Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center -- specifically, Tim Graham -- loves to mock fact-checkers like Snopes who point out that the right-leaning satire site Babylon Bee is fake news, even though Snopes explains that it does so because "satire often isn’t recognizable as such in social media posts" and that right-wing fake-news sites repost Babylon Bee articles without identifying them as satire. Still, Graham sneeringly interpreted that in a May 12 post as "Snopes complained people are NOT bright."
If humor isn't supposed to be fact-checked, why did the MRC's NewsBusters -- of which Graham is the executive editor -- fact-check a joke?
Christian Toto -- a movie reviewer moonlighting as a right-wing pundit -- huffed in a lengthy May 4 post:
Stephen Colbert couldn’t resist.
Former Vice President Joe Biden finally announced his 2020 presidential campaign last week. Biden joined a crush of fellow Democrats hoping to unseat President Donald Trump next year.
Naturally, The Late Show host had to talk about it. And, given the program’s leftist slant, Colbert didn’t find much fault in Biden’s video announcement.
The comic had another target in mind.
Colbert accepted Biden’s inaccurate video claim that President Donald Trump praised white supremacists nearly two years ago following a Charlottesville, Va. protest which left one woman dead. If you listen to the president’s full comments he made it clear he did no such thing.
He began, with what else, a misrepresentation of actual facts.
“Donald Trump is still president? Did anyone read the Mueller Report,” Colbert asked. Yes, that’s the report that found no collusion between Trump and Russia. Seems like an important detail, the kind that would be exonerating for any clear-eyed reader.
Even a cartoonishly biased comedian.
Then Colbert moved on to Biden’s Charlottesville attack line. He dubbed the video both “powerful” and “true,” and a potent way to put the president on the defensive.
Toto included a screenshot of a tweet from "Dilbert" creator Scott Adams purporting to make the case that Trump's "full comments" showed he did not praise white supremacists when he said there were "very fine people on both sides" because that comment was adjacent to a reference to people protesting the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. But as the Washington Post's Aaron Blake pointed out, the statue-removal protest "was partly organized by a well-known white nationalist, Richard Spencer, and included both neo-Nazis and white supremacist groups" and, thus, "was clearly not one for your average supporter of Confederate monuments." Blake added:
For the Trump defense to make any sense, there would have had to be some other group of people who didn’t subscribe to these awful ideals but for some reason decided to march in common cause with neo-Nazis, white supremacists and white nationalists. It’s theoretically possible there might have been some such people there, but you would think they’d quickly become pretty uncomfortable marching next to people chanting “Jews will not replace us” — and people who appeared prepared for violence, even donning helmets.
But never mind actual facts -- Toto went on to spout the accepted right-wing narrative on the Mueller report:
The grand daddy of all Fake News stories remains the Russia Collusion hoax. Late night hosts spent two years telling us Trump colluded with Russia, sometimes in rather disturbing ways. Colbert famously used a homophobic slur to attack Trump regarding the allegations.
Did they apologize after the Mueller Report showed zero collusion? Of course not. As you just read, Colbert still insists the report should remove Trump from office.
Toto concluded by effectively making the same argument that Graham mocked when it came from Snopes:
Late night hosts crack wise with impunity. They serve up biased or downright fake news and never pay a single consequence. What’s to stop them from doing it all the way through the 2020 presidential campaign?
How many viewers will listen to their rants and think it’s the cold, hard truth?
The next time you read a survey saying Americans get their news from late night comics be afraid …. very afraid.
Of course, Graham will keep on mocking Snopes for fact-checking satire -- and forget he let a writer fact-check a joke.