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Saturday, March 12, 2022
MRC Turns Its Bogus Research Into A Bogus Campaign
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center isn't about "media research" -- its sole purpose is to manufacture right-wing narratives. Case in point: Last fall, it asserted taht Republican members of Congress being "censored" much more than Democratic ones, though the more accurate description is that the Republicans violated social media terms of service much more than Democrats did. That finding is because, as we noted, while the MRC is aggressive in finding Republican examples, no evidence was offered that it was similarly aggressive -- or even made any effort at all -- in seeking Democratic examples. The MRC also weirdly revised the ratio upward, from 53-to-1 to 54-to-1, a couple weeks later without explanation -- also something legitimate researchers don't do.

Now, it's trying to use that so-called "research" as the basis for a partisan campaign. Brian Bradley wrote the press release for his employer in a Jan. 19 post:

The Media Research Center today launched a new initiative to stop Big Tech’s election interference. The MRC sent a letter to congressional staff to collect a comprehensive report of lawmakers censored by Big Tech.

MRC Free Speech America in October found that social media companies censored GOP congressional lawmakers at a rate of 54-1 compared to congressional Democrats.

Big Tech censored 18 different members of Congress from July 17, 2020, through Jan. 3, 2022, when the most recent instances of congressional censorship were recorded by CensorTrack Social media platforms censored 17 Republicans and one Democrat, according to CensorTrack data.

Despite Bradley's insistence that this is a "broad" and "comprehensive" effort, no evidence is provided that the MRC is going to try to collect examples of Democratic members of Congress being "censored." Indeed, all of the examples cited in Bradley's piece are of Republicans, including far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, whom the MRC continues to insist is a victim despite having been shamed into admitting she has gone too far at times.

Bradley also quotes his boss, Brent Bozell, declaring, "It's time to stop Big Tech from interfering in our elections!" But the MRC believes that applies only to Republicans like Greene; it has rarely criticized any Democratic politician who was similarly "censored," which is more evidence that this will not be the "comprehensive effort" Bozell wants you to think it is.

The attached letter, signed by MRC VP Dan Gainor, doesn't indicate whether it was sent to all members of Congress or only Republican ones, though it does contain the line "Whether your congressperson is a Democrat, Republican or Independent, we want to track ALL instances of Big Tech censorship." It's a right-wing narrative that private companies have no right to enforce their terms of service and anyone who faces consequences for violating those terms is being "censored" -- and it's a dubious, partisna narrative that Democrats are unlikely to help them perpetuate.

Even if the letter did go to Democratic congresspeople, it's clear the MRC doesn't actually care about them. It only wants their numbers to compare to Repubicans to portray them as the greater victim (read: the ones who violate social media terms of service more often). Also, self-reported data isn't reliable data, since Republicans have an incentive to help the MRC perpetuate its "censorship" victim narrative and Democrats have little incentive to cooperate with a right-wing organization that's more likely to attack them than act in good faith.

In short: A few months from now, look for the MRC to cite this work as evidence that Republican members of Congress are being even more "censored" than Democratic ones. Bogus research begets bogus research.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:16 AM EST

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