Topic: Media Research Center
Brent Bozell tried his hand at the Heathering his employees regularly engage in, writing a Feb. 16 column in which he berates Joe Scarborough for not being sufficiently conservative and for daring to criticize Republicans.
Even more offensive to Bozell: Scarborough responded to criticisms of him by the MRC and its NewsBusters blog:
I don’t know when or where or even if Joe Scarborough’s radio show airs in my area, nor do I care. The other night a friend caught this clip from his radio show and sent it to me. It’s about a blog which is published by the organization I head.
"NewsBusters, which just loves writing negative articles about me, I don’t know why, a lot of really false ones and I don’t know what’s actually gotten into Brent Bozell, but he actually goes out of his way to write false articles about me now…They just distort the news for their own purposes."
Now I know why MSNBC hired Joe Scarborough. He’s about as accurate and honest as everyone else there.
False articles? Here’s something Joe knows, because he and I have had this conversation privately already: I’ve never written a bloody article about him. Ever.
As for conservative bloggers at NewsBusters writing false articles about him, that is equally untrue. Have they sometimes been negative? Guilty as charged – and for good reason. Increasingly he’s making statements that are stupid, or reckless, or provocative, or insulting, or a combination of all the above.
Scarborough regularly blasts the Republican Party as having betrayed its commitment to fiscal responsibility, limited government and anti-Wilsonian foreign policy. I can and do applaud him for that. But why go on a non-stop rant against George W. Bush for the audacity to launch the military surge in Iraq (yup, the one that won the war) and conclude it by declaring, "Is it not a stretch to say that many Republicans would have considered impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton if this situation were identical?"
Scarborough responded with a column at Townhall rebutting Bozell's complaints:
Brent Bozell thinks I have fallen from the ranks of true conservatives and wrote a scathing blog on his website listing my offenses against Republicanism. Judging from the harshness of his tone, you would think that I threw my lot in with a pack of pot smoking Greenwich Village Marxists or, at the very least, lent grudging support to the public option.
But no. My crimes against conservatism were much worse. Brent Bozell has accused me of committing the unpardonable sins of saying unflattering things about George W. Bush, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.
The truth is that while I campaigned for President Bush and supported him in both of his runs for president, I became disillusioned with his presidency earlier than most.
Brent was greatly offended when I suggested that Rush should not be telling America that he was rooting against the President of the United States. Call me old fashioned, but I believe you pray for the President and the United States of America without ceasing. As Jesus taught us, it is easy to pray for our friends. But it is more important to pray for those with whom we deeply disagree.
If my grandmother could pray for Jimmy Carter, I can pray for Barack Obama. Besides, I know he can only succeed if he turns away from his ruinous economic policies that will explode the deficit and destroy our economy.
As for Brent Bozell, I have been an admirer of his from afar since the early 90s when a friend started bringing Media Research Center reports to Sunday School at First Baptist Church in Pensacola. Brent exposed media bias when it was at his worst and I will always be grateful for that. Unfortunately, his website has been posting items that pull a statement out of my three hour newscasts and painting me as an evil liberal in the MSM.
These posts ignore the reality of the show's format, which is one conservative debating a cast of liberals more often than not. I usually walk off set with thousands of angry emails hurled my way from far left extremists. Mixed in with all those slanderous emails that call me everything from a fascist to a white supremacist, I usually find one email from Newsbusters asking why I hate conservatives.
It's all very predictable by now, but last summer there was one especially misleading post that suggested I was a failure in the media because I was a "liberal." The Newsbusters item said my new radio show was gaining no traction, that my book was languishing in the 300s, and that my TV show was attracting no viewers.
I called Brent to helpfully explain that my new radio show outrated Glenn Beck's every month head-to-head in America's top market (which is also both of our home markets.)
I also politely explained to Brent at the time of the conversation that my book was in the Top 10 on the New York Times list, in Barnes and Noble, and in Borders.
And I also let him know that Morning Joe was doubling the ratings Imus brought in over his ten years at MSNBC, despite the fact that our show was relatively new.Brent was unbowed by facts and let me know that I would be doing even better if I was still a conservative.
At that point, I asked Brent to name one issue where I had changed since the first day I entered Congress in 1994. He could not. I then asked how he could no longer consider me a conservative if, in fact, I had remained more consistent over the past 15 years in my views than the entire Republican Party.
Brent sputtered a while and then finally spit my crime against humanity out."You attacked Rush!!!"
Hmm. Very interesting.
The response from the MRC? None on the substance of what Scarborough said, but a Feb. 19 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham complained that the comments weren't activated on Scarborough's column, nefariously suggesting that it was done deliberately. He later updated to quote someone at Townhall denying any deliberate attempt to block commenters (comments are now permitted).
Graham went on to complain that Mediaite "has picked up the controversy, but pitched it as a battle over how conservative Scarborough is -- not over his reckless radio-show charges of 'false articles' from Bozell." But Scarborough did provide specific examples of how Bozell's organization did "false articles" by taking his words out of context.
And Mediaite is correct to frame it as a purity issue, since that's what it is. After all, Bozell and Co. don't complain about Rush Limbaugh, even when he regularly violates the standards of decency they claim to uphold.