MRC Defends An Extremist, But Hides Her Extremism
Just like its "news" division did, the Media Research Center portrayed Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene as an innocent victim of "censorship" by social media while censoring the extreme views and offensive acts that got her in trouble.
By Terry Krepel
Back in September, the Media Research Center portrayed Marjorie Taylor Greene, then a candidate for a House seat in Georgia, as another victim in its conservative victimization narrative who was "censored" by social media -- but it made sure to censor her well-documented history of racism, anti-Semitism and QAnon affiliations. After she won the seat, the MRC -- like its "news" division CNSNews.com -- was still manufacturing victimhood for her while continuing to hide her extremism.
In a Jan. 18 post, Kayla Sargent groused:
Twitter censored another member of the U.S. government, but she quickly fired back, calling out Twitter’s hypocrisy.
As before, Sargent censored all mention of Greene's QAnon affiliation or her extremism.
In a Jan. 22 post, Alec Schemmel went after a representative of one of the MRC's favorite targets, the never-Trump Lincoln Project, for describing "Marjorie Taylor ‘Cuckoo QAnon’ Greene" as an example of Republican "whiny bitch victimhood," then complained that MSNBC host Joy Reid "questioned how Greene, someone who has rallied against Big Tech censorship, could be considered a victim when she was 'literally on the House floor saying she’s being silenced while she’s on the House floor, also on TV.'" Schemmel didn't admit that Greene really is a QAnon fan, and he certainly didn't rebut the Lincoln Project guy pointing the GOP's "whiny bitch victimhood," since that kind of victimhood is the core of the MRC's anti-social media strategy.
On Jan. 27, Kristine Marsh complained:
Ever since January 6, the media has been pushing hard the notion that domestic terrorists and QAnon conspiracy theorists are directly and only associated with the millions of Americans who call themselves Republicans and/or voted for former President Trump. Now, some in the media are taking this ludicrous smear even further by declaring that if you call yourself a Republican, you are supporting far right extremism.
Hostin referenced Greene when she said of Republicans, "This is the party of QAnon," but Marsh left that buried in the transcript (and misspelled Greene's name).
But when Greene's views became so extreme (and, perhaps more importantly, so publicized in non-right-wing media) that the couldn't be ignored, the MRC switched tactics.
Alex Christy firmly threw Greene under the bus in a Jan. 30 post demonstrating the MRC's new narrative, insisting that Greene's views don't represent Republicans and conservatives as a whole:
Are you opposed to massive job killing climate regulations? Do you believe that the Laffer Curve has some basis in reality? If so, CNN's John Harwood said on Friday that the rise of Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and her history of insane and bigoted conspiracy theory beliefsthat include 9/11 trutherism, Parkland trutherism, and anti-Semitic claims that Jewish space lasers caused California's wildfires in 2018 is the logical conclusion of your beliefs.
Unsurprisingly, Christy failed to discuss the issue of why the MRC spent months defending Greene if her views were "extreme and crazy" and she "is a blot on the Republican Party."
In a Feb. 2 post, Scott Whitlock echoed the under-bus-throwing by noting "the repellant actions and comments from freshman Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene," making sure to add that "Mitch McConnell has condemned her conspiracy theories."In his Feb. 3 column, Tim Graham referenced "nutty extremists like new Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene," then attacked a "liberal" New York Times columnist who he claimed wanted to "shut down the opposition’s media outlets" in order to stanch such extremism.
NewsBusters blogger Mark Finkelstein didn't take it well when MSNBC's Joe Scarborough shot down efforts by Republicans to push the narrative that Greene is simply the Republican version of GOP-loathed Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez by pointing out that, unlike Greene, AOC "never actually threatened to kill" anyone:
Scarborough made his remark for purposes of contrasting Ocasio-Cortez with unhinged, bizarre conspiracy-supporting Marjorie Taylor Greene. Scarborough noted that Greene liked a tweet calling for the assassination of Nany Pelosi, and spoke of strategies for hanging Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. That's when Scarborough offered his backhanded compliment about AOC never having actually threatened to kill a Republican.
Marsh, meanwhile, defended comparisons of "nutty, fringe" Greene to another Democratic House member right-wingers loathe, Ilhan Omar, declaring her to be a "radical Democrat" and attacking NBC's Seth Meyers because he "left out every similarly offensive comment made by the Democrat [sic] rep. He constructs a straw man, scoffing that 'Medicare for All' is what Omar’s biggest controversy is; not her repeated patterns of anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism, anti-Israel hate or her sick comments downplaying 9/11."
Nicholas Fondacaro whined on Feb. 4 that "The liberal media were making a full-court press in an effort to try to make freshman Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and her loony conspiracy theories the face of the entire Republican Party," allegedly ignoring "a new government report detailing excessive levels of toxins and heavy metals found in multiple baby food brands" to do so. He concluded, "It’s a shame that ABC and NBC were willing to put toxic baby food in the backseat as they accelerated their efforts to divide America further." In another post the same day, Fondacaro complained that CNN's Chris Cuomo "was desperately trying to use the craziness of freshman Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) to smear the entire Republican Party."
Christy returned to labor once more to turn the spotlight away from Greene, complaining that Omar appeared on CNN "to attempt to debunk Republican comparisons between her and Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene," adding that "while the media has spent the past week trying to make Greene and her crazy conspiracy theories the face of the Republican Party, despite three separate polls showing a majority of Republicans do not even have an opinion of her, back then the media covered for Omar, either ignoring her comments or even defending her."
Christy came back once more to huff that a former Republican congressman "pleased CNN by trying to portray conspiracy theorist and Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene as more popular than she really is." Christy ignored the inconvenient fact that she was obviously popular enough to get elected in the first place.
And, again, Christy -- like his fellow MRC writers -- failed to mention that Greene was the same person they had been painting as a victim because that very same extremism they now admit is "nutty" and "fringe" got her "censored" by social media, which feeds into a separate (and bogus) MRC narrative.
The MRC has to always forward a victim narrative, and the case of Marjorie Taylor Greene shows how cynical and calculated that strategy is.
Defending Greene again
A few weeks later, the MRC has apparently decided it can hide Greene's extreme views again now that was back in the news for more MRC-friendly reasons.
One of those is hating transgender people. 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.
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."
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?”
Greene has gotten only passing mentions from the MRC since, though an April 21 post giving the tech industry an entirely subjective (and, thus, meaningless) F grade for purported censorship of conservatives listed Greene being "censored" by Twitter as a reason to give the platform an F. Again, there was no mention of Greene's extremism.
The MRC seems to have finally realized it can't hide Greene's extremism anymore, making it hard to credibly defend her.