The MRC vs. A Football Player
The Media Research Center hurls an arsenal of personal attacks at Colin Kaepernick for his national anthem protest and refusing to acknowledge he has a reason for protesting.
By Terry Krepel
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's refusal to stand for the national anthem in a preseason game, prompting much of the ConWeb -- particularly the Media Research Center -- to lash out at Kaepernick personally for his protest and dismiss mock the reason he did it: a protest over the way blacks and minorities are treated in America.
NewsBusters' Dylan Gwinn was first to lash out, huffing that Kaepernick's Twitter account "basically reads like a Black Lives Matter site" and sneering, "Unclear as to whether or not Kaepernick considers our black President and black head of the Justice Department as in on the racist cabal. That story coming later, probably. Actually, probably not." Gwinn then dismissed Kaepernick completely because "he’s not good at football anymore."
"Bruce Bookter" -- an anonymous alleged "sports journalist" who uses a "pen name" for his work at NewsBusters -- took umbrage at ESPN commenter Pablo S. Torre for suggesting that only Trump supporters are angered by Kaepernick's protest:
Yeah, it’s not all about sports at all. It’s supposed to be a unifying moment that brings us together as one, before we all yell and scream and foam at the mouth at each other. This is a point understood by most people. These same “most people,” many of whom elected and then re-elected a black President, don’t believe the American flag represents bigotry or oppression.
This from a guy who doesn't even have the courage of his convictions to put his own name on them.
Gwinn returned to attack NFL Players Association president DeMaurice Smith for defending Kaepernick (italics his):
Smith categorically rejects the idea of “shut up and play.” The notion that athletes should just do their jobs and leave their politics out of it. Smith claims that this turns the athlete into a two-dimensional person, and doesn’t allow for the athlete to express those attributes which make him “human.”
Actually, Dylan, if you're telling Kaepernick to "shut up and play" -- and it certainly appears you are -- you are, in fact, disputing his right to say it.
Also pretending he's not disputing Kaepernick's right to say it while actually doing so is "Bookter," who went on a tirade against both him and ESPN’s Ian O’Connor for daring to defend him:
Someone needs to get ESPN and 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick a room. Preferably a room in another country. Yet, a room nonetheless.
Gwinn piled on in yet another post, declaring that " in addition to being a moron, he’s also bad at football." Yes, the guy who led his 49ers to a Super Bowl berth in 2012 is "bad at football."
And a bad American, apparently. The MRC's Kyle Drennen, meanwhile, declared Kaepernick to be "anti-American," according to the headline of his Aug. 29 post, upset that one reporter allegedly "treated Kaepernick like a martyr," while Brad Wilmouth asserted that Kaepernick's protest was an "expression of anti-U.S. sentiment."
Actually, what could be more American then protesting the actions of others? If that's "anti-American," than the MRC is anti-American too.
Gwinn returned once again to slam Kaepernick's purported incompetence as a QB (again, never mind that he has played in more Super Bowls than Gwinn has), sneering that he was merely "assuming the sitting position he’s likely to become very familiar with over the course of the next season." Gwinn also attacked Kaepernick for the alleged futility of his protest:
Has he started the Colin Kaepernick Fund for Underprivileged or At-Risk Youth? Has he spent hours and hours mentoring kids? Is he trying to improve police/community relations?
Actually, Kaepernick has said that he'll donate the revenue he makes from the sales of his replica jersey -- which has become a top seller since his protest began -- to communities, and he also pledged to donate the first $1 million of his salary to charities that help minority communities.
So, yes, Dylan, Kaepernick is trying to make a difference and put his money where his mouth (or knee) is. What have you done?
But Kaepernick's generosity won't stop the MRC's taunts. NewsBusters blogger Randy Hall called in some lower-tier right-wing commentator to hurl insults at Kaepernick:
During Monday night's edition of the Tomi program on The Blaze, conservative host Tomi Lahren harshly criticized Colin Kaepernick -- quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers professional football team -- for refusing to stand during the performance of the National Anthem at the start of the preseason game against the Green Bay Packers the day before.
As with most of the MRC's nasty personal attacks on Kaepernick, this has nothing whatsoever to do with its claimed mission of rooting out "liberal media bias."
So, naturally, MRC chief Brent Bozell, knowing a hot-button right-wing issue when he sees one, wanted in on this sweet mission-irrelevant angry-ranting action for himself. He ran to Fox Business to spew: "I think this man is a disgraceful ingrate. I spit on him for what he has been saying." Bozell left unspoken whether he also farts in Kaepernick's general direction.
Bozell cranked up the taunts in his and Tim Graham's Sept. 2 column in which they also attack anyone who dares to point out that Kaepernick is well within his First Amendment rights to engage in his protest:
Like so many leftists, this disgraceful ingrate is nowhere to be found when there are a thousand times more "bodies in the street" as casualties of drug dealers or gang-bangers. Almost 500 people have been killed this year in Chicago, Illinois, alone. Seventy-nine police officers have been killed in the line of duty this year. It's unclear if this means a thing to Kaepernick.
The definition of "cowardly" arguably applies much more to Bozell, who is too afraid to appear on TV opposite anyone who might disagree with him (hence the vast majority of his appearances being limited to the narrow world of Fox News, Fox Business and other right-wing media) yet demands that the MRC's current target of rage, Jorge Ramos, engage in a debate with him, something he knows will never happen -- which is why he issued the dare in the first place.
Funny how liberals pick and choose when to support those who express dissatisfaction with the government’s upholding of the Constitution, right? When Colin Kaepernick calls the country racist, he’s just patriotically demanding the Constitution be upheld. But, conservatives angry at President Obama for unconstitutionally issuing legislative edicts from the White House regarding illegal immigration? Racists!
Gwinn seems to have not noticed that those "legislative edicts" -- actually, executive actions; the president, not being a part of the legislative branch, cannot issue anything legislative -- were not unconstitutional when Obama issued them and were declared so only after being challenged in court.
"Bookter" followed up by demanding that the NFL "nip this budding activism," whining that has others following in Kaepernick's footsteps means "your hopes and dreams of soon being able to finally embrace your Sunday, Monday, and Thursday escapism have been thoroughly dashed."
Curtis Houck wrote a post raging at Stephen Colbert accurately pointing out that the playing of the national anthem at sporting events started as a ploy to boost attendance. Like Gwinn, Houck just wants to shut down the conversation and shout down anyone who disagrees with him:
Whether it’s religious freedom, traditional marriage, or The Star-Spangled Banner, liberals and their allies in the media appear to be hellbent on tearing one institution down after another in the name of, in their books, decency, equality, and justice but never realize that many on their side in the form of big corporations kowtowing to the Human Rights Campaign are mostly likely just going along in the name of business.
Then, "Bookter" went on a tirade against commentator Michael Eric Dyson, whom he mocked as a "dullard" for backing Kaepernick and grousing that "Kaepernick, much to my disappointment, has been in no way punished by the league. Or, by the 49ers. In fact, not only has he not been punished, his jersey sales have skyrocketed since he began his Anthem protest."
"Bookter" also makes sure not to address the substance of Kaepernick's protest, declaring "The fact is that Colin Kaepernick has unified Americans from Donald Trump all the way to Jerry Rice in opposition to him. Which is precisely the sign of an ineffective and counterproductive protest." But didn't Bookter" also say Kaepernick's jersey sales were skyrocketing, which is arguably a sign his protest is having an effect?
Kaepernick's protest is also spreading, which also enrages "Bookter" (in addition to being another sign of an effective protest). He cheered the owner of a women's pro soccer team for moving up the playing of the national anthem so player Megan Rapinoe couldn't go through with her "clown show protest" emulating Kaepernick, adding, "Now, if only all the NFL owners would do the same..."
Even the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, got in on the Kaepernick-bashing action with a guilt-by-association article on how members of something called the Revolutionary Communist Party "were handing out flyers in support of Kaepernick."
Meanwhile, Gwinn still hadn't finished. He justified booing President Obama, as some football fans did in response to a taped message on 9/11 that played at some NFL games that day, as a more honorable protest than Kaepernick's:
Fans booing the President is not mind-boggling hypocrisy, it’s merely the other side of the free speech coin that liberals never want to admit exists. The side that disagrees with them. Moreover, the fans weren’t protesting Obama’s speech. They probably weren’t even listening to his speech. They protested and booed him as the President, who, unlike the flag and the Anthem, is not a symbol of national unity and apolitical Americana.
Gwinn would likely not be justifying such booing if the president was a Republican.
Which is the problem with the entire mindset behind the MRC's attacks on Kaepernick. It has decided that any protest by a conservative is by definition patriotic, while any protest critical of the conservative agenda is by definition disloyal.