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Thursday, February 11, 2016
Confused Bozell Is Unhappy Trump Voters Got Criticized
Topic: Media Research Center

Media Reseatch Center chief Brent Bozell hates Donald Trump. So why is he mad that Trump's voters got mocked?

In a Feb. 10 appearance on Fox Business (where he gets to continue to appear in part because of how he has sucked up to them so well), Bozell complained about a New York Daily News cover after the New Hampshire primary depicting Trump as a column and calling his voters "mindless zombies." But Bozell has somehow decided that the cover was calling all Republican voters "mindless zombies" despite the context being clear, ranting that this was "character assassination."

Bozell then went further, insisting that "These left-wingers are always pontificating about right-wing haters" but "there's no conservative type of newspaper that does this sort of thing and is this hate-filled toward liberals."

Apparently Bozell has never heard of the New York Post.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:43 PM EST
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
MRC: It's 'Politics' To Show A Gay Couple In Love
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center continues to be mad that gays are permitted to be gay in public.

In a Feb. 2 NewsBusters post, Katie Yoder notes that "To advertise greeting cards for Valentine’s Day this year, Hallmark released multiple videos of couples sharing their love stories. Among them: a gay and a lesbian couple." But first she asserts: "Hallmark is using politics to sell cards this Valentine’s Day."

Gosh, we thought that showing loving gay couples was a way to, you know, sell more greeting cards. We thought Yoder and the MRC supported the free market in which goods can be sold to anyone.

And wouldn't be more obviously "using politics" if Hallmark refused to acknowledge gay couples as Yoder wants?

Yoder doesn't answer that. Instead she complains that "In 2011, NPR pushed Hallmark to start creating Valentine’s Day cards for the LGBT community," citing a post by the MRC's Tim Graham whining that NPR once did a story on a company that made them that also quoted a Hallmark spokesperson stating that the company was moving in that direction. So it seems Hallmark hardly needed the "push" NPR supposedly gave them.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:21 PM EST
Sunday, February 7, 2016
Cruz Supporters At MRC Give Cruz A Pass On CNN And Ben Carson
Topic: Media Research Center

It's no secret that Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell is a supporter of Ted Cruz (and a hater of Donald Trump), and that attitude is bleeding into his organization as the MRC is working hard to shield Cruz from media criticism.

During the Iowa caucuses, Cruz's campaign spread a false claim that CNN reported Ben Carson had dropped out of the caucuses, encouraging Carson supporters to cast their votes for Cruz instead. While Cruz apologized to Carson, he also insisted that CNN reported that Carson was quitting the campaign -- which CNN did not do.

But don't expect to read about Cruz's blunder at the MRC, though. It has, however, complained that the media reported it, though -- Curtis Houck groused that news outlets reported on Donald Trump "accusing Ted Cruz of “stealing” the Iowa caucuses" through the false Carson claim.

A Feb. 4 post by Scott Whitlock touted how Cruz "school[ed]" an ABC reporter who asked him about it by retorting, "Is it a dirty trick to pass on your news stories?" Whitlock didn't mention that the information Cruz passed on was wrong.

And when Cruz falsely claimed again during the Feb. 6 GOP debate that it was CNN, not his campaign that got the Carson information wrong, the MRC remained silent on the issue, and Bozell didn't even highlight it on his Twitter feed.

By contrast, the MRC has published numberous posts defending Cruz. These include a couple apparently done to hide the controversy over his false statements about CNN's reporting on Carson -- a Feb. 4 post detailing what Geoffrey Dickens calls "the Worst Media Attacks on Ted Cruz (so far)" -- which misleadingly conflates news reporting with statements by opinion commentators -- and a Feb. 6 post by Tim Graham complaining that the Washington Post did an article about what Canadians think of Cruz, given that he was born there.

At one point Graham writes, "Birtherism is a viciously racist mental disorder when used against Barack Obama, but it’s an amusing exercise in needling when it’s used against a conservative." If that's what Graham really thinks about Obama birtherism, that's a change from the MRC's normal policy of letting the president twist in the wind on the issue by refusing to aggressively denounce it (at least until it became an issue for Cruz).


Posted by Terry K. at 7:23 PM EST
Tuesday, February 2, 2016
The MRC's Deliberately Incomplete Trump-Coverage Analysis
Topic: Media Research Center

Rich Noyes trumpets in a Feb. 1 Media Research Center "Media Reality Check":

For months, one of GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump’s major advantages has been the establishment media’s decision to cover his candidacy to the near-exclusion of his Republican competitors. A new analysis by the Media Research Center finds Trump continued to receive the vast majority of TV news coverage throughout the month of January, leading up to tonight’s crucial Iowa caucuses.

Actually, Noyes' analysis is deliberately incomplete -- and, thus meaningless. His definiton of "TV news" is very tiny -- just "the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts." He has apparently forgotten there are three major and several minor cable news channels that also qualify as "TV news."

Of course, Noyes' job is a lot easier if all he has to do is monitor three half-hour network newscasts instead of the approximately 18 hours of original coverage cable news networks typically generate per day. But there seems to be more than lazineess going on here.

The MRC has long been buddies with Fox News -- Brent Bozell and his minions make regular appearances on it and sister channel Fox Business, almost always in solo interviews, not panels where someone from a different ideological viewpoint might challenge their opinions -- and it regularly plays apologist for acts by Fox News that would receive vicious condemnation were they conducted by a channel with which the MRC is not ideologically aligned.

The MRC's historic exclusion of cable news channels may stem from a simple refusal to hold Fox News to its own standards. And in this particular case, there's a goldmine of evidence to support denouncing Fox News as a promoter of Trump.

As Media Matters points out, Fox News loves Trump -- for instance, he spent a total of 24 hours on Fox from May 2015, whenhe announced his candidacy, thorugh the end of 2015, which added up to about $30 million of free airtime for Trump. Fox is so dependent on Trump, in fact, that when Trump pulled out of last week's Fox-hosted GOP debate, Fox host Bill O'Reilly devoted much of an interview with Trump to begging him to reconsider.

But you won't see the MRC pointing this out, and you won't see Bozell aggressively calling Fox News out for its fealty to Trump -- he wants to keep that weekly "Hannity" segment, after all. The closest he got was an appearance last week on Fox Business, in which Bozell meekly averred that Fox, "with all due respect, is slightly responsible" for the Trump frenzy "because I think it's catered to this man."

Only "slightly responsible"? That's what happens when he refuses to let his employees do actual media research. He knows what side of his media-appearance bread is buttered, after all, and he's not going to jeopardize things by pushing the issue any farther than that.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:57 PM EST
Monday, February 1, 2016
MRC Silent On Ted Cruz's Compaints of Bias In Fox News Debate
Topic: Media Research Center

We've already seen that the Media Research Center ignoring Donald Trump's complaints about bias at Fox News-hosted debates -- after all, MRC chief Brent Bozell hates Trump and would like to keep appearing on Fox.

In an email sent out before the Jan. 28 Republican presidential debate hosted and moderated by Fox News, the MRC declared that it "will be on high alert for media bias surrounding tonight’s debate, as it's yet another opportunity for the media to openly attack conservative candidates and their proposals, instead of reporting on them fairly and letting voters decide."

Well, actually, not so much. Ted Cruz -- who Bozell and the MRC crew like much better than Trump, and who has parroted right-wing media-bias complaints, much to the pleasure of the MRC -- actually threatened to quit mid-debate over the Fox News moderators' bias: "The last four questions have been 'Rand, please attack Ted,' 'Jeb, please attack Ted' ...Gosh, if you guys ask one more mean question, I may have to leave the stage." He then added, "I would suggest let's stay focused on those issues rather than just attacks directed at each other."

What was the response from the MRC to Cruz's media bias accusations? Crickets.

Bozell mentioned nothing about Cruz's complaint on his Twitter feed, and his MRC ignored it entirely. The only bias-related complaint the MRC lodged about the debate carefully avoided directly criticizing Fox News debate moderators like Megyn Kelly; it huffed that "Fox News allowed a Bernie Sanders supporter to grill GOP candidates on anti-Islamic “hate” within the United States."

Randy Hall did write a NewsBusters post on Megyn Kelly referring to Trump, who refused to take part in the debate, as "He Who Must Not Be Named," but given that the boss has publicly rejected Trump -- Bozell has since called Trump a "petulant brat" for skipping the debate -- that was likely intended as a compliment.

Bozell, by the way, made that attack on Trump in an appaearance on Fox Business, where he frequently appears. It seems Bozell knows exactly on which side his bread is buttered, and would clearly like to continue appearing on Fox.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:07 PM EST
Sunday, January 31, 2016
MRC Pretends Anti-Abortion Activists Are Real Journalists
Topic: Media Research Center

Mike Ciandella writes in a Jan. 27 NewsBusters post regarding thte indictment of anti-abortion actiivsts at the so-called Center for Medical Progress for deceptive tactics in their secretly filmed anti-Planned Parenthood videos:

Undercover journalists from both sides of the political spectrum could be severely limited by a Texas grand jury indictment against pro-life activists. The charges are so sweeping that they could affect the entire journalism industry, everything from the network news to environmental activists.

Yet, out of the three broadcast evening news shows, only CBS Evening News has noticed the “dangerous precedent” that this indictment could have for journalism. NBC Nightly News devoted 70 seconds to the ruling, but failed to mentioned any negative consequences for the industry.

Ciandella went on to repeatedly assert that "this ruling wasn’t just bad for pro-lifers or conservatives, it was bad for all undercover journalists" and that there would be "repercussions against undercover journalism" if the indictment stands.

Yes, this would be an issue -- if David Daleiden and the CMP were actual journalists. But they're not.

Right Wing Watch points out that CMP "did not originally describe itself as a journalistic outlet. It was only around the time the group started releasing its videos that it updated its website's 'About Us' page to say that it was comprised of 'citizen journalists.'" Further, CMP officials have publicly stated that its goal is to destroy Planned Parenthood, not to tell a story fairly or objectively, and Daleiden himself said his goal was "obtaining criminal prosecutions" against Planned Parenthood officials and ultimately to "put an end to the abortion industry in America." That's not journalism.

Right Wing Watch sums up: "Daleiden is not an 'investigative journalist.' He is an anti-abortion activist who is now trying to pose as a journalist." That's a big difference -- not that Ciandella is himself objective enough to explain it to his readers.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:56 PM EST
Thursday, January 28, 2016
MRC Denies That Anti Abortion Videos Were Dishonestly Edited, Influenced Planned Parenthood Killings
Topic: Media Research Center

Melissa Mullins devotes a Jan. 21 MRC NewsBusters post to a screed against Teen Vogue for daring to write about Planned Parenthood's response to a anti-abortion group's secretly recorded videos. She bravely clings to her anti-abortion talking points, even in the face of reality. For instance, she writes in one of the "bias" points against the Teen Vogue article:

Bias #2: Calling the people behind the videos of conducting a “malicious smear campaign.” That in itself is incredibly subjective, but the truth is not.

Bias #3:  Claiming the videos were “heavily edited in an effort to claim employees of Planned Parenthood sold “baby parts” for profit.”  Were the videos edited? Yes – for brevity…however, the complete and unedited videos are online, stating the same as the shorter videos.  Besides, you can’t put words into someone’s mouth when it’s on camera. Hey Teen Vogue – have you seen the videos? Or are you claiming ignorance like the Democrats who refused to watch the videos?

In fact, it's been amply documented that the edited videos do not accurately reflect the reality that's contained in the "complete and unedited" versions. In other words, they're not "the truth" at all.

Mullins then wrote:

Bias #6: Blaming an attack on Planned Parenthood that killed three people as a "devastating result" of these videos. This is absurd. It’s almost the same as saying the Matrix movies caused the Columbine school massacre.

Given that the shooter in the Planned Parenthood killings, Robert Dear, reportedly talked of "baby parts" upon his arrest -- a phrase that has been a key component of the MRC's promotion of the Center for Medical Progress' secretly recorded anti-abortion videos -- it's pretty safe to assume that the videos played some role in inspiring the shooting.

We're not aware that Mullins has criticized her publisher for repeatedly blaming the Southern Poverty Law Center for a gunman's attack on the Family Reserach Council headquarters despite no evidence the gunman had any contact with the SPLC beyond looking at its website (which did not exhort anyone to violence).

Mullins concludes by ranting that "a magazine which targets teenaged girls is spoon-feeding them biased garbage such as this." So what's Mullins' excuse for her peddling of biased garbage?


Posted by Terry K. at 3:55 PM EST
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
MRC Cheers RNC Dropping NBC From GOP Debate, Silent On RNC Dropping National Review
Topic: Media Research Center

The right-wing Heathering of Donald Trump in National Review -- starring the Media Research Center's very own Brent Bozell -- has had consequences ... but the MRC won't talk about it.

Nowhere on NewsBusters -- the current front page for most MRC activities -- is it mention that the Republican National Committee dropped National Review as a sponsor of an upcoming GOP presidential debate.Bozell has apparently issued no statement on the removal he helped provoke -- none that his organization saw fit to reprint, anyway.

Ironically, this is the same debate from which the RNC bounced NBC as a sponsor just a few days before -- and the MRC couldn't have been happier about that development.

Bozell rushed out with a statement praising the decision to drop NBC, huffing that "it makes no sense to continue to allow committed left-wingers in the media to decide the nominee of the Republican Party," citing "the dreadful performance by CNBC’s moderators at the Republican debate in October." MRC apparatchik Dan Gainor added, "Serves 'em right!"

Of course, neither Bozell, for all its ranting about the purported bias of the CNBC debate, never provided any actual, objective evidence of it.

Given how vocal the MRC was about the RNC kicking out NBC, it's surprising that it's been utterly silent about the RNC's booting of National Review. Apparently, Bozell and Co. doesn't want to risk provoking the RNC any further.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:02 PM EST
Sunday, January 24, 2016
MRC's Bozell Leads Conservative Heathering of Trump
Topic: Media Research Center

National Review's issue dedicated to denouncing Donald Trump is, in effect, a mass Heathering. And who should be in the middle of that but a guy who runs an organization dedicated to Heathering anyone who deviates in the slightest from right-wing orthodoxy, Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center.

Indeed, Bozell's anti-Trump rant in National Review shuns Trump because he doesn't "walk with us":

A real conservative walks with us. Ronald Reagan read National Review and Human Events for intellectual sustenance; spoke annually to the Conservative Political Action Conference, Young Americans for Freedom, and other organizations to rally the troops; supported Barry Goldwater when the GOP mainstream turned its back on him; raised money for countless conservative groups; wrote hundreds of op-eds; and delivered even more speeches, everywhere championing our cause. Until he decided to run for the GOP nomination a few months ago, Trump had done none of these things, perhaps because he was too distracted publicly raising money for liberals such as the Clintons; championing Planned Parenthood, tax increases, and single-payer health coverage; and demonstrating his allegiance to the Democratic party.

We conservatives should support the one candidate who walks with us.

That's some textbook Heathering right there. It's only in the bio blurb that it's noted Bozell has endorsed Ted Cruz, who is apparently "the one candidate who walks with us" to which Bozell was referring.

This effectively marks the MRC's shift from quietly hands-off on Trump to actively opposing him. We've documented how the MRC refused to follow up on Trump's accusation of media bias against him in the Fox News-hosted debate, but w as much more amenable to echoing Ted Cruz's bias accusations.

Now that Bozell has gone public with his anti-Trump Heathering, the MRC itself is becoming more anti-Trump. A Jan. 24 post by Curtis Houck highlights now National Review editor Rich Lowry "blasted Republican strategist Alex Castellanos for coming out as someone who’d accept Trump as the GOP nominee after his attempts to seek alternatives (i.e. a moderate, establishment candidate) failed and 'your donors wouldn't go with you.'" While Houck noted National Review's anti-Trump issue, he failed to disclose that his boss contributed to it.

A Jan. 23 NewsBusters post by Tom Johnson highlights "left-leaning pundits commenting Friday on National Review’s anti-Donald Trump editorial and symposium" pointing out that conservatives helped create the rise of Trump, but he also failed to disclose that the publisher of NewsBusters was a key player in that "symposium."


Posted by Terry K. at 9:09 PM EST
Thursday, January 21, 2016
Somebody Said Something Less Than Nice About Mark Levin, And The MRC Is ON IT
Topic: Media Research Center

It's apparently part of the Media Research Center's business arrangement with Mark Levin that it defends him against anyone and everyone who voices any criticism of him, no matter how benign.

That would appear to explain this Jan. 18 NewsBusters post by Mark Finkelstein:

Mark Levin is American media's most knowledgeable, passionate proponent of constitutional conservatism. No wonder Chris Matthews hates him.

On his MSNBC show this evening, Matthews slurred Levin as "one of the most distasteful human beings out there." Matthews' attack came in the context of commenting on the defense that Levin and Rush Limbaugh have mounted against Donald Trump's claim that Ted Cruz is "nasty."

That, presumably, was immediately forwarded to Levin by the folks at the MRC. So we get a follow-up post by Tim Graham -- it apparently required a top MRC official to do this -- detailing Levin's (lengthy) response to Matthews, which includes the witty repostes "I find him to be a puke" and "This guy’s a nobody. He’s stuck on MSLSD his entire career."

So it seems "American media's most knowledgeable, passionate proponent of constitutional conservatism" has a bit of trouble handling criticism. Not that it's an obstacle to the the MRC's contractual love affair with him, of course.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:03 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, January 21, 2016 4:04 PM EST
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
MRC's Double Standard on Rock-Star Jailbait
Topic: Media Research Center

In their Jan. 15 column, Tim Graham and Brent Bozell complain that stories on the death of David Bowie "ignored new reports surfacing just in the last two months that Bowie deflowered a 15-year-old groupie named Lori Mattix (and then brought in her 15-year-old gal pal Sable Starr to make it a threesome)." They add that " it adds to the litany of famous male entertainers who've exploited underage girls with their celebrity, from Roman Polanski to Bill Cosby to Woody Allen."

Graham and Bozell conspicuously omit one name off that list: Ted Nugent. 

As Larry Womack details at the Huffington Post, Nugent has a historic predeliction for underage girls, which he celebrated in a song called "Jailbait," about having sex with a 13-year-old.

During a "Behind thte Music" documentary, Nugent bragged about bedding underage girls, suggesting that it was OK because he "got the stamp of approval from their parents." Nugent even made himself the legal guardian of one 17-year-old so he could a patina of legality to his relationship with her.

Ah, but Nugent is a conservative, not to mention a member of the board of the National Rifle Association. So he gets a pass on this from Graham and Bozell.

We presume Graham and Bozell will also give a pass to Nugent's death threat against President Obama.

(Image: Gawker)


Posted by Terry K. at 4:20 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, January 20, 2016 4:23 PM EST
Sunday, January 17, 2016
MRC's Lame Attack On Andrea Mitchell
Topic: Media Research Center

Rich Noyes' Jan. 17 Media Research Center attack, as it were, on Andrea Mitchell starts this way:

Longtime NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell will join Nightly News anchor Lester Holt in moderating tonight’s debate among the three Democratic candidates for President. If history is a guide, Mitchell’s participation is a good omen for Hillary Clinton, since NBC’s “Chief Foreign Affairs correspondent” (who, despite her title, seems to spend most of her time covering U.S. politics) has a long history of fawning over the Democratic frontrunner.

There's a couple things wrong with Noyes' approach, however. First, all of his clips of Mitchell are taken out of context, so it's impossible for anyone to tell whether the clips actually say what Noyes says they say.

Second, there's plenty of reason to doubt Noyes' interpretation because he ascribes emotions to Mitchell he cannot possibly know. At various points, according to Noyes, Mitchell "fawned" and "fretted" over, "chirped" and "crowed" about and "salute[d]" Hillary and "felt Hillary's pain."

None of this is "media research," by the way. Noyes is simply making stuff up, allowing his (and his employer's) right-wing bias to color his work. Actual research involves documentable facts; Noyes is simply issuing opinions.

Noyes is apparently also buying into the right-wing conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton is "physically unfit for the presidency" and is hiding that from the public:

Mitchell was also bothered by any suggestion that Hillary, who will be 69 years old on Election Day, might be physically unfit for the presidency. After Karl Rove in May 2014 talked about Clinton’s hospitalization for a fall and concussion 18 months earlier, Mitchell acidly reported on the Nightly News: “There is no longer any doubt that some powerful Republicans are playing hardball against Hillary Clinton, raising questions about her age and her health, even before she decides whether she’s a candidate....As one Republican operative said, ‘Karl is either an evil genius — or just evil.’”

Noyes doesn't mention that Rove didn't just "suggest" that Hillary was "physically unfit," he actively pushed the idea that she has brain damage. He also doesn't mention that Rove's political operative-style smear -- for which Fox News praised him as a "evil genius" -- was denounced by none other than MRC fave right-wing radio host Mark Levin. Which means that Mitchell and Levin are on the same page.

Noyes is so desperate to attack anything remotely resembling "liberal media" that he doesn't care about intellectual or factual consistency. That's "media research" at the MRC these days.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:30 PM EST
Friday, January 15, 2016
MRC Loves Fox-Hosted Debate, Because Of Course It Would
Topic: Media Research Center

We've documented how the Media Research Center demanded that that Fox News right-wingers host Republican presidential debates and they got their wish -- which meant a lot of tongue-biting when Fox News' Megyn Kelly suddenly started acting like a real journalist and challenged the candidates. But then Fox Business was given a debate and it stuck to the GOP script and Brent Bozell was happy again.

Well, Fox Business got to hold another Republican debate. Since it knows who butters its bread, it again stuck to the GOP script and got its cookie -- er, praise.

Not that there wasn't a tense moment or two. MRC chief Brent Bozell tweeted at one point during the debate, "Again tonight, the Fox anchors are not avoiding the topics the liberal media would pick. Suggesting GOP is extreme, even."

Bozell seems not to understand that if biased right-wingers are bringing up a "liberal media" issue, maybe it's not really a "liberal madia" issue.

But the Fox Business moderators more than made up for it by showing their right-wing bias. NewsBusters' Ken Shepherd cheered Maria Bartiromo's "great question" about Bernie Sanders, in reality a softball to set up right-wing talking points: "So what does it say about our country that a candidate who is a self-avowed socialist and who doesn't think a 90 percent tax rate is too high, could be the Democratic nominee?"

Meanwhile, Bozell and the MRC gave a complete pass to moderator Neil Cavuto bizarrely suggesting that the 2008 financial crisis started under President Obama, not Republican President George W. Bush.

Having thus pandered to the right-wingers, the Fox Business moderators got back into Bozell's good graces, dedicating three full tweets to slobbering over how well it went: "My congratulations to tonight....well done, my friend, well done. Yours was the best of them all tonight. It was riveting."

Bozell would like to keep appearing on Fox News and Fox Business, after all.

UPDATE: Bozell was undoubtedly happy that Ted Cruz went into media-bashing mode, dismissing a New York Times article exposing Ted Cruz's failure to disclose a campaign loan he received through Goldman Sachs as a "hit piece." So much so, we're guessing, that the MRC's Curtis Houck dutifully transcribed it while refusing to dispute any aspect of the Times story.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:53 PM EST
Updated: Friday, January 15, 2016 3:41 PM EST
Thursday, January 14, 2016
The Hateful Gainor: MRC Official Pens Anti-Tarantino Screed
Topic: Media Research Center

Roger Ebert he ain't.

Media Research Center official Dan Gainor begins his Jan. 13 purported review of the new Quentin Tarantino film "The Hateful Eight" in mean-spirited style: "Spoiler Warning: If your life is so dull that you want to waste three hours of it watching this awful movie, this article reveals some key details."

Gainor does indeed spoil the film's ending for no good reason. Rather than serving up an actual review, he looks at the film as a right-wing apparatchik would, documented all the instances of violence in it (as if Tarantino didn't have a sufficient enough track record that this would surprise people), sniffing, "It’s 'Ten Little Indians' for sociopaths and sadists. A snuff film with big name stars."

Gainor spends a good part of his so-called review attacking Tatantino personally for committing the one thing that's even more offensive to Gainor than making violent movies: supporting gun control.

Gainor concludes: "Tarantino clearly aimed for shock, but settled on schlock. And the only people he seems really hateful toward, other than police and conservatives, are his viewers." Well, Gainor certainly does know hate, having spewed it throughout his so-called review.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:36 PM EST
Friday, January 8, 2016
MRC Rails At Cruz Birtherism, Was Blase on Obama Birtherism
Topic: Media Research Center

Ted Cruz's possible presidential eligibility issues are back in the news again -- promoted by Donald Trump, not the "liberal media." But the "liberal media" is reporting on what Trump said, so the Media Research Center is mad.

Scott Whitlock complained in a Jan. 7 NewsBusters post: "In 2011 and 2012, the journalists at Good Morning America railed against birther claims relating to Barack Obama, assailing the conspiracy theory as 'bizarre' and 'nonsense.' Yet, the same program lacked outrage on Thursday as Donald Trump promotes a form of birtherism against Ted Cruz." Whitlock went on to grumble: "The whole tone of the segment lacked judgment of the legitimacy of birtherism."

We would remind Whitlock that his employer helped cause this situation by not consistently and forcefully denouncing Obama birtherism when it was promoted by his fellow conservatives. As we've documented, the MRC mixed tepid denouncements of Obama birtherism with tepid endorsements of it, those denouncements coming only when 1) other conservatives were threatened with being tarred as birthers, and 2) when it could find an excuse to blame the media for it.

But far be it from the MRC to let hypocrisy to get in the way of a good anti-media attack. The same day, a post by Kyle Drennen portrayed said reporting on what Trump said as "promoting,"  then huffed: "While both networks were happy to portray false claims about Cruz’s citizenship as a problem for his presidential campaign, NBC and CBS routinely condemned anyone who even mentioned similar untrue birther attacks on Barack Obama."

Like Whitlock, Drennen needs to review his employer's history on birtherism. If conservatives like Brent Bozell and the MRC had acted more forcefully in saying that birther attacks on Obama were "untrue" from the get-go, the issue wouldn't have festered and then come back to haunt Cruz.

Both Whitlock and Drennen are silent on right-wingers who have embraced Trump going birther on Cruz, including close personal MRC friends Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. But then, as we've seen, being buddies means that the MRC will never issue any meaningful criticism of Limbaugh or Coulter, no matter how offensive their public statements become.

The MRC had an opportunity to act like responsible adults on the birther issue and set the tone that such fringe attacks had no place in the Republican Party, but it didn't -- presmably because it liked that the issue was hanging over Obama's head, just as discredited conspiracy theories like TravelGate and Vince Foster's purported murder hung over President Clinton.

What goes around comes around. The MRC ought to know that.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:18 PM EST

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