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Wednesday, October 5, 2011
NewsBusters' Double Standard on 'Drive-By' Rhetoric
Topic: NewsBusters

In an Oct. 2 NewsBusters post, Mark Finkelstein is verklempt that former car czar Steve Rattner claimed that Ron Suskind's book critical of the Obama administration "amounts to a drive-by shooting of a president." Offering no evidence that the Obama White House sanctioned Rattner's criticism, Finkelstein blamed Obama for it anyway: "Amazing to see President Hope-and-Change descend to this level of politics.  With the economy in tatters and the inspirational shtick abandoned in favor of smear and attack rhetoric, what does Barack Obama have left to run on?"

Finknelstein followed up the next day similarly verklempt that Rattner wouldn't take it back, again grousing that his words "hardly seemed in the spirit of President Obama's pious call, in his much-touted Tucson memorial speech, for people to speak in a way "that heals, not wounds."

Unmentioned by Finkelstein: The biggest conservative radio host, Rush Limbaugh, has been using the very same rhetoric for years -- indeed, he takes pride in having coined the phrase "drive-by media." And his employer, the Media Research Center, doesn't discourage it:

  • NewsBusters bashed "the drive-by media that previously downplayed Rush Limbaugh's Operation Chaos."
  • Limbaugh used the term "drive-by media" during the MRC's 20th anniversary gala in 2007, and nobody criticized him.
  • Additionally, the 2007 MRC annual awards included the category "Drive By Media Award for Shooting at the Competition."
  • In a report on how Limbaugh is purportedly maligned in the media, the MRC approvingly quoted Limbaugh saying, "I would be honored if the Drive-By Media headlined me all day long: ‘Limbaugh: I Hope Obama Fails.’ Somebody’s gotta say it."
  • Brent Baker approvingly highlighted "Limbaugh's slam at the drive-by media."

And, hey, look: An October 2007 NewsBusters post by Finkelstein carries the headline "Rush on 'Morning Joe': Drive-By Media Suppress Good Economic News." At no point did Finkelstein get all verklempt about Limbaugh using the term.

Oops! And we haven't even gotten to Finkelstein advancing the intellectual dishonesty of the MRC's flip-flop on Ron Suskind.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:07 PM EDT

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