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Friday, November 24, 2017
MRC Attacks Country Musicians For Expressing An Opinion
Topic: Media Research Center

Being perfectly fine with censoring journalists at the Country Music Awards is not the only recent foray into the country music realm the Media Research Center has undertaken recently.

MRC writer Corinne Weaver was in a lecturing mood in a Nov. 10 post that took country singers Tim McGraw and Faith Hill to task for expressing an opinion on guns in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre that killed dozens at a country music concert. Weaver started her post by huffily declaring, "Celebrities who don’t understand the meaning of political debates should stop alienating their audiences and keep to themselves."

It seems that to Weaver "the meaning of political debates" actually means "expressing only conservative-friendly opinions." The issue Weaver has with McGraw is that he committed the offense of thinking that we perhaps should look at the issue of gun regulation in the wake of repeated massacres. That set Weaver on a lecturing roll, with an added dose of rich-shaming:

But gun control is about the Second Amendment -- “the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Gun control is an infringement, and ineffective to boot.

[...]

Faith Hill added her two cents in the interview: “In reference to the tragedy in Las Vegas, we knew a lot of people there. The doctors that [treated] the wounded, they saw wounds like you’d see in war. That’s not right. Military weapons should not be in the hands of civilians. It’s everyone’s responsibility, including the government and the National Rifle Association, to tell the truth. We all want a safe country.”

Again, taking guns away from law-abiding citizens isn’t going to solve anything. In fact, it might make the situation much, much worse. Stephen Willeford, an NRA instructor, was able to stop the shooter in Sutherland Springs by shooting him, forcing him to drop his gun and flee. More people could have died.

While the pair is being hailed by liberal celebrity activists, such as George Takei and Julianne Moore, it’s important to remember their fan base is not necessarily privileged enough to leave the self-defense to their bodyguards. Parroting a stale cry that has become the left’s tiresome refrain in the face of every tragedy isn’t going to win anyone over.

How hilarious that Weaver thinks McGraw and Hill have suddenly turned into George Takei simply for expressing a non-controversial opinion. And that she thinks that any celebrity who expresses an opinion different from hers should just shut up and sing-- which is what she really means by the "alienating their audiences and keep to themselves" crack.

It's hypocritical as well -- Weaver's employer currently regularly gives a platform for the opnions of a wealthy country music celebrity, Charlie Daniels. Ah, but he expresses the correct (to Weaver) opinions on things (read: right-wing), so he gets a pass -- and certainly no condescending questions about whether he "understands the meaning of political debates" -- even as Weaver rages against other artists who say anything at all.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:41 AM EST
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
MRC Is Still Trashing Anita Hill
Topic: Media Research Center

You'd think that with the recent spate of sexual harassment scandals -- some of which involving employees of the so-called "liberal media" -- the Media Research Center would adjust its policy of judging the veracity of the accusers by the claimed or suspected political orientation of the accused. But it hasn't -- the MRC still implicitly trusts the claims of accusations made against liberals, while ranging from indifferent to hostile regarding women who accuse conservatives of bad behavior.

For a quarter of a century, the MRC has repeatedly trashed Anita Hill for raising accusations of sexual harassment against conservativ icon Clarence Thomas. And as Hill's name has come up amid the current spate of scandals, it's trashing Hill anew.

The MRC's Nicholas Fondacaro suggested that Hill was a liar in a Nov. 19 post attacking "make-believe Republican" Matthew Dowd (apparently in Fondacaro's world, "real Republicans" must never hold their own to account) for bringing up Hill:

They basically called Anita Hill a nut and a liar in order to get Justice Thomas on the court. They empowered Bill Clinton, ” he continued to proclaim, devoid of any facts or reason. “ But in order to get those things, they decided the ends justify the means. They decided that a tainted person was better to get what they wanted.” He also claimed Trump’s supporters were guilty of siding with a tainted person just to get what they wanted. But his “tainted” label could also be applied to the Clintons.

Apparently, in Dowd’s version of history, there were no Senate hearings or Senator Joe Biden grilling Thomas in a “high-tech lynching” over Hill’s claims, or her evolving story, or all the testimonies from other women who contradicted her.

Yes, Foncacaro suggested Hill was lying in the very next paragraph after accusing Dowd of lacking "facts or reason" to back up his claim that Hill was attacked as a liar.

Two days later, Tim Graham proved Dowd right again as he once again portrayed Hill as a lying gold-digger who made her accusations solely in order to get a book advance and a cushy law-school job:

Republican Sen. Arlen Specter suggested Hill may have committed perjury, which outraged the liberals. Hill insisted she wasn’t making the allegations to make a buck....and then signed a million-dollar book deal and took a prestigious law professor job at Brandeis, where she still works. 

Over at the MRC's "news" division CNSNews.com, Craig Bannister cranked out a "flashback" blog post insisting that "Hill’s claims were discredited by, among other things, the testimony of more than a dozen female former co-workers who came forward to declare, in no uncertain terms, that Thomas was 'a man of the highest principle, honesty, integrity and honor in all of his personal and professional actions.' They called Hill’s claims 'ludicrous' and 'unbelievable.'"

As evidence, Bannister cites a website called ConfirmationBiased.com (whose name Bannister gets wrong), which he writes was "launched to expose the political bias and inaccuracies of the 2016 HBO movie 'Confirmation'." But he doesn't mention that the attack website was created by Mark Paoletta, an attorney who worked on the team assembled under President George H.W. Bush to forward Thomas' nomination and who considers himself a personal friend of Thomas. It's hardly an objective view of things.

Yep, trashing women who threaten conservative politicians and media figures will always be a part of the DNA of the MRC.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:51 PM EST
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
MRC Is Totally Cool With CMA's Attempt to Censor Journalists
Topic: Media Research Center

You'd think that a blatant attempt at media censorship -- in the form of the Country Music Association trying to bar journalists, under threat of credential revocation, from asking musicians questions about “the Las Vegas tragedy, gun rights, political affiliations or topics of the like” until backing down after the restrictions were made public -- would earn some criticism from even the folks at the Media Research Center.

Nope -- the MRC was cool with that, to the point that it pretended that no such draconian guideline ever existed.

A Nov. 8 post by Karen Townsend whined that CMA presenters made Trump jokes and referred to "the guidelines the CMA gave to participants," failing to mention those same guidelines tried to bar journalists from asking certain questions. Townsend surely knew that was the case -- it's the lead of the article she links to in backing up the statement.

Tim Graham followed up with even more whining:

The Washington Post was a day late in whining about the lack of gun-control advocacy (or as they put it, “courage”) at the Country Music Association awards. Music writer Chris Richards wrote a “Critic’s Notebook” commentary headlined “A monolithic silence from top artists at CMA Awards.” Online, the headline was “Country music is becoming the soundtrack of a nonexistent, apolitical no-place.”

Like Townsend, Graham completely ignored the fact that the CMA tried to censor journalists, even though it's prominently highlighted in the piece he's criticizing. From that piece:

Despite the circumstances, the telecast’s organizers were hoping for a business-as-usual night anyway. Last week, after CMA officials announced that they reserved the right to eject any journalist who asked an artist about their politics, Paisley immediately spoke out against that preemptive censorship, tweeting, “I’m sure the CMA will do the right thing and rescind these ridiculous and unfair press guidelines.”

And voila, they were promptly rescinded. But that didn’t embolden any of the artists to volunteer their thoughts on the state of the nation on Wednesday night, not even Paisley. “I love the way we’ve all come together,” he said during one interstitial segment, as if he might be warming up some spontaneous bombshells. Then he confessed that he’d “gone off script,” and returned to the business of introducing the next performer.

Graham just served up more whining: "This is how the liberal media operate: They expect TV awards show to produce liberal propaganda moments, and when they aren’t created, they get grumpy at the lack of 'progress.'"

And because the CMA's attempted censorship of journalists served its purpose of keeping politics out of an event the MRC didn't want it inserted into, Townsend and Graham approve of the means.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:17 PM EST
Monday, November 20, 2017
MRC: Trump Wants To Investigate Sec. of State Hillary, Not The Hillary Who Ran Against Him
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Kristine Marsh writes in a Nov. 14 post (random bolding is hers):

It seems the media can always find a new excuse as to why the Clintons’ numerous scandals over the years should be overlooked. Tuesday morning, the networks dismissively treated reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions would be looking into hiring a special prosecutor to investigate the Clinton Foundation’s dealings with Uranium One and Hillary Clinton’s e-mails, casting blame on Sessions instead. All three networks also characterized the potential investigation as a partisan hack job orchestrated by President Trump against his former election “rival,” instead of against the former Secretary of State.

We hate to break it to you, Kristine, but the Hillary Clinton that was secretary of state is the very same Hillary Clinton who ran against Trump in 2016. If Trump is going after Secretary of State Clinton he is, by definition, going after candidate Clinton.

We're not seeing how Marsh thinks those are two separate people -- unless, of course, she's trying to justify an investigation because, you know, the Clintons.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:36 PM EST
Saturday, November 18, 2017
MRC Remains Offended By Mere Existence of Gay TV Characters
Topic: Media Research Center

For years, the Media Research Center has been offended that gays -- real ones or fictional characters -- appear on their TV. Recent outrage has been focused on the fictional variety.

Callista Ring is scowling about a gay character on "Star Trek: Discovery":

Sunday’s episode of CBS's liberal propaganda-filled Star Trek: Discovery gave the first real glimpse of its much-anticipated "groundbreaking gay romance,” as described by Huffington Post.

Tonight’s episode, “Choose Your Pain” ends with an intimate conversation between gay partners Lt. Stamets (Anthony Rapp) and Science Officer Dr. Culber (Wilson Cruz) brushing their teeth before bed. Watch the exchange the liberal writers are patting themselves on the back for here:

As if the show were a cute sitcom rather than space age science fiction, the two utter sweet nothings to each other, like “One tends to worry when they’re doomed to love a brilliant but reckless maniac,” and “I also knew you’d leave me if I let anything else endanger that creature.”

That so-called "liberal propaganda," by the way, is having non-white characters as leads and a Klingon leader character the MRC has decided to interpret as an attack on Donald Trump.

When the Disney Channel show "Andi Mack" decided to add a gay character, Tim Graham was in full anti-gay rant mode:

Parents have realized that the Disney Channel brand isn’t about traditional family programming…it’s about Hollywood using every channel to promote “inclusion and respect for humanity,” which is code for forcing LGBT acceptance. Shred the Bible, sin is in. Your “tweens” – and younger -- need to hear the gospel of the gay movement.

[...]

The least surprising element of this story is the involvement of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), which almost always works hand-in-glove with any Hollywood production to promote homosexuality.

[...]

Entertainment journalists don’t find any space in their story for any critics of pushing this homosexual revolution in children’s programming, or critics who might suggest that GLAAD-approved plotting won’t allow any “inclusion” of a sincere religious objection to their politically correct party line.

Why would journalists what to insert ignorant, manufactured outrage that adds nothing?

And Lindsey Kornick complained that the ABC show "Scandal" "cramed [sic] several PC elements into one plot by introducing the lesbian Muslim university student striving to be the next Gloria Steinem. Can we get anymore to the left at this point?"

Kornick makes sure to get in some gratuitious Muslim-bashing as well, claiming that "we should probably be encouraging countries in the Middle East to do things like, let’s say, not stone victims of rape or throw acid at girls wanting to get an education. Sadly, that may not be politically correct enough for a show with the gay Muslim girl."


Posted by Terry K. at 11:03 AM EST
Thursday, November 16, 2017
MRC Falsely Portrays Jon Stewart As 'Enabler' of Louis C.K.
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Tim Graham rushed to judgment in a Nov. 10 post to portray Jon Stewart as an "enabler" of Louis C.K. after giving a noncommital answer when asked on a podcast about allegations against the comedian last year:

Now that comedian Louis C.K. has admitted to egregious sexual harassment, like pulling out his sex organ and masturbating in front of women, it might be worth remembering that this man has some powerful fans and promoters, starting with Jon Stewart, who called him “one of my all-time favorite comedians.”

Liberal sites from Slate to the Daily Beast are revisiting Stewart’s bumbling answers last year when asked during a live podcast with former Obama campaign manager Jim Axelrod about allegations against Louis C.K.

But Stewart has since said he had no knowledge of the allegations against Louis C.K.:

"My first response was, 'What?' And then, joke, joke, and as he kept going, I was like, 'Look, I know this is very serious, but I know Louis, he's always been a gentleman to me,' which, again, it speaks to the blindness that I think a man has, which is, like, 'hey, he's a good guy, what are you talking about?'" Stewart said. "Digging around in it and finding that some people had done, it was hard, but we were all assured like, no, but we took somebody's word for it, and maybe that's an error on our part."

One might similarly ask if MRC bigwigs and Fox News fans/regular guests like Graham and Brent Bozell had any knowledge of the sexual harassment allegations against Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly before news of them became widespread public knowledge. But Graham doesn't want to talk about that, does he?


Posted by Terry K. at 3:26 PM EST
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
MRC Incapable Of Unequivocally Denouncing Roy Moore
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is running into the same problem with Roy Moore that it had with Bill O'Reilly: an inabilty to criticize the bad behavior of a prominent conservative without equivocating it with something else.

Mike Ciandella, for instance, complains that the Moore's perving on teenage girls is being covered more than the corruption trial of Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez (as usual limiting his media view to network news and completely ignoring cable). Of course, he plays the "if true" card on the way to his equivocation:

The media are right to cover the allegations of child molestation against Alabama Senatorial Candidate Roy Moore. If these allegations are true, they are inexcusable and unforgivable, and voters in that state have a right to know about them. Yet, the same media outlets that have moments of clarity when it comes to Republican scandals and corruption turn a blind eye when the scandals and corruption come from a Democrat.

Rich Noyes churned out a more in-depth -- but still biased and narrowly constructed -- study comparing Moore and Menendez coverage, with an added whine about "the liberal media’s double-standard on ethics: A Democrat’s corruption scandal is kept under wraps, while a Republican’s alleged transgressions are given saturation coverage." Speaking of double standards: Noyes apparently doesn't know that the "news" arm of the MRC, CNSNews.com, completely ignored the Moore story for four days.

Jeffrey Lord -- who played dumb about sexual harassment claims against Roger Ailes -- echoed Ciandella: "This sudden and massive coverage of Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore and a 38-year old charge of sex with a 14 year old? Where is all the massive on-going liberal media coverage of Democratic Senator Bob Menendez’s trial for corruption and bribery? It isn’t there. Funny how that works, yes?  No, actually."

Scott Whitlock conceded that the accusations against Moore are "serious" -- then whined that the media identified him as a conservative Republican.

Curtis Houck also agreed the allegations are "damning" -- but then attacked the Washington Post for publishing them:

The allegations are damning and a clear example of not living life according to The Ten Commandments, but that doesn’t mean The Post is absolved from being labeled a part of the liberal machine. Allegations and important reporting can come from outlets across the political spectrum (e.g. Ronan Farrow’s masterful Harvey Weinstein stories in The New Yorker), but it’s important to recognize where stories are coming from.

Yet we can't recall an instance in which the MRC dismissed an allegation about a liberal made by a conservative media outlet because of where the story came from.

The MRC then moved to the Clinton Equivocation phase of the story. Tim Graham cheered that "Slick Willie" was brought up, however briefly, and Nicholas Fondacaro huffed: "Voters couldn’t be skeptical about the allegations against Moore, but her network and the rest of the media could be skeptical, omit, and deny the allegations against their precious Bill Clinton." And Houck rejoiced when CNN's Jake Tapper claimed that Clinton's accusers did not get "the same respect" in the media that Moore's accusers have.

Meanwhile, the MRC that contiuously portrayed Bill Clinton's accusers as unimpeachable has yet to make any sort of statement about the veracity of Moore's accusers, apparently incapable of even the most innocuous statement that they should be believed. By staying silent, the MRC is not showing them the same respect they showed Clinton's accusers.

In other words, the MRC sexual harassment double standard continues.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:01 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 3:12 PM EST
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
MRC's Double Standard on Reporting on the Economy
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Julia A. Seymour does her pro-Trump duty in an Oct. 31 post:

The U.S. economy maintained strong growth according to the latest government estimates in the latest example of good economic news.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis announced on Oct. 27, that the first estimate of third quarter growth was 3 percent. There are two revisions to come before the end of 2017. But it remained positive news, especially since the BEA also confirmed that second quarter growth was 3.1 percent thanks to consumer spending and business investment.

The broadcast evening news programs ignored that good economic news — just like they ignored the 3 percent GDP announcement in August. However, many other news organizations — from NPR to CNBC — noted the positive result.

Throughout Donald Trump’s presidency the networks have minimized and ignored positive economic news, in spite of the fact many people voted for him thinking his policies would improve the U.S. economy.

Needless to say, Seymour is being utterly hypocritical. In July 2016, for example, she wrote a report complaining that the media was failing to talk down the economy under Obama, declaring that "Overall economic growth remains 'subpar' and labor force participation rates remain shocking, not far from 38-year lows." The economy was "still reveling in pain and weakness," Seymour insisted. As is standard MRC practice, Seymour did only the bare minimum of research by focusing solely on network evening newscasts and pretending they're representative of the entire media.

And in March, Seymour was demanding that Trump be given the credit for February's good jobless numbers, though she offered no evidence of any one thing he did to contribute to them, and was incensed that the numbers were being considered a reflection of President Obama's economy.

Seymour is acting as a partisan, not an objective researcher. Like the media she loves to hypocritically target, she only cares about the numbers that make her side look good. 


Posted by Terry K. at 4:38 PM EST
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
MRC Pushes Conspiracy Theory About CNN Reporter
Topic: Media Research Center

Last week, the conservative Daily Caller did a hit piece on CNN reporter Evan Perez, rummaging through his Facebook account to claim "close ties" between him and former colleagues at a previous reporting gig at the Wall Street Journal who went on to found Fusion GPS, the opposition-research firm responsible for the infamous Trump dossier. The article is filled with speculaton; no attempt was apparently made to verify the alleged relationship with Perez and his former colleagues, let alone obtain permission from Perez to root through his Facebook account and steal photos from it.

The Media Research Center, which normally likes to portray itself as above such conspiracy theories, ran with this one. Tim Graham eagerly quoted large chunks of the Daily Caller piece in an Oct. 28 post highlighting how Perez was "socializing with his Fusion pals."

Tom Blumer took it a step further in an Oct. 31 post, claiming that the speculative Daily Caller report "would seem to explain why CNN has been particularly hostile towards the Trump administration and even more incomplete than usual in its reporting since Tuesday evening's revelations that Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund the infamous Trump-Russia dossier."

Blumer expanded the conspiracy to cover all of CNN for accurately reporting that the Trump administration was trying to distract from its own Russia connection by obsessing over Democratic connections to the dossier and a Russian uranium deal that only peripherally involved Hillary Clinton. (As dutiful Trump stenographers, the MRC has been obsessing about them as well.) Blumer petulantly rants to dubiously claim that Trump isn't acting out of petulant anger at a political opponent:

Hillary Clinton, since she lost the general election in November and currently holds no political office of any kind, is no longer Trump's political opponent.  She is only a critic, with no more or less standing than Michael Moore or Lena Dunham. The same goes for former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Loretta Lynch, and (certainly in the Uranium One matter) James Comey. Investigating their activities and actions when they were in office or had the opportunity to influence those who were in office is therefore not a conflict of interest. If there is strong reason to believe that any of these now-private citizens committed crimes while they did hold political office, it's the government's duty to investigate and, if there is sufficient evidence, to prosecute. Otherwise, we're supposed to believe that anyone who has held a political office and then becomes a private citizen has a permanent get-out-of-jail card, regardless of what they did when they (ahem) "served."

Blumer went on to call Perez "obviously conflicted" based on the speculative Daily Caller story.

Graham and Brent Bozell rehashed the Daily Caller claims in their Oct. 31 column, huffing: "CNN’s anti-Trump stories have hidden all this behind a wall of 'anonymous sources.' This is one dreadfully serious reason why the American people don’t trust “investigative reporting.” In reality, it turns out it looks like a series of chummy hand-offs, funded by Trump opponents."

Graham and Bozell didn't direct the same level of anger against the right-wing outlet that originally paid Fusion GPS for their oppo work on Trump, benignly noting in a claimed attempt to be "fair and balanced":

To be fair and balanced on this ethical front, the conservative Washington Free Beacon website also retained Fusion GPS for research – for a few months before the Clinton campaign and the DNC – and the Daily Caller reported that they also reported on Fusion GPS without acknowledging a relationship. 

Of course, if Graham, Bozell and the MRC really was trying to be "fair and balanced," they would have told their readers about the Free Beacon's involvement wigh Fusion GPS much sooner than this.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:21 PM EST
NEW ARTICLE: Mercer Money Motivates the MRC
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has received millions from the Mercers, and Brent Bozell and his organization are acting accordingly on behalf of the Mercers' interests -- such as Donald Trump and Breitbart. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 8:33 AM EST
Sunday, November 5, 2017
MRC's Biased Obsession With Clinton and Uranium
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has a new obsession: the purported Hillary Clinton uranium scandal.

Since Oct. 17, when it touted "new revelations in the scandal surrounding Russia’s obtaining control of American uranium and its payments to The Clinton Foundation," the MRC has referenced it in approximately 60 posts, most of them screeching that the "liberal media" won't cover the story. Crappy, biased, narrowly focused study on coverage that yet again somehow omits Fox News? Check. Brent Bozell ranting about the lack of coverage outside his right-wing bubble? Check and check.

Needless to say, the MRC didn't mention that the lead writer of that article, John Solomon, is a right-wing journalist who once headed the Washington Times who is currently the head of the right-wing, Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned website Circa.

The MRC also won't tell you that the supposed scoop here -- that the Russian nuclear industry was trying to spread bribe money in America, and donated money to the Clinton Foundation, around the time that government officials were approving a deal for Russian interests to take over an American company that is responsible for 20 percent of the uranium mined in the U.S. while Hillary Clinton was still secretary of state -- isn't much of a scoop.

As the Washington Post's Erik Wemple points out, Solomon's story is filled with "preposterous conspiracy-mongering" and mostly rehashes claims first made public years ago, which basically amount to the Justice Department not sufficiently publicizing its conviction of one of the figures in the Russian bribery.

The Post has also pointed out other inconvenient truths that  the MRC has ignored: for instance, that the Russian company in control of 20 percent of the U.S. uranium supply cannot for the most part export that uranium without a federal permit, which it doesn't have, and that the U.S. generates only a tiny fraction of the world's uranium supply, of which 20 percent is even more miniscule.

Further, despite all the right-wing innuendo, there's still no evidence that Clinton played any role whatsoever in forwarding the deal past federal officials (the State Department was one of nine federal agencies that had to sign off on it), let alone the establishment of a quid pro quo in which Clinton acted in direct response to Clinton Foundation donations.

Of course, whenever it's pointed out that there's no there there, the MRC goes into freakout mode, insisting that anyone highlight that particular inconvenient fact is, as Kristine Marsh put it an Oct. 27 item, "defending Hillary Clinton." And the MRC went a-Heathering against conservative Jennifer Rubin for pointing out that President Trump -- and, thus, the MRC -- were pushing the Clinton-uranium thing as a distraction from his own Russia troubles; Brad Wilmouth sneered that Rubin is "allegedly right-leaning," as if one must sign onto everything Trump does and every single attack on Democrats no matter no specious to be a true conservative.

Ans, really, that's the line on the sand the MRC has drawn here -- all attacks on Democrats in general and the Clintons in particular are valid regardless of their accuracy, and Trump must be defended at all costs. That's the MRC's agenda these days.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:35 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, November 5, 2017 11:08 PM EST
Thursday, November 2, 2017
MRC Promotes Fox News Sock-Puppet Blog
Topic: Media Research Center

The link at the bottom of the "Editor's Picks" collection of outside stories at the Media Research Center's NewsBusters website right now is an item from "Sydney Bloom, The Cable Game."

The MRC won't tell you this, but The Cable Game is a sock-puppet blog run by Fox News.

Gabriel Sherman reported in his book "The Loudest Voice in the Room" that former Fox News chief Roger Ailes created The Cable Game as a way to respond to his critics and those of Fox News. Conservative columnist Jim Pinkerton was enlisted to ghost-write the blog, and it seems "Sydney Bloom" is the nom de plume under which Pinkerton is writing the blog (which, yes, is still ongoing despite Ailes' death).

In a 2015 post, "Bloom" mocked the idea that the blog was being directed by Ailes and Pinkerton, but offered no proof to refute the claim or any evidence that "Syndey Bloom" is a real, live boy (or girl). "Bloom" offers only a Gravatar link as a contact, which is not proof of anything.

The MRC's aversion to anonymous sources when used by the "liberal media" shows itself to be especially hypocritical with this link to a blog that not only is written under a fake name, the fake name in question is operating under the direction of Fox News. The MRC not only does not know who writes The Cable Game, it does not care as long as it continues to serve up media-bashing that conforms to its right-wing anti-media agenda.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:44 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, November 2, 2017 9:47 PM EDT
MRC Slow to Mention Harassment Allegations Against Trump Defender Mark Halperin
Topic: Media Research Center

On Oct. 30, the Media Research Center's Curtis Houck wrote an unusally straightforward post about how "NBC News finally terminated the contract of political analyst Mark Halperin five days after allegations surfaced thanks to CNN’s Oliver Darcy that Halperin had been alleged to have engaged in disturbing sexual misconduct while serving as ABC News political director."

Curiously, this was the first post about the accusations against Halperin posted at NewsBusters, the MRC's main content site (another MRC site, MRCTV, did note the Halperin story when it first broke). You'd think that with Halperin's ties to the dreaded MSM in the form of his work with NBC and a previous position at ABC, the MRC would be much more eager to join the dogpile, instead of waiting five days. This is the type of thing that brings a lot of harrumphing from Brent Bozell.

The headline on Houck's post called the claims against Halperin "sickening" -- but they apparently weren't so sickening that he was moved to write about them when the story broke.

So why the low-key treatment of Halperin? Perhaps because he was a defender of Donald Trump when allegations of harassment and misogyny appeared about him prior to the 2016 presidential election, as well as of other conservative perpetrators. As the Washington Post reported:

Mark Halperin, co-managing editor of Bloomberg Politics at the time of the article's publication, said the allegations against Trump were not terribly serious.

“If that's the best they got on these issues and Donald Trump, Donald Trump should be celebrating that story,” Halperin said on MSNBC's “Morning Joe,” where he now appears regularly as a senior political analyst for NBC News. “There's some troubling things in the piece, but there's nothing illegal, there's nothing even kind of, like, beyond boorish or politically incorrect, which is built into the Donald Trump brand. So, if that's the best they have in this score, Donald Trump can celebrate this story, politically.”

[...]

At other times, Halperin has seemed to take a gentler tone toward prominent men accused of sexual harassment. In July 2016, he landed the first interview with Trump after Fox News cut ties with its longtime chairman, Roger Ailes.

“What do you think about what happened to your friend, Roger Ailes?” Halperin asked on his Showtime program, “The Circus.” Trump's response — “I think it's so sad; he's such a great guy” — was widely covered at the time, but Halperin's framing of the situation is also notable, in retrospect. He presented Ailes's fall as something that “happened to” him, as opposed to something Ailes brought on himself by mistreating women.

When Trump defended Bill O'Reilly against sexual harassment allegations in April, Halperin characterized the president's move as strategically unwise, without passing judgment on the substance of the claims against O'Reilly.

“Doing what he did yesterday, in commenting on Bill O'Reilly — to reporters, in the Oval Office, right before his statement on Syria — is not normal for a president,” Halperin said on “Morning Joe.” “It creates a huge distraction, gets tons of coverage. And yesterday should have been about projecting strength, as he did, on Syria. But it's pure Trump and classic Trump for him to then also be willing to address Bill O'Reilly. There's no reason for him to address it. None.”

Missing in Halperin's take was some acknowledgment that O'Reilly's alleged behavior is unacceptable — and that Trump, if he was going to speak up, ought to have said so.

There are other, non-sexual-harassment examples of Halperin serving as a defender of, and apologist for, Trump in the media. So it's no surprise that the MRC was in no hurry to throw him under the bad-guy bus.

Meanwhile, it was much more Johnny-on-the-spot about other recent sexual harassment accusations.

It quickly pounded on the claims against actor Kevin Spacey with a post just one day after accusations against him were first reported; Corinne Weaver revealed why by making sure to note that "Spacey is an outspoken lefty, consistently slamming the GOP and supporting Democratic candidates."

Similarly, Tim Graham swiftly and gleefully recounted how NPR senior vice president for news Michael Oreskes lost his job over harassment claims. Graham invoked an old obsession in the process, chortling that "This could be seen as a boomerang for NPR, which took so much pride in pushing the unsubstantiated sex-harassment charges of Anita Hill against black conservative Clarence Thomas in 1991 when it looked like he would be comfortably confirmed to the Supreme Court."

But shouldn't Graham be as disbelieving of Oreskes' accusers as he remains of Hill, given that they also apparently lack substantiation? He doesn't explain the double standard. Instead, he hypocritically trashed another Oreskes accuser for failing to speak out sooner:

Jill Abramson, a prominent Times reporter in the Hill-Thomas hearings who also wrote a book on the matter called Strange Justice,  which has been a liberal soap-opera TV movie (twice), didn't act against Oreskes at the Times! Abramson might have been looking out for her own ambition, and she became Executive Editor. So much for feminist advocacy[.]

Graham further complained about New York Times coverage of the issue: "The front of the Business Day section was headlined 'Protecting the Disgraced,' with pictures of Bill O'Reilly, Mark Halperin, and Harvey Weinstein." But protecting the disgraced is exactly what the MRC is doing with its delayed coverage of Halperin and Graham and Bozell's far greater outrage that O'Reilly's harassment was divulged over the fact that it happened in the first place.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:59 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, November 2, 2017 8:57 AM EDT
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
MRC Barely Notices Right-Wing Funding of Trump Oppo Research
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has been obsessed with trying to get the heat off the Trump campaign's links to Russia by complaining that the media isn't covering that the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid the opposition research group Fusion GPS for information that ultimately resulted in the infamous Russian dossier.

But there's one crucial piece of information the MRC doesn't really want covered. It was reported on Oct. 27 that it was the righrt-wing website the Washington Free Beacon that originally hired Fusion GPS to do research into Trump; the Free Beacon discontinued paying Fusion after Trump clinched the Republican presidential nomination, and the Democrats took over.

The only mention of a fellow right-wing website getting the ball rolling on the research that eventually became the Trump dossier in the following four days after the story broke was a passing mention in an Oct. 29 post by Nicholas Fondacaro, who quoted Fox News' Brian Kilmeade purporting to be "laying out the facts of the dossier" by asserting without proof that "There was no Russian element to the Free Beacon-financed opposition research."

So, MRC, if you are demanding that something be covered, why aren't you insisting that the entire story be covered, not just the parts that advance your partisan political agenda?


Posted by Terry K. at 10:27 PM EDT
MRC's Bozell Writes Letters For His Websites To Promote
Topic: Media Research Center

A couple weeks back, CNSNews.com touted how "A group of conservative leaders announced at a press conference today that they had sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) calling on him and the other four members of the Senate Republican leadership team to step down over their failure to keep their promises."

It was a rather tepid little collection of folks -- with the emphasis on little, as Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall pointed out:

First, it’s just five people. That’s not very many. More important is who the people are. Two of them have histories literally going back to the earliest days of the modern conservative movement.

First there’s Richard Viguerie, basically the inventor of right wing direct mail fundraising. In many ways Viguerie invented clickbait and fake news decades before the Internet. He’s 84.

Then there’s Brent Bozell. Bozell has lived his entire life in the sinecure right wing activism world, which some very unnice people are ungenerous enough to call the world of ‘wingnut welfare’. He founded the Media Research Center in 1987 – full-time yakking about ‘liberal media bias’. His father was L. Brent Bozell, Jr., partner with Bill Buckley is launching much of what we know as movement conservatism today. Among many other things he ghosted Barry Goldwater’s ‘Conscience of a Conservative’, a bible of young conservatives in the early 60s which helped launch his 1964 presidential run.

To the extent that Trump is something ‘new’ in the GOP firmament, these folks are as old as it gets. The other three all predate Trump and in key cases predate the Tea Party. Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots is the ‘newest’ person on the list.

Of course, the only reason CNS covered this letter is because Bozell is the head of it (not disclosed until the final paragraph of the article). Weirdly, Bozell isn't identified as being affiliated with anything until the final-paragraph disclosure; he apparently can't identify himself as head of the MRC in the context of this letter because the MRC, as a 501(c)3 nonprofit group, is highly restricted on the amount of political activity it can engaged in.

It's also an even tinier group than Marshall notes. Anotherof the small group of signatories is David Bozell, Brent's son and the head of For America, a group Brent founded and, near as we can tell, continues as its chairman -- the group's website has purged mention of anyone affiliated with the group outside of David Bozell. (For America is a 501(c)4 nonprofit, which means it can engage in more political activity.)

Most of the signatories (except for David Bozell) were among a slightly larger group of "conservative leaders" that signed another letter last week whining to the media about "the censorship of the Clinton/Russian uranium deal."

One wonders if Bozell is generating these letters solely in order to give his websites something to write about. Because they're meaningless as anything beyond a publicity stunt.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:24 AM EDT

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