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Wednesday, September 25, 2019
At The MRC, Trump's Sharpie Isn't News, But Biden's Eye Is
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center started off its attacks on coverage of Hurricane Dorian in the usual way, complaining that it spent too much time -- which is to say, any time at all -- reporting on the hurricane in the context of climate change. So bitter about this was Curtis Houck that he ranted that CNN hosts "are reduced to no more than puppets in Jeffrey Zucker’s play, willfully reading from nearly identical scripts as they peddle their daily doses of venom for not only President Trump, but anyone who stands in the way of their far-left, anti-gun, pro-abortion, and pro-Green New Deal vision (to name a few policies)." As if Houck isn't a puppet reading from Brent Bozell's hateful right-wing scripts.

But when President Trump kept insisting he was right about Alabama being endangered by Dorian even though early forecasts showing that possibility were quickly revised -- to the point that he displayed a map with an crudely extended possible  impact area into Alabama drawn by the president's trademark Sharpie marker -- the MRC complained that too much time was being spent on that too:

  • Scott Whitlock did admit that Trump was making a "weird claim," yet groused that media outlets "jumped on the possibility of jail time for the President" for altering government weather forecasts, "perhaps hoping that a Sharpie pen could accomplish what Robert Mueller did not."
  • Houck and Bill D'Agostino declared Sharpiegate to be "perhaps the most frivolous piece of the news cycle" and complained about the amount of coverage given to "this non-news item."
  • Nicholas Fondacaro touted how "CNN media propagandisdt Brian Stelter" argued that the Sharpiegate coverage may have helped Trump, going on to rant that "Trump was just a distraction from a terrible week for the lying liberal media." (Weird how Fondacaro never holds Trump accountable for his lies.)
  • Houck huffed further about "the liberal media’s delusional, week-long obsession over Sharpiegate while thousands across the Carolinas and Bahamas have lost life, limb, and property," then praised a conservative for having "injected sanity" into the issue.
  • Fondacaro gushed that "National Review editor Rich Lowry humorously ripped that media on Sunday for their obsession with the story by suggesting they’re like conspiracy theorists 'analyzing this with the detail of the Zapruder tape.'"

But you know what the MRC did deem worthy of wall-to-wall media coverage? Joe Biden's eye showing some blood during a CNN climate change forum. Mnark Finkelstein whined, apparently unironically (bolding in original):

What was a newsworthy thing to come out of CNN's interminable climate town hall snoozarama last night? Surely not the details of the various candidates' plans to "save the planet." No, the most interesting thing was the way that Joe Biden's left eye filled with blood during his appearance. While it might not bear directly on his fitness for office, it certainly does play into the narrative questioning Biden's age, health history, etc.

If you're a Biden campaign aide, surely you groaned when it happened. And you braced yourself for media coverage, particularly by CNN, which hosted the event. But relax! CNN's got Biden's back, and that of all the Democrat candidates! At least during the three hours of New Day this morning, there was exactly . . . zero mention of Biden's bloody eye.

Is there any way to see this other than highly-partisan journalistic malpractice?

Similar unironic whining followed from Tim Graham:

On Thursday, we noted CNN's New Day skipped over Joe Biden's bloody eyeball during the seven-hour CNN Town Hall on climate change, despite it being an all-day Drudge Report item. But then something happened that we didn't expect: CNN never reported it. Neither did MSNBC. Neither did ABC, CBS, NBC, or PBS. Even The New York Times and The Washington Post skipped it. Fox News covered it, but not obsessively.

The Bloody Eye wasn't Earth-shattering news. But some wondered if it suggested a health problem for Biden. It wasn't Hillary Clinton collapsing in the September 11 "heat." But are these media giants that defensive?

Posted by Terry K. at 3:26 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 25, 2019 11:29 PM EDT

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