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Thursday, October 29, 2015
Where's The Beef? MRC's 'Liberal Bias' Cry About GOP Debate Lacks Substance
Topic: Media Research Center

Echoing the attacks by Republican presidential candidates on the moderators of the CNBC-hosted debate, Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell ranted: "The CNBC debate will go down in history as an encyclopedic example of liberal media bias on stage."

But there was one thing missing from Bozell's declaration: the encyclopedia.

Bozell's statement did not cite any specific examples of "liberal media bias" expressed at the debate. And in an appearace on Fox Business, Bozell denounced the CNBC moderators as "smarmy, condescending, arrogant" -- but he didn't cite a specific example. He did, however, creepily call the Republicans' ranting about bias "better than sex."

Thus, Bozell set the substance-free agenda for his MRC subordinates, who served as an echo chamber for the "liberal bias" charge while also not proving it:

  • Scott Whitlock complained about the debate's supposed "obnoxious, left-wing questions," but he cited no examples. Instead, he linked to an earlier NewsBusters clip from the debate of Marco Rubio complaining about media bias. 
  • Kyle Drennen asserted the MSNBC moderators were "incredibly biased," but he too cited no examples.
  • Whitlock returned to assert that "the liberal bias of CNBC’s debate [was] so obvious that even Carl Bernstein and the left-wing Salon acknowledged the network’s failure."Actually, neither specifically criticized any "bias" in the debate; Bernstein was criticizing CNBC 's overall handling of the debate, and Salon did so as well, going on to assert that "Most damningly, the anchors frequently failed to call out the candidates on easily checkable misstatements.”

But who needs evidence when you have right-wing talking points to enforce? An MRC poll asked readers: "Who had the best media slam of the debate?"

Bozell finally got around to mentioning a couple of examples in another Fox Business interview. One of them: "Asking Ben Carson about his face on somebody's website." Bozell's fanciful rewording obscures the fact that the question was about Carson's relationship with nutritional-supplements maker Mannatech, which has a history of shady practices -- a relationship Carson dissembled about during the debate.

Bozell seems willing to give Carson a pass on an issue that goes straight to his character -- just like the MRC gave Carson a pass on his conducting research on fetal tissue, which is verboten under the right wing's new anti-Planned Parenthood crusade.

Bozell also denied that the Republicans' anti-media attack was planned in advance, despite Ted Cruz -- who issued the debate's first anti-media attack -- having a history of avoiding questions he doesn't want to answer by denouncing them as liberal.

Further, the candidates didn't really have to plan such an attack in advance; after all, people like Bozell have been inculcating this talking point into right-wing politics for decades. Bozell's mission is to destroy any media that doesn't uncritically repeat right-wing talking points, so he couldn't be happier with the debate, as his ewww-worthy "better than sex" remark demonstrates.

Still, it's interesting that the MRC is simply mouthing the anti-media rhetoric, making no effort whatsoever to back up the claim. To go all Clara Peller here, there's a distinct absence of beef.

It would be so simple for the MRC to post a list of all the questions asked by CNBC moderators at the debate (including Rick Santelli, who effectively inspired the tea party movement and is a good right-wing friend, but is bizarrely being lumped in as a liberal shill under this attack) and explain where in each of them the "liberal bias" resides. but it hasn't.

The middle name of the MRC is "research." It should try that sometime.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:09 PM EDT

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