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Sunday, September 8, 2019
Flashback: When The MRC Loved Joe Walsh
Topic: Media Research Center

Nicholas Fondacaro devoted an Aug. 25 post to complaining that media outlets were giving a "platform to Trump’s Republican challengers," particularly Joe Walsh. (No complaint, however, about how the MRC's "news" division,, was giving a platform to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's challengers.) Fondacaro huffed that Walsh is a "never-Trump Republican" and that while ABC host and "Clinton lackey" George Stephanopoulos did highlight some of Walsh's controversial tweets, "they omitted ones far worse," adding, "If Trump had tweeted that, the media would rightfully be all over him."

You know who else couldn't care less about those controversial Walsh tweets? Fondacaro and the MRC -- at least until he became a never-Trump Republican. In fact, the MRC absolutely loved Walsh when he was being provocative as a "Tea Party congressman."

Let's take a look back:

  • In a February 2011 post, Scott Whitlock defended Walsh against an MSNBC anchor who was "attacking a conservative Congressman for advocating severe spending cuts."
  • In April 2011, Matthew Balan complained that an NPR host labeled Walsh as "intransigent" for not wanting to compromise with Democrats on Tea Party priorities.
  • That same month, Alex Fitzsimmons cheered when Walsh, during an MSNBC appearance, attacked the anchor "on why he and his colleagues are such Obama sycophants, pointing to the media's unwillingness to criticize the Democratic president for ignoring entitlement reform in his initial budget blueprint.
  • Noel Sheppard similarly gushed that "Walsh made a fabulous point about how the press gave Obama a pass this week with his budget redo as they were mercilessly attacking Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.)."
  • In May 2011, Eric Scheiner did some PR work for the then-congressman, noting that "Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) has made a video to go along with a letter to President Obama, in which Walsh expresses his concern over the president’s recent comments on immigration."
  • In July 2011, Matt Hadro touted how Walsh "twice called out the media for protecting President Obama on Thursday night's In the Arena, and told host Eliot Spitzer to his face that 'you're doing a much better job of making [Obama's] case than he did.'"
  • Scott Whitlock followed with more gushing: "Republican Congressman Joe Walsh didn't put up with Chris Matthews' 'bullying' on Tuesday, mocking the liberal MSNBC anchor for his effusive praise of Barack Obama. Over the host's frequent interruptions, the Illinois Representative taunted, 'Hey, Chris, your President, who sends a tingle up your leg-'"
  • In August, Hadro whined that "CNN's Don Lemon gave softball interviews to three Democrat congressmen who voted against the [debt ceiling compromise] bill, while scrutinizing Tea Party Congressman Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) for his opposition."
  • In September 2011, Whitlock wrote a post headlined "Rep. Joe Walsh Educates Martin Bashir: 'Your Profession Did Not Vet' Obama."
  • In October 2011, Clay Waters complained that the New York Times did a "hit piece" on Walsh's finances, noting that he owed "more than $100,000 in child support," which seemed to contradict his message of fiscal responsibility.
  • In September 2012, Sheppard cheered even louder when Walsh said in a speech that "free contraception advocate Sandra Fluke" needs to "get a job." (MRC writers similarly slimed Fluke, and none have apologized.)

How much did the MRC love Walsh? He even got a sit-down with MRC chief Brent Bozell,  who loved Walsh's narrative-advancing claim that the media "are so vested" in Obama "not being a failure." This video was cross-posted at the MRC's "news" division,

The MRC even went all-in in defending Walsh against the deadbeat-dad charge. A February 2013 post by Matthew Sheffield complained about another newspaper "hit piece"  on the subject that "did not give him a chance to respond to the allegation before it ran with the piece." Sheffield added, "The story is completely false, according to Walsh but the paper printed it anyway."

What has changed between then and now? Walsh violated the new conservative omerta: No Republican is allowed to criticize Trump. Fondacaro should perhaps have told that to his readers to explain the MRC's flip-flop on Walsh.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:45 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 8, 2019 9:08 PM EDT

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