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Friday, August 26, 2016
MRC Tries (And Mostly Fails) To Defend Breitbart
Topic: Media Research Center

Because it's apparently in the contract it apparently signed with the Republican Party, the Media Reserarch Center must defend everyone and everything associated with the GOP. That now includes Breitbart News after its chief, Steve Bannon, was named CEO of Donald Trump's campaign.

In an Aug. 18 post, Brad Wilmouth fretted that CNN's David Gergen "managed to work in a Hitler reference as he picked up on Breitbart founder Andrew Breitbart supposedly comparing Bannon to film maker Leni Riefenstahl, who was a leading propagandist for the Nazi dictator."

But Breitbart's likening of Bannon to Riefenstahl is not a "supposed" reference, as Wilmouth claims in suggesting that it was made up; it appears in an October 2015 Bloomberg profile of Bannon, noting that Breitbart said it "with sincere admiration."

An Aug. 21 post by Wilmouth complains that Breitbart's anti-Semitic tendencies were cited:

In spite of Breitbart News having a pro-Israel history which champions the defense of the Jewish state from the dangers of radical Islam, [conservative Washington Post blogger Jennifer] Rubin presumably picked up on a recent attack not only from the Hillary Clinton campaign but also from the far-left Ha'aretz publication which, despite being stationed in Israel, has a history of criticizing the Jewish state and its treatment of Palestinian Arabs.

Ha'aretz dubiously cited as evidence an article by Jewish conservative activist David Horowitz which bitingly accused fellow Jewish conservative William Kristol of being a "renegade" who was endangering fellow Jews by refusing to support Trump, and thus aiding Clinton -- viewed by Horowitz as promoting policies dangerous for Israel. Therefore, Horowitz, rather than making an anti-Semitic attack, was actually making an accusation of abandoning Jewish interests.

But Wilmouth downplayed the main evidence of anti-Semitism on Breitbart's part: the words "RENEGADE JEW" in the headline of Horowitz's post. Further, as the Washington Post's Callum Borchers points out:

To summarize: Kristol’s opposition to the Republican standard-bearer is tantamount to a betrayal of his fellow Jews; therefore, he is a “renegade Jew.”

But Horowitz’s rationale, if you want to call it that, doesn’t arrive until the final paragraph of an 1,800-word story. The rest of the piece has nothing to do with Israel or religion. Unless you make it all the way to the end — and perhaps, even if you do — you’ll leave with the impression of an anti-Semitic attack.

And Matthew Balan, in an Aug. 22 post, complained that CNN's Alisyn Camerota "badger[ed] Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, about Bannon and "underlined past Breitbart headlines" that most sentient beings would consider inflammatory, whining that "The CNN anchor twice used the 'incendiary' term about the Breitbart headlines/'messaging' as she pressed her guest on the issue." Balan doesn't dispute the accuracy of the term as applied to Breitbart, though.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:16 PM EDT

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