Topic: Media Research Center
Just like it did with the Trump campaign, the Media Research Center got its marching orders from Republican leadership: Go on the attack against Raphael Warnock, the Democratic candidate in one of the two Georgia Senate runoff races. And Warnock was very much targeted: A search of the NewsBusters archive found a whopping 46 articles that referenced Warnock between the Nov. 3 election and press time, compared with 35 articles referencing Jon Ossoff, the Democratic candidate in the other Georgia runoff race.
The MRC got started early with making misleading and nit-picky attacks on Warnock. That was followed by a Dec. 9 post by Gabriel Hays parroting "serious conservatives and Christians" bashing Warnockfor not hating abortion enough:
If there was one thing that could make it obvious that Democrat Senate candidate Raphael Warnock is a terrible choice for U.S. Senator, it would be one of his most recent tweets proclaiming himself a pro-choice Christian. Talk about living with cognitive dissonance.
First off, supporting the killing of unborn babies is a non-starter, as is openly admitting you’re a hypocrite by saying you’re Christian and then saying you ignore fundamental parts of Christian teaching.
Warnock, a Baptist “pastor” and radical, pro-BLM, pro-abortion leftist vying for one of two U.S. Senate seats in the upcoming Georgia run-off elections, went afoul of conservatives on Twitter in recent days by declaring himself to be proudly pro-choice and Christian.
What is this? A joke?
Hays has the patter down, including the right-wing talking point that Warnock is a "radical."
(This echoed in part a Nov. 20 column by Tim Graham whining that conservatives were being called out for attacking Warnock's religion but tended to cry discrimination when liberals criticized the extreme religious views of their fellow conservatives.)
On Dec. 17, Kristine Marsh tried to make a big deal out of saying that Fidel Castro's legacy as Cuban dictator is "complex" as most people's legacies are, and that Castro spoke at a church 25 years ago where Warnock was youth pastor (though there's no evidence Warnock played any role in the visit).
The perpetually ragey Nicholas Fondacaro thought he had the key to destroying Warnock's campaign in a Dec. 22 post:
Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock apparently got an early piece of coal in his stocking on Christmas week. According to police body camera footage exclusively aired on Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson Tonight on Tuesday, the radical leftist pastor was accused by his ex-wife of running over her foot with his car as she tried to stop him from driving off with their kids, last March.
The video was stunning and featured Warnock himself talking with the responding Atlanta police officer, but will any of the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, or NBC) share it with their viewers on Wednesday?
The incident raised deep concerns and questions about his temperament and actions that needed to be probed by the media. Unfortunately, the press was more interested in helping Democrats win control of the Senate no matter who the candidates were.
Fondacaro buried the fact that officers on scene found no apparent injury on the ex's foot and that Warnock was never charged. And his complaint is doubly ironic given that neither Fondacaro nor anyone else at the MRC told their readers that the Staten Island bar owner they lionized for standing up to purportedly draconian coronavirus lockdown restrictions actually did run over someone with his car: a sheriff's deputy. Nevertheless, Fondacaro returned the next day to rant that non-right-wing networks didn't cover the minor dispute.
Then -- as if he was on the payroll as opposition researcher for Warnock's Republican opponent, Kelly Loeffler -- Fondacaro served up another Warnock attack on Dec. 28:
Even with new reporting from the Washington Free Beacon out Monday that detailed how, in 2002, a then 12-year-old boy was abused at a church camp overseen by future Senate Democratic candidate Raphael Warnock, CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront continued to be a staunch defender. Instead of reporting on the account of abuse victim Anthony Washington, senior national correspondent Kyung Lah defended Warnock’s radical sermons from Republican “attacks.”
Throughout the 2020 election cycle, numerous videos had surfaced of Warnock preaching radical leftist ideology from his pulpit. And as National Review published in mid-November, it was off the wall stuff. Warnock accused Israel of being like “apartheid South Africa,” described Israelis as “birds of prey” in a letter, and gave a speech praising Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s “God damn America” sermon.
And according to a Maryland state trooper investigating the abuse claims, Warnock was arrested for trying to obstruct justice by interfering with the questioning of camp counselors. Though, the charge was later dropped.
The story has been a key Loeffler campaign talking point, hence Fondacaro's glomming onto it. He censored the fact that law enforcement found Warnock to be "very helpful" with the investigation into the camp, blaming miscommunication for the arrest; Warnock said he interrupted a law enforcement interview of a counselor to make sure the counselor had legal representation.
Despite the fact he censored key exculpatory aspects of the story that interfered with his narrative, Fondacaro hypocritically lectured: "If CNN was going to do a report defending Warnock’s time as a church official, then they needed to take responsibility and report on his abusive camp. In this instance, the situation wasn’t political at all. It was about his time overseeing a camp that abused children and his alleged attempt to obstruct justice."
The next day, Joseph Vazquez served up his own attack on Warnock, invoking all the key right-wing buzzwords:
Outsiders are funding nearly the entire cost of Georgia’s Democrat Senate candidates Jon Ossoff’s and Rev. Raphael Warnock’s campaigns, a new report said.
This is the same Fidel Castro-sympathizing Warnock who referred to himself as a “pro-choice pastor,” and the same Ossoff who has ties to Communist China. Warnock, in particular, had also disparaged service in the U.S. military, telling church parishioners in 2011, “America, nobody can serve God and the military.” Oh, and let’s not forget that Warnock also has a record of spewing anti-Semitic hate at Israel.
Of the $100 million each that the two leftist candidates have hauled in the last two months, “95 percent of that money is coming from outside of the Peach State,” according to the New York Post. The biggest financial backers reportedly are based in “the Democratic strongholds of New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.”
Again, this was a hypocritical attack. Vazquez was silent on the source of Loeffler's donations, and there was a reason: She and her fellow GOP Senate runoff candidate, David Perdue, received 92 percent of donations from out of state, nuch of it from, yes, California, Texas and Florida.
Are all these explicitly political attacks in line with the MRC's nonprofit status, which forbids explicit political activity? One has to wonder.