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Thursday, November 30, 2023
Circular Promotion: MRC Hypes Right-Wing Host Touting Shoddy MRC Attack On Ad Fontes
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's attack on media-ratings firm Ad Fontes is such a shoddy and biased partisan document that it took us two posts to fully expose that shoddy work. But doing quality work is not the MRC's goal here -- pushing partisan narratives is, and the so-called study does exactly that. Toward that end, a Sept. 25 post by Luis Cornelio hyped one of the MRC's favorite right-wing TV and radio ranters hyping the shoddy study:

Nationally syndicated radio host Mark Levin blasted the left’s newest tool to destroy right-leaning media outlets.

In a fiery segment of The Mark Levin Show on Sept. 22, host Levin highlighted an MRC Free Speech America exposé that detailed how Ad Fontes — a media ratings company and self-proclaimed arbiter of truth and facts — is working behind the scenes to redirect Americans from conservative media to leftist outlets through dubious ratings of reliability and bias.

“This is how totalitarian regimes conduct themselves,” Levin said of Ad Fontes’s reach, which extends to major educational institutions and government-tied entities.

The MRC report found that Ad Fontes gave 64 percent of media the rating firm deemed to be on the left as reliable, while only rating 32 percent of media it labeled on the right as reliable. Ad Fontes’s tirade against Levin was among the most disturbing in MRC Free Speech America’s findings. Levin’s flagship shows — The Mark Levin Show, The Blaze’s LevinTV and Fox News’s Life, Liberty and Levin — were all slapped down as “unreliable,” “misleading” and “problematic.”

Cornelio offered no evidence that Ad Fontes' assessment of Levin's programs is in any way inaccurate, and he did not indicate that Levin disputed it. Instead, he continued to be Levin's servile stenographer:

In response, Levin did not mince his words. “Of course,” said Levin of Ad Fontes’s slap down of his popular shows. “I am considered ‘unreliable.’ … Who else is considered unreliable? The Federalist, Jesse Watters Primetime, Hannity, The Ingraham Angle, The Epoch Time, PragerU, The Daily Signal, RedState, Turning Point USA, Newsmax [and] OAN.”

Ad Fontes, through its self-proclaimed leftist executives, has partnered with some of the largest Big Tech platforms like Meta and advertising agencies to target right-leaning outlets, including Levin’s own radio show. Ad Fontes was the subject of a months-long MRC Free Speech America study that ultimately revealed that the media ratings firm skews its analysis to treat media critical of the Biden regime more harshly than legacy outlets, such as NBC, CBS, ABC, The New York Times and The Washington Post

Later in the segment, Levin issued a dire warning. “We’re way beyond the world liberal and progressive,”  Levin said after citing the damning findings in the 12-page report. “We’re way, way beyond that America.”

Because Cornelio is one of the co-authors of the study, he will not be making an effort to fact-check anything Levin says.

In more self-promotion, Tim Graham used his Sept. 28 podcast to hype the so-called study:

Then we discuss [MRC Free Speech America]'s big investigation into Ad Fontes Media, one of those businesses that claim to measure the reliability and tilt of media outlets in the interest of "media literacy." We never trust any chart that puts AP and PBS and NPR in the "Middle" with high reliability. NewsBusters and Fox News and most conservative outlets are painted as unreliable and "hyperpartisan." 

But this is worse. The Ad Fontes team wants to use their cockamamie ratings and suppress conservative advertising and go into schools and teach "media literacy," as in "kids, stay away from those dangerous conservative neighborhoods."

But the study made no serious attempt to prove the reliability of right-wing websites -- it simply cherry-picked examples to attack Ad Fontes' rating system -- nor did it prove that its findings about those sites was driven by partisan animosity (like the MRC's attack on Ad Fontes). And Graham didn't explain why "media literacy" is a bad thing if it teaches people how to recognize shoddy websites -- unless pushing shoddy misinformation is the goal of right-wing media.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:25 PM EST

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