The MRC's Trump Indictment Distraction Game, Round 3
For Donald Trump's third indictment, the Media Research Center first insisted that it wasn't newsworthy, then played its usual distraction-and-whataboutism routine.
By Terry Krepel
As it had before with his previous indictments, the Media Research Center rushed to defend Donald Trump after his third indictment with the usual distractions and whataboutism. An Aug. 1 post by Kevin Tober whining that that the non-right-wing media covered additional charges under a previous indictment:
Late Tuesday afternoon, Biden DOJ-appointed special prosecutor Jack Smith announced yet another indictment against former President Donald Trump on four separate counts. This time related to his alleged actions in the run-up to the January 6 riots at the United States Capitol. In stark contrast to their dismissive coverage of Hunter Biden’s criminal activity, the three networks spent a combined 24 minutes and 36 seconds on the third indictment of Trump.
Tober didn't explain why a former president getting indicted yet again wasn't newsworthy. An Aug. 2 post by Alex Christy similarly complained about newsworthiness:
If CNN has a line on hyperbolic rhetoric about former President Donald Trump, law enforcement analyst and former D.C. police officer Michael Fanone almost crossed it on Tuesday’s CNN Tonight when he compared Trump’s new indictment related to the aftermath of the 2020 Election to the death of Osama bin Laden. Even liberal host Laura Coates was shocked by the comparison.
Curtis Houck played Hunter Biden whataboutism on indictment coverage:
With Tuesday’s third indictment of former President Trump, the “big three” networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC had their ticket out of having to acknowledge the scandals surrounding the Biden family, including reasons to continue skipping Burisma bribery claims and no longer probe Monday’s testimony from Hunter Biden’s former business partner, Devon Archer.
Mark Finkelstein groused about another Osama bin Laden reference to Trump's indictment:
On Wednesday's Morning Joe, liberal historian Michael Beschloss said that the indictment of former President Trump "fits perfectly into the American story" because there has been a history of "monsters" seeking to destroy American democracy. Beschloss cited the Confederacy, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Osama Bin Laden.
Finkelstein was giddy at the prospect that his fellow normally law-and-order right-wingers will accept that their favorite presidential candidate is a criminal:
Beschloss didn't offer any evidence in support of his claim that Trump has said that the would institute a "presidential dictatorship," or that he would "take our democracy away."
Houck took over the MRC's Aug. 2 podcast to rehash his complaint about "the astounding totals of coverage on ABC, CBS, and NBC" of the Trump indictment," again asserting that this "has given the networks the perfect excuse to wave goodbye to any and all Biden scandals for an indefinite period of time."
Houck whined again that Trump's indictment was treated as news, with added Biden whataboutism, in an Aug. 3 post:
On Wednesday afternoon, NewsBusters brought you the tally of broadcast network coverage of the third Trump indictment as having stood at roughly 70 minutes (70:41) on the flagship morning and evening newscasts of ABC, CBS, and NBC. Unsurprisingly, the coverage ballooned ahead of Trump’s arraignment Thursday afternoon on charges relating to his conduct on and prior to January 6. The total this time? Roughly 112 minutes (111:57).
Houck didn't explain why he apparently thinks Trump's indictment should be censored.
Nicholas Fondacaro melted down over the ladies of "The View" -- whom he once again smeared as a "cackling coven" -- having an opinion on Trump's latest indictment:
With 2024 on the horizon, the Cackling Coven of ABC’s The View really wanted former President Trump out of the picture. So much so that co-host Sara Haines was flabbergasted on Thursday by the notion that he would get a fair trial and not have any potential jury pool poisoned by the Justice Department releasing information pre-trial. They also fantasized about what his imprisonment situation would be like with Joy Behar saying she would settle for him being exiled somewhere, anywhere.
Fondacaro again referenced "Racist co-host Sunny Hostin," apparently still under the delusion that his inability to understand how metaphors work justifies the smear.
Tober returned to rant that someone said nice things about Smith:
During CBS’s live coverage of former President Donald Trump’s arraignment on charges related to the January 6 riots at the United States Capitol and his alleged attempt to “overturn” the results of the 2020 presidential election, anchor Norah O’Donnell and correspondent Robert Costa heaped sycophantic praise for the corrupt anti-Trump prosecutor Jack Smith. O’Donnell took a break from analyzing the multiple indictments Trump was facing as they were speaking to Beclown herself by swooning over Smith and his so-called “grit” and “determination.”
Tober offered no evidence to back up has assertion that Smith is "corrupt," unless he's arguing that merely indicting a Republican is evidence of "corruption." Instead, he closed by huffing: "The media is enjoying this saga way too much. They can’t be trusted to report on these indictments and trials objectively. It’s all a game to them." But that falsely suggests that Fox News is somehow not part of "the media" -- Tober didn't tell us how Fox News is covering the indictment -- and it ignores that Tober and the rest of the MRC can't be trusted to report on Trump's indictments objectively because its anti-media agenda is nothing but a game to them.
More whining from Tober appeared in a Aug. 3 post:
All day long Thursday, as reported extensively by NewsBusters, the big three evening news broadcasts were beside themselves with glee over the third arraignment of President Joe Biden's political opponent Donald Trump. Between the motorcade chases broadcasted live, and breathless coverage of every detail large and small, it's clear this was seen by the networks as a ratings-grabbing television production rather than the federal government prosecuting the leading challenger to the Biden regime's power in the upcoming elections. The show continued during the big-three evening newscasts, where each network's anchor relayed the day's events to anyone who wasn't already watching.
Houck got mad that it was pointed out how Republicans failed to do their job in refusing to convict Trump in an impeachment trial for helping to incite the Capitol riot:
Amid the O.J. Simpson Bronco chase-like idiocy on the broadcast and cable networks Thursday afternoon surrounding former President Trump’s third criminal arraignment, NBC’s Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd suffered a near-emotional, weapons-grade meltdown seething at the Republican Party for putting America on the precipice of collapse because the GOP “refused to do” what was right and remove Trump from office in 2021 so he can never run again.
Houck didn't rebut anything Todd said -- he simply complained that it was said at all.
Houck served up yet more Biden whataboutism in an Aug. 4 post, though he did concede that a former president being repeatedly indicted is "a huge story":
Through four days and three installments each of the flagship morning and evening news shows on the major broadcast networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC have eagerly doled out astounding 162 minutes and 16 seconds through Friday morning salivating over the third criminal indictment of former President Trump that has the potential to either land him in prison or propel him to the White House in 2024.
Alex Christy served up his own whataboutism-laden count:
Former President Donald Trump was arraigned for the third time on Thursday and the cable networks of MSNBC and CNN once again obsessed over the matter to the detriment of coverage of any other topic.
Christy didn't explain why he omitted Fox News from his cable news analysis.
Houck and Nicholas Fondacaro regurgitated these complaints in the MRC's Aug. 4 podcast: "As they flood the zone with coverage, they also fill the airwaves with flaming hot takes proclaiming their anticipation of Trump behind bars or even exiled."
The media love fest for the Trump-investigating Jack Smith was curiously absent when the name of the prosecutor was - Ken Starr. That would be the Special Counsel assigned to investigate Democrat President Bill Clinton. Somewhere along the way I crossed paths with him at a conservative event. A nicer, more decent and smarter guy it would be hard to find. Not that you would have learned that from the media that covered his most famous case in the mid 1990’s.
Lord went back even further to criticize special counsels for Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon before returning to present-day complaints:
In short, as is frequently the case with the liberal media, the more things change the more they stay the same.
Clay Waters huffed that some people see Trump's criminality more harshly than he does in an Aug. 7 post:
What's Amanpour & Co’s idea of a balanced segment on the news of former President Donald Trump’s third indictment for “conspiring to defraud” the United States for contesting his loss in 2020? Hosting a sitting liberal Democrat, Representative Joe Neguse (CO), and the ex-Republican (in all senses) Representative Joe Walsh, who ran against Trump in the 2020 primary and remained fiercely opposed.
We don't recall Waters ever demanding that Fox News show concern about having "any sense of journalistic balance."
Whataboutism double standard
The MRC had already been playing whataboutism over Trump's (third) indictment, so it was more than happy when a fellow Republican did the same thing on TV. Kevin Tober got all gushy over it in an Aug. 6 post:
The media demands everyone be as obsessed with Trump as they are, and if we don’t comply, leftists like George Stephanopoulos will scold you. More evidence of this came during ABC’s This Week when co-anchor Stephanopoulos had North Dakota governor and GOP presidential candidate Doug Burgum on the show to presumably discuss his campaign and instead insisted on haranguing him about the latest indictment of Trump. Burgum didn’t take the bait and instead pointed out how Hunter Biden and his endless list of crimes haven’t been mentioned on the show. This only set Stephanopoulos off further.
But when this right-wing whataboutism gets called out, the MRC is less than pleased. Clay Waters spent a Aug. 6 post complaining about it:
In a dream world, liberal reporters would like to beat Republican candidates with a scandal shovel and pretend there are no Democrat scandals. Bring them up? Then you're guilty of "whataboutism."
Tober did his own whining in another Aug. 6 post:
On NBC’s Meet the Press, moderator Chuck Todd openly fretted to Maryland Democrat Congressman Jamie Raskin that the upcoming general election for president will be filled with what he described as “whataboutism” from Republicans pointing to the mountain of crimes by Hunter Biden as a way to distract from the indictments of Donald Trump. Todd worried that the appearance of what Hunter is accused of “is not good.” To Todd, it’s all about optics, not the actual crimes by both Hunter and Joe Biden.
Is that like how Tober is ignoring all the evidence of actual wrongdoing by the Trump crime family?