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Wednesday, June 14, 2017
The MRC vs. Shakespeare
Topic: Media Research Center

Having dispatched Reza Aslan, the revenge machine at the Media Research Center has set its sights on a bigger target: William Shakespeare.

Or, more accurately, a New York City production of "Julius Caesar" in modern dress, in which the titular character -- who gets assasinated at the midpoint of the play -- looks not unlike Donald Trump.

A June 9 column by the MRC's Tim Graham and Brent Bozell rants about the production's "poorly disguised Trump" and about "the play's Trump assassination plot" and the "bloody murder of Trump." Well, no.

Graham and Bozell give no indication that, in addition to any evidence they have ever seen the play they're attacking in any form, the theater company rewrote any of the play's prose to make it a "Trump assassination plot," which means that, staging aside, it's the same play it has been for the past 400 years or so -- in which the point of the entire production is not the assassination but its aftermath.

But it appears Bozell, Graham and the rest of the MRC are as ignorant of classic theater than they are of opera, so it has decided to take down Shakespeare:

  • Kristine Marsh whined about "overt depictions of killing our president."
  • Tom Blumer declared that the play has a "sick, modernized plot" -- not presenting any evidence that the plot itself was actually "modernized" -- and that the play would not have been ignored "if it had been adapted to show the assassination of Barack Obama while he was in office."
  • Bozell weighed in again, huffing that the media "has put aside any semblance of objectivity, any semblance of fairness, any semblance of journalistic ethics" by not immediately condemning a modern interpretation of a classic play.
  • Scott Whitlock vaguely described "Julius Caesar" as "a shocking New York play in which a Donald Trump look-alike is stabbed to death."
  • Madeline Post attacked "The View's " Whoopi Goldberg for pointing out the obvious -- that the play "is not the story of Donald Trump" -- and went on to assert that "Julius Caesar" has an "unmistakable satirical nature."(Actually, the play is considered a tragedy.)

Over at the MRC's "news" division,, Gage Cohen is also unfamiliar with classic theater, complaining that the theater company offered "free tickets to anyone who wants to see President Trump assassinated" and later describing the play as a production "in which President Trump is portrayed as being brutally stabbed to death." Cohen later complained that the company putting on the play that "depicts PResident Trump stabbed to death, received an average of $976,296 from the government annually between 2010 and 2014."

Despite Tom Blumer's denial of wuch, there was amajor production of "Julius Caesar" in which Obama was depicted at the titular character -- a 2012 production by the storied Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. We found no evidence that Bozell or anyone else at the MRC objected to that production.

In other words, this is just another partisan game by the MRC. If Bozell and Co. didn't speak in 2012, they have no moral authority to speak up now.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:27 PM EDT

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