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Sunday, November 1, 2015
MRC's Debate 'Study' Confirms Nothing, And Certainly Not The 'Bias' It Claims Occurred
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has been found beating the "liberal bias" drum following the CNBC Republican debate, even though CNBC, as a financial news network, is not a "liberal" outlet by any stretch of the imagination. MRC chief Brent Bozell even asserted that the debate was "an encyclopedic example of liberal media bias." But neither Bozell nor any of his MRC employees ever bothered to provide that "encyclopedia" in support of the claim.

Now, finally, the MRC has issued what it claims is a "study" on the subject. The unsubtle headline: "MRC Study Proves It: CNBC Agenda Was to Undermine GOP Candidates." The unbylined "study" asserts:

A Media Research Center analysis of the questions posed by moderators John Harwood, Carl Quintanilla and Becky Quick at CNBC's Republican presidential debate found nearly two-thirds (65%) hit the candidates with negative spin, personal insults or ad hominem attacks.

In contrast, all of the questions posed by CNBC personalities Jim Cramer, Rick Santelli and Sharon Epperson focused on policy matters and were phrased in a constructive, respectful tone.

The MRC analysis examined the 43 unique questions posed by one of the three moderators. Nearly two-thirds of those (28, or 65%) included negative spin, personal insult or attack, such as Harwood's question to Donald Trump asking if his was a "comic book version of a presidential campaign," or Quintanilla's question to Ted Cruz asking if his opposition to a just-passed spending bill showed he was "not the kind of problem-solver American voters want?"

What you won't find: anything that resembles an actual study. The MRC provides no methodology for making such a determination about the questions, or any objective definition of what it considered "negative spin."

The MRC did not even provide a list of the questions to show how it categorized them.

The "study" went on to complain:

The remaining moderator questions involved personal questions without a negative slant, or policy questions that were phrased in a non-insulting way. While not outright disrespectful, many of these policy questions, such as Quick's question to Cruz claiming a large pay gap between men and women, or Quintanilla's question to Kasich about legalizing marijuana, were framed from a liberal perspective.

Again, the MRC did not provide a methodology for determining political "perspective" or explain why a "liberal perspective" in a question is problematic.

The only supplemental material provided with this "study" is a video compilation of "the most insulting questions posed."

Let's face it: This is not a "study," it's a political statement pretending to be "research." The MRC's  goal was partisan and it makes no attempt whatsoever to be objective. It seems that whatever personally offended MRC staffers was determined to be "negative" or an "insult."

The MRC hammered the partisan intent of its so-called "study" by replacing all that methodology stuff with a rant from Bozell:

The three main moderators, and in particular John Harwood, acted like petulant children trying to pick fights with the candidates. When nearly two-thirds of your questions are comprised of negative spin, personal insults or ad hominem attacks, your agenda is clear: undermine the Republican candidates at all costs. These CNBC "journalists" exposed themselves to the world as left-wing stooges jockeying for a position in Hillary Clinton’s campaign press shop. It was embarrassing.

Who's really being the petulant one? It looks like it's Bozell and the MRC for crying "bias" over questions it doesn't like and ginning up a bogus "study" as purported proof.

Contrary to the headline, the MRC's "study" does not prove an "agenda" -- or anything else it has been asserting about the debate. It does prove, however, that the MRC is little more than a group of hacks dedicated to churning out right-wing talking points without regard to the facts.

By contrast, the MRC did no such "study" on the questions regarding the GOP presidential debate hosted by Fox News, despite Donald Trump's loud complaining about their bias, nor does it make the effort to compare the questions in the CNBC debate with those of the Fox debate. Heck, even MRC friend Ann Coulter (whose anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic rantings the MRC is studiously ignoring) has argued that the questions in the debates were no different.

In fact, the MRC -- whose Bozell has a weekly spot on Sean Hannity's Fox News show -- ignored Trump's complaints of bias in the Fox debate.

We previously asked the MRC to do the "research" the organization's middle name suggests it's capable of. It still hasn't done any. This study has as much scientific legitimacy as Hannity's assertion that the debate was "the single worst example of media bias in a debate in like intergalactic history" -- a nonsensical assertion MRC "news" division decided was worthy of repeating on its front page.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:37 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, November 1, 2015 10:54 PM EST

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