ConWebWatch home
ConWebBlog: the weblog of ConWebWatch
Search and browse through the ConWebWatch archive
About ConWebWatch
Who's behind the news sites that ConWebWatch watches?
Letters to and from ConWebWatch
ConWebWatch Links
Buy books and more through ConWebWatch

Trump Friends Even After The End

The fact that President Trump has been out of office for months (and left in disgrace after the Capitol riot) isn't keeping the Media Research Center from continuing to defend him and his wife's record in office.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 4/29/2021

Donald Trump may be out of the White House, but the Media Research Center -- in an apparent exercising of its pro-Trump defense reflex -- has continued to defend him and his wife, Melania.

That pattern was set up even before Trump officially left, in the aftermath of the Trump-instigated Capitol riot. In a Jan. 17 post, Nicholas Fondacaro complained that NBC's Chuck Todd said of Trump's presidency that "it is hard to look at this as anything other than a failed presidency when you look at particularly the coronavirus in the last year and obviously the violent ending to his presidency." Fondacaro first retorted, "While Trump’s actions and the events of the last couple of weeks did taint his legacy and final days in office, there was a long list of accomplishments; even if Todd, a man who rents to Democrats, didn’t want to see them." That weird attack referenced a post by MRC executive Tim Graham claiming that Todd once rented a home he owned to Democratic Rep. Amy Klobuchar; apparently, Graham wants Todd to violate anti-discrimination laws by refusing to rent to a Democrat.

Then, Fondacaro started acting as if he was on the payroll of former Trump press secretary Kayleigh McEnany:

As noted by a list put out by the White House, the administration could brag about Operation Warp Speed which oversaw the fastest vaccine research and development ever. And before the coronavirus, “The unemployment rate reached 3.5 percent, the lowest in a half-century,” which included record low unemployment for many minority groups. Also, “The DOW closed above 20,000 for the first time in 2017 and topped 30,000 in 2020.” Plus, the tax cuts.

And aside from renegotiating the trade deal with Canada and Mexico (replacing NAFTA with the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement), the Trump administration had other trade and foreign policy accomplishments like energy independence and getting our NATO allies to give more money to our mutual defense.

Just to name a few.

Nothing says "media research" like coping and pasting from a press release in order to obscure Trump's failures.

As soon as Joe Biden took over the presidency, the MRC strangely went all in on defending the Trump administration's coronavirus vaccine distribution plan, even though there really wasn't much of one. Curtis Houck ranted in a Jan. 21 post:

On Thursday morning, CNN White House correspondent MJ Lee filed an anonymously-sourced story on behalf of her fellow lefties that set the agenda for Zuckerville and like-minded outlets (which our friend Drew Holden chronicled in another legendary thread): “Biden inheriting nonexistent coronavirus vaccine distribution plan and must start ‘from scratch,’ sources say.”

But as we would learn hours later from Dr. Tony Fauci of NIH, the Biden administration “certainly [is] not starting from scratch because there is activity going on in the distribution.”

Huh. So, in other words, Lee’s story was nothing more than pants-on-fire fake news. Trump should ask Bernie Sanders how it felt to be on the receiving end of Lee’s propaganda.


If the plan was nonexistent, how come there have been 18.4 million shots given, according to Bloomberg?

Because, as others have pointed out, the plan, such as it was, wasn't a very good one -- it was concerned only with shipping the vaccines to states, which were then on their own in figuring out distribution. PolitiFact summarized: "There are many criticisms of this process, including that it took too long to give states money to implement their plans and a lack of communication from the top about how the rollout would work. But that was the plan they drew up." The Biden administration has said it will help the states much more closely than the Trump administration did.

But the MRC had its narrative -- Trump had a rock-solid plan, CNN was lying -- and it was running with it. Tim Graham huffed in his Jan. 22 column:

Nonexistent? If the Trump administration had a “nonexistent” vaccine strategy, how was the vaccine distributed across the country? This is self-evidently false. CNN somehow didn’t have the talent or intelligence to Google the 11-page HHS document on their Operation Warp Speed vaccine strategy. Instead, CNN reporter MJ Lee was relying on anonymous Trump-trashing sources for her dishonest spin.


Trump is easily portrayed as saying any strategy he unveiled was the best strategy ever. The CNN/Biden approach is the exact opposite, a wild and boastful exaggeration that there was zero planning, zip, nothing. You could argue Trump’s plans were insufficient. But that wasn’t enough: they had to lie for effect.

MRC chief Brent Bozell ranted in a Fox Business appearance: "The plan called, had it all set up for distribution in every state, in every territory, tribal distribution, even local distribution. You're entitled to your opinion. You're not entitled to lie. And CNN flat-out lied to its viewers. Its viewers need to understand it is not biased, they're not spinning it, they're flat out lying. That just wasn't true.”

Graham returned to complain on Feb. 15:

Isn't it fascinating that the liberal media lecture us about all the dangers of misinformation about the coronavirus, but now the Biden-Harris team just keeps repeating nonsense about how they had to start "from scratch" on the vaccine? That there was "no plan"?

Even after CNN fell on its face running this claim from an anonymous source, only to be corrected by media darling Anthony Fauci, Vice President Kamala Harris said it out loud to Axios reporter and co-founder Mike Allen for the website's HBO show. Allen just accepted this garbage.


Can we expect ANY "independent fact-checkers" to locate this obvious misinformation, just lying there?

Of course, we can't expect Graham to tell his readers that whatever plan Trump had was wholly inadequate to the task.

This narrative reached its desperate nadir on Feb. 17, when Joseph Vazquez cheered how Fox Business host Larry Kudlow was eager to rip apart a lie Vice President Kamala Harris told Axios about the vaccine rollout effort of former President Donald Trump’s administration," even happier that "Kudlow shot back over a hot mic: 'Bullshit! Bullshit! Bullshit!'"

The same day, Kristine Marsh accused Fauci of "backtracking from his own prior statements so he could defend Vice President Kamala Harris’s “starting from scratch” lie" by saying (accurately, not that Marsh or the MRC will admit it) that "the actual plan of getting the vaccine doses into people's arms was really rather vague."

Kyle Drennen groused that a later interviewer of Harris "ignored Harris lying in a recent interview about the Biden administration having to 'start from scratch' in its COVID response after President Trump left office," claiming that the questions that were asked "conveniently took the place of any attempt to hold Harris accountable for lying in a recent Axios interview about the Biden administration supposedly having to 'start from scratch' in its COVID response, as if the Trump administration had not done anything to combat the pandemic. Something even Dr. Anthony Fauci said was false."

Graham harped on it again in a Feb. 20 post, pretending to be outraged that the Washington Post gave Harris only two Pinocchios for Harris' statement, trying to split hairs in offering a defense:

In this case, [Glenn] Kessler thinks it's fair game to say there was "no national strategy" since it was "state-centric." You can't have a "state-centric national strategy"? He did think it was "trouble" to say "starting from stratch," even though he elastically allowed they have "fill in the blanks" a bit.


"Starting from scratch" is not "trouble." It's non-factual. There is no evidence of such a claim, if we may use the liberal-media argot. For people who lecture about the importance of facts and truth, they seem to be extremely willing to sculpt falsehoods into all kinds of puzzling shapes and then pronounce they're well, half-true.

So dedicated was the MRC to this talking point that Tim Graham dedicated his March 17 column to rehashing it yet again:

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.”

Remember: For the MRC, narrative is everything. The truth -- that Trump's plan was apparently only marginally better than no plan at all when it came to the end goal of vaccines in people's arms -- is secondary.

Defending Melania

The Media Research Center was such a safe space for Melania Trump that it couldn't get outraged over the 2016 surfacing of nude photos taken a couple decades earlier, which would likely have gotten her labeled as a slut, Sandra Fluke-like, had she not been married to a Republican presidential candidate (and later president). Along the way, the MRC whined that her plagiarism in her 2016 Republican National Convention speech was reported on and even found a way to defend her bizarre "I Really Don't Care, Do U?" jacket. That continued throughout the 2020 presidential campaign and its aftermath.

In October, the MRC tried to defend Melania from secretly recorded phone calls of her complaining about having to decorate the White House for Christmas, desperately trying to change the subject by huffing that reporting on the tapes omitted "the First Lady's anguished retelling of her intervention on behalf of a migrant child."

After years of defending Melania's odd Christmas design choices for the White House, the MRC did so again for her final Christmas choices in a Nov. 30 post by Kristine Marsh that devolved into a bit of Obama-bashing:

CNN’s New Day took a break from their feverish panicking over coronavirus and President Trump not conceding the election to taunt Melania Trump, Monday morning. Co-hosts John Berman and Alisyn Camerota relentlessly ridiculed and laughed at the First Lady over whether or not she likes Christmas decorations, even bringing their rival Fox News into the childish and mean-spirited mockery.


But Camerota and Berman were itching to attack the First Lady over her former friend’s secretly recorded tapes where a frustrated Trump rants at how the media has demonized her and admits she doesn’t care about Christmas decorations. The New Day co-hosts eagerly played a partial clip before the journalists relentlessly mocked the First Lady as being part of Fox News’s “War on Christmas:”


To really take in how dramatic a swing the media has taken in their coverage of First Ladies, can you imagine CNN or any other liberal news network mocking former First Lady Michelle Obama on just about...anything?

In fact their devotion to Michelle Obama borders on parody. Last May, Don Lemon ranted how Melania was dumber and less attractive than Michelle.

On Dec. 14, Kyle Drennen complained that NBC defended Jill Biden from attacks on her use of the "Dr." title, though "This is the same network that just a few months ago criticized Melania Trump for condemning looting and has spent years hurling similar cheap shots at the First Lady." Two days later, on his podcast, "executive editor Tim Graham discusse[d] now the media have never been fair or balanced in their treatment of Melania Trump. They mocked her as merely a "former model" and routinely suggested she must be clawing her way out of her husband's clutches."

On Jan. 19, Mark Finkelstein groused:

How clueless is John Berman? On the one hand, the CNN anchor trumpets the fact that Melania Trump is the first First Lady to leave the White House with a net-negative approval rating. On the other hand, his own sneering remarks are a perfect illustration of the kind of negative coverage that Melania has received during her years as First Lady that have contributed to her negative ratings.


Who but a malicious Melania antagonist would offer a "pop quiz" on her negative ratings? Berman's maligning of Melania is in line with the kind of coverage the liberal media has given her for years.

The same day, Marsh weighed in again:

The View hosts talked briefly about President Trump’s legacy to kick off Tuesday’s show, but ended the segment with vicious gossip about First Lady Melania Trump. Moderator Whoopi Goldberg asked Joy Behar what she thought about the First Lady’s farewell speech and that prompted a nasty rant from the far-left co-host.

If you can believe it, just a few weeks ago, Behar boasted that The View had “been respectful to Melania” over the last 4+ years. Go to that post linked to see just how wrong that statement was even then. The lying continued on today’s show, as she delved into all sorts of nasty gossip about the First Lady, from suggesting she was afraid of the president, to too stupid to think for herself, to being a “co-conspirator” who is “as bad as Trump:”


Funny thing, The View hosts have never gossiped about Hillary Clinton being a “co-conspirator,” protecting her husband when he was accused of rape and sexual assault.

Marsh went on to huff that "Behar ended her trash talk by attacking Mrs. Trump for her 'I really don't care' jacket, which Trump denied was about the child separation policy, but actually about how the media treats her. Still, that didn’t stop Behar from declaring that was what the jacket was about."

Even after Melania exited the White House door, the MRC was still defending her. Gabriel Hays whined in a Feb. 1 post:

Former First Lady Melania Trump can’t ever catch a break. According to a new poll, Donald Trump’s wife has been labeled the least popular first lady in history. Of course we all know it has much less to do with Melania than with a media whose unhinged hate for her husband sloshed over the entire family.

The CNN poll, published in January, found that only 42% of people polled found favor with the First Lady at the end of her tenure. Not only was that the lowest approval rating of her time under the title, but according to the outlet, it was the lowest rating among First ladies in the history of the poll.

According to, which published the findings of the CNN survey, Michelle Obama departed the White House with a 69% favorable rating, Laura Bush at a 67% favorable rating, and Hillary Clinton at a 56% favorable rating. Compared to those numbers, Melania’s measly 42% meant she practically left the White House in disgrace.

But the real story is that Melania received much the same press treatment that painted her husband as the literal worst president in American history. This hostility, which she herself has called “shameful,” no doubt contributed to her low favorability. Most first ladies who’ve kept as low a profile as Melania haven’t been targets. (Hillary Clinton, elected to nothing at the time, stepped into the policy arena in the first year of her husband’s administration. Michelle “I’ve never been really proud of my country before” was the lefty media’s fantasy FLOTUS.)

As Fox News Contributor Joe Concha said, Melania was “treated the worst of any first lady we’ve seen in the modern era.”

Hays also whined that Michelle Obama got more fashion shoots than Melania did, not-so-subtly suggesting that Melania deserved it more because she's better-looking:

Another over-the-top display of bias towards Melania Trump involved fashion magazines like Vogue snubbing the former supermodel from its cover shoots, but putting First Ladies like Michelle Obama on the cover of its fashion magazine on multiple occasions. InStyle acknowledged that Obama graced the cover three times over the years, though reported that the Vogue’s editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, admitted they’d never put Trump on the cover in the near future.

Of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but when Michelle Obama gets Vogue three times during her time as First Lady and a former supermodel-turned First Lady can’t get even a spread in Home & Garden, then you know the media has it out for her. It’s fair to say that making the beautiful Melania look bad in the public eye was their goal and the poll proves they tried their damndest.

Of course, Hays gets paid to make non-conservatives like Michelle Obama look bad in the public eye, so he's just projecting here.

Tim Graham similarly whined in his Feb. 19 column:

Melania Trump began her tenure as First Lady behind the Eight ball. First, the liberal media always adores First Ladies who are Ivy League-educated lawyers or career educators, not just – ick – wives. Second, Melania Trump’s beauty was deployed against her: she was seen as “arm candy,” a “trophy wife.” She resisted any attempt at public affection for the cameras. Comedians mocked their marriage, insisting she wanted to claw out of it, like it was a prison. She didn’t go for magazine cover articles or go “out and about in Washington” for fear of all the poison pens.
The same media outlets who treated the Trump marriage as a cynical ongoing negotiation lunged to portray Bill and Hillary Clinton as an inspiring romance, a baby-boomer Belle and the Beast.

Graham is not going to mention that a major part of the MRC's right-wing agenda over the past few decades was to denigrate both Hillary and Michelle, so he's projecting too.

Send this page to:

Bookmark and Share
The latest from

In Association with
Support This Site

home | letters | archive | about | primer | links | shop
This site © Copyright 2000-2021 Terry Krepel