Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center did its best to try and work the refs ahead of the Democratic presidential debate in June -- but, as usual it refuses to complete show its work in assigning ideology to the questions asked at the debate.
Geoffrey Dickens kicked things off in a June 24 item by demanding that NBC and affiliated networks ask questions with a right-wing bias: "If they are to match what their colleagues did with Republican candidates in 2015, they should ask questions designed to humiliate, badger and paint them as not ready for prime time, cartoonish, out-of-touch extremists." Dickens refused to acknowledge that the questions asked of the Republicans were legitimate even though they put the candidates on the spot.
After the first night of the debate, the MRC was quick to frame anything non-conservative as a pejorative. Scott Whitlock declared that "the NBC and MSNBC hosts" asking questions "catered to the party's far-left base, offering questions about just how to take guns away from Americans, the need for aggressive action on climate change and repeated questions about how the nominee would fight the looming threat of Mitch McConnell."
Rich Noyes followed up by falsely conflating "left-wing," hard-edged leftism" and "liberal," asserting: "A Media Research Center analysis finds 39 of the questions at the debate echoed liberal talking points or were framed around a liberal world view, vs. only five that challenged liberal/Democratic assumptions. Another 15 questions were framed in a neutral fashion, or were neutral follow-ups to previous questions.?" Noyes never explained how the MRC made these decisions, though he linked to Whitlock's post containing a complete list of questions.
Noyes followed up after the second night of the debatye with more of the same:
After two nights, NBC/MSNBC has proved that they deserve the nickname “MSDNC.” The twenty Democrats who made the presidential debate stage were treated to questions that were wildly skewed (69%) to the left, with only a scant 13% challenging the candidates to defend their outside-the-mainstream views, a five-to-one disparity.
A Media Research Center analysis finds 70 of the 102 distinct questions at the two debates echoed liberal talking points or were framed around a liberal world view, vs. only 13 that challenged liberal/Democratic assumptions. Another 19 questions were framed in a neutral fashion, or were neutral follow-ups to previous questions.
here’s a reason why these debates are moderated by (supposedly) independent journalists, who are supposed to challenge the candidates, rather than party insiders who would want to present both the candidates and the party’s platform in as favorable a light as possible.
But it’s hard to see how NBC/MSNBC/Telemundo’s approach was at all different than a debate moderated by Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and other liberal Democratic bigwigs. Real journalists should gag at the two-night display of bias.
Noyes again failed to explain the MRC's alleged methodology, nor did he provide evidence that any view of any Democratic candidate -- let alone all of them, as he seems to be claiming -- is "outside-the-mainstream." Its standards here are purely subjective: a question was deemed "liberal" seemingly because it needed a big number of "liberal" questions to make the so-called analysis exploitable for politial purposes.
If Noyes can't offer a sound, scientifically valid methodology for determining "bias," we have to come to the conclusion that the MRC is simply making things up, letting their own right-wing opinions color their judgment and are motivated only by partisan politics designed to advance its anti-media agenda.