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Monday, April 10, 2023
MRC Offers Tepid Defenses, Whataboutism Of Fox News Over Dominion Scandal
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center was extremely reluctant to weigh in on the scandal revealed through the Dominion lawsuit showing that Fox News lied to its viewers by telling its viewers that the 2020 presidential election was stolen when it knew that it wasn't. Once it finally did -- two weeks after the story broke -- Tim Graham took the tepid approach, tsk-tsking over how the scandal makes right-wing media look (because "liberal media" can cite it as a example) but offering little direct criticism of Fox News itself (MRC employees appear on the channel, after all -- don't want to jeopardize that). After that, though, the MRC started to feel a little more comfortable defending Fox News -- while still contorting itself in doing so. Nicholas Fondacaro took the aggressive approach in a March 8 post by bashing the ladies of "The View" for daring to criticize Fox News:

NewsBusters has repeatedly had to fact-check ABC’s The View for the stream of misinformation they’re constantly pumping out of their cesspool. But according to raging co-host Whoopi Goldberg, the First Amendment doesn’t protect those who “willing lie.” That was the basis of her suggestion that the people who work at Fox News needed to be prosecuted by the Department of Justice for “recruiting” “domestic terrorists.”

“I have a question. I have a question,” Goldberg announced during their collective conniption about Fox News host Tucker Carlson airing January 6 footage. ldquo;How come this is not thought of as being recruiting? How come they’re not thinking about this as radicalizing?” she ominously asked.

Racist Sunny Hostin wanted a little clarification by asking, “Like recruiting domestic terrorists?” Goldberg confirmed the premise: “Why is this not being scrutinized in the way that they scrutinize other things?”

She never explained what those “other things” that got scrutinized were.

Yes, Fondacaro is still libelously labeling Hostin a "racist" because he doesn't understand how metaphors work. When Goldberg argued that "the First Amendment doesn't allow you to willingly lie," he lamely responded; "That’s not to say lying was right, it’s just pointing out there was no such limit on the right to free speech. If so-called 'hate speech' was protected by the First Amendment, why wouldn’t a lie be?" Of course, Fondacaro may find that out soon if Hostin sues him for defamation over his false slander of her as a "racist."

Fondacaro then tried to distract from Fox News by complaining that Hostin aas ":falsely claiming the military was filled with white supremacists, adding: "Now, what was that about lying being illegal?" In fact, military officials have warned of the threat of white supremacism in the ranks.

Mark Finkelstein played whataboutism to distract from more criticism of Fox News in a Marcy 9 post:

To paraphrase Luke 4:23: MSNBC, heal thyself!

On today's Morning Joe, discussing revelations that Fox News people said critical things in private about Donald Trump, but something very different on the air, David Ignatius said:

"You have a sense that Fox is chasing what it imagines its viewers, the public on the right, want to hear. And that's just never a good position."

Yes, Ignatius was talking about Fox News. But upon hearing it, you might have thought Ignatius had Joe Scarborough in mind.

Because if there is one person in cable news who has changed his views, molding them to fit the desires of his liberal audience, corporate suits, and elite social milieu, it is Scarborough.

Curtis Houck spent a March 10 post whining about the coverage:

With disclosure after disclosure of e-mails and text messages from Fox News executives, hosts, and journalists released over the last month as part of a Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit and Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) giving Tucker Carlson’s team access to January 6 surveillance, Fox News has been in the headlines and, sure enough, the liberal networks that want to see the network eradicated have spent nearly an hour obsessing over the two so-called scandals.

The MRC looked at the flagship morning, evening, and Sunday morning political talk shows of “the big three” networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC from the February 17 Dominion disclosure through March 10 and found the trio have wasted 57 minutes and 37 seconds being consumed with the happenings of a competitor. For reference, this was 27 times larger than the time they spent on the Twitter Files (two minutes and eight seconds).

Separate out the two stories and they’ve doled out 35 minutes and 28 seconds tut-tutting on FNC’s supposed grave and 18 minutes and 57 seconds smearing Carlson for “press[ing] a series of phony claims” and “spinning a false narrative.”

CBS was well out in front with 23 minutes and 13 seconds across the CBS Evening News, CBS Mornings, and Face the Nation. ABC was second with 18 minutes and 37 seconds on Good Morning America, This Week, and World News Tonight, and then 15 minutes and 47 seconds for Meet the Press, NBC Nightly News, and Today.

Houck didn't regale his readers with tales of how Fox News covered the story so much better -- perhaps because managment has forbidden it to be discussed on the channel (something he didn't disclose to his readers). Instead, he simply repeated a statement from the channel criticizing the lawsuit, then bashed coverage of it again:

As for Dominion, Fox has said the lawsuit poses a genuine threat to free speech and the news media while Dominion argues Fox should pay a price for having aired false claims about their voting machines.

We know which side the liberal media are on in their quest to ensure Fox News ceases to exist and assert control over what Americans learn (and don’t learn) about the world around them.

Houck didn't mention all the attacks Fox News has launched on its competitors over the years -- particularly CNN -- let alone argue that Fox wanted CNN to cease to exist in order to "assert control over what Americans learn (and don’t learn) about the world around them."

Finkelstein returned for a March 11 post that downplayed all that lying-to-its-viewers stuff to manufacture a little outrage at Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell's suggestion that members of the military should perhaps not be permitted to watch Fox News in the wake of the scandal:

Note Swawell's ominous last line, "I don't think we are without complete recourse." Translation: "we have ways of making Fox News stop talking!"

Imagine the Biden administration creating a Bureau of Television Truth—Armed Forces Division, with the power to ban shows not to its liking! And as its first commissar, why not . . . Eric Swalwell!

Graham came back for a March 12 post under the headline "Comedy! Leftist Radio Host Asks Jean-Pierre If the FCC Can Pull the 'License' of Fox News." But not only did commentator Dean Obedallah not say that, he explicitly acknowledged that wasn't possible because Fox News is on cable, and Graham even quoted him saying that: "They can lose their license on a network. It doesn’t apply to cable." Graham also huffed:

Rational people can excuse Obeidallah's censorious enthusiasm since he loves stirring the pot with "comedy" like suggesting in 2016 that we exchange Trump with Mexico for the murderous drug lord "El Chapo."


You're going to find zero enthusiasm at CNN and MSNBC for extending the FCC's authority from broadcast TV to cable TV...not to mention raunchy cable networks. They prefer the leftists just pressure cable companies to drop Fox without the government getting too involved.

Graham refused to criticize Fox News and barely referenced the scandal at all, euphemistically noting only that "the cable news network's communications were revealed in the Dominion defamation lawsuit."

Posted by Terry K. at 10:30 PM EDT

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