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Tuesday, March 31, 2020
MRC Flails In Defending Fox News Against Charges It Pushed Coronavirus Misinfomation
Topic: Media Research Center

In a Feb. 27 post, NewsBusters blogger Randy Hall gushed over how "Primetime was a great time for Fox News in February, when the channel drew its highest ratings ever and attracted an average of 3.5 million viewers during the second month of 2020.... the 44th consecutive month the FNC has been the most-watched channel in all of basic cable and a 218-month streak as the most-watched cable news network."

Since then, the Media Research Center has steadfastly defended Fox News against charges that the channel has put out misinformation on the coronavirus in service of its pro-Trump agenda -- not by refuting the charges, mind you, since they're basically true, but by playing a lot of whataboutism. Typical of that approach was Kyle Drennen's March 13 post: "MSNBC was eager to exploit the coronavirus to bash cable competitor Fox News, accusing the rival network of spreading “misinformation” about the disease and even endangering the lives of its viewers. The discussion took place on the same show that labeled the virus President Trump’s “Chernobyl” on Thursday.

A March 17 post by Curtis Houck engaged in more juvernile name-calling:

Between Monday night and early Tuesday morning, CNN political commentator Joe Lockhart and MSNBC/NBC legal analyst Glenn Kirschner rhetorically molded and mounted on their heads matching tin-foil hats, insisting that the Fox News Channel and President Donald Trump should face “criminal” and “serious liability” for misinforming the public on the deadly nature of the coronavirus. In the latter’s case, he compared the President to murderers in Washington D.C. he threw in prison.

As a reminder, Lockhart was a Clinton White House Press Secretary while Kirschner was a longtime federal prosecutor and Army JAG officer. And now both offer takes that belong on a liberal equivalent of InfoWars. My how the mighty fall.

Houck added: "Someone alert Lockhart to what the likes of primetime host Tucker Carlson and straight-news reporters like Bret Baier, Shannon Bream, Bill Hemmer, Ed Henry, and Martha MacCallum. He probably views them all the same as the equivalent of news anchors on TASS, but you can’t fix ignorance." But Houck made no effort to reverse that alleged ignorance by citing any actual examples of their work.

Scott Whitlock complained on March 19:

Socialist MSNBC anchor Lawrence O’Donnell on Wednesday night kicked off his prime time show by snarling that competitor Fox News is “endangering your life” with Coronavirus “lies.” The Last Word host, who has himself politicized the virus, insisted that “Fox now takes the pandemic seriously.” But “the sudden switch to taking the pandemic seriously at Fox proves that Fox was lying about it deliberately for weeks and weeks when they were lying in the way they believed Donald Trump wanted them to lie.”

Whitlock didn't counter the claim, nor did he explain why he felt the need to label O'Donnell a "socialist" in a post that had nothing to do with the subject.

The next day, Whitlock served up more whataboutism at another MSNBC host:

Brian Williams is angry at “freaky” Fox News, deriding the network for thinking we’re all “stupid.” The MSNBC late night host, a man who lost his NBC job for lying, on Thursday night attacked Fox for not being honest in its past coverage of the Coronavirus. Talking to Michael Steele, Williams ranted, “The other attempt to tell us what we ourselves saw and heard or did not see and hear really has, at its core assumption, that we must be stupid.”

After playing six words from the March 9 Hannity, in which Sean Hannity used the phrase “bludgeon Trump with this new hoax,” Williams marveled at “the speed with which the entire [Fox] crowd turned around just days ago.” The ex-Nightly News anchor, who falsely claimed his helicopter was shot down over Iraq,  added, “And awoke with new seriousness, Fox coverage changed along with the President's verbiage. It was freaky to watch.”

As before, Whitlock failed to explain what bringing up Williams' long-ago sins -- twice! -- had anything to do with anything now beyong gratuitous piling on. He did, however, attempt a weak defense by pointing out that Hannity said other things on that show that didn't downplay the virus. Which, of course, doesn't exactly refute the fact that he did.

But in a March 27 column, Tim Graham effectively admitted that Fox News pushed misinformation, which he reframed as not buying into alleged hype about the virus from the "liberal media":

The liberal pack is prosecuting Fox for supposedly shoving Americans off a coronavirus cliff with “misinformation.” Then they equate “misinformation” with the argument that the pandemic gave the liberal media a new rationale to cripple President Trump politically.

That’s not “misinformation.“ It’s rock-solid, bank-on-it information.

Yes, it’s factually true that the president and the conservative media were suspicious of all the Worst Case Scenarios and expressed skepticism about the threat. Many of us were initially reluctant to be dragged into a massive government intervention. Then Italy happened.

Of course, that worst-case scenario basicaly came true. Don't expect an apology for that.

Graham and the rest of the MRC will never explicitly admit that Fox News did misinform -- that would require actual research, after all, and we know the MRC would never do anything in-depth on Fox News.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:03 PM EDT
Monday, March 30, 2020
MRC Attacks Abortion During Coronavirus -- But Defended Man Who Advocated Letting Elderly Die
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's already strident rhetoric against abortion has only gotten more so as the coronavirus pandemic spread. In addition to obsessing over whether a public health expert was identified as a former Planned Parenthood official despite that being irrelevant to the issue, the MRC has freaked out over the following:

  • Alexa Moutevelis melted down over an Abortion Provider Appreciation Day earlier this month, denying the humanity of abortion doctors as she called them "monsters" who have "more in common with supervillain Thanos."
  • Moutevelis returned to attack family planning proponents as the "Death Lobby" that wants to make abortion to be considered an essential medical service during the pandemic (of course, in Moutevelis' highly biased and hataeful take, they're "making sure they can keep killing preborn babies in a timely manner"). She further complained; "There is a genuine disconnect between doctors trying to save the weak and vulnerable elderly that coronavirus seems to target most in one room while killing the weak and vulnerable in the womb that abortion targets in another," adding, "At a time when there’s death and destruction all around us, let’s do everything we can to save lives instead of take them."
  • In another post, Moutevelis slandered abortion rights proponents as "blood-thirsty" and "monstrous" for complaining about provisions in the stimulus bill, huffing that "at a time when our country is shut down to protect the weak and vulnerable members of our society, some want to keep open the abortion clinics that kill the weakest and most vulnerable of all humans, the unborn, asessential businesses."
  • And Gabriel Hays mocked the idea that abortion clinics should be allowed to stay open: "Ah, yes, killing kids is as essential as the ER doctor saving lives. This is just a dark Orwellian leftist game. The notion that someone wanting an abortion (A CHOICE) is an equal emergency to someone’s imminent death from coronavirus or a heart attack is not convincing."

But when someone actually advocated letting the sick and elderly die from coronavirus as an expeditious way to save the economy,  the MRC ran to his defense.

In a March 26 post, Curtis Houck complained that a man who advocated letting the elderly and infirm die during the pandemic since they are "not productive" and are "generally expensive to maintain" had a Washington Post article done about him. At no point does Houck express offense at the man's views, despite his employer's pro-life; he merely calls the "harsh and unpopular." The greater offense, according to Houck, is that aPost reporer called the man's elderly parents for their views on the subject:

If The Washington Post and senior editor Marc Fisher want Americans to stop calling the press “the enemy of the people,” a place to start would be not publishing stories like Fisher’s March 25 item trying to tear down a man who, as of Wednesday night, had less than 400 Twitter followers.

The thought crime committed by La Mesa, California lawyer Scott McMillan? Offering a harsh and unpopular take about the coronavirus and senior citizens.

In response, Fisher penned a 1,786-word piece entitled “He urged saving the economy over protecting those who are ‘not productive’ from the coronavirus. Then he faced America’s wrath.”

On Twitter, most of the brutal but well-deserved scorn came with Fisher tweeting how he not only wrote about McMillian, but he called his parents:

[...]

So, a few points. One, anyone surprised by Twitter’s vitriol must either not have an account or be living under a rock. Two, perhaps forcing McMillan to relive the past few days isn’t the best for his well-being. And three, why did Fisher decide to further bring attention to this poor soul’s life again?

Yep -- according to Houck, the "poor soul" and victim here is the man getting criticized for expressing an unpopular opinion -- despite it being one that he and the MRC should be opposed to as supposed "pro-life" activists. And Houck's concern that theperson's life was being "ruined" for expressing said opinion rings hollow considering that he very much wants to ruin the life of the Post reporter for the supposedly "unpopular" action of calling the guy out. Some targets are much more acceptable than others, it seems.

It's doubly hypocritical given that the MRC has come out against the view the tweet expressed elsewhere -- albeit only when media figures accused conservatives of supporting it.  A March 23 post by Scott Whitlock complained that "the hard left in the media" like MSNBC's Chris Hayes are accusing President Trump and conservatives of being "ready to kill a 'million' senior citizens as a way of saving the economy from the coronavirus" (while making sure to note that Hayes is "a staunch supporter of abortion"), while a March 26 post by Whitlock accusing MSNBC's Joe Scarborough of claiming conservatives support "the mass death of the elderly population" to presreve "Boeing's corporate earnings."

So is it cool to let the elderly die, or nah? The MRC should perhaps get on the same page on that.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:29 PM EDT
Sunday, March 29, 2020
MRC Silent On Management Turmoil At Its Media Partner
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center brags that "Since late January of 2012, the Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard has once a week featured a 'Mainstream Media Scream' selection in his 'Washington Secrets' column." That gives the Examiner protection from criticism by the MRC -- it touted stories from the Examiner that used anonymous sources despite regularly attacking other media outlets for their reliance on anonymous sources, it gave a pass to an Examiner writer who posted a nasty tweet about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and it's certainly never going to critique Bedard himself for being a pro-Trump shill.

So -- just as it did with similar turmoil at Fox News --  the MRC has chosen to remain silent about management turmoil at the Examiner, driven by complaints of sexual harassment and abusive behavior.

Last month, Toby Harnden was forced out of his job as Examiner managing editor after being accused of mistreating staffers and making sexist and homophobic comments about employees, documented through email and recorded conversations. Ironically, they were documented by an editor who had been fired the week before for sending a lewd video to colleagues. That editor also exposed some winghut welfare at the website, including one editor who gets a salary plus a $40,000 "sweetener" from a conservative nonprofit and another editor who is not terribly productive.

Then, earlier this month, another top editor quit the Examiner, citing how Examiner leadership enabled Harnden's abusive behavior, specifically citing current Examiner editor in chief Hugo Gurdon for doing nothing about it, and failing to conduct a promised internal investigation after Harnden's departure. The editor also cited a graphic purporting to identify "rape victims" at the top of a "privilege pyramid."

The Examiner also apparently stopped doing stories on Fox News that could be considered negative in an effort to get the network to reverse a ban on Examiner writers appearing on it.

This is whom the MRC is partnering on content with. No wonder they won't say a word about it.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:08 PM EDT
Saturday, March 28, 2020
MRC Pretends Selectively Editing Videos Isn't Manipulation
Topic: Media Research Center

Most people understand that selectively editing videos to take them out of their intended context is a form of manipulation. The Media Research Center thinks differently -- at least when the video editors are conservatives and the video's target is a Democratic presidential candidate -- and is laboring hard to split hairs in order to prove it.

We've already noted that MRC tech blogger Alexander Hall is upset that Facebook pointed out that a misleadlingly edited edit of Joe Biden tweeted out by Trump was, in fact, misleadingly edited and had flagged it as such.In a March 9 post criticizing Twitter for similarly pointing out the video's misleading nature, Hall's case for claiming the video isn't misleading comes from... the Trump operative who originally posted it:

An embarrassing clip of Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden stammering during a speech has been spun by liberal media as “manipulated media.”

Former Vice President Biden was caught on video seemingly endorsing President Donald Trump for re-election. Liberal media outlets condemned the video as deceptively edited misinformation in order to cover for the Democratic primary frontrunner. Twitter followed up by labeling the video as “manipulated media.” When reached out to for comment, Twitter staff replied that “this Tweet was labeled based on our Synthetic and Manipulated Media policy.”

The clip, posted on March 7 by White House social media director Dan Scavino, showed Biden stammering: “Because we can not get re-elect, we can not win this re-election. Excuse me, we can only re-elect Donald Trump.”

Trump retweeted Scavino's proclamation that “The video was NOT manipulated,” and has also retweeted other variations of the video in question.

It's laughable that Hall is treating Scavino as an objective observer of what is and is not video manipulation, given that he has a personal and professional vested interest in the outcome. Also note that Hall is again focused on Biden allegedly "stammering" in the video being the non-manipulated part, not the deceptyive edit.

Hall then played whataboutism:

Donald Trump, Jr. retweeted multiple conservative commentators who were calling out Twitter for allowing a Biden campaign video which itself appears to be deceptively edited in that it claimed that Trump was calling the coronavirus a hoax. A Politico article featuring this same claim was fact-checked on Facebook, at the behest of the Daily Caller, a move which outraged members of the liberal media. Former ThinkProgress editor-in-chief Judd Legum questioned, “The bigger question is why Facebook allows The Daily Caller to make judgments about Politico's reporting.”

Hall then invoked a tweet from right-wing writer Ryan Saavedra -- who also has a ideological interest in the debate -- attempting to parse between "selectively edited" and "manipulated" to make the same whataboutism point.

One cannot escape the feeling that Hall is trying to redefine words to protect the Trump campaign and advance a political agenda.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:23 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, March 29, 2020 5:44 PM EDT
Friday, March 27, 2020
What Is MRC's Mysterious Sports Blogger Freaking Out About Now?
Topic: Media Research Center

Media Research Center sports blogger Jay Maxson is as mysterious as ever (since he/she has no social media presence outside the MRC, we don't even know if that's his/her real name or even his/her gender, since "Jay" can work both as masculine and feminine). So what has he/she been freaking about lately?

Any and every media mention of Colin Kaepernick triggers him/her, so there's a post ranting about Kaepernick writing his memoir, prompting Maxson to declare that the book will "serve up the same garbage that turned off 32 NFL teams and alienated countless sports fans across America," adding, "The audio version could be particularly revealing if the tone of Kaepernick's voice reflects his hatred for country."

In Maxson's view, the only political opinion an athlete is allowed to speak publicly is a conservative one in general and support of President Trump in particular, so the 1980 Olympics hockey team gets praise for appearing on stage with Trump, and washed-up NFL quarterback turned washed-up minor-league baseball player Tim Tebow gets fawned over for "saying he'd rather be known for saving babies from abortion than as a Super Bowl-winning quarterback."

Following in the MRC tradition of jealously hating any journalist whocommits the offense of winning an award for their journalism, Maxson attacked USA Today writer for winning an award,huffing that "To win the Red Smith Award for sports writing is tantamount to having one's left-wing credentials enshrined by the Associated Press" (though he named no other examples of this happening). Maxson complained that "Brennan helped perpetuate the LGBT narrative" of pointing out that conservatives like Maxson hate gays in sports, which seems pretty accurate to us.

And, yes, Maxson does hate gays, as he/she reminded us in another rant:

Even though he's a member of the conservative Mormon Church, Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young is very San Francisco. Young just bucked his LDS church and his alma mater, Brigham Young University, by tweeting support for LGBTQ students at the school where people are protesting the church's opposition to same-sex relationships.

This is no new revelation for Young (seen during his 2005 Hall of Fame induction in photo), a descendant of Brigham Young himself, but nevertheless much in tune with Speaker Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco social values.

[...]

The brother of Young's wife Barbara is homosexual, and they have been opposed to marriage as the union of one man and one woman for several years. In 2008, California voters affirmed that ideal by passing Prop 8. Despite the LDS position on marriage and sexuality, the Youngs posted a sign in their yard in opposition to that ballot proposition.

Maxson offers no evidence that Young is "opposed to marriage as the union of one man and one woman"; he does appear to support the expansion of marriage rights and benefits to same-sex couples.

Similarly, Maxson freaked out that retired NBA star Dwayne Wade brought his transgender child to an awards ceremony for an "LGBT pressure group," sneering, "Rather than address their child's gender confusion, father and step-mother have both chosen to become folk heroes to the LGBT agenda by celebrating a child's confusion."

Maxson was quick to adapt his/her schtick to the coronavirius era, complaining that the NBA's Utah Jazz was criticized for having the entire team and many team employees were tested for the virus when they were in Oklahoma City for a later-canceled game, at a time when few regular people could easily obtain tests.Macson whined: "Oklahoma should get credit for doing some things right though. It's not exactly the epicenter of the pandemic, and when out-of-staters brought the virus into the heartland state, Oklahoma jumped on that group and started testing. Sounds like pretty good strategy ... that just got in the way of the agenda of a writer for a progressive blog."


Posted by Terry K. at 4:17 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, March 27, 2020 6:51 PM EDT
Thursday, March 26, 2020
MRC Attacks CNN For Not Noting Coronavirus Expert's Irrelevant Link To Planned Parenthood
Topic: Media Research Center

Count on the Media Research Center to cling to its agenda in the midst of a national emergency. Curtis Houck ranted in a March 16 post (needless bolding in original):

It’s well-established that CNN has refused to act as a serious news organization. So, it came as no surprise when a Media Research Center study found that CNN featured Dr. Leana Wen 16 times from March 2 to 16 for a total of 73 minutes and 29 seconds to discuss the coronavirus. However, there were zero seconds verbally acknowledging her past as Planned Parenthood’s former president.

Instead, CNN has labeled her as either a former Baltimore City Health Commissioner, emergency room physician, or Visiting Professor of Health Policy & Management at the George Washington University. (Updated chart forthcoming)

only 10 seconds of the total featured chyrons noting how, less than a year ago, she was leading the nation’s leading aborter provider.

At no point, however, did Houck explain why it was important for Wen to be labeled as the former head of Planned Parenthood. She was on CNN to talk about coronavirus, not family planning or pro-choice activism, so her Planned Parenthood experience was irrelevant to the issue. Fuyrther, she was only head of Planned Parenthood for less than a year before being ousted last July, so there wasn't much of that experience to bring to the table.

It appears Houck was invoking the MRC's ancient hatred of Planned Parenthood and anything that smacks of being supportive of abortion. He was also trying to figure out a way to dunk on CNN and serve up a whataboutism deflection for criticism of Fox News, as the end of his post indicates:

For CNN’s near-daily assault on the Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, CNN has refused to keep its own house in order. 

Whether it’s refusing to disclose guests as former Obama officials, firing off snarky statements, or making sophomoric facial expressions, perhaps they should worry about doing “the small stuff” right first.

Actually, CNN did get the small stuff right by not inserting something that was utterly irrelevant to the issue at hand.

Houck already hates CNN's Jim Acosta, and that hatred appears to have spread to CNN as a whole, so he's looking for any excuse to go on the attack, no matter how irrelevant.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:36 AM EDT
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
MRC Thinks Facebook Is 'Backsliding' And 'Caving' Because It Has Standards
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has a narrative that Facebook is irredeemably liberal despite all the evidence to the contrary (secret dinners with Brent Bozell, anyone?), and it has to cling to that narrative. It also feels it has to continue to bully Facebook if it ever looks like it won't be a right-wing shill. In December, for example, the MRC's Alexander Hall accused Facebook of "backsliding" on "free speech" by scrutinizing political ads (beause conservatives like consider it "restricting free speecn" to political ads to any sort of standard of truth and accuracy).

True to form, Hall got mad in a March 6 post when Facebook cracked down on Trump campaign ads that falsely presented themselves as linked to the upcoming census, under the headline "Facebook Caves":

A liberal journalist blasted Facebook until it removed certain Trump campaign ads as the 2020 Census approaches.

Founding Editor-in-Chief of the now defunct outlet Think Progress Judd Legum scorched Facebook for “running more than 1,000 ads on Facebook promoting” what he called “a fake 2020 census.” The piece written for his liberal news outlet Popular Information seems to have caused Facebook to change its mind, removing the Trump campaign’s census ads. “Just hours after this piece published,” Legum tweeted, “Facebook reversed course and said they would take all of the Trump census ads down.”

[...]

In the update at the top of Legum’s Popular Information’s coverage, it declared victory. “Facebook abruptly reversed course and said they would take down the Trump campaign’s ads about the Census,” it wrote. Facebook reportedly disclosed the decision via email to The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights president Vanita Gupta. Gupta had reportedly contacted Facebook over the accusations made in Popular Information’s article on the Trump ads.

Facebook allegedly wrote: "Upon further review, these ads are currently being taken down given the policies in place to prevent confusion around the official U.S. Census."

Hall doesn't even bother to defend the ad's content -- perhaps because he knows he can't. Nor did he bother to describe for his readers exactly how those ads were misleading. As the above image shows, the ad presented itself as the "Official 2020 Congressional District Census," coming from the "Certified Website of President Donald J. Trump," complete with a survey number "For Official Use Only."

Instead, Hall invoked Robert Epstein, whose usual schtick is hating Google, calling this "censorship," adding  "Whether u know it or not, #Google-&-the-Gang will decide who our next president will be. #BeAfraid."

Four days later, Hall played the "Facebook Caves" card (and headline) again, upset that Facebook accurately pointed out that a misleading right-wing edit of Joe Biden tweeted out by Trump was, in fact, misleadingly edited, blaiming the Biden campaign and the "liberal media" fo rpurportedly forcing Facebook to make that ruling "under liberal pressure after Twitter labeled the video clip as 'manipulated media.'"

Hall conceded that the video actually was misleadingly edited -- cutting off immediately after saying "We can only re-elect Donald Trump" where he said that could happen "if in fact we get engaged in this circular firing squad here. It's gotta be a positive campaign.'" But then, he seemed to be suggesting the video was flagged because it showed Biden "stammering" -- a word he put in the headline and used three times in his item.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:26 PM EDT
Monday, March 23, 2020
MRC Pretends To Read Major Garrett's Mind (And Does Another Bogus Trump Coverage Study)
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center likes to pretend it can read the minds of journalists and correspondents in order to perpetuate its notion of a biased "liberal media." It did so again in a March 4 post by Rich Noyes headlined "CBS’s Garrett Hopes Bloomberg’s Millions Might at Least Have Damaged Trump."

But even Noyes doesn't actually claim that CBS correspondent Major Garrett expressed "hope"; instead, he repeats the old MRC complaint that Garrett reported something he didn't like:

On Wednesday’s CBS This Morning, correspondent Major Garrett suggested a silver lining (for liberals) after Michael Bloomberg’s massive campaign spending failed to produce any meaningful boost for his presidential hopes on Super Tuesday.

Garrett wondered if the past three months of Bloomberg’s TV advertising might somehow accomplish what years of extremely negative news coverage could not, i.e., put a significant dent in President Trump’s support.

Advancing the not-radical concept that Bloomberg's advertising may have hurt Trump's popularity is not "hope"; it's reporting. Of course, the MRC collectively think that everyone in the non-conservative media are constantly scheming to destroy Trump -- mostly by, you know, reporting facts -- so that sort of paranoia is not a surprise.

In the middle of this post, though, Noyes dropped the results of the MRC's latest bogus "study" of Trump coverage (needless bolding in original):

According to the MRC’s ongoing tracking, the spin of ABC, CBS and NBC evening news coverage of the Trump presidency has been 92% negative during the past six months (September 1 through February 29). For the entire Trump administration (beginning January 20, 2017), the coverage on those networks has been 90% negative.

Those broadcast network statistics do not include the oceans of cable TV airtime devoted to the Russia investigation, the Ukraine investigation and impeachment, as well as hour upon hour of general complaints about the President’s policies and personal style.

As is usual, Noyes extrapolates its so-called examination of "evaluative comments" about Trump of a tiny sliver of coverage as something much larger (though he admits it doesn't include cable news, which means it doesn't include Fox News), and he doesn't provide the actual statements so we can judge for ourselves.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:01 PM EDT
Sunday, March 22, 2020
No, MRC, Court Did Not Rule That 'YouTube May Censor Conservatives'
Topic: Media Research Center

The headline of Alexander Hall's Feb. 28 Media Research Center item states, "Ninth Circuit Rules That YouTube May Censor Conservatives." That is a lie.

First, a little background: The MRC has been talking up the lawsuit that ended in this ruling for quite some time. corinne Weaver supplied a biased summary in an August 2019 post:

PragerU, a conservative media outlet known for its academic videos that explain traditional values and beliefs, will argue its appeal in a federal court on August 27. After a court dismissed the case on March 28, 2018, the company filed an appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court against Google and its sister company, YouTube. PragerU accused Google of “targeting ideological differences and engaging in unlawful censorship and discrimination.”

In a previous ruling, a federal court stated that “Google has no obligation to equally apply its services, or in this case, its ostensible penalties.” PragerU filed another lawsuitin January 2019.

As of August 26, more than 100 videos produced by PragerU have been placed on YouTube’s restricted list. According to YouTube, videos that “contain potentially adult content” are not available to viewers who have the restricted mode turned on. Content that falls under certain categories are automatically restricted, including material that talks about drugs and alcohol, sexual situations, violence, mature subjects such as terrorism, war, crime, and political conflicts that resulted in death or serious injury, profane language, and incendiary and demeaning content.

[...]

YouTube’s restricted mode is used in places such as libraries, schools, and public institutions. So students trying to find a conservative point of view online in schools will not be able to access PragerU’s content. 

So YouTube is not actually "censoring" PragerU -- it's just age-restricting some of its content, and only for those who turn on YouTube's restricted mode. All one needs to do is turn off restricted mode and you have full access to PragerU videos. Yet somehow this has turned into a politically motivated lawsuit.

The motivation was clear in a separate August post by Hall, serving up more bias by calling PragerU "a popular conservative media outlet known for its academic but easy to understand videos which explain conservative ideas" and "are well known for their calm and measured tone." But Hall quoted PragerU officials exposing their real agenda -- they want to propagandize children and they want to be exempt from YouTube rules and scrutiny:

PragerU’s Chief Marketing Officer Craig Strazzeri was one of a handful of speakers who spoke. He pointed across the street to the library as an immediate example of a place where PragerU would be restricted. “If a student walks into that public library, goes on the computer, and searches for PragerU videos,” he said “there are over 200 that they will not be able to see” later adding for emphasis that five of those videos are on the Ten Commandments. 

[...]

PragerU personality Will Witt declared the importance of remaining on YouTube. “We don't wanna just start our own platform, right? Because we’re trying to reach everyone. There’d be so many leftists, people like me when I was in college, who we’d never reach.”

[...]

Restricting these videos can mean that their target audience may be unable to watch for themselves. YouTube’s restricted mode is used in locations such as libraries, schools, and public institutions. 

So rather than editing content to remove the restricted-mode tag or simply leaving for another video platform, of which there are many, PragerU played victim and sued YouTube.

In short, no evidence is provided that YouTube is censoring conservatives exclusively -- that, of course, is the central claim of victimization by the tech industry that the MRC has been spouting for quite some time.

Back to the current article, in which Hall huffed:

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that YouTube may censor whomever it chooses, and is not bound by the First Amendment.

The ruling in Prager University v. Google dealt a blow to PragerU’s cause this past Wednesday, according to The Hollywood Reporter’s coverage. The decision upheld the district court’s dismissal of an action brought by PragerU against YouTube and its parent company Google despite PragerU's claim that YouTube acts much like a public forum and therefore was obligated to uphold First Amendment protections for freedom of speech.

"Despite YouTube's ubiquity and its role as a public-facing platform, it remains a private forum, not a public forum subject to judicial scrutiny under the First Amendment," wrote Circuit Judge Margaret McKeown.

[...]

The Ninth Circuit explained that a key part of its reasoning in ruling against PragerU’s First Amendment claim was that “PragerU does not dispute that YouTube is a private entity that operates its platform without any state involvement.” Indeed, the Court noted that “private property does not ‘lose its private character merely because the public is generally invited to use it for designated purposes.’”

You'd think that organizations that claim to care about constitutional rights like PragerU and the MRC would be happy that a court upheld the principle of private property rights against those who were trying to federalize it for their own purposes. Instead, Hall complained: "And while YouTube and Big Tech leadership have made claims that they support free speech in theory, they are not necessarily legally bound to fulfil them. ... In short, when Big Tech companies make hollow corporate platitudes about free speech and protecting your voice, don’t expect much."


Posted by Terry K. at 7:10 PM EDT
Saturday, March 21, 2020
The Hillary Derangement Virus Continues To Rage At The MRC
Topic: Media Research Center

Just because the nation is in the midst of a coronavirus doesn't mean that the Media Research Center can't spend some time flaring up its old, lingering, increasingly irrational hatred for Hillary Clinton. And the release of a documentary about her was as good an excuse as any to indulge in another round of Hillary Derangement Syndrome.

Aiden Jackson was first up in a March 6 post:

The oozing admiration for Democratic politicians is never so tangible in the press as when Hillary Clinton hits the talk-show circuit. Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday’s Tonight Show shared in the media acclaim for Clinton’s newest Hulu Docu-series, Hillary.

Fallon made a point to hit all of the liberal sweet spots throughout the course of the interview, including a potshot at President Trump’s leadership on the coronavirus hysteria: “Were you surprised with how the Trump Administration handled it?”

"Coronavirus hysteria"? That didn't age well.

Jackson went on to sneer about how Clinton "bloviated" and engaged in "dishonesty." This was followed by a post from Scott Whitlock attacking the documentary  over a stdatement Bill Clinton made in it regarding the Monica Lewinsky scandal and surprisingly not slamming Hillary for her mere existence.

The abject venom against Hillary that has been inculcated in MRC employees surfaced most conspicuously in a March 10 post by Alexa Moutevelis aobut hate-watching the documentary. She sneered that it was a "four-hour slog" and hissed: "Although rewatching her 2016 concession speech and crying supporters was a highlight, this being a show about the Clintons, the series was filled with lowlights.

In an apparent signal that the Hillary-hate mandate came straight from the top, Tim Graham devoted his March 11 column to bashing the documentary, which he claims to have watched all of:

This is Hillary Clinton’s take...for hours and hours. She dominates the entire spectacle. It’s a 253-minute therapy session, as Hillary still fails to come to grips with the fact that she narrowly lost in 2016.

[...]

Every Clinton scandal is dismissed, if it’s even mentioned. Whitewater was “ridiculous.” Filegate and Travelgate are mentioned once in passing. Making $100,000 in cattle futures in Little Rock was never mentioned, even as they showed her 1994 press conference to “explain” it. Benghazi? There was “nothing there.” There was no time for the Clinton Foundation, or Uranium One. The private e-mail server? Standard procedure.

[...]

At the end of four hours of whining and victimhood, Hillary’s last words are “I have no regrets. I am a very grateful person.” That’s also false. Hillary sat for 35 hours of interviews, so there was even more venting than what’s been unloaded here.

Why this epic rehash? Let’s guess Hillary thinks she should be running for re-election right now, and she wants all eyes back on her. Just like her nemesis Richard Nixon, she’s always seeking to rehabilitate her image. Just like Nixon, she never will.

You may remember that we've gotten into it with Graham over his refusal to admit that so-called scandals like Travelgate were manufactured by conservatives (for instance, independent counsel Robert Ray found that the Clinton White House was well within its rights to fire Billy Dale and White House travel office staff and install its own people).

Graham also complained that the documentary is "a 253-minute therapy session, as Hillary still fails to come to grips with the fact that she narrowly lost in 2016." This from a guy who has failed to come to grips with the fact that Hillary even exists.

That's four posts largely about a documentary -- and a person -- they desperately wish didn't exist. But the MRC also found non-documentary-related reasons to spew venom at Hillary during this time as well. Alexander Hall used a March 8 post to complain that Clinton "blasted Facebook for enabling disinformation while using the mainstream liberal media to misinform viewers." That "misinformation"? That President Trump called the coronavirus a "hoax," something that the MRC has also been obsessed with.As per apparent MRC corporate policy, Hall couldn't help but add a sneering comment: "Maybe viewers should at least take heart that she spoke for more than a minute without mentioning Russia."

Then, in a March 10 post, Scott Whitlock whined that Hillary was among the "Democrats (elected or otherwise) or liberal activists or left-leaning feminists" to whom Time magazine retroactively gave a "Woman of the Year" designation, but only three conservatives.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:17 PM EDT
Friday, March 20, 2020
MRC Wrongly Attacks Reporter Who Accurately Noted How Conservatives Downplayed Coronavirus
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Alex Christy complained in a March 9 post:

Washington Post reporter (and PBS Washington Week host) Robert Costa joined MSNBC Live guest host Kasie Hunt on Monday to talk about the coronavirus. After mentioning that two Republican members of Congress, Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Paul Gosar are self-quarantining out of an abundance of caution after someone at CPAC tested positive for the virus. Costa claimed that only now are conservatives taking the threat of COVID-19 seriously.

[...]

Costa replied by first talking by repeating a claim that was debunked over a week ago, "It's a fluid situation because it was just a few weeks ago that at the CPAC conference you had many conservatives calling this entire coronavirus situation a hoax."

He claimed that only, "Now that has the virus has hit some attendees in terms of their -- them being affected by the person there who had it, you have conservatives and Republicans talking about this in a new way." The White House task force on the matter was created on January 29, back when MSNBC was still obsessed with impeachment. and a month before CPAC.

Despite Christy's headline assertion that Costa "wrongly" claimed conservatives discounted the coronavirus until someone at CPAC tested positive, he never actually proves Costa wrong; the creation of a White HOuse task force is not a reflection of conservatives as a whole. 

For actual evidence of conservative downplaying coronavirus, we need go no further than the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com. Here are a few CNS items from late February and early March that aimed to downplay the effects of coronavirus:

Additionally, CNS downplayed its severity by accusing Democrats of wanting to "open the spending spigot" to fight it and gave space to right-wing radio host Mark Levin to rant that Democrats and the media just want to "attack, blame, and politicize."

Oh, and CNS never did a story on the CPAC participants who were exposed to coronavirus, even though the MRC had a presence there and, thus, had employees who were potentially exposed.

Looks a lot like downplaying to us.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:50 PM EDT
Thursday, March 19, 2020
MRC Stealth-Edits Post After Trump Signs On To Idea It Had Called 'INSANE'
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Joseph Vazquez wrote a March 17 post with the blaring headline "FREE MONEY? CNBC Boosts Romney’s INSANE Coronavirus Plan to Give EVERY American $1,000" that began: "CNBC apparently had no problem treating Sen. Mitt Romney’s (R-UT) insane coronavirus plan to give “every” American $1,000 as a rational idea."

But shortly thereafter, the word "INSANE" disappeared from both the headline and first paragraph:

What happened? Well, around the time Vazquez's post went up on NewsBusters, Presient Trump and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin effectively endorsed Romney's idea by stating during that day's coronavirus brief that they were considering issuing such payments to Americans to provide immediate relief to those affected by the coronavirus crisis.With that endorsement, Romney's plan ceased being "insane."

There's also the fact that the MRC, as a pro-Trump propaganda outlet, cannot be seen as criticizing anything Trump has endorsed.

The MRC did not disclosed to readers that the post was edited, despite the fact it regularly attacks other media outlets for "stealth editing" items. The word "insane" remains in the item's URL, however.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:57 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, March 19, 2020 4:08 PM EDT
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
MRC Mad That GOP Congressman's Clown Move Was Called A 'Clown Move'
Topic: Media Research Center

Kathleen Krumhansl comlained in a March 6 MRC Latino post that an CNN en Español anchor described Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz's stunt of wearing a gas mask on the House floor a "clown move":

As COVID-19 continues to spread, so do the insidious comments by the likes of CNN En Español anchor Juan Carlos Lopez, who turned a report on the correct preventive measures to take against the virus into an opportunity to call U.S. Rep Matt Gaetz a clown for wearing a gas mask to work. 

Take a look at this video from Directo USA´s March 5, 2020 edition, featuring Surgeon General Jerome Adams as he addressed The Latino Coalition:

[...]

Two things stand: First, that instead of passing on the valuable information offered by the Surgeon General, CNN En Espanõl opted to mock a Republican congressman  who evidently believed he was doing the right thing, that is preventing the spread of the virus hyped by the media trying to blame Trump for its spread.

Second, anchor Juan Carlos Lopez snarkily exemplifies the liberal media’s pettiness. In this case, CNN En Español deliberately displays their political agenda- in direct conflict with the safety and wellbeing of the very public they serve.

Krumhansl is apparently giving Gaetz a pass for his gas-mask stunt because she thinks he "evidently believed he was doing the right thing" by mocking the media's purported overhype of coronavirus concerns. But subsequent events have made it clear that the media was correct in warning of the danger of coronavirus and that mocking it was, indeed, a clown move.

The clownish nature of Gaetz's stunt was further borne out by the fact that just a few days later, a person living in his congressional district died from coronavirus, and shortly after that Gaetz himself went into self-quarantine after possibly being exposed to coronavirus at CPAC, a prominent conservative gathering.

Don't expect Krumhansl to update her post or admit that events have shown that Gaetz really was a clown for doing this.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:51 PM EDT
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
MRC Politicizes Coronavirus With Its Attack Narrative Of Accusing Others Of 'Politicizing' It
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has accused the media of politicizing the coronavirus outbreak for so long, it can now be credibly accused of politicizing the outbreak itself by pushing the "politicizing" narrative -- after all, the only reason the narrative exists is to protect its beloved President Trump, since it doesn't want you to believe there's no evidence that he downplayed the signfigance of the outbreak until he could no longer do so.

Let's take a look at how the MRC has pushed this narrative:

  • The MSM's line o' the day is that coronavirus should not be politicized. But liberal media partisans like Chuck Todd just can't help themselves. -- Mark Finkelstein, Feb. 27
  • CNN has clearly made a conscious decision to politicize the coronavirus story to trash the Trump administration and claim it's starkly opposed to "science." -- Alex Christy, Feb. 28
  • During national emergencies such as natural disasters or outbreaks of disease, the news media can serve as a valuable source of information for the public. Yet when it came to their coverage of the coronavirus on Thursday, CNN largely put their Trump-bashing agenda ahead of that important role. ... It’s bad enough when Democrats and Republicans politicize national emergencies, but for the self-ordained Facts First Network to do the same is nothing short of outrageous. This isn’t what journalists are supposed to do during a national health crisis. -- Bill D'Agostino, Feb. 28
  • In an interview with Vice President Mike Pence, aired during Sunday’s Meet the Press, NBC host Chuck Todd grew extremely irate and combative when addressing how President Trump’s allies were calling out his colleagues on the left for politicizing the coronavirus (COVID-19). After demanding Pence show him evidence of their politicization, Todd refused to hear more than one example and tried to make the pushback from the right the problem. -- Nicholas Fondacaro, March 1 
  • In reality, what Trump dismissed as a hoax were efforts by Democrats and liberal media to politicize the global health crisis. -- Kyle Drennen, March 2
  • Put a check mark on the PBS NewsHour for politicizing the coronavirus. -- Tim Graham, March 2
  • New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, respected economist turned classless Democratic hack, demonstrated his unseemly willingness to politicize crises, in his Tuesday column “Paranoid Politics Goes Viral.” The text box: “When everything is a liberal media conspiracy.” -- Clay Waters, March 5
  • What Trump has called a hoax is the attempt by Democrats to politicize the disease. [MSNBC's Joy] Reid unwittingly gave a good example of the phenomenon with her scaremongering this morning. -- Mark Finkelstein, March 7
  • While hacks in the liberal media were quick to claim no one on their side was politicizing the spread of the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19), NBC political director Chuck Todd spent a part of Sunday’s Meet the Press musing about how the virus could be President Trump’s version of the Iran Hostage Crisis, where President Jimmy Carter showed such poor leadership the public voted in President Ronald Reagan. -- Nicholas Fondacaro, March 8
  • Despite the media’s empty words insisting they are not politicizing the coronavirus, they keep doing just that. -- Kristine Marsh, March 9
  • [Nicolle] Wallace again politicized the health scare, by commending the novel virus for “shaking the confidence” of the president’s base for the upcoming election[.] -- Kristine Marsh, March 10
  • While many in the media have feigned outrage at the notion they are politicizing this pandemic, [comedian Pete] Dominick admitted proudly that they are, because Trump "doesn't care about us" or "science." -- Kristine Marsh, March 11
  • Eager to join the rest of the media in politicizing the coronavirus, on Monday’s CBS Late Show, liberal host Stephen Colbert sought to use the disease to attack President Trump. -- Aiden Jackson, March 11
  • Shortly after The View co-host Whoopi Goldberg insisted that the media wasn’t politicizing the coronavirus on Wednesday’s show, her co-host, Joy Behar did just that, predicting that the virus would keep Trump from getting re-elected. Kristine Marsh, March 11
  • Seemingly daily, CBS Evening News includes a segment railing against the response of the Trump administration and boosting Democratic politicization of the virus.-- Nicholas Fondacaro, March 11
  • The unhinged media is still politicizing the spread of COVID-19, and pointing fingers at President Trump after he addressed the nation last night. -- Kristine March, March 12
  • Is the Coronavirus Donald Trump’s Hurricane Katrina? Is it his Iran hostage crisis? If you thought journalists hadn’t politicized this health crisis enough, get ready for another example. -- Alex Christy, March 12
  • [Peter] Wehner is careful to warn liberals not to politicize coronavirus outbreak as a weapon to attack Trump...before then absurdly going on to use coronavirus as a political weapon to attack Trump. -- P.J. Gladnick, March 14
  • CNN on Sunday continued the network’s efforts to politicize the coronavirus and blame Donald Trump. -- Scott Whitlock, March 16
  • On Tuesday, ABC’s White House correspondent Jon Karl attempted to scold President Trump for having “lashed out” at Democrats who were politicizing coronavirus. Trump shut down the line of questioning by pointing out he has to “respond” since liberal politicians “have the media on their side.” ... Missing from Karl’s question was any acknowledgment of how Democrats have worked to politicize the pandemic response. -- Kyle Drennen, March 17

And the MRC gets real mad when that narrative gets turned on them. In a Feb. 28 post, Kyle Drennen complained that an MSNBC anchor was "attacking Fox News. Why? Because the competing cable channel was calling out attempts in the press to blame the Trump administration for the spread of the disease." Hehuffed in response: "Missing from the Fox-bashing segment was any mention of how 'irresponsible' the liberal media have been in their own effort to 'politicize' coronavirus." In other words, the same whataboutism we've come to expect from the MRC.

Kristine Marsh did much the same thing in a post the same day: "Despite a NewsBusters study showing Trump-bashing takes center stage on CNN's coronavirus reporting, CNN Newsroom host Brooke Baldwin and media reporter Oliver Darcy raged that Fox was putting the public in danger by sowing skepticism over their anti-Trump reporting on the coronavirus." That "study" would be the one where the MRC failed once again to show its work and refused to consider whether criticism of Trump was justified.

Deflecting these attacks was the narrative of the day on Feb. 28. Randy Hall took a shot in his post that day:

It’s easy to predict how Brian Stelter, host of the Sunday Reliable Sources program on CNN, will respond to any disagreements with President Trump and the anchors on the Fox News Channel. He simply dismisses anything they say as simply being wrong.

That was obviously the case on Friday, when the network’s chief media correspondent was a guest during a segment of the At This Hour program as hosted by Kate Bolduan. He dismissed the network's claims of the left weaponizing the virus against President Trump, “reprehensible” and an attempt “to make this all about Trump and politics when that’s really not the arena this is being fought in.”

Like the others, Hall never actually explains why any criticism of Trump is "politicizing" the issue but Fox News' blatantly partisan attacks on the media for criticizing Trump is not.

Finally, also on the same day, Tim Graham gave space to a lengthy Rush Limbaugh rant denying that  his conspiracy theory that the coronavirus was created to destroy Trump was "politicizing" the issue.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:46 PM EDT
Monday, March 16, 2020
More Bad 'Media Research' From The MRC
Topic: Media Research Center

Remember: The mission of the Media Research Center these day is to protect President Trump from media criticism. Another example of that is this bit of "media research" in a Feb. 28 post by Bill D'Agostino:

During national emergencies such as natural disasters or outbreaks of disease, the news media can serve as a valuable source of information for the public. Yet when it came to their coverage of the coronavirus on Thursday, CNN largely put their Trump-bashing agenda ahead of that important role.

MRC analysts identified 44 guest interviews on CNN between 6:00 am and 11:59 pm EST on February 27, 2020. Out of 136 questions that hosts asked about the epidemic, 82 (60%) invited guests – even medical specialists – to criticize the Trump administration’s handling of the epidemic. Questions asked of CNN-affiliated reporters and analysts were not included in this total.

Hosts often pressured guests who were reluctant to attack the administration.

[...]

It’s bad enough when Democrats and Republicans politicize national emergencies, but for the self-ordained Facts First Network to do the same is nothing short of outrageous. This isn’t what journalists are supposed to do during a national health crisis. How bad must the epidemic get for CNN to stop taking what even Democrats network have called “cheap shots?”

Absent from  D'Agostino's alleged analysis -- as it is from pretty much all MRC "studies" -- is a list of those 136 questions and how they were classified so readers can judge for themselves how "negative" or "cheap" they are. D'Agostino repeated only two questions in his post.

D'Agostino also appears to have failed to consider context -- that Trump does, in fact, deserve criticism of his administration's response to the outbreak. Perhaps that's because the apparebnly official policy at the MRC is that Trump does nothing wrong and all criticism of him is "liberal."

The MRC's "media research" is hard to take seriously when it's so utterly biased.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:02 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, March 19, 2020 4:09 PM EDT

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