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Thursday, January 23, 2020
MRC's Graham Defends False Insult As A Mere 'Rhetorical Flourish'
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Tim Graham writes in a Jan. 12 post:

One of the routine ways the "independent fact checkers" demonstrate a liberal bias is by leaping to attack conservatives for making a rhetorical flourish on cable news. On Tuesday, PolitiFact threw a Pants On Fire" verdict at former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley for saying no government is protesting the killing of Iranian terrorist mastermind Qasem Soleimani, only Democrats are "mourning the loss of Soleimani."

One of the routine ways Graham conducts his war on fact-checking is to nit-pick the claims in order to present them as unfair to conservatives. Here, he pretends that words don't mean things and insists without evidence that Haley's accusation of "mourning" was not meant to be taken literally though Haley never indicated otherwise -- and then goes Godwin:

PolitiFact's Louis Jacobson and Amy Sherman then dutifully listed top Democrat leaders sayingSoleimani was a bad guy, but. It's true that the Democrats didn't wear black and go into mourning. But they intensely criticized the military action.

It's also not strictly factual for Democrats to say Trump is Hitler. Or Putin's puppet. But those kinds of statements are very rarely noticed by the PolitiFact squad.

Conveniently, Graham never cites anyone of similar stature to Haley claiming that "Trump is Hitler." And there is certainly enough evidence to show that the idea of Trump being Putin's puppet is, at the very least, not inaccurate.

Graham then goes into his old whataboutism schtick: "A review of PolitiFact 'Truth-o-Meter' rulings shows that no Democrats have been tagged for making wild or false statements on the subject of the Soleimani strike."

That's the kind of rhetorical dishonesty Graham has to resort to in order to keep his silly right-wing narrative alive.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:15 PM EST
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
MRC Still Touting Media-Bashing From Discredited Reporter Lara Logan
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Curtis Houck gushed in a Jan. 8 post:

On Wednesday, our friends at the Daily Caller flagged a blistering appearance by former CBS News journalist host Lara Logan on Tuesday’s display of infatuation with the Iranian government and hatred for President Trump.

An exasperated host Laura Ingraham teed Logan up by stating how, in 2020, “[t]he liberal media [are] acting more like state-run TV at times than, you know, David Brinkley or any of the greats, like Peter Jennings” by “carrying the water for the Iranian regime” against Trump.

Now a Fox Nation host, Logan replied that “it’s kind of depressing” to hear how her colleagues have behaved “because that's not in my experience — I've been a journalist for more than 30 years, and I've honestly never seen anything like it.”

Interesting that Houck tells that Logan is a "former CBS News journalist" before he mentioned how she moved downmarket to being a "Fox Nation host." But it's not surprising that Houck doesn't tell his readers why Logan is a "former CBS News journalist."

As we documented when Logan resurfaced last year as an explicitly conservative commentator, Logan headed up a 2013 "60 Minutes" story on a security contractor hiding behind a pseudonym who had written a book claiming that he had witnessed the attack on U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans. After the story aired, other journalists discovered that the contractor was nowhere near the Benghazi facility at the time of the attack and that a told a different account to the FBI.On top of that failure of reporting, Logan also failed even though the MRC despises CBS as a member of the so-called "liberal media," it entirely ignored the controversy -- perhaps because it knew all along that she was an ideological fellow traveler. To this day, the MRC's original post promoting Logan's segment remains live and uncorrected, and it never told readers the story was found to be false.

Now that Logan no longer has to pretend to be an objective journalist, the MRC loves her conservative anti-media rants even more though her credibility has been destroyed.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:11 PM EST
Tuesday, January 21, 2020
MRC Keeps Its 'Fact-Checks' Partisan And Factually Deficient
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's war on fact-checking doesn't extend to its own alleged fact-checking, perhaps because it's so terrible. In a Jan. 8 post, Nicholas Fondacaro issued the familiar complaint that President Trump was once again fact-checked, this time after his claim that, in Fondacaro's telling, "the Obama administration handed over roughly $1.7 billion to Iran as a ransom for American hostages and said it helped Iran fund the attack" on a U.S. military base in Iraq after Trump directed the killing of Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani:

In a fact-check, CNN dinged Trump for exaggerating the money amount by saying Obama’s nuclear deal freed up $150 billion in frozen, overseas Iranian assets. But even they admitted Obama once used the same figure and noted the real amount was reportedly between $50-60 billion. That’s a lot of money entering a cash-strapped country that’s known to fund terrorist organizations around the region.

CNN also did not attempt to fact-check how Iran spent the unfrozen funds. The fact is, Iran doesn’t do domestic spending. The Iranian regime puts much of its funding towards developing its ballistic missile and other weapons technologies, the Revolutionary Guard, and terrorist group activities.

Also, CNN’s fact-check did lie to readers in that it falsely claimed the $1.7 billion was “to settle a decades-old dispute over a purchase of never-delivered US military goods Iran made…” That’s where the money came from but not why it was delivered.

Fondacaro offered nothing to back up his "fact" that Iran "much of its funding towards" military activities -- perhaps because that isn't actually true. As actual fact-checkers have pointed out, the money was Iran's in the first place, intended to buy military equipment from the U.S. in the 1970s but canceled after Iran's Islamic revolution; the U.S. held onto Iran's $400 million, which accrued interest over the next few decades.

Not only is there no way to know whether Iran used the money the U.S. returned to it to specifically pay for the missiles fired on the Iraqi bases, it's unlikely that those missiles were paid for by Iran deal money. Former national sexurity adviser Susan Rice has pointed out that Iran had a ballistic missile program for several years before the nuclear deal was signed.

Instead, Foncacaro went on a tirade against Susan Rice over a separate TV appearance, calling her an "Obama-era liar" and ranting that she "lied to the American people about a YouTube video causing the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya." As usual, Fondacaro never proves Rice "lied"; in fact, she was simply repeating talking points supplied to her by the CIA.

Fondacaro even summarized the CNN fact-check wrong. Trump didn't say the Iran deal "freed up $150 billion in frozen, overseas Iranian assets" as Fondacaro claimed; he said that Iran was "given $150 billion." And that figure (which was indeed somewhere around $60 billion) was for unfrozen assets around the globe, not U.S. money given to Iran.

Fondacaro wasn't the only MRC writer to fall into derangement mode over Rice's reappearance. The same day, Tim Graham huffed that Rice "lied on five different network talk shows in 2012," then repeated Trump's falsehood in complaining that she was allowed to fact-chedk "the 150 billion dollars Obama gave to Iraq, declaring that "There is no doubt that Obama gave that money. Liberals are merely claiming we were giving the Iranians back their own seized assets from 1979."

Graham is clearly never going to admit that the "liberals" are being factually accurate.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:23 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, January 21, 2020 10:40 PM EST
Monday, January 20, 2020
MRC's Bozell Shows Double Standard Again On Presidential Credit for A Terrorist Leader's Death
Topic: Media Research Center

An anonymously written Jan. 3 Media Research Center post states:

Media Research Center President Brent Bozell appeared on Varney and Co., Friday, to hammer the media’s response to the death of terrorist leader Qasem Soleimani. Regarding press outlets that have called him “ iconic” and “ revered,” an exasperated Bozell concluded, “The media refuse to award the United States the moral high ground in this existential fight between good and evil, this existential fight between those who believe in freedom and those who believe in terrorism.” 

Regarding the drone strike that killed Soleimani, Bozell critiqued the media: “You just saw [Trump] take out one of the most vicious, horrific men on the planet Earth whose got the blood of hundreds of Americans on his hands and they still can't unequivocally give this president, this commander-in-chief, the credit for putting an end to this man.”

This seems like a good time to remind people that Bozell refused to give President Obama credit for his role in the death of Osama bin Laden. As we documented, Bozell ranted that President George W. Bush deserved the credit "more than anyone" and even complained that a documentar about the killing of bin Laden might be released too close to the 2012 election because associating Obama with it might help him get re-elected.

If Bozell can ever stop being such a hard-right partisan long enough to give Obama proper credit for bin Laden's death, then maybe he has a right to speak out.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:14 AM EST
Sunday, January 19, 2020
MRC's Double Standard on the Comedian Defense, Part 2
Topic: Media Research Center

We've noted how the Media Research Center gives conservative comedians a pass for saying offensiver things (perhaps because it's not offended by, say, rampant homophobia) that it would never give to a non-conservative comedian who offended the MRC's right-wing sensibilities.

Well, the MRC's Gabriel Hays had a meltdown over an obvious joke by George Lopez in a Jan. 6 post:

Trying to walk back his enthusiastic support for Iran’s $80 million bounty on Trump’s head, terminal TDS sufferer George Lopez claimed his comment that “we’ll do it for half” was just “a joke.”

Yeah, presidential assassination on behalf of an evil, anti-American government. All in good fun, eh?

[...]

Even with lefties in the media accusing Trump of possibly committing “war crimes” over his bombing of the leader of the Iranian Royal Guard Corps — a terrorist organization — Lopez’s unhinged joke stuck out like a sore thumb.

In his rage, Hays missed the obvious thing Lopez was riffing on: the trope that immigrants, typically Hispanics, are considered cheap labor.

By comparison, the MRC had little to say when right-wing gun activist Ted Nugent declared that he would be "dead or in jail" if Barack Obama won re-election in 2012. At the time, all it served up was Jeremiah Wright whataboutism even though Wright never threatened a president's life.

Then again, Hays' comedic tastes tend to lean toward transphobia, having already defended Ricky Gervais for it.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:55 PM EST
Saturday, January 18, 2020
Brent Bozell, Terrible Tweeter
Topic: Media Research Center

We know that Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell is generally a terrible person -- after all, he had his syndicated column ghost-written for him for years. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Bozell is also bad at tweeting, writing things that his MRC writers would mock if he wasn't their boss.

In the midst of the impeachment hearings in November, Bozell responded to the testimony of Gordon Sondland, President Trump's ambassador to the European Union, Bozell harrumphed: "Listen to Sondland and you'll understand why America elected Donald Trump president to get rid of people like Sondland."

Many people informed Bozell that not only did Trump had appoint Sondland to his ambassadorship, Sondand was a Republican bundler who donated $1 million to Trump's inaugural committee, swampy behavior that presumably helped him get that ambassadorship. The tweet eventually got so badly ratioed that Bozell deleted it.

A month later, Bozell did some legal blue-skying in asking the immortal question, "Is 'obstruction of justice' a bad thing?"

Bozell did not seem to understand that the self-evident answer to that question is "yes." After enough people told him so, ee similarly made that tweet disappear as well.

If Bozell serves up those kinds of pearls of wisdom when left to his own devices, perhaps it was a good thing that Tim Graham ghost-wrote all those columns of his.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:02 PM EST
Friday, January 17, 2020
MRC Touts How A Film It Hated Tanked -- And Censored How A Film It Loved Tanked Even Harder
Topic: Media Research Center

Like an ideologically driven Roger Ebert, the Media Research Center loves to attack movies that clash with its right-wing agenda, even mocking them if they fall short in box office receipts. It also promotes the heck out of movies that conform to its ideology, then censors the fact that they tanked at the box office. It's done a little bit of both lately.

The MRC beat up on the film "Bombshell," about the sexual harassment scandal at the Roger Ailes-led Fox News. For instance, right-wing movie critic Christian Toto contributed a post with the clickbait headline "What ‘Bombshell’ Stars REALLY Think of Fox News, Conservatives," and Tim Graham and Brent Bozell complained that this movie exists and not a "ripped-from-the-headlines TV dramatization of Harvey Weinstein's predations (Graham went solo in a post complaining about this "anti-Fox News film").

The capper on this was a Jan. 3 post by Randy Hall gloating that "Bombshell" has been "a flop at the box office, dropping from 6th place to 9th during its second weekend in wide release," even though "the film stars such well-known actresses as Charlize Theron and Nicole Kidman, who portray former anchors Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson, as well as Margot Robbie, whose role is as producer Kayla Pospisil, a 'composite character' based on several FNC employees." He highlighted the film's "two-week take as almost $16 million while costing $33 million to produce."

Hall went on to cite The Hill's conservative media critic Joe Concha, who argued that the film tanked because nobody wanted to watch a film about a "polarizing" media outlet made by an equally polarizing Hollywood. But he failed what Concha also said about a different film that was tanking even harder:

"Bombshell’s" poor showing comes as another media-themed movie is also struggling, in the form of "Richard Jewell." This Clint Eastwood film tells the story of the FBI and the media bungling the investigation into the 1996 Summer Olympics bombing in Atlanta and turning an innocent security guard, Jewell, into a prime suspect based on no evidence.

Box office since its December 13 release date: $16 million. Budget: $45 million

You might recall that the MRC loved "Richard Jewell," to the point that it effectively approved of Eastwood's false smearing of a real-life reporter by suggesting she slept with a source for story tips.

In his post, Hall linked to Box Office Mojo's box office take list for the final weekend of the year, but didn't mention that "Bombshell" grossed more money than "Richard Jewell" despite being on 1,000 fewer screens. And as of this writing, "Bombshell" has grossed more money than "Richard Jewell" despite never having as wide a release ("Bombshell" appeared on a maximum of 1,721 screens; "Richard Jewell" opened on 2,502 screens). Also, "Richard Jewell's" average daily per-screen take never topped $780, while "Bombshell" exceeded an average $1,000 take per screen on eight days.

"Bombshell" has been indisputably more popular than "Richard Jewell" -- by you'll never hear the MRC tell you that fact.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:16 PM EST
Updated: Friday, January 24, 2020 12:48 AM EST
Thursday, January 16, 2020
MRC -- Who Hates The 'Deep State' And Trump Criticism From Military Man --- Now Demands We Trust Civil Servants, Military Officers-
Topic: Media Research Center

In a Jan. 4 post, the Media Research Center's Alex Christy took offense to commentary from Ayman Mohyeldin on MSNBC following the Trump-ordered killing of top Iranian military official Qasem Soleimani, first for noting that while Soleimani led anti-U.S. attacks, he also led attacks against ISIS, then for pointing out that the Trump administration lacks the credibilty to have its explanation of the circumstances behind what led up to Soleimani's killing to be taken at face value:

He followed up that the United States under President Trump cannot be trusted, "They obviously haven’t provided that evidence. It is interesting to see and important to emphasize that it is hard to believe the American government on something like this without them and especially this Administration without them put forward, some clear evidence."

So much for trusting civil servants and uniformed military officers.

Funny, the MRC has spent the past few months insisting we can't trust civil servants and uniformed military officers when the testify against Trump over impeachment.

The MRC has repeatedly attacked the "deep state" -- that is, career civil servants -- foir purportedly undermining Trump. To name just a few recent examples:

  • Curtis Houck complained that political analyst David Gregory "bragged about the power of the Deep State" in curbing Trump's excesses.
  • Kristine Marsh touted "America’s distrust of the media and the deep state."
  • Clay Waters groused that "the New York Times has now embraced the bureaucratic Deep State against the president."He also attacked another Times writer for having "bragged about the Deep State’s effectiveness while talking about his book Deep State on NBC’s Today, hailing bureaucrats undermining the Trump administration as noble public servants 'protecting the Constitution.'"
  • Ryan Foley huffed that panelists on Bill Maher's TV show "s[p]ent much of the conversation defending the 'deep state.' According to Maher, the phrase 'deep state' really means 'people with resumes who know something.'"
  • Houck also grumbled that the "Trump-hating CNN" had on "Deep State liar James Clapper to downplay the U.S. special forces raid that led to the death of ISIS leader of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi."
  • Jeffrey Lord praised Rush Limbaugh for having "frequently discussed the idea that today’s elite colleges are a breeding ground for leftism and the Deep State."

And the MRC certainly had no respect for uniformed military officer Alexander Vindman when he testified about what he knew about Trump's actions toward Ukraine:

  • Nicholas Fondacaro mocked a CNN commenter for having "ripped Republicans for daring to attack Vindman. Why? Well, it’s because he was injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq."
  • Fondacaro also complained: "As if he was the hero they needed to vanquish their nemesis, the liberal media fell in love with the public impeachment testimony of White House Ukraine adviser Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman," attacking one outlet for describing Vindman as "a decorated combat veteran wearing a chest full of service medals and a Purple Heart."
  • Houck defended "the legitimate ability of Donald Trump, Jr. to offer firm disagreements with the impeachment process and witness Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman," grumbling that the media thinks "daring to suggest the press aren’t doing their jobs or Vindman isn’t perfect must mean you’re unpatriotic, want them to receive death threats, or automatically view them as subhuman. Or something like that."
  • Tim Graham served up a right-wing conspiracy theory that Vindman was secretly working with the whistleblower who first noted problems with Trump's phone call with the Ukrainian president.

Apparently, the MRC only wants us to trust civil servants and military officers when they put Trump's interests before that of the country.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:25 PM EST
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Graham Pretends MRC Is Above Promoting Fake News, Has 'No Interest' In Alex Jones
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Tim Graham spent a Dec. 29 post complaining that NBC "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd identified the chain of disinformation among right-wing websites, to which he responds with such talking points as "Journalists like Todd decry we can't agree on "shared facts," but so there are so many facts they can't stand to discuss -- take the Horowitz IG report -- that it's a one day story after three years of pushing Russian collusion."

After Todd identified disinformation as "an ecosystem problem, at least on the right," in which operations such as InfoWars and Gateway Pundit play a prominent role, Graham huffed in response: "There should be a devotion to facts and honesty in conservative media. Sites like ours have no interest in crackpot sites like InfoWars."

It's clear that Graham doesn't read the site for which he serves as executive editor.

From repeating bogus, anonymously sourced claims and refusing to correct them to  putting words in people's mouths to outright lying to its readers, it's clear that Graham is not imposing any "devotion to facts and honesty" at NewsBusters and the MRC.

Further, the MRC very much has an interest in sites like InfoWars -- at least when they can be invoked as examples of how social media operations are supposedly censoring conservative speech. To cite a few examples from the past year or so:

  • Corinne Weaver complained about Apple's ban of "noted conspiracy theorist Alex Jones" while purportedly refusing to "censor content that doesn’t fall in line with leftist groupthink."
  • In another post, she noted that "conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was permanently banned" as an example of "conservative, pro-Trump or anti-establishment figures on Twitter being punished for expressing their views, many of them well-known in their fields."
  • Alexander Hall promoted a documentary made by a colleague of far-right British Muslim-hater Tommy Robinson that "explore[s] five people who have been shut down and silenced on social media," including Jones. Hall uncritically quoted Jones describing himself as "patient zero of the deplatforming epidemic."
  • Hall also uncritically touted a podcast host who was unhappy about "the deplatforming of Alex Jones" as a sign that "the far left is censoring and smearing centrists and the right on social media."
  • Weaver groused that CNN, "the outlet that successfully campaigned for conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to be banned from almost all major social media platforms seemed to urge for more action from Twitter." She linked to a 2018 post she wrote lamenting the ban.
  • Weaver also worked up a conspiracy theory about Facebook's ban on threats that she decided excluded those on the site's "dangerous individuals" list, which includes Jones: "Theoretically, users could post content threatening to kill these individuals, and nothing would be done by the company."
  • Hall basically dared Dave Rubin, operator of a new social media site, not to ban "someone as controversial as Alex Jones and the InfoWars brand" despite being "personally offensive, but legal."

Does this sound like an organizaion that has "no interest" in Jones and InfoWars? Perhaps Graham should explain.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:27 PM EST
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
How The MRC Learned To Love Ricky Gervais
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center used to hate Ricky Gervais. In 2011, Brent Bozell (well, Tim Graham) complained that the comedian "mercilessly insulted nearly everyone in Hollywood" in a Golden Globes hosting stint, adding, "Gervais wasn’t doing winking 'just kidding' jokes akin to Don Rickles that night. They weren’t even jokes. They were insults and they were brutal. ... The vaunted return of Gervais is just another living landmark of how the entertainment industry has put civility through the shredder and embraced mean-spiritedness with gusto." That hate continued:

  • In 2012, Matt Hadro was upset that Gervais "slammed certain fundamentalist Christians who warn their children that they will go to hell if they become gay" by calling that "child abuse." That same year, Noel Sheppard huffed that Gervais and Jimmy Fallon "actually spent two minutes joking about pedophiles."
  • In 2014, Graham blasted Gervais for being among the "liberal media elite" praising Stephen Colbert for his role as an aggressively clueless conservative in his Comedy Central show.
  • In 2016, Alexa Moutevelis attacked Gervais for his "shockingly vulgar monologue" as host of that year's Golden Globes, adding, "Hope you kids weren't watching with you."
  • In 2017, Corinne Weaver sneered that "Ricky Gervais has decided to join the roundtable of comedians that tries to say something relevant about the current US government" by observing that the "Hollywood liberal elite" is not the "real enemy" of America, no matter what President Trump and the MRC say.

But the MRC's opinion of Gervais beghan changing once his comedy targets became more acceptable to conservatives -- specifically, transgendered people.

When Gervais made retrograde jokes about Caitlyn Jenner in 2018, Clay Waters rushed to his defense, arguing that "Gervais was reasonably pointing out that the entire world knew Caitlyn Jenner for decades as Olympic winner Bruce Jenner" and denounced the New York Times for calling him out of step with the times. A few weeks later, Christian Toto lamented, "Ricky Gervais was beloved by the media right up until the release of his new Netflix special Humanity. Now, he’s 'transphobic' and worse.

In July, Gabriel Hays similarly found Gervais' trasphobic humor acceptable:

British comedian Ricky Gervais has been called “transphobic” over defending women refusing to wax transwomen in Canada because they are uncomfortable dealing with their clients’ very male genitalia. Gervais defended the spa workers saying that it’s “real feminism” for women to choose who to wax or not, but internet users aren’t having it.

Hays then declared that Gervais' joke showed he was "demonstrating himself as a celebrity that isn’t completely devoid of common sense (a real showbiz unicorn, these days).

In November, Hays upgraded the MRC's view of Gervais from "vulgar" and "brutal " to merely a "politically incorrect mischief makert" because he once again, yes, made more transgender jokes, proudly crowing, "Despite the left’s best efforts, cancel culture has not yet ousted Ricky Gervais." He didn't mention that his employer had been trying to work cancel culture against Gervais for years.

The 180 was complete when Gervais once again hosted the Golden Globes. Rather than see his attacks on the Hollywood crowd as "brutal" and "merciless," the MRC couldn't get enough of his insults. Karen Townsend gushed in a Jan. 5 post:

Kicking off Sunday's 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards on NBC, comedian and host Ricky Gervais, pulled no punches as he is known to do. He even voiced an opinion that must have had half of the viewing audience cheering. He told the stars and the others nominated for awards that if they should win, not to make a political speech because they know nothing about the real world.

Gervais assured all of them that though they think they are woke, they work for companies owned by some nefarious people.

Elise Ehrhard linked to Townsend's post to praise "more courageous comedy writers such as Ricky Gervais who are truly willing to attack powers that be," as compared to "Family Guy" creator Seth McFarlane, who "should ditch the tired scenes mocking Catholic clergy, which come at no cost to him."

Scott Whitlock served up more gushing in the midst of his stock MRC complaint that the "liberal media" won't sufficiently cover something that advances the right-wing agenda," cheering that "Gervais delivered a blistering, brutal attack on liberal Hollywood, Sunday night, bringing up awkward topics like covering up for Harvey Weinstein"

Hays name-checked Gervais' transphobic humor (which, again, he completely approves of, being more than a little transphobic himself) in his praise for the Golden Globes rant:

The U.K. comedian ribbed the wealthy movie-making elite with jokes about how out-of-touch and corrupt many of them are, and how they are “in no position to lecture the public on anything.” Normal people watching found it hilarious and right on the money, however Hollywood apologists in the media wept for the sake of the celebrities.

Gervais’ fifth time hosting awards promised to be a controversial outing, considering controversial is Gervais’ usual shtick, and he had spent a chunk of 2019 combating the woke twitter crowd who called him “transphobic.” Many were hoping for him to pushback while speaking in the belly of the progressive PC beast.

Stunned viewers got more than they bargained for when Gervais’ opening speech blistered the glamorous attendees. He made jokes about their relationships with powerful sex offenders Harvey Weistein and Jeffrey Epstein and went the full nine in torching their political credibility.

Hays added: "Hollywood’s full of hypocrites, and it might do better for everyone if they’re told to their faces. Lefty media needs to get out of the way!"

Bozell and Graham completely ignored their criticism of Gervais' attacks on Hollywood in 2011 in cranking up their effusive praise for the new, conservatively correct Gervais, touting how he "set social media on fire after he mocked arrogant Hollywood in his opening monologue as host of the Golden Globe Awards. ... It was too accurate to be funny. It stung."The two didn't explainhow Gervais moved from hurling "insults and they were brutal" to being "too accurate to be funny."

Toto, the first at the MRC to praise Gervais' transphobia, unsurprisingly loved the new rant as well: "Gervais landed a haymaker against Woke Hollywood. He reminded viewers that many stars live lives disconnected from the struggles of their blue-collar fans. Hollywood celebrities aren’t well versed in political science, technology or bio-engineering. Yet they demand we listen to their views as if they’ve studied these topics for years, if not 'decades.'" Toto went on to praise how "Gervais’ scorched earth monologue" was "more than a simple series of jokes."

Amazing how far hating transgender people gets you in the right-wing media these days.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:27 PM EST
Monday, January 13, 2020
MRC's Graham Embraces Conspiracy Theory Over Impeachment Witness
Topic: Media Research Center

On Dec. 16, the Media Research Center's Curtis Houck claimed that "CNN’s existence can be boiled down to gaslighting Americans by deeming most everything President Trump and those not in the Resistance utter as conspiracy theories" and bashed a CNN host for having "entertained a wild conspiracy theory about not holding a Senate impeachment trial."

A couple weeks later, Houck's boss was entertaining his own conspiracy theory.

Tim Graham used a Jan. 2 post to boost conspiracy-mongering by the Washington Examiner's Eddie Scarry -- last seen around here getting a pass from the MRC for a tweet mocking the way a Democratic congresswoman dresses -- attacking the Washington Post over reporting that President Trump "falsely" accused National Security Council staffer and impeachment hearing witness Alex Vindman of plotting with the whistleblower who reported the subsdtance of Trump's "I need a favor" conversation with the Ukrainian president.Graham copy-and-pasted Scarry saying, "Vindman testified that he didn't know who the whistleblower is, but we shouldn't necessarily believe that — especially not after the televised hearing," citing how a line of Republican questioning to Vindman was blocked out of fear of outing the whistleblower, prompting Scarry to deduce (despite lacking any corroborating evidence) that Vindman talked to the whistleblower. Graham added:

Maybe the Post is speaking Clintonese on this one. Vindman spoke with the whistleblower -- he told him all his concerns -- but didn't plot with the whistleblower to "undermine" Trump.

Just as the Post would deny it's plotting to undermine Trump. Journalists are just safeguarding democracy. 

Scarry asked "why would the Washington Post feel such confidence that Vindman really wasn't interested in undermining the president?" That also raises the question: How much does the Post know directly from Vindman and the "whistleblower" that they've hidden through anonymous sourcing? 

Anonymous sourcing makes it harder to prove anyone's plotting to undermine anyone. That's why the media love to exploit it.

Again, there's no actual evidence that Vindman talked to, let alone plotted with, the whistleblower -- Scarry and Graham are merely speculating based on conjecture. As Media Matters summarized: "It’s possible Vindman talked to the whistleblower without being aware that they went on to file a complaint, or that Vindman provided the readout to someone who passed it along further. He might have an idea of who the whistleblower is but lack certainty."

Apparently, conspiracy theories are OK only when conservatives can make use of them.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:40 PM EST
Saturday, January 11, 2020
MRC Researcher Pretends He Can Read Don Lemon's Mind
Topic: Media Research Center

We know that Media Research Center "news analyst" Nicholas Fondacaro is a liar. He also pretends he can read minds as well. Fondacaro huffed in a Jan. 1 post:

Shortly after the United States started to ring in 2020 on Wednesday (and after more than a few drinks), CNN Tonight host Don Lemon announced he had a major New Year’s resolution for the upcoming election year that he wanted people to know about: “lean in harder” and “fight.” Essentially, he was vowing to be more biased in his reporting.

In fact, Lemon said nothing about being more "biased." He stated that "I'm going to lean in harder. I'm sick of the craziness. So, you thought I was -- I went hard in 2019. Watch 2020, baby. There's more to come. I'm a soldier. I'm ready to fight." Fondacaro is putting words in Lemon's mouth and pretending to read his mind.

Fondacaro went on to impart knowledge he can't possibly know when he later intoned: "Anyone who watches Lemon's nightly show knows there's only one side he fights for: the left." He linked to the NewsBusters topic page on Lemon, which cites only 11 examples of Lemon purportedly fighting for "the left" in the final three months of 2019.

If Lemon was really the incessant fighter on "the left" that Fondacaro insists he is, shouldn't the MRC have way more examples of it? And shouldn't Fondacaro care more about what Lemon actually instead of what he imagines Lemon said?


Posted by Terry K. at 11:43 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, January 12, 2020 7:09 PM EST
Friday, January 10, 2020
MRC Goes On Attack Against Evangelical Magazine's Criticism of Trump
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center cannot tolerate any criticism of President Trump, even -- especially -- if it comes from a Christian viewpoint. So when Christianity Today editor Mark Galli wrote an editorial advocating President Trump's impeachment, the MRC made sure to go into freakout mode.

Aiden Jackson kicked off the freakout with a Dec. 20 post asserting that Christianity Today was "notorious for opposing Trump" -- but she could cite only one other piece from the magazine, which ran more than three years ago.Still, she insisted that "Readers of 'Christianity Today' would most likely find its inclusion of another anti- Trump op ed about as surprising as a Trump hit piece featured on ABC, which is to say not very."

Tim Graham followed by taking offense to Galli discussing the editorial on NPR, in which he likened evangelicals' relationship with Trump to a wife who puts up with a "verbally abusive spouse" because he's a good provider otherwise but then escalates to physical abuse.Graham couldn't be bothered to make a defense of Trump, instead huffing "If the evangelical is willing to insult Trump in the most viciously personal way imaginable, he is welcome to the taxpayer-subsidized airwaves.

Mark Finkelstein complained that MSNBC would "exploit for maximum political gain" the Christianity Today editorial by pointing out not inaccurately that right-wing evangelicals "would sell Jesus out if they thought they could get something from it." Like Graham, Finkelstein attacked the messenger: "It's always amazing to marvel at the chutzpah of Reverend Sharpton calling out someone else for exploiting their religious bona fides or race-baiting, or being a shameless con man. Holy Tawana Brawley!"

Graham and Brent Bozell groused that "The left has lunged to promote an editorial by Christianity Today magazine that insists Trump must be removed from office" before declaring the "the cultural winners and losers of 2019."

Finally, Jeffrey Lord whined that Galli's editorial "sounded no different than the average anti-Trump/Never-Trump blasts that routinely come from the outlets of the decidedly non-religious Leftist State Media," then ranted about "Christian elites" and how a "left-wing" editor at the rival Christian Post resigned after that publication ran an editorial defending Trump. Lord offered no evidence that this editor is "left-wing" other than his resignation.

Lord, like the rest of the MRC writers, offered no point-by-point rebuttal of Galli's editorial; instead, he declared that it was a "massive backfire" because such "rabid anti-Trumpism will prove to be one of the Trump campaigns biggest assets."


Posted by Terry K. at 3:35 AM EST
Wednesday, January 8, 2020
MRC Writer Recycles His Dance On The Newseum's Grave
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center hates the Newseum because it doesn't believe in journalism -- it only wants news with a right-wing bias, as demonstrated by its "news" divbision, CNSNews.com. Tim Graham's factually deficient meltdown in taking a clearly hyperbolic claim literally about a movie screening at the Newseum shows just how radioactive actual journalists (and, thus, the Newseum) is to the MRC denizens.

Therefore, the MRC couldn't have been happier at the idea of the Newseum shutting down. When it was first announced last January, Scott Whitlock couldn't resist dancing on the Newseum's grave 11 months early, ranting that it was a "self-indulgent journalistic shrine" and complaining it didn't uncritically promote conservative journalism and right-wing talk radio."

Upon the Newseum's actual closing at the end of 2019, Whitlock recycled his museum-bashing in a Dec. 26 post, once again calling it "self-indulgent" in his headline and rehashed his earlier criticism that "the Newseum downplayed bias and derided the 'advocacy journalism' of conservative talk radio."

Of course, Whitlock thinks all journalism should have the exact same bias as Rush Limbuagh and Mark Levin and that their views should never be questioned (witness how the MRC rushed to whitewash Rush's misogynist smear of Sandra Fluke). He and the MRC won't be happy until that happens.

No wonder a museum that celebrated the opposite enraged the MRC so much.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:22 PM EST
Tuesday, January 7, 2020
MRC Insists Soros' Survival In Nazi-Controlled Hungary Is 'Source of Great Controversy'
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has a weird obsession with George Soros, regularly freaking out over the money he gives to causes it doesn't like (and occasionally using anti-Semitic imagery in the process). It has even argued that it's not anti-Semitic to hate Soros. It's still trying to deny Soros his Jewish heritage.

Joseph Vazquez complained in a Nov. 14 post: "Accuse liberal billionaire George Soros of impropriety and you could be accused of anti-Semitism and be de-platformed. At least that’s what the Open Society Foundations is allegedly saying should happen to lawyer and Fox News guest Joe diGenova." DiGenova had ranted without evidence that Soros somehow "controls a very large part of the career foreign service of the United States State Department." Vazquez gave diGenova a pass on that, complaining instead of the call to remove diGenova from Fox News (which seems to have happened, though that's more likely because of his involvement in President Trump's Ukraine scandal.)

In a Dec. 26 post, Brad Wilmouth groused that a CNN anchor had accused Rudy Giuliani of "anti-Semitism and hatred" through his bizarre insistence that he is more Jewish than Soros. Wilmouth responded by insisting that Soros' tale of survival in Nazi-controlled Hungary is a "source of great controversy":

Philip Bump of The Washington Post argued "that bizarre comment that he's more Jewish than Soros. He makes that after having said that the former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, was under the control of Soros. So it is not only that he is, you know, assuming that he isn't enough Jewish, and not only that he's supporting these conspiracy theories broadly about Soros -- but he is spreading conspiracy theories very specifically about the person at the center of the impeachment without any evidence."

Coates and Bump did not clarify that what Soros did as a teenager to avoid persecution -- he posed as a Christian and even accompanied an official as he did inventory on a seized Jewish estate -- is a source of great controversy. Soros even stated in a CBS interview that he did not feel any guilt over what happened.

Actually, it's only a "source of great controversy" for Soros-haters like the MRC. Even the National Review article to which Wilmouth linked to prove this is somehow a "controversy" doesn't explain what's controversial about a teenager doing what he needed to do to survive the Nazi regime (in this case, posing as a Christian and helping a relative inventory Jewish property that had already been seized by the Nazis).

This is not the first time the MRC has done this; when Roseanne Barr falsely claimed that his survival tactic meant that that Soros was  collaborating with the Nazis, the MRC merely dismissed her claim as an "anti-Soros tweet" without bothering to debunk it.

Wilmouth then went on to invoke right-winger (and Jew, he's quick to point out) Dennis Prager insisting that "Criticism of Soros is rarely a lie, and its intent is rarely to create anti-Semitism." 

So how did the MRC go from  the claim being "anti-Soros" to a legitimate" source of great controversy"? Perhaps Wilmouth can explain. But then, explaining the facts would get in the way of the MRC's anti-Soros agenda.

Vazquez returned with a Jan. 7 post freaking out that "Godfather of the left" Soros (which, of course, sounds a bit anti-Semitic too, though the MRC did an entire report attacking Soros' philanthropy with that as the title) being named philanthropist of the year by an organization, ranting that Soros is "bankrolling leftist causes" and "currently supporting Big Government causes in the U.S. such as gun-control and a wealth-tax." Vazquez then went on an evidence-free attack of the Soros-founded Central European University as having a "radical left-wing history" dedicated to teaching "Soros’ own personal, bizarre leftist philosophy on “open society.”

Vazquez concluded with one final slam of Soros as having an "egotistical vision." But are the Mercers who fund the MRC any less egotistical? Vazquez didn't say.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:02 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, January 7, 2020 5:09 PM EST

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