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Friday, June 22, 2007
MRC Seizes on Donation Story to Smear Journalists
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center reacted to an article detailing the mostly Democratic political donations of journalists pretty much the way you'd expect -- by ignoring the details and declaring that the article vindicates the MRC's raison d'etre.

In a June 21 NewsBusters post, Pam Meister delcared that this means "87% of those journalists on the list giving to causes and politicians on the left side of the aisle." NewsBusters' Ken Shepherd repeated the claim. But the article does not claim to be a comprehensive list of donations -- while 144 donations are documented, "there appear to be far more than 144 donating journalists." MSNBC added:

The final list represents a tiny percentage of the working journalists in the nation. Daily newspapers alone employ about 60,000 full-time journalists. Approximately 30,000 work in television news jobs and 10,000 in radio news.

That's not, however, stopping the MRC from touting the article as fully representative of all journalists. A June 21 MRC press release quote MRC chief Brent Bozell as saying, "This story re-confirms what we’ve been documenting for years—that most of America’s newsrooms are infested with liberals and that this mindset, in countless ways, spills over into the news coverage, producing liberally biased news stories on a variety of issues: Iraq, taxes, immigration, government, culture, the arts.  You name it."

Is dehumanizing journalists to the point of likening them to vermin who do nothing but "infest" really helpful to the media bias debate? We don't.

A June 22 CyberAlert item by Brent Baker, however, quickly mentions -- then quickly ignores -- one salient point ignored by his colleagues: "most of those found by Dedman work in local markets, for opinion-oriented publications or hold non-news coverage positions such as music reviewer or copy editor." Indeed, as CBS' Brian Montopoli writes:

For starters, these aren't all political journalists - a quick review of the list reveals a travel writer, classical music critic, and sports statistician, among others. I'm not sure how the political beliefs of a sports statistician are particularly relevant to a discussion about ideological media bias - I'd be more concerned about him being a Yankee fan.

But rather than explaining how liberal bias can insidiously seep into sports statistics (remember, Bozell did say "you name it," so that bias must be there), Baker goes on an archive-plundering binge of statements and polls about alleged liberal media bias, including a Freedom Forum poll we've previously debunked.

While shrieking about the news organization employees' political donations to Democrats, all of these MRC employees, however, were silent about the donations to Republicans. Escaping the MRC's notice, for instance, was Fox News "O'Reilly Factor" producer Ann Stewart Banker, who gave $5,000 to a Republican PAC.

So, seizing on the story to promote its agenda, obscuring flaws in methodology, hateful rhetoric, and pretending that conservative journalists aren't biased -- yep, par for the course for the MRC.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:18 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, June 22, 2007 2:40 PM EDT

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