Ronald Kessler reported in a June 3 column how Republican Rep. Lamar Smith has created the House "Media Fairness Caucus," which "will point out unfair stories, meet with members of the media, and write op-eds and letters to the editor to highlight media bias." Kessler also quoted Smith as claiming that media bias is the "greatest threat to our democracy today."
This is all about so-called liberal media bias, of course; as we've noted, Kessler doesn't appear to believe there is such a thing as conservative media bias, even though he is employed by one of the biggest generators of conservative media bias.
The Media Research Center has embraced Smith's crusade, highlighting it in a June 4 NewsBusters post by Brent Baker that repeated parts of Kessler's article.
Just one little problem: Smith isn't much of a media fact-checker.
As we've detailed, Smith was essentially acting as a member of John McCain's campaign by making overblown claims of purported media bias. For instance, in an example published at Accuracy in Media, Smith asserted that the New York Times was falsely smearing McCain campaign manager Rick Davis by claiming that mortgage firm Freddie Mac paid Davis' consulting firm for consulting servicesand, thus, "clearly suggested wrongdoing on the part of Davis and, by extension, Sen. McCain."
But the Times never claimed Davis himself was paid by Freddie Mac; rather, the article stated that Davis' firm was contracted to receive the money and, despite not directly working for his consulting firm during the campaign, remained a partner and equity holder in it and thus benefited from the firm's income. Further, in claiming that "Davis was never a lobbyist for Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae," Smith ignored the fact that Davis was, as the Times article noted, the head of an advocacy group funded by Fannie and Freddie with the purpose of opposing regulation of the entities, which Smith seemed to think was not the same thing as "lobbying."
Smith's "Media Fairness Caucus" appears to be about little more than regurgitating what he reads at AIM and the Media Research Center. Smith could save himself some effort and hypocrisy by simply putting Cliff Kincaid and Tim Graham on his staff. (Which wouldn't be the first time an MRC employee jumped to Capitol Hill; Sen. James Inhofe hired Marc Morano straight from CNSNews.com.)