Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center is needlessly inserting itself into the Democratic presidential campaign in a way that seems to push against its nonprofit tax designation that prohibits most partisan political activity.
The MRC has been incensed by Bloomberg News' decision not to investigate Michael Bloomberg, its owner and newly minted Democratic presidential candidate, or other Democratic candidates in order ot avoid a conflict of interest -- but will continue to report critically on President Trump. Jjoseph Vazquez complained that this comes "at the expense of the credibility" of Bloomberg News -- as if he or anyone else at the MRC cares about the outlet's credibility.
Nicholas Fondacaro declared that "Some might argue it was the weaponization of a media outlet for personal gain,"huffing: "For all the liberal smears against Fox News claiming they’re 'state-run media,' it has become clear that's exactly what Bloomberg News would become if former Mayor Michael Bloomberg wins in 2020."
Tim Graham and Brent Bozell predictably whined in their Nov. 27 column:
In reality, Bloomberg's journalists have been compromised ever since Bloomberg first ran for mayor of New York City in 2001. After 12 years as mayor, Bloomberg became a big-time sugar daddy to liberal activists pushing government crackdowns on fossil fuel production and gun ownership. How "objective" reporters could ethically navigate all of their owner's political activism seems impossible.
But let's face it: Back then, the rest of the "news" media never found this objectionable. Bloomberg News was branded in a business-news niche and, in that sphere, looked like a progressive influence, so they didn't care.
Journalists who perpetually lament Trump's destruction of "democratic norms" now face a candidate who's obliterating all the journalistic norms. This is an ethical test. Let's see how many will try to skip the class and hope it goes away.
The funny part here is that Bozell runs a "news" operation, CNSNews.com, that is not allowed to report critically on him or its parent organization. For instance, when Bozell was exposed in 2014 as simply slapping his name on columns that Graham ghost-wrote for years -- thus shaming him into adding Graham as a credited co-author -- CNS not only reported nothing about the controversy, it froze comments on a Bozell column after too many commenters pointed out the deception. Indeed, it seems one of CNS' main function is to repeat right-wing talking points generated by the MRC, seemingly demonstrating that it has no editorial independence at all. Which makes Bozell's concern about Bloomberg "obliterating ... journalistic norms" more than a little hypocritical.
Meanwhile, the MRC continued to exploit the story:
- Jeffrey Lord ranted that "What Americans are witnessing at Bloomberg is up-front corruption. ... Bloomberg News will now be an in-kind campaign contribution — and not only to owner Michael Bloomberg but to every other candidate in the race for the Democratic nomination."
- Fondacaro touted how the move "was almost universally panned, with the media beat Sunday shows on both CNN and Fox News criticizing the Bloomberg News.
- Curtis Houck cheered how "the Trump campaign announced in a statement they would not be credentialing anyone from “Bloomberg News for rallies or other campaign events” due to the news outlet’s policy of banning their journalists from investigating founder Michael Bloomberg and his 2020 Democratic opponents but insisting they continue digging into President Donald Trump."
- Graham complained that TV networks have not reported on "Bloomberg’s destruction of journalistic norms."
- Houck served up a similar "the media isn't covering a story that advances the MRC's agenda" piece, grousing that "CBS News has refused to show on its morning or evening newscast 2020 Democratic Michael Bloomberg telling CBS This Morning co-host and Democratic friend Gayle King that Bloomberg News journalists need “to live with” the company policy that Bloomberg and primary opponents can’t be investigated but President Trump can."
None of ehse writers disclosed that the MRC does not allow its "news" division the same freedom it's demanding from Bloomberg.
On Monday, The Media Research Center (MRC) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against Bloomberg LP, the owner of Bloomberg News, Michael Bloomberg and Mike Bloomberg 2020, Inc.
The complaint maintains that the policy adopted by Bloomberg News to omit investigating Mike Bloomberg and the other Democratic presidential candidates while continuing to investigate Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump potentially is an improper contribution to Bloomberg’s campaign under FEC regulations.
“Bloomberg News is making a mockery of legitimate journalism. They have consciously chosen to abandon their journalistic responsibilities in favor of what is politically convenient,” stated MRC President Brent Bozell.
“This is a public declaration that Bloomberg’s newsroom is adopting media bias as an official policy,” Bozell added.“This is not only categorically unethical, but potentially illegal, which is why we are calling for an investigation.”
Of course, Bozell's own "news" division actually does what Bozell is accusing Bloomberg News of: adopting media bias as an official policy and abandoning their journalistic responsibilities in favor of what is politically convenient. He'll never admit that, of course.
The press release also noted that "According to FEC law, the 'media exemption' that would normally exempt media organizations from federal campaign finance disclosure laws does not apply if 'the facility is owned or controlled by any political party, political committee, or candidate' should the organization fail to 'give reasonably equal coverage to all opposing candidates.'"
As we've noted, CNS does not give "reasonably equal coverage," attacking Democratic presidential candidates while cranking out pro-Trump stenography that even uncritically repeats his falsehoods. Does this violate FEC law? After all, the MRC is arguably choosing to operate as a "political committee" in apparent violation of its 501(c)(3) nonprofit tax status.
Almost as if proving our point, CNS managing editor Michael W. Chapman published a rewritten version of the MRC press release the same day -- under the exact same headline as the press release -- instead of offering an indepenvent view of the issue. Chapman couldn't even be bothered to seek comment from Bloomberg News or the Bloomberg campaign.