Topic: Media Research Center
While the Media Research Center's Brent Bozell and Tim Graham were providing wink-and-a-nod approval to Montana Republican candidate Greg Gianforte's assault of reporter Ben Jacobs, their MRC minions were assigned a different task: trying to shout down the idea that Gianforte's assault wasn't part of increased hostility toward reporters cheered on by President Trump -- and fomented in part by the MRC.
Curtis Houck -- clearly not knowing what his bosses were doing -- prefaced his May 24 post by saying that "Importantly, any assault of anyone (reporter or non-reporter) isn’t okay. This should be common sense" before laying into "supposedly right-leaning blogger" and frequent Heathering target Jennifer Rubin for speaking the inconvenient truth that Gianforte's assault is the end result of Trump's (and, by extension, the MRC's) anti-media rhetoric since "the fish rots from the head":
So, Jennifer, let’s talk about your fish analogy. If you don’t want to blame the President for all this, here’s two examples of things you’ve said that haven’t exactly been helpful to creating a healthy discourse. On December 11, 2016, you referred to people selected for Trump’s cabinet as not just “billionaires” and “generals” but “ignoramuses” as well. How classy!
On March 9, you insinuated the President should be blamed for future U.S. terror attacks if his budget shrinks the size of the federal government. How responsible!
To broaden it out to The Washington Post, their cartoonist depicted Ted Cruz’s daughters in December 2015 as toy monkeys with Cruz holding an organ grinder.
If “[t]he fish rots from the head,” how’s Donald Trump the sole person responsible, Jennifer?
That's what's called distracting from the issue. Making his way back to the subject at hand, Houck huffed further (after another disclaimer that he doesn't approve of Gianforte's behavior):
However, solely blaming one flawed human being’s actions on someone else (President Trump) is a bridge too far. Further, the instant drive to connect everything to the President is tiresome.
Same goes for suggesting that the media bias movement was to blame here. The crusade against liberal media bias has been going on for decades. Heck, the Media Research Center is marking its 30th anniversary in 2017.
So, this idea that, suddenly, criticism of the media has become anti-American, uncalled for, or violent is exactly what the left wants people to believe. Turns out, one can be against assaulting reporters and for fighting liberal media bias. Who would have thought!
Houck followed up with another attack post, this one at CNN's Dylan Byers for explicting citing "anti-media rhetoric" leading to Gianforte's behavior:
Let’s not stick to the person who’s alleged to have lost their cool and attacked a reporter. No, let’s attack people (like the ones on this site) that have pushed the issue of media bias for decades (without violence).
In the world of folks like Dylan Byers, they’re firmly opposed to President Trump and anyone who stands in their way. Instead of looking at the incivility being promulgated by CNN, NPR, or The Washington Post, it’s sites like this one that are supposedly the problem for suggesting the media are not the angels they paint themselves to be.
Nevermind the reality that NewsBusters has been around for 12 years and not promoting violence (with parent organization Media Research Center being around for 30 years), but this space is here to argue it’s quite easy to be against physical assault and believe the media have a liberal bias.
Except, you know, we have the example of the MRC attacking NBC's Katy Tur for not being a Trump sycophant, closely followed by Trump doing the same thing to Tur in person at his campaign rallies -- resulting in the Secret Service having to walk Tur to her car to protect her from Trump fans ginned up on hate.
Kristine Marsh, meanwhile, cheered CNN conservative Ben Ferguson's attempt to distract from the issue at hand by irrelevantly talking about Anthony Weiner.
Scott Whitlock sneered at NBC's Andrea Mitchell for bringing it up, bizarrely arguing that Trump couldn't possibly be responsible because he's out of the country:
Guilt by association. That’s what Andrea Mitchell believes. Despite the fact that Donald Trump is on another continent, the Andrea Mitchell Reports anchor thinks that the assault against a journalist by a Montana congressional candidate is an “extension” of the President. Talking about Greg Gianforte’s attack on Guardianreporter Ben Jacobs, the MSNBC host connected, “There is so much hostility, frankly, to the press, a lot of it generated by the Donald Trump rallies.”
Kyle Drennen highlighted former Republican Rep. Joe Walsh offering a strange it-was-only-words defense -- "Trump has called out the media, he's never body-slammed the media" -- then dismissed any attempt to link Trump to violent attacks on journalists as a "left-wing line of attack."
MRC VP Dan Gainor was also on spin patrol in a Fox Business apperance, harrumphing: "The American media are so thin-skinned, so narcissistic, that any criticism, any attack, becomes this great metaphor for everything going on in the world."
It's almost as if the MRC has forgotten that it promoted conservatives who directly linked rhetoric from President Obama to later violent acts:
- A 2014 post by Jack Coleman highlighted Rush Limbaugh claiming that Obama's remarks regarding racially charaged incidents in Ferguson, Mo., as "inane ramblings that were designed subtly to feed the rage."
- The MRC published a 2014 column by Rush's brother, David Limbaugh, asserting that Obama "has fanned the flames of racial tension in this country " and is "fomenting further distrust between the black community and law enforcement."
- Tom Blumer touted a poorly written Associated Press headline on unrest in Baltimore, "Obama pledges help to riot," as containing "more truth than the wire service and the headline's actual creators will ever admit."
- A May 2015 column by Jeffrey Lord lamented that "There is no way in the world that the liberal media - the Times in this case - will contribute to the bonfire by blaming Obama or Clinton much less the liberalism that has run Baltimore lo these several decades."
- Blumer returned to cheer how Bill O'Reilly blamed "leftists, up to and including President Obama" in part for "the violent records and actions" of Black Lives Matter.
The MRC would rather you not point out its hypocrisy.