MRC's Graham Mad Fact-Checkers Sought The Truth About Canadian Trucker Protest Topic: Media Research Center
For an organization that claims to be about "media research," the Media Research Center sure gets mad when anyone else does "media research" that doesn't fit its right-wing narratives. In a Feb. 5 post, MRC executive Tim Graham saw a conspiracy in fact-checkers investigating memes related to the protest:
Wherever the Left is challenged, you can count on the so-called "independent fact-checkers" to fan out and attack...followed by Twitter promoting what "fact-checkers say."
This week, it was the Canadian trucker convoy arriving in Ottawa to protest the COVID vaccine mandate imposed by socialist prime minister Justin Trudeau. There were false impressions to check, but they all seem to run one way.
First, Twitter promoted checks around the theme "Miscaptioned images from around the world are being falsely associated with the trucker protest in Canada, fact-checkers report." That included images of a 2018 event in Alberta and a 2021 event in Italy.
But mostly, the liberal pack wanted to downplay any large estimates of attendance.
Yes, Graham has decided that all fact-checkers are on "the Left" because they fact-check right-wing narratives. At no point, by the way, did Graham dispute the accuracy of any of the fact-checks or offer any numbers to back up the memes he's implicitly supporting -- he's complaining they were done at all. It's hard to attack fact-checkers for bias when you can't actually identify any.
Graham even whined that a meme containing a false statement from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was fact-checked, huffing in response: "No one has fact-checked Trudeau. Because he's on the Right Side of History." Again, Graham faiiled to offer an instance of a Trudeau statement he believes should be fact-checked.
NEW ARTICLE: The MRC's COVID Sports Selfishness Brigade Topic: Media Research Center
Led by sports bloggers Jay Maxson and John Simmons, the Media Research Center labored to turn Aaron Rodgers and Novak Djokovic into heroes for deceiving officials about their COVID vaccination status. Read more >>
The MRC's Hypocritical Tolerance Of Trucker Convoy, Part 2 Topic: Media Research Center
We showed how the Media Research Center was an early supporter of the trucker convoy in Canada -- even though the disruptive and occasionally violent protest tactics the truckers used were deplored by the MRC when used by non-right-wing activists. The MRC maintained that support throughout the protest.
In a Feb. 8 post, Curtis Houck claimed to be alarmed that White House press secretary Jen Psaki noted evidence that the truckers were getting help from right-wingers in the U.S.: "The horror! She made it seem like conservatives are a cabal that could have a tunnel network to Canada, envelopes filled with money, disguises, and all the bells and whistles."When a reporter asked Psaki about whether the Biden administration would look further into that aid, Houck screeched that this was a "call to prosecute political dissent" that was "insanity."
CNN’s anti-Freedom Convoy correspondent Paula Newton was at it again Wednesday as she desperately tried to smear the peaceful Canadian protest against their COVID restrictions. In reports throughout the day, Newton suggested that they should be feared and were a threat to the country. She even suggested that their “civil disobedience” can’t be “tolerated” because “what can happen next?”
Fondacaro added the MRC's approved whataboutism talking point: "This is the same CNN that supported the Black Lives Matter Riots of 2020 and dubbed them “FIERY BUT MOSTLY PEACEFUL.” They also didn’t have an issue with the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) in Seattle, Washington where people were being killed." He didn't mention that just a few days earlier, his MRC colleague Houck unironically repeated a description of the the convoy protest as "mostly peaceful."
Tim Graham described his Feb. 9 podcast on the protests this way, summarizing all the support and whataboutism:
The liberal media have been truly hostile to Canadian truckers protesting vaccine mandates with a convoy in Ottawa. You can feel their mood when they call it the "so-called Freedom Convoy," as so-called objective networks do. Canada's socialist prime minister Justin Trudeau acts like these are the worst Canadians imaginable.
But that's not the worst of it. American networks have called the trucker resistance an "insurrection" and touted [left-wing] locals saying they're being held "hostage" by protests. They suggested the protests were populated by Nazis, Q-Anon, and Confederate flag-wavers, and repeated claims protesters stole food from the homeless. It's been a real hatchet job. Even the "independent fact checkers" lined up against them.
They even panicked that the Canadians had hot tubs, pizza ovens, and Plinko games. The contrast with American protests, like the "Autonomous Zone" in Seattle in 2020, is stunning. The networks then said these were the most peaceful protests imaginable....even as rapes and murders happened.
You can tell that liberals think that protests are Their Thing, and that when conservatives protest, it's somehow a frightening attack on democracy!
Clay Waters served up some of the same whataboutism in yet another attack on the New York Times for its coverage of the protest in a Feb. 10 post:
The Canadian trucker protest in Ottawa against vaccine mandates and overzealous Covid restrictions is certainly not getting the fawning Black Lives Matter treatment from The New York Times. Tuesday’s front-page story was crammed with contempt for the protesters, smeared for allegedly committing the same sort of acts that BLM protesters did during the often violent nationwide protests after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in the summer of 2020: Theft, disruption, and “desecration” of statues.
The reporters had to admit the “festive” atmosphere in Ottawa, before switching back to condemnation that “[m]any Ottawa residents are besides themselves.”
Strange, how The Times never cared about how city residents felt about noise and closures that resulted from mob violence during the Floyd protests of 2020.
The Times is also suddenly against vandalizing statues, though on Tuesday it ran a story that approved of destroying a statute of a British slave-trader.
During a softball interview with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas aired on Thursday’s CBS Mornings, the broadcast network treated Canadian truckers protesting draconian COVID regulations like terrorists and fretted to the Biden cabinet official that the demonstrators posed a “potential security threat” to the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, the ongoing out-of-control crisis at the U.S. southern border was completely ignored.
When CNN contributor pointed out that the truckers were delilberately disrupting international commerce by blocking border crossings between Canada and the U.S. and suggested solultions to shutting down such an illegal protest, Fondacaro screamed that she was a PSYCHO":
Harvard professor, former Obama DHS official, and CNN national security analyst, Juliette Kayyem was channeling some real Carrie Underwood energy (Before He Cheats) as she took to Twitter Thursday to lash out at the Canadian Freedom Convoy, demanding that Canadian authorities “slash” their tires and “empty the tanks” then somehow “move the trucks.” And as she deserved, Kayyem was called out and ridiculed for it.
Kayyem began her rage-fest by whining about the truckers getting support from “right wing [sic] media” and suggesting the truckers were a threat to American national security. “The Ambassador Bridge link constitutes 28% of annual trade movement between US and Canada. Slash the tires, empty gas tanks, arrest the drivers, and move the trucks,” she wrote.
Instead of offering logical arguments against her, Fondacaro huffed that she was filled with "toxic elitism" and "petty authoritarianism." As if blocking border crossings is somehow elitism and authoritarianism?
Alex Christy got bent out of shape over CNN's John Avlon noting that the protester "constitute a 'right-wing Trucker tantrum' supported by Americans who hypocritically call themselves pro-life" and are seeking "special exemption from public health laws."Christy grumbled in response that Avlon wasn't "taking time to consider that maybe public health laws need to change or that one-size-fits-all rules are not necessary" and non-scientifically insisted that a vaccination rate of 75 percent was sufficient: "With so many vaccinated, there is no justifiable reason to keep emergency measures in place." Of course, that still means 25 percent of the population isn't vaccinated, giving plenty of room for COVID to spread; most people who died from catching the Omicron variant were unvaccinated.
Graham tried a weird bit of whataboutism in a Feb. 11 post:
At the end of Thursday’s All In on MSNBC, host Chris Hayes mocked the Fox News Channel for promoting Tea Party rallies in 2009, and then he compared that to promotional coverage of the Canadian Freedom Convoy. He protested it as a “Truly incredible display of the unique role that one network plays in American political life. For many years, Fox News has been operating this flatly propagandistic fashion.”
It might be fair to suggest it’s funny to promote an occupation of an urban area when it’s Canada and then oppose it with say, Occupy Wall Street. But Hayes seems oblivious to the idea that when the shoe was on the other foot in 2011, it was his company doing the “flatly propagandistic” stuff, like “ Slow Jam The News: Fallon And Brian Williams Make Occupy Wall Street Sexy.”
That's the comparison Graham is going to make? Really? No wonder the MRC keeps losing credibility.
The MRC's Hypocritical Tolerance Of Trucker Convoy Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Reserach Center was enthusiastic supporters of the trucker protest in Canada last month. A Feb. 1 post by Curtis Houck cheered the "massive resistance"and downplay reports of violence and disruption:
Despite warnings of violence and claims from the likes of Toronto’s Global and Mail that “calling the Ottawa protests ‘peaceful’ downplays non-violent danger” and the presence of some repugnant images such as the Confederate flag and Nazi symbols, the BBC said Monday it was “mostly peaceful” aside from “the behaviour of some members of the crowd,” which The Guardian said includes desecrating the National War Memorial.
We remember when the MRC used to make fun of people who called protests "mostly peaceful." Also note Houck's weird wording of "repugnant images," seemingly absolving the actual people involved in the protest of waving those Confederate flags and Nazi symbols. All the better to protect that "mostly peaceful" narrative, eh?
As the truckers' violent behavior became more apparent, Clay Waters went into whataboutism mode in a Feb. 4 post when the New York Times reported taht protesters were "desecrating war memorials, wielding Nazi symbols and stealing food from the homeless":
The racial protests toppled statues, blocked streets and freeways and caused massive property damage and looted Nike stores and Targets and high-end stores in New York City, set fires and burned flags and smashed police cars, not to mention stabbings and shootings. The Times covered it all neutrally, with no social distancing lectures at a time when outdoor weddings and funerals were limited or banned. Meanwhile, protestors danced in the streets.
(There was plenty of “desecration of monuments and other threatening behavior” in major U.S. cities during the BLM-linked riots, and radical marauders roamed the streets intimidating people eating at restaurants, without Times condemnation.)
But we thought the MRC wanted neutral coverage from the Times, as opposed to all that "liberal bias" it supposedly pumps out.
Waters did the same whataboutism in a Feb. 6 post as he complained about the Times using "second-hand anecdotes" to criticize the truckers using air horns and other tactics:
If these second-hand anecdotes are indeed part of the picture of the protest, one is vividly reminded of similar, though much worse, incidents from the George Floyd racial protests of the summer of 2020 in multiple major U.S. cities.
But there weren’t just air horns in Minneapolis, New York City, and Portland (among dozens of other cities) but actual killings. The riots that grew out of some of the U.S. protests featured massive looting, vandalism, arsons, adding up to $2 billion in insurance claims and multiple arrests. Meanwhile, the Ottawa police, for all their insults, have yet to make a single arrest at the truckers’ protest.
Houck returned on Feb. 7 post to bash media coverage of the protest for having "dismissed them as standing in the way of Canada’s “efforts to control” the virus and making life difficult and violent for those in the capital city of Ottawa," lamenting, "So, instead of trying to understand them, the media have decided to condemn them."We don't recall the MRC ever trying to "understand" any of the protesters against police brutality.
Nicholas Fondacaro also chimed in by falsely claiming the convoy protest was "peaceful " and complaining that CNN was "being sure to pick some of the most incendiary quotes." He also complained that it was pointed out that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's life was threatened and thatCNN "chose to parrot talking points from the petty authoritarians in the Ottawa Police Department and the Liberal Canadian government." He too played whataboutism: "Meanwhile, in 2020, CNN supported the Black Lives Matter and Antifa riots that destroyed people’s livelihoods and homes and resulted in deaths."
The same day, Kevin Tober cheered the "massive crowds" allegedly greeting the protest and how the truckers were disrupting international commerce by blocking a bridge between Detroit and Canada, then complained that one reporter "tried to smear the protesters by citing outlier instances of 'national monuments desecrated, and some protesters displaying symbols of hate,' as if that justified a 'state of emergency.'" He too played whataboutism on reports of violence and disruption:
It's a safe bet you didn't hear this type of language in the summer of 2020 during the networks' coverage of the actual occupation in downtown Seattle, Washington in the form of the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ/CHOP) where multiple people were killed and businesses were being extorted. NBC highlighted the Ottawa businesses annoyed with the truckers but they didn't care about those Seattle residents.
As if that justifies Tober praising violence and disruption in Canada.
Needless to say, the MRC frowned on the truckers' protest tactics when they were used by non-right-wingers. In an October 2020 post, Alexander Hall was alarmed that "Fox News warned in a report yesterday that 'Shut Down D.C.' is 'setting the stage for mass gatherings in D.C.,' amid the election. Fox news added that Shut Down DC, according to the Federalist, is reportedly calling for 'potentially blockading the White House, blocking traffic, shutting down government office buildings and even Amazon fulfillment centers.'" Hall repeated his manufactured concern a few days later. And a week after that, Kayla Sargent cited another news report claiming the group "plans civil action that may include stopping traffic in the U.S. capital, with dozens of other groups" in complaining that Facebook hadn't taken down the group's page.
In a November 2020 post, Jay Maxson defended police breaking up a pre-election march with pepper spray because "marchers disobeyed police orders and impeded traffic by blocking a road and driving vehicles in the wrong direction on that road. Police ordered the unlawful assembly to disperse, but the warning went unheeded." Brad Wilmouth similarly defended the crackdown because "they were blocking traffic and refused commands to move."
In July, Kyle Drennen grumbled that "MSNBC on Thursday complained that Cuban-American protesters who blocked traffic in Miami were not arrested," noting a new Florida law that permits the arrest of protesters who block traffic. Drennen conceded the point, then tried to change the subject:
Obviously no lawful protest should ever block traffic or endanger public safety and the local authorities would have had every right to arrest the few dozen demonstrators who shut down the intersection shown on screen. However, rather than go talk to the Miami Police Department about how the situation was handled, MSNBC immediately rushed to blame Florida Republican Governor and potential 2024 presidential candidate Ron DeSantis instead.
[Correspondent Kerry] Sanders read a statement from the Governor’s office: “Under preexisting Florida law, blocking or obstructing a roadway without a proper permit has long been illegal. It’s puzzling that some media outlets are attempting to claim otherwise.” In response, the reporter feigned ignorance of anyone in press having an agenda: “Of course, this is us as reporters reporting what others are saying. This is not an agenda of any reporter, at least that I can see here.”
There's plenty more convoy hypocrisy from the MRC where that came from. Stay tuned.
The MRC's Hypocrisy On Corporate Whoring Continues Topic: Media Research Center
Scott Whitlock rehashed old, hateful grievances in a Feb. 5 post, headlined "Network Whores at ABC Shilled for ‘Mulan,’ Buried Filming Near Brutal Chinese Camp
The China Olympics kicked off on Friday night under the shadow of the country’s brutal regime sentencing Uyghur minorities to prison terms featuring torture and sexual abuse.
Yet, as NewsBusters reported on Tuesday, the networks only allowed 13 minutes in one year. For NBC, the network televising the Olympics, there was only 742 seconds. (They've tried to make up for a year of non-coverage by doing a lot more in the last few days.)
But NBC isn’t the only morally compromised network. ABC allowed just 23 seconds from January 31, 2021 to January 31 2022. And the journalists at that network have repeatedly sold out to their corporate overlords, burying the news of a prison camp Mulan filmed nearby and it might harm the movie's release.
In September of 2020, ABC’s Good Morning America aggressively promoted the live action version of Mulan. The network repeatedly hyped its debut on Disney+. Yet, when ugly news broke that the movie filmed near brutal Chinese concentration camps, ABC censored the story.
Instead of exposing this, ABC whored out the news division for Disney+.
Whitlock didn't mention that his employer has no problem whoring out its "news" division, CNSNews.com, for corporate purposes. We've documented how the MRC's various operations have been whored out to promote Brent Bozell's new memoir. And just four days before Whitlock wrote his post, CNS was whored out in the form of CNS editor Terry Jeffrey doing an extremely softball interview with Bozell to promote the book.
Whitlock's complaint might have some gravitas if he wasn't complaining about the exact same thing his employer does.
MRC's Double Standard On Nazi References Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has been whining a lot of late about Donald Trump and Republicans in general being likened to Adolf Hitler and Nazis. For instance:
Lydia Switzer huffed in December that CNN's "John Avlon expressed shock and outrage over comparisons of Dr. Anthony Fauci to Nazi doctor Josef Mengele and Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. Avlon made those nasty attacks on Fauci “dangerous deflections” while ignoring the countless times his own network, among others, eagerly compared Republicans to Nazis and other historical villains.
In his Jan. 12 column, Tim Graham retorted a CNN claim that Fox News' schedule was being filled with "flame throwers" with this bit of whataboutism: Permit me to repeat that Brian Stelter put an “expert” on his Reliable Sources show who proclaimed Donald Trump would kill more people than Stalin, Hitler, and Mao combined. CNN has compared Trump to Hitler so often that it sounds like the Fake History Channel ... [CNN host Fareed] Zakaria and his selected voices name-checked Hitler 24 times.
Mark Finkelstein declared on Jan. 31 that "Trump = Hitler is the political catnip that liberals just can't stay away from" after historian Michael Beschloss noted that a recent Trump rally exuding "fascism" and "authoriterianism"took place the same day in history that Hitler was named chancellor of Germany.
The same day, Curtis Houck ranted that MSNBC host Joy Reid "injected more venom into our body politic" by noting that the current right-wing fetish for banning and burning of books it disapproves of "happened to be staples of fascism and communism. The Nazis did it, Hitler imposing ridged censorship on newspapers and burning all literature he considered dangerous."
Needless to say, the MRC enthusiastically embraces Nazi comparison when it serves its partisan political agenda to do so.
In November, as we noted, MRC chief Brent Bozell melted down over his organization being identified as spreading politically motivated misinformation on climate change by screeching, "Digital brownshirts are attacking conservative organizations for daring to have an honest debate on climate policy. These anti-free speech bigots want to shut down anyone who dares to disagree with them."The MRC's Alexander Hall later gushed that his boss "torched" the study's creators with the slur,
The MRC was at it again in a Feb. 25 item by Joseph Vazquez headlined "Special Report: Digital Brownshirts Attacking Free Speech on Climate Change Boosted by Liberal Media," in whcih he complained that "liberal media outlets" are boosting the report identifying the MRC as a climate misinformer, weirdly making a point of calling the group "foreign."
Never mind that a year or so earlier, the MRC purported to deplore the use of the word: "Chuck Todd took a vicious swipe at Trump’s backers, which he noted were gathering just across the street for a rally, by comparing them to the Nazi Brownshirts who enforced Adolf Hitler’s rule."
The MRC had the chance to redeem itself and look a little less hypocritical. In December, Fox News talking head Lara Logan -- who has long been loved by the MRC, to the point that it hid her misdeeds in reporting a false claim about the Benghazi attack and continued to promote her even as she spread Antifa hoaxes -- outrageously likened Anthony Fauci to notorious Nazi doctor Joseph Mengele. Instead of calling her out by name and declare taht all such Nazi comparions are beyond the pale, the MRC wimped out.
The above-noted Dec. 1 post by Switzer was one example, with her refusing to identify Logan as the person who likened Fauci to Mengele. She went on to issue a general criticism of the trend, then moving immediately to whataboutism: "Of course, none of this is to say that violent threats and attacks on Dr. Fauci are justified. However, attempts by CNN to claim moral high ground regarding authoritarian comparisons are simply laughable."
In a Dec. 6 post, Graham repeated earlier whataboutism in noting that CNN guest David Zurawik was like a "drug addict" inneeding media attention of the kind that drew her to make the Fauci-Mengele comparison: "Later in the show, Stelter asked Zurawik about Lara Logan being on a "time out" of sorts from Fox News after comparing Dr. Fauci to Dr. Mengele. That outburst was bad, but since when does CNN get to promenade about Nazi comparisons when it has thrown that mud routinely?? On his show, Stelter let a guest say Donald Trump would kill more people than Hitler, Stalin, and Mao combined!"
Of course, the MRC has been hypocritical on this particular comparison as well. In 2020, it claimed that Whoopi Goldberg engaged in "next-level nuttiness" for "=saying Trump was like Josef Mengele, the Nazi doctor at Auschwitz" with his infamous suggestion that people drink bleach to kill COVID.And it has used th slur when it helps its agenda: An April 2020 post by Gabriel Hays lashed out at women who used telemedicine during the pandemic to get the medication needed for a medically induced abortion: "So, it’s not perfect ease of access, but you know lefties consider this to be pretty innovative. Yeah, innovative in the way Nazi doctor Josef Mengele was 'innovative.'"
That's the closest thing to outrage the MRC could muster. Being a friend of the MRC -- as Logan is -- helps shield one from responsibility for making wild comparisons. How sadly hypocritical. We can only quote from a 2015 column by Graham and Bozell attacking Planned Parenthood: "To refuse to condemn is to condone. They are condoning something Josef Mengele would also endorse were he practicing his brand of medicine today."
MRC Turns Its Bogus Research Into A Bogus Campaign Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center isn't about "media research" -- its sole purpose is to manufacture right-wing narratives. Case in point: Last fall, it asserted taht Republican members of Congress being "censored" much more than Democratic ones, though the more accurate description is that the Republicans violated social media terms of service much more than Democrats did. That finding is because, as we noted, while the MRC is aggressive in finding Republican examples, no evidence was offered that it was similarly aggressive -- or even made any effort at all -- in seeking Democratic examples. The MRC also weirdly revised the ratio upward, from 53-to-1 to 54-to-1, a couple weeks later without explanation -- also something legitimate researchers don't do.
Now, it's trying to use that so-called "research" as the basis for a partisan campaign. Brian Bradley wrote the press release for his employer in a Jan. 19 post:
The Media Research Center today launched a new initiative to stop Big Tech’s election interference. The MRC sent a letter to congressional staff to collect a comprehensive report of lawmakers censored by Big Tech.
MRC Free Speech America in October found that social media companies censored GOP congressional lawmakers at a rate of 54-1 compared to congressional Democrats.
Big Tech censored 18 different members of Congress from July 17, 2020, through Jan. 3, 2022, when the most recent instances of congressional censorship were recorded by CensorTrack Social media platforms censored 17 Republicans and one Democrat, according to CensorTrack data.
Despite Bradley's insistence that this is a "broad" and "comprehensive" effort, no evidence is provided that the MRC is going to try to collect examples of Democratic members of Congress being "censored." Indeed, all of the examples cited in Bradley's piece are of Republicans, including far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, whom the MRC continues to insist is a victim despite having been shamed into admitting she has gone too far at times.
Bradley also quotes his boss, Brent Bozell, declaring, "It's time to stop Big Tech from interfering in our elections!" But the MRC believes that applies only to Republicans like Greene; it has rarely criticized any Democratic politician who was similarly "censored," which is more evidence that this will not be the "comprehensive effort" Bozell wants you to think it is.
The attached letter, signed by MRC VP Dan Gainor, doesn't indicate whether it was sent to all members of Congress or only Republican ones, though it does contain the line "Whether your congressperson is a Democrat, Republican or Independent, we want to track ALL instances of Big Tech censorship." It's a right-wing narrative that private companies have no right to enforce their terms of service and anyone who faces consequences for violating those terms is being "censored" -- and it's a dubious, partisna narrative that Democrats are unlikely to help them perpetuate.
Even if the letter did go to Democratic congresspeople, it's clear the MRC doesn't actually care about them. It only wants their numbers to compare to Repubicans to portray them as the greater victim (read: the ones who violate social media terms of service more often). Also, self-reported data isn't reliable data, since Republicans have an incentive to help the MRC perpetuate its "censorship" victim narrative and Democrats have little incentive to cooperate with a right-wing organization that's more likely to attack them than act in good faith.
In short: A few months from now, look for the MRC to cite this work as evidence that Republican members of Congress are being even more "censored" than Democratic ones. Bogus research begets bogus research.
When President Biden accurately noted that Republicans were changing election laws to help Republicans and disadvantage Democrats, the MRC went into overdrive attacking the president. Brian Bradley demanded in a Jan. 20 post that Biden be censored:
Facebook and Twitter are doing nothing to curb flagrant disinformation spouted by President Joe Biden. During his press conference yesterday, Biden falsely claimed conservatives are already manipulating the 2022 midterm elections.
Biden on Wednesday said that Republicans are engaging in “unconstitutional” attempts to “stack the election and subvert the outcome.” He was apparently referring to legislative efforts by 19 states to bolster election integrity.
Biden’s communications team posted a video of the president’s press conference to the White House Facebook page Wednesday afternoon. But as of 3:39 p.m. EST on Thursday, Meta still hadn’t flagged the recording for election disinformation, contradicting the company’s recent vows to crack down on “election interference.” Facebook didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Facebook’s and Twitter’s lack of intervention belies the platforms’ efforts to censor conservatives who questioned the process and results of the 2020 election.
Facebook removed the “Stop the Steal” group in the aftermath of the 2020 election, announced an indefinite suspension of former President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and suppressed the distribution of an October 2020 New York Post story outlining alleged corruption between Ukraine and Joe and Hunter Biden.
Bradley didn't mention that, because the 2020 election wasn't stolen, the pro-Trump "Stop the Steal" campaign was fraudulent.
Later that day, Nicholas Fondacaro kept up the hypocritical outrage as he cheered news outlets bashing White House press secretary Jen Psaki for defending her boss:
In addition to making headlines by giving Russia the green light for a “minor incursion” into Ukraine during a press conference on Wednesday, President Biden dropped jaws when he declared the 2022 midterms would be illegitimate if the Senate didn’t pass the federal takeover of elections. And it was a declaration that raised serious concerns on both sides of the aisle as White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was relentlessly grilled by both CNN and Fox News Channel on Thursday.
That morning, Psaki took one for the team as she ran into the rhetorical buzz saw that was America’s Newsroom >co-hosts Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino on FNC. “Last night, on the eve of his anniversary in office, those reforms failed. So, I'm curious if he will continue to say that those 2022 elections will be illegitimate,” Perino pointedly asked.
Psaki responded with her usual word salad stating that “the President [had spoken to her] a lot about this and he absolutely is not predicting that the 2022 elections would be illegitimate” and how “the point he was making the former president asked a number of states, seven or more, in fact, to overturn the outcome of the election.”
Fondacaro didn't mention that both his employer and Trump labored mightily to delegitimize the 2020 election.
Alex Christy was similiarly uniroinically outraged in a Jan. 21 post lashing out at CNN pointing out Republicans' hypocrisy in attacking Biden for making that claim:
Host Alisyn Camerota wondered what the big deal was, after all there are Republicans "who supported Trump's false election claims won elections to serve as local judges and election inspectors. This is what President Biden was referring to, I think."
Politico White House correspondent Laura Barron-Lopez agreed and claimed the entire controversy is simply because Biden gave inartful response: "Yeah, I agree with you, Alisyn. And look, should the president have been more clear and careful in his statement? Yes. Should the press seek clarification and the White House has sought to clarify what he meant, which was to talk about election subversion? Yes. They should do that."
Fonodacaro went misogynistic in another Jan. 21 post, smearing a group of outspoken women -- the hosts of "The View" -- as a "coven":
The unhinged coven on ABC’s The View busted out their tinfoil hats on Friday, as they peppered White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki with crackpot conspiracy theories suggesting the 2022 midterm elections would be illegitimate because Republicans were stealing away voting rights from black people. All of which are false.
Loopy CNNer and co-host Ana Navarro was the most direct in demanding Psaki answer discredit the elections that were 10 months away. She even seemed frustrated that President Biden had walked back his claims at a Wednesday press conference where he asserted the 2022 results should not be trusted:
Again, Fondacaro didn't mention that the MRC tried to delegitimize the 2020 election and that Trump still is -- doing the "dangerous conspiracy theory peddling" that he accuses the "View" hosts of doing, and which the MRC has refused to distance itself from, let alone call out as dangerous.
MRC Expresses Glee At Alleged Non-Success of Bisexual Superman Comic Topic: Media Research Center
Last fall, the Media Research Center's resident gay-basher (well, one of them, anyway) Gabriel Hays had a meltdown over a new Superman series in which the son of the Man of Steel failed to be heterosexual. In a Jan. 27 post, Hays took unseemly glee over the series' allegedly lackluster sales:
Look, down in the sewer! It's a rat! It's a turd! No, it's woke Superman sales!
Perhaps not all is lost. The decline of woke comic book sales is a hopeful omen that the progressive utopia will not be achieved.
According to nerd culture outlet BoundingIntoComics.com, DC Comics’ recent attempts to turn beloved character Superman into a progressive pansy who’s too ashamed to fight for truth, justice and the American way (it’s now “truth, justice and a better tomorrow”), are flatlining, at least according to 2021 sales comic books sales data. Woke Superman is not a hot ticket item.
ICv2.com, a comic book sales tracking website, revealed that the new flagship Superman series – in which Kal-el’s bisexual son has taken up the mantle of the caped crusader – didn’t even crack the top five comic book category for last November. It placed sixth.
But if that sounds like a subpar performance for a flagship comic based on the most popular superhero in history, the December sales for Son of Kal-El were so much worse. According to the website, that month’s issue, “Superman: Son of Kal-El 2021 Annual #1,” didn’t even make it into the top 50 comic book range for December 21 in terms of units sold.
Just to put it into perspective, the new Superman doesn’t even sell as well at Batgirl, Spawn and Moon Knight. Who the heck is Moon Knight?
That is selective reporting on Hays' part. The first five issues of the "Son of Kal-El" series -- including issue #5, in which said lack of heterosexuality was revealed -- got reprints last fall.Hays went on to rant:
Of course, let’s remind ourselves why America’s greatest superhero is quickly becoming irrelevant. Again, they made Kal-El, a hero Americans have loved for decades, step down for his millennial son. Yeah so now we’re privy to stories about Superboy having to leave his avocado toast behind in order to save the day, or perhaps we’ll have to suffer reading about him taking a “self-care” day, while the world burns.
Hey, no one should complain about that. Enough with the mental health stigma, guys!
They also made him bisexual. Within the first five editions of this new “flagship” DC series, the new Superman is dating a male reporter. Zip! Bang! Crash! What an exciting development!
Get the globalist BS outta here. The only thing gay Superman is fighting for is the deepest, darkest corner of the local used bookstore’s free book bin.
By the way, Hays also didn't mention that Bounding Into Comics is a right-wing comics site (we didn't realize there was such a thing, yet we're not surprised) that is apparently a leader in what has been dubbed Comicsgate, a right-wing movement to shout down liberal themes in superhero comics. We assume Hays is fully on board with this censorship campaign.
MRC Gives A Pass To Book Banners Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Alex Christy complained in a Jan. 27 post that CNN was trying to "portray Republicans as a bunch of dictator-loving book burners" but he didn't really do much to dispel that image.
Christy used his post to complain that "Trumper-turned-Never Trumper Joe Walsh" was calling out Republicans in Florida and elsewhere trying to censor school content purportedly in order to keep children from feeling "discomfort" about issues such as race and the Holocaust. He went on to grumble:
Walsh's reference to the Holocaust was the original premise of the segment. A Tennessee school board voted to remove Maus from its eighth-grade reading list for profanity and nudity, but it is a stretch to say that they even banned it and irresponsibly false to say they banned it because they do not want to educate students about the Holocaust.
Christy then linked to a statement from the school board that banned it -- if you're prohibiting a book from being taught, it's a ban; because it's apparently not a total ban doesn't make it less of a ban -- that complained about the book's purportedly "unnecessary use of profanity and nudity and its depiction of violence and suicide."
Ironically, a few years earlier, a 2014 MRC post touted the graphic novel edition of right-winger Amity Shlaes' revisionist, anti-FDR retelling of the New Deal years, "The Forgotten Man" as a classic on par with "Maus": "But graphic novels can be very sophisticated. Shlaes mentioned Maus: A Survivor’s Tale which is a critically acclaimed Holocaust narrative that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992."
Kevin Tober used a Feb. 1 post to wonder why students were allowed to read books he didn't llike:
On Tuesday night, NBC Nightly News decided it was a good use of airtime to dedicate an entire segment complaining about how a school district in Katy, Texas has removed sexually inappropriate books from their library.
Anchor Lester Holt opened the segment by tossing to NBC News correspondent Antonia Hylton who proceeded to interview a young student by the name of Iris Chang who, according to Hylton, "identifies as queer always loved learning about the world from her hometown of Katy, Texas, until this fall when her district started banning books."
Chang told Hylton that "students of color and queer students are especially taking this hard", referring to the banning of her favorite book The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.
Hylton claims "an NBC News investigation found that the Katy Independent School District is one of at least a dozen Texas districts that have removed books about race, gender, and sexual identity after a statewide surge of parent complaints."
But the question remains, why were books about gender and sexual identity allowed in school libraries in the first place?
Tober didn't explain why the books must be censored.
Tober went on to huff that "Katy Texas isn't the first public school to have sexually inappropriate books on its shelves." But it's clear that his definition of "sexually inappropriate" involved anything that didn't promote heterosexuality.
Clay Waters tried to play whataboutism in a Feb. 1 post:
Monday’s front-page New York Times story -- headlined “Politics Fuels Surge in Calls For Book Bans” -- did liberal Democrats a favor, posing them in their flattering former costumes of fierce free-speech advocates. Meanwhile, today’s actual left-wing is a hive of free-speech squelchers and book banners, including the Times’ own reporters, who have an unseemly and anti-journalistic eagerness to “deplatform” voices they don’t like...when they're conservative "bigots."
But that's a false comparison. Public libraries being forbidden from making certain books available to a certain audience is not the same thing as a private business seeking to enforce standards and terms of service on its platform to battle lies and misinformation. Yet the whataboutism continued: "Besides the daily double standards of restrictions on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, Amazon.com pulled a book on transgender issues from its online shelf, and Netflix tried to cancel comedian Dave Chappelle for offensive jokes about transgenders."
We could play whataboutism too, pointing out that the MRC has long raged against "censorship" of social media while tacitly endorsing it at school libraries. Wonder what Waters would say about that?
NEW ARTICLE: The MRC Adds Another Sports Anti-Vaxxer Topic: Media Research Center
Newly minted Media Research Center sports blogger John Simmons has joined Jay Maxson in lashing out at COVID vaccines and vaccine mandates, as well as defending athletes who hurt their team by refusing to get vaccinated. Read more >>
MRC Tries To Deflect From The Fact That Ex-CNN Chief Created Donald Trump Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's creepily unseemly glee over the demise of CNN chief Jeff Zucker -- filled with anti-Semitic "puppetmaster" labeling and stunning lack of self-awareness given that his downfall is similar to that of Fox News chief Roger Ailes -- didn't end when Curtis Houck stopped dancing on his professional grave after three days. There were other issues to deal with -- like the fact that Zucker essentially created their beloved Donald Trump when "The Apprentice" was developed under his watch at NBC. Scott Whitlock rushed into whataboutism in a Feb. 3 post:
NBC on Thursday discovered the most disgraceful thing that ex-Today show producer Jeff Zucker did, now that he’s resigned from CNN after a sex scandal: Zucker hired Donald Trump back in the ‘90s.
The fact that Zucker also secured the career success of alleged sex abuser Matt Lauer went unmentioned by the Today show.
You know, perhaps Whitlock shouldn't be mentioning Trump in the same breath as Lauer -- unless he's tacitly conceding that Trump is just as much of a creep as Lauer.
P.J. Gladnick didn't play Whitlock-like whataboutism when he complained about the same issue in a Feb. 5 post, but he insisted that anything he did at CNN was much worse:
She doesn't know precisely why CNN boss Jeff Zucker was forced out, but Washington Post columnist Margaret Sullivan wrote on Friday that "Jeff Zucker’s legacy is defined by his promotion of Donald Trump." All of CNN's horror-movie coverage was never enough.
So all of CNN's trashing Trump as a Russian tool, an American Hitler, a journalist-endangering dictator (and later a COVID mass murderer) wasn't enough? It's never enough.
Jeffrey Lord, meanwhile, devoted a Feb. 5 column to pondering whether CNN was "imploding" -- a think piece we don't recall Lord doing upon Roger Ailes' ignominious departure from Fox News amid a culture f rampant sexual harassment -- claiming that "with the arrival of Jeff Zucker, it seemed that CNN was slowly heading in a different direction altogether. Which is to say, there was more and more opinion, less and less hard news."Lord appears not to have read the MRC's own study finding that Fox News airs even less "news" than CNN or MSNBC.
The MRC also continued to be upset that CNN employees continued to say nice things about Zucker. Kevin Tober whined in a Feb. 6 post:
Need a good laugh? Well we’ve got you covered here at NewsBusters. On CNN’s Reliable Sources, host Brian Stelter had on Media Studies Professor David Zurawik who made the preposterous claim that CNN was part of the fire wall that has helped “save democracy.”
While he was on the topic of misinformation and disinformation, Zurawik decided to gaslight the CNN audience and suck up to Brian Stelter by ludicrously claiming “CNN is one of the stations of all the television broadcast networks and cable channels it pushed harder from 2016 to 2020 against Trump and it was part of the fire wall that I think has saved democracy this far under Jeff Zucker.”
Nicholas Fondacaro similarly ranted in a Feb. 7 post:
Jeff Zucker was the venomous boss behind all of CNN’s toxic content poisoning American discourse but he was also everything to primetime host Don Lemon. He made that perfectly clear during Friday’s Don Lemon Tonight when he was so overwhelmed with emotion that he almost broke down crying on-air.
“Jeff Zucker may not have launched this network but he revived it, he made it relevant again. He steadied it for the last decade. He left us with a very good blueprint going forward,” he reassured them.
Ironically, under Zucker, CNN is experiencing their ratings bottom-out across the board; plus, their credibility has been left in tatters because of the extreme liberal bent obvious to any honest observer and their abdication (bordering on contempt) of journalistic ethics.
Houck returned in a Feb. 8 post to attack CNN host Alisyn Camerota for saying Zucker's ouster was affecting her mental health, sneering: "In other words, they're a cult." The next day, Houck yet again hung the "puppetmaster" slur on Zucker:
Monday on his eponymous NewsNation show, longtime TV news personality and legal expert Dan Abrams hammered CNN’s Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter over his behavior regarding the ouster of now-ex-CNN boss and puppetmaster Jeff Zucker, calling Stelter “dishonest” for his defense of CNN as a legitimate news network and “reckless” for targeting John Malone, the top share in CNN’s future parent company Discovery.
We don't recall anyone at the MRC complaining about just how little Fox News covered the scandals of its founder and boss, Roger Ailes.
Fondacaro cheered that "Zucker's lover" -- i.e., the subordinate with whom Zucker was having an undisclosed relationship that was the stated cause of Zucker's departure -- had also left CNN in a Feb. 16 post, going on to hype gossip about Zucker's relationship with Chris Cuomo, who departed CNN a few months before. When Zucker's replacement -- former CBS "Late Show" showrunner Chris Licht -- was named, Fondacaro returned to hurl more darts at CNN in a Feb. 26 post:
In an interesting “scoop” published Saturday, Axios reported that CBS’s EVP of Special Programming Chris Licht, who was tapped to replace ousted CNN boss Jeff Zucker to lead the third-place cable network, wants to get back to CNN being a straight news outlet and cut back on the liberal screeds that dominate prime time and their newscasts in general.
The Axios headline said it all: “CNN to dull its liberal edge.” “Under new chief Chris Licht, CNN will dial down the prime-time partisanship and double down on the network's news-gathering muscle,” reported Mike Allen and Sara Fischer.
According to Axios, Licht was picked by Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav because “[r]atings are secondary to credibility[.]”
Both of which are foreign concepts to CNN currently.
Of course, Fondacaro is perfectly happy to see Fox News throw away credibility for the sake of ratings, and he has never demanded that Fox News "dull its conservative edge." As a loyal MRC apparatchik, he does not want "middle of the road" coverage, since he has bought into the MRC party line that anything even slightly less right-wing than Fox News is irredeemably "liberal."
MRC Dances On Jeff Zucker's CNN Grave, Smears Him As 'Puppetmaster' Again Topic: Media Research Center
Jeff Zucker has long been a nemesis of the Media Research Center, where Curtis Houck has repeatedly smeared the Jewish Zucker with the anti-Semitic "puppetmaster" trope -- putting him on the same level of hate that it places GeorgeSoros. When Zucker resigned as CNN chairman last month over an improper relationship with a subordinate, Houck was positively gleeful in response, repeating his immature sniping at CNN's ratings and hurling the "puppetmaster" slur again:
On Wednesday morning, CNN president, longtime overlord, and puppetmaster Jeff Zucker resigned effective immediately from the failing, far-left network after nine years over what he called “a consensual relationship with my closest colleague” with fellow CNN executive Allison Gollust that he had failed “to disclose...when it began.”
It remains to be seen who will take over the network (which has lost ratings battles to the likes of a Hallmark movie, Moonshiners, My 600 Pound Life, and Pepa Pig [sic]) in this surprising move ahead of its merger with Discovery but, almost a year ago, former CNN media reporter Dylan Byers reported Gollust was a frontrunner.
Houck also huffed: "Given CNN's recent track record of alleged and verified allegations of sexual misconduct, one could give them a new slogan offered up by NewsBusters deputy managing editor Nick Fondacaro: This is CNN, the most pervy name in news.
Needless to say, both Houck and Fondacaro memory-holed -- along with the rest of the MRC -- the pervasive sexual misconduct at their favorite channel, Fox News, and its longtime leader, Roger Ailes.
A couple hours later, Houck lashed out at CNN anchor Brian Stelter for praising Zucker's work at CNN, even though Stelter, as a CNN employee, is much more familiar with it than he is:
Playing the role of Baghdad Bob after the 2003 fall of the Iraqi capital to U.S. troops, CNN’s Reliable Sources host and chief media correspondent Brian Stelter crawled out of his shell to spinelessly shill for Jeff Zucker moments after his resignation from CNN and “pioneering figure” and their “rock” who’s left them in “a stunner.”
As if some national hero had passed on, Stelter coached those watching inside CNN to continue covering “the news” as he would want them to do.
CNN has been anything but in Zucker’s nine years and instead a shell of itself, having become one of American’s most hated media organizations and hemorrhaged viewers in both prime time and total day since he took over in January 2013.
By contrast, when the Ailes scandal broke, one NewsBusters blogger insisted that Ailes shouldn't be blamed for the pervasive culture of sexual harassment at Fox News, and another claimed it was "liberal bias" for anyone to even discuss Ailes' sexual harassment issues -- or, for that matter, anything remotely critical about him, no matter how accurate.
Houck's obsessive attack on any CNN employee who praised Zucker continued the next day:
CNN spent Wednesday in mourning as if CNN boss Jeff Zucker had passed away when, in fact, he was pushed out for having carried on an inappropriate relationship with fellow CNN exec Allison Gollust, calling him “incredible,” “remarkable,” “larger than life,” and “singular” person who brought “a clarity of mission” to the network.
In other words, it was something North Korean news reader Ri Chun-hee would have found creepy.
With praise so gushy and reports those inside CNN are some combination of despondent and enraged over Zucker’s ouster, it’s safe to wonder whether CNN can ever be saved as a serious, sober news organization considering their desire to stay the course from what Zucker made them.
Houck again called Zucker a "puppetmaster."
If Houck wants to read obsequiously gushy praise for a terrible person, all he needs to do is read his boss Bren Bozell's sickening tribute to Ailes upon his death in 2018, which fawned that "The good Roger did for America is immeasurable" and censored all the harassment stuff.
Houck entered his third day -- yes, the third day -- of shrieking at CNN employees for praising Zucker in a Feb. 4 post (and, yes, he hurled the "puppetmaster" slur again):
Through a series of stories this week, it was evident CNN’s current staff have no interest in being salvaged as a serious news organization and anything other than a far-left propaganda outlet worthy of being some combination of mocked and ignored. Instead of seeking to move on from their disgraced former boss Jeff Zucker after his Wednesday ouster, they’ve tried to canonize him as a tent pole of American democracy.
To underline the level in which Zucker was some combination of puppetmaster and hand-holder for these sheep, he quoted chief political correspondent Dana Bash as having said “the punishment didn’t fit the crime” and it went against Zucker’s morals in giving people“a second chance.”
Without a sense of irony for how CNN has shown nothing but hate in seeking to treat conservatives as enemies of the state, chief political analyst Gloria Borger lamented Zucker wasn’t given “a lot of dignity”with Kasie Hunt fretting the Zucker news will cloud the launch of CNN+.
Houck is clearly lacking irony for how his obsessive hatred for all things Zucker and CNN makes his rantings look like an unhinged hatchet job and not "media research."
Houck called those who praised Zucker part of a "cult" in the headline of his piece, and that theme was also pushed in Tim Graham's Feb. 4 podcast: "We were all sitting around reading these stories saying, CNN should never again try to talk about somebody else as a cult, whether it's the followers or Trump or anyone else, because these people, when they talk about Zucker, it's just kinda creepy." Of course, Graham and his fellow MRC employees are all cultish followers of Trump -- not to mention cultishly devoted to Ailes desipte his disgrace -- so he's a little sensitive on the issue.
MRC Shows Its Partisan Colors In Its War on NewsGuard Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has been wagingwar on website credibility firm NewsGuard for the sin of finding that right-wing websites are less credible than mainstream news or even liberal websites -- though the MRC has never been able to prove NewsGuard wrong despite a lot of ranting about "left-leaning" (a claim it also hasn't supported with credible evidence). The ranting continued in a Jan. 26 post by Catherine Salgado against a new NewsGuard initiative:
Biased online ratings firm NewsGuard is taking its information war to schoolchildren through a deal made with the American Federation of Teachers.
School children depend on the internet for homework help. NewsGuard is now stepping in to “filter” online sources for so-called “misinformation.” The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) union is buying NewsGuard licenses for its 1.7 million member teachers, according to an AFT press release. The partnership will make NewsGuard available to tens of millions of students and their families for free.
The NewsGuard partnership will foist the company's “real-time ‘traffic light’ news ratings and detailed ‘Nutrition Label’ reviews, via a licensed copy of NewsGuard’s browser extension” on students using news stories for research.
NewsGuard isn’t a reliable source, however. A recent MRC study found that outlets rated “left” or “lean left” by AllSides received an average NewsGuard score of 93/100. Sites considered “right” or “lean right” by AllSides had an average NewsGuard rating of 66/100. The news “credibility” rater also has a major partnership with leftist Microsoft to fight alleged “disinformation.”
As we've documented, that MRC "study" offered no evidence to dispute NewsGuard's findings, and AllSides is a right-leaning fact-checker with sloppy labeling whose work has been touted by the MRC before, making it immediately suspicious. Salgado went on to parrot an absurd attack issued by her boss:
MRC President Brent Bozell blasted the AFT-NewsGuard partnership, suggesting it is worse than critical race theory in public schools. “The left has found a dangerous and equally disingenuous new way to indoctrinate our children, without their parents knowing. NewsGuard is partnering with a national teacher's union to bring their biased ratings into classrooms nationwide. This is as bad as CRT. In fact, it's worse. Like CRT, it is designed to push a leftist ideology on children, but unlike CRT, the left is not going to give it a name this time. This is purposely designed to go under the radar of public scrutiny.”
Judging a website's credibilty is "worse" than critical race theory? Only in Bozell's fevered brain.
Speaking of that bogus study, an anonymously written Feb. 1 post -- curiously credited only to "NB Staff," not any of the MRC writers who have been attacking NewsGuard for months -- tried to mount a counterattack when NewsGuard similarly stated that the study was "fundamentally flawed," leaning on AllSides' endorsement of the study to defend itself:
The leftist ratings firm NewsGuard criticized a Media Research Center study of the site’s ratings, calling it “fundamentally flawed.”
NewsGuard General Manager Matt Skibinski’s letter made multiple inaccurate claims about the study, which analyzed the NewsGuard ratings of media outlets. Skibinski claimed the study was “based on a tiny sample of cherry-picked data.” He continued: “NewsGuard has rated more than 7,500 news and information websites, but the NewsBusters analysis looked only at ratings of 24 websites it defines as right-leaning and 31 websites it defines as left-leaning--meaning the study examined a cherry-picked sample of just 0.7% of the websites we've rated.”
However, Skibinski’s claims that the list was “cherry-picked” and that MRC defined which sites were right-leaning and left-leaning are completely inaccurate. The MRC study relied on a list provided by AllSides — an independent organization given credence by the Poynter Institute — as a gauge. Skibinski claimed the “NewsBusters analysis looked only at ratings of 24 websites it defines as right-leaning and 31 websites it defines as left-leaning.” This is false. The characterizations of outlets as “left,” “lean left,” “right” and “lean right” were provided by AllSides, not the MRC.
Skibinski must not have read the disclaimer written in bold black letters at the bottom of the study, which clearly pointed this out. The complaint that the MRC didn’t look at all 7,500 sites it rated also mischaracterizes the purpose of the study. The study was based on a popular list compiled separately by AllSides which classified outlets by their “bias” on a left-to-right scale. The average NewsGuard score for “left” and “lean left” outlets was a high 93/100, while the average rating for “right” and “lean right” outlets was a low 66/100.
Even AllSides supported the MRC’s findings in its own separate report:
Again, AllSides is a right-leaning operation, so the MRC touting how AllSides endorsed its so-called "study" is circular logic. And of course Skibinski's description of the sites the MRC chose for its study as "cherry-picked" was absolutely true; in a part of his letter the anonymous MRC writer decided not to highlight, NewsGuard has given perfect ratings to numerous sites, including a few on the AllSides list the MRC used, whcuh as Reason and the Deseret News (which the MRC insists is "liberal" based on two stories seven years apart despite the fact that the paper is owned by a division of the not-liberal Mormon Church). Skibinski also noted that NewsGuard has given another prominent conservative operation, the Daily Signal, a perfect rating, though it wasn't on the AllSides list.
The anonymous MRC writer didn't comment on another allegation Skibinski made -- that it made no effort to contact NewsGuard for a response to its study. By contrast, he wrote, "NewsGuard contacts websites for comment and feedback if it looks like they will fail any criteria." By noting that, Skibinski has exposed an inconvenient truth about the MRC: It's a partisan political operation, not a "research" organization, and putting out attacks without allowing anyone to respond beforehand is what a partisan political operation does.
MRC's Double Standard On Politicians' Social Security Numbers Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Scott Whitlock huffed in a Feb. 8 post:
The bullying of moderate Democrat Kyrsten Sinema ratcheted up to a new level on Monday as a far-left media site obtained the Senator’s Social Security Number. This warranted no objection from the network morning and evening newscasts on Monday and Tuesday.
And it comes after similar collective yawns by ABC, CBS and NBC after Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for “brass tacks” to be used against Sinema, later demanding that Sinema’s life be made “as difficult as possible.”
The Gawker article trumpeted the SSN with this excited headline “WE HAVE KYRSTEN SINEMA’S SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER.” The number was given to Gawker because a change made in Arizona to protect privacy didn't go into effect until the 2000s. Writer Tarpley Hitt bragged, “The records also included some other intriguing information. Specifically, they included Sinema’s social security number, bank account information, and drivers’ license number.”
Gawker even disgustingly included a fake SSN at the top of the article so as to provide click bait for the angry, leftist base. Here’s the phony number:
Later in the article, Hitt pranked, “For the record, out of respect for Sinema and because we like our jobs, we won’t be publishing her [real] number.”
By contrast, we don't recall anyone at the MRC being bothered that its fellow right-wing activists obtained what it claimed was Barack Obama's Social Security number in an attempt to claim either that he stole the number from a dead person or that he otherwise was not an American citizen -- let alone refer to those activist as "vile," as Whitlock did in his headline. The closest it apparently came was a 2010 post by Tim Graham complaining that the New York Times referenced a tabloid article claiming that Obama "uses a phony Social Security number as 'part of an elaborate scheme to conceal that he is not a natural-born U.S. citizen'"in order to "illustrate how the president is bedeviled by lies." While Graham dismissed the claim as a "tabloid concoction," he certainly didn't criticize the Globe or any other anti-Obama activist for obaining the number in the first place.
Whitlock went on to rant:
One could say that Gawker even doing this article is a blueprint for any nefarious individual or organization who wants to obtain her Social Security Number. And after all, this is the same Gawker was forced to pay wrestler Hulk Hogan $31 million after obtaining and publishing his sex tape. Not exactly a bastion of journalistic integrity.
One could more accurately say that this is not the same Gawker: Gawker Media Group filed for bankruptcy after the verdict in 2016, and Gawker itself remained dormant after that until being revived in July 2021.
Whitlock complained further: "Last December, I wrote about instances of bullying or harassment that Sinema and fellow moderate Democrat Joe Manchin suffered. " As we'venoted, the tactics the MRC criticized are largely the same ones that anti-abortion activists use against clinic doctors and other employees, and the MRC has never expressed any concern about that. Call that another big yawn.
Nevertheless, Whitlock concluded by ranting: "Obtaining Sinema’s Social Security Number, Reich joking about violence against her, the harassment and bullying of the last two moderates in the Democratic Party is escalating rapidly. But journalists don’t seem to care. Do the ends of ends justify the means?" If you didn't care when these same tactics were used against your political enemies, Scott -- meaning that you clearly thought right-wing ends justified the means -- you've given us no reason to care now.