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Tuesday, June 21, 2011
NewsBusters Selective Outrage Watch
Topic: NewsBusters

Last week we noted that NewsBusters invented a charge of racism against Jon Stewart but ignored actual racism from a Fox Business host. But it's a new week, so there's even more selective outrage.

NewsBusters went ballistic over a pretaped sequence airing during NBC's coverage of the U.S. Open golf tournament that used parts of the Pledge of Allegiance but not the "under God" part. Noel Sheppard declared this was "disgraceful," apparently notconsidering the possibility that merely taking the originalist interpretations conservatives like to apply to the Constitution to its next logical step (after all, "under God" wasn't added to the Pledge until 62 years after its creation).

Nevertheless, NBC swiftly issued an apology, which wasn't good enough for NewsBusters; Mark Finkelstein complained that the apology didn't mention the words that were omitted.

Meanwhile, NewsBusters' overlords at the Media Research Center wants some heads to roll:

Dan Gainor, VP of Business & Culture at the Media Research Center, issued the following statement and call to action for religious leaders and people of faith around the country:
“NBC has unquestionably committed an act of religious bigotry designed to offend Christians. Removing the words ‘under God’ from the Pledge of Allegiance in a piece they aired yesterday during the U.S. Open – not once, but twice – was absolutely not accidental. It was brazenly deliberate. NBC's pathetic apology did nothing but compound the offense by refusing to admit what they had done. Either NBC identifies and fires the employee or employees responsible for this act or the network is guilty of deliberately giving aid and comfort to religious bigots.”

“The Media Research Center will be sending letters to leaders of the top Christian denominations in the country, calling on them to hold NBC’s feet to the fire and demand the network fire those responsible. We are urging religious leaders to educate their congregations to NBC's attack on faith and join us in publicly denouncing the network.”

Meanwhile, the MRC has never publicly fired anyone for its mistakes. Brent Bozell still runs the place even after having to pay a $3.5 million out-of-court settlement for making false claims about World Wrestling Entertainment. And the MRC's egregious stitching together of quotes pages apart in a book by former New York Times editor Howell Raines to falsely portray it as an attack on President Reagan was merely fixed as a "clarification" with no indication that anyone was fired, let alone disciplined, for the falsehood.

Where does the selective outrage come in? The same day that NBC omitted "under God" from a video piece, an interview of Jon Stewart by Chris Wallace as aired on "Fox News Sunday" edited out a reference to a major Fox News scandal: a series of emails by Fox News executive Bill Sammon directing his reporters and hosts how to inject conservative bias into their coverage of certain stories. (It appears in an unedited version of the interview on the Fox News website.) NewsBusters has yet to acknowledge the deceptive edit as of this writing, even as it has written about other aspects of the Stewart interview.

Why did NewsBusters and the MRC will get so outraged about two dropped words out of the Pledge of Allegiance, but not censoring of Stewart on Fox? Because the MRC is in the pocket of Fox, and attacking NBC serves its right-wing agenda (and, presumably, its fundraising) much better.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:55 AM EDT

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