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Friday, April 26, 2019
MRC's Double Standard on Awards Being Taken Away, Tim Graham Division
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Tim Graham complained in a April 3 post:

From the "Brian Stelter Won't Report This" file, Paul Bedard at the Washington Examiner reports that "complaints from media critics of the Trump administration" prompted a leading hostage-rights group to withdraw its “Freedom Award” to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for his (and the president's) efforts to free political prisoners around the world.

The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation, named for an American journalist and political prisoner beheaded by ISIS in 2014, announced its intention to give Pompeo the award. Not only did they withdraw the award, they also disinvited Pompeo from the event "due to protests from angered media members who threatened to disrupt the event."

Instead, the foundation gave Pompeo’s award to Brett McGurk, the diplomat who recently resigned from the government over Trump's announcement of withdrawal from Syria. McGurk helped win the release of Americans from Iran, including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian.

Interestingly, Graham failed to emphasize that Bedard's sources are anonymous -- indeed, Bedard cites only "knowledgable sources" and offers no on-the-record confirmation of his claims.This is important because Graham regularly rails against the "liberal media" for using anonymous sources; in a 2017 Fox News appearance, for instance, Graham huffed that "the news media today gets to use these anonymous sources, and the anonymous sources can say all sorts of terrible things about Trump," insising that the use of anonymous sources allow "Trump's powerful enemies to be presumed as all-wise and nonpartisan, even patriotic, when no one knows their identities or motives."

In other words, Graham has contridicted himself because Bedard's anonymous sources are tellilng a story that fits neatly in the conservative victimization narrative. (Graham also failed to disclose the conflict of interest that the MRC has had a promotion deal with Bedard since 2012.)

(UPDATE: Graham's boss, Brent Bozell, also weighed in, calling the claim of the award withdrawal "cowardice." And like Graham, he was silent on his apparent reversal on being critical of claims made by anonymous sources.)

But that's not the only double standard happening here. Just six days later, Graham was cheering the withdrawal of another award for political reasons -- from a journalist, by the Trump administration's State Department, led by, yes, Mike Pompeo:

Washington Post "fact checker" (and former State Department reporter) Glenn Kessler tweeted it was "an embarrassment and an outrage." The Trump administration rescinded a "Women of Courage" award at the State Department for Finnish journalist Jessikka Aro, and two reporters at Foreign Policy magazine found the usual Anonymous Source claiming it was because someone on Team Trump read her Twitter feed and had second thoughts.


Unaddressed in this liberals-upset-for-other-liberals story: Why would you want an award from the Trump administration if you hate them so much? If you #Resist them in your Twitter feed, why not take this denial as proof of your successful #Resistance? It doesn't really take courage in today's media to oppose Trump. It seems like a pre-requisite.


This could be another motto for The Washington Post: "Vocal Critics of a Notoriously Thin-Skinned President." It's less obnoxious than that Democracy Dies drama-queen routine. 

Of course, Graham was much more thin-skinned (and much more of a drama queen) six days earlier, something he doesn't reference in this post.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:58 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, April 29, 2019 10:46 PM EDT

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