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Sunday, April 2, 2017
MRC Hides Conflict of Interest in Promoting Right-Wing Columnist's Crusade
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has apparently signed onto a crusade by right-wing columnist Michelle Malkin to free Daniel Holtzclaw, an Oklahoma police officer convicted on multiple counts of rape and other sexual offenses.

A March 2 MRC post by Matt Philbin touted Malkin's investigation and how Rick Newcombe, head of Creators Syndicate, which syndicates Malkin's column, is calling for ABC's "20/20," which did a report on the Holtzclaw case last year, to do another report based on Malkin's investigation aimed at clearing Holtzclaw. The MRC's NewsBusters site also published Malkin columns on her investigation, including a March 22 column smearing the attorney for several of Holtzclaw's accusers, Benjamin Crump, as "the new Al Sharpton on steroids."

That nastiness is a red flag that Malkin is hardly a objective reporter and has an agenda to push.

The MRC's "news" division,, has  joined the bandwagon as well, publishing a March 27 column by Newcombe promoting the work of "firebrand conservative columnist" Malkin on the case, which also quotes from Philbin's MRC post and includes family photos of Holtzclaw and a shot of Malkin with Holtzclaw family members (another sign that Malkin is not objective here).CNS also published Malkin's smear column on Crump, as well as Malkin's weekly column, in which she has promoted her investigation of the Holtzclaw case.

Which brings us to the question of conflict of interest. 

The MRC has a business arrangement with Newcombe and Creators Syndicate, and not just paying him for the privilege of running Malkin's column. Creators also syndicates the twice-weekly column by MRC bigwigs Brent Bozell and Tim Graham -- a fact not mentioned by Philbin or in CNS' publication of Newcombe's column.

Further, as we documented, when  it was revealed in 2014 that Bozell's columns (for which he was receiving sole credit) were actually ghostwritten by Graham, Newcombe ran to Bozell's defense insisting that "it is absolutely false to say that Brent Bozell does not write his column," adding that "I remember years ago when Brent suggested that he share the byline for his column with Tim, and I said it would be better for us to promote a single individual." After that imbroglio -- about which neither Bozell nor Graham has spoken publicly -- Graham got to share a byline with Bozell, but he was never given retroactive credit for the decade-plus of columns he wrote before that.

This suggests that the MRC has latched onto the Holtzclaw case less because of news value and more as a favor to a company it's doing business with.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:29 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, April 2, 2017 12:48 PM EDT

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