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Sunday, October 20, 2019
MRC's Double Standard On Anonymous Whistleblowers, Part 2: The Oppo-Research Link
Topic: Media Research Center

As we've documented, the Media Research Center loves to complain about anonymous sources in the media -- unless those anonymous sources are making claims that advance the MRC's conservative agenda. This hypocrisy continues over the whistleblower who exposed President Trump's quid-pro-quo phone call with the president of Ukraine, whom the MRC has attacked for remaining anonymous (even though the whistleblower's claims have largely been corroborated).

In an Oct. 9 post, Geoffrey Dickens gushed over a claim from the Washington Examiner's Byron York that the whitleblower had a "significant tie to one of the Democratic presidential candidates, complaining that "So far ABC and CBS have spiked the story, even with President Donald Trump tweeting about it on Tuesday evening." But Dickens didn't tell his readers that York's sources for this claim are themselves anonymous; he cites three anonymous people "with knowledge of what was said" by the intelligence community's inspector general, Michael Atkinson, over the situation, with no on-the-record confirmation.

Of course, fear of being called out on double standards wasn't going to stop the MRC from running with this story. Kristine Marsh got excited when "CBS was the only network to concede that their own reporting corroborated the President's claims" -- though she didn't note whether CBS had on-the-record confirmation of the claim. (Funny how "liberal media" outlets like CBS suddenly become credible when they report something the MRC thinks helps its right-wing agenda.) Marsh also didn't mention the fact that York's sources are anonymous.

Kyle Drennen touted how "as reported by Washington Examiner’s Byron York, the whistleblower having a “political bias” and “professional relationship with one of the 2020 candidates” was something revealed by Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson during recent congressional testimony," complaining that the whistleblower's "attorney denied the connection, but didn’t offer any actual evidence to 'refute' the charge."

When another Washington Examiner article reported that the Joe Biden was the candidate the whistleblower had a relationship with, the MRC pounced on that too, with Curtis Houck turning in the standard MRC "the liberal media won't report this right-wing claim so they're obviously biased" article. Scott Whitlock whined on Oct. 14 that "The fact that the CIA whistleblower had a “professional tie” to Joe Biden still hasn’t garnered any interest on the network morning and evening newscasts. Three and a half days after it was first reported by The Washington Examiner, ABC, CBS and NBC yawned at the story."

But, again, that claim is anonymously sourced; the Examiner article cites only "intelligence officers and former White House officials"  -- specifically, a "retired CIA officer," "an experienced CIA official" and a "former Trump administration official." Neither Houck nor Whitlock told their reader that the Examiner's claims are anonymously sourced.

The MRC will never admit that the Examiner is a conservative outlet and, thus, effectively an opposition-research arm of the Republican Party (like the MRC is). Remember, the MRC has a deal with Examiner columnist Paul Bedard to do a promotion of an MRC item every week as the "Mainstream Media Scream."

Posted by Terry K. at 5:01 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, October 20, 2019 6:45 PM EDT

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