Topic: Media Research Center
It says something about the kind of year it's been on the ConWeb that we haven't had a chance until now to further review one of the Media Research Center's most malicious and bogus right-wing narratives.
We've documented how the MRC has repeatedly taken Vice President Kamala Harris' words during the 2020 presidential campaign out of context to falsely portray her someone trying to undermine trust in vaccines developed under then-President Trump, and it continued to do so since we last checked in. In his July 24 column, Jeffrey Lord repeated the bogus Harris attack in defending Fox News host Sean Hannity from "The View" co-host Sunny Hostin:
Remember, as above, that Hannity was saying this on getting vaccinated in September of 2020: “If doctors and scientists say it’s safe my personal inclination is to take it.”
Contrast Hannity on vaccinations with Harris a mere one month later in October of 2020. Recall this headline from Fox News:
Vice presidential debate: Kamala Harris claims she won't take vaccine if Trump recommends
VP Pence slammed Harris for 'undermining public confidence' in a potential vaccine
Somehow, in some mysterious way, Hostin was, as far as I can tell, not upset about Harris saying she would refuse to be vaccinated if Trump were president. But it’s now okay to suggest that Hannity was opposed to the vaccine when, in fact, he clearly was expressing support for the vaccine while Harris was busy politicizing it by saying she would refuse to get vaccinated if Trump were president.
Note that Lord only quoted the headline which fits his narrative. He didn't repeat what the Fox News article reported that Harris also said: "If the public health professionals, if Dr. Fauci, if the doctors tell us we should take it, I’ll be the first in line to take it, absolutely." He's also lying about what Harris said. She didn't say "she would refuse to get vaccinated if Trump were president"; she said she would refuse "if Donald Trump tells us we should take it." Big difference.
In other words, Harris was saying the same thing Hannity did. And given that Trump was hyping a then-nonexistent vaccine as a ploy to get re-elected and his history of being an inveterate liar, there's ample reason for nobody to trust anything he said.
In a July 26 item, Tim Graham served another one of his complaints that fact-checkers committed the offense of putting Harris' words in their proper context to debunk a right-wing narrative:
PolitiFact’s aggressive defense of Biden and Harris popped up again on Friday. They tagged it as “False” for a Tik-Tok video that “Says Joe Biden and Kamala Harris distrusted COVID-19 vaccines.”
The quotes in the video are all accurate, but they caused Facebook to flag the video as “Missing Context.” As in – the editing is too negative for their liking. Once again, they’re not “fact checking” – they’re context checking.
The short summary in Tom Kertscher's article proclaimed “Video clips appear to show Joe Biden and Kamala Harris raising doubts about COVID-19 vaccines, but they were raising concerns about the rollout by then-President Donald Trump, not the vaccines themselves.” [Emphasis mine.]
THAT is not accurate. If you suggest someone shouldn’t trust the vaccine until something happens – in this case, until the Democrats are elected – you’re sowing distrust in the vaccines.
Graham grudgingly conceded the statements were taken out of context, then laughably insisted the "aren't wildly out of context."Remember that Graham doesn't believe that Trump tells falsehoods, he just has "a casual relationship with the truth."
Kristine Marsh used an Aug. 13 post to bash CNN for a report suggesting that "blamed conservative media for vaccine hesitancy," huffing: "What [CNN host Don] Lemon won’t acknowledge is that the media’s bias has been evident throughout their reporting on the pandemic, from squashing the lab leak theory, to calling blaming China for the virus, racist, and excusing anti-vaccine comments from Democrats before the election." As evidence, she linked to an earlier MRC post that took Harris and Biden out of context, which doesn't exactly help her case.