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Thursday, November 30, 2017
MRC Slow to React to O'Keefe Fiasco
Topic: Media Research Center

Right-wing provocateur and troll James O'Keefe really screwed the pooch in a seriously botched sting, sending a minion to a Washington Post reporter with a false claim that she had an abortion following an affair with Roy Moore. the Post investigated, found major holes in her story and her background, and the sting was turned around on her -- thus having the effect of proving that the Post investigated the claims of Moore perving on teenage girls with the same rigor and found them to be credible, as well as proving the Post itself to be a credible news organization overall.

This created a dilemma for the Media Research Center. After all, it has given videos released by O'Keefe's Project Veritas lots of free publicity over the years -- in October alone, the MRC touted two videos of secretly recorded videos of people in the media saying things that advance the MRC's anti-media agenda, and a third item that month featured Tom Blumer endorsing the illicit videotaping: "We also know that O'Keefe got it right."

The MRC's first reacton seemed to be to do nothing and hope it would blow over. But after outrage continued to build -- after all, O'Keefe's minion was not only to try and discredit the Post but also the women who accused Moore of perving on them -- it seemed clear that it couldn't stay silent. So 24 hours after the scandal broke, on Nov. 28 it took a baby step -- not by posting anything at any MRC website, mind you, but having MRC chief Brent Bozell use his Twitter account to denounce O'Keefe's actions:

Regarding WaPo/O'Keefe incident, this was entrapment, & the kind of "gotcha" stunt that should be condemned. If a liberal did this to a conservative outlet, we'd be outraged. Once again, O'Keefe is grandstanding & hurting the conservative movement. I'm glad the Post outed him.

O'Keefe's story was a fabrication to create a scandal. That's slanderous. The day conservatives endorse these tactics, we've lost all moral standing.

The problem, of course, is that Bozell and his fellow conservatives have already lost moral standing by endorsing a thrice-married adulterer and misogynist for president (and after Bozell insisted that Donald Trump "did not walk" with conservatives), so his word doesn't mean much. And his MRC has no problem pushing fabrtcations, as demonstrated by its pre-election promotion of a fake-news Fox News story, one the MRC never corrected or retracted when it was proven to be false.

Nevertheless, The Hill did a story on Bozell's tweets the evening of Nov. 28. Curiously, these same statements weren't being repeated at any of the MRC's three main websites: NewsBusters, MRCtv, and

It was not until the morning of Nov. 29 -- nearly two full days after the O'Keefe fiasco broke -- that any Bozell statement made it to a MRC-operated website, in the form of a NewsBusters post by Tim Graham summarizing Bozell's tweet and a comment he made to the hated Associated Press.

Missing from all of this: Any mention of the MRC's previous promotion of O'Keefe, as well as an answer to the question of whether Bozell and Co. will now treat O'Keefe with the same disdain it treats a member of the "liberal media" who does something similar.

In other words, it was a perfunctory CYA move, driven by fear of damage to the conservative movement and the MRC's own brand than any genuine concern about journalism.

Bozell and the MRC couldn't have been happier that the news of NBC host Matt Lauer's firing over sexual harassment claims broke around the time Graham's post went live, because it swept O'Keefe out of the news cycle and all but guaranteed Bozell would never have to address it again.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:03 AM EST

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