Sad Truth About Media Research Center and It's Difference with Media Matters For America

I've been following this awesome blog called LEFT HOOK! BLOG which I've decided I'm going to add to the Blogroll section of my blog. I just read a piece he did about Newsbusters and the Media Research Center. It's exactly what I I've wanted to say about them, but he lays it down best. He explains what the difference is between the conservative MRC and the liberal/progressive MMFA . It's the most important point to make about MRC. Here's just a sample.

The MRC has always portrayed itself as a media watchdog with a conservative bent, but it would be a big mistake to put it in the same pound as liberal media watchdogs like Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), and Media Matters For America (MMFA), and not just because the MRC is extremely conservative. The MRC isn't just a different breed of watchdog. It's an entirely different species from its liberal counterparts.

Media Matters For America lists, as its mission, "comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media." Part of the mission of FAIR can be found in its name--the "A" stands for "Accuracy." These groups are centrally concerned with, among other things, correcting misinformation. Keeping the record straight. The MRC has a very different mission. The legend of Newsbusters reads "Exposing & Combating Liberal Media Bias." Their more detailed "About" page tells the same story. They're about "bias," not accuracy.

It shows in their work. An incredible amount of misinformation flows forth from Newsbusters, just as it has always flowed forth from the MRC. Newsbusters is afflicted with a depressingly common ailment of the American right, one about which I've written repeatedly over the years; they see politics as a simple contest between good and evil--themselves being good, the "liberals" being evil--and embrace the idea that reality itself can be subservient to and defined by their own momentary political passions. A large segment of the right has, for years, waged open war on the notion that there is any such thing as an objective set of facts about anything. This is done as a means of denying any sort of victory to those whom it sees as enemies--if there are no universally agreed-upon yardsticks, there's nothing against which to measure the conservatives, nothing that can be used to judge them unambiguously wrong. By this view, more broadly, that which they, themselves, believe and want and do is, by definition, that which is true and proper and right. They hold the converse to be true, as well. The reason accuracy isn't listed as a concern of Newsbusters is because, for the conservatives who toil away at it and (most especially) for those who uncritically groove on its work, "liberal" equals, by definition, "misinformation."
Read Left Hook!'s Entire Post


  1. Thanks for the plug, and the kind words. I've been critical of the MRC for years, but, for whatever reason, I've been compelled to blog about them a lot lately.

    I'm very critical of MMFA's overly narrow focus on the far-right press--hitting them day after day is like shooting arthritic fish in a really small barrel, and they aren't the main conduit for right-wing misinformation. The "mainstream" corporate press is, and needs a lot more attention. MMFA does, however, carry out a public service, regardless of this. The MRC does no such thing. They're just a propaganda outlet--"propaganda" in the worst sense of the word. It's not that they don't have accuracy as a focus. It's that they're entirely unconcerned with it. They'll say whatever it takes to win, without regard for the truth.

    Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting, which the MRC seems to have been founded to combat, is the polar opposite of the MRC in more ways than just their politics. Their aim is to democratize the media, and open it up to voices that have traditionally gotten short shrift or have been excluded entirely. A point I was making in my articles about the MRC is that its functional mission is the complete elimination from the press of views with which they disagree, and they define that VERY broadly. In their recent phony "study" on the debt ceiling, for example, an ABC News report is tagged as anti-Republican because it made reference to uber-conservative former Sen. Alan Simpson's disapproval of House Republicans on the matter.

    I chopped up that MRC "study" in a pair of posts, and it's important to note that it's absolutely typical of the sort of "studies" that are always produced by the MRC. It's merit-free rubbish, and stands in sharp contrast to the scientific surveys conducted over the years by both FAIR and MMFA. FAIR has conducted surveys of, among other things, PBS programming, ABC's NIGHTLINE, and television news coverage of the Iraq war. MMFA did a series of them on the network Sunday news programs, and on opinion columnists in American newspapers. Compare any of them to this sad, pathetic thing the MRC just ground out, and you'll get a good look at the profound differences in these orgs.