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Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Kill the Messenger: MRC's Graham Bashes NY Times For Reporting Facts He Doesn't Like About Pence
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media ResearchCenter demonstrates just how reflexively pro-Trump it is with an Aug. 7 post by Tim Graham, who uncritically treats Vice President Mike Pence's denial of political activity to position himself in case Donald Trump does not run for re-election in 2020 for whatever reason as trustworthy and uses it to launch another lame attack on on the New York Times for running a story to that effect:

If a conservative news outlet in 1993 had trotted out the idea that after an uncertain first six months for Bill Clinton, Vice President Gore was “acting like” he wanted to run for president in 1996, the liberal media elite would have denounced it as  crackpot conspiracy-theory material. But since Trump is guilty of what the Times calls “sheer disarray” in the wake of all the liberal media's Russia-may-have-colluded coverage, this Times exercise is treated as “news” reporting.

The Times knows that Trump doesn’t like disloyalty or anyone stealing his spotlight, so they are making trouble for Pence, plain and simple. “Chaos” and “disarray” and Republican in-fighting is exactly what they want as badly disguised Democrats.

Graham presents no evidence that 1) the early Clinton White House was as chaotic as Trump's is, or 2) Gore ever did the same things Pence has been documented as doing. Further, though huffing that the Times calls (italics his) the Trump White House is "sheer disarray," he doesn't disprove the claim.

While Graham accuses the Times of engaging in "unintential knee-slappers" in its article, Graham has one of his own. His response to the Times article's statement that it's based on "interviews with more than 75 Republicans at every level of the party" was to claim, "The Times reporters insist that the sheer volume of their phone calls makes their guesswork 'news.'" Of course, that number is at least 75 more people than Graham talked to to fill out his ill-informed screed.

But as the Washington Post's Erik Wemple points out, Pence (and, thus, Graham) never denies the salient facts of the article: "the Pence people cannot deny that the Republican Party is riven with concern about the president’s viability; they cannot deny the on-the-record quote from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the New York Times story: 'They see weakness in this president. Look, it’s not a nice business we’re in'; they cannot deny the concerted fundraising activities of the vice president."

The Post's Jennifer Rubin hammers home the point further:

The problem, however, is that Pence has been meeting with donors, has been creating an independent power base (as the Times reported), has hired a politically combatant chief of staff and has been the main channel of communication between Trump and Republicans on the Hill. The only real question is whether he is doing these things on behalf of Trump — or his own political ambition. (Very likely, it is some combination of the two.)

Graham is basically asking the question: Who are you going to believe, the political official who denies something is happening or the literally dozens of other informed people who are pretty sure it is but can't go on the record for fear of displeasing their on-the-record boss?

Because Graham can't prove any of this wrong, he's simply trying to destroy the messenger.

Graham's partisan hackery is made even more ridiculous by the fact that the "Editor's Picks" of the MRC's NewsBusters blog -- of which Graham is executive editor -- has an article from the pro-Trump Washington Examiner claiming "CNN insiders" are saying CNN correspondent Jim Acosta's "antics" as White House correspondent are a bid to get his own CNN show.

How many of those Acosta-bashers are on the record? None.

If Graham is really so upset about the use of anonymous sources, why does he give it a pass when the results please him? Hypocrisy at its worst. (Plus, he's a terrible media critic.)

Posted by Terry K. at 11:58 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, August 9, 2017 12:03 PM EDT

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