Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center was already giving love to pro football quarterback Aaron Rodgers in an Oct. 20 post, when the mysterious Jay Maxson gushed over how Rodgers "became the latest celebrity to speak out against cancel culture. A blight on the nation, cancel culture is part of a soft society that attempts to shrink and silence people, the Packers’ quarterback observed on the Pat McAfee Show," adding how "The quarterback said American society is “soft” and intolerant of people’s right to disagree. He criticized how people can’t have “back and forths” disagreements without somebody feeling offended."
In retrospect, one wonders if Rodgers was trying to buy himself a little right-wing inoculation against an upcoming scandal -- which broke a couple weeks later when itwas revealed that Rodgers lied to his Green Bay Packers team about being vaccinated against COVID (his insistence that he didn't notwithstanding), falsely claiming he was "immunized" when actually he was taking dubious medications like ivermectin. He then tested positive for COVID. Of couirse, the MRC -- whose sports bloggers have been pushing anti-vaxxer arguments for a while now -- launched a full-throated defense of Rodgers.
Matt Philbin devoted a Nov. 5 post to Rodgers saying all the conservatively correct things in defending his selfishness:
Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has suddenly become one of the great villains in pro sports. He caught the covid this week and it turns out he never got vaccinated. Thus, sneering sports mandarins like Nancy Armour cast him out into the darkness as “anti-science.”
It won’t help that Rodgers isn’t contrite. In fact, he’s fighting back. Appearing on the Pat McAfee Show, the sidelined (for the week) superstar said, “I realize I’m in the crosshairs of the woke mob right now,” and he wanted to address some of the issues about him and the vaccine, “before my final nail gets put in my cancel culture casket.”
Sounds like a guy who knows exactly what’s going on. He called the hysteria around athletes’ reluctance to get vaccinated “a witch hunt..” He also pointed out that "Every member of the left" was anti-vaccine until Joe Biden took office. And he’s right. There are plenty of examples of lefties expressing reluctance to take any drug developed during the Trump Administration.
Actually, he's wrong. As we documented when Philbin's fellow MRC workers pushed this right-wing narrative, Trump was cynically using the promise of a vaccine as a re-election ploy and thus couldn't be trusted about the vaccines' efficacy (not to mention his being a congenital liar), and top Democrats including Joe Biden and Katherine Harris said they would trust credible medical officials.
Philbin went on to uncritically quote Rodgers insisting that "I'm not an anti-vax, flat-earther,” and that he had allergies to two of the available shots, though he didn't demand evidence from Rodgers to back that up or explain why Rodgers should be taken at his word.
But the MRC is blindly loyal to anyone who spouts their agenda, and Rodgers is their new champion. Maxson used a Nov. 9 post to defend Rodgers from criticism by NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar:
When athletes like Rodgers say something stupid, “the public trust in athletes lowers and sponsors might consider avoiding players in favor of actors, pop stars, or social media influencers.” Woke athletes like Stephen Curry and LeBron James don’t have to worry about that (by parroting left-wing narratives), but young, rising stars might be denied lucrative advertising deals.
The NBA’s all-time leading scorer went through a whole litany of statistics in defending vaccinations, calling Rodgers ignorant for not doing likewise and taking the jab. He said it’s a lie that Rodgers is passionate about people’s health.
The hardcore lefty never questioned his pal James’ veracity when the current Lakers’ star said blacks are hunted by police and that racist remarks were spray-painted on his L.A. mansion. It's the outrageous social justice and race-baiting like that which has crushed the NBA's favorability ratings.
Maxson went on to sneer that Abdul-Jabbar "has often been judged by the weak content of his character," but linked only to his (or her) own posts as evidence of that "judging."
The defensive whining continued:
- A Nov. 9 post by Kristine Marsh cheered that "Rodgers pushed back against the “woke mob” for pushing for his cancellation from sponsorships and the excessive media criticism of him" and bashed "The View" co-host Sunny Hostin for criticizing him, huffing that "'Tolerant' leftists want to punish anyone who mocks their totalitarian impulses."
- Maxson returned to play whataboutism that the Packers "were subjected to a massive fine over COVID-19 protocol violations, while Henry Ruggs III and Deshaun Watson, who allegedly committed far greater offenses, have not been fined a penny." He (or she) then tried to soft-pedal Rodgers' lie to his team: "It was learned that in preseason he was immunized, but not vaccinated. He then engaged unsuccessfully with the NFL in an attempt to get the league to approve of the immunization. He’s been accused of intentionally lying about being vaccinated."
- The next day, Maxson played whataboutism on Abdul-Jabbar for criticizing Rodgers while his son "received a ridiculously light sentence for stabbing a man to within an inch of his life."
- Maxson served up even more whataboutism on a sportswriter who critricized Rodgers while also being a defender of Colin Kaepernick, whom Maxson obsessively hates: "There is no real comparing Rodgers’ refusal to take shots or wear a mask in public with a malcontent who led countless athletes astray and a deepening of the American divide.
Maxson whined on Nov. 15 about vaccinated NFL players who contracted COVID being treated differently than Rodgers:
Vaccinations are not fool-proof preventers of COVID-19. They are, however, “vaccinations” against objective reporting by out-and-out dishonest sports media. The stories of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, Minnesota Vikings guard Dakota Dozier and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers are living proof.
As most people know by now, the media went berserk over Rodgers, who said he had been “immunized” before catching COVID-19 and sitting out last week’s game. Dozier and Roethlisberger were vaccinated and still caught the coronavirus, but they both got treated with kid gloves by woke media hypocrites.
Maxson didn't mention that one big reason for the disparate treatment is that those players didn't lie about being vaccinated, like Rodgers did.
In a Nov. 18 post, John Simmons cheered that the NFL "hilariously outsmarted by Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers on their vaccine policy," whic his a funny way of describing how Rodgers lied to his team and embraced dubious treatments instead of actually getting vaccinated. He went on to grumble that "The overreaching, nonsensical, and fear-based protocols the NFL has implemented throughout the year have ignored science, disregarded personal choice, and divided the league between the good (vaccinated) and bad (unvaccinated) people.
On Nov. 28, Maxson sympathetically reframed Rodgers being a jerk into him merely telling a joke that people who aren't his fans didn't get:
The Wall Street Journal didn’t get the joke. After Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers confirmed he has a broken toe last week, he humorously called it “COVID toe.” That remark was in reference to massive media coverage of him previously catching the coronavirus after not having been vaccinated. The WSJ took the joke as truth – hook, line and sinker – and ran a story on it.
Nonetheless, a day later, the WSJ’s Andrew Beaton reported that Rodgers is dealing with “a mysterious and painful toe injury.” He reported “COVID toe” is a real ailment related to people with the coronavirus and sore toes.
Maxson offered no evidence that Rodgers was, in fact, telling a joke beyond uncritically quoting Rodgers complaining about the coverage of his statement.
Simmons was still defending Rodgers in a Dec. 17 post, this time against Presdient Biden:
Let’s get one thing straight: President Joe Biden has proven in his tenure in the White House that he is not an expert in … well, pretty much anything, and certainly not in how individuals should handle their own health.
That is why one cannot help but laugh at Biden’s latest quip on what he thinks Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers should do regarding the COVID vaccine.
While visiting communities in Kentucky that were devasted by tornadoes this past weekend, Biden had an interaction with a woman wearing a winter hat with the Packers logo in which he told the people that Rodgers should get the vaccine. The people laughed at his quip, and Biden continued to inspect the devastation.
But the truth is, Rodgers should not get vaccinated just because someone else wants him to or because outside voices are pressuring him – not even when it’s the President of the United States.
You know who else isn't a health expert? Aaron Rodgers. It's clearhe did not confirm with his own team's health experts before lying to them about being vaccinated. But Simmons is more than happy to give him a pass on that lie by insisting his claim of being "immunized" actually means something (and because he's now a right-wing hero):
Rodgers stated before the beginning of the season that he was “immunized” against COVID, but was crucified when the media found out that he was not vaccinated. Everyone from sports reporters to talk show hosts painted him as a dangerous, anti-science attention seeker when it was further discovered that he consulted Joe Rogan on what medications he should take to keep himself healthy.
But those same people are perfectly fine when governments, businesses, and even some people’s family and friends demand that we take the vaccine because they think it is the only way to salvation from COVID-19. Furthermore, it’s always funny how our government leaders think that they hold the monopoly on all the effective treatments to fight sicknesses. Our bodies and other methods have helped us do just fine for thousands of years before vaccines came on the medical scene.
So, even if the most powerful man in the free world thinks that you should get the vaccine, neither you, nor Rodgers, nor anyone should feel like they have to. Make your own choices, and do not apologize to anyone once you do.
It should also be noted that Simmons has offered no health expertise either -- he's just spouting right-wing anti-vaxxer rhetoric.