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The MRC's Election of Failed Narratives, Part 2: The Aftermath

The Media Research Center's bitterness at Republicans not doing as well as predicted in the midterm elections was palpable, from whining that Democrats who weren't white or heterosexual got elected to dabbling in election fraud conspiracy theories.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 2/1/2023

After spending so much time peddling Republican narratives before the midterm elections, the Media Research Center was severely disappointed that Republicans severely underperformed -- at least, that's what we can assume from all the whining it did about news coverage pointing out that fact.

Election night started out promising for the MRC, though, as noted in a Nov. 8 post by Kevin Tober declaring that "MSNBC began losing it over the strong early results" for Republicans Ron DeSantis and Marco Rubio in the Hispanic county of Miami-Dade, which was a reliably solid Democrat [sic] county." But as the night looked more favorable for Democrats, the whining kicked in. Curtis Houck complained:

After spending hour after hour sticking to horse race results and CNN’s magic walls, the liberal network’s first piece of analysis reminded us of why they’re still a laughing stock of a network as a trio of lefties marveled at Democrats winning back governors' mansions in some of the deepest blue states with “stellar” Wes Moore in Maryland and lesbian Maura Healey in Massachusetts.

Inside Politics Sunday host Abby Phillip swooned that “[t]here’s a lot of history that could be made tonight” with Healey becoming “the first openly gay governor in that state — or the first lesbian in the entire country” and could have company later in the night if Democrat Tina Kotek won in Oregon.

As for Moore, Phillip gushed over him as “someone who Democrats agree is perhaps the future of the party” and “a huge rising star.”

Who’s Talking host Chris Wallace joined in on this pointless exercise and touted Moore as “an enormously impressive candidate” and noted that Healey and Moore won in “deep blue states” after eight years of “moderate, moderate Republicans, Larry Hogan and Charlie Baker, both very popular.”

However, they both had little in the way of challengers because the GOP nominees were “hard right candidates.” Of course, Wallace never mentioned how Democrats meddled in the GOP primaries to boost said candidates.

Yes, the MRC is still complaining about that, even thought it cheered Republican meddling in Democratic primaries as urged by Rush Limbaugh. And he's not about to give Democrats any credit for the tactic being a success.

The next morning, Alex Christy grumbled:

Joe Scarborough and the rest of the cast of MSNBC’s Morning Joe spiked the football on Wednesday as they opened the show by laughing at the GOP’s disappointing results. Scarborough, specifically inflated GOP expectations so he could compare Kevin McCarthy to Liz Truss, despite the results still being unknown.

In front of a live studio audience, Mike Brzezinski kicked off the show by noting, “It’s the morning after the election and control of Congress still hangs in the balance. The big news overnight—”

Scarborough then interrupted and after Brzezinski sarcastically expressed shock that he did so, he began his taunt, “No, but Republicans, I mean, historically, I don't know if you know this or not but I follow politics. Like, historically they’re up going 40, 50, 60, 70 seats, right? Right, Michael Steele, we talked about this yesterday.”

If Republicans won 50 seats, that would’ve made for their largest majority since the 1928 election while 60 would have been the largest since 1920. While Tuesday’s results were certainly underwhelming, not breaking a record over a century old is not the great historical counter-trend Scarborough made it out to be.

Christy was silent about the fact that Republican pundits like Dick Morris were, in fact, confidently predicting a 60-seat gain in the House.

Houck whined some more about "gloating" (read: reporting accurately on GOP failures) and whining about the attack on Paul Pelosi being linked to Republican extremism:

Following a disappointing night full of failures (and some highs) for Republicans, the Wednesday morning’s broadcast network news shows each moments of gloating and outright laughter that included claims such as country was reminded to not “bet against Joe Biden,” that January 6 mattered, and voters bought the narrative that Republicans were tied to the Paul Pelosi attack.

On CBS Mornings, White House correspondent Ed O’Keefe had just finished arguing that President Biden did well in areas where candidates embraced him and poorly in areas where he didn’t go (which wasn’t true considering his stops in Florida for the hapless Democratic ticket) when he argued Tuesday’s takeaway was “don’t bet against Biden.”


NBC’s Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd had an explanation for why Democrats did so well and Republicans so poorly. While many prognosticators have blamed Donald Trump, Todd’s other point showed the liberal media’s poisonous propaganda despite no evidence to support it:
There was the attack on Paul Pelosi. And I don't think that was an insignificant moment for a lot of voters. We actually saw a tone change with voters in our poll, post-the attack where voters in their message say — they said what message would you send with your vote? And they said, hey, end — end — end the partisanship, try to tone things down. Even Republicans were saying that in previous to the Pelosi attack, we weren't — it was only a one-sided conversation.
While the alleged attacker ranted about censorship and Q-Anon on his blog, the mentally ill, former Green Party supporter, and nudist who argued there are half-alien, half-human creatures in our midst had nothing to do with House Republicans.

The MRC has been quite desperate to distance Republicans from the attack, even though the MRC helped make Paul Pelosi a target.

Mark Finkelstein devoted a post to complaining about more "Morning Joe" election takes:

Be careful what you wish for, liberal media: you might get it.

Morning Joe was in a great good mood today, glorying in the absence of a midterm red wave. And Joe Scarborough wasted no time in taunting Donald Trump.

With his trademark lack of class, Scarborough called out: "hey Trump! Hey Donald Trump! Meet Boris Johnson" —a reference to the former British Prime Minister who was recently pushed out of office He added: "Massive victory down there. Right? Unfortunately, Donald Trump lost the rest of America."

But if Scarborough and company are right, and Ron DeSantis is poised to replace Donald Trump as the dominant force in the Republican party, then, who knows? The liberal media might be singing a very different—and sorry—tune, in two years come Election Night 2024.

Kevin Tober added his two cents on allegedly "gloating" newscasts:

On Wednesday evening, after a disappointing showing for the GOP in Tuesday's midterms, the three leftist evening news broadcasts sought to further alienate the few right-leaning viewers they have by gloating over Democrats exceeding expectations by not getting wiped out as is common during a president's first midterm election. CBS went the extra mile by virtue signaling over the first openly-lesbian governor elected in the United States.

On ABC's World News Tonight, anchor David Muir was the gloater-in-chief for his network's newscast, gushing about how "the results defied expectations overnight and history for the party in the White House. There was no red wave, as some had predicted. Instead, a split decision across this country."

Muir then mentioned Biden's embarrassing press conference in which he described the results as a "good day for democracy and a good day for America."


Meanwhile, on NBC Nightly News, anchor Lester Holt used his frequently dramatic and condescending opening monologue to bloviate that "It was a good day for democracy. President Biden's first public reaction to yesterday's midterm elections in which Democrats defied the gravity of broad voter dissatisfaction and history itself to avoid massive losses in that widely predicted Republican wave."

The boys at the MRC have been so indoctrinated inside their right-wing media bubble for so long, they think any accurate reporting of negative news about Republicans is biased "gloating."

Young, non-white, non-heterosexuals

Another piece of bitterness the MRC spouted over Republican failures in the midterm elections was whining over certain Democratic candidates making history in their wins. Curtis Houck grumbled in a Nov. 9 post about attention given to one particular Florida candidate:

Following most nationwide elections, one of the liberal media’s favorite tropes is to trumpet so-called “historic” winners that assist one in filling out a diversity bingo card. Such was the case Wednesday morning after the lackluster Republican performance as ABC, CBS, and NBC used their flagship news programs to swoon over Democrat Maxwell Frost winning a dark-blue Orlando-area House seat to become the first member of generation z elected to Congress.

And following CNN from Tuesday night, the networks basked in the election of two Democrats to Democrat states as Maura Healey will become the first openly lesbian governor in U.S. history and Wes Moore was elected as Maryland’s first black governor.

ABC correspondent Victor Oquendo made sure to tuck Frost’s win in during a Good Morning America segment about the massive red wave that struck in Florida: “That said, [Democrats’] one highlight, 25-year-old Democrat Maxwell Frost winning his election becoming the first gen-z member. He is now filling Val Demings’s seat. She lost to incumbent Marco Rubio.”


[On CBS Mornings] Frost came up a third time in the 8:00 a.m. Eastern Eye Opener. King gushed that she “like[s] him already” after hearing a soundbite of him saying, even though he’s barely eligible to serve, “I’m not too young, I’m just on time.”

“Gen-Z is making their presence felt,” Burleson added.

Tim Graham noted that one of the subjects of in his Nov. 14 podcast was "the post-election huzzahs over 25-year-old Democrat socialist Maxwell Alejandro Frost, the first "Generation Z" member elected to Congress from the Orlando area. NPR promoted him like a new Taylor Swift album. PBS also threw him softball questions over the weekend. That's your tax dollars at work. Of course, MSNBC also tried to blow the wind beneath his wings." Graham complained further in a Nov. 15 post:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently turned 33, so it’s time for a younger socialist Democrat for the media to swoon over. In September, I found at least eight sappy national interviews with 25-year-old Maxwell Frost, who had won a primary to fill the seat of Rep. Val Demings, who ran for the Senate against Marco Rubio.

After he won the general election in a blue district by 19 points and became the first member of Generation Z to win a House seat, the swoon cycle began all over again.

National Public Radio repeatedly touted Frost. They boosted him online on Election Night, displaying several of his tweets, including one tweet from June, where he apparently heckled DeSantis at a Dave Rubin event.

NPR toasted him on Thursday night’s All Things Considered. Anchor Elissa Nadworny explained “After the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, Frost was drawn to anti-gun violence activism." Then they did use the P-word: “He received support from high-profile progressives like Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.”

Though Graham sought to tar Frost with the "socialist" label, he didn't cite any "socialist" policies the guy actually held.

But Frost wasn't the only MRC target -- it was also unhappy that non-heterosexual people won elections. A Nov. 9 post by Kevin Tober was upset that one newscast was "virtue signaling over the first openly-lesbian governor elected in the United States. And Tierin-Rose Mandelburg whined so spitefully in a Nov. 10 post about a transgender candidate that she not only misgendered her but also baselessly suggested there was election fraud in her victory:

Remember when we used to elect political officials based on their skills, not how progressive they were? No? Me neither, but it's getting silly.

Congratulations to the state of Minnesota for electing transgender Leigh Finke and abetting the “rise of Queer Political Power.”

Finke, she/her but born a he/him, was elected to serve for District 66 of Minnesota as a state representative. Finke’s Twitter indicated that his priorities are to ensure that bodily autonomy for women & queers (aka fake women) is considered “essential healthcare.”

I presume that he’s one of the firm believers that ripping apart an unborn child’s body, limb by limb, should be called “healthcare.

Remember when we used to elect political officials based on their skills, not how progressive they were? No? Me neither, but it's getting silly.

Congratulations to the state of Minnesota for electing transgender Leigh Finke and abetting the “rise of Queer Political Power.”

Finke, she/her but born a he/him, was elected to serve for District 66 of Minnesota as a state representative. Finke’s Twitter indicated that his priorities are to ensure that bodily autonomy for women & queers (aka fake women) is considered “essential healthcare.”

I presume that he’s one of the firm believers that ripping apart an unborn child’s body, limb by limb, should be called “healthcare.


Supposedly Finke collected 15,635 votes or 81 percent in the district he ran. The previous seat warmer was Alice Hauseman who’d been in office since 1989, Fox News said.

What an honor it must be to lose your seat to someone who’s pretending to be a woman.

Mandelburg concluded by sneering: "All I can say is that thank God I don't live in Minnesota and I pray that we start electing people based on their skill set, not who they sleep with and which gender they decide to be on a given day." If she doesn't understand anything about transgender people -- which she clearly doesn't based on her uninformed assumption they choose "which gender they decide to be on a given day" -- she shouldn't be writing about them. Then again, the MRC isn't about advancing facts; it only cares about pushing ideological hate.

Graham served up even more of this in a Nov. 20 post complaining that a transgender candidate busted false right-wing narratives:

The leftists who make endless propaganda with our tax money have laid out a plush red carpet for newly elected bisexual transgender radicals in state legislatures. On Thursday, NPR's All Things Considered typically failed to consult an opposing point of view in a tenderly promotional eight-minute interview with Zooey Zephyr of Montana and James Roesener of New Hampshire.

Anchor Ailsa Chang set up Zephyr to assert that Republicans are causing trans suicides:


They always stoop to arguing for an end to any opposition, claiming "you're killing us!" Chang could only pose the conservative view as cruel, and no rebuttal was considered.

But Graham himself offered no rebuttal to anything said in this interview. And if Graham really cared about journalistic balance, he can start down the hall at the MRC's "news" division, which regularly publishes statements from Republican politicians and commentators without giving the other side an opportunity for rebuttal. And only Graham would think that it's "propaganda" to not spew hate at transgender people the way the MRC does on a daily basis, or that portraying that hatred as merely an "opposing view" is responsible, accurate journalism.

Graham whined further:

This one-sided claptrap also happened on the PBS NewsHour on November 11. Laura Barron Lopez mangled plain English by claiming Montana had "a bill that blocked trans girls and women from playing in sports." She lamented there are "already some pre-filed anti-trans bills, one in particular that would restrict transgender surgery on minors."

Lopez painted Republicans as liars: "a number of Republican candidates that have falsely accused LGBTQ teachers of — quote — "trying to groom students," as well as there was a New Hampshire Republican candidate that lost, but said falsely that teachers were trying to put litter boxes in classes, so students could identify as cats, and also accusing Democrats of trying to put drag queens in every classroom."

But the litter box story really was a lie -- even as it uncritically spread through right-wing media -- as is the malicious right-wing portrayal of all LGBTQ people as "groomers." Which, of course, makes Graham's whining that "Lopez painted Republicans as liars" nonsensical because she cited two specific examples of clear Republican lies. Again, Graham made no effort to rebut the argument.

Essentially, Graham is complaining that these transgender legislators are telling the truth about Republicans. Not exactly what normal people think of as "media research."

Arizona election misinformation
The MRC's Jeffrey Clark spent a post on Nov. 8, the day of the midterm elections, whining that "The liberal media cranked the propaganda meter up to 100 before and during the midterm elections, warning that Big Tech was acting as a conduit for 'election misinformation' and not censoring enough people for pushing 'conspiracy theories,'" citing as an example how "The New York Times rebuked 'right-wing fraud claims' spreading online about Maricopa County, Ariz., in a Nov. 8 story." Clark didn't explain how all that stuff wasn't misinformation.

And indeed, after the election the MRC spread right-wing misinformation about vote counting in Maricopa County and in Arizona as a whole, darkly hinting that the slow count meant election fraud was going on. Curtis Houck pushed it in a Nov. 11 post:

During Friday’s Good Morning America, ABC’s senior national correspondent Terry Moran made it clear he’s not going to tolerant anyone who decries the reality that it’s unclear when the final votes will be tallied in states like Arizona. Why? Because, according to Moran, offering such gripes makes you a conspiracy theory calling into question a “normal” and “ordinary” process we should all accept.

Moran explained in a report from Phoenix that “[t]he counting here continues and there still hundreds of thousands of ballots left to go and officials here tell us that, despite what you might read on social media, that is not evidence of suspicious activity or any incompetence.”

As our Bill D’Agostino showed, Moran was one of many liberal journalists smearing Americans who, at a minimum, have wondered why some states can report votes in a few hours while others might need weeks.

Houck linked to D'Agostino's post, which whined:

Since election night on Tuesday, the talking heads on broadcast and cable news networks have been pedantically scolding their viewers that “counting votes takes time,” “this is normal,” and everyone needs to please “calm down.”

It’s hard to say whether they sound more like exasperated kindergarten teachers or preachy DMV employees, but either way, it’s incredibly obnoxious.

P.J. Gladnick got similarly huffy in a Nov. 12 post when the Washington Post pointed out how right-wingers were spreading conspiratorial disinformation about the slow Maricopa vote count:

Are you among the increasing number of people wondering why Maricopa County, Arizona can't count their votes on time? As of this writing, three days after the midterm elections, there are still over 400,000 ballots yet to be counted in Maricopa County. In fact, most of the votes might not even be counted until after the weekend according to KTAR-News radio in Phoenix, "Maricopa County now says most ballots won’t be counted by Friday: ‘The goalposts have changed.’"

If you dare to criticize the apparent incompetence of the pathetically delayed ballot counting, you could be guilty of "disinformation" according to a Washington Post editorial published on Wednesday, "Here’s the sad truth about election-related disinformation."

Gladnick followed that with a post the next day bashing an Arizona Republic columnist for calling out Fox News and losing Republican candidate Kari Lake (and even the New York Times) for spreading misinformation about the slow vote.

What Houck and Gladnick couldn't be bothered to do, however, was tell their readers the reason why the vote count in Maricopa County was slow. Meanwhile, an actual news organization did look into it -- and found that right-wing conspiracy-mongerers are in part responsible, quoting former Maricopa County election official Tammy Patrick:

For one, Patrick says she thinks voters in Arizona have changed their voting behavior in response to all the misinformation that has been circulating about mail-in ballots.

"There has been this narrative around voting by mail that it is ripe with fraud and ... you shouldn't trust it," she says.

This distrust, Patrick says, could be why more voters decided to drop off their ballot at a polling site on Election Day, as opposed to mailing it days in advance.

"It's typical for Maricopa County to see about 180,000 ballots be turned in on Election Day," she says. "When I was there for that decade that was kind of the standard number."

This year, though, local election officials reported a whopping 290,000 ballots were dropped off at polling locations on Election Day.

Patrick added that all those mail-in ballots delivered in person have to be manually opened and have their signatures verified by bipartisan teams, which also takes time.

But facts don't matter when a bogus narrative is so much easier to spread, so Kevin Tober was on narrative patrol in a Nov. 14 post:

On Monday's Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC, anchor Andrea Mitchell said with a straight face that the wildly dysfunctional election board in Maricopa County, Arizona has "some of the best vote-counting processes" despite the fact that it's been nearly a week since the election and we still don't have the complete election results reported. Apparently, Mitchell thinks this is normal behavior in a functioning democracy.

Turning to NBC's senior political editor Mark Murray, Mitchell turned the discussion to what's left to be counted in Maricopa County. "What's left out there in terms of how the vote keeps, you know, coming in," she asked.


At the time of publication, NBC and other networks have called the race for Hobbs, so it appears Murray was right in terms of who was the favorite to win.

This doesn't take away from the fact that Maricopa County appears incapable of running elections and tabulating the results. Mitchell is obviously delusional if she thinks the county "has some of the best vote-counting processes."

Paiten Iselin whined in a Nov. 17 post:

As multiple videos and reports emerged of “printer issues ” and other technical problems in Maricopa, The New York Times scolded Americans for exercising their free speech rights and sharing election-related concerns online.

The Times rebuked “right-wing fraud claims” spreading online about Maricopa County in a November 8th story. Another skewed Election Day article by Bloomberg News framed “Arizona Republicans” as “election deniers” airing “baseless fraud claims over Arizona glitches.”

The Times even claimed that Americans who raised concerns on social media were just paranoid and guilty of the supposed offense of peddling dangerous views in “right-wing media.”

Bloomberg News parroted a similar angle, claiming that “Arizona Republicans are seizing on technical problems with ballot tabulation machines in the state’s largest county to make unsubstantiated claims about the validity of Tuesday’s elections.”

Even after the election, NBC Philadelphia fear-mongered that “Maricopa County remained the epicenter of election misinformation.”

It would seem that legacy media’s M.O. is to aid leftists by parroting their hive-mind narrative and denouncing every other opinion that disagrees with it as so-called “misinformation.”

Not that Iselin exhibited any interest in dispelling such misinformation, of course -- she has a hive-mind narrative to perpetuate. In reality, the "printer issues" in Maricopa did not keep anyone from lawfully casting their votes, and it appears the cause of the issues was the thickness of the paper and the high volume of in-person voting -- not anything nefarious.

But why report the facts when conspiracy theories and whining about getting called out for spreading them get so many more clicks? That's the path the MRC chose.

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