It seems there's no end in sight for Media Research Center writer Curtis Houck's ongoing tirade of Acosta Derangement Syndrome.

In a March 18 post, Houck sneered that Acosta was an "armchair psychologist" for raising the question -- "manufactured storyline," according to Houck -- of President Trump's mental fitness after a weekend-long Twitter bender. Houck concluded with a larger anti-CNN screed, whining about "narratives" that are "manufactured to fit what CNN wants to spoonfeed to its liberal audience and poor souls at airports and doctor’s offices, which is one of fear and division." As if Houck isn't in the business of narrative manufacturing himself.

One of those narratives, of course, is that Acosta is a lying, unstable grandstander, and Houck manufactured that further the next day in a post headlined "MELTDOWN!" in which he asserted that Acosta offered "another lengthy diatribe and meltdown to the delight of his colleagues." How so? By pointing out that the right-wing Daily Caller served up a "softball" to the president. Houck ran to the defense of the Daily Caller reporter, gloating about he purportedly "dropped the hammer" on Acosta by claiming that "Rather than tell the President what was happening on a particular issue, I asked him to tell me." Houck exclaimed: "What an idea!"

If the president had been liberal and Acosta was the one to ask a similar question, Houck would undoubtedly be the first to accuse Acosta of asking a "softball" question.

Houck was further triggered when Acosta accurately pointed out that it's ridiculous for conservatives to claim they're being discriminated against on social media  since they have such a massive presence there, led by Trump himself:

For regular or even infrequent readers of NewsBusters, alarm bells should be going off for just how idiotic of a statement this was by Acosta. The easy answer to is to go check out any of the work by our colleagues at MRC TechWatch or the Free Speech Alliance, but here’s a few specific examples of online censorship:

None of those examples, however, mentioned how social media platforms like Facebook have routinely sucked up to conservatives in response to their every lilttle complaint, which would seem to undermine Houck's narrative. Indeed, the MRC maintains a presence on those platforms to this very day, and no presence whatsoever on alternative platforms --perhaps because it knows that for all its attempts to rebrand them as promoting "free speech," they're little more than a outlet for racism and far-right conspiracy theories.

Houck handed the Acosta Derangement baton to Ryan Foley for a March 29 post complaining that Acosta asked a "leading question" of the governor of Puerto Rico regarding Trump. Instead of yet another Houck-esque rage-fueled rant, Foley merely complained that Acosta "asked an extremely weak follow-up question."

At least someone at the MRC understands that it doesn't look professional to act like an Acosta-hating rage-bot.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:27 AM EDT
Friday, April 5, 2019
MRC Keeps Working As PR Shop for Covington Kid's Lawyers
Topic: Media Research Center

We've documented the Media Research Center's unseemly role as the PR agent for the lawyers who when full Klayman and filed a $250 political manifesto-cum-defamation lawsuit against the Washington Post on behalf of Covington kid Nick Sandmann. The MRC's anti-media bloodlust has continued.

A March 4 post by Curtis Houck -- headlined "Sandmann lawyers SLAM WashPost" -- followed in the footsteps of colleague Nicholas Fondacaro's unprofessional rage and gloated how Sandmann's lawyers "ran The Washington Post through the wood chipper," uncritically parroting how "The 445-word statement didn’t mince words, slamming The Post as having led 'a mainstream and social media mob of bullies' against Sandmann." Ironically, Houck's employer leads mobs against the media, but that's apparently OK.

Houck kept up the violent imagery in a March 12 post headlined "Sandmann Lawyers Hammer CNN as ‘Facts Last’ Network ‘Bullying’ a Minor to Defend Phillips" (the URL indicates that Houck's original verb was "vaporizes"). In it, he touts an appearance by the lawyers on Fox News (of course) in which they announced a similar lawsuit against CNN. As Fondacaro failed to do with the Post lawsuit, Houck doesn't point out that the lawsuit is more of a political document than a legal one; as a more responsible, less media-hating outlet reported, the lawsuits are effectively pro-Trump political statements and not serious claims of defamation.

Instead, Houck gushed that "The lawsuit didn’t waste time in starting to build a case against CNN," touted "eight other sections" in it and uncritically repeated the "damages" claim that Sandmann "is forced to live his life in a constant state of concern over his safety and the safety of his family." You mean like how journalists are forced to live as a result of President Trump calling the media the "enemy of the people," something the MRC thinks are "self-centered" for pointing out?

The MRC then got mad that CNN didn't report that it was being sued. A March 20 post by Bill D'Agostino complained the channel hadn't reported it;he served up the lawyers' talking points that CNN engaged in "accusatory coverage" of Sandmannand was "pushing false narratives about the video," when whined: "Considering CNN hosts found ample time to lecture others about hastily jumping to conclusions, their current refusal to so much as acknowledge this lawsuit against them is conspicuous."

Two days later, D'Agostino acknowledged that CNN's website did publish an article, then still complained that "CNN still has not given the lawsuit any televised airtime." D'Agostino did note CNN's statement that it "reported on a newsworthy event and public discussion about it, taking care to report on additional facts as they developed and to share the perspectives of eyewitnesses and other participants and stakeholders as they came forward," though it seemingly contradicts his earlier attack.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:27 PM EDT
Thursday, April 4, 2019
Double Standard: MRC's Graham Uses Whataboutism To Justify Fox News Burying Stormy Daniels Scoop
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Tim Graham spent his March 17 post in meltdown over the revelation that Reuters "sat on" a claim that Beto O'Rourke "belonged to an influential hacking group calling itself Cult of the Dead Cow" until after the 2018 Texas Senate election (which he lost). Graham was so triggered by this, in fact, that he couldn't be bothered to describe anything that made this hacker group "notorious" or mention the relevant fact that this membership occured when O'Rourke was a teenager, or explain the relevance of this membership has on anything involving O'Rourke today other than that he's running for president.

Graham did, however, get even more triggered when someone mentioned a more serious story that just happened to be sat upon before a crucial election by Graham's favorite media outlet:

CNN Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter devoted a segment on his Sunday show to Fox News deciding not to air news of porn star Stormy Daniels right before the 2016 election. A lawyer for an angry ex-Fox News employee tried to claim it was some sort of campaign finance violation that Fox withheld whatever anti-Trump scoop it may have had. 

Earth to Lawyer: Liberal media outlets sit on stories all the time, calculating the political advantages or disadvantages. Ask any Bill Clinton accuser. 

The same Stelter ignored Reuters on his "reliably" liberal show and on Twitter disdained any outrage: “Reporters who are writing books sometimes hold back certain info till their book comes out. That’s what the reporter says happened in this case. Book deal situations are definitely complicated. The Fox/Stormy situation didn't involve a book. What's your proposal -- no books?”

Yes, Graham is going the whataboutism route to justify Fox News hiding the Stormy Daniels story before the election.

As we documented, whataboutism was pretty much the MRC's entire response to the New Yorker article examining Fox News in which that and other unflattering details were revealed. Kyle Drennen, for example, tried to deflect from the allegation by denouncing it as among "anonymous claims" in the piece and huffing over an MSNBC segment on the claim that "NBC would certainly know about sitting on damaging accusations against a president. In 1999, the network delayed airing an interview with Bill Clinton rape accuser Juanita Broaddrick until after impeachment of the Democratic president had passed."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:28 AM EDT
Monday, April 1, 2019
MRC Kaepernick Derangement Syndrome
Topic: Media Research Center

If there's a Media Research Center trigger-warning relationship to rival Curtis Houck and Jim Acosta, it's they mysterious Jay Maxson and Colin Kaepernick. Let's review just how much Maxson has been triggered by Kaepernick over the past couple months, shall we?

On Feb. 3, Maxson huffed that Kaepernick got a mention at Super Bowl-related activities: "The most controversial football player in the world hasn’t played in the NFL in two years, but Colin Kaepernick was figuratively 'at"' the Super Bowl." He ranted further by calling Kaepernick "the social media-sniping hater of cops, former National Anthem kneeler, lover of communist Cuba and American freedom-denier."

When a newspaper columnist asked that an NFL team sign Kaepernick, Maxson justified blackballing him by declaring that "no owner has an obligation to employ any athlete who has crossed a line of incivility" (even as NFL teams continue to employ players accused of domestic violence), declaring that "The cop-hating, anti-American, Cuba-loving Kaepernick would be a detriment to the reputation of the NFL or any of its teams." Maxson didn't explain exactly what was "incivil" about kneeling during the National Anthem.

When Kaepernick and another player who protested during the National Anthem settled their collusion grievance against the NFL, Maxson was unsurprisingly disappointed, whining that "Media sentiment has overwhelming [sic] favored the social justice warriors and accused the NFL of blackballing them." Maxson was also unhappy that Kaepernick was seen as the winner, getting mad at a sportswriter who was "suggesting the two players who infuriated Americans for kneeling during the Star Spangled Banner may have had a case." At no point does Maxson offer any evidence that NFL was the winner. Maxson finally found a right-wing sportswriter who hates Kaepernick as much as he does, touting how he attacked Kaepernick "for essentially spoiling the pro football experience for so many Americans."

On March 13, Maxson got huffy at the idea that Kaepernick was expressing free speech through his protest, insisting that anyone who agreed with that was "incorrectly assuming employees at private companies have free speech rights."

In a March 19 post, Maxson was angry that Kaepernick wasn't being seen as hateful, but, rather, "the fans who disagreed with his disgusting behavior during the 2016 season when he first sat, then knelt during the pre-game playing of the national anthem." When a sportswriter suggested that allowing Kaepernick to play would give haters their due because it would give them a legitimate excuse to hate him if he fails to deliver Hall of Fame numbers, Maxson huffed: With Kaepernick's compliant media cheerleaders, it's never a matter of disrespecting veterans and the flag, hurting the NFL's business (remember all the NFL's negatives from the 2017 season when the rebellion Kaepernick started torched TV and favorability ratings?). Precious few among the media care about those negatives!" Maxson also insisted that Kaepernick hadn't been punished enough for expressing his opinion:

It would provide an opening for Kaepernick all right. He would be playing again without being held accountable for his protests, which turned many a long-time fan away from the NFL. No apology. No mea culpa. Most likely more radical, Black Lives Matter-type activism, though.

Maxson concluded by huffing: "Just put Kaepernick back in an NFL lineup and watch the media gush over him while more fans write off the NFL." It would give Maxson more opportunities to be triggered by the mere presence of Kaepernick as well -- not that Maxson was going to concede that.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:10 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, April 1, 2019 2:13 PM EDT
Sunday, March 31, 2019
MRC Touts Bogus Proposed Cost for Green New Deal
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center will happily scare you by promoting someone's proposed astronomical cost for the New Green Deal:

  • "How much would a Green New Deal cost? That’s the $93 trillion question some media outlets won’t ask."-- Julia A. Seymour, Feb. 28
  • "[Meghan] McCain jumped in to grill the 2020 Democrat more specifically on what his party’s Green Deal actually costs and requires of average Americans. ... 'It would cost $93 trillion or to every person in this room, $600,000 for each of your households.'" -- Kristine March, March 4
  • "Colbert’s opening segment took a spin on Kermit the Frog’s legendary musical performance of “It’s Not Easy Being Green,” with a new version called, 'It’s Not Easy Being The Green New Deal.' The song features the legendary puppet defending Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez’s wingnut, multi-trillion dollar, socialist pipe dream." -- Gabriel Hays, March 13
  • "The price of the Green New deal is estimated to cost in the “tens of trillions.” Shouldn’t that be a discussion point?" -- Scott Whitlock, March 16
  • "The plan could cost $93 trillion, according to estimates from the American Action Forum run by former Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Holtz-Eakin." -- Seymour, March 19

Just one problem with that $93 trillion that the MRC is touting: it's a bogus number.

As Media Matters documents, the American Action Forum -- the organization that orginiated the figure -- is funded by fossil-fuel interests, who stand to lose under the Green New Deal and have a vested interest in denigrating it. And Politico notes that even AAF leader Holtz-Eakin, whom Seymour portrays as an authoritative figure and thus a reason the number should be believed as credible, admits the number is bogus because any precision in that great of a number is "illusory." Further, much of that number is "based on assumptions about universal health care and jobs programs rather than the costs of transitioning to carbon-free electricity and transportation," Politico writes. Further, even if one insists the number has value, it's contrasted by a a United Nations estimate that even a modest rise in global temperatures could have a global cost of as much as $69 trillion from.

If the MRC was honest with its readers, it would inform them that the Green New Deal cost it's been touting has no basis in reality. But we know it has no interest in correcting the record after it spreads fake news.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:02 PM EDT
Saturday, March 30, 2019
MRC Buries Steyer's Jewish Heritage To Justify Attacks On Him
Topic: Media Research Center

We've noted how the Media Research Center is offended that conservative criticism of liberals of Jewish heritage who support liberal causes with their money -- specifically, from Mouse Minority Kevin McCarthy -- might be considered anti-Semitic, and has sought to reassure conservatives that George Soros is a Jew you're allowed to hate without the threat of religious stigma.

Well, they're still going on about that. In its continuing attempt to brand Rep. Ilhan Omar as an anti-Semite for criticizing Israel, a March 11 post by Alex Christy wades into this again. He complained of MSNBC host Joe Scarborough:

Scarborough went into his usual list of purported anti-Semitic controversies involving Republicans. He again falsely accused Kevin McCarthy of warning about "Jew money" in the lead up to 2018 in attacks on George Soros, Tom Steyer, and Michael Bloomberg and went after Rep. Jim Jordan for replacing the 'S' in Steyer with a dollar sign, something "he's never done with a gentile." Tom Steyer is an Episcopalian.

Christy is not telling the whole truth about Steyer's religious heritage. While he is currently a practicing Episcopalian, according to Wikipedia, Steyer's father is Jewish, and Steyer's marriage waspresided over by a rabbi as well as an Episcopalian minister.

Is Christy saying that Steyer isn't a real Jew because he's only half-Jewish? That's a strange argument from a conservative organizaion that considers criticism of Ivanka Trump to be anti-Semitic because she married a Jew.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:40 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, March 31, 2019 8:27 PM EDT
Friday, March 29, 2019
Yet Another MRC Study Fail
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is already known for its shoddy "studies" of the media, which are designed to advance its right-wing anti-media agenda at the expense of objective research. Here's another example, in which Bill D'Agostino writes in a March 11 post:

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer has spent the past week using his evening show The Situation Room as a platform for Democratic lawmakers to plug their numerous investigations of President Trump. Blitzer, a veteran reporter and host on the network, is not a name that immediately springs to mind when one thinks of biased or outlandish statements from CNN journalists. However, the many interviews he has conducted with politicians on the Hill — a staple of his show — tell a story of bias through careful and deliberate framing of facts.

MRC analysts looked at the 10 interviews Blitzer conducted with lawmakers (all Democrats) on his show during the week spanning Monday, March 3 to Friday, March 8. Throughout those ten interviews, the CNN host asked only three questions (3%) that suggested the numerous House investigations into the President might be partisan or politically motivated. The remaining 86 investigation-related questions (97%) either accepted at face value the importance of these inquiries, or else pressed Democrats to go even further in their oversight role.

Blitzer framed his paltry three challenges to Democrats as party-line criticism coming from Republicans (“as Republican are alleging…”, “Republicans say…”). In each case he asked no follow-up questions regardless of what answer he received.

The point of this "study" is to complain that Blitzer isn't advancing the MRC's agenda by automatically assuming that Democratic investigations into Trump are partisan witch hunts. As usual, the MRC does not share the entire list of 86 questions, though it does cite a select few it claims proves its point. But D'Agostino is such a rabid Democrat and CNN hater -- as one must be to get a job at the MRC -- that even neutral and objective questions from Blitzer are offensive to him.

The point is that D'Agostino and the MRC don't want objectivity and neutrality in their media -- they want it to be as biased as their own "news" division, CNSNews.com.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:41 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, March 29, 2019 3:00 PM EDT
Thursday, March 28, 2019
MRC Still Bashing CNN's Parkland Town Hall, Still Won't Apologize For Pushing Hoax About It
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Nicholas Fondacaro spent a March 19 post being triggered by the fact that a CNN town hall after the Parkland school shooting received an award:

You probably remember CNN’s town hall to promote gun control and gun grabbing in Parkland, Florida last year. It’s hard to forget such a disgraceful display of exploitation, naked partisanship, and vile hatred. Oh, and let’s not overlook the fact that host Jake Tapper was the ring leader enabling the circus.

On Tuesday, the Norman Lear Center bestowed their Walter Cronkite Award“ for excellence in television political journalism” on CNN and Tapper for their efforts:

CNN Parkland Town Hall, a two-hour special, aired only seven days after 17 students and teachers were murdered by a gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. In this “compelling and powerful” forum, moderator Jake Tapper deftly gave generous space to speak to gun control advocates, politicians, Parkland students, parents and a representative from the NRA. The program helped “advance the national conversation on gun control and violence,” the jury said.

“Advance the national conversation?” That’s code for: advancing the liberal agenda (gun control in this case) under the facade of legitimate reporting.

What Fondacaro didn't do, however, is express any remorse -- let alone apologize -- for the MRC's key role in spreading an anti-CNN hoax involving that town hall.

As we documented, Fondacaro gave major play to the claims of Colton Haab, a shooting survivor, that CNN tried to script his questions for the town hall. Even when CNN released the email exchange between it and Haab, which proved that Haab and his family doctored the record to fraudulently support the "scripted" narrative, Fondacaro continued to insist CNN was the one who was lying and couldn't be bothered to tell the full truth to MRC readers -- even after Haab's father admitted he doctored things and even when others who promoted the false narrative did correct the record. Further, Fondacaro's original posts are unaltered and still promote the hoax.

Fondacaro promoted a hoax about the CNN town hall, still refuses to tell the truth about it -- and yet he's still raging that it wasn't fair to his right-wing agenda. If that's not a classic definition of cognitive dissonance, we don't know what is. And he degrades any credibility the MRC might have when it demands that false claims be corrected.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:28 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, March 28, 2019 7:32 PM EDT
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Whataboutism-ists At The MRC Accuse Others of Whataboutism
Topic: Media Research Center

One standard rhetorical tactic the Media Research Center loves to engage in is whataboutism -- defecting from an allegation against an ally by claiming an opponent is doing the exact same thing. Its response to the devastating New Yorker story on Fox News is a good example of how this works.

So it's a bit funny to see the MRC accuse others of whataboutism. For some reason, it did this a lot regarding people taking about Msulim Rep. Ilhan Omar's statements critical of Israel.

Alex Christy complained that MSNBC guest Sam Stein noted that "many liberal Jews have many of the same problems with Benjamin Netanyahu that Omar does" then "moved to the real story: anti-Muslim behavior. 'This is not whataboutism, although it's going to come across that way, but there is and has to be a better understanding of the degree to which anti-Muslim behavior isn't just rhetorical, but it permeates our politics in ways people don't totally appreciate,' Stein declared." Christy added: "Perhaps, it sounds like whataboutism, because it is."

Curtis Houck similarly huffed that "Kirsten Powers became stricken with an embarrassing case of whataboutism" by "blasting President Trump and suggesting that criticism of Omar has been Islamophobic and sexist."

In another post, Houck didn't use the word but described whataboutism in practice by claiming that CNN's Erin Burnett "and two panelists spent over 10 minutes trying to muddy the waters on anti-Semitism, downplaying Minnesota Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s long history of anti-Semitic comments because the President’s Charlottesville comments and white supremacists are the ones worth denouncing (instead of both)." Houck then asserted that Burnett "smugly went after Trump as a raging hypocrite, implying he’s okay with anti-Semitism" -- even though Burnett provided examples of such that Houck didn't dispute.

As we've noted, Houck has previously tried to handwave Trump's anti-Semitic tendenciees by arguing that Trump "didn't know what he was doing" when he tweeted an image showing Hillary on a pile of cash with a Star of David shape reading, "Most corrupt candidate ever!"


Posted by Terry K. at 2:13 PM EDT

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