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Thursday, August 16, 2018
MRC's Double Standard on TV Hosts' Alleged Conflicts of Interest, Part 2
Topic: Media Research Center

In May, we noted how the Media Research Center obsesses over how NBC "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd's wife works as a Democratic strategist -- while it defended Greta Van Susteren when she frequently had Sarah Palin as a guest on her Fox News show without disclosing that her husband worked as an adviser to Palin.

The double standard continues: Tim Graham huffed in an Aug. 2 post about how "Mrs. Todd has donated $13,250 to federal candidates so far in this election cycle, all of them Democrats," denouncing this as an "ongoing conflict of interest in political coverage" for Todd.

Let's look at another relevant comparison. Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, has long been a right-wing activist and was particularly active during the anti-Obama Tea Party years. That's a potential conflict of interest that much more serious than Todd's, since issues of justice are at stake instead of journalism (not that anyone at the MRC has uncovered an instance in which any candidate linked to Todd's wife got favorable treatment on TV from Todd).

Needless to say, the MRC rushed to defend the Thomases.

In a 2010 post, Matthew Balan touted how CNN's Jeffrey Toobin "defended Mrs. Thomas' grassroots conservative work , while Graham complained that "Media outlets from CNN to NPR to the Washington Post have picked up on the Los Angeles Times story suggesting there could be conflicts of interest for Virginia Thomas to start her group Liberty Central while she's married to Justice Clarence Thomas," an article Balan also reference.

When then-MSNBC host Keith Olbermann called for Thomas to resign from the Supreme Court of the conflict, Noel Sheppard sarcastically claimed, "isn't it marvelous how a cable news anchor shows such disrespect to the wife of a Supreme Court justice?" (Though it's about the same level that Graham shows for Todd's wife.) Sheppard then huffed that "despite Olbermann's blathering, the only potential conflict here would be if the Supreme Court heard a case involving a donor to Liberty Central. At that point, there are procedures in place to deal with it."

Later in 2010, Kyle Drennen groused that "questions about Thomas's political involvement" were being raised again following reports that Ginni Thomas called Anita Hill (whom the MRC can't stop hating a quarter-century on) demanding an apology, and that "implied that since Virginia Thomas is the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas her conservative activism in a conflict of interest." And in 2011, Graham lamented that it was revealed that Clarence Thomas never reported his wife's income from right-wing activist groups on financial disclosure forms and that he had to go back many years and revised the forms, and lamented evenmore that then-Rep. Anthony Weiner insisted that Clarence Thomas "should recuse himself on the constitutionality of ObamaCare" if and when that came to the Supreme Court because of that.

Lest anyone accuse the MRC of not knowing what side its bread is buttered on, MRC chief Brent Bozell sat down for a 2012 interview with Ginni Thomas -- by this time working for the right-wing Daily Caller -- "to discuss a wide variety of issues ranging from media bias to the future of the conservative movement." The MRC version of it does not indicate whether discussions of conflicts of interest took place, but since this was a friendly interview with a friendly media outlet, we're guessing it didn't.

Lately, Ginni Thomas has been spreading fake news on social media. Needless to say, the MRC doesn't want to talk about that, let alone what that might mean for her husband.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:46 AM EDT
Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Curtis Houck's Jim Acosta Derangement Syndrome
Topic: Media Research Center

Media Research Center writer Curtis Houck -- who's also the managing editor of NewsBusters, the MRC's main vehicle for disseminating the "sober, substantial" media criticism he claims the MRC issues -- has a weird obsession with CNN correspondent Jim Acosta. Houck is the leader of the MRC's war on Acosta, attacking pretty much every public utterance Acosta makes, hurling insults, cheering every time he's heckled by rabid Trump supporters and portraying him as a mentally deranged partisan. Houck's obsession with Acosta has only gotten worse, to the point that we can declare him a victim of Acosta Derangement Syndrome.

Under the headline "Jim Acosta Loses His Mind, Throws Fit in New Tussle with WH’s Huckabee Sanders," Houck ranted in an Aug. 2 post: "Just a reminder: CNN is straight up lying to you if any of their more prominent figures ever say they don't want to be the story because everything is about them. And Thursday’s White House Press Briefing perfectly illustrated that as chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta lost his mind when Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders wouldn’t fall into a trap he had laid for her." Houck claimed Acosta "angrily responded" as Sanders "took him to the cleaners," while "Acosta’s colleagues soldiered on with more professionalism than Acosta could ever show." Houck also touted how Sanders referenced the MRC's utterly fraudulent assertion that "90 percent of the coverage on [Trump] is negative."

On Aug. 8, Houck promoted a piece in the Atlantic critical of Acosta "for living up to the verb closely associated to his name (accost) and making himself the story when it should be reporting the news" and claimed that the writer offered "advice that Acosta undoubtedly will ignore."

When Acosta appeared on Steven Colbert's late-night show, Houck was ready with more venom (excessive bolding in original):

Receiving a raucous hero’s welcome reserved for far-left politicians, CNN’s Jim Acosta flaunted Jim Acosta on the Wednesday edition of CBS’s The Late Show by reliving his August 2 duel with Sarah Huckabee Sanders, claiming he’s a fact-checker, blaming “conservative outlets” and “websites” for “twist[ing] and warp[ing]” their views of him, and using an either or fallacy to justify his chicanery.

[...]

Acting as though we’re living through the end times, Acosta fretted that “these are tough times” so “tough questions” must “be asked” and “I don't think we do ourselves any good, Stephen, if we shy away from these hard questions and, you know, my goodness, the way I look at it is — and this is the debate I have with my fellow journalists when we talk about this — what if we just did nothing?”

Jeez. This guy really does think he’s Captain America squaring off against Thanos< in  Infinity War.

Houck also wrote -- in addition to complaining that Acosta spoke "smugly" and exhibited "utter stupidity" -- that Acosta "also sought to blame conservative media and websites (which, one could assume included NewsBusters) for giving people a false understanding of Acosta and his colleagues." Interestingly, Houck doesn't dispute that claim -- which tells us he knows Acosta is right.

Houck also claims Acosta exhibits "narcissism," which is "clear to the naked eye." As is Houck's worsening case of Acosta derangement.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:34 PM EDT
Monday, August 13, 2018
MRC Chief Laments No Emmy Nominations for Fox News, Doesn't ID Show That Deserves One
Topic: Media Research Center

The Aug. 1 column by the Media Research Center's Tim Graham and Brent Bozell starts off lamenting:

On July 26, the News and Documentary Emmy Award nominations were announced, and PBS topped the list with 45 nominations. CBS led the broadcast networks with 31 nods, followed by CNN and HBO with 22 each, and ABC with 20.

MSNBC got 5. Vice News got nine. Al-Jazeera International USA got five. And The New York Times got seven — for videos! Even the liberal website Vox got three.

The Fox News channel, which leads in cable-news viewership year after year after year, got none.

Raise your hand if you're surprised.

Graham and Bozell go on to rant that the Emmys "has nothing to do with talent. It's about the best promotion of the leftist agenda," singling out various and sundry programs that received nominations.

Missing from their column, however, is any mention of a Fox News documentary that Graham and Bozell believed was worthy of a nomination. If you are going to spend a column whining that Fox News didn't get nominated for anything, shouldn't you at least offer an example of something that should have been nominated? Given how often MRC types appear on Fox News, you'd think they could easily do that.

But they didn't. Because that's pretty much how Graham and Bozell roll.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:24 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, August 13, 2018 3:33 PM EDT
Sunday, August 12, 2018
MRC Suddenly Decides to Trust Website It Hates For Echoing Its Agenda
Topic: Media Research Center

Funny how a website publishing an article advancing a right-wing organization's agenda suddenly makes said website trustworthy. Witness this July 25 post from the Media Research Center's Ashley Rae Goldenberg:

Following a report from Gizmodo, left-wing news site Vice News has accused Twitter of “shadow banning” right-wing personalities, politicians, and political pundits.

In a piece, Vice proclaimed in the headline, “Twitter is ‘shadow banning’ prominent Republicans like the RNC chair and Trump Jr.’s spokesman.” According to the report, searches for Republican Party chair Ronna McDaniel, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) all do not automatically fill into the search bar when users begin to look up their accounts if they do not follow those accounts. The search also reportedly fails to list the verified account for Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA).

Vice noted, “Not a single member of the 78-person Progressive Caucus faces the same situation in Twitter’s search.”

This was followed by the usual outraged statement from MRC chief Brent Bozell denouncing said alleged shadow banning. But Bozell didn't mention the political bent of Vice -- and neither Bozell nor Goldenberg mention that the MRC has a history of denouncing content on Vice. For instance:

An August 2017 item by Corinne Weaver huffed that an "America-hating lefty" writer for Vice advocated blowing up Mount Rushmore and basically suggested the website shoujld be censored: "According to the Wall Street Journal, Vice Media is currently valued at $5.7 billion. That's a massive outlet for the kind of anarchist terrorism they are advocating in their headline. Not to mention, the rest of the article is absolute filth that attacks every single president."

In June, Katie Yoder went into freakout mode over a report that a Vice producer once "attempted to pay for one woman’s abortion under the condition that Vice could film it."

On July 20, Isaac Cross attacked a Vice article for pointing out that studies have shown that anty-gay discrimination is a contributing factor in the overall poor health of the LGBT community. Cross was outraged thatVice didn't blame "the lifestyle choices of LGBTQ members" -- as if one chooses to subject themselves to the discrimination efforts of people like Cross -- and huffed: "When it comes to LGBTQ media, the blame is frequently placed on somebody else because they are victims, and once the victim always the victim."

And Vice apparently committed an even greater heresy than blowing up Mount Rushmore, as Clay Waters highlighted in a July 29 post a Vice piece arguing that the film "Animal House" hasn't aged well. Waters whined that "liberals spoil everything" by "insulting fans" of the "comedy classic" with "hectoring, concluding with arbitrary hostility."

So if the MRC thinks Vice is a terrible website for denouncing "Animal House," how can it trust the "shadow banning" report without showing even the slightest amount of skeptism avoer it? Yet it has done just that.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:52 PM EDT
Thursday, August 9, 2018
MRC: It's 'Self-Centered' for Journalists To Be Concerned About Their Safety
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is so intent on refusing to acknowledge the humanity of journalists that it mocks and belittles them every time they express concerns about their safety in an era in which the president of the United States denounces them as the "enemy of the people" -- even as it fretted about a Fox News reporter who said she didn't feel safe at a protest outside the Supreme Court.

And it's particularly aggrieved when CNN employees are concerned about their safety. When, for instance, CNN anchor Don Lemon took to the air in January to point out actual death threats called into the network and blamed the anti-media environment encouraged by President Trump (and, truth be told, by the MRC), Randy Hall denounced Lemon for engaging in "a pathetic act of self-sanctimonious behavior," then retorted to political analyst Brian Karem after making a similar observation: "Wait, so Brian, would that mean that you'd agree that James Hodgkinson was inspired by Rachel Maddow and Bernie Sanders to try and murder Republican congressmen in June at a Virginia baseball field?"

Of course, if Hall could show any evidence that Maddow or Sanders ever called Scalise an "enemy of the people," let alone criticized him personally in any form, he might have a point.

The MRC's Curtis Houck (pictured) -- who's currently leading the MRC's war on Jim Acosta and gets a tingle up his leg every time Acosta is heckled while covering a Trump rally -- demonstrated his callousness toward the humanity of journalists who don't work for Fox News in an Aug. 1 post about a discussion between NBC's Katy Tur -- whose concerns about safety at Trump rallies the MRC has dismissed in the past -- and director Rob Reiner about the current hostile environment for journalists in the Trump era. Here's how Houck utterly mocked their concerns in the first paragraph of his post, headlined "Self-Centered Lefties: Katy Tur, Rob Reiner Showcase Why People Hate Hollywood, the Media:

In roughly eight minutes Wednesday afternoon, MSNBC Live host Katy Tur and far-left liberal actor Rob Reiner were able to showcase why the embarrassingly smug behavior of Hollywood and the liberal media has continued to lose them supporters despite their deranged attempts to play the victim card.

That's right: According to Houck, it's apparently "self-centered" and playing "the victim card" for a journalist to be concerned about one's safety. (So, um, Curt, what exactly is a "far-left liberal"? Is that oppose to a far-right liberal?)

Houck sneered that Tur was hosting a "pity party" for journalists -- even though crowds at pro-Trump rallies she covered turned so hostile against her that she needed Secret Service protection to leave arenas -- and complained that she showed a "video of CNN’s Jim Acosta being heckled at a Tuesday night Trump rally" (which, again, Houck is totally down with).In Houck's warped right-wing view, Tur "ranted" and "howed how out of touch she is with the American populace when she seemed exasperated at the notion that, three years after Trump began his candidacy, droves of people still believe that “the media” and Hollywood don’t “represent regular people.” And an MRC postreferencing Reiner wouldn't be complete without derisively calling him "Meathead," demonstrating Houck's inability to separate the actor from a role he hasn't played in 40 years.

Houck probably thinks his callous, name-calling attack is just more of the "sober, substantive appraisals" of media he claims the MRC provides. The fact that he made that claim with a straight face shows us that he doesn't know how wrong he is.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:22 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, August 12, 2018 2:38 PM EDT
Tuesday, August 7, 2018
Bozell Doubles Down on MRC's Defense of Infowars
Topic: Media Research Center

We've already noted how the Media Research Center is running to the defense of conspiracy theorists Alex Jones and his Infowars operation, ludicrously insisting that it's no different than CNN while hiding details about the extreme, offensive content Infowars traffics in. The news that several social media networks have removed Infowars content has sent the MRC into defense mode for Jones once again.

MRC chief Brent Bozell issued a statement that claims in part: "I don’t support Alex Jones and what InfoWars produces. He’s not a conservative. However, banning him and his outlet is wrong. It’s not just a slippery slope, it’s a dangerous cliff that these social media companies are jumping off to satisfy CNN and other liberal outlets." Bozell doesn't mention the kind of content that got Infowars kicked off those social networks, like insisting that the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax.

The item containing Bozell's statement tries to link the removal of Infowars content to the MRC's longstanding assertions that social networks are conducting "censorship" of conservative content -- claims that are dubious at best. But if Jones is not a "conservative," as Bozell claims, why is it so worried about his content being removed?

Bozell went on to complain: "Conservatives are increasingly concerned that InfoWars is not the end point for those who want to ban speech. It’s just the beginning. We are rapidly approaching a point where censorship of opposing voices is the norm. That’s dangerous." But the MRC's own "news" division,CNSNews.com, censors content all the time -- it has no liberal columnists, and it refuses to tell its readers when President Trump and his White House officials are making false or misleading statements.

An Aug. 7 MRC post by Corinne Weaver was slightly more honest than her boss about the content that got Infowars removed from those social media sites -- she admits that "Jones has said many offensive and bizarre things not in keeping with conservative beliefs" and admitted that Jones was "claiming that the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax." But she started her post by claiming that removing "extremist content" was part of a "war against freedom of speech."

Interestingly, none of these MRC writers who have come to Infowars' defense mentioned the fact that YouTube, Spotify,  Facebook and other social networks are private businesses that have policies governing the use of their websites and that they are perfectly within their rights to remove whatever content they deem as a violation of those policies. You'd think that, as pro-business conservatives, the MRC would defend the social networks' right to run their businesses as they see fit.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:05 PM EDT
Monday, August 6, 2018
MRC Loves It When CNN's Acosta Is Heckled At Trump Rallies
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's war on CNN's Jim Acosta is so nasty that it cheers whenever Trump supporters heckle him when he covers rallies hosted by President Trump.

In a June 25 post, for instance, Curtis Houck sneered that Acosta was a "carnival barker" and happily noted "quite the crowd behind him during a live shot with chants of 'go home, Jim' and 'fake news Jim,' while one attendee moved from side to side with a 'CNN Sucks' sign" -- and, yes, Houck carefully put all of those insults in boldface type for maximum impact every time he referenced them in his post. Houck further sneered that later in the segment, Acosta spoke "in a tone which suggested he fancied himself the most honest, righteous man in America."

In a July 31 post on another heckling, Houck once again called Acosta a "carnival barker," this time adding "showboater" to his list of derogatory names, and put the insults in boldface. He then further attacked the "self-centered liberal journalist" for responding to the crowd's heckling

Houck later added an Acosta-bashing update: "Acosta returned for another live shot in The Situation Room’s 6:00 p.m. Eastern hour and, even though the rally had started and thus crowds were no longer heckling him, the pompous CNNer again acknowledged their chants from earlier in trying to make viewers feel bad for him."

Of course, Houck's obsessive hatred for Acosta -- and. as the leader of the MRC's war on Acosta, his need to criticize every single thing Acosta does --  might be generating a little sympathy for the reporter as well.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:14 PM EDT
Sunday, August 5, 2018
MRC Makes Excuses for Trump -- Then Denies That's What It's Doing
Topic: Media Research Center

Peter Sifre began a July 18 Media Research Center post by a surprising admission by a pro-Trump organization: "Let’s face it: Trump had a rough press conference in Helsinki on Monday." Sifre then immediately kicked into spin mode, insisting that "this does not excuse hyperbolic responses on the part of the media" and touting how "On Monday’s edition of Hannity, radio star Mark Levin appeared to offer some historical context."

Sifre should have mentioned the MRC's cross-promotional business relationship with Levin somewhere in his post by way of disclosing a relevant conflict of interest, but he didn't.

After noting allegations that Trump, among other things, committed treason in the Putin presser in Helsinki -- which presumably come from individual commentators, which Levin and Sifre are falsely conflating as being made by the entire "liberal media" -- Sfire touted how Levin "then proceeded to give a history lesson of past foreign policy blunders with the Soviet Union" and "later criticized the Obama Administration for its action, or lack thereof regarding Russian aggression and expansion."

As long as we're going to take the whataboutism route, it's worth noting the times that the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, provided a willing platform for hyperbolic "treason" attacks on President Obama and others during the Obama years:

  • It published a 2015 column by right-wing activist J. Matt Barber claimed Obama committed treason with a prisoner exchange to release captive U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl, declaring that "Just a few short decades ago this anti-American Marxist would not only have been accused of treason, he would have been tried for it."
  • A 2016 blog post by CNS managing editor Michael W. Chapman cheered how Republican Rep. Trent Franks said that Obama's criticism of Israel for establishing settlements in disputed East Jerusalem will "send Barack Obama's name down the corridor of history as an overt traitor to the state of Israel." Franks didn't explain how someone can be a "traitor" to another country where that person has never resided.
  • A 2012 article uncritically promoted "A new petition posted on the 'We the People' page of the White House website" that "calls for trying Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) in federal court for treason" for proposing a law to stop the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.
  • A 2010 column by Alan Caruba declared that the Obama ad,ministration's plan for a cap-and-trade carbon credit plan was "treason."
  • And just a few days ago, MRC senior fellow Allen West was upset that the media did "not ramble on about treason" regarding Obama's 2012 hot-mic comment to then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he would have more "flexibility" after the election -- ironic since a 2012 article quoted Rep. Darrell Issa effectively doing just that, stating that "I judge that in fact he’s going to sell out our national defense after the election."

Hyperbolic claims of treason are not limited to the Obama years, though: A February article by Chapman highlighted how a partisan memo by Republican Rep. Devin Nunes on the FBI's use of FISA warrants "showed 'clear and convincing evidence of treason' and that he is sending a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions seeking 'prosecution' against the FBI's James Comey and Andrew McCabe and the DOJ's Sally Yates and Rod Rosenstein."

At the end of all this, Sifre declares: "None of this is a reason to make excuses for Trump’s blunders during the press conference in Helsinki. However, Levin correctly pointed out the media’s double standard when it comes to insufficient response to Russian encroachment when a Democrat is in power."

In fact, whataboutism is very much a form of excuse-making. If Trump hadn't screwed up so badly in Helsinki, there would be no need for Levin to come to Fox News to spin things -- and for Sifre to write it up with such detail. The MRC is pro-Trump state media, after all, and it must do such things on behalf of its leader.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:42 PM EDT
Thursday, August 2, 2018
MRC's Double Standard on Purple Heart Satire
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Kristine Marsh huffed in a July 13 post:

All three networks came to the Democrats’ defense Friday morning after the heated Congressional hearing Thursday where lawmakers questioned anti-Trump FBI agent Peter Strzok about his biased role involved in the Clinton and Russia investigations. ABC, NBC and CBS didn’t hide their contempt for Republicans questioning Strzok, while they touted Democrats, ironically, as the ones were trying to uphold justice. Not only that, while they highlighted one Republican’s over-the-top line of questioning, they flatly ignored Democrats who also went over the line, absurdly calling for Strzok to get a “Purple Heart.”

[...]

What else was inappropriate that CBS didn’t have time for? Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen telling Strzok that he deserved a “Purple Heart” for having to endure these questions. That also happened during the hearing:

"Mr. Strzok, I don't know where to start. If I could give you a Purple Heart, I would. You deserve one,” he gushed to Strzok, before going on to complain Republicans were simply trying to distract from the Mueller investigation.

That distinguished honor is of course awarded to those who are injured or killed in the line of duty. A far cry from one FBI agent having to answer a few tough questions.

This newfound concern over a military medal -- under a headline calling the idea of giving one to a civilian for facing hostile congressional questioning "offensive" -- is much different from the MRC's reaction to a different mocking use of it. In a August 2004 item, the MRC defended attendees at the Republican National Convention wearing bandages featuring a purple-shaped heart, justifying it because they were "meant to make light of John Kerry earning purple hearts in Vietnam for superficial wounds," and cheering how Newt Gingrich found them "funny."

The MRC's Rich Noyes complained that anti-Kerry forces who participated in the partisan, dubious Jerome Corsi book "Unfit for Command" weren't being covered to their satisfaction, complaining that  a controversy over the Purple Hearts Kerry was awarded for his service in Vietnam was a "one-day story, even though the records Kerry released failed to include the paperwork supporting the Purple Heart award."

It's so weird that the MRC wasn't bothered by partisan attacks on one man's Purple Hearts that dismiss them as meaningless, while defending their honor when it's politically expedient.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:19 AM EDT
Tuesday, July 31, 2018
MRC's Spin on Stormy Daniels Arrest Is Falling Apart
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Kyle Drennen huffed in a July 12 post:

On Thursday, all three network morning shows promoted the conspiracy theory that the arrest of porn star Stormy Daniels at an Ohio strip club for misdemeanor sex offences was a “politically motivated” “sting operation” designed to embarrass the adult film actress, who accused President Trump of having an affair with her in 2006. The NBC, ABC, and CBS broadcasts all touted such claims from Daniels’ media hound attorney Michael Avenatti.

Drennen's post isn't aging well so far. CNN is reporting that appears Daniels was indeed targeted for arrest; newly released emails between officers in Columbus, Ohio -- where she was arrested following a performance at a strip club there -- reveal that included photos and videos of Daniels and a map to the club, and that one officer was "seemingly giddy about the arrest after the fact."

Given the MRC's historic refusal to correct fake news that appears on its website, you will not be surprised to learn that neither Drennen nor anyone else at the MRC has reported this development, which puts his dismissal of the "conspiracy theory" into serious doubt.

The MRC has, however, published a column by Tim Graham and Brent Bozell attacking Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti, for appearing on TV too much for their liking -- which tells us that they would like the whole Daniels story to be censored -- and a rant from right-wing radio host Mark Levin, a propagandist pushing an agenda, attacking the "liberal media" for being "propagandists who push an agenda" because they reported on Daniels:

Stormy Daniels is a non-story. Stormy Daniels is a non-story. It was a non-disclosure agreement apparently signed. So why is there a story? Because she’s violating a non-disclosure agreement. They’re trying to embarrass the President. So what? Week after week after week after week. A porn star, the media, mainstreams a porn star and her crackpot, slip-and-fall lawyer.

We suspect that Levin didn't think a president having sex with a woman not his wife was a "non-story" when said president was a Democrat.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:25 AM EDT
Sunday, July 29, 2018
MRC's Double Standard On Religious Insults Involving Ben Shapiro
Topic: Media Research Center

Alec Sears huffed in a July 2 Media Research Center post:

Late Saturday night Joshua Topolsky, Co-Founder of The Verge, tweeted a hideous statement directed at prominent Jewish, conservative pundit, Ben Shapiro. The since-deleted tweet read, ”Ben Shapiro is the Jew who helps other Jews onto the train.” Topolsky has not apologized, and claimed to have deleted the tweet because “a mob of right wing babies were flooding my mentions.” Topolsky also said he received death threats over the tweet.

Sears added that "Conservative Twitter discovered the tweet on Sunday and lept to Shapiro’s defense." Sears doesn't mention, however, that Shapiro himself has engaged in similar Holocaust-referencing insults.

As we've noted, in a 2010 column ranting about President Obama's purported "anti-Semitism" -- published by the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com -- Shapiro declared that then-Obama White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel "is a kapo" (Shapiro also laughably described himself as"a charter member of the tribe" -- which, unless he was born several thousand years ago, is almost certainly not true.) Later that year, Shapiro asserted in a tweet that George Soros is a "kapo."

A "kapo" was the term used for trustee prisoners in Nazi concentration camps -- some of them Jewish -- who supervised other prisoners and carried out the will of the Nazi commandants.

The MRC did not notice these nasty insults, let alone call him out on them -- though it once got outraged that someone on TV used the word to attack black Tea Party members, and a 2016 post by Brad Wilmouth appears to condone U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman's declaration that liberal Jewish groups who advocate a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are "kapos." Shapiro only recently semi-apologized for the Emanuel insult -- though not for the Soros insult -- admitting it was "probably too charged."

We're not defending Topolsky's tweet here, just putting it in context with the level of vitriol Shapiro himself has engaged in -- something the MRC has no interest in doing here because that weakens its case.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:47 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, July 29, 2018 12:42 PM EDT
Friday, July 27, 2018
Unhinged: MRC Thinks Media Outlets Discussing The Same Thing Is 'Collusion'
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has been been moving in lockstep with its fellow conservative media outlets in defending President Trump and denouncing the Russia investigation as a witch hunt. Which means it's hilarously hypocritical for the MRC to accuse the non-conservative media of "collusion," which Ryan Foley did in a July 17 post:

For all of the talk about collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, the liberal media seems to have engaged in a little bit of collusion themselves. On six different programs over the past 24 hours, hosts either suggested or asked their guests to weigh in on whether Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats should resign due to President Trump's refusal to accept the DNI's assertion that Russia meddled in the 2016 election.

The latest montage of meltdowns came after President Trump's Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland.

[...]

In all honesty, the media could care less whether or not Director Coats resigns. They just see the hypothetical resignations of Coats or other Trump Administration officials as stepping stones in achieving their ultimate goal: the premature end of the Trump presidency.  

Foley and the MRC could care less about journalism -- they're just cobsessed with scoring political points and destroying the non-conservative media for failing to lionize Trump 24/7. It's absurd for Foley and the MRC to see "collusion" everywhere except on their own side.

Before he goes on another "collusion" rant, perhaps Foley could explain to us just how much his employer colludes with other conservative groups in pushing its pro-Trump, anti-media message.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:51 AM EDT
Thursday, July 26, 2018
Tim Graham's Anti-CNN, Anti-Media Rants Getting More Unhinged
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Tim Graham is growing as unhinged as he claims the rest of the media is. He begins a July 14 post about whether Fox News' John Roberts should have defended CNN's Jim Acosta (a key target in the MRC's anti-media war) after President Trump and declaring that Fox News is "real news," began this way:

CNN has branded itself as savagely, incessantly anti-Trump, as well as savagely, incessantly anti-Fox News. So why on Earth do they expect that when the president mocks CNN at a press conference, "unity" demands that Fox defend CNN in the moment of the insult? 

This is especially true of Brian Stelter, whose boss Jeff Zucker has ordered the network's attack on Fox as "state-run TV." But then, Stelter is shameless enough to tell Kellyanne Conway to her face "I'm not on a side of an aisle."

Graham, notably, doesn't deny that Fox News is so pro-Trump that it is esseially "state-run TV" -- then again, ridiculously pro-Trump is how Graham and the MRC want the media to act. He followed that with an even more scattershot attack on CNN:

When other media outlets have defended Fox is normally a question of access, as in pool events. It wasn't expected that other reporters would defend Fox in front of President Obama. Fox's questions to Obama didn't have Jim Acosta's angry and desperate tone, and Obama didn't normally attack reporters during press conferences.

Jake Tapper is really not the person who should fuss about letting insults go on TV. He famously let Nancy Pelosi suggest Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch was a bad choice "if you breathe air, drink water, eat food, take medicine." In another town hall after the Parkland school shooting, allowed an obnoxious child to compare Sen. Marco Rubio to Nikolas Cruz, who shot 17 people dead.

Jim Acosta isn't more honorable than Gorsuch or Rubio.

Finally, Graham huffed at the idea that there should be, in Stelter's words, "unity" among media outlets "when a president insults your competitors and then calls on you instead":

"Unity." Liberal media are routinely unified in attacking Fox as not a real-news network. CNN defends Acosta even when he says Trump's fake-news insults are dangerous because "people around the country" who "don’t have all their faculties in some cases — their elevator might not hit all floors."

This is not the first time the MRC has mocked Acosta for being concerned about his safety as a journalist when Trump -- and the MRC -- have singled him out as a target.

By the way, Graham and the MRC have no record of how many insults Fox News personalities have hurled at CNN. Perhaps he should do that before complaining further about things CNN personalities have said about Fox News.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:43 AM EDT
Monday, July 23, 2018
MRC Won't Admit It Helped Spread Conspiracy Theories About Arrested Dem IT Staffer
Topic: Media Research Center

In a July 5 Media Research Center post complaining that there was insufficient media coverage of former Democratic House IT aide Imran Awan pleading guilty to a bank fraud charge, Bill D'Agostino huffed: "Liberal print media have attempted to spin this finding into a non-story. On Tuesday, The Washington Post published a piece titled, 'Conspiracy theories on ex-congressional IT staffer debunked in plea deal,' which triumphantly mocks the attention that conservative media have given Awan."

What D'Agostino didn't mention: His employer was among the conservative media that promoted those conspiracy theories about Awan.

The Post pointed out that the plea agreement for Awan included a statement that, following a "thorough investigation" of forensic analysis of computer equipment and interview with 40 witnesses, "'The Government has uncovered no evidence that your client violated federal law with respect to the House computer systems,' including stealing equipment or illegally accessing or transferring information." Prosecutors added: "Particularly, the Government has found no evidence that your client illegally removed House data from the House network or from House Members’ offices, stole the House Democratic Caucus Server, stole or destroyed House information technology equipment, or improperly accessed or transferred government information, including classified or sensitive information."

One of those "media children" coordinating with Trump and House Republicans was the MRC. In July 2017, Curtis Houck hyperventilated that Awan's arrest was part of a "disturbing story involving double billing, Hezbollah, smashed hard drives, and possessing the e-mails and files of leading congressional Democrats," citing, yes, Fox News and the Daily Caller. He added: "So, we have a shady I.T. staffer and his family running a firm that possibly compromised the e-mails and files for a number of key congressional Democrats. To the casual observer, that would probably strike them as disturbing." A couple days later, Houck declared that the non-conservative media's failure to cover Awan's arrest to the MRC's satisfaction proves that "the media are aiding and abetting liberals in their nefarious behavior."

Meanwhile, white nationalist-loving NewsBusters blogger Tom Blumer huffed that an Associated PRess article on Awan's arrest"spun the news in the most favorable way it could for beleaguered Democrats, making Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz look like the victim as it headlined her spokesman's claim that she fired Awan Tuesday after learning of his arrest. The fact is that Schultz has been involved in obstructing investigations into Awan's activities for months" and that the article "was written to protect [Rep. Debbie] Wasserman Schultz and the Democratic Party."

Charles Dorfeuille cheered how "The Hill reporter Joe Concha put the media on notice"-- though he failed to identify Concha as a writer with a conservative bias -- for ignoring Awan's arrest and "valid questions on what the now-arrested former Dem staffer was doing on the computers of the multiple congressional offices he was working on." Tim Graham got in on the act, whining that newspapers were "ignoring or downplaying the Imran Awan-Debbie Wasserman Schultz scandal."

Blumer returned to get upset that the New York Times accurately reported that President Trump was hyping Awan's arrest to attack Democrsts,  then once again to further whine that "the scandal's multi-faceted and outrageous developments" involving the "rogue Democrat IT staffer" weren't being covered in the media to his satisfaction.

Additionally, the MRC published a column by Michelle Malkin touting the "criminal theft and hacking probe of the House Democrats' information security systems" involving Awan and other family members.

To sum up: Instead of apologizing for the false conspiracy theories it spread about Awan, the MRC chose instead to complain that  it and the rest of the conservative media were justly "mocked" for putting conspiracies ahead of facts. But then, the MRC is just not not that into correcting the record.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:44 PM EDT
Sunday, July 22, 2018
CNS Publishes Article For MRC To Use In Bashing Media It Doesn't Like
Topic: Media Research Center

Remember how we noted earlier this month that CNSNews.com suddenly decided to highlight the low unemployment rate among Hispanics among its rah-rah pro-Trump monthly unemployment coverage? Turns out there was a reason for that: so its Media Research Center parent could use the cherry-picked stat to attack media outlets it doesn't like for not reporting it.

And the MRC did indeed get a lot of mileage out of it:

  • Tom Blumer (a few days before he was fired) played up the number, pointing out that "Craig Bannister at our sister site CNSNews.com noted the record-low Hispanic unemployment rate a half-hour after the jobs report's release" and complaining that "The establishment press's gatekeepers have been ignoring, downplaying, or deeply burying June's record-low Hispanic joblessness."
  • MRC Latino's Ken Oliver-Mendez wrote a post a couple hours later complaining that Hispanic TV networks Univision and Telemundo failed to report it: "One would think such a historic achievement would be news that night on the nation’s leading Spanish-language television news programs, but that was not the case."
  • Oliver then appeared on Fox Business to tout his attack on Univision and Telemundo, assering that this somehow "really illustrates the disconnect between the average Hispanic voter in the country and perhaps the average Hispanic viewer of Univision and Telemundo and what they're getting." Interestingly, Oliver-Mendez appeared with Fox Business host Charles Payne, whose travails with sexual harrassment allegations against him the MRC has censored.

And just to bring things full circle, Bannister wrote a blog post at CNS about Oliver's TV appearance promoting his CNS article. Bannister did helpfully include the disclaimer that "MRC Latino, like CNSNews.com, is a division of the Media Research Center (MRC)."

A truly independent news organization -- which the MRC likes to portray CNS as -- would not be writing "news" articles for the apparet sole purpose for use as activism by the parent organization. It's time for the MRC to publicly explain to readers what line -- if any -- exists between the editorial side and the activism side.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:34 AM EDT

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