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

The MRC's Hypocritical Herschel Embrace

The Media Research Center labored to deflect from and excuse Herschel Walker's personal baggage before he became a Republican senatorial candidate. When it was revealed he paid for an abortion, the anti-abortion MRC tried to deflect that too.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 11/7/2022

Herschel Walker

The Media Research Center has been a cheerleader for ex-football player and Trump buddy Herschel Walker well before he became a carpetbagging Georgia Senate candidate. When Walker made his political ambitions known last year, mysterious MRC sports blogger Jay Maxson leaped into action, making a morally dubious effort to whitewash spousal abuse allegations against Walker.

Maxson's cheerleading for Walker began last April by helping Trump encourage a Walker Senate run:

We don't know what kind of U.S. senator Herschel Walker would make, but all the right people already hate him. Deadspin and Democrat partisan Dustin Foote is on high alert over news reports that former President Donald Trump urged the football great to run for the U.S. Senate in Georgia. Walker was selected as one of Deadspin’s 2020 “Idiots of the Year,” he believes in God and is a good friend of Trump’s. In other words, he’s a real nightmare.

Taking a shot at current Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock, Maxson huffed, "Walker’s considerable fame and reputation in his home state of George greatly surpass that of Sen. Warnock." Unlike Walker, though, Warnock currently lives in Georgia, something Maxson didn't see fit to mention.

Maxson slobbered all over Walker in a September 2021 post under the gushy headline "Herschel Walker Shines for Conservativism at Save America Rally":

Former University of Georgia and National Football League star Herschel Walker is fast becoming one of the leading ball-carriers for the conservative movement. He appeared in Perry, Ga., Saturday with former President Donald Trump and other conservatives at a “Save America” rally.

It only makes sense for Americans to support conservative ideals, Walker told the fired-up audience: "People always ask me what qualifies me to run for this office, and I said, 'Well you’re right, I’m an American.’" The former Heisman Trophy winner said being conservative is just part of being an American. He had the crowd firmly with him, as people chanted “run, Herschel, run:”


Formalizing his decision last month to run for the U.S. Senate and take out radical lefty Sen. Raphael Warnock, Walker said it’s “Because I love America. And I’ve got to fight for America. It is time for us to stop wondering what we’re going to do but do it because what we’ve got now — we’re fighting over the same things we were fighting over when Jimmy Carter was in office. Have you noticed that?”

Trump told the crowd that Walker is a "special man" and a "great” man. He endorsed the candidacy of the man who’s expected to win next year’s Georgia GOP primary. Walker is polling at a whopping 75 percent among Republican Senate hopefuls in his home state.

"Welcome a man who really knows how to win the United States of America. So proud of this man,” Trump exclaimed. “One of the greatest athletes of our country's history. The greatest running back that I've ever seen.

"Not only an American hero, he is an American legend born and raised in this state," Trump said.

Maxson again failed to mention that Walker has not lived in Georgia for years. Nor did he mention that a guy who help foment an insurrection against the government of the United States is perhaps not the best character witness for anyone, let alone a potential political candidate.

When a Walker supporter was criticized for backing a guy credibly accused of spousal abuse, Maxson's response in a November 2021 post was, essentially, arrests or it didn't happen:

It should not be considered “news” that a Major League Baseball owner donates money to Republican political candidates. But then there’s California’s wildly left-of-center media that contends it is newsworthy. The San Francisco Giants’ owner Charles Johnson supported the Georgia Senate campaign of Herschel Walker, and now he’s getting raked over the coals.

The San Francisco Chronicle disparaged Walker, the former football star and Heisman Trophy winner, as a “stop the steal enthusiast” who suspected voter fraud in the 2020 election. Walker has announced his candidacy for a U.S. Senate seat in Georgia for the 2022 election, and he leads polling among Republican candidates in that Georgia Senate primary race. Walker’s support from former President Donald Trump also soured the Chronicle on his reputation.

Though Walker has never been charged with domestic abuse, the Chronicle and Associated Press both accused him of that crime against his former wife.

Maxson concluded with this bizarre assertion: "Give the Chronicle well-deserved 'F' grades for journalistic fairness and failing to recognize Johnson's right to free association, along with an 'A' grade for doing the Democrats’ bidding." What grade to we give a guy who's so in the tank for Walker he might as well be on the campaign payroll -- and who so blithely dismisses credible accusations that he's a spousal abuser?

As Walker continued to show how poor a candidate he is who is merely coasting on his fame as a football player, the defense switched to the MRC's resident New York Times-hater, Clay Waters, who spent an April 19 post whining that the Times devoted an article to the unsavory backgrounds (and current behavior) of certain prominent GOP candidates. When the article turned to Walker, he retorted with whataboutism:

[Reporter Jonathan] Weisman poked through old domestic abuse accusations against Herschel Walker, football star turned Republican candidate for Senate in his home state of Georgia. That's funny! Walker is running against Sen. Raphael Warnock, and they were too busy promoting the Democrat to discuss his ex-wife's allegations that he ran over her foot. (Warnock had "fact checkers" fight for him.)

Waters didn't explain why false claims should not have been fact-checked.

The whataboutism continued with Waters bringing up a politician who hasn't held political office in more than 20 years:

The name “Bill Clinton” somehow was unmentioned, a Democrat president who notoriously escaped allegations of sexual harassment and rape thanks to a compliant press that willingly smeared and disappeared his accusers.


Again, Bill Clinton was credibly accused of rape by Juanita Broaddrick, and of sexual harassment by Paula Jones and Kathleen Willey.

it's not a smear to point out the fact that Broaddrick has lied under oath -- either to deny a sexual assault by Clinton or to claim one happened -- meaning that she does, in fact, have credibility problems.

Waters played Warnock whataboutism again in a May 22 post complaining about a "hostile" Times profile of Walker:

Walker is a flawed candidate, prone to exaggeration, as the Times has consistently documented this year, while mostly avoiding Democrat Warnock’s own flaws. Weisman (a white reporter, noted only because race is so important to Weisman here) still managed to be unfair to the black Republican.

He made no mention, not even a condescending one, of how eager supposedly racist Republicans are (as the paper feverishly claimed after the Buffalo massacre) to vote for a black candidate or the historic nature of a black Democrat against a black Republican competing for a U.S. Senate seat in Georgia.


After noting “the football star’s history of domestic violence, his admitted struggles with mental illness,” the reporter predicted Walker’s message would fail because of black resentment of the infamous police killing that happened two years ago in Minneapolis.


Meanwhile, Warnock’s gross accusations of a “Jim Crow” assault on voting rights didn’t garner any objections from the Times.

Waters isn't the only MRC employee stuck having to defend Walker. Tim Graham used a May 8 post to grumble about a Washington Post "hit piece" on Walker declaring that "you could tell it would accentuate the negative" just from the headline. He continued grumbling that "The quotes [the reporter] uses are overwhelmingly negative, from furious liberals and from local Republican skeptics." Graham was particularly upset that reporter "highlights how Walker isn't always up to speed on policy or politics, such as referring to late congressman John Lewis as a Senator," furiously spinning in response: "Walker's not always wrong, but the liberals pretend he is."

At no point did Graham identify any factual inaccuracy in the article. instead, he handwaved Walker's worst behavior with, you guessed it, Warnock whataboutism:

Rosengren dove deeply into Walker's memoir where he talked of playing Russian roulette and thought about shooting a man who was late in delivering a car he ordered, as well as how officials granted a restraining order after his ex-wife said he threatened to kill her. That's some serious stuff. But you can be sure the Post wasn't digging into allegations from his opponent Sen. Raphael Warnock's ex-wife who claimed he ran over her foot.

Graham wants you to think that what Warnock is alleged to have done (of which there is no police evidence, meaning that the MRC's standards, it didn't happen) is just as bad as what Walker has done. It's not, and Graham is being dishonest by claiming moral equivalence.

Meanwhile, the bad news for Walker keeps piling up. Illegitimate children keep coming out of the woodwork, and he said there are 52 states. The MRC has been silent so far, because it's OK if you're a Republican.

Abortion allegation

When it was exposed that Walker had paid for an abortion for a former girlfriend, the MRC quickly assembled to play defense for Walker again -- even though the MRC is a hive of anti-abortion extremists (to the point that it wants an Orwellian surveillance state to monitor women who might have one).

Scott Whitlock made the usual MRC complaint in a Oct. 4 post that non-right-wing media covered the story, with added whataboutism regarding his Democratic opponent, Raphael Warnock:

Less than 12 hours after being posted on a liberal website, the ABC, CBS, MSNBC and CNN morning shows on Tuesday devoted 24 minutes and three seconds to Daily Beast claims that Republican Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker paid for an abortion in 2009. Back in 2020, the networks weren’t interested in domestic dispute police video of Walker’s Democratic opponent.

CBS Mornings
hyped the accusations against the pro-life Walker for two minutes and 23 seconds. Co-host Nate Burleson touted, “Turning to the midterms where there's a new twist in the pivotal Senate race in Georgia. The website The Daily Beast is reporting Republican candidate Herschel Walker paid for a woman he was dating to get an abortion in 2009.”


Back in 2020, the networks buried a domestic dispute video involving the Democratic (and pro-abortion) Senator of Georgia Raphael Warnock.

Whitlock didn't explain why right-wing operations like his are trying to distract from the Walker scandal despite abortion being a hot-button right-wing issue.

Mark Finkelstein played whataboutism of a different sort, while dismissing the story as nothing but a biased "October surprise":

"Hypocrisy?" We got your hypocrisy right here, Morning Joe!

With control of the Senate at stake in next month's elections, Republicans have been bracing for the Democrat/liberal-media complex to drop an "October surprise" on one of the GOP candidates engaged in a tight race.

And, sure enough, the left-wing Daily Beast yesterday published an article alleging that Herschel Walker, the Republican candidate for Senate from Georgia, who has taken a strong pro-life stance, paid for a girlfriend's abortion 13 years ago.


So, let's turn to another story regarding a Republican. When Rep. Jackie Walorski died along with two of her aides in a car accident in August, Morning Joe prominently featured Pres. Biden's expression of condolences. Biden said that he and Dr. Jill were "shocked and saddened" by Walorski's death.

And Willie Geist mentioned that Walorski had made a very large "impact on Washington."

But Biden was obviously not "shocked" enough by Walorski's death, nor did it "impact" Biden sufficiently, for him to remember it less than two months later. At an event in late September, Biden called out, "Jackie, are you here? Where's Jackie?"


So, after featuring Biden's "shocked and saddened" condolences at the time of Walorski's death, how much time did Morning Joe ever devote to Biden's gaffe? None, of course.

Hypocrisy, thy name is Morning Joe.

Of course, by Finkelstein's logic, the non-right-wing media were right to dismiss stories about Hunter Biden's laptop because they were an "October surprise" issued by a partisan right-wing publication, the New York Post -- but that's not the argument the MRC is making. Finkelstein then bizarrely attacked Scarborough for going from "a perfect pro-life voting record" as a congressman to having "sounded more like a Planned Parenthood spokesman," inventing a conspiracy theory: "Could there be something in Scarborough's past that would expose him as a hypocrite regarding his erstwhile pro-life position?"

If Finkelstein can't substantiate his conspiracy theory, perhaps he should shut up lest Scarborough slap him with a defamation suit.

The next day, Whitlock again invoked Warnock whataboutism to whine about the coverage:

The media-backed October surprise is finally here. In the 24 hours since the liberal Daily Beast posted an accusation that Georgia Republican senatorial candidate Herschel Walker paid for an abortion in 2009, the ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening newscasts devoted almost 21 minutes to hyping the allegations.

These same networks weren’t interested in a 2020 domestic abuse police video of Walker’s opponent, the radically pro-abortion Senator Raphael Warnock (D). But they can’t get enough of the charges against the pro-life Republican.
Whitlock didn't explain the relevance of the Walker story coming from a "liberal" (or "left-wing," according to Limbaugh) outlet if the story is true -- and there has been no evidence it isn't. Like Finkelstein, he also didn't note that the "October surprise" argument also justifies non-right-wing media ignoring the Hunter laptop story.

Finkelstein returned for another post attacking Scarborough to distract from Walker, complaining that while Scarborough is "upset that pro-lifers would stick to supporting Herschel Walker in the U.S. Senate race in Georgia," Scarborough himself didn't list opposition to abortion as an attribute that makes him conservative: "So why do you think Scarborough markedly omitted abortion from his list of conservative credentials?" Finkelstein, meanwhile, made no argument in favor of conservatives sticking with a man credibly accused of paying for an abortion.

Whitlock also complained that James Carville pointed out how Republican indifference to abortion when one of its candidates get caught paying for one "exposes the massive, staggering humanity of conservative evangelicals. I’m not going to call these people Christians, because I don’t think they embrace very much of Christianity." He didn't rebut Carville's remarks, just complained that he said them, putting the word "HATER" in all-caps in the headline to describe him.

Maxson tried his (or her) own form of whataboutism in an Oct. 6 post, then gave Walker a pass for purportedly having changed:

Ex-ESPN reporter Darren Rovell on Monday slammed the supporters of conservative Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker as “vile,” and he labeled the former Heisman Trophy winner possibly the worst political candidate ever. Rovell and Walker’s opponent, Senator Raphael Warnock (D), have skeletons in their own respective closets, but those were ignored.


If the claim is true, the alleged abortion was not an honorable act on Walker’s part. But 13 years later, he’s on the right side of the sanctity of life issue. Warnock, on the other hand, would have unlimited tax-payer funded abortions.

Yes, Maxson is cheering that "he’s on the right side" of the issue, his personal history to the contrary.

Maxson then attacked Rovell for having "issues of his own" that are completely irrelevant to the issue at hand. Leave it to the MRC to turn a critique into a personal attack.

The next step, of course, was attack mode. An Oct. 7 post by Kevin Tober ranted that the story was a "smear" -- despite it being factually accurate, Tober's protestation that it is"uncorroborated" notwithstanding -- and lashed out at anyone who dared to criticize Walker's dubious sense of judgment:

The leftist media’s smears against Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker continued this week as MSNBC’s All In host Chris Hayes, and Bulwark editor Tim Miller decided Thursday to accuse him of being mentally unfit for office. While much of the media this week spent considerable airtime accusing Walker of being a hypocrite for opposing abortion while allegedly paying for a woman’s abortion over a decade ago, Hayes and Miller took the nasty partisan attacks a step forward.

Hayes kicked it off during the segment discussing the uncorroborated Daily Beast story which claimed Walker paid for a woman’s abortion. “The whole thing, when you step back, is so ludicrous,” Hayes claimed.

Letting his elitism show, he lectured Georgians about Walker’s candidacy: “there's just no reason for him to be a U.S. Senator,” Hayes preached. Since when is Hayes in charge of deciding who should and should not be in the United States Senate?

Hayes then argued that there are “thousands of people in the state of Georgia across the ideological spectrum, across lines of race and class, whatever, who you could pull out of a hat to be the Senate nominee that aren't Herschel Walker.”

One would also argue that if Republicans dropped support for Walker tomorrow and somehow picked another candidate, Hayes would find something about the new candidate to cry about.

Tober deflected from the elephant in the room -- that the MRC and right-wingers, known for their anti-abortion extremism, are giving a pass to a candidate who paid for an abortion -- by cynically declaring that "Sometimes elections are a choice between the lesser of two evils."

Alex Christy similarly hated it when critics pointed out Repubilcans' hypocrisy, offering only whataboutism in response:

MSNBC’s Katie Phang used her Saturday show to allege that the Republican response to the Herschel Walker-abortion allegations prove that they aren’t really pro-life because “it was always about being pro-power.” Co-host of the Democracy-ish podcast, Danielle Moodie agreed, claiming Republicans use that power to be the party of “cruelty and oppression” for “millions of people with uteruses.”

Phang saw a connection between conservative reactions to Trump and Walker, “they did it before. Now, there’s a certain group of GOP voters that looked at Donald Trump and said, ‘he’s going to give me a conservative SCOTUS and I'm going to see the end of Roe v. Wade’ and that’s exactly what Mitch McConnell delivered courtesy of Donald Trump, right?”

Moving on to Walker, Phang continued, “So, in some way these voters, again, a certain group of them, they don’t have a problem owning this, they don’t have a problem standing next to someone like Herschel Walker, but listen, you said it and it’s true, this was never about being pro-life it was always about being pro-power.”

It may be shocking for Phang to understand, but the power to enact laws only comes with winning elections. It is why Democrats stood behind everyone from Bill Clinton to Ted Kennedy.

Christy also nonsensically argued that electing right-=wing hypocrites would somehow end the hypocrisy: "Neither Phang nor Moodie realized that if Republicans are successful in passing pro-life laws they will make it illegal, or at least much more difficult, for them to be hypocritical on the issue."

Scott Whitlock served up his own whine in an Oct. 8 post:

The networks found their 2022 October Surprise, a Republican candidate to pounce on and work to destroy the GOP’s chances in the midterms. In less than a week, ABC, CBS and NBC have devoted over 27 minutes to the Herschel Walker story and whether the Georgia Republican senatorial candidate paid for an abortion in 2009.

At the same time, they have ignored gaffes and the radically extreme policies of Democratic senatorial candidates. All of this is a familiar pattern: Every election cycle, ABC, CBS and NBC look for one (or more ) Republican candidates to try and trash the entire field. Strangely, this obsession never seems to happen to Democrats.

Instead of explaining why it's not wildly hypocritical for anti-abortion Republicans to stick with a candidate who paid for an abortion, Whitlock then rehashed old complaints -- going way to to 2012 -- that the media covered Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin's remark that women who suffer "legitimate rape" don't get pregnant.

Christy complained in an Oct. 11 post about the over the two strains of Christianity displayed by Walker and Warnock, who is an actual Christian pastor:

On her Tuesday show on MSNBC, Chris Tensing portrayed the Georgia Senate race between Republican Herschel Walker and Democrat Raphael Warnock as a contest between two different versions of Christianity. Naturally, Walker was said to represent the bad “right-wing” version, while Warnock represents the good “Southern tradition of faith-based civil rights” version.


Smikle replied by affirming Jansing’s partisan descriptions of the two beliefs, “Well, faith is always an important component because as many theologians and even-- especially black theologians will tell you that the Old Testament is replete with social justice and the prophets are social justice advocates.”

The prophets were not left-wing political activists and preaching at Martin Luther King’s church, does not make Warnock the heir to MLK’s legacy that all people who support civil rights must support. Nevertheless, Smikle hyped that, “in that tradition is Reverend Warnock, who is arguing in support of all Georgians and for Americans, you know, who are at every different sort of aspect of life whether you're rural, suburban, wealthy, or poor.”


There is nothing more antithetical to the idea that Wanock “is arguing in support of all Georgians” the idea that he uses his pastoral career to justify violence against the most vulnerable among us in the name of choice.

Whitlock returned to whine that the non-right-wing media was still covering Walker while ignoring right-wing attack narratives against Warnock:

All three networks last week eagerly covered the allegation that Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker paid for an abortion in 2009. But this week, with the claim that Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock — a pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Georgia — is part of evicting the disadvantaged, the poor, and veterans from a church-owned apartment complex, they’ve shown no such zeal.


If the hypocrisy story of pro-life Walker allegedly paying for an abortion is news then so is Warnock, a senator who has decried unfair evictions of “families at risk.” Journalists should ask Warnock about his church and that large $7,400 monthly housing allowance.

Funny, we remember when the MRC justified evicting people to keep landlords from going bankrupt due to having to house tenants who lost their jobs during the COVID pandemic and had nowhere else to go. Whitlock also ignored evidence that none of the people who received eviction notices at the apartment building have actually been evicted.

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 2000-2022 Terry Krepel