Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center likes to pretend that the conservative position on a given issue is de facto the correct one and that merely repeating it equates to a debunking or discrediting of an alternative view.
So we see with the MRC's attacks on news and commentary about voter suppression tactics allegedly being used in Georgia under Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who's running for governor and arguably has an interest in suppressing potential votes for his opponent.
For instance, an Oct. 12 post by Brad Wilmouth groused that "a number of shows on both CNN and MSNBC have pushed claims by Democrats that Georgia Republicans are engaging in "voter suppression" targeted at black voters," huffing that they "did not bother to inform viewers that the voters affected can resolve the issue on Election Day or at least cast provisional ballots so that the matter will not prohibit them from voting."
Wilmouth groused further in an Oct. 15 post that "several MSNBC shows threw around charges of racism by Georgia Republicans as the liberal news network continued hyping the story of 53,000 new voter registrations being held in a "pending" status until those voters verify their information. Even though verification should be simple for most to do on Election Day, MSNBC hosts and contributors repeatedly made charges of racism by Republicans across several shows." He further huffed: "The fact that the registrations can be fixed when voters show up on Election Day was usually buried well into the segments, and, like previous coverage of the story from Thursday and early Friday, it was not mentioned that the reason a disproportionate number of minorities were affected was allegedly because a limited number of liberal groups that focused on registering minorities had completed forms incorrectly."
Wilmouth never explained why these voters must wait until Election Day to "fix" their registrations when other voters do not have to do so.
An Oct. 18 post by Nicholas Fondacaro whined that the "liberal media" was "trying to scare its base to the polls, they were really working hard to paint the GOP as racist bogeymen" by referencing the voter suppression charges, such as voter applications being denied due to an "exact match" law, and complained that CBS "parroted Democratic talking points, asserting the GOP was purging the voter rolls in Georgia of minorities." Fondacaro retorted by parroting Republican talking points:
There was seemingly little research done into what the law actually did since [correspondent Nancy] Cordes was clearly relying on things “Democrats say.” “Kemp's campaign declined our request for an interview, but on Fox News, he insisted ‘exact match’ won't prevent people from casting their ballots... Election experts say the policy could still cause confusion.
Clearly, there were stop gaps and efforts to protect people who were registered. And regarding those 53,000 voters, Cordes was worried for, reporting by The [Atlanta Journal Constitution] stated “can cast a ballot if they show a government photo ID that substantially matches the registration application.”
And if they didn’t have one of the six forms of acceptable ID (“a state driver’s license, a state or federal ID card, a valid employee ID from any government agency, a U.S. passport, a U.S. military ID or a tribal photo ID”), they can still fill out a provisional ballot.
The next day, Wilmouth served up more talking points, bashing CNN's Don Lemon for having "engaged in "voter suppression" against black voters without mentioning key parts of the Republican side of the argument." Wilmouth declared that "Not mentioned on either night was Kemp's charge that the New Georgia Project, founded by Democratic nominee [Stacey] Abrams, which disproportionately registers minority voters, has a history of sloppily handling new voter registrations."
On Oct. 22, Wilmouth harped again about "'sloppy' forms being presented by a liberal voter registration group founded by Democratic nominee Abrams which disproportionately concentrated on registering minorities."
Wilmouth complained in an Oct. 26 post:
Over the past few weeks, the broadcast networks -- and especially CNN and MSNBC -- have promoted claims by Democrats that thousands of minority voters in Georgia have been discriminated against because at least 53,000 new voter registrations were put on hold as "pending" until mistakes could be corrected.
But those same networks have ignored recent revelations about why those applications were put on hold in the first place that discredit claims of racial discrimination.
But, earlier this week, both The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and conservative activist Erick Erickson have written up details of why many of the applications were put on hold. The bulk of the rejections -- about 39,000 -- did not contain proper Social Security numbers as required. And significant numbers of other applications on the list included 17-year-olds who had not yet turned 18, new American citizens who needed to prove their citizenship, applications with apparently made up names or improper addresses, and duplicates.
Wilmouth didn't mention that the Journal-Constitution article also pointed out that government databases aren't integrated and that "Inconsistencies appear to be common among voting records, creating the possibility that discrepancies could result in registrations being placed on hold, said Burrell Ellis, the political director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia," who cited his own experience of his name appearing differently in an online voter database and on his precinct card. The Journal-Constitution also cited another example of a man whose legal name is "Willie" being put on the pending list because government records changed his name to "William."
So it's not entirely true that faulty registrations are the sole issue, and it's not entirely false to claim that the "exact match" law is a little on the picky side. Yet Wilmouth insists that any questioning of the voter registration system in Georgia is "discredited."
And on Oct. 31, Wilmouth whined that "MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell gave former Virginia Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe an unchallenged forum to repeat discredited claims that Georgia Republicans have engaged in "voter suppression" targeting African American voters" and that ", McAuliffe repeated the discredited suggestion that about 50,000 voter registration applications were put on "pending" status because of picky 'exact match' issues." His link on the word "discredited"? His Oct. 26 piece that censors any information critical of how the "exact match" law was being implemented due to inconsistencies and inaccuracies in records.
And that's how the conservative argument becomes correct and the non-conservative argument becomes "discredited" at the MRC.