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Saturday, November 25, 2017
MRC Writer Resorts to Victimization, Generalization To Justify Attacks on 'Liberal Media'
Topic: Media Research Center

In a Nov. 17 post, the Media Research Center's Curtis Houck tries to justify his employer's existence in the face of a podcast discussion by CNN nemesis Brian Stelter, who accurately complained that "right-wing outlets" are impugning all media with the mistakes of a few.

Houck first reportted that "a reason for conservative distrust in the media had been repeated instances of fake news, mass plagiarism, and/or scandals that did serious damage and called into question entire outlets. In reality, Stelter should admit that those instances and subsequent rehabilitations for offending parties only further damaged the media’s credibility, but more on that later." Indeed, Houck later listed instances of poeple in the media caught in plagiarism who "were given slaps on the wrist and then welcomed back into the journalism community with open arms."

Needless to say, Houck omitted exposed plagiaraists on his own side, like Ben Domenech, who lost his job as a conservative blogger for the Washington Post after his background of plagiarism was exposed. Where is he today? Publisher of the conservative website the Federalist. And far from being drummed out of the right-wing journalism community, he was welcomed back with open arms; one of Houck's fellow MRC writers cheered when Domenech "shot down the 'partisan' slams on Congressman Devin Nunes, attacks that are coming from Democrats as well as their enablers in the media" in a March TV appearance.

For a more recent example, Breitbart published a column last month by right-wing politician Kris Kobach that was largely copy-and-paste talking points from various message boards and Yahoo! Answers posts. Where was Houck's outrage about that?

Houck might have more credibility in attacking the foibles of "liberal" media if he held the media on his own side to the same standards. Even the "news" division of his employer has gotten things wildly wrong over the years -- i.e., falsely portraying an official's reference to "Christian Identity" as a reference Christianity in general instead of the extremist group by that name -- with no correction and no apology. Shouldn't be held to the same standards the MRC holds the "liberal" media? (But since the MRC won't, we will.)

Houck went on to play the usual right-wing victim card. While conceding that "conservative media do have a seat the table," he huffed: "The problem is when it’s still five networks against one and droves of liberal newspapers against a handful of conservative websites, having one seat at the table seems almost irrelevant."

Houck slipped into MRC-speak here. Do any of those five networks (presumably CBS, NBC, ABC -- which have only a couple hours of news at most a day -- CNN and MSNBC) pursue a partisan agenda as aggressively as Fox News? Reporting things conservatives don't like to hear does not equal "liberal media."  And Houck's framing of the media landscape as "droves of liberal newspapers against a handful of conservative websites" is just pathetic. How much is in a drove, anyway? Or an handful? And does Houck have documentation that every single newspaper is "liberal"? Again, he's assuming that every newspaper that ever reported anything negative about a conservative is, by default, "liberal."

That's generalization on steroids. If that's the only way Houck can justify the MRC's existence -- completely avoiding the fact that it's apparently profitable conservatives to bash the media -- that's a bit on the pathetic side.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:29 PM EST

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