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Wednesday, July 16, 2008
MRC Attacks Analysis As Liberal -- But Conservative Group Based Its Analysis On It
Topic: Media Research Center

A July 15 Media Research Center article gave a "Worst of the Week" award to news organizations that cited an analysis by the Tax Policy Center of John McCain's and Barack Obama's tax proposals, which found that Obama's plan would give a cut of more than a thousand dollars to families making between $37,000 and $66,000 a year, while under McCain's plan, they'd get just $319. Why? Because while the networks said or suggested the group was nonpartisan, "the Tax Policy Center is the product of the left-leaning Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute."

But shouldn't the standard be whether the numbers are accurate? The MRC makes no effort to disprove the TPC's numbers, only asserts that they shouldn't be taken seriously because they came from a "left-leaning" group.

The article also claims: The other side of the story comes from the conservative Tax Foundation, which reported that Obama would shift more of the tax burden to a relative few families. ... That's an aspect of tax fairness that rarely gets mentioned by TV reporters who seek out liberal analysts to prove liberal points." But this claim doesn't disprove the TPC's numbers either -- indeed, the Tax Foundation uses the TPC's analysis as the basis for its own, stating that "The Tax Policy Center has done the public a service by putting hard numbers on the candidates' tax plans and bringing a dose of reality to the political rhetoric."

So, clearly, there's nothing wrong with the numbers. Will the MRC ever admit that?

The article further bashes the media for "citing left-of-center think tanks as 'non-partisan' entities," which would have some credibility if the MRC didn't do the same thing. For instance, in a October 2006 "Media Reality Check," the MRC cites "non-partisan Center for Media and Public Affairs" as claiming that "more than three fourths (77%) of ABC, CBS and NBC evening news references to Democrats this fall have been favorable, while 88% of the coverage given GOP candidates has been negative, an unprecedented disparity." In fact, the CMPA is a conservative-leaning group whose work is the foundation of the MRC. It touts a book by CMPA founder Robert Lichter, "The Media Elite" -- which "demonstrated that journalists and broadcasters hold liberal positions on a wide range of social and political issues" -- at the top of one "Bias Basics" page.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:03 PM EDT

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