An Exhibition of Conservative Paranoia
Exhibit 79: When Narratives Trump The Truth
A Media Research Center writer relied on an unreliable pollster and a dishonest right-wing journalist to push bogus right-wing narratives about election fraud and Joe Biden's finances.
By Terry Krepel
Vazquez thought he had a big "EXCLUSIVE" scoop in a Nov. 23 post:
Big Data Poll Director Richard Baris slammed both Big Tech and the liberal media after being silenced by Twitter for speaking out about voter fraud in the 2020 election.
Vazquez didn't tell you, however, that Baris had been pushing falsehoods about alleged election fraud. Most notoriously, Baris claimed that 132,000 voters in Fulton County, Ga., had been flagged as possibly ineligible, a claim Fulton County officials have called "false and baseless."
Baris has also claimed that "Joe Biden underperformed Hillary Clinton in every major metro area around the country, save for Milwaukee, Detroit, Atlanta and Philadelphia" -- which is also false.
But no matter -- Vazquez had a victim narrative to peddle. And he was certainly not going to connect the dots and point out that one reason Twitter might have suspended Baris' account was his peddling of false claims, which runs against Twitter's terms of service. Vazquez then wrote:
Just the News founder John Solomon released a report today arguing that “a mountain of evidence has been amassed in private lawsuits alleging there was, in fact, significant and widespread voting misconduct.” In Baris’s view, “the states in question essentially used Covid-19 as a predicate to put a moratorium on election integrity laws, including long-standing established laws and verification procedures.”
Surprise -- it turns out that Solomon is also a less-than-credible source. One reporter who looked into Solomon's election claims found him to be "profoundly misleading" and the claims he makes left out information that discredits them. Vazquez also failed to mention that Solomon's overall work is suspect because of his shady dealings with Russian and Ukrainian sources to launch thinly sourced smear campaigns against critics of President Trump.
In short: There is no reason Vazquez had to give an "EXCLUSIVE" interview to a dishonest writer who is seeking to perpetuate the fraud that the election was stolen from Trump. Then again, perpetuating that fraud was the MRC's editorial policy at the time as well -- meaning that Vazquez was putting Trump's narrative ahead of the truth, which he could have learned about had he did even the most cursory bit of fact-checking before writing his post.
Despite that atrocious track record, Vazquez nevertheless gave Solomon another platform to launch a political attack in a Jan. 4 post:
Just the News Editor in Chief John Solomon didn’t let former Vice President Joe Biden get away with attacking the Trump economy, especially since several members of Team Biden have made millions from it.
Except that Biden's increase in income had little to do with "the Trump economy" -- they were driven by the fact that he used to be vice president. According to a Forbes article to which Vazquez linked, Biden made that money through a book deal made with him and his wife, Jill, speaking engagements and a college professorship -- all things former presidents and vice presidents typically do.
Still, Vazquez felt the need to sneer, "So much for that 'Joe from Scranton' imagery that the media had peddled on Biden’s behalf throughout the election cycle." It's a dishonest and hypocritical attack from Solomon that Vazquez is amplifying to manufacture a class war against Biden, never mind that his president for the previously four years, Donald Trump, was all about flaunting his supposed wealth.
And, of course, Vazquez didn't bring up Solomon's history of shoddy reporting.
Since Vazquez is apparently not into fact-checking his sources, it's not surprising that Vazquez gave Baris another platform in a Feb. 19 post:
Big Data Poll Director Richard Baris slammed a CNBC economic survey arguing that President Joe Biden won an initial approval rating that topped the first ratings of the last four presidents.
Given that Baris has made his pro-Republican leanings all too clear, it's hard to take his criticism of other polls seriously because it seems obvious he's just trashing the competition. Indeed, FiveThirtyEight thinks that Baris' Big Data Poll findings are so unreliable that it has received an F rating and has been banned from its polling analysis.
This is who Vazquez thinks is a credible "expert" on polling. And, no, he didn't bother to tell his readers any of this -- as with Solomon, Baris' claims were too good to fact-check.
Vazquez has a narrative to push, and at the MRC, narratives are more important than the truth.