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Monday, January 17, 2011
MRC Ignores Own Out-of-Context Attacks To Bash NY Times
Topic: Media Research Center

NewsBusters' Lachlan Markay penned an open letter to the New York Times demanding a correction of columnist Paul Krugman's claim that Rep. Michele Bachmann once said that she wants her constituents "armed and dangerous." That was taken out of context, Markay wrote: "Clearly, Ms. Bachmann was not stating her desire for a constituency that is literally 'armed and dangerous.' She used the phrase as a metaphor -- she wanted her constituents 'armed' with information so that they would be 'dangerous' to cap and trade legislation and Democrats' energy agenda."

Markay was soon backed up by NewsBusters' publisher, the Media Research Center, whose MRC Action division launched an email campaign attacking Krugman's "blatant omission of key words":

This kind of hate-inspired assault against conservatives -- especially in the wake of the shooting massacre in Tucson cannot be tolerated. That's why we've sounded the alarm for the MRC Action team to email key members of The New York Times demanding the following:

  • An admission of guilt and wrong-doing
  • An immediate, public retraction
  • A public apology to Rep. Bachmann
  • A commitment to properly and responsibly vet quotes used by columnists to ensure this kind of egregious action cannot repeat itself.

Of course, for all its fulmination about the Times, the MRC can't be bothered to be as circumspect about its own work.

As we've detailed, the MRC and its employees have repeatedly taken out of context a quote from a 2003 magazine profile of Ted Kennedy to falsely accuse the profile's author, Charles Pierce, of being a Kennedy sycophant. The full quote in context, however, shows that Pierce was criticizing Kennedy, not praising him. Yet the MRC named this its "quote of the year" and repeatedly invoked it as a cheap shot ever since -- Brent Baker most recently did so in April 2010. And, of course, there's the MRC's infamous quoting from former New York Times editor Howell Raines' book that presented two selectively chosen excerpts 28 pages apart as a single quote with an ellipses that misportrayed what Raines wrote about Ronald Reagan. It took the MRC nine years to issue a "clarification" on that.

If Markay is really serious about correcting the record on out-of-context quotes, he might consider starting with his hypocritical employer.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:52 AM EST

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