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Thursday, April 21, 2011
The MRC's Horrible, Misleading Easter/Earth Day Study
Topic: Media Research Center

The last time we saw the Media Research Center's Erin R. Brown, she was howling that a 5-year-old boy's painted toenails was "blatant propaganda celebrating transgendered children." With her new so-called study, Brown further demonstrates that she shouldn't be taken seriously.

Let us count the ways Brown gets things wrong in the headline and opening of her April 20 NewsBusters post:

Holy Week: Media Worship Earth Day, Attack Easter

Easter is the quintessential Christian holiday - the celebration of Jesus Christ's death and resurrection. Although it has been celebrated by billions of people around the world for nearly 2,000 years, the mainstream media would rather celebrate the liberal holiday known as "Earth Day" and connect Easter to the abuse scandal that surrounded the Roman Catholic Church. Some major Findings:

Media Undermine Christian Holiday: Nearly two thirds of all stories about Easter were negative (22 out of 34).

Easter Used to Attack Catholic Church: Ninety-one percent of the negative Easter stories were about the pedophilia scandal in the Roman Catholic Church.

Love That Mother Nature: 100 percent of Earth Day stories were positive.

First: Contrary to her headline, Brown cites no example of anyone "attacking Easter."

Second: Despite the fact that she talks about "the mainstream media," the only media Brown analyzed in her study was evening network newscasts -- a small, uncomprehensive slice of the "mainstream media."

Third: Brown confuses reporting negative news about the Catholic Church -- in this instance, sexual abuse scandals that even she concedes were prominent -- as an "attack" on the church. Again, none of those stories addressed, nor any other story she cited, made any negative comments about the religious events of Easter even as she goes on to absurdly portray stories on the abuse scandals that also mentioned Easter as "negative stories about Easter" -- making Brown's assertion even more ludicrous.

Brown seems to think, as her NewsBusters colleague Dave Pierre does, that the media should not be allowed to cover the scandal during certain religious holidays -- or, perhaps, should be barred from covering it at all.

As for the Earth Day stuff -- her rationale for linking Earth DAy and Easter is that "2011 marks a unique year in that 'Earth Day' falls right in the middle of 'Holy Week' -- Brown writes that "There were five stories about Earth Day all of which glowingly featured the Earth-celebrating holiday." She did not provide any examples of this, but one must suspect these examples are just as baseless as her Easter examples.

The narrow sample size and misleading, overstated conclusions are but another example in the MRC's long history of shoddy "media research."

Posted by Terry K. at 8:45 AM EDT

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