Topic: Media Research Center
Brent Bozell and his Media Research Center are not amused by Stephen Colbert.
In his January 20 column, the Media Research Center chief railed against Colbert’s "egotistical stunts to promote his own Nielsen ratings," in particular the Colbert Super PAC, which Bozell claimed is presented as "exposing the glaring loopholes in federal (under) regulation of campaign ads” but is really about “Comedy Central hacks” Colbert and Jon Stewart favoring "a government crackdown on negative political speech." Perhaps Bozell is feeling a little vulnerable on that point, having recently likened President Obama to a "skinny ghetto crackhead."
Bozell then denounced how other TV outlets are praising Colbert for his satire, huffing: “Colbert, the critic of political viciousness himself, declared on his show, ‘Sarah Palin is a (bleeping) retard.’ "
But Bozell is taking that statement -- from a February 2010 episode of "The Colbert Report" -- out of context. Colbert had pointed out that Palin had demanded the resignation of then-White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel for using the term “[bleeping] retards,” but wouldn’t criticize Rush Limbaugh for saying “retard” because he was “using satire.” Colbert then declared that Palin said “it is OK to call someone a retard if, like Rush, you clearly don’t mean it. Which is why we should all come to her defense and say, Sarah Palin is a [bleeping] retard.” Colbert added, “You see? It’s satire.”
Bozell certainly seems to have a tin ear for satire. Then again, the MRC has a record of taking things out of context.
Most notoriously, as we've detailed, the MRC published an ellipsis-laden quote taken from a book by then-New York Times editorial page editor Howell Raines that it claimed denigrated Reagan. The space covered in one ellipsis was 28 pages, falsely portraying a statement that Reagan "couldn’t tie his shoelaces if his life depended on it" -- in which Raines was actually quoting someone referencing Reagan’s inability to tie a fly-fishing fly -- as a personal attack on Reagan’s intelligence by Raines. Eight years after first publishing the misleading excerpt -- during which time it was repeated by such right-wing pundits as Bernard Goldberg – the MRC finally issued a "clarification."
And there's also the MRC's repeated misportrayal of of a Boston Globe writer's criticism of Ted Kennedy as praise by omitting the context in which the criticism appeared.
Then, in a Jan. 29 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham approvingly quoted a National Review writer sniffing that Colbert's satiric exposure of the real nature of lax post-Citizens United election financing regulations through his super PAC "geriatric" in tone and actually funny, just "NPR funny."
That seems like projection, especially coming from the folks who produce the painfully unfunny "NewsBusted" video.