Topic: Media Research Center
During the right-wing movement's -- and, thus, the Media Research Center's -- summer of freaking out over critical race theory, its guilding light has been activist Christopher Rufo. However, the MRC had to contort itself to pretend he's not an activist.
On June 18, Curtis Houck complained that MSNBC's Joy Reid "leveled a misleading attack on the Manhattan Institute’s Christopher Rufo" -- but apparently it was not so misleading that he made any effort to correct it. Houck is apparently referring to a statement by Reid -- the transcript was conveniently offloaded to a separate document outside his post -- who said right-wingers are "trying to label anything that makes them feel uncomfortable as a critical race theory. This is from a guy named Christopher Rufo is who’s at the — a conservative think tank — at a conservative think tank and he says “the goal is have the public read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think ‘critical race theory’...We have decodified the term and we will recodify to annex the entire range of cultural constructions that are unpopular with Americans.” Basically using critical race theory as a brand name."
That is effectively what Rufo wrote in a March tweet: "We have successfully frozen their brand—'critical race theory'—into the public conversation and are steadily driving up negative perceptions. We will eventually turn it toxic, as we put all of the various cultural insanities under that brand category."
In a June 24 post, Nicholas Fondacaro wrote about Rufo's appearance on Reid's show -- unsurprisingly in full rah-rah mode and insisting that "Reid didn't sdand a chance against" him -- touting him complaining that he's just a "think tank scholar," not the "political operative" Reid claimed he was (and the rest of the world sees him as). Fondacaro then complained: "As the interview progressed, Reid played a series of edited together soundbites of Rufo’s appearances and talks, which wasn’t actually damaging but she tried to put words in his mouth and prescribe his motive anyway. “You want to make a campaign and stuff everything in there and you want to stuff it all into Critical Race Theory,” she sneered." But Rufo's tweet says that's exactly what he's doing.
On Tuesday, the Manhattan Institute’s Christopher Rufo unspooled another fantastic Twitter thread exposing how U.S. defense contractor Raytheon was polluting its employees with Critical Race Theory, including telling employees that they must view each other based on race. This massive exposé landed him on Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson Tonight, where he expounded his findings and noted that memes about the direction of wokeness had become prophetic.
Getting on Fox News, of course, is the goal of any right-wing activist. This was followed the next day by Joseph Vazquez typing up a rote "the non-right-wing media ignored our narrative" story on evening news broadcasts ignoring that "Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Christopher Rufo dropped a bombshell exposing a major U.S. defense contractor’s mission to shame its white employees and enforce critical race theory."
By this time, the MRC had moved into full defense mode for Rufo. On Aug. 8, Tim Graham got mad that the Wahington Post researched a fact-check of Rufo, then ... finding his claim was true, did nothing. Because he had nothing to attack, Graham attacked the Post for even trying to fact-check him. This non-story was the subject of Graham's podcast the next day.
On Sept. 9, Alexander Hall had another right-wing victim of "censorship," because Rufo was "unverified" by twitter "and reportedly targeted by a 'Government-backed attack' after he allegedly exposed Critical Race Theory policies at Google." Hall identified Hall only as a "Manhattan Institute senior fellow," not a right-wing activist.