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Wednesday, February 28, 2018
MRC Played Clinton Whataboutism on Abusive White House Aide
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's "news" division,, so loathed having to report on Trump White House aide Rob Porter's history of spousal abuse that it dedicated one of the few articles it did publish on it whining that the "liberal media" forced CNS to acknowledge the story and a blog post trying to deflect from it by recounting a Democratic politician's decade-ago consensual affair.

The MRC's main content site, NewsBusters, gave the Porter story more attention -- but it too tried to deflect by engaging in a lot of Clinton whataboutism.

A Feb. 8 post by Kyle Drennen complained that "MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle talked to Democratic Congressman and former Bill Clinton White House Staff Secretary Patrick Maloney about Trump White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter being embroiled in scandal following allegations of abuse by his ex-wives. Amazingly, rape and harassment accusations against President Clinton were never mentioned." But spousal abuse is not analogous to a dubious rape accusation, so there is no reason it should have come up.

Despite that, Drennen registered an almost identical complaint five days later: "Remarkably, for the second time in two weeks, MSNBC invited on a former Bill Clinton White House staffer to lecture the Trump administration over now-fired aide Rob Porter being accused of domestic abuse. This time, it was Clinton’s former Senior White House Aide Ron Klain appearing on Tuesday's Andrea Mitchell Reports to denounce the Trump team’s handling of the situation, without once being asked about rape and harassment accusations against his former boss."Drennen further huffed: "How about the Clinton White House and what people like Klain knew about the numerous allegations against the former Democratic president in the 1990s? That was certainly within the time line Klain mentioned. Was it equally “inexcusable” for an accused rapist like Bill Clinton to not just 'work in the White House,' but in the Oval Office?"

Drennen didn't mention that the woman who accused Clinton of rape, Juanita Broaddrick, spent nearly two decades denying anything happened and filed a sworn affidavit to that effect before abruptly changing her story.

But Drennen was not done huffing:

Bill Clinton and his hatchet men not only “cast doubt” on the former President’s accusers, but actively tried to destroy them. Klain has no right to pass judgement on the current administration until he is first forced to account for the scandal-plagued Clinton presidency.

Drennen didn't mention that President Trump is doing the exact same thing to the women who have accused him of sexual harassment and worse, and we don't recall him or anyone else at the MRC being bothered by that. To the contrary: the MRC is helping Trump try to destroy them.

Beyond that, the MRC joined CNS in whining that the story was being covered at all (though Curtis Houck did briefly concede the allegations against Porter are "serious"):

  • Ryan Foley complained that "CNN spent nearly the entire day on Monday hammering President Trump for his response to the Rob Porter controversy," but he never mentioned what that defense was or argue why it didn't deserved to be hammered.
  • Bill D'Agostino grumbled that "MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell repeatedly redirected any coverage of President Trump’s infrastructure plan back to discussions about the domestic abuse allegations against former White House staffer Rob Porter," further grumbling that "the media simply prefer to focus on the negative aspects of the Trump presidency."

It has been a week since the disturbing allegations came to light that Rob Porter, a now-former White House staffer close to the President, had a history of domestic abuse against his two ex-wives. And during that time, the evening newscasts of the major network news outlets (ABC, CBS, and NBC) had dedicated almost a combined hour to the story. But when it came to similar accusations against congressional Democrats, they couldn’t be bothered.

Fondacaro's reference to former Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson -- who, unlike Porter, did not work in the White House and was not a close aide to President Obama -- and allegations of abuse leveled by his estranged wife in 2014, generated a lengthy clarification appended to the end of the post in which Fondacaro insisted in bold italic type that "it is beyond the scope of NewsBusters’ expertise, and mission, to make claims about the validity of the underlying charges; our job is strictly to analyze the news media’s coverage of these various claims."

Posted by Terry K. at 6:51 PM EST

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