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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
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
MRC's Graham Would Rather Put Words In A Columnist's Mouth Than Talk About The Duggars
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center doesn't want to talk about the sexual abuse allegations against Josh Duggar -- witness MRC "news" division burying its only mention of it as a blog.

And the MRC's Tim Graham is so desperate to not talk about that his post on the subject is actually about pretty much everything but.

In his May 26 NewsBusters post, Graham extremely narrowly focuses on a coule of supposedly offending lines in a Washington Post column on the subject by Alexandra Petri. But after a first-paragraph mention that Josh Duggar "was guilty of sexually abusing other children at age 15" -- not nothing that his victims included his own sisters -- the offense is never brought up again, and the Duggars themselves are mentioned only twice more in passing.

The vast majority of Graham's "open letter" to the Post is dedicated to raging at Petri for noting that the Duggar scandal "is a reminder of how badly the cult of purity lets victims down.” It involves putting a lot of words in Petri's mouth -- apparently, what Petri actually wrote wasn't worth getting upset over. She is "obviously bad at hiding her glee" over thte Duggar scandal, Graham declares without evidence, adding -- also without evidence -- that she "doesn’t believe in sin."

Graham also declares that he can read "between the lines" of what Petri wrote to determine what she actually meant to say: "Religious people have an unhealthy attitude toward sex, and are against educating children about sex. That's wrong." How convenient for Graham to put those straw-man words in Petri's mouth to attack her for them and knock them down as "wrong."

Graham does concede that Petri "is right to suggest that it is wrong to assert that someone who’s lost their virginity is immediately and permanently like a cup of spit or a dirty used bicycle – especially for pure, faithful children who’ve become the victim of sexual abuse." But he leaves out the critical context that this is the message the Duggars themselves publicly spread -- and, again, the fact that among Josh Duggar's victims were his own sisters.

This, by the way, is the only mention of Duggar's victims -- odd for an official of an organization that can't mention Ted Kennedy without bringing up Chappaquiddick or Bill Clinton without bringing up his sexual scandals. If Graham is trying to tamp down discussion of the Duggar scandal, he's also tamping down the fact that there were underage victims of a sexual assault. 

Graham then attacks "feminists and libertines" -- and he clearly believes Petri is among them through all of the words he put in her mouth -- who purportedly "have an unhealthy attitude toward sexual commitment, and are against educating children about preserving yourself for a committed relationship. Libertines insist virginity is impossible, unless you’re an indoctrinated they think of the Duggars."

By the time he attacks things Petri wrote a year ago that have nothing whatsoever to do with the Duggars but everything to do with smearing someone he doesn't agree with, it's clear how desperately Graham is to change the subject -- so much so that he's dragged his own family into it by professing that his wife "has never been a campsite or a used bicycle." Um, yay?

(Again, that metaphor was espoused by the Duggars, not Petri. Graham might want to keep that in mind.)

And then Graham goes to some really weird territory: "Post columnists could call me a loser or a nerd or something worse, but I know I have never exploited another human being like a blow-up doll or sought a quick thrill without an 'emotional stranglehold.'"

Remember: None of this has anything to do with what's happening with the Duggars -- and that's the way Graham wants it.

Graham rather deliberately misses the entire point of Petri's column, which he's careful not to mention:

When all sexuality is a sin, when even holding hands is off limits, there isn’t a clear line between permissible, healthy forms of exploration and acts that are impermissible to anyone, not just the particularly devout. This gospel of shame and purity has the potential to be incredibly harmful because it does away with important lines. (Studies not only suggest that abstinence-only approaches to sex education do nothing to decrease the incidence of sexual behaviors, but also that they can make them riskier and that they deprive kids of the vocabulary they need to discuss when bad things happen.) 

Graham even bizarrely complains that Petri quoted someone who he claimed believed "Duggar committed a crime, and definitely not a sin." That raises a question: Does Graham believe Duggar committed a crime? If so, shouldn't he be upset that the incident was not handled as a crime, instead being treated as a "sin" the family decided could be remedied through their own devices and not through, say, professional counseling for both the perpetrator and his victims?

All of Graham's histrionics are in service of distracting theMRC's right-wing audience from the Duggar scandal and the fact that Petri dared to write about it -- nothing else. The fact that his post is only the second original reference to appear on any MRC website (after the CNS blog post) is ample proof of that. But Rush Limbaugh's latest utterance, by golly, is considered "news" at CNS.

It's hard to criticize the media when you know they're right. Graham knows that the media is generally doing a good job on the Duggar story, and he also knows that the MRC can't defend the Duggars too vociferously lest it appear to condone Josh Duggar's behavior. Hence, this effort at misdirection to drown out the Duggar scandal by putting words in the mouth of a columnist he dislikes so he can bash her for -- well, anything, really, to change the subject.

The MRC ought to be above such dishonest tactics. Apparently, it's not.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:08 AM EDT
Monday, May 18, 2015
MRC Rides Stephanopoulos Controversy To Boost Anti-Hillary Book
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has been getting a lot of mileage out of the revelation that ABC's George Stephanopoulos donated $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation; one fundraising email declared Stephanopoulos "corrupt" while begging for money. As Paul Waldman at the Washington Post pointed out, Stephanopoulos' conflict of interest plays into conservatives' anti-media agenda, and that "From now through next November, conservatives will claim that every story that reflects poorly on Hillary Clinton is just accurate reporting, while every story that reflects well on her (or poorly on Republicans) demonstrates the media’s pernicious liberal pro-Clinton bias."

To do all that, of course, the MRC has to studiously ignore all the times that Fox News personalities advocated for causes they had personal or financial connections to, as well as all the conservatives who have donated to the Clinton Foundation, like Newsmax's Christopher Ruddy.

The MRC's anti-Stephanopoulos propaganda campaign extends to its "news"division, where a a May 15 article by Susan Jones quotes Peter Schweizer, author of an anti-Hillary attack book, wanting a do-over on his interview with Stephanopoulos. Jones claimed that during the interview, "Stephanopoulos repeatedly questioned the accuracy of 'Clinton Cash,' insisted that there was no evidence of criminality on the part of the Clintons, and suggested that Schweizer was conducting a partisan attack."

But as we noted, Schweizer admitted during his interview with Stephanopoulos that he had no evidence to back up the allegations in his book.

Jones doesn't mention that the accuracy of Schweizer's book has been justifiably question because it does, in fact, contain numerous errors -- more than 20, according to one count. The fact that several of those inaccurate claims have been corrected or deleted in an e-book version would seem to be an admission of guilt on that count.

Further, Schweizer is on record as apparently lying about his purported bipartisanship. After Schweizer claimed that he was working on something about the finances of Jeb Bush, his publisher denied that any book by Schweizer about Bush similar to "Clinton Cash" was in the offing. Further, the think tank Schweizer runs, the Government Accountability Institute, has funding ties with the Koch brothers and right-wing billionaire Robert Mercer, who you might remember as the sugar daddy financing the increasingly quixotic campaigns by Oregon right-winger Art Robinson for Peter DeFazio's congressional seat (the other main booster of which has been WorldNetDaily managing editor David Kupelian). 

So, yeah, Schweizer is an inaccurate reporter driven by partisanship. But the MRC doesn't want you to know that.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:51 PM EDT
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
The MRC's 'Affirmative Action' Hypocrisy
Topic: Media Research Center

Last week, the Media Research Center's Ken Shepherd got all huffy when MSNBC pundit Michelle Bernard "savaged newly-announced GOP presidential aspirant Dr. Ben Carson tonight by alleging his success is all owed to 'affirmative action.'"

Fast forward to this week, when Fox News guest Angela McGlowan asserted that Michelle Obama owed her entry into Princeton and her job at a prestigious law firm to "affirmative action." 

The reaction from Shepherd and the MRC? Crickets.

If Shepherd and the MRC want to be taken seriously as an actual media watchdog, they might want to try being offended at all baseless attacks on blacks instead of just the ones on conservatives.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:43 PM EDT
Monday, May 4, 2015
Tim Graham Transgender Freakout Watch
Topic: Media Research Center

Now that we know Tim Graham writes Brent Bozell's syndicated columns, it's easy to see what's been presented as Bozell's opinions are really Graham's.

That's abundantly clear in Graham and Bozell's May 1 column. When it starts "The last year could be described as The Year of Transgender Propaganda," you know it's straight from Graham, who has a lengthy history of transgender freakouts. And freak out he does:

The Hollywood and news media push on the latest frontier of "gender fluidity" demonstrates the libertine left's absolute arrogance that the LGBT revolution is an unstoppable juggernaut.

Time placed Laverne Cox on a "Transgender Tipping Point" cover last June, and the aggressive culture tipping took off. Amazon created a series around a retiree and father of three deciding he was a woman in "Transparent," and won Golden Globes. Fox's "Glee" had their female football coach grow a beard and be celebrated by a "historic" 200-member transgender choir.

The cherry on this vomit is Bruce Jenner.

Yep, it seems Graham thinks the existence of transgender people in the media is nothing but vomit.

Graham whines about the "the mainstream-the-fringe media" but has to admit that the Jenner interview on ABC drew 17 million intervies. He whines further that no anti-transgender views have been allowed to counter Jenner.

Graham concludes by lamenting "the decline and fall of our culture and our common sense." Then again, Graham thinks any mention of transgenders in the media is equivalent to "vomit," so he's not exactly an avatar of common sense himself. Or basic humanity, for that matter.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:58 AM EDT
Friday, May 1, 2015
MRC Defends Tony Perkins, CNS Gives His Lie A Pass
Topic: Media Research Center

Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell signed onto a letter with other conservative leaders attacking CBS' Bob Schieffer interview with Family Research Council head Tony Perkins, so it's all over MRC sites.

The letter, issued under something called the Conservative Action Project, rants that Schieffer issued "an assault against Judeo-Christian people of faith" by making simple statements of fact: that he was "inundated" with request to disinvite Perkins because he doesn't "speak for Christians," and noting that the Southern Poverty Law Center has listed the FRC as a "hate group" because of its anti-gay stance.

The letter then attacks the SPLC by bringing up Floyd Corkins, the man who attempted to shoot up the FRC headquarters, because the "homicidal SPLC supporter" Corkins said he found his target on the SPLC website. It claims the SPLC is "discredited" and "disgraced" but offers no evidence it has provided any false information or that it ever expressed any support for Corkins' crime.

That attack is irrelevant to the issue at hand. We doubt that conservatives like Bozell consider Operation Rescue to be "discredited" because Operation Rescue supporter Scott Roeder had contact with members of the group and later went on to murder abortion doctor George Tiller.

The MRC and NewsBusters sites reprint an MRC press release, but serves up an unbylined "news" article on the letter that is also press release-like, but also takes a stab at looking like journalism with statements like this:

Schieffer also accused Perkins of saying that justices who ruled in favor of gay marriage should be impeached, an accusation Perkins denied.

“I didn't say anything about impeachment of the judges. What I said was that they're not the final say on this issue,” Perkins corrected him.

But Perkins' "correction" is a lie. As Right Wing Watch points out, Perkins appeared last week on the radio show of Iowa conservative Jan Mickelson, who ranted that Congress should attempt to strip the Supreme Court of its jurisdiction on marriage and “impeach [their] sorry keisters,” to which Perkins responded: “I don’t disagree with you, I think you are absolutely right.”

So, yes, Perkins did endorse the idea of impeaching SCOTUS justices who voted to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide. It's a little inconvenient while the MRC and other conservatives are defending Perkins, so it will go down the memory hole.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:39 AM EDT
Thursday, April 30, 2015
Annals of Random Coverage Comparisons At The MRC
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center loves to compare coverage of its favorite hobby horses to other random things. The apex (or new low, if you prefer) of this randomness came in an April 24 MRC item by Dan Gainor headlined "Priorities: Networks Cover First Dog Bo 28 Times More Than Armenian Genocide." Yes, he really does go there:

The horrific mass murder has been mentioned in just four network stories since Jan. 20, 2009, when Obama took office. But all three networks found ample time to discuss other important Armenian issues – an Armenian company making a chocolate bar 18 feet long by 9 feet wide; Armenian brandy and Armenian Lula Kebabs.

All three networks also made room for other filler stories, such as the White House dog. Reporters spent story after story, oohing and aahing over the presidential pet, the Portuguese Water Dog Bo. Bo has been featured in at least 112 stories and briefs during the Obama presidency, 28 times more than the Armenian genocide.


Journalists on ABC, CBS and NBC had no problem finding time to talk about the important things – such as first dog Bo. Bo was everywhere on the networks – at least 112 times. That’s 28 more times than any mention of a genocide that killed 1.5 million people.

Bo was apparently more important. The networks focused on him doing just about everything. Bo during the Christmas holidays. Bo not joining the presidential family in Hawaii. Bo being taken to Petco by First Lady Michelle Obama. Bo barked when the first lady spoke and was worth $1,600 according to financial disclosure forms.

ABC showed viewers an image of Bo with bunny ears on for Easter 2012. On Aug. 20, 2013, then-White House correspondent Peter Alexander told Today viewers that Bo had company. “Move over Bo, there's a new dog in town, Sunny. And for her inaugural play date, the White House released its own music video. A pair of presidential pets frolicking on the South Lawn, that'll get tails wagging.”

At Christmas, more than a year later, White House correspondent Kristen Welker told about how the White House was decorated, adding, “There are even robotic versions of Sunny and Bo, the first family’s dogs.”

Americans learned enough about the first dog to fill several books. But barely enough about a horrendous genocide to fill a page in one of the worst chapters in human history.

Gainor seems to have missed the fact that the Armenian genocide occurred a century ago and, thus, is not "news." The debate over whether to call it a genocide is also not news -- it's been going on for decades.

Gainor should perhaps study the definition of "news" and get back to us on whether he thinks his genocide-Bo coverage comparison is still legitimate.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:27 PM EDT
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
MRC Buries Schweizer's Political Bias, Lack of Evidence
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Jeffrey Meyer uses an April 26 NewsBusters post to complain about an interview ABC's George Stephanopoulos did with anti-Clinton book author Peter Schweizer. Meyer complained that Stephanopoulos cited "Democratic attacks against the author" and "quote[d] a 'independent government ethics expert' but didn’t mention he was a beneficiary of far-left billionaire George Soros."

Despite all that labeling, at no point does Meyer identify Schweizer as a conservative, though he obliquely referenced it by noting that Stephanopoulos highlighted Schweizer's "partisan interest" in attacking the Clintons.

Meyer further complained that "Stephanopoulos never appeared interested in the actual substance of Schweizer’s book, which alleges the Clinton Foundation took in millions of dollars in donations in exchange for potential influence with the U.S. government and instead acted as a Clinton defender." But he ignored the fact that Schweizer admitted during the interview that he has no "direct evidence" to back up his book's claims -- which would seem to indicate a decided lack of substance.

Meyer knows Schweizer admitted that -- it's in the transcript accompanying his post -- but he failed to highlight it in his item.

Meyer clearly doesn't like the fact that a conservative who made specious claims was called out on them.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:05 PM EDT

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