Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center wouldn't mind a bit if all journalists died in a fire (or, perhaps, in an Israeli airstrike) -- particularly the ones who aren't the right-wing sycophants the MRC wants them to be. So any claim that they suddenly care abour journalists' welfare is suspect at best and rank narrative-pushing at worst. Thus, we have this abrupt concern from Scott Whitlock in a May 18 post:
Imagine if Donald Trump had jokingly threatened to murder journalists standing in front of him. They probably wouldn't have laughed. Yet that’s what Joe Biden did on Tuesday and the assembled reporters just chuckled at the funny threat. While test driving an electric Ford F-150, ABC's Cecilia Vega broke up the adoring queries about the car by actually asking, “Mr. President, can I ask you a quick question about Israel before you drive away since it’s so important?”
Biden, who was sitting in a truck at the time, sneered, “No, you can’t. Not unless you get in front of the car as I step on it. I’m only teasing.” The off-camera journalists awkwardly snickered in reply. Biden then drove off, having threatened the press and then not answered the serious question.
Just prior to a real question, the reporters acted as Democratic hacks, offered up sycophantic queries about the photo-op. They included, “How does it feel to be behind the wheel, sir?” and “Mr. President, how fast were you going?” Biden was happy to answer those.
We don’t actually have to imagine how the networks would react if this were Trump. In July of 2017, the then-President tweeted a video of a wrestling video in which Trump grappled with a superimposed CNN logo. On the July 3, 2017 Today, Hallie Jackson warned, “A spokesperson for the cable network saying, ‘It is a sad day when the President of the United States encourages violence against reporters’...”
Then-CNN political commentator Sally Kohn fretted, “Both sides have a problem with hateful crazies. The difference is the left denounces theirs. The right elects theirs president.” Journalists on the networkdeclared Trump a “dangerous” madman who will get members of the press killed.
What Whitlock conveniently overlooks is that Trump wasn't joking -- he hates journalists as much as the MRC, which absolutely loves him for it. And the MRC absolutely loved him for it, mocked concerns over their safety as going"overboard," and even justified the violent threat because of "the President's criticism of the cable channel. Journalist-hating MRC writer Nicholas Fondacaro gushed, "If there were two things President Trump knew how to do well, it’s tweet and get under the skin of the folks at CNN."
So convinced was Whitlock that he had a surefire argument here that he devoted another post to it the next day:
Joe Biden’s joking threat to murder an ABC reporter didn't bother the network press at all. ABC and NBC on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning completely skipped the cringe-y moment. CBS allowed a scant 15 seconds, dismissing the attempted humor about running over a journalist as “brushing off a question.”
The CBS Evening News on Tuesday provided the only coverage, just 15 seconds. Reporter Ed O’Keefe dismissed, “ But later, while test driving an electric truck, the President brushed off questions about the [Middle East] violence.” A joking threat of violence is “brushing off”? He then played the clip.
As I noted on Tuesday, journalists melted down when Trump in 2017 retweeted a dumb, old clip of him fighting a digitally superimposed CNN logo at a wrestling match. We can certainly imagine how they would handle Biden’s comments, if they were made by Trump.
Again, Whitlock omitted the fact that he and his fellow MRC co-workers didn't think Trump's tweet was "dumb" -- heck, they absolutely loved it. Nor does Whitlock make the case that Trump was ever joking in his rage-filled anti-media attacks, something Biden made clear immediately.
In his first post, Whitlock actually bashed journalists for being "cowardly." But he omitted inconvenient facts and context that would have undercut his argument. So who's the real coward here?
P.S.: Note that in both of these posts, Whitlock refuses to identify Biden by his title of president, introducing him only as "Joe Biden." Is he an election truther who won't admit Biden won fair and square? Sure sounds like one.