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Tuesday, October 4, 2016
MRC Censors Tim Graham Getting Schooled on CNN
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Nicholas Fondacaro sure does what he can to make his boss, Tim Graham, look good in in writing about his appearance on the Oct. 2 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources:

The Media Research Center’s Tim Graham appeared on CNN’s Reliable Sources Sunday to discuss The New York Times’ recent article featuring leaked information about Donald Trump’s taxes. Even though the information is striking, Graham took issue with the Times’ motives for writing the way they did, “They have the anonymous tax expert on the front page of the paper today say he benefited from his vast destruction, like he was Hurricane Donald.”

“This paper has all the restraint of a pack of flesh of eating zombies,” Graham joked, “The idea that anyone would take them seriously when they’ve announced on the front page that their job is to take him down, when they’ve done repeated editorials about how he needs to be defeated.”

Host Brian Stelter tried to claim that there was no connection between the Times’ editorial board and their newsroom. He backed up his claim by ridiculously pointing out that the departments are on different floors. “Having worked there in the past, the editorial page is produced way upstairs; the newsroom is downstairs,” Stelter argued.

Graham also point out how the network news outlets, parroted the Clinton Campaign, by glorifying the development as a “bombshell,” while not running with news damaging to Clinton:


Stelter tried to paint Graham’s position as being against anonymous sources as a way of getting critical information to the public. “Anonymous sources are for important information, when you have information, you cannot get any other way,” Graham explained, “What we see too often in political and news media today… is you use anonymous sources to say incredibly nasty things.” He went on to elaborate saying, “Often from political consultants who have clients they’re trying to be friends of, like, “I cannot say nasty things about other Republicans because they may hire me later this year.””

The two also spared over presidential debate moderator Lester Holt, with Stelter criticizing Trump’s disapproval of Holt’s biased approach. “Obviously the whole news media sent before the debate telling Lester, “Truth squad Trump. Truth squad Trump.” No truth squad Hillary,” Graham countered. Stelter claimed that the called were for the moderator to fact-check both candidates.

But the Sunday before the debate Stelter was arguing that Trump “require[s] a different kind of moderator.” Plus, Stelter seemed to back up Univision’s Jorge Ramos’ personal crusade against the GOP candidate, while he went after Associated Press reporters who examined Clinton’s calendars. Ironically, later on in the show, the Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan said she believes there is a “way of thinking that many members of the media share” and that it creeps into their content. 

What you don't see in Fondacaro's writeup -- and he only appears briefly in the edited transcript of the segment -- is the other person appearing in the discussion with Stelter and Graham, the Daily Beast's John Avlon. The video clip accompanying Fondacaro's post is even more censored, using less than a minute from the pair of segments on "Reliable Sources" Graham took part in, which lasted more than 13 minutes.

Why? Because Avlon pretty much mopped the floor with Graham, sharply countering his kneejerk right-wing ranting about the "liberal media" with a dose of reality. And the MRC doesn't want you to know that.

In the first segment discussing the Times article, Fondacaro omits the fact that Graham's claim that the person in the Times articlewho said Trump "benefited from his vast destruction" was anonymous is false. In fact, that quote is on the record, attributed to Joel Rosenfeld, an assistant professor at New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate. When Stelter noted he couldn't find the anonymous quote Graham claims in the Times article, Graham continued to insist it was there.

When Avlon pointed out that the Times article is solidly backed up, which is "uncomfortable for people with partisan agendas," Graham huffed, "Oh, and you don't have one, John? You're about as Republican as Lester Holt. To come on here and say you're not ideological? Nobody buys that." Avlon pointed out he's "not a right-wing ideologue who profits from polarization."

Also omitted is Graham's petulant response to Avlon's claim that right-wing attacks on the well-sourced Times story are just "pure partisan spin": "The New York Times is pure partisan spin! ... This newspaper is trying to intimidate Trump into releaseing his tax returns." When Avlon pointed out that Trump has flip-flopped on releasing taxes, Graham played the Clinton Equivocation: "Oh, and Hillary Clinton have never violated a standard?" After more ranting from Graham about how "everybody's out to destroy Trump," Avlon retorted, "When did conservative start loving to play the victim so much? When did that happen?"

Another large chunk of the CNN discussion censored from Fondacaro's article is Avlon's response to Graham's rehearsed attack line on Holt (which curiously appears only in the transcript) that "If Lester Holt was referencing a football game, he would have gotten thrown out of the stadium" and his weird assertion that "the whole assumption of liberal media is Hillary somehow never lies."

The transcript cuts off before Graham falsely claims that "everybody cites PolitiFact and says Hillary never lies," then, as the full video shows, goes back to the '90s to claim Hillary Clinton lied about not knowing about her husband's affair with Monica Lewinsky. Avlon pointed out that Hillary's trustworthiness levels are low "in part because for 25 years she's been demonized by partisan media. And so it comes back to partisan media and the role it plays." Avlon added: "And those of you on the side of partisan media who say that the impicit bias of mainstream over the years can only be corrected by explicit bias, well, you carried the day for a while, but now people are hip to your tricks, and it's a fundamental problem that's undercutting trust in media, journalism and democracy writ large."

Graham, as he is wont to do, responds by mocking and sneering, only to get smacked down by Avlon again:

GRAHAM: Nobody buys this whole pretense that somehow John Avlon and the Daily Beast are the soul of objective media coverage when you sat in a studio and you all made fun of Dick Cheney's heart trouble and what wouldn't take his heart in a transplant --

AVLON: Go back and look at your own clip, because while you're exquisitely sensitive about things when there's perceived slights, you'll see actually I defended Cheney in --

GRAHAM: That's a perceived slight?

AVLON: -- the clip you're referring to, which is ancient history, but I'm happy to engage in it. Look, the bottom line is you guys have a real credibility problem, and there's a need for a place for you to call out whatever explicit and implicit bias exists on the left. But you sacrifice your real credibilty because you're only going to focus on one side of the problem, and that perpetuates the polarization. We try to be nonpartisan, we're not neutral at the Daily Beast --

GRAHAM: This is a show in which we're all focusing on Trump.

AVLON -- and what that means we will hit the left or the right as the facts indicate. We will report without fear or favor --

GRAHAM: The Daily Beast does not do that.

AVLON: -- and you have explicit favor -- your donors and your ideological agenda from day one, and that's why your credibility fails.

In short, Avlon outlined everything that's wrong with the MRC. Graham doesn't want to have to defend that on his own website, so he made sure the discussion never appears there.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:12 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, October 4, 2016 1:22 AM EDT

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