The MRC's DeSantis Defense Brigade: Migrant Division
The Media Research Center became a cheerleading squad for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis after he dishonestly flew duped migrants to Martha's Vineyard for an own-the-libs moment.
By Terry Krepel
On Thursday, CBS Mornings and NBC’s Today were nearly apoplectic over Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) sending two flights of illegal immigrants Wednesday to the rich, white, and liberal Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, calling it “inhumane” behavior “us[ing]” so-called “migrants” to play “politics” and overwhelm such a “great, great place.”
Houck didn't explain why he was so offended by calling migrants "migrants" that he employed scare quotes and the "so-called" modifier. He also didn't explain what evidence he had to support his description of Dokoupil as a "socialist" or what relevance calling him that had to this discussion.
Nicholas Fondacaro brought his misogynism to attack the co-hosts of "The View," whining that "the cackling coven of ABC’s The View started Thursday’s show by raging at Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis for sending a load of illegal immigrants to the liberal safe haven of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts" and going on to snark that "Martha’s Vineyard wasn’t as happy actually dealing with the illegals."
Kevin Tober cheered DeSantis' stunt as well while complaining it was called a stunt:
On Thursday, the three evening news broadcasts continued their meltdowns over Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sending two fights of illegal aliens Wednesday to the ritzy white liberal enclave of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. Despite their calls for diversity, the left threw a temper tantrum over 48 illegal immigrants from Venezuela landing in their overwhelmingly white and rich vacation spot.
Despite all his name-calling and whataboutism, Tober didn't dispute the truth of anything Bruce reported.
Tober apparently also believes that criticizing his beloved DeSantis makes one a "leftwing crackpot":
On Thursday night’s edition of MSNBC’s The 11th Hour, leftwing crackpot and MSNBC political analyst Fernand Amandi had a complete meltdown over Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) sending two planes filled with illegal migrants to Martha’s Vineyard. Amandi cried that it wasn’t a political stunt but was instead “an act of evil being done by evil men”>because DeSantis is apparently using the migrants as“political pawns, and political props.”
Again, Tober didn't dispute the accuracy of anything Amandi said.
Alex Christy whined that DeSantis -- along with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who his pulled similar stunts of shipping migrants against their will to "liberal" areas outside his state -- were being called out for who they were:
Punchbowl News co-founder Jake Sherman sounded more like a Democratic politician or left-wing activist when he joined Friday’s Katy Tur Reports on MSNBC to accuse Governors Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott of human trafficking for sending 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard.
Just because something is legal doesn't make it right, Alex.
Houck got all snarky in a Sept. 16 post:
Friday morning’s network news programs featured the third set of newscasts kvetching and screeching about how the liberal elite’s beloved Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts was beset with a “humanitarian crisis” of just under 50 illegal immigrants, who were turned into “pawns” thanks to “an audacious stunt” from Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL).
Of course, Houck isn't going to mock DeSantis for getting rid of "brown-skinned people," even though that's the point of his stunt -- instead, he's cheering DeSantis' lack of compassion and abuse of them just to own the libs. (Also, it's more than a little racist of Houck to dismiss these migrants as "brown-skinned individuals," as if it's OK for DeSantis to mistreat them because of their skin color.)
Kathleen Krumhansl read from the right-wing talking points playbook in attacking Spanish-language media coverage:
The corporate media went berserk on Thursday calling Florida governor Ron DeSantis “inhumane” for sending undocumented migrants to Martha's Vineyard, but one Telemundo correspondent reported that the label seemingly described residents of the elite playground upset at the arrival of the new visitors.
Krumhansl did at least refer to them as "undocumented migrants" -- which seems to have slipped past editing, given how the MRC loves to dehumanize them by referring to them as "illegals."
Mark Finkelstein complained that MSNBC's Joe Scarborough "repeatedly accused Republicans of "grotesque" human trafficking, for their practice of sending migrants to northern locations," sneering that "You'd have thought the migrants were being stranded on a barren rock in the ocean. Willie never mentioned that the island in question is Martha's Vineyard, the tony isle second in elitism only to Scarborough's favored island summering spot: Nantucket."
Tim Graham devoted his Sept. 16 podcast to cheering that DeSantis and Abbott's stunts were working in pushing right-wing narratives and trying to spin away their lack of humanity:
Suddenly, when Gov. Ron DeSantis sends about 50 illegal immigrants to Martha's Vineyard, the networks discover an "immigration crisis" in America. They denounced this "audacious stunt" -- but they prefer to avoid the border crisis entirely. DeSantis is forcing this into the "news."
In the podcast itself, Graham gushed at how "conservative Twitter and the conservative media would love" DeSantis' stunt (which they did), adding: "Yes,it's true -- this is a stunt, and it's audacious in getting right in the liberal media's face,"adding that it's "designed to upset people like Gayle King," who "parties with the Obamas as their mansion in Martha's Vineyard." He also insisted that "it's also making a serious point" regarding border states -- though it's telling that "getting right in the liberal media's face" is more important to Graham than any supposedly "serious point" DeSantis was purportedly trying to get across.
Graham also whined that these migrants were being called "asylum seekers," which he dismissed as a "term of art" that lets people "pretend that they're all being persecuted in their homeland instead of coming from countries that are just plain poor." Graham didn't explain why "illegals" isn't also a "term of art" designed to help right-wingers like him dehumanize them. Graham then ranted:
But I just take exemption to this whole idea that they're going to say, "well, the immigrants are pawns." OK, maybe they're -- yes, they're bit players in this play. But the reality is they're the ones -- they're aggressors, I'm sorry. They're the ones marching into this country by the thousands, and when they get here, the media treats them like, poof, what do you need? Poof, what do you need? Oh, these people need jobs and these people need food and these people need clothes. Like, they're the most entitled people in America, and they're not even from here! ... What I don't like is this whole idea of, yes, what about people who are, you know, scraping by on low salaries, working two jobs maybe, and then it's like "Excuse me, I'm going to take some of your money and give it to the guy who just walked from Venezuela, and you're not allowed to be upset about that."
All in service of owning the libs, apparently.
Jeffrey Lord continued the MRC's DeSantis praise narrative in his Sept. 17 column:
Suddenly the media is freaking out over the flood of illegals into wealthy, white and liberal Martha’s Vineyard in the sanctuary state of Massachusetts a “flood” of fifty sent to the far left Martha’s Vineyard by Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis.
Tober cheered right-wing talking points being parroted on TV in a Sept. 18 post:
During Sunday morning’s “Powerhouse Roundtable” segment on ABC’s This Week, former Chief of Staff to Vice President Mike Pence, Marc Short slammed co-anchor Jon Karl for crying about Governors Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and Greg Abbott (R-TX) sending migrants to Martha’s Vineyard and Vice President Kamala Harris’s residence respectively. Short accurately pointed out how the United States didn’t have this problem under the Trump-Pence administration because they actually worked to secure the border.
Houck denounced commentators who argued that DeSantis could be jailed for his stunt:
While real Americans were either getting ready to return to work on Monday or watching NFL games, MSNBC had dialed up a Sunday night episode of The Medhi Hasan Show with a panel fit for some sort of hall of fame for idiots that called for Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) to face “human trafficking” and “kidnapping”charges for flying illegal immigrants to the ultra-liberal, white vacation spot Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.
Houck was paid to watch this segment and write this post about it instead of watching football or getting ready to go to a real job. Does that mean he's not a "real American"?
Alex Christy got mad that DeSantis' callous stunt was mocked:
Monday’s edition of The Late Show on CBS resembled more of an Orwellian Two Minutes Hate than a comedy show as host Stephen Colbert led a booing audience in wondering “how big of an a-hole is Ron DeSantis?”
That's an odd complaint, given how endemic name-calling is in the MRC's "media research" (i.e., fat jokes about Lizzo).
Speaking of name-calling, Houck was angered that someone was going to look into DeSantis' stunt:
The major broadcast networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC have spent days bellyaching and screeching about Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) sending flights of less than 50 illegal immigrants to ultra-liberal Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, so it was only natural Tuesday that their morning shows would be ebullient over a far-left Texas sheriff launching a criminal investigation of DeSantis.
Houck called Salazar a "lefty" in the headline of his piece, but provided no evidence to back up the assertion.
On Tuesday’s The ReidOut, MSNBC host Joy Reid attempted to pass off Roberto Rodriguez Tejera, a well-known left-wing Democrat Party [sic] activist in South Florida as an objective Spanish radio host. According to a source who spoke to our colleagues at MRC Latino on the condition of anonymity, Rodriguez Tejera is paid by the Democratic Party a “monthly sum for alleged advertising for a weekly show on Actualidad Radio 1040 AM.”
Tober gave no evidence that he fact-checked his anonymous source's claims -- making this the kind of anonymous one-source story the MRC tried to discredit when it involved a raped child being forced to go to another state to get an abortion.
Scott Whitlock took up the Colbert-bashing baton:
It’s beyond obvious that the late night hosts have no interest in appealing to any part of the country outside the rabidly liberal Democratic base. But Late Show host Stephen Colbert on Tuesday night proved that his obsession with Ron DeSantis has ruined any possibility of “comedy” on the show. In a rant about the Florida Governor sending illegals to liberal enclaves like Martha’s Vineyard, Colbert abandoned jokes for cheap partisan gibes.
Given that the MRC thinks making fat jokes about Lizzo is the height of comedy, perhaps Whitlock should sit this one out.
A group funded by George Soros with nearly $1.4 million is behind a legal effort to punish Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for shipping migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.
Clark didn't explain why migrants must be deprived of legal representation or even basic rights.
Tober returned to defend DeSantis' own-the-libs mentality in a Sept. 27 post:
While real news outlets were tracking the path of incoming Hurricane Ian and covering the preparations that local authorities were executing in their towns, MSNBC's Joy Reid went on another hate-filled rant Tuesday night about how allegedly terrible Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is. Reid couldn't even make it a full minute into her show The ReidOut before falsely accusing DeSantis of spending his entire term "owning the libs" instead of preparing his state for hurricanes.
Look for DeSantis to copy Tober's statement and paste it into future campaign literature.
'Reverse freedom rides'
When critics pointed out that DeSantis' stunt smacks of the "reverse freedom rides" in the 1960s -- in which Southern segregationists sent black families to live in northern states by falsely promising them free housing and good jobs -- the MRC got a bit upset.
So they're comparing Ron DeSantis sending Venezuelans to Martha's Vineyard to basically the Klansmen sending Negroes, ad they called them in the headline in this thing, with one-way tickets to northern cities. Liberals are so gross. They think they're so smart, and this isn't smart at all.
Alex Christy whined about the comparison in a Sept. 17 post:
Friday’s CNN Tonight came up with several comparisons for Governors Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis sending 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard and none of them were good. Host Laura Coates compared the governors to segregationists while theGrio White House correspondent April Ryan cited the debunked scandal where border patrol agents were said to have whipped migrants with horse reins.
But it turns out those migrants were, in fact, being deceived as well. Christy failed to mention that the migrants were given a brochure that promised they would be eligible for "8 months cash assistance," "assistance with housing," "food," "clothing," "transportation to job interviews," "job training," "job placement," "registering children for school," "assistance applying for Social Security cards," among other benefits, when the arrived in Massachusetts -- which wasn't true.
The MRC seems to be conceding this point. Aside from an Oct. 1 post by Geoffrey Dickens that repeated Christy's attack -- without admitting just how apt the comparison is -- it hasn't complained about the comparison again.
Christy also referenced "the debunked scandal where border patrol agents were said to have whipped migrants with horse reins" -- in fact, the only debunked scandal ConWebWatch found is the MRC falsely asserting that certain media outlets accused those agents of using whips.