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Sunday, August 2, 2015
MRC's Bozell & Graham Cherry-Pick To Attack Stewart
Topic: Media Research Center

Kicking off what is sure to be a week full of envy and spite at the Media Research Centder as Jon Stewart finishes up his run as host of "The Daily Show," Brent Bozell and Tim Graham devote their July 31 column to raging over Stewart's "secret" meetings with President Obama. In particular, they obsessed over one particular line:

Naturally, on his way out the door at Comedy Central, Stewart tried to turn the whole story into a nasty joke. After playing a series of Fox News clips reporting on the secret meetings, he announced one Obama meeting included Elvis and a space alien and the meeting opened with "the traditional Saul Alinsky prayer" before they "took turns [sexually penetrating] a replica of the Reagan eye socket." But wait, it gets worse. "The real Reagan eye socket is kept in the Smithsonian, and is only f—-ed on Christmas."

This kind of "comedy" mocking Christian, Fox-watching, Reagan admirers is his daily dish. 

Actually, Stewart was mocking people and Bozell and Graham, who seem to think that's what actually happened during the Stewart-Obama meeting.

Apparently, Bozell and Graham stopped watching the "Daily Show" segment after that joke, for they missed Stewart explaining what happened in that White House visit and why he went.

Stewart pointed out that he had been mocking Vladimir Putin long before the "secret" meeting with Obama in which he was purportedly instructed to do so, adding:

Let me tell you how this happened. The president asked me to come to Washington, and I did. Because if the president tells you and you don't, who the [expletive] know what would happen?And by the way, to all future presidents: If you ask me to do that, I will do that, because I have no idea how to react to that other than, "What time?"

And here's how the meetings went. Here's what happened: We spent about five to seven minutes with Obama kind of scolding me not to turn young Americans cynical. And then I spent five to seven minutes explaining to him I'm actually skeptically idealistic and smiling like this. And then we spent about 45 minutes arguing about "really, the VA can't befixed any quicker?" of " can't come online without crashing my son's Minecraft game?" And then the whole thing basically takes place over some of, truly, the best salmon you have ever had.

Remember my interview with Obama last week? It was that, but with salmon.

Don't expect Bozell and Graham to provide the behind-the-scenes transparency for its "news" operation,, that it demands (and ultimately received) from Stewart because, well, the MRC does not believe CNS should operate by the same rules it demands the "liberal media" follow.

Stewart also noted he had an actual secret meeting with Fox News chief Roger Ailes. But none of this matters to Bozell and Graham. Stewart committed the unforgiveable offense of making a joke at the sainted Reagan's expense, so he must be destroyed.

Well, that and the fact that Bozell and Co. are insanely jealous of Stewart's free-market success, especially compared to its own  attempt at political satire, "NewsBusted," which is so painfully unfunny the even other right-wing websites ignore it.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:19 PM EDT
Friday, July 31, 2015
MRC's Double Standard on Crisis Management
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is tickled to death that Planned Parenthood has hired a crisis management to deal with the onslaught of dishonestly edited videos by anti-abortion activists (and extremists).

Brent Bozell ranted in a July 29 press release that "Planned Parenthood's newly-hired PR firm is encouraging the media blackout." It couldn't possibly be, in Bozell's mind anyway, that the dishonestly edited videos have been proven to push charges that the unedited videos don't support.

Bozell and Tim Graham rant in unision in their column the same day: "Politico reported Planned Parenthood hired the crisis communications team at SKDKnickerbocker, who circulated a memo pressuring reporters and producers from showing any more videos, 'arguing they were obtained under false identification and violated patient privacy.'"

Funny, we don't recall the MRC making a big deal out of Rush Limbaugh hiring a crisis manager-- perhaps because they were a crisis manager for him.

As we documented at the time, the MRC and its employees were fully on board with Limbaugh's 2012 denigration of Sandra Fluke as a "slut" for daring to talk about birth control in public, helpfully adding some denigration of their own -- until  they realized Limbaugh's usual absurdity-to-highlight-absurdity wasn't working this time. So Bozell slammed the MRC into crisis-management mode, meekly conceding that Limbaugh "crossed a line" but he apologized so everything's hunky-dory now, but it isn't since the liberal media want to destroy him. Bozell then launched an MRC-run "I Stand With Rush" website to show appreciation for "the massive contribution that he has made to the conservative movement and our nation over the last 25 years." and insisting the controversy really "isn't about what Rush said."

That's not all. In 2014, the MRC touted a Limbaugh-issued report purporting to claim that a grassroots campaign critical of Limbaugh isn't grassroots at all. Graham quoted a Limbaugh press release quoting "Rush Limbaugh Show spokesperson" Brian Glicklich dismissing the critics as "politically motivated out-of-state activists," and Jeffrey Lord praised Limbaugh's "thorough, highly detailed investigation," also quoting Glicklich.

But who is Glicklich, really? He's the crisis manager Limbaugh hired in 2012, when advertisers were abandoning his show in the wake of his Fluke remarks. The fact that Glicklich's Twitter account still lists him as a "spokesperson for Rush Limbaugh" seems to indicate that the crisis is ongoing and still in need of management more than three years after the fact.

Bozell and Graham were silent about Limbaugh's crisis management (and their role in same), but chortle about Planned Parenthood hiring a crisis manager. Hypocrisy, defined.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:16 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, July 31, 2015 6:18 PM EDT
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
MRC's Double Standard on Mass Murderers' Motivation
Topic: Media Research Center

When Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez shot and killed several people in Chattanooga, the Media Research Center was upset that the media wouldn't jump to conclusions that Abdulazeez was a jihadi doing the direct bidding of ISIS and/or Al Qaeda, despite the lack of any solid evidence he was actually associated with Muslim extremists.

In a July 21 NewsBusters post, Tom Blumer was offended that a news article asked why Abdulazeez committed two attacks on military facilities and if "was he propelled to do so by his own demons or at the direction of someone else," sneering in response:

Gee, those questions aren't too tough.

The answers to those two questions aren't difficult to discern to a high confidence level.

According to ABC News, Abdulazeez "was following a radical American member of al Qaeda online in 2013, as well as pages of writing that showed the young man was suicidal and looking for a way to absolve what he considered were his sins, according to a representative of Abdulazeez's family." So if he wasn't "directed," he at least appears to have been "inspired" to attack "military sites" — a task made easier by prohibitions against soldiers carrying guns in "gun-free zones" at those installations.

But here we are, five days after Abdulazeez's massacre, with far more than enough evidence, yet virtually no one in authorty or in the establishment press wants to point directly at "radical Islam" or "Islamic jihad" as the likely or even possible motivation.

But when a non-Muslim commits a massacre -- like John "Rusty" Houser tried to do in a Louisiana movie theater, killing two before killing himself -- the last thing the MRC wants to talk about is the killer's motivation. Matthew Balan complained in a July 24 NewsBusters post:

On Friday's World News Tonight, ABC's Ryan Owens played up how Lafayette, Louisiana mass shooter John "Rusty" Houser was "politically active – even running for office as an ultra-conservative, anti-tax crusader in Georgia." Owens also spotlighted how "investigators are scouring Houser's postings on known anti-government websites – hoping, perhaps, to find some answers there." [video below]

The correspondent included his political superlative near the end of his report on Houser's background. Moments earlier, Owens outlined the perpetrator's "troubled past" – including his "'extreme erratic behavior'...'various acts of family violence'... [and] 'manic depression and/or bipolar disorder.' He continued by noting that "in 2001, Houser placed a swastika on the outside of the bar he owned, but denied he was a Nazi sympathizer." The journalist then continued with his "ultra-conservative" label of the murderer.

It seems the MRC only wants to hear the truth about mass murderers when they can easily be defined as an "other," not when the killer's views are not as far from their own.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:51 PM EDT
Monday, July 27, 2015
MRC Throws An Intern's Tantrum At Garrison Keillor
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has its moments of immature, unprofessional tantrums, usually coming from the boss himself, Brent Bozell. The MRC is now apparently letting interns throw Bozell-like tantrums, as demonstrated in this July 21 rant by inter Sarah Stites:

Good news, America! You no longer have to pay Garrison Keillor to sneer at you. After his 30-city “America the Beautiful” tour, Prairie Home Companion radio host Garrison Keillor is retiring for good (and good riddance). His tour should have been called “America the Liberal.”

Keillor is a malicious parasite who spent his career soaking up federal funding through NPR while wrapping his off-the-shelf anti-American leftism in a cloying Midwestern folksiness.

So, if you’re not one of Keiller’s 4 million listeners worldwide, count yourself lucky, and enjoy these top five ridiculous quotes from the man himself.

Here's one of those quotes that Stites finds so "ridiculous":

In 2013, the NPR personality tweeted that “According to the Earth Day Network, Earth Day is celebrated – observed in some form by a billion people every year.” Really, Keillor? That’s almost twice the population of North America. But maybe folksy exaggeration is part of the charm of Lake Wobegon denizens.

But if you look at the 2013 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham that Stites cites as evidence, it's declared a "whopper of a claim" and mocked as "New Math." You won't find, however, any evidence debunking the claim. Sorry, but Graham not liking the number (and Earth Day in general) is not evidence that it's wrong.

But who needs actual evidence when there's a screed to be written? Those are the standards at the MRC these days.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:11 PM EDT
Thursday, July 23, 2015
NEW ARTICLE: The MRC's War Against the Truth
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center is unhappy that the media is accurately reporting on the dishonestly edited anti-Planned Parenthood videos -- and it won't even admit that the dishonesty exists. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 5:26 PM EDT
Friday, July 17, 2015
MRC Still Complaining About Accurate Reporting
Topic: Media Research Center

It seems the Media Research Center isn't done being upset that the story about the secretly recorded Planned Parenthood official is being accurately reported.

A July 15 NewsBusters item by Curtis Houck complained that TV newscasts accurately identified the Center for Medical Progress, which released the dishonestly edited video, as “anti-abortion activists," whining about "the media’s long-standing refusal to use the 'pro-life' label for conservatives." But the CMP is unquestionably anti-abortion and they're activists, so it's absolutely accurate to describe them as "anti-abortion activists."

Houck even seemed put out that the media is reporting Planned Parenthood's side of the story at all, huffing that one newscast included "more points from Planned Parenthood about how they are 'only trying to help women who want to donate fetal tissue after abortions.'" Funny, we thought the MRC wanted the news fairly reported.

Houck didn't mention the fact that the original video the CMP released was dishonestly edited and did not portray the full context of what actually happened.

Ken Shepherd follows that up with a July 16 post complaining that the Dailiy Beast accurately identified CMP leader David Daleiden as an "extremist":

If you can't counter the message, character-assassinate the messenger. That, apparently, is Daily Beast writer Samantha Allen's tack regarding the sting video wherein a Planned Parenthood official discusses selling aborted-baby body parts above break-even rates to medical researchers.

Allen devoted her July 16 piece, "Maker of Planned Parenthood Video Called Abortion 'Genocide'" to trashing pro-life activist David Daleiden[.]

At no point does Shepherd dispute the accuracy of anything the Daily Beast reported about Daleiden, including the "extremist" descriptor, nor does he explain how reporting indisputably accurate information about Daleiden equates to "trashing" or character assassination. One could say the real character assassin here is Daleiden himself with his deceptive video dishonestly attacking Planned Parenthood -- a deception Shepherd, like fellow MRC employee Houck, does not acknowledge.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:52 PM EDT
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
MRC Is Mad That AP Is Accurately Reporting On A Story
Topic: Media Research Center

As one might expect, the ConWeb is all over the story of a secretly recorded video of a Planned Parenthood official talking about how it disposes of some of the fetal remains following an abortion, including selling them for research with the permission of the woman -- even though they are so far highlighting the deceptively edited, out-of-context claims and ignoring the full story.

The Media Research Center's Ken Shepherd does a terrible job of playing media cop, ignoring the deceptive, sensational reporting of his ConWeb peers and instead devoting a July 15 NewsBusters post to bashing the Associated Press for reporting the story accurately:

We've long known that the Associated Press is loathe to refer to unborn children as unborn children, preferring the clinical term "fetus." But in covering a shocking new story about how Planned Parenthood sells fetal tissue from aborted babies for profit, the AP bent over backwards to use clinical euphemisms to soften the blow of the ghoulish practice.

Yes, Shepherd is attacking the AP for using a medically accurate term instead of the emotionally charged one he would prefer. Of course, he can't claim his preferred term is an accurate one, medically or otherwise; if you have to qualify the word "children," that means it's inaccurate to use "children" in this context.

But that's what the MRC's "media research" is down to these days.

Interesting that Shepherd is mad about accurate reporting but not about the deceptively edited video first released by the anti-abortion activists who secretly taped the Planned Parenthood official, or the ConWeb outlets who ignore that fact in their reporting of the story.

UPDATE: Shepherd might want to look a little closer to home to vent his outrage over accurate reporting -- say, across the hall at MRC headquarters. At MRC division, its lead article on the story is an AP article that references "fetuses" instead of his preferred (and inaccurate) phrase. But as in CNS tradition of putting biased headlines on AP articles, it rewrote the headline to refer to "baby body parts," which is just as inaccurate as Shepherd's insistence that the AP refer to "unborn children."

Posted by Terry K. at 3:57 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 4:10 PM EDT
Friday, July 3, 2015
How The MRC Defends Trump's Smears of Mexicans
Topic: Media Research Center

From the beginning, the Media Research Center has worked to downplay Donald Trump's smears of Mexican immigrants.

In a June 18 NewsBusters post, Ken Oliver-Mendez spun hard by insisting that Trump's characterization of Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists "was not unqualifiedly negative, as he also immediately added 'and some, I assume, are good people.'" Oliver-Mendez then touted how "On the campaign trail after his announcement speech, Trump actually upgraded his assessment somewhat."

Oliver-Mendez grumbled that on Spanish-language networks, "Trump’s opening campaign statement effectively morphed from a condemnation of the perceived prevalence of undesirable elements among unauthorized immigrants entering the country to an offensive statement against immigrants in general, particularly Mexican immigrants." Of course, when you are falsely branding Mexican immigrants as mostly criminals and rapists as Trump did, that's an entirely reasonable reaction. 

Also spinning hard is Kevin Gibbons, who uses a June 25 NewsBusters post to keep up the complaint that people were elevating Trump's offensive remarks and ignoring the "positive statements" about Mexico he made:

Trump actually made several positive statements about Mexico and Mexicans, but they have gone largely unheard in the media due to the force of the other, unpleasant remarks he also made.

“Druggies, drug dealers, rapists and killers are coming across the southern border,” Trump tweeted the other day. Even though the object of Trump’s attention knows it’s true, she apparently doesn’t want anyone else to point it out.

Trump’s campaign announcement speech actually applauded Mexico with “They’re laughing at us, at our stupidity. And now they are beating us economically.”  Everything was going well on the first date, until he took a personal shot at her family member. Trump later added “Mexico is killing the United States economically because their leaders and negotiators are FAR smarter than ours.”

In response, Univision in particular has fueled a well-known negative stereotype of a Mexican’s reaction to a personal insult.  Instead of “appreciating” that Mexico outperforms the U.S., all of the focus and attention are on the name-calling.

Gibbons goes on to declare that Univision's dumping of the Trump-owned Miss Universe pageant was "rash" and "akin to ESPN cancelling their NBA contract because of racist comments made by former Clippers owner Donald Sterling." Well, no; it's more akin to ESPN cancelling their NBA contract because the NBA commissioner made racist comments.

On June 27, Jeffrey Lord laughably asserted that Trump's smears were "accurate," adding: "Trump is surging in the polls on the very basis of his blunt criticisms of the Obama administration’s conduct of foreign affairs and the GOP Establishment’s woeful performance on issues - dealings with Mexico over the southern border and on trade but two of those issues."

Thge MRC also gave a platform to Jorge Bonilla to defend Trump in a June 28 post. Bonilla proclaimed that Trump "laced blunt truths with Trumpian hyperbolic bombast, adding: "Opinion on Trump aside, reasonable people can agree (or disagree) that perhaps not every undocumented immigrant will be a valedictorian or a hard-working incarnation of the American Dream with an immaculate criminal record, or that our seriously deficient immigration model is in dire need of actual reform."

But does Bonilla agree with Trump that most are criminals and rapists? Apparently so.

By this time, however, it was time for a distraction, which the MRC found in a Univision executive's posting a picture to his Instagram page comparing Trump to Chalreston shooter Dylann Roof. The MRC happily promoted Fox News criticism of it, and Tim Graham whined that the media was ignoring the "scabrous" image in its coverage of the Trump-Univision conflict.

Of course, Graham ignores his employer's promotion of a similarly scabrous image comparing President Obama to Satan in which which the MRC blogger giggled, "Spoiler alert: Barack Obama is the one on the right."

MRC chief Brent Bozell dutifully pounded the Trump-roof image, but he failed to mention the anti-Mexican smears by Trump that provoked the image (and, needless to say, his own organization's promotion of an image that's just as "unacceptable" as he claims the Trump-Roof image is).

It's what you'd expect from an organization that finds holding a conservative accountable for his words to be more offensive than insulting an entire race of people.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:09 PM EDT
Thursday, July 2, 2015
MRC Mad That Historic Court Ruling Is Accurately Described As Historic
Topic: Media Research Center

Curtis Houck complains in a June 25 MRC NewsBusters item:

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 6-3 ruling in favor of President Obama in the ObamaCare subsidy case, the “big three” of ABC, CBS, and NBC were out in full force during their Thursday evening newscasts to cheer the “historic ruling” and labeled Chief Justice John Roberts as a “conservative” after having “saved” ObamaCare “from a devastating blow.”

Houck doesn't explain how describing a historic ruling as historic, or a conservative justice as conservative, constitutes the liberal bias he implies is happening here.

Houck is the latest MRC worker to fulfill the Stephen Colbert principle that reality has a well-known liberal bias.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:29 PM EDT
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
MRC Writer Thinks Musicians Get Paid By The Hour
Topic: Media Research Center

For someone whose job it is to write about business, the Media Research Center's Joseph Rossell doesn't know much about it. Take this opening paragraph from Rossell's June 26 MRC Business & Media Institute item:

Left-wing Apple is huge and popular with the technorati. It became the world’s first company worth $700 billion, and was once rich enough to buy the entire island of Cyprus. But Apple said it can only afford to pay musicians pennies an hour for streaming their music, approximately 27 times less than Chinese factory workers earned making the Apple Watch.

Wow -- so much wrong in one paragraph. We'll skip the fact that Rossell offers no evidence to claim Apple is "left-wing," and we'll take a educated guess that a not-insignificant number of Rossell's MRC employees use Apple products, which undermines his sneering at the company's supposed politics. Instead, we'll move right to his complete ignorance of how musicians are paid for their music.

Rossell's claim that Apple's new music streaming service pays "per hour" is utterly wrong. No streaming service does that. He later concedes that streaming services pay on the basis of how many times a song is streamed, but he clings to the per-hour claim to push his apples-to-rutabagas comparison with the salaries of Chinese workers, insisting that "it was far stingier with musicians than some Apple suppliers were with their Chinese employees."

But musicians do not work for Apple on a salaried or even a contract basis the way a factory worker does for his or her employer, and Apple paying a royalty to musicians for streaming their music is not even remotely the same as someone being paid to work several hours a day at an Apple supplier.

Rossell doesn't seem to understand that, unlike that Apple supplier worker, musicians have multiple streams of revenue. Rossell portrayed musician Pharrell Williams as kind of poor because of the paltry streaming revenues he receives. But as Forbes details, he will make $32 million this year; he makes money from not only his music sales and touring but also from his clothing line and appearances on the TV show "The Voice."

If Rossell is so concerned about the revenue of musicians, he might want to focus his ire on radio stations, which pay nothing to musicians for the songs they play. But then, the National Association of Broadcasters, the lobbying group for radio stations, opposes paying royalties, and the contributions of its PAC appear to skew Republican.

But that would require knowing something about how business works, which, again, Rossell doesn't.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:39 PM EDT
Sunday, June 28, 2015
MRC's Bozell & Graham Throw Pope, Cardinal Under The Bus Over Encyclical
Topic: Media Research Center

Pope Francis' encylical on climate change, "Laudato Si," poses a challenge to people like the Media Research Center's Brent Bozell and Tim Graham, who present themselves as uber-Catholics who try to bully anyone who dares criticize the church.

But the pope's encyclical forwards the horrible (to Bozell and Graham) concept that climate change is manmade and that efforts must be made to counter it. After all, the MRC has long misled its readers about climate change while serving as a shill for fossil fuels (and failing to disclose that it receives donations from the oil and gas industry).

Thus, we have the uncomfortable-looking attempt to split the baby, in which Bozell takes on the encyclical in a June 22 NewsBusters item by ... defending Rush Limbaugh. Because, apparently, Limbaugh ranks above even the pope or his fellow Catholics as someone who warrants defense no matter what stupid thing he says (as the Sandra Fluke episode amply demonstrated).

Bozell was upset that none other than D.C. Archbishop Cardinal Donald Wuerl shot down Limbaugh's attacks on the pope's encyclical as "saying is that every Catholic should vote for the Democrat Party" by noting that even people who don't know what they're talking about can speak their mind. That was apparently too much for Bozell, who is simply shocked that anyone could accuse Limbaugh of not knowing what he's talking about, so he throws a cardinal under the bus and insist that he's the idiot, not Limbaugh:

With all due respect, it is Cardinal Wuerl who doesn't have a clear view of what the other person is saying.

Laudato Si has unleashed an enormous national (and international) discussion. As many theologians have expressed so passionately, this is not -- NOT -- a political document. The essence of this encyclical transcends politics. It is, at its heart, a spiritual message calling on humanity to show greater reverence for nature --  and not as Gaia but as a gift from God. Were the focus there, and there alone, it would be a message that could be embraced by every conservative, and conservatives would be well advised that is is something everyone should.

Sadly, the document trends, needlessly and annoyingly, into the political arena, with ideological pronouncements that will allow the political left to manipulate the conversation.  They'll pounce on them in order to claim the moral high ground alongside the scientific high ground.

Thus Rush is correct.  When next I read that some left-wing political leader is using this encyclical to further his political agenda, it will be my fervent hope that Cardinal Wuerl will respond by telling him that doesn't have all the facts, and doesn't have a clear view of the intention of Laudato Si.

But as we all know, Bozell is simply the mouthpiece through which Graham's words flow; thus, the subject gets recycled for the syndicated column for which Graham gets co-credit (at last!). They play the Rush-is-right card again but refrain from throwing the cardinal under the bus once more.

Instead, the pope gets the under-the-bus treatment. They sneer at the pope's "numerous unnecessary and annoying genuflections to liberal political ideology," dubiously insist "tere never was scientific consensus" on climate change, laughably claim that the term "climate change" was invented by the left when, in fact, it was popularized by right-wing linguistic guru Frank Luntz.

You can almost hear the bones crunch as the bus backs up for another swipe when Bozell and Graham huff, "Francis is now the poster child for radical environmentalism the world over."

The authors then try to clean up their mess by praising the part of the pope's encyclical "that could be interpreted as endorsements of the social conservative agenda." Then they close by taking another shot at the pope's "confounding incoherence," calling his encyclical "a beautiful tapestry marred by political graffiti."

But aren't Bozell and Graham the ones playing the poltical graffiti game by dismissing the parts of the pope's encyclical they personally don't like? What makes them think they know better than the pope on this subject? And doesn't being a cafeteria Catholic on the encyclical run counter to the orthodox brand of Catholicism they claim to follow?

And they can't deflect from their own fossil-fuel ties by tossing out George Soros or Tom Steyer as bogeymen to counter the pope, as they typically do.

So ultimately, Bozell and Graham's attempt to blunt the message and impact of the pope's encyclical is as confoundingly incoherent as they claim the pope is.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:12 PM EDT
Friday, June 26, 2015
MRC Offended By Trump-Roof Photo -- But Found Obama-Satan Photo Hilarious
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has the outrage machine cranked up again.

A June 26 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham touts how "Fox News host Megyn Kelly led with a 'vicious' stunt pulled on Instagram by an official with the Spanish-language network Univision – a network that plans to host a presidential debate next year. Alberto Ciurana, the network’s president of programming and content posted an image of Donald Trump next to Charleston racist mass murderer Dylann Roof." The next day, MRC chief Brent Bozell cranked out a press release declaring that it's "unfathomable" that Univision could be "comparing a candidate for President to a cold-blooded murderer without consequences" and demanded that"Univision must remove Ciurana from his current position immediately and salvage what credibility it has left" and that "If he cannot apologize, and Univision will not discipline, the GOP should cancel its planned presidential debate on that network."

The MRC plays down the fact that nobody at Univision itself had no role in the image; the executive in question posted it to his personal Instagram.

We also remember that the MRC had a much different view on defamatory comparisons when the person being compared is a Democratic president.

IN a March 2013 NewsBusters post, Howard Portnoy thought that comparions of President Obama to the character of Satan as portrayed in a miniseries was absolutely hilarious:

The devil, you say. Actually, the devil, they say. Sunday night’s episode of the hit series “The Bible” on the History Channel featured an appearance by Satan, who as, depicted, looked familiar to many viewers. Feel free to judge for yourself. Spoiler alert: Barack Obama is the one on the right.

Bozell's buddy, Rush Limbaugh, found it hilarious as well, as WorldNetDaily documented at the time:

Rush Limbaugh held up a photo of the actor Monday afternoon on his famous “Dittocam” to show viewers that the Satan character was “a dead ringer” for Obama.

“Folks, it is uncanny,” Limbaugh noted, before quipping, “In light of that picture … the question that sprang to everybody’s mind is: if Satan had a son, would he look like the guy [in the White House]?”

Kelly has a bit of employer hypocrisy to deal with as well: Fellow Fox News host Bill O'Reilly devoted a segment to the comparison, and he wasn't terribly outraged at all.

Not a shred of outrage to be found at the MRC at the time. This makes its current outrage over  the Trump-Roof picture to be more than a little hypocritical.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:19 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, June 26, 2015 5:21 PM EDT
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
MRC Wants To Blame Today's Democrats for Confederate Flag
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is a little conflicted about how to treat the Confederate flag now that it's become an issue in the wake of the Charleston massacre.

In a June 21 Newsbusters post, Brad Wilmouth fretted that a CNN corresponent "highlighted an incendiary tweet from actor Charles Pierce comparing the Confederate flag to the flag of Nazi Germany." Wilmouth didn't explain why he feels that is an inappropriate comparison.

(Actually, the "incendiary tweet" in question is from actor Wendell Pierce; Wilmouth must be thinking of writer Charles Pierce, whom Wilmouth's boss, Tim Graham, just can't seem to stop selectively quoting.)

The next day, the MRC had finally figured that, yes, the Confederate flag is a bad thing to be associated with -- and, accordingly, tried to hang it around the necks of Democrats. Curtis Houck complained that ABC News "spun the Confederate flag as a problem for the 2016 Republicans. No mention was made of Bill Clinton, the spouse of a 2016 Democratic candidate, and his past honoring of the Confederacy." To back this up, Houck has to go back to a 1987 bill passed by the Arkansas legislature and signed by Clinton as Arkansas governor setting the design of the state flag -- highlighted by the Daily Caller -- in which it's stated that “The blue star above the word 'ARKANSAS' is to commemorate the Confederate States of America.” Yep, signing a bill acknowledging the historical significance of a star on the Arkansas state flag equals Clinton "honoring" the Confederacy as far as Houck is concerned, even though the flag itself does not otherwise emulate the Confederate flag.

Houck engaged in even more desperate spinning of "calls by South Carolina officials to remove the Confederate flag from the State Capitol’s grounds," huffing that "the major broadcast networks failed to note the full context of the flag’s history in the Palmetto State and how it was a Democratic Governor who first hoisted it above the Capitol dome in 1962." Houck proudly pointed out how Fox News advances the conservatives' agenda of deflection on the issue, touting how Fox anchor bret Baier "felt it was pertinent to provide viewers with some 'important historical context' in that 'the flag was raised over the state capitol by Democrat Fritz Hollings – then Governor' in 1962 before being 'taken off the state capitol by Republican David Beasley after pressure in 1998 and put on the State grounds.'"

Needless to say, Houck doesn't note that Baier's "important historical context" is itself lacking historical context. There's no evidence Hollings himself personally "raised" the flag in 1962. According to Daniel Hollis, a former University of South Carolina history professor who served on a 1961 state commisson to plan the state's observance of the 100th anniversary of the Civil War, the flag was installed atop the state capitol not by order of Hollings but, rather, by a state representative, John May. The flag was only intended to stay atop the capitol for a year, but the resolution authorizing it did not include a removal date, and it stayed there until 1988.

Far from being an uncompromising segregationist, Hollings as governor actually urged his state to accept integration peacefully, which it did: South Carolina lacked much of the overt resistance to integration found in other Southern states.

Aside from the misleading and incomplete history, Houck's atempt to blame Hollings for the Confederate flag -- and, by association, all Democrats today -- dishonestly ignores the recent history of the Democratic Party. As we detailed the last time the MRC feigned ignorance of Southern political history, Southerners started abandoning the Republican Party in the 1960s after it supported integration and other equal-rights laws. The South has always been conservative; the Civil Rights Acts of the era caused those conservatives to shift their allegiance over a generation from Democrats to Republicans.

If the MRC can't even do the basic research needed to keep itself from looking like an idiot on such issues of simple history, why trust any of its other "media research"? (Hint: You can't.)

(Image: Reuters/PBS)

Posted by Terry K. at 8:30 PM EDT
Sunday, June 7, 2015
MRC's Double Standard on Speeding Ticket Coverage
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Tim Graham did a lot of sneering at the New York Times's story about the speeding tickets Marco Rubio and his wife racked up.

"Is this supposed to punish the Rubios when Hillary Clinton hasn’t driven a car during this entire 18-year period?" Graham huffed in a June 5 NewsBusters post.

Graham followed that up later in the day by suggesting that the story had "Democratic oppo fingerprints" on it, highlighting the #RubioCrimeScoop Twitter hashtag that "describe[d] tiny offenses – stealing a bank pen, failing to return a library book – in the same vein as the Times gumshoes."

The funny thing? The MRC used to think speeding tickets warranted national media coverage.

In a June 2001 MRC CyberAlert, Brent Baker howled that "speeding and reckless driving citations issued to Albert Gore III for going 97 mph in a 55 mph zone", which happened the weekend before the 2000 Democratic convention that nominated his father as the Democratic presidential candidate, demanded media coverage. That was intended as a form of punishment of the kind Graham claimed the Times was doing to Rubio -- Baker's goal was to distract from the foibles of President George W. Bush's twin daughters, who were busted twice in a month for underage drinking and using a false ID to obtain alcohol.

Baker did concede that Gore III was 17 at the time and, thus, a minor, while the Bush twins were 19. He didn't note that Gore's father was merely a candidate while the Bushes' father was the sitting president, and the children of sitting presidents are by definition newsworthy, especially when they break the law -- or that one reason the Bushes got busted was because of a law their father passed while Texas governor that aimed to get tough on underage drinking.

(As we noted at the time, the ConWeb did a lot of excuse-making to distract attention from the Bushes, of which the Gore speeding ticket was but one.)

Graham himself demanded media coverage of Gore's speeding ticket in a November 2000 pre-election column written for National Review. He was trying to punish and distract as well, this time from news of George W. Bush's mid-1970s drunk-driving conviction. Graham admits Gore III "is not supposed to be a public figure," but then demands that he be made one: "But is it fair to spike the unfavorable news angles — especially when a presidential nominee's child breaks the law — and then celebrate the child, or more precisely, celebrate the parenting of the child, on a different day?"

As far as spiking unfavorable news angles go, Graham might want to have a chat with the folks at, down the hall at MRC headquarters, which has done everything it can to censor and bury the Josh Duggar molestation scandal.

Graham even demanded that the media get tough on then-tennage Chelsea Clinton despite the lack of any evidence she had ever done anything to warrant it: "Chelsea Clinton has never had a brush with the law, but how can the public judge what a 'princess' she is when the media have placed her in a plastic bubble?"

Also: If the Times' story was supposedly Democratic "oppo research," we should then assume that the MRC's desperate attempts to maker Gore III's speeding ticket a national issue was its attempt to serve as oppo research for Republicans. Doesn't that cross the line of what the MRC is permitted to do under its nonprofit tax designation? Graham might want to think twice before making such an allegation.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:25 PM EDT
Monday, June 1, 2015
MRC Falsely Suggests Sex Ed Is Airing On PBS Kids
Topic: Media Research Center

The headline on the Media Research Center front page screams "Taxpayer-Funded PBS Pushes Teaching Sex-Ed to 4-Year-Olds," accompanied by an image of the logo for the PBS Kids channel:

It's a lie.

Nowhere in the May 29 article by Katie Yoder does it claim that PBS Kids is running sex education -- or that sex ed directed at 4-year-olds is happening anywhere on PBS. Instead, Yoder complains that on PBS' "NewsHour" website -- again, not a kid-friendly place -- there's an article that "held up the Netherlands as an example for the United States in “sexuality education” – for those as young as 4-years-old to learn 'honest conversations about love and relationships.'"

Yoder selectively quotes from the article claiming that it talks about "sex ed classes … for 4-year olds" -but waits until the next paragraph to concede that the article states that "You’ll never hear an explicit reference to sex in a kindergarten class."

Yoder doesn't even raise any specific objections to the "sexuality eduction" lessons being taught to 4-year-olds, which include "able to properly name body parts including genitals. They also learn about different types of families, what it means to be a good friend, and that a baby grows in a mother’s womb." She has simply gone into a right-wing freakout over the words "sexuality education" and "4-year-olds" being in close proximity.

Yoder does declare that Dutch parents have "totally abdicated their responsibility to the state" by letting schools teach them how to talk to their kids about sex. She doesn't explain, however, why empowering parents with knowledge is a bad thing.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:41 AM EDT

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