Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Curtis Houck writes in a Feb. 8 post:
In another hilarious case of irony, The 11th Hour host and serial liar Brian Williams teed up guest Charlie Sykes on Tuesday to lambaste conservative media (like the one you’re reading) for being why no one trusts mainstream media in the age of Trump and alternative facts.
Sykes and Williams offered no arguments or examples of how the establishment media have torpedoed their own credibility with false stories and a decidedly liberal slant. Instead, it was an exclusive attack on conservatives for supposedly enabling President Trump to offer misstatements without consequences.
Sykes cited “the Breitbarts of the world, the Drudges of the world, the Rush Limbaugh of the world” because each would give Trump “air cover” whenever he’s criticized for controversial statements or lies.
Overall, the former conservative host stated that his “concern is not just that's [Trump’s] lying” but “[i]t's an attack on the concept of the truth itself — of credibility and my main concern is that you'll have millions of voters at some point who will basically say, ‘what is truth?’”
Houck doesn't disclose that he's the employee of an organization whose entire mission it is to foment distrust of the "mainstream media" -- something for which it spends millions of dollars a year doing -- or that the MRC helped lead the right-wing attack on the concept of the truth itself by attacking any fact-checker who pointed out Trump's voluminous lies.
Instead, Houck insists that conservatives are just "simply pointing out the faults of the mainstream media" -- again ignoring the massive money machine behind him. And why isn't Houck concerned about Trump's lies? Is it because he's getting paid not to be?
Rather than take Sykes seriously as a former conservative who's grown disenchanted with how the conservative movement abandoned its principles to follow Trump, Houck sneers that he has "joined an echo-chamber in which Manhattan elites sit around reading The New York Times and The New Yorker while watching The Daily Show." As if dismissing all critics of conservatives as part of an East Coast liberal elite isn't echo-chamber thinking.
Houck went into full double-standard mode, complaining that "The media has done plenty to undermine their cause. Aside from their boy who cried wolf fears about past Republican candidates, their false stories, slanted analyses, and failed predictions stand out." He doesn't admit that the right-wing media does the exact same thing. And he has to go back decades to find examples of bad mainstream-media behavior:
Whether it’s ABC deceptively editing Ari Fleischer, 20/20 skewering Food Lion, Dateline: NBC rigging a pick-up truck with explosives, or spreading hysteria that the Russians hacked a Vermont power grid, the voluminous examples span over decades.
Houck forgets that we can play that same game with his employer, who has engaged in deceptive editing and creation and promotion of fake news. There's also the undeniable fact that his boss, Brent Bozell, spent well over a decade issuing a syndicated column under his name that was, in fact, written by his underling Tim Graham.
In short, the MRC is no better behaved than the "liberal media" it has a multimillion-dollar budget to attack. It would do well to follow the same standard it imposes on others.
And Houck would do well to understand that he -- and the MRC -- would have more credibility if they based their media criticisms in journalism rather than politics.