Topic: Media Research Center
Following a March 18 appearance by conservative Ben Shapiro on the CNN's "Reliable Sources," hosted by Brian Stelter, Media Research Center employee and NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck tweeted, "We need MORE debates like the one @benshapiro and @brianstelter had today. It's important to show that many conservatives care about our media discourse and dispatch with the notion that we all want to see the liberal media fatally crushed." He later added that "there is a misnomer that this is the end game for the conservative movement when it comes to media accountability and liberal bias."
But it's not a misnomer: The MRC really does want to see the liberal media fatally crushed. We don't need to look any farther than how NewsBusters -- again, the MRC-operated website for which Houck is the managing editor -- treated the Stelter-Shapiro debate.
"Wrecked: Ben Shapiro Destroys Stelter for Denying Media’s Liberal Bias" screamed the headline on the post by Houck's colleague Nicholas Fondacaro, who ranted:
In a bit of must-see TV, conservative icon and Daily Wire founder Ben Shapiro appeared on CNN’s Reliable Sources this Sunday to debate host Brian Stelter on the topic of the media’s liberal bias. As expected, Shapiro wiped the floor with Stelter as he called out CNN for blatantly pushing a gun control agenda and not being objective.
Does that sound like someone who cares only about accountability and not obsessed with fatally crushing the "liberal media"?
Fondacaro filled his post with highly biased language, claiming Stelter was "ridiculous" and "snide" and used an "obvious falsehood," while Shapiro was portrayed as someone who responded with a "light-hearted chuckle" and who "scolded" Stelter for saying something he didn't like. Again, not the attitude of someone who is seeking anything other than destruction of media that doesn't align with right-wing orthodoxy.
As NewsBusters managing editor, Houck presumably could have stopped that ridiculous headline or toned down Fondacaro's overheated rhetoric. He didn't.
Meanwhile, Houck himself showed his true destruction-mode colors in a March 22 post lashing out at CNN chief Jeff Zucker for (accurately) calling Fox News a "propaganda machine" and "state-run TV."
First, there's Houck's headline claim that Zucker is a "puppet-master" -- an image steeped in anti-Semitic stereotypes, as we pointed out when the MRC used it to attack George Soros. Houck tried to fabricate a context for the slur toward the end of his piece by claiming that a New York Times profile of Zucker "exposed" him as "a puppet-master choreographing big interviews and feeding questions in the ears of Anderson Cooper and Jake Tapper." One could argue Roger Ailes did the same thing at Fox News, but it's highly doubtful Houck or anyone else at the MRC would ever describe him as as "puppet-master."Plus, the label implies that Cooper and Tapper are incapable of thinking for themselves -- another biased assumption on Houck's part.
Houck goes on to rant about "the chest-thumping, self-sanctimonious CNN" huffing: "Whether it’s CNN’s porn obsession, Jim Acosta at a White House press briefing, their fake news story about WikiLeaks, or Jake Tapper’s 1984-style town hall on gun control, CNN’s recent track record has been a complete and under embarrassment. And that doesn’t even touch their ratings."
Again, not the language of someone who's interested in a serious conversation about media discourse. Houck should stop pretending he believes otherwise.