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Those Who Can't Do, Demand

The MRC is again spending millions to get the media to "Tell the Truth!" Too bad it won't apply that standard to itself.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 7/14/2005

The Media Research Center has launched the 2005 edition of its in-kind contribution to Republicans, the "Tell the Truth!" campaign. As it did last year, the MRC is -- you guessed it -- not telling the truth.

Its welcome page opens with MRC chief Brent Bozell's lie that "We don't want a 'conservative' news media. We want, and demand, truth. We want the news media to strive for objectivity at all times. We want balance. We want fairness."

Related article on ConWebWatch:

Translation: Tell Our Spin!

If Bozell genuinely doesn't want a "conservative" news media, his news division -- presumably Bozell's showcase to demonstrate to the "liberal media" how to properly run a news organization -- wouldn't have originally been named Conservative News Service. Even though it eventually substituted "Conservative" for "Cybercast," Bozell's is still undeniably conservative, as ConWebWatch has repeatedly documented.

And if Bozell genuinely doesn't want a "conservative" news media, his "Tell the Truth!" campaign wouldn't be attacking only liberals and demanding that the news media blindly follow conservative talking points.

As the welcome letter proudly proclaims, "The 2004 'Tell the Truth!' campaign effectively prevented the liberal media elites from achieving their primary goal of destroying the presidency of George W. Bush." And how did it do that? By having a primary goal of destroying the campaign of John Kerry. The MRC attacked anyone who dared to look into President Bush's National Guard record while promoting (and not fact-checking) the questionable allegations against Kerry by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. It relentlessly bashed CBS over the questionable Bush National Guard memos, while remaining silent about Fox News Channel's web site running a fake news story about Kerry.

The MRC's 2005 goals read much more like Republican talking points than any sort of journalistic manifesto. It claims without support that "The leftwing elites who control the media do not support a military response to terrorism" and that "American Christians are described as being like the 'Taliban.'" The claim that "Conservative efforts to restore Constitutional balance to the judicial confirmation process are denounced by the media as 'extreme' measures" ignores the fact that conservatives used the same tactics against Democratic judicial nominees in the past; the MRC piled on qualifiers to try and prove otherwise, and straight-out lied about it. And the MRC is currently peddling the fiction that conservatives don't have a litmus test for a new Supreme Court justice.

The claim that "proposals to reform Social Security have been misrepresented as 'benefit cuts' time and again, although this is demonstrably untrue" is similarly disingenuous, hiding the fact that the MRC has not only spread outright lies about Social Security -- a CNS article falsely claimed that one Bush plan would give low wage-earners "higher retirement benefits than the current system allows" when in fact they would see no increase at all -- it was laudatory when CBS aired a conservative-friendly piece on Social Security without fully disclosing the conservative connection.

One of this year's "Tell the Truth!" projects is the launching of something called the Institute on Culture and the Media. According to the letter, "The Institute is a specialized effort to confront and expose those in the press who are trying to remove God from the public square and are aiding and abetting the cultural and moral disintegration of American society." In other words, it's not about truth at all, just another academic-sounding receptacle for conservative foundation cash designed to push a conservative agenda.

The MRC also throws in some questionable numbers, complete with bar graph. It claims that last year's campaign began by reaching 51 million Americans weekly: "By late October 2004, 'Tell the Truth!' was reaching 72 million, and by December we reached 95 million households weekly." No information is provided as to how these numbers were determined.

The letter closes by once again reciting Bozell's "We don't want a 'conservative' news media" lie.

Given that the MRC can't even tell the truth about itself and the issues it follows, what gives it the right, or any credibility, to demand that others tell the truth?

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