Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center largely ignored Democrat John Fetterman in his race for a Pennsylvania Senate seat. A February 2021 post by Alex Christy dismissed him as among the the "lefties" being promoted by the "hacks" on MSNBC, and another post that month briefly mentioned him -- but it wasn't until this past August, after Fetterman suffered a stroke yet still spent the summer owning his Republican opponent, Mehmet Oz, on social media that the MRC got around to mentioning him again, in a post by Scott whitlock fearmongering that Fetterman "supports abortion up to birth."
It was around then that the MRC started to realize it could exploit Fetterman's stroke to serve as a Republican surrogate in driving up concerns about his health and boosting Oz. A Sept. 1 post by Alex Christy complained about a "softball" interview Fetterman did with MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle, mocking that Fetterman "looked like he was doing the interview from a dungeon" and whining: "Ruhle didn’t ask Fetterman if his health problems could limit his effectiveness as a senator, only how he plans to convince voters it won’t. She did ask if he eventually plans to debate Oz, but did not press him on it when he equated all concerns about his health with mocking his stroke."
In a Sept. 12 post, Curtis Houck cruelly sneered that a press release announcing the hated ex-CNN host Brian Stelter's new position as a fellow at Harvard sounds "just as painful as John Fetterman trying to offer a complete sentence."
That exploitation really kicked in after an NBC interview with Fetterman that just happened to mesh with right-wing anti-Fetterman narratives that seek to portray him as too sick to hold office. An Oct. 11 post by Kevin Tober repeatedly hyped Fetterman's purportedly fragile state:
NBC correspondent Dasha Burns broke news Tuesday when she revealed on both MSNBC and NBC Nightly News that Pennsylvania Democrat Senate candidate John Fetterman is in worse shape than originally thought after his near-debilitating stroke.
While previewing her exclusive interview with Fetterman, Burns told viewers that his “campaign required close captioning technology for this interview to essentially read our questions as we asked them.”
She went on to note that “in small talk before the interview without captioning, it wasn't clear he was understanding our conversation.”
Despite his obvious struggles with putting together basic sentences, the Democrat Party and their propaganda arm in the media are still propping him up like nothing is wrong.
If he was a Republican candidate for United States Senate, this wouldn’t be Fetterman’s first tough interview and the media would be hounding him from now until November.
The next day, in whining about a Seth Meyers segment mocking right-wing Halloween candy fearmongering, Christylinked to Tober's attack post to sneer, Maybe for his Thursday show, Meyers will talk about how Starburst is really just another term for 'the John Fetterman Campaign.'" Tim Graham praised NBC's interview with Fetterman -- because it served Republican purposes in hurting Fetterman and helping Oz -- in the writeup for his Oct. 12 podcast:
Meanwhile, NBC reporter Dasha Burns sternly questioned John Fetterman about his lack of transparency about his medical struggles after a stroke. Burns upset liberals by explaining beforehand that Fetterman required a Tele-Prompter to understand the questions, since he's having "auditory processing" issues. Democrats don't want you discussing how Fetterman is currently unable to debate on the floor of the Senate.
The MRC then moved on to attacking anyone who defended Fetterman by pointing out the reality of post-stroke auditory processing issues. Christy huffed in an Oct. 13 post:
Trevor Noah used the Wednesday installment of The Daily Show on Comedy Central to defend Pennsylvania Democratic Senate nominee John Fetterman from criticism he is not healthy enough to serve by comparing him to disabled war veterans Dan Crenshaw and Tammy Duckworth.
After playing a clip from the NBC interview, Noah joked that Fetterman’s speech problems make him not that different than Presidents Trump and Biden, but why the country should want a third bumbler was not answered.
Those are physical disability that has not impacted those two’s ability to do their jobs. A stroke is a different matter.
Nicholas Fondacaro struck the same tone in another post the same day:
Two days after NBC News reporter Dasha Burns made headlines with her first-hand account detailing just how extensive Democratic Pennsylvania Senate nominee John Fetterman’s deterioration post-stroke was, the cackling coven of ABC’s The View had their knives out for her. They suggested Burns broke journalistic ethics, it was no big deal that Fetterman couldn’t comprehend speech and mocked Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker (R) for supposedly having an impairment too.
Flaunting a stunning level of cognitive dissonance and hypocrisy, Haines would soon follow up by decrying a comment made by the “PR team” for the Republican in the race, Mehmet Oz, about Fetterman not eating vegetables. She made her point by reading the response from the Fetterman camp, “I know politics can be nasty, but even then I could never imagine ridiculing someone for their health challenges.”
Again, this came after Haines and the rest of the cast roared with laughter at the possibility that Walker had brain damage.
This wasn’t the first time The View defended the questionable mental capacities of a Democrat. Last month, they circled the wagons for President Biden after he called out for a member of Congress who had been deceased for nearly two months. They diagnosed Biden with a “brain fart” moment.
Mark Finkelstein whined that the folks on "Morning Joe" pivoted to criticizing Oz instead of continuing to further right-wing narratives, while also invoking the NBC interview:
It was a schizoid Morning Joe today. On the one hand, Joe Scarborough and others defended NBC reporter Dasha Burns against criticism she has received from the liberal media for her comments on her interview with Fetterman. During the interview, Fetterman relied on closed captioning to understand her questions. In a subsequent NBC Nightly News appearance, Burns noted, "in small talk before the interview, without captioning, it wasn't clear he was understanding our conversation."
But Morning Joe quickly pivoted to trashing Dr. Oz, Fetterman's Republican opponent in the US Senate race in Pennsylvania. The attack on Oz was capped by Mika Brzezinski saying "we'll put doctor in quotes for Dr. Oz." For the record, Oz received his undergraduate degree in biology magna cum laude from Harvard. He went on to obtain MD and MBA degrees from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Penn's Wharton School.
Note: Scarborough & Co. deserve little credit for not denying the undeniable. Of course, Fetterman's incapacity is a bona fide issue for voters. If Fetterman needs closed captioning to understand people, he will be incapable of functioning in informal environments where, on the fly, consitutents, reporters, and others are seeking to interact with him.
Making his latest appearance early Friday/late Thursday on the Fox News Channel’s Fox News @ Night, NewsBusters Managing Editor Curtis Houck teamed with District Media Group’s Beverly Hallberg to take down the liberal media for attacking NBC’s Dasha Burns after she pressed Pennsylvania senatorial candidate John Fetterman on his cognitive struggles since he suffered a stroke in May.
Houck picked this random act of journalism in the liberal media as his media highlight of the week, explaining that in sitting “down with John Fetterman for an in-person interview show” after he had skated by with taped, remote interviews with friendly liberals at MSNBC in Lawrence O’Donnell and Stephanie Ruhle.
“[O]ther than in the fact that she didn’t press him on abortion. You know, she really pinned him down about his fitness, physically and mentally to be a senator from the great State of Pennsylvania,” he added, noting that a Burns interview with Republican Mehmet Oz would air Friday on NBC’s Today.
Houck closed on a high note, crediting NBC for standing by Burns and remarking that he hadn’t “seen the media circle the wagons this much around a story since...the New York Post and Hunter Biden” in fall 2020.
Unmentioned, of course, is the right-wing media circling the wagons around Herschel Walker after his abortion scandal was exposed -- something the MRC defended. Houck also made sure not to mention his own embarrassingly softball interview with Trump White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, so he's hardly one to praise the tough questions of others (but only if they advance right-wing narratives).