Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has been building a conspiracy theory that the presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump. First, it baselessly claimed that pre-election polls showing Joe Biden with a big lead over Trump were faked. Then -- after attacking political polls as unreliable or faked -- it paid for a poll (from Trump's pollster, McLaughlin, who clearly has a conflict of interest) claiming to find that some voters wouldn't have voted for Biden if they knew about the dubious right-wing narrative on Hunter Biden.
Now, it's out with another "special report" by Rich Noyes under the overheated headline "The Stealing of the Presidency, 2020":
The left-wing news media didn’t just poison the information environment with their incessantly negative coverage of President Trump going into the 2020 election. They also refused to give airtime to important arguments of the Republican campaign — both pro-Trump and anti-Biden — which meant millions of voters cast their ballots knowing only what the media permitted them to know about the candidates.
To measure the true effect of the media’s censorship on the election, the Media Research Center asked The Polling Company to survey 1,750 Biden voters in seven swing states (Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin), six of which (all but North Carolina) were called for Biden (survey details below). We tested these voters’ knowledge of eight news stories — all important topics that our ongoing analysis had shown the liberal news media had failed to cover properly. We found that a huge majority (82%) of Biden voters were unaware of at least one of these key items, with five percent saying they were unaware of all eight of the issues we tested.
This lack of information proved crucial: One of every six Biden voters we surveyed (17%) said they would have abandoned the Democratic candidate had they known the facts about one or more of these news stories. A shift of this magnitude would have changed the outcome in all six of the swing states won by Joe Biden, and Donald Trump would have comfortably won a second term as president.
First: Noyes didn't mention the fact that the MRC denounced election-related polling immediately after the election, and he gave no reason why this poll should be trusted.
Second: Noyes didn't disclose the fact that The Polling Company was founded by former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, raising the issue of a conflict of interest. Conway sold The Polling Company to Republican PR firm CRC Public Relations in 2017 after joining the Trump White House, giving her a windfall of up to $5 million -- and also, a company to which the MRC has paid more than $3 million for its services over the years.
Third: The MRC poll was clearly designed to push respondents toward Republican narratives.At one point, Biden is referred to as "the Democrat candidate" -- a deliberate grammatical error designed to denigrate Biden. The poll also asked biased pro-Trump questions like:
- At the time you cast your vote for president, were you aware that in just the five months from May through September, the economy created more than 11 million new jobs?
- At the time you cast your vote for president, did you know that the president had negotiated three different peace agreements between Arab countries and Israel, something never done before, and for which he’s been nominated for three separate Nobel Peace Prizes?
- At the time you cast your vote for president, were you aware that Joe Biden chose as his running mate and successor Kamala Harris, rated the most left wing Senator in America, even more leftist that Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist?
- At the time you cast your vote for president, were you aware of the Trump administration's unprecedented $10 billion effort to expedite effective treatments to fight COVID-19, with the promise of 300 million doses of a safe vaccine available to the public as soon as next year?
- Are you aware that Facebook and Twitter censored President Trump or his campaign 65 times in the past year, but neither platform censored Biden or his campaign a single time?
As we've noted, the Nobel Prize stuff is effectively meaningless, and the stuff about social media "censoring" Trump and not Biden is MRC-directed language and censors the fact that Trump violated Facebook's and Twitter's rules while Biden did not.
Fourth, and most crucially: The poll did not ask respondents about their news-watching habits, so the poll could not possibly determine that the "left-wing news media" didn't sufficiently push GOP talking points. It also did not ask respondents whether they knew about negative attacks on Trump -- it asked about the sexual misconduct allegations against Biden from Tara Reade, but made no mention of the sexual assault accusation made against Trump by E. Jean Carroll -- so there is not a baseline upon which to establish how much the "left-wing news media" allegedly didn't report about Biden.
Of course, this is all getting the play inside the right-wing bubble that the MRC wants. Rush Limbaugh touted it, of course, making sure not to ask the questions that we did. MRC chief Brent Bozell also appeared with podcaster (and MRC board member) Bill Walton. Bozell didn't disclose that McLaughlin was Trump's pollster but did admit that the Polling Company was "Kellyanne Conway's old company (but didn't mention that Conway was a Trump adviser), then laughably claimed that both pollsters were "highly, highly respected" (in fact, McLaughlin as a C-minus rating from FiveThirtyEight, while The Polling Company has a middling B/C grade). Bozell also crowed that these results were "scientific," but he made no mention of (and Walton didn't ask about) his own attack on pre-election polls as deliberately fake. Presumably since he's on the MRC board, Walton did almost no pushback on Bozell's increasingly outlandish and dubious claims.
With all these conspiracy theories, it seems the Trump years have made the MRC even more WorldNetDaily-like than ever.