Topic: Media Research Center
We've noted the Media Research Center's creeping WorldNetDaily-ization over the past few years. Now it's emulating WND in resurrecting a bogus Obama scandal.
Nicholas Fondacaro huffed in an April 8 MRC post:
It was the height of Russia’s meddling the 2016 election, when news broke that President Barack Obama spent taxpayer money, to the tune of $350,000, on an Israeli organization that was mobilizing against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during the 2015 election. The news was largely ignored by the liberal media and was omitted by the broadcast networks.
Except that's not what happened. As we documented when WND latched onto it, the money was given by the State Department to an Israeli organization called OneVoice for a project that was unrelated to the 2015 elections, and the funding stopped months before the election. OneVoice later used infrastructure paid for by the grant in its anti-Netanyahu campaign. A Republican-led Senate report found that OneVoice fully complied with the terms of the grant, no grant money was used for the anti-Netanyahu caompaign, and the State Department placed no limits on the post-grant use of those resources.
So Fondacaro is lying when he claims Obama gave that money specifically to target Netanyahu. The story was "largely ignored" because it wasn't a story -- unless, like Fondacaro, you're a member of the right-wing media desperate for any bit of Obama dirt, no matter how dubious.
Nevertheless, the very next day, Fondacaro's MRC co-worker Curtis Houck huffed that "the Obama administration’s dislike of Netanyahu and the role an Obama adviser and U.S. tax dollars played in (unsuccessfully) working to defeat him in 2015," adding that "a report from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigationsthat a non-governmental organization with ties to Obama used taxpayer funds to oust Netanyahu." Houck vaguely wrote about the situation to make it less false, but the Washington Times article to which he links falsely claims that the grant money was spent directly on the anti-Netanyahu campaign.
Houck then gritted his teeth and invoked a onetime ideological ally turned enemy: "Don’t believe NewsBusters? Well, let’s allow the despicably false and smarmy Jennifer Rubin give you the lowdown here." But even Rubin admitted that OneVoice complied with the grant's provisions and did nothing wrong.