MRC's Graham Sneers At Chelsea Clinton's Pregnancy Topic: Media Research Center
Yesterday we asked if the Media Research Center's Tim Graham would learn a lesson from that Sally Kohn column he's been touting -- you know, the one where she realized her conservative opponents were personable and human.
The answer, apparently, is no.
Graham used the opportunity of Chelsea Clinton's announced pregnanacy to sneer in a tweet, "Congratulations! The Clintons have decided it's a baby, not a women's-rights-problem."
It seems that Graham is continuing to refuse to acknowledge the Clintons as human, and he is apparently incapable of being nice to someone without turning it into a snide partisan attack. But we knew that about him already, didn't we?
MRC Bashes Jenny McCarthy for Being Anti-Vaccine, Forgets It's Anti-Vaccine Too Topic: Media Research Center
In an April 14 NewsBusters post, Scott Whitlock criticizes Jenny McCarthy for "attempting to backtrack on her anti-vaccine conspiracy theories." That's a bit hypocritical since the Media Research Center has its own anti-vaxxer streak.
As we've documented, the MRC has criticized people like McCarthy for promoting the discredited theory that vaccines cause autism, but it has promoted fearmongering about Gardasil and other anti-HPV vaccines, in part as a way to shame people about premarital sex. The MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, has declared that studying how to boost the vaccination rate for anti-HPV vaccines is a waste of federal money.
MRC Takes Colbert Out of Context To Attack Him For Replacing Letterman Topic: Media Research Center
Needless to say, the Media Research Center is not taking the choice of Stephen Colbert to replace David Letterman well.
Geoffrey Dickens kicks things off in an April 10 NewsBusters post by declaring that Colbert "call[ed] Sarah Palin 'a f**king retard'" -- which is dishonestly taken out of context. Dickens did attempt that missing context later in his post:
After playing a clip of Sarah Palin telling Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday that Rush Limbaugh’s use of the word was acceptable because it was satire, Stephen Colbert, on his February 8, 2010 show concluded, “It is okay to call someone a retard if like Rush you clearly don’t mean it...And Sarah Palin knows that it is okay to call someone a retard if like Rush you clearly don’t mean it. Which is why we should all come to her defense and say, ‘Sarah Palin is a f**king retard.’ Get it.”
But Dickens is still omitting crucial context -- Palin had demanded the resignation of then-White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel for using the term “[bleeping] retards,” and Colbert was pointing out her hypocrisy in giving Limbaugh a pass.
Dickens also harrumphed, "On his March 15, 2012 show Colbert joked that the Taliban had 'a better track record on women’s issues' than Rush Limbaugh." Again, Dickens omits context here -- as the accompanying video makes clear, Colbert was noting that the Army had decided to stop advertising on Limbaugh's radio show in the wake of his misogynistic tirade against Sandra Fluke, while continuing to negotiate with the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Dickens then complained that NBC's "Today" show "played a clip of a mock political ad by Colbert that likened Mitt Romney to a serial killer." Dickens ignores the context here too -- Colbert was simply taking Romney's statement that "corporations are people" to its logical extension, that dismantling corporations, as Romney's Bain Capital does, is tantamount to murder.
MRC Doesn't Understand How Calling Criticism 'Emotional' Could Be Considered Sexist Topic: Media Research Center
Kyle Drennen misses the point to an almost comic extent in an April 7 Media Research Center item:
On her 12 p.m. ET hour show on MSNBC Monday, host Andrea Mitchell accused former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden of being sexist simply for criticizing Senator Dianne Feinstein's slanted Intelligence Committee report condemning the interrogation of terror suspects under the Bush administration.
Mitchell played a clip of Hayden questioning the credibility of the report on Fox News Sunday, where he cited Washington Post columnist David Ignatius: "He said that Senator Feinstein wanted a report so scathing that it would 'ensure that an un-American brutal program of detention and interrogation would never again be considered or permitted.' Now that sentence, that motivation for the report...may show deep emotional feeling on the part of the Senator, but I don't think it leads you to an objective report."
After the sound bite, Mitchell hyped the supposedly offensive portion of the legitimate criticism: "So was the Senate Intelligence chair just too emotional in the way she wrote that report?" Talking to left-wing New York Times columnist Gail Collins, she further asked: "What about the way men of a different opinion – and there are lots of opinions on this issue – how men criticize women in power?"
Collins joined in Mitchell's rant: "But when, you know, John McCain talks about waterboarding and the terrible, you know, moral consequences and practical consequence that kind of thing has, that's foreign policy. Clearly when Dianne Feinstein does it, it's emotional."
Either Drennen is so evolved as a human being that he doesn't see how dismissing Feinstein's criticism as "emotional" could possibly be considered sexist, or he's so retrograde that he doesn't think it's a big deal.
MRC's Double Standard on Misleading Information About Climate Change, Redux Topic: Media Research Center
In an April 8 Media Research Center Business & Media Institute article, Sean Long fights an old battle over global warming numbers.
First, he's offended that an NBC special on climate change mentioned that there is "a 97 percent 'consensus' on the issue of climate change," calling the number "misleading":
The most recent origin of that claim is from geologist James Powell, who presented it in a study in January 2014, but even he admitted that his methods were subjective. Marc Morano of the website Climate Depot criticized Powell for failing to define what “accepts man-made global warming” meant, making his characterizations of scientific studies meaningless.
But then Long cited his own meaningless number: "In 2010, Marc Morano released a collection of more than 1000 scientists who 'challenged man-made global warming claims.'"
As we pointed out the last time the MRC cited Morano's number, many of the scientists who "challenged man-made global warming claims" on Morano's list have no formal training in climate science. Additionally, there are millions of people in the world who could be considered scientists, and Morano never provided any evidence that his list of 1,000 is statistically significant.
MRC Ignores Criticism Of Its Hispanic Media Study By Hispanic Media Topic: Media Research Center
As we've noted, the Media Research Center's effort to monitor Hispanic media is hampered by its longtime hostility toward Hispanics. That disrepect has continued with its dismissal of criticism of its big report attacking Hispanic media as liberal.
After the MRC report was released on April 1, both Telemundo and Univision gave their reaction to Politico defending the accuracy and fairness of their reporting. Politico obtained another crucial viewpoint:
But Gabriela Domenzain, a principal at The Raben Group and former Director of Hispanic Media for Obama's 2012 campaign, said that when she worked at both Univision and Telemundo conservative guests often didn't want to appear on the network even when invited.
"I can tell you in no uncertain terms that the predominant reason why Republicans and conservatives are not seen more or cited more on Spanish-language news outlets is their own refusal to comment or be interviewed by the networks and publications that Hispanics read and watch the most," Domenzain said.
"When pressed on why they don’t bring this to light, (national publications) will respond with what most journalists would say: they fear that going on the offense and brining their futile attempts to interview republicans to light, will only damage the slim-to-none possibility they may have in actually landing an interview," Domenzain said. "Unfortunately this drowns out the reasonable conservative voices that would benefit the Republican party in terms of courting the Hispanic vote and also makes it very hard to get critical information to Hispanics on what the Republican positions are, how they may help, or hurt them."
But in their April 4 column promoting the report, the MRC's Brent Bozell and Tim Graham ignored what Domenzain had to say about conservatives refusing to appear in Hispanic media. Instead, they attacked a Univision spokesman for defending the network's coverage of the Affordable Care Act as a public service to its viewers.
If the MRC cannot even give its targets the respect of acknowledging the shortcomings in its research, why should they treat the MRC with the respect they seem to be demanding?
Politico noted that MRC officials plan to meet with executives at Univision and Telemundo to discuss the study, but the networks had yet to commit to such a meeting. Given the complete lack of respect the MRC has shown the networks thus far, we're not surprised.
MRC Promote Crowdfunding For New Film By 'Climate Denial's Michael Moore' Topic: Media Research Center
A March 31 Media Research Center Culture & Media Institute article by Katie Yoder is essentially a promotion for the crowdfunding campaign by Phelim McAleer for his new project on rogue abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, which Yoder and McAleer describe as "America's biggest serial killer."
Yoder lets McAleer play the victim card by complaining that Kickstarter wouldn't host his crowdfunding campaign because he wouldn't tone down his language. Yoder adds, "In the past, the Phelim McAleer team garnered media applause for successfully producing the controversial documentary film 'FrackNation' via Kickstarter."
Actually, not so much. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that "FrackNation's" "roster of 'executive producers' who have donated at least $1 includes scores of energy industry associates," adding that "Available footage and trailers of 'FrackNation' play rather like industry commercials that have already been seen across Western Pennsylvania, telling stories of farmers and landowners who say gas drilling provides economic stability."
Dan Gainor's Hypocrisy on Ideological Diversity Topic: Media Research Center
For someone who is supposed to be a Media Research Center employee, local apparatchik Dan Gainor sure doesn't get published by the MRC much these days -- he tends to pop up at other right-wing outlets, and even then, the articles get minimal, if any, promotion from the MRC.
Thus, we had to go all the way to the Blaze to discover a March 28 column by Gainor complaining that new startup journalism websites are rife with liberals. He fails to notice the fact that most conservatives don't care about journalism, they care about advocacy -- which is why conservative newspapers need the assistance of a deep-pocketed benefactor to stay afloat.
Never one to let facts get in his way, Gainor goes on to complain:
The reality is liberal credentials are never enough for the left. One departure from whatever is the official left-wing position and you are out. Look what happened to Alec Baldwin, a patron saint of lefty Hollywood.
That’s why it’s unlikely for these sites or others – Buzzfeed, Politco, et al – to even try neutrality, much less lean right. Even a slight attempt at diversity of thought and they will get skewered by the left and the journalism community. That leaves the rest of us with an ever-growing diet of well-funded liberal start-ups with too few conservative operations to balance them out.
Ironically, the Guardian’s Bell ended her piece by complaining the new start-ups were just a “repackaging of the status quo.” She added: “A revolution calls for a regime change of more significant depth.”
She’s entirely right, just not the way she intended.
Journalism doesn’t need a multi-hued, “Modern Family” of liberal reporters and editors. A true revolution would be for these start-ups to grasp that 38 percent of Americans are conservative and try to represent them, too.
Gainor has apparently failed to notice that right-wing journalistic startups are hardly paragons of ideological diversity. Where are the liberal writers at The Blaze? At Breitbart? At the Daily Caller?
Gainor doesn't have to look that far for an example -- in fact, he doesn't even have to leave the MRC headquarters. Where are the liberal writers at the MRC's ostensible "news" operation, CNSNews.com?
When Gainor can answer these questions, perhaps then he would have some moral standing to question ideological diversity at supposedly "liberal" websites.
MRC Dishonestly Smears La Raza Again Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's MRC Latino project, as we've noted, is undermined by the MRC's reputation for being less than friendly to Hispanics. A March 27 MRC Business & Media Institute item by Sean Long is another example:
Rather than dismissing his contrary views as sour grapes, the media simply ignore César Chávez’s opinions that stray from liberal orthodoxy.
Chávez was a 1960s and 70s union leader who promoted unionization and Californian farm workers’ strikes. The farm workers of the time were predominantly Latino. He is particularly famous for the Delano grape strike: a five-year strike and boycott against Californian grapes. Liberals seized on this boycott, as well as several high profile hunger strikes, to promote Chávez as a symbol of immigrant and Latino rights.
Even today, prominent media outlets often praise Chávez, just as they lauded his movement during the 1960s. With the new biopic, “César Chávez,” being released on March 28 ahead of his March 31 birth date, immigration activists have once again begun invoking his legacy.
However, Chávez reportedly compared La Raza to Hitler and called for increased enforcement against illegal immigration but liberal media outlets ignore these statements while using his legacy to promote their own agenda on immigration and identity politics.
Long's source for the claim about Chavez likening La Raza to Hitler is a 2009 National Review blog post by anti-immigration activist Mark Krikorian about an oblique reference to a “la raza” group Chavez made in 1969.
It’s dishonest for Long to suggest that today’s La Raza is like the “la raza” movement of the late '60s or to portray Chavez’s 1969 criticism as applying to all “Latino advocacy groups.” The fact that the Cesar Chavez Foundation is a La Raza affiliate also undercuts the argument.
Further, whatever differences Chavez had with "la raza" groups disappeared a few years later. A book of essays on Chavez notes that most of those groups were working with Chavez's United Farm Workers, and activists were crediting Chavez with creating ethnic pride among Hispanics.
The MRC has previously falsely attacked La Raza as a "radical" and "separatist" group.
MRC, Not A Fan of Hispanics, Launches Effort to Monitor Hispanic Media Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has launched MRC Latino, described as an attempt to subject Spanish-language media to "consistent conservative engagement and scrutiny for fairness, accuracy and journalistic integrity."
Of course, the MRC's "research" is hardly anyone's guide for how to monitor for "fairness, accuracy and journalistic integrity" since it is so skewed and unscientific. That would seem to undermine the entire premise of the enterprise.
So would another salient point: the MRC has long been hostile to Hispanics and their causes, like immigration reform.
Right Wing Watch notes that MRC chief Brent Bozell has called for the expulsion of Republican leadership if it moved ahead with immigration reform, and he complained that the media was "pandering to minority voters as the most crucial, special voters of all," Latinos in particular.
A look through ConWebWatch's archives reveals more MRC hostility to Hispanics:
MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, repeatedly portrays any form of immigration reform as "amnesty," despite the inaccuracy of the term.
The MRC has complained that the media won't uncritically parrot right-wing attacks on immigration reform (like calling it amnesty) and that it dares to present undocumented immigrants as human.
CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey has a laughably simplistic view of illegal immigration, suggesting that illegal immigrants are all uneducated liberals who refuse to attend church (though the opposite is true).
As Right Wing Watch states, Bozell -- who once compared President Obama to "skinny ghetto crackhead" -- may want to consider if he himself is playing a role in damaging the GOP brand by attacking Hispanic media.
MRC Tries, Fails To Blame Defective GM Cars on Federal Ownership Topic: Media Research Center
Sean Long tries his best to manufacture a controversy in a March 21 Media Research Center Business & Media Institute item:
When lives are lost due to a faulty product the media point fingers all the way up to the top of the company. Just not when the government owns the company.
The broadcast networks have aired 42 reports on the GM safety recall of faulty ignitions; malfunctions that resulted in more than 300 deaths. But in the course of their reporting, ABC, CBS and NBC only once said something that could remind viewers that GM was, for a time, Government Motors. More than half of fatalities occurred during the period of federal ownership of GM.
The networks’ refused to criticise the government in GM stories, yet they insisted on blaming Mitt Romney for Bain Capital’s actions throughout his candidacy. It is particularly egregious in the case of GM because many victims cannot pursue legal action against GM due to the terms of its 2009 bankruptcy.
While running 42 stories between the Feb. 13 recall and March 17, the broadcast networks have ignroed the federal government’s bailout of General Motors 98 percent of the time (41 out of 42 stories), completely ignoring the fact that 176 fatalities occurred during the government’s ownership.
But Long omits the fact that the vehicles that are a focus of the controversy were manufactured between 2003 and 2007 -- and, thus, before the government had any ownership interest in GM.
While there are reports that GM knew of the problem before issuing a recall, that too dates before government ownership of GM. The only thing that GM might be guilty of during government ownership is continued suppression of knowledge about the problem, but Long provides no evidence that any government official knew about it.
Long's attempt to liken the situation to Romney and Bain Capital is similarly misguided. The federal government did not create GM and, again, the defective cars in question were manufactured before the government took an ownership stake. By contrast, Romney was a co-founder of Bain Capital, and he continued to maintain an ownership stake for years after leaving the company's day-to-day management, and he continued to be described in SEC filings as "sole shareholder, sole director, Chief Executive Officer and President."
MRC Channels Limbaugh, Goes Slut-Shaming On Birth Control Topic: Media Research Center
For a March 25 Media Research Center Culture & Media Insititute piece, Kristine Marsh channels the MRC's favorite slut-shamer, Rush Limbaugh:
Out: First Amendment protections guaranteeing religious liberty. Oh, and the right to free association. In: The inalienable right to have strangers pony up for your sex life.
Welcome to our new constitutional order, if some major American newspapers and left-leaning sites have their way.
If you'll recall, the MRC effectivelyendorsed Limbaugh's three-day tirade of misoygyny against Sandra Fluke -- in which he, among many other vile things, claimed that because Fluke argued for coverage of contraception, she "wants to be paid to have sex"-- to the point where it started an "I Stand With Rush" website.
Marsh seems to be unaware that there are legitimate medical reasons to take contraceptives that have nothing to do with birth control.
Not everyone agrees with the left-wing media, however. The Becket Fund, who’s representing The Greens, the owners of Hobby Lobby in their case against the Obama Administration, have argued:
“In Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, 84 amicus briefs were filed – among the largest amicus efforts ever. By an almost three- to-one margin, these briefs favored Hobby Lobby, demonstrating the breadth and depth of support for the Green family, Hobby Lobby, and religious freedom.”
The number of amicus briefs has no relation whatsoever to the legal legitimacy of the views argued in them.
MRC Wants You To Think Anita Hill Did It For The Money Topic: Media Research Center
Two decades later, the Media Research Center is still mad at Anita Hill.
Scott Whitlock devotes a March 19 MRC item to bashing a Hill appearance on ABC's "The View," grumbling that host Barbara Walters "allowed no tough questions of Hill, just queries about the "cost" of speaking out. " Whitlock then huffed:
A tough journalist might have pointed out that Hill has since written a book, become a professor at Brandeis University and has starred in a documentary. The book deal came with a reported $1 million payday. If the cost of the hearings on her life is fair game, what about Hill's enrichment?
Yes, Whitlock is suggesting that Hill came forward with her criticism of Clarence Thomas for "enrichment" purposes. Never mind that Hill has never changed her story over the years, nor has she been proven wrong.
Further, Hill's book on the Thomas hearings wasn't published until 1997 -- six years after her testimony -- which makes Whitlock's portrayal of her as someone trying to cash in on fame even more ridiculous.
In 2011, Whitlock ludicrously cited a 20-year-old poll to suggest that Hill was a liar. The MRC's Tim Graham has also baselessly portrayed Hill as a liar without providing any evidence to back it up.
You'd think that the MRC reports all news and doesn't ignore incidents that don't conform to its right-wing agenda. That, of course, would be wrong.
Case in point: The MRC has had a friendly relationship with Austin Ruse of the right-wing Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM). He has been a signatory to two MRC-circulated open letters -- one demanding that President Obama fire Harry Knox as a member of the Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships for alleged "anti-Catholic" remarks (which were actually just criticism of the Catholic Church's stance on homosexuality), and a letter to the broadcast networks demanding that they "stop censoring coverage of the trial of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell."
Ruse has also been regularly quoted at CNSNews.com, opining on such issues as the United Nations and gender identity. So you'd think that if Ruse makes the news, it would be news to the MRC.
Earlier this month, while serving as guest host for fellow right-wing Sandy Rios' radio show, Ruse said that “the hard left, human-hating people that run modern universities” should “all be taken out and shot.” Ruse initially responded to criticism of his remarks by calling his critics “dumb,” “stupid” and “idiots.”
But then Ruse started feeling real heat: The American Family Association, which runs Rios' show, cut ties with him, and one Catholic leader resigned from C-FAM over the remarks. That prompted to issue a more abject apology, insisting that his death threat "was not intended to be taken literally" and hypocritically claiming that "I have dedicated my life and career to ending violence."
Despite this controversy, no MRC site has reported on it, not even its purported "news" organization, CNS.
Given that the MRC's first instinct when Rush Limbaugh went on a three-day misognystic tirade against Sandra Fluke was to start an "I Stand With Rush" website, this censorship really isn't a surprise. And given theprominence of Catholics such as Brent Bozell and Terry Jeffrey in running the MRC, their silence is nothing more than cowardice.
MRC Still Botching Bozell-Graham Byline; Column Itself Isn't Any Better Topic: Media Research Center
CNSNews.com continues to cheat Tim Graham out of a proper byline for ghostwriting Brent Bozell's column. As we've noted, CNS has moved to giving Bozell and Graham separate bylines instead of a shared one, which means the column appears twice in CNS' archive.
(Meanwhile, Bozell and Graham get a shared byline at NewsBusters, while the main MRC website has simply stopped posting their column -- only one has been posted since the ghostwriting ruse was exposed, and none in the past month.)
But just because the byline is more accurate doesn't mean anything else is. Bozell and Graham write in their March 21 column:
"The Laramie Project" is an agitprop play compiled from real-life interviews that indicted the entire state of Wyoming as homophobic and therefore responsible for the murder of Matthew Shepard. One character announced it was just like "the Germans who looked the other way are guilty of the deaths of the Jews, the gypsies and the homosexuals."
The play packs a political punch, and the left has seen to it that it has been widely performed at colleges and even high schools across America for years. But last year, the accepted narrative began to unravel. Author Stephen Jimenez produced years of research that argued Shepard's killers Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson were not heterosexual monsters after all.
"A manager of a gay bar in Denver recalls seeing photos of McKinney and Henderson in the papers and recognizing them as patrons of his bar. He recounts his shock at realizing 'these guys who killed that kid came from inside our own community.'" It was a gay-on-gay murder. That would make the political message — the very essence of the play — fraudulent.
But on the left, an effective yarn is never having to say you're sorry. Forget the reporting; stick with the legend.
Bozell and Graham are embracing Jimenez's Shepard revisionism. As we noted when Bozell (and, we presume, Graham) promoted Jimenez's book on the case, it flies against established facts in the case, including that one of the killer not only denied having sex with Shepard, he mounted a "gay panic" defense at his trial.
Further, as Media Matters points out, Jimenez is also a friend of the defense attorney of one of the killers, which further raises questions about his objectivity.
Now that the right has an "effective yarn" to discount Shepard 's death, Bozell and Graham are sticking with that legend and don't care much for actual reporting.