The Coulter Cowards at the MRC
The Media Research Center is buddies with Ann Coulter, so you know they won't criticize her, even at her most anti-Semitic or anti-Catholic. Heck, the MRC will let anyone bash Catholics -- but only if they're conservative.
By Terry Krepel
The Media Research Center is a longtime friend of Ann Coulter, having served as a judge and/or presenter for its annual "dishonors awards" several times. And in 2015 alone:
The MRC is also a defender of Coulter, unable to identify anything she says that might be offensive. The MRC rushed to aggressively defend Coulter after she was credibly accused of homophobic rhetoric, so aggressive that we wondered if Coulter had some blackmail thing going against MRC chief Brent Bozell.
Given this history of chumminess, how would the MRC would react to Coulter's Twitter rant complaining about Republican presidential candidates pandering to Israel, adding, "How many f---ing Jews do these people think there are in the United States?"
The answer: pretty much not at all. Stone silence at CNSNews and MRCTV, and no mention at all on the Twitter feeds of either Bozell or the MRC. NewsBusters did link to a Mediaite article on Coulter under the headline "Coulter unleashes anti-Semitic bile on Twitter," but no NewsBusters writer mentioned it in a blog post, let alone passed judgment on it.
Why the silence? Are Bozell and Co. simply that clueless about how Coulter's words hurt the conservative brand? Or do they know it's offensive but are afraid to speak out against her? That would make them either ignorant or gutless.
The problem with the MRC's silence is that because it's been so close to Coulter in the past, they have ownership in her anti-Semitic remarks. In this case, silence can only be interpreted as assent. The MRC's longtime defense of Coulter and embrace of her as a mainstream conservative is a major reason why she is in a position today to make such an offensive statement.
As we've noted with MRC's wishy-washiness over birthers -- while it didn't further birtherism, it did little to stop its spread among its fellow right-wingers -- its refusal to use its position as a leader in the conservative movement to unequivocally denounce extremism in its own ranks allows the so-called "liberal media" to show how that extremism is part of conservatism. The MRC repeatedly insists that portrayal is unfair, but it won't police its ranks the way it lashes out at conservatives who move even the slightest bit to the left.
Seemingly emboldened by the silence of the MRC and others on the right, Coulter followed up by pushing things even further. During Pope Francis' visit to America, Coulter tweeted that the Catholic Church was "largely built by pedophiles," and claimed that the pope's criticism of economic inequality is "why our founders (not 'immigrants'!) distrusted Catholics & wouldn't make them citizens."
Those are statements that the MRC would denounce as anti-Catholic -- that is, if they had been made by anyone other than Coulter. Instead, the official MRC line was even more stone silence, even though its leadership ranks are heavily Catholic.
You'd think that NewsBusters blogger Dave Pierre, who reflextively defends the church against any mention of its sex scandals, would have something to say. But he, along with the rest of the MRC, are keeping their mouths zipped.
By contrast, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League -- on whose board of advisers, ironically, MRC chief Brent Bozell sits -- approached the issue in his usual blustery way:
What do Ann Coulter and the Westboro Baptist Church have in common? Both are obscene anti-Catholics. Indeed, they are the worst of Pope Francis' vile critics to emerge during his visit to the United States.
Donohue is a NewsBusters blogger, but you won't find the above commentary there (we found it at Newsmax). That language is apparently too strong for the MRC.
Heck, any criticism at all of Coulter is too strong for the MRC, it appears. Call them the Coulter Cowards.
Catholic-bashing double standard
On top of the cowardice, there's a clear double standard. To demonstrate its Catholic-defending bona fides, here are some recent MRC headlines prior to the pope's U.S. visit:
Note the one linking characteristic of those items: the MRC is attacking liberals (or perceived liberals) for their statements on the pope.
By contrast, conservatives are allowed to smear the pope all they want -- and not just Coulter.
For instance, one writer marked Pope Francis' visit to the U.S. by claiming he "embodies sanctity but comes trailing clouds of sanctimony," offers "shrill" social diagonses and "embraces ideas impeccably fashionable, demonstrably false and deeply reactionary." This writer concluded by sneering, "He stands against modernity, rationality, science and, ultimately, the spontaneous creativity of open societies in which people and their desires are not problems but precious resources. Americans cannot simultaneously honor him and celebrate their nation’s premises."
The pope's recent encyclical on climate change brought out much ire at the MRC. Its "news" division, CNSNews.com, published numerous attacks on the pope, including one commentary by Jen Kuznicki claiming the Vatican is filled with "climate change wackos" and attacking the pope himself for coming "from Latin America, where corrupt, communistic governments and dictatorships show little regard for their fellow human beings." And on the eve of the pope's U.S. visit, a CNS op-ed claimed the pope's support of climate change action means he backs "a political agenda that pushes policies that directly hurt the poor and are contrary to the best science."
It seems that if the MRC is going to be a defender of the pope and the Catholic Church, it should defend them from all attacks, not just ones from liberals. But that would be too logical; instead, it actually openly encourages conservative attacks on him.
Are Brent Bozell and his fellow followers in faith at the MRC being good Catholics by taking part in such hypocrisy? It doesn't seem so.
That hypocritical stand mirrors that of its stance on Coulter: If you're a conservative, you can attack the MRC's pet causes and even violate with impunity the standards of civility it imposes on liberals.
The MRC had a chance speak out on Coulter so the public knows where it stands on right-wing extremism -- and blew it. If the MRC refuses to enforce its self-declared standards on its own side, why take it seriously when it squawks about what liberals do or say?