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Saturday, April 10, 2021
MRC's Graham Still Trying To Insist Trump Had A Vaccine Distribution Plan
Topic: Media Research Center

Two months after Donald Trump left the White House, the Media Research Center was still defending him and his dubious behavior.

We've already documented how the MRC rushed to Trump's defense when the Biden administration accurately pointed out that the Trump administration had no plan forcoronavirus vaccine distribution beyond shipping the vaccines to state. Yet Tim Graham dedicated his March 17 column to attacking Vice President Kamala Harris for pointing that out. "Team Biden has a persistent lying problem when it comes to the Trump administration’s supposedly terrible record on vaccines," he asserted, then acted as the second coming odf Kayleigh McEnany:

Were vaccines “moving at a snail’s pace”? On January 15, the week before Biden was sworn in, 10.6 million Americans had received a COVID vaccine under Trump, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Did they fail to order enough vaccines? The federal government, as of last December 31, had contracted to buy at least 800 million COVID-19 vaccine doses with delivery by July 31.

Was there “no real plan” for vaccine distribution? Last September 16, the Department of Health and Human Services released a report to Congress, outlining a strategy for vaccine distribution and a playbook for states and localities “on how to plan and operationalize a vaccination response.”

The Trump administration encouraged a flexible and federalist approach to coronavirus restrictions, and also to coronavirus vaccines. Leftists would say letting states control anything instead of the federal government equals “no national strategy.”

Graham lept from that to rehash the MRC's old arguments:

The Democrats and the media have decried Trump for "politicizing" the pandemic, which is a bad joke, since they were clearly politicizing it soon after their first impeachment attempt fizzled. Trump called their political exploitation a "hoax," and then they claimed he called the virus a "hoax." Even today, Team Biden is relentlessly slamming Trump as the scapegoat for everything that's ever gone wrong.

Um, didn't Trump blame Obama for everything that went wrong under his administration>

Remember: For Graham and the MRC, the narrative is everything, facts less so.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:18 AM EDT
Friday, April 9, 2021
MRC Lies Again About What Harris Said About Vaccines Before The Election
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Reserarch Center can't stop lying about Vice President Kamala Harris and what she said about the coronavirus vaccine before the election.

IN a March 16 post, Kristine Marsh ranted that "Kamala Harris and other Democrats spent months leading up to the November election spreading dangerous vaccine misinformation with the media’s help," adding:

In September, the big three networks touted Kamala Harris sowing doubt about the safety of a “Trump vaccine.” The journalists at ABC, NBC and CBS failed to hold the VP candidate accountable for trying to ruin public trust over the important vaccine effort. 

In fact, the networks aided Democrats' message you couldn't trust a vaccine with Trump in office. On September 17's GMA, ABC's White House correspondent Cecilia Vega was aghast at the President's correct prediction we’d have a vaccine by end of the year: “Now people in this country are forced to choose whether to believe the President or the nation’s top health experts!” Vega vented. She also touted Joe Biden politicizing the vaccine while Good Morning America co-anchor George Stephanopoulos claimed Trump was “pressuring” the CDC to come up with an unsafe vaccine in record time: “Can Americans still trust what they're hearing from the CDC?” he asked.

Marsh is being dishonest. As we've documented, Trump was cynically using the promise of a vaccine as a re-election ploy, an given Trump indisputable record of telling lies, there was ample reason to doubt him. Marsh also censored what Harris said at the time: that she "would not trust Donald Trump" given his reputation for muzzling health officials who spoke publicly about inconvenient facts, and that she would require "a credible source of information that talks about the efficacy and the reliability" of a vaccine.

In other words, Marsh is lying when she claimed Harris and other Democrats spread "dangerous vaccine misinformation"; they pointed out that Fauci and other actual medical experts were the ones to be trusted on a vaccine, not Trump.

Further: If Harris and Democrats really did spread "dangerous vaccine misinformation," why is the group most likely to reject getting a vaccine white Republicans? Were they listening to Harris? Unlikely.

Harris was telling the truth; Marsh is not. That makes the MRC look like partisan hacks.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:44 PM EDT
Thursday, April 8, 2021
MRC Psaki-Bashing, Doocy-Fluffing Watch
Topic: Media Research Center

Curtis Houck's template for review White House press secretary Jen Psaki's briefings is a rigid one: Psaki is invariably evil, rude and deceptive, and the Fox News reporters asking her hostile questions are invariably heroes. On March 5, Houck didn't have his man-crush Steve Doocy, but another Fox News reporter was the hero with Psaki, of course, as the pinata:

With the border crisis only continuing to grow, Friday’s White House press briefing featured multiple reporters pressuring Press Secretary Jen Psaki for answers on detention facilities, the number of illegal immigrants crossing the border, and whether the Biden administration has decided if it’ll allow an unlimited number of people to come across the U.S/Mexico border.

Fox News White House correspondent Kristin Fisher led the way, calmly but aggressively hammering at Psaki for answers on basic statistics about the crisis and, on a different topic, the nursing home and sexual harassment scandals facing White House ally and Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY).

Fortunately for Houck, he was able to crush on Doocy some more on March 10:

Wednesday’s White House press briefing served as another failure by the Biden administration to come clean on the illegal immigration crisis at the U.S./Mexico border and was bolstered by two rounds of questioning from Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy. During one exchange, Press Secretary Jen Psaki scoffed at Doocy’s concerns, prompting him to informing here that “it’s not funny.” 

But rather than do a straightfoward presentation of the discussion that led to that, Houck buried most of it in a transcript and pretended to read Psaki's mind by declaring that she "made clear she was already tired of Doocy" while "Doocy waited her out," then accusing Psaki of "misdirection" and declaring that
"Psaki became even more annoyed, turning her head and even chuckling at Doocy’s question, calling it 'a little bit of mixing different circumstances.' Normally calm, Doocy’s face became red with disgust, telling Psaki: 'It’s not funny.'"

The next day, Houck was in full man-crush mode -- and full Psaki hostility mode -- gushing under the headline "Peter Doocy Wipes the Floor With WH, Schools Jen Psaki on COVID at the Border":

Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy was firing on all cylinders on Thursday afternoon, delivering a thorough evisceration of White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki over the Biden administration’s lax immigration policies, their double standard requiring COVID testing for international fliers but not for illegal immigrants, and the regime’s affinity for green jobs.

Doocy started by quoting Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s insistence that illegal immigrants see Biden as “the migrant President”and this “flow” of people needed to “be tackled” and asking whether “the White House take[s] that as a compliment.”

Seemingly under the impression that Doocy was misleading her, Psaki asked for more context, but Doocy promptly read the full, unambiguous quote.

Psaki spun her usual web about how “the majority of people who come to our border will be turned away” despite the fact that they’ll be ferried out across the country as part of their “human approach”to children.

[...]

Two words to describe Psaki’s answers ever since this issue began, dear readers: Word salad.

Actually, “word salad” works for just about everything she’s said from the podium when it comes to answering tough questions.

Houck's beloved Kayleigh McEnany played word games with reporters, but he never called her out on it like he does with Psaki.

Houck gushed some more on March 13 that "Doocy again went toe-to-toe with Press Secretary Jen Psaki on the border crisis and school reopenings, but in a sign that patience might be wearing thin with some liberal journalists, Doocy had assistance from multiple reports on the border as well as hard-hitting questions of their own on the coronavirus and Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY)." And he more Pska-sneering, whining that "Psaki took the easy way out, refusing to deviate one iota from her previous talking points." Again, the same thing could be said of his beloved McEnany.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:03 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, April 8, 2021 10:07 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: The MRC's Post-Riot Cleanup
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center labored hard to distance conservatives from the right-wing, pro-Trump Capitol riot -- even though MRC chief Brent Bozell endorsed the anger behind it and the election-fraud conspiracy theories that led up to it. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 12:48 PM EDT
Wednesday, April 7, 2021
MRC Writer Pushes Biased Economists To Attck 'Liberal' Claims About Economy
Topic: Media Research Center

You know you've ticked off the Media Research Center in making a logical point when it essentyially does duplicate posts to attack you.

Back in February, New York Times columnist David Leonhardt made the logical observation that the econom, as judged by GDP growth and job creation, does better under Democratic presidents than Republican ones, adding that "the pattern is so strong and long-lasting that coincidence alone is unlikely to be the only explanation." Enter MRC writer Joseph Vazquez, who huffed in a Feb. 4 post:

Three economists lambasted a New York Times op-ed claiming that the Democratic Party is better for the economy than the GOP.

Times senior writer David Leonhardt’s main argument was that “The American economy has performed much better under Democratic administrations than Republican ones, over both the last few decades and the last century.” Economists ripped apart the op-ed as “nonsense,” “intellectually sloppy,” and filled with “numerous false claims.”

The piece further argued that Democrats have been more “pragmatic” by being “willing to heed economic and historical lessons about what policies actually strengthen the economy, while Republicans have often clung to theories that they want to believe — like the supposedly magical power of tax cuts and deregulation.” 

But Leonhardt wildly missed the mark. Economists Daniel Mitchell, Chris Edwards and Brian Riedl all hammered the op-ed for arbitrarily zeroing in on party affiliation, while dubiously brushing aside more important economic factors. Mitchell stated in a tweet that Leonhardt’s article was “intellectually sloppy for one obvious reason (failure to properly account for business cycles) and one completely overlooked reason (policy direction matters, not partisan affiliation).”

Vazquez, however, failed to disclose (beyond embedded links on their names) that these economists are not objective but, rather, quite biased. Mitchell is co-founder of the Center for Freedom and Prosperity, a conservative think tank that loves flat taxes and offshore tax havens; Edwards is with the libertarian Cato Institute; and Riedl works for another right-wing think tank, the Manhattan Institute. In other words, these are exactly the positions anyone would expect them to take.

For some reason, Vazquez was so annoyed by Leonhardt's op-ed that he attacked it again a month later in a March 11 post, apparently because he scored an "exclusive interview" with Riedl, one of the (biased) economists  he had previously cited:

An economist ripped the media for pushing the false idea that Democratic administrations are better for the U.S. economy than GOP administrations.

New York Times senior writer David Leonhardt had written that Democratic administrations have been more “pragmatic” by being “willing to heed economic and historical lessons about what policies actually strengthen the economy, while Republicans have often clung to theories that they want to believe — like the supposedly magical power of tax cuts and deregulation.”

Economist and Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Brian Riedl rebuked Leonhardt and the media for living in an “ideological cocoon” and pushing talking points on behalf of Democrats. “This is just partisan nonsense,” Riedl said of Leonhardt in an exclusive interview with the Media Research Center.

While Vazquez did identify Riedl's employer, he did not explain its political slant and, thus, Riedl could just as easily be described as living in his own ideological cocoon.

Vazquez concluded by whining that "Leonhardt has not been the only one to advocate on behalf of the Democrats, however," citing other assessment reaching the same conclusion. Of course, Vazquez would never describe himself or Riedl as "advocating on behalf of the Republicans," even though that's exactly what they're doing.

This wasn't the only time Vazquez called on biased economists to attack a viewpoint deemed "liberal." In January, he trotted out Mitchell to help him rant against Washington Post article he ripped as "propaganda that former President Donald Trump’s economy was terrible for minorities." In a March 3 post, he called on Cato's Edwards to bash Times columnist Paul Krugman for having "attacked capitalism for promoting 'too much choice' for American consumers,'" touting how "Edwards ripped Krugman for blaming American capitalism while ignoring that government deserves much of the blame for making life more complicated for American consumers." As before, Vazquez didn't explain the bias from which Edwards and Mitchell are operating.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:00 PM EDT
Tuesday, April 6, 2021
Malicious: MRC Cheers Tent Falling On Reporter
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center not only criticizes any journalist who fails to spout its right-wing dogma -- it actively hates them and wishes them harm. So much so, in fact, that it cheers when they get hurt. Brad Wilmouth demonstrated how in a March 5 item:

On Thursday, MSNBC correspondent Jacob Soboroff was presenting clips of his interview with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas about Trump immigration policy separating illegal immigrant parents and children when his report was apparently so full of hot air that the tent his production team was using blew over on live television, forcing him to catch it with his hands.

The live TV blooper occurred after a clip was shown of Soboroff badgering Mayorkas about the "potential criminality of the Trump administration."

After running a clip of the Mayorkas interview, Soboroff was seen live on air at 11:03 a.m.. Before he could say anything, his tent fell on him, leading him to catch it and comment on the goof-up and again talk up prosecution of Trump officials:

The MRC's glee that Soboroff could have been injured during this incident was more cleari n the Twitter post promoting Wilmouth's item, which chortled: "INTENSE HOT AIR! Tent falls on MSNBC reporter live after he pushes prosecuting Trump and underlings for separating illegal immigrant families."

The MRC doesn't do "media research" -- it promotes hatred of journalists (that aren't employed by Fox News).


Posted by Terry K. at 8:34 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 6, 2021 8:35 PM EDT
Monday, April 5, 2021
Has The MRC Stopped Defending Steven Crowder?
Topic: Media Research Center

Has right-wing video person Steven Crowder finally become too offensive for the Media Research Center to defend?

In 2019, you'll recall, the MRC rushed to Crowder's defense, complaining that YouTube de-monetized him for making alleged jokes about gay journalist Carlos Maza that were, in reality, barely disguised homophobia. When Crowder was fully reinstated at YouTube a few months later, the MRC again portrayed Crowder as a comedian who was unfairly targeted and hid the full extent of his homophobia.

On Feb. 25, Heather Moon complained that "comedian Steven Crowder" was listed by an Anti-Defamation League study as among right-wingers who serve as "gateways" to exremist content. The MRC rushed to again help Crowder play victim in a March 10 item by Alexander Hall:

Conservative commentator Steven Crowder said he has been silenced on Twitter for unknown reasons, and proclaimed to TheBlaze: “Behold, the modern 'public square!’"

"Twitter has suspended the account of popular BlazeTV host Steven Crowder for at least one week without explanation,” TheBlaze reported March 9. Louder with Crowder host Steven Crowder reportedly explained: "No idea why Twitter locked me out, as in the allotted category (wherein they would include said information) was left blank."

Crowder “confirmed” to the MRC what TheBlaze reported, and explained, “As far as I understand it, I’ve been suspended THREE times as the countdown has kept getting longer. And they have yet to send ANY reason for the suspension. At all.”

Had Hall bothered to do even a modicum of research instead of accepting Crowder's claimed victimhood at face value -- letting him prattle on at length about how "video content of his from previous years was rapidly gaining notoriety among liberal Twitter users" and how his "core concern was that Big Tech platforms will purge users on what they posted in the past, rather than in the present" -- he might have learned that a more proximate issue might have been responsible for Crowder's Twitter outage: On the same day he claimed his Twitter account was suspended, his YouTube show (which he presumably promotes on his Twitter feed) featured him using a racial slur to describe Meghan Markle.

That's the last instance of Crowder-defending we've seen at the MRC. That's good -- if unusual, given how thge MRC loves to double down in defense of extremists -- because Crowder became even more offensive after that:

His March 16 show used offensive racial stereotypes to portray black farmers to mock relief they were receiving from President Biden's coronavirus relief plan after decades of discrimination.It was offensive enough that YouTube pulled the video. His co-hosts cranked up the racism the next day.

After a six-day absence from his show, Crowder returned on March 22 to use another racial slur, followed by homophobic slurs two days later. This prompted YouTube to suspend and demonitize one of Crowder's accounts; his attempt to evade the suspension by using another channel of his faiiled. Crowder was reduced to being offensive on BlazeTV, which apparently had no problem with it.

Apparently homophobia was cool with the MRC, but blatant racism is its line in the sand. Congratulations, MRC, for finally demonstrating you have at least some standards. However, we expect it to flip-flop and defend Crowder again once returns to homophobia, a la Marjorie Taylor Greene.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:27 PM EDT
Sunday, April 4, 2021
Is CNS The MRC's Whore?
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center loves to attack the "liberal media" they so despise with childish name-calling. One of the nastiest names they've been tossing around is "whore," whenever news operations promote happenings elsewhere under their corporate umbrella or other reasons:

  • Under the headline "‘Christmas Comes Early’ as ABC Whores Out News for Disney+ Push," Scott Whitlock complained in Nobember 2019 that ABC's "GHood Morning America" "devoted almost 17 minutes to shilling for the new Disney+ streaming service. Disney, of course, owns ABC and the journalists on the network sounded more like PR talking points come to life. 
  • Under the headline "Disney WHORES: ABC Hawks Lion King Prequel, Ignores 28,000 Layoffs," Nicholas Fondacaro ranted in September 2020 about how "NewsBusters has long documented how ABC “News” has whored itself out to parent company Disney to promote its corporate products, everything from their streaming service Disney+ to films like Mulan."
  • A Jan. 5 post by Whitlock was headlined "Corporate Whores at Commie China-Loving ABC Actually Cover Disappearance of Jack Ma," attacking the network as "journalists who have spun for their communist China-loving bosses at Disney."
  • Under the headline "CBS Goes Full WHORE in Pushing 'Awesome' Streaming Service of Corporate Bosses," Whitlock complained on Feb. 25 that "CBS This Morning journalists promoted the 'awesome' new Paramount+, hyping just how 'excited' everyone was for the newly-named media platform."
  • On March 12, the MRC's NewsBusters Twitter account smeared NPR reporter Scott Horsley as "Whore-sley" for not being negative enough about President Biden's coronavirus relief plan.
  • On March 18, Fondacaro groused that ABC's "World News Tonight" was "busy suggesting everything was hunky-dory in California by being corporate whores and touting the reopening of Disneyland next month."

This, of course, applies to the MRC as well. If TV networks are "whores" for touting whatever things happening elsewhere, than the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews, is the MRC's whore for promoting MRC initiatives and whatever the Brent Bozell has to say in the form of "news" stories. A few examples since the November presidential election alone:

Also of course, being the MRC, there's a double standard -- nobody is allowed to use such vulgar phrasing to describe right-wingers. In November, Fondacaro ranted that the "insufferably pompous" Tom Friedman claimed that "the Republicans were just a bunch of 'manure' eating racists and whores trying to stir up a Lebanese-style civil war while trying to suppress votes, while President Trump was trying to 'put a bullet into the country.'" Friedman didn't actually use the word as Fondacaro suggested, though he did describe the GOP as "a giant political brothel that basically rents itself out to the night to whoever will energize its base." Fondacaro didn't dispute the accuracy of Friedman's claim, instead content to dismiss him as riding a "crazy train."

Perhaps Fondacaro didn't want to admit that Friedman was correct -- about both the GOP and the MRC.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:20 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, April 4, 2021 7:29 PM EDT
Saturday, April 3, 2021
MRC Attacks Fact-Checkers Who Correct Right-Wing Attacks on Transgender People
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center hates both transgender people and fact-checkers, so when right-wing claims about trangenders get fact-checked, Tim Graham is sure to complain. In a March 4 post, Graham lost it when PolitiFact pointed out there's a difference between gender and gender identity:

You can tell a "fact checker" is marching to the drumbeat of the libertine left when they labor to deny the biological fact that the overwhelming majority of humans are born as either boys or girls.

On Thursday, PolitiFact took sides in the hallway Twitter battle between freshmen congresswomen Marie Newman and Marjorie Taylor Greene over the so-called "Equality Act" being debated. "We checked, and the science is clear: Gender identity goes beyond male and female."

How can you trust any "fact check" from people who are this slippery with obvious facts? On Thursday, PolitiFact wasn't subtle by illustrating their "check" with a picture of left-wing activists holding up a sign reading "TRANS EQUALITY NOW." 

(Greene is once again being defended by the MRC despite her far-right views because she hates transgender people as much as Graham apparently does.)

Graham then attacked the experts PolitiFact used -- as he's wont to do when they don't conform to his right-wing ideology -- complaining that one "teaches a "Biology of Sex" courseto correct "society" and "a general lack of scientific interest and understanding when it comes to sex and gender," and another "donated repeatedly to Obama for President and other Democrats and wrote a book called Galileo's Middle Finger. Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science."

The next day, Graham whined in defense of transgender-hating Republican Sen. Rand Paul:

PolitiFact isn’t the only “fact checker” that abandons the facts to embrace the Church of Gender Fluidity. On Thursday, CNN’s went after Sen. Rand Paul for referring to the removal of a penis as “genital mutilation.” There’s also breast amputation, but CNN “fact checker” Aaron Millman put the scary snip-snip aside for politically correct descriptions – six usages of “gender confirmation” surgeries or “gender affirmation” treatments.

That's not counting the headline: "Fact-checking Rand Paul's comparisons of genital mutilation and gender confirmation surgery." 

Using terms like "affirmation" and "confirmation" clearly identify CNN with LGBTQ orthodoxy, but they're not "facts" words. They're "feelings" words. CNN is "Feelings First" on this "fact" check.

Graham was particularly put out that the CNN fact-checker pointed out that "Paul draws on data from the American College of Pediatricians, a group that many health experts believe is on the wrong side of a number of controversial medical topics, especially the issue of gender conversion therapy," and that the American Association of Pediatricians offered a more credible take. Grahamhuffed in response: "Millman is trying to suggest that the AAP -- which has accepted all tenets of the LGBTQ ideology, and eschewed the hard facts of biological sex -- is somehow non-political, non-ideological, "mainstream" -- while the ACP represents 'non-credible sources.'  In other words, the AAP is supposed to be revered like CNN, and the ACP should be tainted like Fox News."

Well, yes. The ACP is a right-wing group with only 500 members that exists to hate LGBTQ people and puts its fringe politics ahead of sound medicine. The AAP is a mainstream froup of 67,000 pediatricians that has been around since 1930 and conducts credible research on numerous issues involving children's health.

Apparently because he realized his attack on the fact-check itself didn't hold water, Graham then  issued a personal attack on the fact-checker himself for being an intern. "They’re letting interns do the 'fact checking,'" Graham exclained, adding: "Under his Twitter bio with the words “justice unit intern,” his pronouns (he/him) and a rainbow-flag emoji (confirming he's an LGBTQ ally), his "header" photo is liberal Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) with Desus & Mero."

We would no doubt hear from Graham if we went after the MRC's interns -- which are allowed to do "media research" stuff like the full-timers -- the way he smeared the CNN intern. But it's apparently OK for Graham because he's a Republican.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:07 AM EDT
Friday, April 2, 2021
MRC Cheers Russia Suppressing Political Dissent To Own Big Tech, Or Something
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Alexander Hall is bizarrely excited in a March 10 post:

Russia has decided to fight back against Silicon Valley, suing five companies to force removal of posts supporting anti-Putin protests. This is part of a tidal wave of opposition to Big Tech around the world.

Big Tech has allowed civil discord to run rampant if it targets entities liberals want destroyed.  “Russian authorities are suing five social media platforms for allegedly failing to delete posts urging children to take part in illegal protests, the Interfax news agency cited a Moscow court as saying on Tuesday,” Reuters reported March 9. “Twitter, Google, Facebook each have three cases against them, with each violation punishable by a fine of up to 4 million roubles (around $54,000), and cases have also been filed against Tiktok and Telegram, the report said.”

The cases were reportedly launched “after protests nationwide over last month's jailing of Alexei Navalny, a prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin.” Navalny and his sympathizers claim that his 30-month sentence, “for alleged parole violations related to an embezzlement case, was trumped up for political reasons, something the authorities deny,” Reuters summarized.

President Vladimir Putin’s Russia is one of many countries growing wary of Big Tech’s unchecked power to control the flow of information based on the biases of its CEOs.

That's right -- Hall is cheering Russia taking on "Big Tech" in order to squelch dissent. Hall's problem here is not with Putin tring to censor political opposition, it's with "Big Tech" for not letting him censor it.

Hall cheered further:

In the weeks following Trump’s censorship on Twitter, Hungary joined Poland as one of the premier European powers taking on Big Tech. Hungarian Minister of Justice Varga Judit announced in a January 26 Facebook post: “After consulting with the heads of the involved state institutions, the Ministry of Justice will propose a law to the Parliament this spring about the regulation of the great tech companies’ Hungarian [operation].” 

Judit warned would-be censors that Hungarians will not tolerate technological tyranny from Big Tech: “The deliberate, ideological or business-motivated digital damaging can no longer happen without consequences in Hungary!”

Hungary is ruled by Viktor Orban, a right-wing authoritarian currently bent on exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to make a power grab that would let him rule by decree (as we've noted). Like Putin, Orban is trying to suppress political dissent, and his attacks on social media can be seen as part of that. Poland is also led by right-wingers who, like Hungary, are spouting the MRC's bogus narrative that social media is exclusively "censoring" conservative points of view.

Cheering authoritarian censorship to own the libs -- er, "Big Tech"? That's quite the stance, Mr. Hall.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:38 PM EDT
Thursday, April 1, 2021
MRC Complains GOP Congressman Was Called Out For Attending White Nationalist's Gathering
Topic: Media Research Center

In a March 9 Media Research Center post, Donovan Newkirk complained that "MSNBC host Joy Reid and frequent cable news hack Dean Obeidallah grossly speculated about a hypothetical retirement of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as a chance to move Kentucky AG Daniel Cameron (R) into the Senate and accused every single person who works in and votes for the Republican Party as nothing more than a 'dangerous cocktail' of 'white supremacy,' 'fascism,” and 'lies.'" He further groused the Obeidallah "proceeded to tie all Republicans to Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and a far-right group," quoting him as saying, "Now you've got Paul Gosar going to white supremacist events. And there's no backlash."

Curiously, Newkirk said nothing further, refusing to explain that reference. Since he won't, we have to.

In late February, Gosar was the keynote speaker at something called the America First Political Action Conference. Sounds innocuous -- until you learn that AFPAC was organized by Nick Fuentes, a white nationalist who has express anti-Semitic views. He was one of several far-right activists who shipped up crowds outside the Capitol on Jan. 6,  and who said a few days earlier, "What can you and I do to a state legislator — besides kill him?"

The MRC hasn't otherwise mentioned Gosar's appearance at this far-right confab, let alone criticize him for it.Perhaps that's because it's a fan of Gosar. In December, Alexander Hall gushed that Gosar was a co-sponsor of a bill that "would remove key protections from companies who engage in biased censorship." Last year, the MRC defended Gosar's use of derogatory terms like "Wuhan virus" to describe coronavirus. And in 2018, the MRC complained that CNN did a segment on Gosar's family members hating him so much they endorsed his Democratic opponent.

That's the kind of thing the MRC would like you to please ignore.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:07 PM EDT
Wednesday, March 31, 2021
How Has The MRC Been Freaking Out About The Muppets Lately?
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center once attacked the Muppets for being conservatively incorrect in having an oil tycoon as a villain in a movie, so recent moves in the Muppetverse were sure to set the MRC off.

Gabriela Pariseau complained that some episodes of the 1970s "Muppet Show" being rerun on Diskey+ now have disclaimers at the beginning warning viewers of outdated offensive content:

According to Kermit the Frog, "It's not easy being green," and apparently it's not easy being The Muppet Show, either. Disney+ just couldn’t resist slapping an offensive content label on the beloved family show.

[...]

It seems Disney is keenly aware of the popularity and profit value of Muppets content so the streaming service must defend why it refuses to ban the show entirely. The Disney warning explains, "Rather than remove this content, we want to acknowledge its harmful impact, learn from it and spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together." That’s all fine and great but most families don’t need Disney’s parenting advice to decide what is appropriate for their kids and when it is appropriate to have conversations about racism and cultural appropriation.

It’s interesting that Disney singles out the cultural offenses of The Muppets. Part of what makes the Muppets funny is the fact that, like all good humor, it lightheartedly offends and makes fun of everyone. Anyone who has seen The Muppets knows the franchise is politically incorrect about a whole bunch of things that make viewers both cringe and laugh at its brilliant comedic charm. As it is with many shows designed to keep the whole family entertained, much of so-called “offensive” or inappropriate content goes over kids’ heads and is left for them to enjoy or understand when they are older.

We would remind Pariseau that, again, her employer didn't think it was being "lightheartedly offended" through its choice of a villain for one film.

The MRC then took offense for being mocked for taking offense at this. A March 3 post by Alex Christy raged at NBC late-night-host Seth Meyers for calling out right-wingers pushing "invented culture war grievances" like the complaints over the Muppets, insisting that conservatives are "merely responding to the left's culture war offensive" and huffily adding: "Meyers, sounding like the political hack he is, of course omitted that it is the left's culture warriors, who motivated by "invented" grievances," urge content advisories for The Muppets on Disney+ and the turning of Mr. Potato Head into a genderless spud."

MRC executive Tim Graham similarly went into defense in his March 5 column, just like he did regarding Dr. Seuss: "Our family watched The Muppet Show every Saturday night when it originally aired. These defined the words 'family entertainment.' Conservatives are mocking the Left for attempting to turn wholesome products into loathsome products."

Then, Liondsay Kornick spent an entire March 25 post being mad that "Sesame Street" is adding two African-American Muppets:

The famous children’s show Sesame Street is determined to talk about race whether we like it or not. Their latest terrible example is the introduction of two African-American Muppets to “educate children about race.”

On March 23, the educational series introduced two new Muppets in an online video. As part of the series "ABCs of Racial Literacy," Elmo talks to 5-year-old Wes and his father Elijah about race and what it means to them. Elmo asks the two why their skin is dark and Elijah explains that it’s because of melanin and how “the color of our skin is an important part of who we are.”

[...]

Color me skeptical but telling kids that skin color is “an important part” of them doesn’t feel like it’ll end racism. In fact, suggesting that children can inherently judge others by race is far more racist than anything I’ve seen lately. Besides, we all know that the “racial justice” they’re talking about is the BLM abolishing the police variety. It always is.

Also, considering the most famous characters are colors not seen in the human race, Elmo (red), Big Bird (yellow), Cookie Monster (blue), and other more human-like characters like Bert (yellow) and Ernie (orange), was there really anyone really whining about Muppet color representation? And it’s not like Sesame Street was lacking in actual black characters beyond ones made of felt. How can a show that premiered in 1969 somehow think it’s more racist in 2021?

I can’t answer those questions, but Sesame Street will be sure to avoid them. And then they’ll claim it’s racial justice.

And the MRC will claim it's racial pandering.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:57 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, March 31, 2021 9:12 PM EDT
Tuesday, March 30, 2021
MRC Back To Hiding Marjorie Taylor Greene's Far-Right Extremism
Topic: Media Research Center

The last time we checked in, the Media Research Center was finally forced to stop hiding the extreme far-right views of QAnon adherent and newly minted U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene after they became too well known to ignore. It's been a few weeks since then, and the MRC has apparently decided it can hide those extreme views again now that she's in the news for more MRC-friendly reasons.

One of those is hating transgender people. Mark Finklestein groused in a Feb. 26 post about an MSNBC interview with Democratic Rep. Marie Newman, which was "was devoted to what has been described as a feud between Newman and Greene. Newman, who has a transgender child, put a transgender flag in the hallway outside her House office, which happens to be located directly across from Greene's office. Greene responded by putting up a sign saying 'There are TWO genders MALE & FEMALE. ‘Trust the science!’' Greene also made a tweet referring to Newman's 'son,' Quinn, who now identifies as a female named Evie."

Donovan Newkirk similarly complained that "left-wing" Newman appeared on CNN, while taking the side of the far-right Greene:

Tagging Greene, Newman pettily tweeted, “Thought we’d put up our Transgender flag so she can look at it every time she opens her door.” The videographer was careful to pan wide enough to ensure that viewers could see Greene’s office diametrically across the hall.

Does that sound like expressing "support" for her child to you?

In response to Newman’s flag placement, Greene tweeted her own video of her mounting a sign — accurately — proclaiming that there are only two genders.

Clay Waters grumbled that the New York Times "focused on controversial Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene in a childish spat with Democratic Rep. Marie Newman, reframing the debate to make the transgender activist side 'emotional' and sympathetic and the biological reality side 'ugly' and abhorrent."

On March 4, fact-checker-basher Tim Graham melted down when PolitiFact invoked the Newman-Greene skirmish to point out that gender is not the same as gender identity:

On Thursday, PolitiFact took sides in the hallway Twitter battle between freshmen congresswomen Marie Newman and Marjorie Taylor Greene over the so-called "Equality Act" being debated. "We checked, and the science is clear: Gender identity goes beyond male and female."

How can you trust any "fact check" from people who are this slippery with obvious facts? On Thursday, PolitiFact wasn't subtle by illustrating their "check" with a picture of left-wing activists holding up a sign reading "TRANS EQUALITY NOW."

From there, it was on to other things. Gabriel Hays backslid in a March 12 post by admitting Greene's extreme views -- but only to claim it's somehow not crazy or extremist to hyperbolically describe abortion as genocide:

So pro-life rhetoric has been used by crazy people, so all pro-life rhetoric is crazy?. Some Capitol rioters believed in pro-life values and some even believed in anti-abortion conspiracy theories, so therefore pro-life values can lead to “insurrection?” 

Seems like it. Take a look at this example: “It is no coincidence that, for example, the Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, a QAnon promoter who has blamed deadly wildfires in California on a ‘space laser’ financed by the Rothschild banking firm, has also called abortion ‘genocide.’”

So because a woman – who has fallen for Q propaganda in the past – is pro-life, that makes her abortion standpoint crazy? And because some crazies in the past have considered abortion “white genocide” are we supposed to associate Taylor-Greene’s use of the word “genocide” as an allusion to that?

Of course not. Abortion has killed 62 million unborn children in America in less than 50 years. Millions of people call it a genocide because it absolutely is. You don’t have to be a Q supporter to put that together.

Alexander Hall returned to an old defense of Greene in a March 19 post complaining that her Twitter account was briefly suspended (accidentially, it turned out). Hall lamented that this "alleged attempt to silence Greene" came "as her political future hangs in the balance," as she faced an effort to oust her from Congress. Hall made no mention of why Gomez introduced that resolution: because she promoted conspiracy theories that "advocated violence against our peers, the speaker and our government." You know, the same conspiracy theories that the MRC was (finally) running from just a month and a half earlier.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:40 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 6, 2021 12:25 AM EDT
Monday, March 29, 2021
MRC Plays Down Sexual Harassment At Washington NFL Team
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has long been weirdly defensive of the name of the Washington Redskins, and considered it a sign of weakness that it finally abandoned that now-offensive name. In a March 3 post, the MRC's Matt Philbin is bizarrely angry that the Washington Football Team (the interim name of the team) is switching out its cheerleaders for a coed dance team:

The Washington Castrati … er, I mean The Washington Football Team, is dropping its traditional all-female cheerleading squad. It was once known as The Redskinettes. Then, for a season, the, um, Footballettes? Now it’s going to be a “coed dance team.” 

Because that’s what football fans really want to fill those commercial breaks and time outs … but no, it really isn’t. It's just  the price of doing business in 2021. The team has hired Petra Pope as senior advisor in charge of buzzwords and being all sensitive, and she told USA Today it’s going to be a super “modern and diverse” dance squad, with a “skillset of being super athletic, which is what we're really honing in on.”

But it wasn't until the sixth paragraph that Philbin got around to hinting why the team made the move (while somehow blaming it on a newspaper, for some reason):

It’s been a bad year for the Washington Used-to-bes. After a decade of defying its greatest foes (sports journalists) team management panicked last summer when BLM started burning stuff. Although 90% of Native Americans rather liked the team name (or at least had better things to do than whine about it) The Redskins ceased to be. Then in August came allegations of sexual harassment by former Redskinettes (in The Washington Post, of course).

That episode ended in an out-of-court settlement. But clearly, owner Dan Snyder feels the team’s fans haven’t suffered enough through two decades of lousy football, exorbitant beer prices and the indignity of having to root for the team to be named later.

Actually, the settlement involved only one female employee who wasn't a cheerleader. Philbin isn't going to tell you the cheerleader-related incidents weren't any sort of run-of-the-mill sexual harassment -- there were things like a secret video of outtakes from a calendar photo shoot that captured the cheerleaders in the nude.

It seems like Philbin is bizarrely wistful for the days when men could objectify women without consequence.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:05 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, March 29, 2021 10:16 PM EDT
Sunday, March 28, 2021
MRC Forgets It Tried To Cancel Dr. Seuss First
Topic: Media Research Center

"Cancel Culture Comes For Dr. Seuss," intoned the headline on Lindsey Kornick's March 1 Media Research Center post, attacking a newspaper columnist who argued for rethinking Dr. Seuss. Kornick said of the columnist, "Imagine someone in the world finding 'One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish' offensive" -- even though the columnist never mentioned that book, let alone expressed offense at it.

Kornick also repeated a bogus attack claiming a Virginia school district "took steps to “cancel” Dr. Seuss in their annual “Read Across America” event on Dr. Seuss' birthda" before walking it back.she then huffed: "This ignores the fact that Theodore Geisel was a liberal Democrat in life and supported many left-leaning policies and causes including in his books (read: The Lorax) which should deem him anything but 'racist.'"

Thus, Kornick inadvertently admitted that the MRC are the ones who have been trying to cancel Dr. Seuss.  She linked to a 2012 MRC post raging against a movie version of "The Lorax" because if offered environmental tips for children alongside the film, thus appeasing "thousands of left-wing zealots." (The MRC also complained that the movie indulged in "liberal indoctrination" for pointing out that plastic water bottles are wasteful.) But that's not the only attempt: In 2019, the MRC tried to blame Dr. Seuss for a massacre in El Paso because the alleged shooter referenced "The Lorax" in a manifesto.

But that has to go down the memory hole because it currently serves the MRC's political agenda to portray Dr. Seuss as a victim. For instance, Curtis Houck whined that Biden press secretary Jen Psaki wouldn't give a straight answer addressing "the woke mob’s canceling of Dr. Seuss."

But the MRC also got a little defensive about the whole Seuss thing. Alex Christy complained that NBC's Seth Meyers pointed out conservatives' obsession with culture war issues, adding, "If conservatives are detached for merely responding to the left's culture war offensive, what does that make Meyers' fellow leftists, considering they are now also trying to cancel Dr. Seuss?"

Christy followed by grousing that "MSNBC Live host Stephanie Ruhle on Wednesday smeared conservatives for caring about cancel culture, calling it unimportant" and pointing out that it was Seuss' publisher and the Seuss estate that agreed to pull six lesser Seuss books (out of the dozens he published) for outdated racial imagery. He retorted, "While Ruhle is correct that it was Dr. Seuss' publisher that suspended the books, they did so because left-wing culture warriors have saying for years that some of his books are racists."

Houck returned to rant that "Thursday’s ReidOut featured more radicalizing rhetoric meant to send MSNBC viewers into a fury of hatred against anyone on the right, falsely claiming the Fox News Channel and the GOP are exclusively obsessed with cancel culture and controversies surrounding Mr. Potato Head and Dr. Seuss." But Houck offered no evidence that anyone said Fox News was "exclusively obsessed" over Dr. Seuss, citing as evidence the claim was false a thread from his Twitter account featuring various random screencaps from Fox News talking about other things. But when Reid pointed out that Fox News had done "33 segments since Monday on Dr. Seuss" -- which has a basis in fact -- Houck offered nothing in rebuttal.

Tim Graham similarly complained in his March 5 column: "The hottest theme in liberal punditry is mocking conservatives for their objections to Woke Culture doing its long march through American entertainment conglomerates. It's not 'real news.'"Needless to say, Graham didn't mention the times it tried to cancel Dr. Seuss over "The Lorax."

Graham complained further: "This debate needs more precision, not less. What pages in the Dr. Seuss books are objectionable? TV stories on it won’t show any images. Some images of African savages clearly seem like antiquated stereotyping, but others are more debatable. You can’t debate it if no one will show it." Well, nothing's stopping the MRC from publishing those images. And doesn't the MRC operate a "news" division, CNSNews.com, that also played the "cancel culture" card on this story while not showing any of the actual images in question? Yes, it did.

Gabriel Hays touted how usually-despised late-night host Jimmy Kimmel "warned that cancel culture’s current destruction of once-thought innocent pop culture staples like Dr. Seuss, Mr. Potato Head and The Muppets will get Trump elected a second time." Like his boss Graham, hays didn't mention that his employer played the cancel-culture card on Dr. Seuss first.

Duncan Schroeder ranted in a March 8 post where he was defensive about the conservative obsession over this, while also falsely blaming President Biden for it:

On Friday night’s CNN Tonight, host Don Lemon joined in with the liberal media’s obsession with bashing Republicans and Fox News for defending Dr. Seuss after books were cancelled by woke leftists. Lemon unspooled a five-minute commentary freaking out over House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) tweeting out a video of himself reading Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham that went viral.

Lemon lunged to complain that the Democrats had nothing to do with Dr. Seuss. (McCarthy didn't say they did.) "It has nothing to do with Democrats. Nothing at all. As a matter of fact, that particular one by Dr. Seuss is still in distribution. So none of it makes any sense. They’re playing you. Are you going to fall for it? He is trying to stoke the fake outrage machine."

[...]

“The President” does indeed have something “to do with” the cancellation of Dr. Seuss because Biden left Dr. Seuss out of his “Read Across America Day” proclamation, which is celebrated every year around March 2 because March 2 is Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Furthermore, it is a false liberal media narrative that Fox is “covering every single angle” of the cancellation. Lastly, it is objectively false that “nothing is being canceled about Dr. Seuss” because they pulled six of his books from the sales shelf.

Schroeder is the one with the fake outrage here. As we've noted, Biden didn't metnion Dr. Seuss because Dr. Seuss is no longer exclusively associated with Read Across America Day -- the contract giving the Seuss estate exclusivity for the event ended in 2019. And, of course, Schroeder didn't mention the MRC's attempts to cancel Dr. Seuss.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:50 PM EDT

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