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Thursday, October 15, 2020
MRC Thinks Reporting It Doesn't Like Is 'Fake News'
Topic: Media Research Center

If anything in the media does not conform with the Media Research Center's pro-Trump bias, it's branded as "fake news." Curtis Houck did exactly that in an Oct. 1 post:

On Thursday morning at, reporter Julia Ainlsey filed a story that alleged Trump officials “were told to make public comments sympathetic to Kyle Rittenhouse” after the Kenosha riots according to a Department of Homeland Security document. Across the interwebs and on TV, it was offered with the implication that Trump aides wanted an encouragement of vigilantism.

But as it turns out (and like we saw with Ainsley’s overwrought Russian reporting in the Mueller probe), the hubbub was all for naught. In actuality, a basic reading of the article and memo obtained by NewsBusters revealed what Ainsley peddled was fake news and charged DHS officials with compiling what was known about Rittenhouse’s case using — get this — news reports.

At the time of this blog’s publication, this hitjob and disgust with a government document offering facts fetched 22 minutes and 11 seconds across CBS, MSNBC, and NBC programs.

Houck's defense of the memo is that the talking points aren't actually talking points because they weren't labeled as such -- just "Situation" and "Response" -- that offered "basic facts of the case" (which just happened to take the most Rittenhouse-friendly view of things, such as declaring "He took his rifle to the scene of the rioting to help defend small business owners"). Houc then wrote:

Further, sources tell NewsBusters the document was only compiled for acting Secretary Chad Wolf and Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinnelli to give them — as memos do — the best set of available facts. 

According to two officials with direct knowledge, the document was prepared for the August 30 Sunday shows as, sure enough, Wolf appeared to discuss the deadly summer of violence on American streets.

Who are the sources? Houck doesn't tell us, which conflicts with the hypocritical MRC policy against anonymous sources (unless those sources adavance right-wing causes).

The only thing here that's "fake" is Houck's concern for the truth. In depicting a refusal to offer the right-wing spin he prefers as an example of "fake news," he proves nothing more than his desire to spin things at least as badly as any media member he accuses of it.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:35 PM EDT

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