Topic: Media Research Center
Last month, the Media Research Center got a bit of clickbait mileage out of a controversy involving a deputy press secretary in the White House press office, TJ Ducklo. It actually began with some manufactured outrage about how a reporter ended up having a romatic relationship with Ducklo, even though the reporter responsibly asked to be reassigned after the relationship began; Kristine Marsh sneered that a People magazine article on the relationship read "more like a PR piece for the reporter and her Team Biden boyfriend" (as if anyone expects hard-hitting journalism from People) and whined that the reassignment allegedly didn't happen soon enough.
Then there was an actual (though still relatively minor) controversy to address: Ducklo had objected to the story, and he tried to intimidate the female reporter working on it by using derogatory and misogynistic language. Since the MRC does not miss an opportunity to attack a Democratic president and his administration for even the slightest offense, it was quick to pounce.
First, Curtis Houck complained that the one-week suspension he originally received was a "slap on the wrist." He later whined that this story wasn't getting wall-to-wall impeachment-level coverage on the (non-Fox) evening news. When Ducklo ultimately left his job over the incident, Houck was still whining that it deserved wall-to-wall coverage:
When it comes to circling the wagons, the liberal media did just that for the Trump era, defending colleagues whenever they were called out by President Trump or a White House aide and framed such condemnations as dangerous attacks on our democracy. But when it came to light on Friday that Biden White House Deputy Press Secretary T.J. Ducklo threatened Politico’s Tara Palmeri, the broadcast networks were largely nowhere to be found.
Between late Friday morning and Monday morning, ABC’s flagship morning and evening newscasts ignored Ducklo mocking her love life and threatening to “destroy” one of their former White House correspondents. Over on CBS and NBC, they combined for a paltry one minute and 19 seconds with none since Saturday morning.
Worse yet, not a single network newscast has acknowledged the fact that Ducklo resigned on Saturday night.
All of this is quite hypocritical, because the MRC has sown itself to be quite cool with not just offensive language but actual physical assualt of a reporter by a conservative.
In 2017, Greg Gianforte, then a Republican candidate for a congressional seat in Idaho, body-slammed and hit a reporter who apparently asked him something he didn't like. He later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault. And MRC management was OK with that. As we documented, MRC chief Brent Bozell delcared that the reporter was "an obnoxious, dishonest first class jerk. I'm not surprised he got smacked," and executive Tim Graham huffed that the reporter had been working for a British newspaper (though is an American), whining, "Let's ask why on Earth a House candidate in Montana should have to answer questions from a reporter for a BRITISH newspaper????"
As we also noted, their disdain for the reporter was personal -- he exposed the MRC's legally questionable purchase of a house in Pennsylvania from MRC vice president David Martin and was also among the reporters who highlighted the revelation that Graham ghost-wrote Bozell's syndicated columns.
The MRC has condoned behavior less egregious than Ducklo's, which makes all this hyperventilating less the expression of legitimate outrage and more a partisan political exercise.