Correcting The Hypocritical Record
The Media Research Center loves to attack the "liberal media" for correcting mistakes -- even as it makes stealth edits to hide falsehoods and gives its fellow right-wing media a pass for its mistakes.
By Terry Krepel
Curtis Houck was more than happy to gush over Fox News reporter Peter Doocy's performance in his biased review of the April 26 White House press briefing from Jen Psaki as part of his man-crushing on Doocy:
After a few uneventful White House press briefings, Monday’s episode drew a number of interesting exchanges on the border crisis, the coronavirus pandemic, masking, schools, and President Biden’s Wednesday address to a Joint Session of Congress.
Just one problem: That story isn't true at all. As an actual media outlet reported, a single copy of the book was donated in a citywide drive to provide books to the children. This was a screw-up so severe that the Post completely deleted not only the article making the original false claim (though it later returned to the Post's website in edited form) but also a separate article on Doocy asking Psaki about the false story (Fox News and the Post are both owned by Rupert Murdoch). On top of that, Laura Italiano, the Post reporter who wrote the false story, resigned, claiming she was "ordered" to write it.
So how are Houck and the MRC reacting to these developments? Very mildly. On the morning of April 27, the MRC's NewsBusters account touted Houck post featuring Doocy pushing the false story, adding, "@pdoocy continues to be one of the few reporters who consistently ask the Biden administration questions that the rest of the media don't want to touch." Yes, most in the media don't push the kind of fake news Doocy got caught using. Houck meanwhile, lashed out at CNN reporter Daniel Dale for the sin of noting Italiano's resignation, huffing, "You're a genuinely bad person, Daniel. @Italiano_Laura admitting she was wrong -- you and your CNN colleagues should try it sometime." Houck seems oblivious to the fact that the real story here is Italiano's claim that the Post "ordered" her to write a false story. (And Houck himself might want to try it sometime given that, again, the MRC still won't retract that 2016 Hillary story.)
Meanwhile, Houck's April 26 article got some stealth editing. The reference to "Feds Using Kamala's Book" was deleted from the headline, and the section on Doocy promoting the false book story was completely rewritten to remove direct quotes from him and Psaki; it now references only "an exchange about a now-dubious claim from the New York Post about Vice President Harris's children's book being given out at one U.S. detention center for illegal immigrant children." It's not until the very end of Houck's post that there's any evidence that it was altered, with an editor's note that "This post has been updated to reflect the change in reporting to reflect the lack of veracity to the Post's claim about Harris's children's book." There's no mention of this major correction anywhere else on the NewsBusters website, nor is it noted on either Houck's or NewsBusters' Twitter accounts.
Also, note that Houck and the MRC won't actually call the Post story wrong, despite it being definitively discredited; they state only that it's "dubious" and has a "lack of veracity."
Hilariously, MRC executive Tim Graham spent his April 28 column lashing out at a media outlet for ... stealth editing:
Twitter's sidebar came to the rescue on April 22. One of its article headlines read, "Stacey Abrams encouraged Americans to invest in Georgia-based businesses after new voter laws were passed, according to journalists and fact-checkers." That sounds contrary to the spirit of what Abrams wrote.
Graham, of course, made no mention of what the operation he's a leader in running had just done. He might have more credibility on this issue if the MRC's NewsBusters -- of which he is the executive editor -- hadn't stealth-edited an item just two days before.
And not only is it giving Doocy and the New York Post kid-glove treatment on this major screw-up, it has completely censored from its readers how
By contrast, the MRC repeatedly raged over the Washington Post correcting the record on a two-month-old story involving a phone call then-President Trump made trying to strongarm a Georgia election official into throwing the election his way.
The hypocrisy continues
Despite its blatant hypocrisy on the issue. the MRC still couldn't let it go. Scott Whitlock declared in a May 3 item:
Another week, another round of embarrassing corrections from major news media outlets. The Washington Post, The New York Times and NBCNews.com, among others, were forced to retreat on stories saying that Rudy Giuliani was warned by the FBI over Russian disinformation.
Of course, correcting the record is accountability, a concept the MRC is unfamiliar with, as its failure to correct Fox News' Hillary story demonstrates.
For all of its taking certain media to task for running a correction, the MRC was continuing to refuse to give right-wing media outlets the same mocking treatment for the embarrassing corrections they had to make at around the same time.
Turns out the Kamala Harris book story wasn't the only right-wing media screw-up that the MRC would need to downplay. Fox News had to correct a graphic that falsely claimed the Biden would mandate that Americans cut 90 percent of meat from their diets, limit consumption to four pounds per year and one hamburger per month. Pretty embarrassing, right? Not according to the MRC, which -- again -- was more mad that the mistakes were called out.
In an April 28 post, Kristine Marsh complained that on an episode of "The View,": "Whoopi Goldberg started off by playing a highlight reel of Republicans discussing a debunked New York Post story alleging minors at a border facility were given Kamala Harris’s book, as well as Fox News issuing an apology for a misleading graphic about the Biden administration wanting to limit meat consumption for climate change. That spurred condescending lectures from the liberal co-hosts about media bias and fake news on the right."
Graham returned to complain in his April 30 column that "On Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, Trevor Noah mocked the fake news of Kamala Harris’s kiddie book being handed out to migrant children as combining 'immigration, socialism, and reading, the three worst things in the world!'"-- but he didn't tell readers that the "fake news" came from a fellow right-wing media outlet.
Graham kept up the whataboutism in a May 8 post, insisting that despite the falseness of the Fox News story, it's somehow vindicated because "the left" thinks it's a good idea to eat less meat:
Liberals are having it both ways right now. It's nuts to suggest Joe Biden has a plan to take away your meat. But the eco-lefties really want to limit everyone's meat intake, especially beef. On Saturday night's All Things Considered, NPR host Michel Martin brought on New York Times columnist and food writer Mark Bittman for an interview headlined "Food World Ramps Up The War On Meat."
Graham concluded by complaining that the NPR segment "only considered interviewing leftists who don't like meat-eaters. The meat-lovers didn't get a rebuttal." Graham offered no evidence that any of the people in the segment were "leftists" beyond their saying eating less meat is not a bad idea (which isn't an automatically "leftist" viewpoint).
If we needed absolute proof that the MRC give its fellow right-wing media writers a pass on their screwups they would never give to anyone in the "liberal media" for lesser offenses, this is it.