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Loving The Fringe To Own The Libs, Part 3

The Media Research Center stays silent when people it has promoted as champions of free speech or purported victims of censorship go (even more) rogue into violence, hate and anti-Semitism.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 6/14/2023

The Media Research Center has bad habit of embracing far-right figures in order to own the libs and further its right-wing victimhood narrative -- but it won't tell readers when those people have crossed a line, making it entirely possible they stand by these fringe figures when they commit grievous acts. Let's take a look at a few of these figures the MRC has defended in the past and may still support now.
Andrew Torba

Torba is the founder of right-wing social media app Gab, and the MRC has long been a defender. A September 2018 post by Corinne Weaver bestowed victimhood status when Gab was removed from the Google Play store for violating hate speech policies, adding that in response, "CEO Andrew Torba published the list of hate words that had to be filtered out in order to meet the standards of Google Play. The list was extensive," and quoting Torba claiming that Gab "takes a hardline stance against illegal pornography and child abuse."

The next month, Weaver noted that Gab was getting deplatformed in some places because, following the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, "media complained about the shooter’s Gab account, where he posted anti-Semitic sentiment on a regular basis." Weaver unritically quoted Torba boasting that “We are the most censored, smeared, and no-platformed startup in history, which means we are a threat to the media and to the Silicon Valley Oligarchy.”'

A January 2019 post by Alexander Hall complained that "Coinbase has just banned the accounts of free speech platform Gab as well as its CEO Andrew Torba. Gab has been both famous and infamous for its absolutist stance on free speech. As a result Gab had to find unconventional ways to raise money. Gab used Bitcoin, which can be exchanged for all manner of goods online." Hall didn't mention that part of Gab's "free speech" includes spreading anti-Semitism. The next month, Hall cheered that "Free speech social media site Gab is creating a program that will add a comment section to every website," though he conceded that it "has been criticized as being extremist-friendly."

In January 2021, after extremist platforms like Parler were deplatformed in the wake of the Capitol riot, where pro-Trump extremists hung out, Hall touted how Gab "built its own infrastructure so it would not be beholden to hostile tech companies," approvingly quoting Torba as saying that "Gab has become the single most resilient and battle-hardened social media company in the world. We own our own servers. We can’t be banned from those servers. There is literally no other community in the world that can do what we are doing right this moment. Gab is the fastest growing website in internet history. The Rubicon has been crossed, the die cast, and the Big Tech Exodus has begun.” Hall concluded: "Gab is still up. That strategy is working so far."

The following month, Hall hyped that, in the wake of Donald Trump being banned from most social media platforms for inciting the Capitol riot, "Gab founder and CEO Andrew Torba already created an account for Trump to use on Gab," adding that "Torba noted in a recent post that Trump’s advisers may be holding the former president back from using the platform."

Catherine Salgado fawned over Torba in an October 2021 post:

Andrew Torba, CEO of the Gab social media platform, slammed Silicon Valley for its “erosion of free speech and Christian values” while explaining his motivations for founding Gab.

Torba spoke in a blog post of his negative experience as a Christian entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. He described the “nihilistic hellhole of a post-truth, post-morality, and post-Christian world” living in San Francisco, California. Torba called the people surrounding him then “the most narcissistic, empty, and sociopathic people in Silicon Valley.” The Gab CEO wrote that, after being in Silicon Valley, he was inspired to safeguard “the uniquely Christian value of freedom of speech.”

Torba compared modern America to Rome after its fall into “‘moral chaos.’” The Gab CEO said that he was alarmed “after witnessing the erosion of free speech and Christian values by this group of wicked people in Silicon Valley.” The anti-free speech Silicon Valley left little room for discussion among Christians, Torba indicated. These people labeled such discussions “hate speech.” He stated further, “I couldn’t stand by and watch that happen.”

She concluded: "The MRC is now on Gab. Follow us here!" The MRC's Gab account has seen only 19 posts as of this writing, the most recent post being from March 2022.

Hall similarly gushed over Torba's musings in a January 2022 post:

Gab founder/CEO Andrew Torba proclaimed the essential role of cryptocurrency in the struggle for free speech during his appearance on the Timcast IRL podcast.

Torba suggested “the best way” to create an alternative economy for free thinkers in the Jan. 20 episode of TimCast IRL “is by getting into things like Bitcoin, and that is why [the political establishment] are freaking out.” He explained that, “Bitcoin is free speech money. Bitcoin is the only reason that Gab still exists right now, because in 2019 when we got banned from everything – payment processors, PayPal, everything –  we were still able to accept Bitcoin.” He elaborated further that, “We didn't need permission from any bank, we didn't need permission from any corporation, or any government, to do that.”

Podcast host Tim Pool echoed Torba’s assentiment, suggesting it is “the monetary version of a free speech network, it is people’s ability to bypass the establishment, their controls, their narratives.”

What the MRC never told readers: Torba is a raging Jew-hater. He has regularly spouted anti-Semitism on both his personal Gab account and on Gab's Twitter account. He also served as an adviser to right-wing Republican Doug Mastriano, the (losing) candidate for Pennsylvania governor in 2022, declaring that he didn't want Jews joining his movement under the reasoning that "This is an explicitly Christian movement because this is an explicitly Christian country."

Despite all that very public hate, the MRC never disavowed Torba, and its Gab account is still live, if inactive.

Andrew Tate

Tierin-Rose Mandelburg wrote in a Sept. 27 post:

A free speech platform just got yelled at for promoting free speech.

Yes, you read that correctly. 

Cosmopolitan, reached out to Rumble on Monday to ask for comment on allowing Andrew Tate, a popular and controversial social media influencer, on its platform. Hysterically, Rumble told it to look in the mirror. 

“I am writing an article about the rise of Andrew Tate and how many social media platforms — Meta, TikTok, YouTube and Twitter — removed his content for violating their policies on ‘dangerous individuals’ and ‘hateful content,’” Harriet Hall, Cosmo’s Features Director wrote to Rumble.

It wasn't until the eighth paragraph of her post that Mandelburg got around to mentioning that "popular and controversial social media influencer" Tate is best known for being "violently misogynistic," which she reframed as "advocacy of traditional masculinity and gender roles," quoting Tate himself as saying he's "living a traditionally masculine life." She went on to defend Tate further from those fashion-mag meanies:

Cosmo’s had it out for Tate for years. In 2017 the outlet attempted to write a hit piece on him regarding one of his tweets. Cosmo did nothing except show once again that its writers are cry babies. 

Regardless of one’s thoughts on Tate, Rumble believes that he deserves equal footing on tech platforms. In fact, Rumble prides itself on being “immune to cancel culture.”


Nobody is required to watch Tate’s videos. THAT is what an open platform should do. It shouldn’t censor someone just because his/her videos don’t please everyone and their mother. 

An anonymously written Nov. 18 post touting the latest totally made-up "secondhand censorship" count hyped Tate as a victim of Instagram (bolding in original):

The platform’s most egregious instance during the third quarter in terms of secondhand censorship came when Instagram banned influencer and former professional kickboxer Andrew Tate.

This censorship kept information from all 4,700,000 of Tate’s Instagram followers.

It is unclear if a specific post triggered the ban, but NBC News noted that some people criticized Tate for what many saw as “misogynistic advice.” Meta, the parent company of Instagram, told NPR that Tate violated the platform's policies against “dangerous individuals” and organizations and hate speech.

The anonymous writer didn't explain why this "information" from Tate was so important that it shouldn't have been "censored."

Since then, Tate and his brother have been arrested by Romanian authorities on allegations of rape and human trafficking -- ironically, shortly after he got owned on Twitter by environmental activist Greta Thunberg, who responded to a tweet by Tate bragging about his exotic car collection "and their respective enormous emissions" by saying he could send a list of his cars to ""

The MRC has said nothing about Tate's arrest.

Dana White

White, the head of mixed martial arts league UFC, got lots of positive coverage from the MRC for being a prominent supporter of Donald Trump, particularly by mysterious sports blogger Jay Maxson:

  • A 2017 post by Maxson highlighted that "UFC President Dana White said he would play the national anthem before ultimate fights if President Trump requested he do so."
  • A 2018 post by Maxson complained that a UFC documentary about itself was unfavorably reviewed, particularly the part that highlights the relationship between Trump and White and how "White spoke up for Trump in July 2016 at the Republican National Convention."
  • Maxson used a 2019 post to grouse that Trump attending a UFC match with White was panned.

In March 2020, Maxson cheered White for looking for ways to evade crowd restrictions during the early days of the COVID epidemic. The following month, Maxson approvingly quoted White defending those evasions:

If you're the head of a sports organization and you complain about media basis [sic], you're just taking a leaf out of President Donald Trump's book on media criticism. So says Guardian Sport in a Tuesday post. UFC President Dana White on Monday evening told Fox News' Sean Hannity that the New York Times, the Guardian and other media tried to sabotage his May 9 fight card in Jacksonville.

“We were trying to figure out solutions to the problems [of enforcing coronavirus protocols] and [asking] how do you bring sports back safely and health and safety is an issue for us,” White told Hannity. “Every single weekend when we were leading up to these events, we had so many, you know, New York Times and so many other media people trying to sabotage the events so that it couldn’t happen.”

White called Kevin Draper, the New York Times reporter who covered the UFC event, “a dickhead”. Draper had criticized White and the UFC for not requiring people in attendance to follow safety protocols and for not wearing masks.

Veronica Hays gushed over White and his anti-media hostility in an April 2021 post:

UFC President Dana White doesn’t back down from any fights, especially not with the media.

In a recent interview on Wednesday's Colin Cowherd Podcast, the Ultimate Fighting Championship President trashed the media as being “full of sh--” when asked whether or not UFC needs the media. White ultimately conceded that the media is necessary to the UFC, but not without expressing his issue with them. He explained the problem being the convoluted nature of the beast; that the trouble lies in “determining who’s media and who’s not.” 

White explained further, “Anybody that creates a f—ing website now considers themselves media. If they have an Instagram, now they can become media. Most of these people are full of s— and have no place writing or talking about anything. But there are some real good media people out there still.” White provided a fair assessment, one that Journo types love to hate on him for.

White’s hostility towards the media comes as no surprise. He has been targeted by ill intentioned new outlets on many occasions. White caught heat from New York Magazine because of his positive relationship with President Trump and especially during the initial Covid-19 lockdowns of 2020. White continued to schedule fights contrary to CDC recommendations and completely disregarded directions from federal and state governments, even amidst an onslaught of negative media attention. Clearly the man does what he wants. 

Maxson hyped right-wing sports guy Jason Whitlock's praise of White in a July 2021 post: "Trump friend and UFC president Dana White is the antithesis of the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball, whose commissioners 'would run from Trump as if he were a pack of Wuhan bats,' Whitlock added. He’s more like former NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle, who marketed the league in support of traditional American values. Now, though, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell guides the league in a polar-opposite direction." Two days later, Hays touted another Trump UFC appearance with White:

Two alphas met both inside and outside of the ring at Saturday’s UFC match. 

UFC 264, Connor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier was the place to be Saturday night. The star-studded event drew massive attention on social media especially with President Trump making a grand entrance to the sold-out arena. Upon Trump’s arrival alongside UFC President Dana White, the crowd went wild and broke out in chants, “USA USA.” One viral moment captured on video shows actor-director Mel Gibson& saluting the President in greeting as he walks by. The novelty of such an exchange was not lost on the public.

At a New Year's Eve party, White slapped his wife during an argument caught on video; he faced no discipline from UFC for doing so. The MRC has been silent about the incident despite its earlier praise of White.

Lara Logan

The MRC hid Logan's misdeeds in reporting a false claim about the Benghazi attack for "60 Minutes," then continued to promote her even as she spread Antifa hoaxes. When Logan outrageously likened Anthony Fauci to notorious Nazi doctor Joseph Mengele in a Fox News appearance in late 2021, the MRC refused to criticize her without resorting to lame whataboutism, even as it has whined about conservatives being likened to Nazis.

A December 2021 post by Lydia Switzer actually refused to identify Logan as the person who likened Fauci to Mengele, instead issuing a general criticism of the trend, then moving immediately to whataboutism: "Of course, none of this is to say that violent threats and attacks on Dr. Fauci are justified. However, attempts by CNN to claim moral high ground regarding authoritarian comparisons are simply laughable."

In a post a few days later, Tim Graham repeated earlier whataboutism in noting that CNN guest David Zurawik was like a "drug addict" in needing media attention of the kind that drew her to make the Fauci-Mengele comparison: "Later in the show, Stelter asked Zurawik about Lara Logan being on a 'time out' of sorts from Fox News after comparing Dr. Fauci to Dr. Mengele. That outburst was bad, but since when does CNN get to promenade about Nazi comparisons when it has thrown that mud routinely?? On his show, Stelter let a guest say Donald Trump would kill more people than Hitler, Stalin, and Mao combined!"

When the New York Times documented Logan's descent into far-right conspiracy theories, it was Clay Waters rushing to her defense against the "hit job" in a May 23 post:

The New York Times ran a hit piece on former CBS journalist Lara Logan by Jeremy Peters, who is the paper’s go-to reporter for criticism of conservative media figures: “Former Star At CBS News Follows Path To Far Right.”

After introducing Logan as someone who had “reached the heights of American the chief foreign affairs correspondent for CBS News,” he lamented “today Ms. Logan cuts a far different figure in American media. Instead of on national news broadcasts, she can be found as a guest on right-wing podcasts or speaking at a rally for fringe causes, promoting falsehoods about deaths from Covid vaccines and conspiracy theories about voter fraud.”

Peters characterized her supposed decline as “one of the most puzzling in the modern history of television news.” But more interesting than what Peters had to say about Logan was his assumptions about what a mainstream journalist is allowed to believe.
More than half a dozen journalists and executives who worked with Ms. Logan at “60 Minutes,” most of whom spoke anonymously to discuss private interactions with her, said she sometimes revealed political leanings that made them question whether she could objectively cover the Obama administration’s military and foreign policy moves. She appeared increasingly conservative in her politics over the years, they said, and more outspoken about her suspicions of the White House’s motives and war strategy.
Wasn’t it a requirement for any reputable journalist to be suspicious of the “White House’s motives and war strategy” when George W. Bush was president and the Iraq War was raging? Is doubting presidential motives only a problem when the president is a Democrat?

Waters made sure to hide the exact deeds that caused people to doubt her objectivity -- namely, she uncritically promoted the claims of a self-proclaimed first-person witness to the Benghazi attack who, it turned out, had told his employer he wasn't. Waters also censored her descent into Antifa conspiracy theories. And like his MRC co-workers, he played whataboutism to dismiss Logan's Nazi smear:

Peters noted Logan comparing Dr. Anthony Fauci to Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, which got Logan canned from Fox Nation. If we can agree that contemporary Hitler comparisons are bad, perhaps the media (including Times reporters) will stop comparing Republicans to Hitler or Nazis.

If Waters must resort to whataboutism, he can't possibly be sincere about ridding the world of Nazi comparisons.

Logan went even more extreme in a October appearance on Newsmax, in which she singled out Jewish historian Yuval Noah Harari as among those associated with the World Economic Forum (an organization right-wingers love to fearmonger about) who "want us eating insects, cockroaches ... while they dine on the blood of children." That's pretty much anti-Semitic blood libel territory.

Newsmax later said Logan will never appear on its channel again as a result of this rant. The MRC stayed silent.

Scott Adams

The Media Research Center has been a longtime champion of the right-wing turn of cartoonist Scott Adams:

  • A 2013 post noted that a Paul Krugman-like character had been added to the comic strip, adding that "Paul Krugman is now both literally and figuratively a cartoon."
  • A June 2016 post by P.J. Gladnick complained that Adams' right-wing turn was called out, insisting in response that "Adams has been so amazingly correct in his analysis of why Trump is winning."
  • A November 2016 post by Gladnick hyped Adams criticizing CNN for the purported "lengths they go to in order to avoid mentioning Hillary Clinton's name or her troubles."
  • A March 2017 post by the disgraced Tom Blumer touted how Adams "spotted the Donald Trump phenomenon early on" and repeated his attacking on a New Yorker "hit piece" about him.
  • In a May 2017 post, Gladnick gushed over how Adams "had a good laugh" over a tweet by Keith Olbermann regarding Trump's firing of FBI director James Comey.
  • A few days later, Aly Nielsen hyped a "Dilbert" storyline in which "Dilbert’s boss invited a climate scientist to explain how climatologists predicted the impact of climate change. The result was a hilarious send-up of how such scientists respond."
  • A December 2018 post by Gladnick featured Adams complaining that images of him in a Google search are manipulated images of him as a Nazi and how "Adams gave Google a deadline to remove those offensive images."
  • Gladnick followed with a February 2019 post noting that Adams "brought up an interesting thesis in a Tweet on Friday about whether Trump Derangement Syndrome could be used as a legal defense in the future for people who acted criminally or immorally."

The MRC also bestowed victimhood on Adams in a Sept. 22 post by John Simmons:

Progressives really have no sense of humor.

The famous comic strip “Dilbert,” a fictional story about a character with the comic’s name that serves as a satirical commentary on office politics and workplace culture, has been removed from over 80 newspaper publications. Lee Enterprises, the company that distributes the comic, has not commented on why it was discontinued.

However, Scott Adams, the creator of the comic, believed it was cut from publications because of his tendency to poke fun at woke agendas that have found a home in the American corporate world.

Simmons' first falsehood is that Lee Enterprises is not a distributor of comics -- it's a company that owns newspapers. The second, and more important, falsehood is that Simmons and Adams are lying about the strip's purported targeting of progressives being the reason the comic was dropped from these Lee newspapers.

As a reliable media outlet reported, Lee is moving to a smaller comics package, using the same set of comics across all its newspapers instead of each paper choosing their own, as a money-saving move. Many other comics were canceled by Lee papers as well, but Simmons would rather lie to readers in order to falsely portray Adams as a victim because doing so fits right-wing narratives.

It wasn't until the final paragraph that Simmons sort of admitted he's not telling the truth, but he also portrayed what is actually happening as merely "framing":

Of course, Lee Enterprises is not framing it that way, since other comics were discontinued as well. But with how sensitive and anti-humor the left can be, it wouldn’t be surprising if it were erased largely because of its content.

Again: Simmons has no proof whatsoever that "Dilbert" was canceled by Lee papers because of its or Adams' politics. But who needs facts when you have a narrative to push?

In February, Adams went on a racist tirade (which would seem to show that the manipulated Nazi images were merely prescient) that caused his comic to be dropped by hundreds of newspapers. Neither Gladnick nor anyone else at the MRC has referenced this incident or Adams since -- not even to denounce Adams even though that would be the easiest thing in the world to do. It was also silent when Elon Musk defended Adams in a tweet he later deleted -- which also would have been an easy layup.

Then again, the MRC had a lot of trouble criticizing Kanye West for his turn to anti-Semitism after spending years praising his right-wing-friendly pronouncements.

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