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Thursday, August 6, 2009
More MRC Tunnel Vision
Topic: Media Research Center

We've previously detailed the Media Research Center's overeagerness to blame "liberal bias" for any and all media ills. Jeff Poor contributes with an August 5 MRC Business & Media Institute article (and NewsBusters post) blaming lower ratings at CNBC on, yes, liberal bias.

Poor's take is all the more interesting because he notes that other analysts have cited the network's "rightward, anti-Obama tilt,"specifically Rick Santeili's rant and Jim Cramer's attacks on Obama. But ignore all of that, Poor asserts:

But, the shift of CNBC has been anything but more to the right. The Cramer/Stewart feud followed Cramer's outspoken criticism of President Barack Obama's economic policies, and CNBC CME floor reporter Rick Santelli's famous outburst about the Obama's administration's mortgage policies. Since then, the network has gone out of its way to appease elements on the left and its ratings have dropped during that period.

Liberal storefronts have set up shop to influence editorial policy of CNBC (albeit without the same fervor they did three months ago). The network has hired former DNC chair and Vermont Gov. Howard Dean as a contributor and brought in Huffington Post liberal co-founder Arianna Huffington as a guest host on multiple occasions.

And according to the April 16 New York Post's gossip page "Page Six," CNBC brass had even instructed by General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt and NBC Universal President Jeff Zucker to back off some of the anti-Obama rhetoric come from the likes of Cramer and Santelli.

But, it was from that point forward that CNBC had seen its ratings show a real decline. 

But Poor offers no evidence that CNBC had any liberal-leaning commentators before -- while Cramer had his own daily program and Santelli reported regularly. Rather than portending a shift to the left, the addition of Dean and Huffington appear more to provide a balance to the likes of Cramer and Santelli.

Further, if viewers were genuinely turned off by the purported leftward shift of CNBC, they would have presumably gravitated to the competition, themore reliably right-leaning Fox Business Network. But Poor offers no Fox Business ratings -- perhaps because they are so low the folks at News Corp. won't release them.

This is the kind of tunnel vision that the MRC makes such a poor media watchdog (pun quasi-intended).

Posted by Terry K. at 9:13 AM EDT

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