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Friday, April 13, 2007
MRC Equivocates on Imus, Criticizes Sharpton Instead
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center would rather attack Al Sharpton than criticize Don Imus.

There's no official MRC statement about Imus, but its writers and bloggers have used the occasion of Sharpton's criticism of Imus to bash Sharpton:

  • Brent Bozell, in an April 12 column, called Sharpton "the usual cast of professional victims" and asked " But where were these people when the subject was gangsta rap?" 
  • An April 12 NewsBusters post by Scott Whitlock rehashed Sharpton's involvement in the Tawana Brawley case. 
  • An April 12 NewsBusters post by Justin McCarthy trumpeted how ABC's "The View" "discussed the lack of moral authority from Imus’ most visible critic, Reverend Al Sharpton."
  • Another April 12 post by Whitlock complained that "NBC reporter David Gregory spent almost 15 minutes of air time discussing the radio host's firing with the Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson." 

While Sharpton is certainly deserving of criticism, particularly in the Tawana Brawley case, for MRC writers to change the subject and engage in that rather than any substantive criticism of Imus -- who made the remark that set all of this off in the first place -- looks like a decided unwillingness to take any definitive stand on Imus at all. Perhaps someone from the MRC would like to explain why it's tippy-toeing around Imus.

Sharpton isn't the only target getting bashed instead of Imus: In an April 12 NewsBusters post, Brent Baker bashed Keith Olbermann for "smeared conservative talk radio as 'racist,'" claiming that anyone who didn't find Rush Limbaugh's descripton of Barack Obama as "Halfrican" is "humor-challenged since Limbaugh's 'Halfrican-American' quip was obviously a play on 'African-American,' since Obama had a white mother and an African father, not a charge that he's only half American." But 1) Baker offers no evidence that Olbermann said that "halfrican-American" suggested Obama was "only half American"; and 2) conservative San Francisco radio station KSFO host Brian Sussman apologized for calling Obama "Halfrican," stating, "[A]gain, this is one that I've apologized for and I've mentioned that my comments were insensitive." Hey, Brent, could you explain one more time why this is funny?

In an April 12 post, Tim Graham -- perhaps channeling convicted felon and Clinton-hater Peter Paul -- tried to get a little conspiracy-mongering going, claiming that those calling for Imus' firing were doing the bidding, if not following the explicit instructions, of Hillary Clinton:

Who is happier today at Don Imus removed from MSNBC than Hillary Clinton? Who else at MSNBC would be as harshly critical of Hillary as Imus? Without Imus, Hillary's path to the White House will be smoother. This might explain why some of the Hillary-founded left-wing media-watchdogging clones were so fierce in taking Imus down. 

Dan Riehl promulgated his own conspiracy theories in an April 12 post, asserting that the "Get-Imus Movement" will be fuel for a movement to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine. Of course, it wouldn't be a Riehl post if there weren't some false claims invovled; he noted "[a] liberal Congress already quick to hurl subpoenas at the AG for normal firings" though, in fact, they were anything but normal; and he repeated the claim that Nancy Pelosi was planning to visit Iran, something she has denied.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:26 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, April 13, 2007 1:56 AM EDT

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