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Friday, June 10, 2022
MRC's Double Standard On Covering Politicos Behaving Badly
Topic: Media Research Center

Tim Graham complained in an April 16 post:

On Thursday night, Fox News anchor Bret Baier filed a short item on wealthy gay California Democrat mega-donor Ed Buck being sentenced to 30 years in prison for the methamphetamine overdose deaths of two black men. ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS broadcasts haven't touched it. Buck had donated $500,000 to mostly Democratic causes since 2000.

This story was on the front page of the Los Angeles Times on Friday, but the networks were absent on the story, just as they were when Buck was convicted in July of 2021. You can find the story online at the network news sites. They are much more detailed that Baier's anodyne brief.

Graham might have a point ... if his organization wasn't systematically censoring mention of notable conservatives caught in sleaziness.

In February 2021, Ruben Verastigui -- who had worked as an aide for the Senate Republican Conference and as a digital strategist for the Republican National Committee, worked for anti-abortion groups (also speaking at the antiabortion March for Life in 2013) and designed social media ads for Donald Trump's 2020 presidential campaign -- was arrested on charges of possessing and distributing child pornography; prosecutors said that Verastigui graphically discussed his love of videos depicting child abuse in a group chat. A week before Graham's post, Verastigui was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison. None of the Media Research Center's three main online outlets -- NewsBusters, and MRCTV -- mentioned Verastigui and his crimes.

A couple months after Verastigui's arrest, Josh Duggar -- reality TV star and onetime official at the right-wing Family Research Councl whom the MRC's "news" division, had promoted but attempted to ignore when allegations of child molestation surfaced in 2015 -- was arrested on charges of possessing child porn. Last month, he was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison for his crimes. Again, and MRCTV, though NewsBusters briefly alluded to it in a December 2021 post by Kristine Marsh bashing a cohost on "The View" for pointing out -- or, in marsh's words, making a "garbage analogy" -- that initial supporters of Jussie Smollett's claim of being a victim of a hate crime before the allegation was disproven were no different than "Republican politicians who took photos with Josh Duggar, when he worked for the Family Research Council, years before allegations of molestation and child pornography came out," offering up the odd defense that "Duggar wasn’t accusing others of a hate crime against him before the truth came out, as in Smollett’s case." As if being a child molester didn't conflict with the "pro-life" narratives of the FRC.

Don't expect Graham to actually whether Fox News covered the Verastigui and Duggar stories. Despite the organziation's name, "media research" isn't Graham's job -- and he's afraid to criticize Fox News in any case -- but manufacturing biased talking points is.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:24 PM EDT

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