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Friday, October 15, 2021
MRC's Graham Cheers Polls That Echo MRC's Anti-Media Narrative
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center just loves it when its anti-media attitudes are reflected in polls. So Tim Graham made sure to pretend to be shocked in a July 9 post:

This is shocking. The latest phone and online survey by Rasmussen Reports found voters overwhelmingly believe “fake news” is a problem, and a majority -- 58 percent! -- agree with former President Donald Trump that the media have become “the enemy of the people.”

To be precise, Rasmussen found that 58% of likely U.S. voters at least somewhat agree with the statement that the media are “truly the enemy of the people,” including 34% who "strongly agree." Thirty-six percent don’t agree, including 23% who "strongly disagree." Fully 76 percent of Republicans and 61 percent of independents agreed.

Graham then laughably added: "With numbers this bad, the media will try to insist the poll must be wrong."

First: This is the guy who, along with his fellow MRC employees, was insisting that pre-election polls were not only wrong but "intentionally" manufactured because they showed Donald Trump losing re-election (which he did). Second: There's plenty of reason to distrust thtese findings, starting with the fact that Rasmussen Reports has a notorious right-wing bias and is seemingly interested in helping to advance Republican narratives than serving up accurate polling.

Graham then joined Fox News' Greg Gutfeld in chortling over another poll showing low media favorability, which Gutfeld defined as "ony slightly more popular than chlamydia":

At the top of Thursday's top rated Gutfeld! on Fox News, host Greg Gutfeld had a little fun with the latest Gallup poll on confidence in the press. The numbers weren't good. 


Gutfeld ran clips of Joy Behar mocking Republicans as stuck in the 1850s and ex-GOP strategist Stuart Stevens on MSNBC imagining a Republican-caused 9/11, and asked "So, what's it going to be you bozos? Are we terrorists, are we slave owners? Are we on the road to another civil war, or another 9/11? I'd say make up your mind, but you need minds to make up. And Joy and that freak can barely scrape four brain cells together."


Over his 30 years in media, Gutfeld said, he's learned something about reporters. "Their entire purpose is to slam their subject because in their world that's success. You don't win awards for doing a piece on Trump supporters that says wow, these people are decent Americans or even most Trump supporters are decent Americans. You find one that isn't and then you smear the rest. Anger and fear sells." 

Apparently, Fox News is not part of "the media," since it arguably does all of those things to an even greater extent than the non-right-wing media. Indeed, "anger and fear sells" may as well replace "fair and balanced" as Fox News' slogan. But Gutfeld -- and Graham -- will never admit that.

In a Sept. 1 post, Graham was in full rant mode on a poll that didn't toe the MRC narrative on media hatred:

Sara Fischer at Axios reports a new study by the Pew Research Center found "Conservative trust in media has cratered." That's not quite right: Conservative trust in liberal media has cratered. In a poll conducted in mid-June, Pew found Democrats continue to have great trust in the media, declining slightly from 83 percent to 78 percent. Why not? They echo the Democrats.

Graham isn't going to mention that one big reason that conservatives have so little trusdt in "liberal media" is because he and his MRC co-workers getspaid very well to inculcate that mistrust -- not necessarily because it's true, but because it's a narrative that sells, generating millions of dollars a year of the MRC to perpetuate the cycle.

Graham complained further:

CNN's Brian Stelter hit the panic button at the top of his "Reliable Sources" newsletter and associated the conservative media with "flooding the zone with s--t." (Bolding is Stelter's.)

Let's be honest and recognize that this trust-in-national-news gap isn't happening in a vacuum. NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen said his takeaway was that "Republicans trust everything less, including social, often seen as a freewheeling alternative to The Media, icon of right wing resentment theatre. Flooding the zone with s*** works. It lowers trust in the entire system, so the worst among us can profit."

The "flooding the zone" strategy includes a never-ending Fox News narrative about Big Media and Big Tech censoring and hurting and destroying everyone in its way.


It's completely tiresome that liberals and leftists equate trust in their partisan media with the success of democracy. Stelter also quoted David Roberts at Vox: "The decades-long, extremely well-funded conservative effort to completely cut its suburban/rural base off from mainstream sources of information has basically succeeded. Not clear that democracy can survive it."

Identifying yourself as the "mainstream" is the first mistake of arrogant liberal journalists. Identifying conservative efforts to expose liberal media -- like NewsBusters -- as killers of democracy is especially loathsome. We'll put on our Tom Cruise costume and yell "You can't handle the truth!" 

Note that Graham never actually engages with Stelter's argument but, rather, merely complains that he said it -- after all, he's a prominent cog in that "decades-long, extremely well-funded conservative effort" to discredit the media. And Graham doesn't think it's at all tiresome for spend the vast majority of his career ranting about the suposed destructive effects of the "liberal media" when not only is he pretending right-wing media doesn't have a similar effect, he absolutely refuses to admit there's any right-wing media bias at all.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:45 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, October 15, 2021 4:10 PM EDT

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