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Tuesday, April 11, 2023
MRC Complains Networks Won't Cover GOP Stunt Hearings -- But Praises Fox News For Doing So
Topic: Media Research Center

The field hearings House Republicans held in Feburary and March along the southern border were publicity stunts designed to advance Republican narratives about the "Biden border crisis" -- so much so that Democrats declined to play along. Heck, Republicans even have a 15-page guide on how to use field hearings for publicity purposes. So, naturally, the Republican Party PR division known as the Media Research Center made sure to hype the sepublicity stunts by complaining that non-right-wing channels were ignoring them. Kevin Tober fed the PR machine in a Feb. 23 post:

On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee held its first official congressional field hearing in Yuma, Arizona on the crisis at the southern border. The GOP members of the committee showed up to hear testimony from Border Patrol agents and other members of the community who had been negatively affected by the Biden administration's refusal to secure the southern border. Every Democrat member of the committee boycotted the hearing. Democrats claimed it's a political stunt and that they weren’t given advanced notice, which Townhall has reported was a lie. All three network newscasts ignored the Democrats boycotting the hearing. Not only that, but there was no coverage of the hearing at all. 

Instead of reporting on the Democrats playing hooky, ABC’s World News Tonight and CBS Evening News spent considerable time on local weather forecasts, while NBC Nightly News whined about a challenge to the constitutionality of abortion pills. 

Tober then went on to praise the PR efforts of its fellow GOP press agents at Fox News:

On Fox News’s Special Report, national correspondent Bill Melugin reported how “Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee [were] sounding off in Yuma, Arizona this afternoon as the committee holds its first field hearing on the border crisis.”


Providing details on the trip that the Democrats irresponsibly skipped, Melugin revealed how “Republicans met with leadership at Yuma Regional Medical Center, Yuma's only hospital,” and that “the CEO there says they are on the verge of financial collapse after the hospital spent more than $20 million in six months providing care for illegal immigrants with no reimbursement and nobody to foot the bill.”

“Last night Fox News was with the Republican delegation as they received a tour of the Yuma sector from the border patrol union. The tour they say Democrats should not have boycotted,” Melugin added. 

It’s obvious why the three leftist networks ignored the story. It maade Democrat members of the House Judiciary Committee look terrible. ABC, CBS, & NBC couldn’t have Democrats looking bad so they refuse to cover it.

Of course, by that same logic, it's obvious that Fox News covered the hearing to make Republicans look good. But Tober wasn't going to mention that.

Tim Graham spent a March 2 post throwing a fit that C-SPAN didn't schlep out to Arizona for the hearing because it was a publicity stunt that Democrats declined to dignify by their presence, prompting him to play the whataboutism card:

By that standard, C-SPAN should have decided not to cover any of the House January 6 Committee hearings. The Republicans were denied their right to select their own members. They would argue that the Pelosi-picked Republicans made it bipartisan, but anyone watching it knew it was unanimous in its political mission. It was not a debate and there was no balance. 

Those hearings -- which often was more of a TV show than actual live testimony -- were held inside the Capitol.


This was clearly a failure by C-SPAN to offer a thorough and balanced presentation of congressional business. One can guess they were worried about being slammed by the liberal media.

Or you know, it could be a budgetary issue -- it costs money to send a crew and cameras to Arizona, then provide a  live video link to its system to broadcast the hearing, and C-SPAN is not known for sitting on a pile of cash. Graham offered no evidence that House Republicans offered to cover the cost of doing that.

When Democrats skipped another publicity-stunt hearing in March, Toer returned in a March 13 post to do up GOP PR duties -- and, of course, praise Fox News again for helping with the PR:

During Fox News’s Special Report on Monday evening, national correspondent Bill Melugin broke the news to Fox viewers that once again, Democrat [sic] members of the House Homeland Security Committee planned to boycott a field hearing at the border which was scheduled for Wednesday. Sadly, but not surprisingly, all three evening news networks ignored the Democrats’ latest snub.

Instead of reporting on this shameful stunt by Congressional Democrats, the networks decided to instead dedicate airtime to Bruce Springsteen canceling one of his concerts (ABC), a study on a racial disparity in infant deaths (CBS), and a story about AI voice cloning (NBC). 

Speaking to Special Report Bret Baier, Melugin reported that “the House Homeland Security Committee is set to have a field hearing about the border crisis right here in the Rio Grande Valley on Wednesday.” 

According to Melugin, Homeland Security Committee chairman Mark Green was “notified that all Democrats on the committee are pulling out from attending that hearing this Wednesday.”

Tober seemed to hae learned this time around, declining to portray non-right-wing networks' non-coverage of the publicity-stunt hearing as tacit support for Democrats so as not to beg the question of how Fox News' coverage of Republican stunts shows their support for Republicans.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:53 PM EDT

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