Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's loud and lame war against NewsGuard for committing the offense of pointing out the shoddiness of right-wing journalism has slogged along, heating up again when the news rating organization downgraded the MRC's favorite biased network. Joseph Vazquez raged in a July 22 post:
Leftist website ratings firm NewsGuard is back to show the world why it’s a pathetic excuse for an internet traffic cop by giving FoxNews.com a failing grade while completely undercutting its own complaint.
NewsGuard downgraded FoxNews.com July 18 from a green-shield 69.5/100 rating in December 2021 to a red-shield 57/100, noting that the website “fails to adhere to several basic journalistic standards.” This is coming from the same firm that left the liberal USA Today’s perfect 100/100 score intact after the newspaper removed 23 stories because one of its reporters fabricated sources. NewsGuard even praised USA Today for how its “stories quote reliable sources.”
One of NewsGuard’s contentions with Fox is that the news outlet allegedly fails to handle “the difference between news and opinion responsibly.” Apparently, NewsGuard couldn’t correctly discern the difference, either. A “Corrections” note put at the bottom of its “nutrition label” scorecard for Fox News admitted that an earlier version falsely “referred to Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham as anchors [who cover the news] instead of hosts [who lead opinion shows] of their nighttime Fox News Channel programs.”
As we pointed out when the MRC first attacked USA Today over this, the fact that it identified the problem and corrected the situation while explaining to readers what happened is likely the reason USA Today kept its high rating. By contrast, the MRC still has yet to make any sort of public statement about the Brent Bozell ghostwriting scandal or how one of its bloggers used white nationalist links to flesh out his posts.
Vazquez went on to defend Fox News while also playing whataboutism:
FoxNews.com clearly labeled Ingraham, Hannity and Carlson as hosts of talk shows, which are naturally opinion-based, but NewsGuard apparently couldn’t even be trusted to do its due diligence initially and make the proper distinction.
It’s also interesting how both the leftist The New York Times and The Washington Post don’t disclose covering the news from a liberal perspective, as the MRC repeatedly illustrated, but NewsGuard didn’t seem to take much issue with that. In fact, both newspapers which both have perfect 100/100 scores, were determined by NewsGuard to handle “the difference between news and opinion responsibly.”
Note that at no point did Vazquez -- amid his unceasing tarring of other outlets as "leftist" -- properly admit that Fox News has a right-wing bias. Nor did he mnention that there's little daylight between Fox News" news and opinion sides since they both cover the same issues in the same way. And if NewsGuard's purportedlyly "'leftist" judgment can't be trusted, then by the same definition the MRC's highly biased right-wing judgment can't either on the purported bias of the media outlets it has declared its enemies.
Vazquez continued to whine about Fox News' rating drop in an Aug. 5 post:
It’s hard to take leftist website ratings firm NewsGuard seriously when it gave Fox News a failing grade while complimenting BuzzFeed News’s notoriously phony reporting with a perfect rating.
Leftist outlet BuzzFeed News promoted the Steele dossier, which was used as the pretext for a prolonged federal investigation against former President Donald Trump that bore no fruit. The dossier remains on BuzzFeed News’s website, but NewsGuard continues to give BuzzFeed a perfect 100/100 score.
BuzzFeed News continues to host the bogus January 2017 Steele dossier it published on its website that made erroneous and discredited claims about alleged collusion between Trump and Russia. However, NewsGuard still gives the outlet a perfect 100/100 score.
Vazquez censored the fact that, as we've documented, BuzzFeed never presented the Steele dossier as indisputable fact and never vouched for its accuracy. Vazquez then bizarrely attacked BuzzFeed for doing another story:
The outlet actually went to bat for disgraced CNN Chief Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin after he was caught with his pants down masturbating during a Zoom call for The New Yorker, where he was a staff writer. In a piece disguised as news and not labeled opinion, BuzzFeed’s main excuse was: Hey, doesn’t everyone masturbate at Zoom meetings? “Jeffrey Toobin Can’t Be The Only Person Masturbating On Work Zoom Calls,” read the laughable BuzzFeed headline.
BuzzFeed “senior culture writer” Scaachi Koul even wielded Scripture to wokescold Toobin’s critics: “Haven’t we all done something on a work call that, in normal circumstances, we’d never do during a meeting? Let he without sin cast the first stone.”
That’s some hard-hitting journalism, eh, NewsGuard?
Vazquez identified no factual errors in the Toobin story. And if Toobin's cringey incident wasn't newsworthy, why did the MRC spend so much time obsessing over it?