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The MRC's Hypocritical Herschel Embrace, Part 2

The Media Research Center stuck by Republican Herschel Walker as the scandals and abortion allegations piled up. And when he ended up in a runoff for the Georgia Senate seat, it had to do so all over again.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 12/27/2022

Herschel Walker

ConWebWatch has shown how the Media Research Center moved from defense to attack in deflecting from credible allegations that Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker paid for a woman's abortion. The attack and deflection continued as Walker and Democratic opponent Raphael Warnock met for a debate. The MRC, of course, would only praise Walker's performance no matter how bad he did -- it had a narrative to push, after all -- and Mark Finkelstein used an Oct. 15 post to praise commentators who agreed that Walker didn't suck:
Did you hear a boom 'round about 11 am on Saturday morning? That was the sound of the Georgia senatorial debate between Herschel Walker and Ralphael Warnock blowing up on Tiffany Cross during her MSNBC show.

Prior to last night's debate, Cross was surely salivating, anticipating a weak performance by Herschel Walker. It seemed a sure thing that Cross would lead this morning's show with a segment on the debate. But when she announced that it wouldn't be discussed until the second hour, it was obvious that the debate hadn't gone according to Cross's plan.

When the segment finally did air, things went from bad to absolutely horrible for poor Tiffany. Her two guests, both African American women, were Errin Haines, a liberal activist with The 19th and an MSNBC commentator, and Tia Mitchell, the DC correspondent for the liberal Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Cross was presumably counting on her guests to take shots at Walker's performance. Instead, to Cross's shock and horror, both guests said that Walker met or exceeded expectations, and that his performance gave possibly wavering Republicans reasons to vote for him!

Scott Whitlock spent an Oct. 17 post whining that non-right-wing channels weren't pushing right-wing narratives attacking Warnock:

NBC on Monday Demonstrated that the network morning shows are still intent on investigating everything when it comes to Herschel Walker, but offer a collective yawn when it comes to the controversies connected to far-left Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock.

The Today show’s Kristen Welker scored an interview with Walker and devoted all 4 minutes and 43 seconds to grilling the Republican. She mentioned the scandal involving a woman who claimed he paid for her abortion in 2009. After that, Welker dived into the moment trending on liberal Twitter: Walker brandishing a badge at his debate with Warnock:

Whitlock didn't mention that the badge was honorary, not real.

Nicholas Fondacaro whined the same day that the ladies of "The View" didn't spout right-wing talking points on Walker's supposedly stellar debate performance:

Monday was the first chance the ladies of ABC’s The View had to spout off about the Georgia Senate debate between Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker last Friday. While Sunny Hostin managed to keep racist comments out of her mouth and was impressed with Walker, the majority of the panel couldn’t believe their ears and suggested Hostin must have been drunk because Walker only looked good because the bar was “SO low."

After playing edited clips of the debate, co-host Whoopi Goldberg suggested the people saying Walker did well or won were only giving him sympathy points. "Now, some people are saying that Walker did better than they expected. You know, I guess when the bar is so low, we're happy to see folks do well at all," she proclaimed.

Fondacaro offered no proof that their assessment was factually inaccurate.

Bill D'Agostino found a new whataboutism target to distract from Walker in an Oct. 18 post:

With the 2022 midterm elections just weeks away, the corporate media have begun to turn up the heat on Republican Herschel Walker, having identified him as a potentially vulnerable candidate in a tight Senate race. Yet those same journalists have bristled at any criticism of Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman — even when it’s come from their own colleagues.

Earlier this month, Walker was the subject of an October surprise: allegations arose that back in 2009, he had paid a former girlfriend to have an abortion. Since then, the media have been obsessive in their coverage of the scandal, eagerly reporting every new detail as it unfolds.

Scandals are, of course, fair game in an election. They’re a means of vetting candidates. But while the media eagerly flooded the airwaves with the latest tidbits about Walker’s scandal, they have been incredibly protective of another embattled Senate candidate: John Fetterman, who’s running as a Democrat in Pennsylvania.

D'Agostino didn't explain that the issues with Walker and Fetterman are fundamentally different -- Fetterman is facing questions about his health after suffering a stroke, while Walker was revealed to have moral and personal failings in paying for a girlfriend's abortion, in addition to previous mental instability. He also didn't explain why right-wingers like himself are choosing to stand by Walker even though his moral failings contradict right-wing orthodoxy against abortion.

Alex Christy spent an Oct. 19 post complaining that right-wing hypocrisy over Walker was called out:

CNN’s Wednesday edition of New Day lamented that the GOP midterm strategy for winning the Senate involves trying to win elections even if that means putting “party over country” by supporting “dumpster fires.”

Host Brianna Keilar lamented that this is a party-wide phenomenon, “We just had Governor Asa Hutchinson on, who sometimes has some constructive criticism for members of his own party. He has really been critical, obviously, of former President Trump and I asked him about the Georgia Senate race and Herschel Walker and did he believe Herschel Walker's denials when it came to this story that he had paid for an abortion by a former girlfriend of his and he basically said, you know, to take him at his word or he's giving him the benefit of the doubt.”

She further mourned, “it just struck me that some of these things, you know, years and years ago, would have been completely disqualifying for Republicans and they certainly no longer are.”


Speaking of dumpster fires, it’s funny that CNN refuses to cover allegations against Raphael Warnock considering they are such big believers in putting country over party.

Playing whataboutism to distract from cynical hypocrisy -- did we expect anything different from the MRC?

A new abortion scandal

If there's anything the MRC doesn't want anyone talking about more than Walker's abortion scandal, it's Walker's other abortion scandal.

When a second woman accused Walker of paying for an abortion as well as offered proof of their relationship, the MRC rushed into action like it did the first time to try and tamp this one down too. Curtis Houck whined that the story was being covered in non-right-wing media, writing in an Oct. 27 post under the dismissive headline "Here We Go Again":

With things continuing to break against their liberal pals running for office, the major broadcast networks chose Thursday to spend nearly eight minutes (seven minutes and 49 seconds) flaunting a second supposed abortion allegation against Georgia Republican senatorial candidate Herschel Walker with some help from far-left attorney Gloria Allred to boost incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock (D).


Despite the lack of solid evidence tying Walker to the act, Scott ran with hit because “[t]he woman is remaining anonymous because she says she fears retaliation” and she’s being represented by Allred. Further, the pair “released a voicemail, photo receipt, and card saying its evidence of her relationship with Walker, but did not provide evidence of the abortion itself.”


CBS Mornings led with these claims via co-host and Democratic donor Gayle King about these new claims hitting Walker “in the midst of a very tight race that could help determine control of the Senate.”

Congressional correspondent Nikole Killion hyped: “Herschel Walker is doubling down on this new claim, saying it's not true. But the accuser insists that this is not politically motivated and says she has proof.”

Citing Walker’s denials, Killion went onto treat the accuser’s claims as fact even though Allred “did not present receipts from the clinic” and instead “other evidence of the relationship.”


Jackson followed suit from those on the other networks by insisting “NBC News has not verified her allegations and the woman did not provide evidence Walker was involved in her abortion,” but if you spend more than a few seconds on something, isn’t that a suggestion you’re viewing it as fact?

Of course, lack of independent verification didn't stop the MRC from heavily hyping the story Hunter Biden's laptop.

Tim Graham complained about the accusation as well in his Oct. 28 podcast -- not because it will cause him to disqualify the heavily anti-abortion MRC from abandoning Walker (it's more than shown its cynical hypocrisy on the issue), but that the scandal was being reported, insisting without evidence that the story was being pushed by the "liberal media" to "help their side."He went on to whine: "My problem with this is that once again, we have an anonymous woman quote-unquote "coming forward." Is that really coming forward? ... The whole problem here is you can't really verify this at a very sensitive time in the election." He then brought up, yes, the Hunter Biden laptop and whined that it was dismissed by non-right-wing media, then blamed the non-right-wing media again: "They can't stand that Herschel Walker is running."

He then deflected, insisting that any criticism of Walker is politically motivated because "the media ... don't want two or three black Republicans in the Senate. They don't want five or 10 black Republicans in the House, because they want to sell this idea that the Republican party is a pile of white nationalist males."

Graham returned for an Oct. 30 post complaining that "Saturday Night Live" lampooned Walker's penchant for buying abortions for his girlfriends:

The fake PBS anchor asked about Walker paying for abortions and holding a gun to his ex-wife's head, and asked why he was doing so well: “Look, if you want to get on a Jumbotron at the Falcons game, you don’t throw on a cardigan and start making sense. You take your shirt off and shake your belly around. That’s what I’m doing, and people love me, no matter what. Like the great Trump Donald said, I could pay for an abortion in the middle of Fifth Avenue, and not lose any voters. And that's a promise from me, Herschel Wickapotamus.”

Graham was silent on the fact that the MRC is very much giving Walker a pass for his love of abortions.

The same day, Mark Finkelstein grumbled that MSNBC host Tiffany Cross said that "Georgia Democrats in general, and Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock in particular, have gone too easy on Herschel Walker, specifically with regard to allegations that he urged two former girlfriends to have abortions." Rather than explain why he and the MRC are still supporting Walker despite his egregious violations of right-wing anti-abortion orthodoxy, he simply sneered that if Warnock "he had taken her advice and worked abortion allegations against Walker into virtually every answer, voters would surely have soon been turned off by such a tiresome and transparent ploy."

But is it any less tiresome than the MRC continuing to aggressive support and defend Walker despite growing evidence of his immorality?

It seemed that even the MRC was getting tired of having to defend Walker from all these scandals. Indeed, the only major defense it attempted of him before the midterm elections was in a Nov. 5 post by Mark Finkelstein complaining that MSNBC's Joe Scarborough criticized "black Republican" Walker as lacking "the capacity" to be a senator: "The way Scarborough stumbled and and sighed before claiming Walker lacks 'the capacity' to serve suggested that Joe realized he was getting into dangerous territory. But he decided to go there." And even then, Finkelstein didn't try to counter it.

With no candidate getting a majority in the Georgia Senate race, it was set to to to a runoff between Walker and MRC-detested Democrat Raphael Warnock. A Nov. 14 post by Brad Wilmouth was reduced to complaining about a slavery reference:

Several times on Saturday, CNN demonstrated its inability to grasp fact as well as its fixation on racial issues that strained for a reason to discuss slavery within topics you wouldn't expect it. Previewing the upcoming Georgia runoff between Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican nominee Herschel Walker, correspondent Nadia Romero tried to tie the runoff system to slavery.

She first raised the topic at 8:03 a.m. Eastern during an appearance on CNN This Morning Weekend: “So let's talk about the runoff elections in Georgia as a whole. Usually, you see these runoff elections happening in the South -- in the Bible Belt -- in states that were formerly slave-owning states. And that is why so many people, including the Georgia NAACP, say that there is a racist element to why we have runoff elections as a total.”


But her tracing of the system back to the Reconstruction era of the late 1800s was contradicted two years ago by NBC News correspondent Priscilla Thompson, who recalled that the system was devised in the 1960s after the Supreme Court ruled against previous tactics in limiting black power.

And if the system is inherently racist and meant to penalize the party black Georgians predominantly support (Democrats), then Romero should be asked if it was racist that then-incumbent Senator David Purdue (R) won the initial 2020 vote but later lost the seat due to a runoff stemming from his inability to hit 50 percent.

It's a sign of how much of a non-person Perdue became in Republican circles after losing that Wilmouth couldn't be bothered to spell his name correctly.

The runoff

Having finally recovered from its exhaustion, the MRC became ready to defend Walker anew for the runoff. Geoffrey Dickens served up another so-called study on Nov. 17 complaining about an alleged coverage disparity:

The double-standard is atrocious. The Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) evening newscasts have almost completely buried Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock’s child support scandal, spending only 11 seconds on it since September 1.

In stark contrast, the network evening newscasts (September 1 - November 16) flooded their airwaves (36 minutes, 21 seconds) with stories of women accusing his GOP opponent Herschel Walker of paying for abortions. That’s almost 200 times more coverage to the Walker story than the Warnock scandal.

On Tuesday, Warnock’s ex-wife Oulèye Ndoye requested that a court compel the Georgia Senator to face questioning over child custody. Ndoye has also accused Warnock of failing to properly pay child care expenses. Despite the issue being brought up in the October 14 Walker-Warnock debate the evening newscasts mostly looked the other way.


With the two Senate candidates headed for a run-off the evening newscasts have a new opportunity to actually cover Warnock’s family problems but judging on their past coverage, viewers shouldn’t hold their breath waiting for it.

Dickens didn't explain why he's demanding coverage of a minor child-support squabble when he and his staunchly anti-abortion co-workers have refused to criticize Walker's penchant for handing out abortions like candy. Nor did he explain why these stories are in any way equivalent.

When Walker was criticized for an ad that went for the base-motivating low-hanging fruit of anti-transgender feamongering, Jay Maxson -- who is very much a transphobe despite having a name and so little public information that we can't tell his or her sex or sexual orientation -- rushed to his defense in a Nov. 23 post:

U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker’s latest campaign ad exposed his Democrat rival, Sen. Raphael Warnock, for supporting the transgender threat to women’s sports. Angered LGBT propagandists lashed out, accusing Walker of dehumanizing people who are psychologically confused about their gender and by trying to tie him to a horrible shooting at an LGBT club in Colorado.


Several states have been legislating against the kind of unfairness Walker and Riley highlighted in the recent ad. But when politics are involved, the opponents of radical LGBT demands must be demonized. It’s part of the Left’s playbook.

Rich Noyes whined in a Nov. 26 post that reasonable assessments of Walker were being made on TV:

As early voting began Saturday in the run-off election in Georgia for the final U.S. Senate seat up for grabs in 2022, MSNBC’s Velshi brought on left-wing media personality Roland Martin to talk up the importance of voting for Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock while hurling insults at GOP challenger Herschel Walker.

“Herschel Walker is grossly unqualified and has no business being anywhere near the United States Senate,” Martin seethed, while condemning Republican voters as uninterested in character. “It doesn’t matter what Herschel Walker has done when it comes to paying for abortions. I mean, look at one of the women who says she has an audiotape of him as well; that had barely a ripple. Republicans do not care. They do not care.”

Noyes did not dispute the accuracy of Martin's assessment.

After someone else criticized Walker's anti-trans ad, Kevin Tober rushed to defense mode:

Much like the rest of the leftist media, CNN has a difficult time grasping the concept of biology and science. This basic fact was once again on full display on the network’s Sunday show State of the Union when co-moderator Dana Bash took issue with Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker’s ad criticizing men competing with women in sports, in this case competitive swimming. Bash thought Walker’s ad “targets” trans people.


The basic science and biology that CNN doesn’t understand is that men are naturally stronger physically than women and it’s unfair to let men compete with women in sports and pretend that there will be an even playing field.

It’s not an attack on transgender people to point that out.

Noyes cranked yet another coverage study for a Dec. 1 post:

In an election year where the liberal media pounded Republicans with while rewarding Democrats with a favorable news agenda, no race has seen more manipulative national media coverage than the Georgia Senate race between incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker.

With the decisive run-off just days away, a new study by the Media Research Center finds the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts have blasted the GOP candidate with 88 percent negative coverage, while the Democratic incumbent has enjoyed 71 percent positive press. More than half of the coverage (nearly 46 minutes, out of 87 minutes total) has consisted of personal allegations against Walker, vs. a mere 11 seconds spent on personal accusations against Warnock.

Abortion was the only policy issue to receive significant airtime (just under four minutes), and network reporters unanimously employed the “abortion rights” labels preferred by the Left, using it to tar Walker as a threat to women while concealing Warnock’s extremism on the same issue.


Walker’s coverage was dominated by claims — denied by Walker himself and not proved by any media outlet — that he paid for abortions for two girlfriends decades ago (36 minutes, 21 seconds of airtime). The networks also provided a combined four minutes, 28 seconds to the flap over Walker’s display of an honorary police badge at his debate with Warnock; two more minutes on accusations he’s an absentee father; plus another two minutes, 50 seconds for other personal controversies.

The combined 45 minutes, 40 seconds spent on this cornucopia of charges against Walker amount to half (51%) of all network evening news coverage of the Georgia Senate race since September 1. Compare that to the meager 11 seconds — on ABC, October 16 — spent on relaying an allegation against Warnock that he’s failed to pay adequate child support.

The media’s silence cannot be justified — reporters covering the race knew about Warnock’s child support problem for the entire campaign.

Noyes offered no evidence that Warnock's alleged scandals were the equivalent of Walker's actual scandals, and thus warranted equal coverage.

Noyes' dishonesty continued, as he went on to whine about Warnock's alleged "abortion extremism," but defined "extremism" citing only right-wing writer Rich Lowry. Painting any position on abortion that isn't as far-right as its own as "extreme" is an MRC narrative.

As with most MRC "studies," Noyes pretended "spin" is something that could be objectively evaluated, pretended that neutral coverage didn't exist even though that's a large part of media coverage, and excluded Fox News from scrutiny. He's also demanding false balance -- even though he failed to provide an example of how Walker's abortion scandal or multiple-baby-mama scandal should have been given "positive" coverage.

In contrast to its cheering for the anti-trans Walker ad, the MRC's Clay Waters spent a Dec. 1 post raging at a Warnock ad making Walker look bad that got praise from the New York Times, huffing: "So much for the Times’ former tut-tutting about negative campaigning." He went on to get his anti-Warnock talking points in:

Speaking of indulging partisan desires, the Times has barely broached allegations about Warnock’s failure to provide child support payments to his ex-wife, which would seemingly invite journalistic charges of religious hypocrisy against a man of the cloth like Rev. Warnock.

The Times certainly hasn't ignored allegations that Herschel Walker paid for abortions for two women, but has issued several detailed accounts.

Waters didn't explain why Walker's abortion scandal should not have been covered.

Curtis Houck had a fit of Obama Derangement Syndrome in a Dec. 2 post:

Just a day after our latest study showing a cavernous divide in the liberal media’s treatment of Senator Raphael Warnock (D) versus Republican Herschel Walker in Georgia’s Senate runoff, Friday’s CBS Mornings further proved our point by leading with former President Barack Obama’s campaign rally for Warnock filled with “zingers” and fixating on more negative headlines for Walker.

Co-host, Democratic donor, and Obama family friend Gayle King started the newscast with her friend’s trip to the Peach State: “Senator Raphael Warnock is getting some prominent help in trying to fend off a challenge from Republican Herschel Walker. Former President Barack Obama hit the campaign trail in Atlanta to make a very forceful argument on Warnock's behalf.”


Two more Obama clips later, she boasted Obama “took another jab at Warnock's opponent, Herschel Walker” as juvenile. Obama’s evidence? Walker joking during a speech two weeks ago that he’d want to be a werewolf instead of a vampire.

But the link Houck supplied to portray Walker's remarks as "joking" -- from the UK Guardian, which the MRC likes to dismiss as liberal -- said no such thing, instead calling it part of "rambling remarks."

On Dec. 6, the day of the runoff, Mark Finkelstein played whataboutism when "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski questioned whether Walker could do the job if elected, huffing, "You had to wonder: was Mika talking about Herschel Walker—or John Fetterman?" He had more whataboutism when it was pointed out that Walker would be nothing but a GOP rubber stamp: "Unlike Raphael Warnock? That brave, independent-minded, iconoclast who has only voted with Joe Biden . . . 96.4% of the time?" He ended with one last bit of huffiness:

Note: Morning Joe regular Eugene Robinson was not on the panel today. But he has a Washington Post column out claiming [emphasis added],"If Walker wins, it will be because Republican voters decided that loyalty to party was more important than having effective representation in the Senate."

Not loyalty to party, Mr. Robinson. Loyalty to principles that are important to many Georgians. Warnock will not be providing "effective representation" for those Georgians, when, if sent back to the Senate, he will dutifully vote for lax border control, higher taxes, more gun control, etc.

Finkelstein didn't mention Walker's loyal to the "principles" of committing domestic violence and handing out abortions like candy to his girlfriends. And needless to say, the MRC censored the fact that five more women came forward to accuse Walker of abuse.

Kevin Tober sounded a little desperate in a Dec. 6 post, loudly complaining that Walker's scandals were being accurately reported on while his preferred right-wing anti-Raphael Warnock narratives were being ignored:

On Tuesday evening, as many voters in Georgia were heading to the polls after work, ABC’s World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News continued to provide in-kind contributions to the campaign of Democrat Senator Ralphael Warnock by burying his scandals and ties to a noted racist and anti-Semite and getting in one last hit job on his Republican opponent Herschel Walker.

ABC unsurprisingly left the smears to one of their most partisan “reporters” congressional correspondent Rachel Scott, who dutifully regurgitated DNC talking points by sneering: “Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock says this race comes down to two things: character and competence. He says his Republican rival Herschel Walker has neither.”

“For months, Walker has fended off a barrage of scandals, accused of domestic violence, of lying about his resume, failing to publicly acknowledge several children, and paying for two women to have abortions, which he has denied,” Scott continued.

She even interviewed voters, many of whom were voting for Warnock due to his perceived lack of qualifications and scandals which the media were responsible for hyping.

Tober didn't explain why he was continuing to defend such a scandal-ridden candidate like Walker. Also, his anti-Warnock link went to a Fox News story, but he didn't accuse Fox News of offering "in-kind contributions" to Walker's campaign by publishing it. Instead, he concluded by whining, "If Walker does indeed lose on Tuesday, the leftist media’s election interference and censorship of damaging stories about Warnock will certainly be a contributing factor."

Yes, only in the MRC's right-wing bubble would accurate reporting be considered "election interference."

Walker did lose to Warnock like he lost the general election, and this time the post-election whiner was Houck, who complained like Tober that accurate reporting was so unfair:

The flagship broadcast network news programs were ebullient Wednesday morning on the heels of their team’s victory in Tuesday’s Georgia Senate runoff election with Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) defeating Republican Herschel Walker, whom ABC, CBS, and NBC boasted had “struggled to overcome” “one scandal after another” (and thus allowed Warnock to evade questions about his past).

On ABC’s Good Morning America, liberal congressional correspondent Rachel Scott bragged that Walker “spent much of his campaign fending off one scandal after another, accused of domestic violence, of lying about his resume, failing to publicly acknowledge several children and paying for two women to have abortions, which he denies” even though it “turned some voters...away.”

In the show’s second hour, Scott repeated this narrative: “Warnock said that this race was about two things, competence, and character, pointing to a string of controversies that plagued Herschel Walker's campaign.”


NBC correspondent Peter Alexander was similarly happy about the Warnock win on Today and promoted how the Peach State senator “reflect[ed] on his mother’s extraordinary journey” from a poor woman picking cotton to mother of a senator.

On Walker, Alexander only had negativity and focused on scandals: “Walker struggled to overcome a series of public scandals from allegations of domestic abuse to accusations he paid for two women to have abortions, claims that he vehemently denied.”

Houck didn't explain why he chose to defend such a morally compromised candidate even after that immorality could not be denied. If he can't do that, he -- like the rest of the MRC -- has no moral authority to pass judgment on anyone else.

Finkelstein returned for one last post-election defense, whining in a Dec. 7 post that S.E. Cupp, whom he dismissed as a "CNN Republican," said that Walker wouldn't have been a candidate "if you had a strong Republican leadership willing to say to Donald Trump, this candidate is crap," huffing in response: "Can you imagine Cupp, or any CNNer, ever disparaging a Democrat in such a scatological manner?" He then tried to wash his hands of Walker by blaming GOP primary voters, not Trump, for picking Walker as their nominee (though Trump did, in fact, endorse him) -- and he still couldn't stop playing whataboutism by complaining: "In fact, if there is a group that truly disparages black Republicans, it is the liberal media, particularly fellow African-Americans."

In denial to the end. So much for putting principles before party.

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