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Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Noel Sheppard Forgets That Right-Wing Gay-Bashers, Not 'The Media,' Made Issue of Grenell
Topic: NewsBusters

The first thing you realize when reading the May 7 NewsBusters post about Noel Sheppard's appearance on CNN to discuss the resignation of Richard Grenell from Mitt Romney's campaign is that, despite the "NB Staff" byline, it's pretty clear it was written by Sheppard himself. The phrase "video follows with transcript and commentary" appears here as it does in most Sheppard posts, and the attention lavished on further elucidating on what Sheppard said could only have been done by someone with a personal stake in it. Like, you know, Noel Sheppard.

The second thing you notice is that Sheppard got it all wrong. He repeatedly blames "the Obama-loving media," including the host for his on-air discussion, CNN's Don Lemon, for making Grenell an issue as a distraction from reporting on the economy:

It’s the media that made it a gay rights issue because they’d rather talk about anything other than how lousy the economy is.

Consider that this discussion took place the day after the Labor Department released horrible numbers about job creations in April. There were other terrible economic stats that emerged in the prior week involving real estate, durable goods, consumer spending, as well as the very disappointing first quarter GDP estimate.

Instead of discussing those issues Saturday night – issues that every poll including the one Sheppard referred to show are front and center on the minds of the American people – Lemon chose to address a social issue that although important doesn’t appear on most national priority surveys.

This of course is what the media have been doing all year beginning with the contraception issue in January to the student loan issue last month and now Romney’s gay adviser.

Everything is important to the media EXCEPT the state of the economy.

Sheppard went on to insist, "It was Grenell's decision to resign. There’s absolutely no evidence that he did so due to pressure from either Romney or the campaign." Never mind the fact that nobody, including Sheppard, knows what actually went on behind the scenes.

But Sheppard conveniently ignores who made a big issue out of Grenell's sexuality in the first place -- right-wing activists like Bryan Fischer and Sheppard's MRC colleague Dan Gainor. If Grenell's sexuality wasn't a big deal as Sheppard claimed, why did Fischer and Gainor make it one? Sheppard might want to ask Gainor about that the next time they pass in the hallway at MRC headquarters.

And Sheppard's furious spinning on this tells us that all his ranting about how "the media" would rather talk about anything but the economy is a smokescreen for the fact that Sheppard would rather talk about anything but right-wing homophobia.

After all, Sheppard's employer does have a pretty obvious anti-gay agenda, which was further exemplified by Gainor's anti-Grenell activism. And despite Sheppard claiming that "the media" are seizing on this issue to "try to make Romney appear as a homophobe who's opposed to gay rights issues," it's obvious Romney was under pressure by anti-gay activists whose votes he needs to get rid of Grenell. Neither liberals nor "the media" were pressuring Romney.

This is the problem with the MRC, as we've detailed -- everything can, and must, be blamed on "liberal media bias," even when the facts show otherwise.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:36 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 10:38 AM EDT

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