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Saturday, November 25, 2006
MRC's Double Standard on Shady Pasts
Topic: Media Research Center

In a Nov. 21 column attacking the media's treatment of Rep. John Murtha, "someone thoroughly tainted with that odor of corruption," Brent Bozell writes:

In January, the Cybercast News Service reported a story that made Murtha’s ethical problems clear. In a 1980 video of the FBI’s Abscam sting investigation, Murtha told the FBI agents posing as Arabs that he wouldn’t take money up front, but might “change his mind” later “after we’ve done some business.” In the end, he was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator. He wasn’t convicted of a crime, or even charged, but the tape makes clear that Murtha was amenable to making corrupt deals if the right circumstances emerged.

So what did the media do? They largely ignored these charges as they touted Murtha’s plausibility as a voice against the war. On the networks, Murtha was interviewed as a great sage, and Abscam went unmentioned.

First, Bozell fails to disclose that CNS is a division of his Media Research Center. Second, as we've detailed, the CNS article was a partisan attack designed to undercut his credibility as a critic of the Iraq war; CNS editor David Thibault essentially admitted as such. And third, Bozell and the MRC takes a much different attitude when the less-than-stellar pasts of conservatives are discussed.

In a Nov. 15 MRC CyberAlert, Brent Baker recounted how in 1994, NBC's Tom Brokaw "hammered Gingrich in a snide and negative ten-minute Dateline NBC hit piece":

Brokaw pushed every negative button. Gingrich had a "long streak" of "casually reckless" remarks. He admitted "he smoked pot" and "got a marriage deferment" to avoid service in Vietnam. He went to first wife Jackie's hospital room "the day after her cancer surgery" to discuss divorce terms. He made a "very ominous" charge that FDA chief David Kessler threatened to ruin businesses. And his "well-heeled admirers," called "Newt Incorporated," showed he was already ethically compromised, since voters would think donors "were trying to buy his heart if not his vote, at the least."

Bozell and his employees clearly don't like it when the shady pasts of their ideological soulmates are detailed. What gives them the right to demand that their ideological enemies be treated the same way?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:12 PM EST

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