Topic: Media Research Center
We've written before about the Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy, the logical fallacy in which (as it applies in the ConWebWatch world) conservatives believe that any piece of news that's negative to conservatives is being reported specifically because the reporter or anchor personally approves of that negative news. The Media Research Center is particularly particularly prone to this fallacy, and we have another example.
"CNN's Baldwin Blames Trump for Man Attacking Boy Over Anthem" reads the headline on an Aug. 9 MRC item by Brad Wilmouth. But the item doesn't support that headline:
On Thursday's CNN Newsroom, as host Brooke Baldwin devoted a segment to a disturbed man who assaulted a 13-year-old boy for refusing to remove his hat during the national anthem, host Baldwin and correspondent Sara Sidner suggested that President Donald Trump was to blame for inspiring the man to perpetrate the violent act.
After recalling reports that 39-year-old Kurt Brockway attacked the boy during the national anthem on a fairground in Montana because he refused to remove his cap, leaving the child with a skull fracture, Sidner relayed claims by Brockway's attorney tying the violent act to the President's demands that the American flag be respected:The attorney for Brockway, the suspect, said that his client does have a brain injury and has problems with impulse control. Get this: He said that Brockway takes the rhetoric of President Trump literally and is angered any time he thinks someone was disrespecting the flag.
She added: "So apparently he thought this child was disrespecting the flag, and he attacked him."
Baldwin went along with the notion of blaming President Trump as she responded: "Words matter. Sara Sidner, thank you."
At no point does Baldwin or Sidner "blame Trump" for the attack -- she and Sidner are simply relaying the fact that the man's attorney says the man thought he was doing Trump's bidding. Wilmouth is imparting much more meaning to Baldwin's "words matter" throwaway line than is there, for the seemingly sole reason of manufacturing outrage to advance his employer's "liberal media" narrative.
The fact that Baldwin reported this story does not mean that she agrees with the case being presented by the man's lawyer. The fact that the MRC repeatedly attributes a reporter's or anchor's personal views to the stories they report on -- as if its "media researchers" are mind-readers -- is a huge reason why it has little credibility outside the right-wing anti-media choir it's preaching to.