The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Media Matters: Arbiters of Legitimacy?

Posted on | July 16, 2010 | 36 Comments

Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs has bulldogged the Ground Zero mosque story from Day One, helping organize and promote opposition to the Islamicization of Lower Manhattan. So how does the Left respond?

Memo to media: Pamela Geller does
not belong on national television

Media Matters is telling TV producers not to give airtime to the woman who is arguably the most effective activist on this issue. So if the producers don’t book the attractive, informed, impassioned Geller, who will be on TV to present the case against the Ground Zero mosque? Either someone less knowledgeable and persuasive or no one at all.

In other words, Media Matter is trying to suppress dissent. And the smear of Geller is not an isolated example. Consider this headline:

When does Fox News’ ugly
race-baiting become the story?

That’s about the Black Panthers voter-intimidation case, which was dropped by the Justice Department amid accusations from a department whistle-blower that Attorney General Eric Holder had intervened on behalf of the nightstick-wielding Panthers. Endeavoring to dismiss the story as insignificant, Eric Boehlert of Media Matters spews a string of pejoratives:

. . . right-wing race baiting and fear mongering . . . hysterical far-right cries . . . right-wing wrath . . . Obama’s right-wing critics were leveling astonishing, race-baiting charges . . . uncontrollable race baiting . . . the very ugly context and the very ugly rhetoric that’s being pumped out by Fox News and other far-right commentators. . . . more right-wing furor . . .  the GOP Noise Machine and its ability to make life miserable for journalists who tell the truth about the far-right conservative movement in America today . . . radical and offensive rhetoric they employed against Obama  . . . the hysterical, relentless race-baiting  . . . dark, hateful comments . . .

This is a style of rhetoric we might call Argument by Assertion: Repetitively employing terms like “far-right” and “race-baiting” as if saying the same thing over and over made it so.

Sensationalism, Inc.

Let us stipulate that Fox’s coverage of the New Black Panther Party may be making a mountain out of a molehill, sensationally exaggerating a story beyond its legitimate significance. Let us also agree, however, that the news media do such things routinely.

How significant was Natalie Holloway’s disappearance? What were the national implications of the Caylee Anthony case?

And if we wish to isolate politically-motivated sensationalism, why did the murders of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd get such saturation coverage? The Shepard case became a cause célèbre for the gay-rights movement, while Byrd’s death was touted as proof that a certain Republican governor of Texas was indifferent or hostile to black civil rights.

Surely Eric Boehlert never criticized networks for covering those stories in that context, yet unleashes a torrent of epithets — ugly rhetoric! hateful comments! — at Fox News for its coverage of the Panther case.

Is it only the “far right” that finds the Panther case troubling? Or are there legitimate reasons to worry that the dismissal of the case is, as many conservatives contend, significant of an unwillingness of the Obama administration to pursue accusations of discrimination that don’t fit the liberal agenda?

Was “race-baiting” the only motive for Fox News’ coverage of the story? Or could it be that the Panther story has an intrinsic audience appeal — a sort of man-bites-dog angle on civil rights — that makes for good TV?

Eric Boehlert wants to rule such questions out of bounds, asserting that anyone who suspects the Obama administration of racial unfairness can be peremptorily dismissed as engaged in hysterical far-right race-baiting: Nothing to see here. Move along.

Messages and Messengers

As with the attack on Geller, by accusing Fox of racial demagoguery, Media Matters is attempting to discredit the messenger, so that the mainstream media has a ready-make excuse to ignore any message that Eric Boehlert doesn’t like.

And notice how this works: If Fox covers a story that other networks ignore, the attack is directed at the network. However, if MSNBC books a guest (Geller) to discuss a story that it had otherwise ignored (the Ground Zero mosque), Media Matters screams bloody murder that this one guest is unacceptable.

Media Matters is attempting to exercise the power of an arbiter, to arrogate to itself the authority to decide which stories are newsworthy and which sources are credible, and it does so through intimidation. The message to news producers and editors couldn’t be clearer: Give serious coverage to a story we don’t like, and we’ll unleash these attacks against you.

Remember Liz Mair’s theory that David Weigel’s Journolist e-mails were made public because Weigel had dared to dispute the Left’s narrative that portrayed Rand Paul as a racist. Weigel wasn’t toeing the line. He hadn’t cooperated in the Meme-O’-th’-Day agenda and, by speaking out, had helped kill the meme that Democrats were employing to tremendous advantage. Was that why he became the Luca Brasi of MSM reporters?

Hey, I’m just askin’ questions . . .

Other than class warfare — the GOP as “party of the rich” — no message has been more electorally productive for Democrats than the “R is for Racist” meme (which seems to be shaping up as the MSM’s pre-emptive explanation for any Republican success  in November). By furiously attacking stories that disrupt or distract from that message, Media Matters is shaping the political battlefield to favor Democrats.

Don’t wait for the network news exposé of this partisan project operating under the guise of a tax-exempt 501(c)3 non-profit, unless you’re prepared to wait until hell freezes over.

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Comments

  • Pingback: The most significant point on Pam Geller on MSNBC « DaTechguy's Blog

  • Pingback: The Other McCain – Media Matters: Arbiters of Legitimacy? « 1RedThread

  • http://www.littlegreenfootballs.com Charles Johnson

    We are legion.

    Serves her right for rejecting my advances.

  • http://www.littlegreenfootballs.com Charles Johnson

    We are legion.

    Serves her right for rejecting my advances.

  • http://www.jumpinginpools.blogspot.com Mr.K

    Jumping in Pools is interviewing Ms.Geller as I write this.

  • http://www.jumpinginpools.blogspot.com Mr.K

    Jumping in Pools is interviewing Ms.Geller as I write this.

  • TR Sterling

    Stacy,
    The pushback to media matters needs to be said more often. Thanks. Pamela Geller is a courageous trooper and I’m glad some bloggers like you are willing to stand up behind her while she is often in the line of fire, herself.

  • TR Sterling

    Stacy,
    The pushback to media matters needs to be said more often. Thanks. Pamela Geller is a courageous trooper and I’m glad some bloggers like you are willing to stand up behind her while she is often in the line of fire, herself.

  • http://prescienceblog.com tadcf

    This article is a good example of the exaggerated propaganda which the reactionary right-wing is common in all their coverage.

  • http://prescienceblog.com tadcf

    This article is a good example of the exaggerated propaganda which the reactionary right-wing is common in all their coverage.

  • http://www.valley-of-the-shadow.blogspot.com JSF

    Not only MMFA is trying to control the appearence of who goes on TV, read Steve Benen of Washington Monthly; His Friday whines that a Conservative or a Republican are going on the air proves a point:

    The Left will never defend the Free Speech rights of Conservatives.

    Have any major Leftist Bloggers ever defended any Conserevative Radio Host or Blogger? NO.

    When the Leftists become Liberals again (i.e. supporting free speech of their fellow Americans, treating their political opponents like human beings instead of Emmanuel Goldsteins), then we can work on being Bi-partisan.

    For now, if they refuse to defend Conservatives or Republicans free speech on or off the air, let them reap the whirlwind.

  • http://www.valley-of-the-shadow.blogspot.com JSF

    Not only MMFA is trying to control the appearence of who goes on TV, read Steve Benen of Washington Monthly; His Friday whines that a Conservative or a Republican are going on the air proves a point:

    The Left will never defend the Free Speech rights of Conservatives.

    Have any major Leftist Bloggers ever defended any Conserevative Radio Host or Blogger? NO.

    When the Leftists become Liberals again (i.e. supporting free speech of their fellow Americans, treating their political opponents like human beings instead of Emmanuel Goldsteins), then we can work on being Bi-partisan.

    For now, if they refuse to defend Conservatives or Republicans free speech on or off the air, let them reap the whirlwind.

  • http://prescienceblog.com tadcf

    This article is a good example of the exaggerated propaganda which the reactionary right-wing is common in all their coverage. The reason stories on FOX don’t get the same coverage on other networks is because FOX makes up their own news.

    prescienceblog.com

  • http://prescienceblog.com tadcf

    This article is a good example of the exaggerated propaganda which the reactionary right-wing is common in all their coverage. The reason stories on FOX don’t get the same coverage on other networks is because FOX makes up their own news.

    prescienceblog.com

  • Laddy

    With your boy Weigel doing the same as Boehlert over at Sullivan’s place at The Atlantic, hasn’t he made a big enough ass of himself yet for you to stop defending him.

  • Laddy

    With your boy Weigel doing the same as Boehlert over at Sullivan’s place at The Atlantic, hasn’t he made a big enough ass of himself yet for you to stop defending him.

  • Rob

    GG,
    I think for once I agree with you on the host of Fox News, however that doesn’t excuse the bias of Chris Matthews, Anderson Cooper, Rachel Maddows and Keith Ulberman.

    You have to admit, GG, that Pamela Geller has a very damn good point on why a mosque shouldn’t be built at ground zero. Do you actually want a mosque to be built at Ground Zero, GG?

  • Rob

    GG,
    I think for once I agree with you on the host of Fox News, however that doesn’t excuse the bias of Chris Matthews, Anderson Cooper, Rachel Maddows and Keith Ulberman.

    You have to admit, GG, that Pamela Geller has a very damn good point on why a mosque shouldn’t be built at ground zero. Do you actually want a mosque to be built at Ground Zero, GG?

  • http://pointofagun.blogspot.com/ Dave C

    dumb dumb..

    What happened to ‘I will leave TOM on Monday, never to darken it’s door again’?

  • http://pointofagun.blogspot.com/ Dave C

    dumb dumb..

    What happened to ‘I will leave TOM on Monday, never to darken it’s door again’?

  • Joe

    gg/Kejda, don’t you have to get back to your internship at Commentary and your toadyism over at LGF?

    Get some sun. You are too pasty.

  • Joe

    gg/Kejda, don’t you have to get back to your internship at Commentary and your toadyism over at LGF?

    Get some sun. You are too pasty.

  • SDN

    So is there any way someone can sue to get that 501(c)3 non-profit status yanked?

  • SDN

    So is there any way someone can sue to get that 501(c)3 non-profit status yanked?

  • Rich Fader

    Memo to Media Matters: Neither do any of you, unless accompanied by the Joe Isuzu Standard Disclaimer on the Chyron (i.e., “He’s/She’s lying.”

  • Rich Fader

    Memo to Media Matters: Neither do any of you, unless accompanied by the Joe Isuzu Standard Disclaimer on the Chyron (i.e., “He’s/She’s lying.”

  • http://www.southtexian.com Mike LaRoche

    Roses are red,
    violets are blue,
    gg is a troll,
    Charles Johnson is too.

  • http://www.southtexian.com Mike LaRoche

    Roses are red,
    violets are blue,
    gg is a troll,
    Charles Johnson is too.

  • Ms. Jones

    “The reason stories on FOX don’t get the same coverage on other networks is because FOX makes up their own news”

    Just because you don’t agree with something, tacdf, doesn’t mean it’s ‘made up’. I’ve observed that Fox presents a lot of evidence in support of their stories.

  • Ms. Jones

    “The reason stories on FOX don’t get the same coverage on other networks is because FOX makes up their own news”

    Just because you don’t agree with something, tacdf, doesn’t mean it’s ‘made up’. I’ve observed that Fox presents a lot of evidence in support of their stories.

  • MrPaulRevere

    Of some note: Eric Boehlert was a major shill for convicted terror supporter SamiAlArian. All one has to do is google “Eric Boehlert+Sami Al-Arian” for all the gory details. In a sane media environment this would be a huge story..

  • MrPaulRevere

    Of some note: Eric Boehlert was a major shill for convicted terror supporter SamiAlArian. All one has to do is google “Eric Boehlert+Sami Al-Arian” for all the gory details. In a sane media environment this would be a huge story..

  • Estragon

    MrPaulRevere @ #24 ~ Unfortunately, a prerequisite for a “sane media environment” would be a sane media, so . . .

    RSMcC ~ I am having trouble understanding how the Weigel affair relates. Even supposing Liz Mair’s theory to be correct, is the thesis now that since Weigel only hated conservatives and conspired to manage the news against us 99% of the time and was blackballed for failing to make his 100% bones, this somehow makes him a good guy? I mean, we do have the emails; we know where he really stood.

    It reminds me of a story my late father told me of a funeral in a rural community. The deceased was a genuine bastard, disliked by everyone for good reasons, but the preacher was new to the community and knew nothing of this. He invited people to express their grief at the service. No one volunteered. He asked again; again, no response. Finally, he entreated, “Surely someone can say something nice about this man?”

    After a long pause, one fellow stood and said, “His brother was worse.”

  • Estragon

    MrPaulRevere @ #24 ~ Unfortunately, a prerequisite for a “sane media environment” would be a sane media, so . . .

    RSMcC ~ I am having trouble understanding how the Weigel affair relates. Even supposing Liz Mair’s theory to be correct, is the thesis now that since Weigel only hated conservatives and conspired to manage the news against us 99% of the time and was blackballed for failing to make his 100% bones, this somehow makes him a good guy? I mean, we do have the emails; we know where he really stood.

    It reminds me of a story my late father told me of a funeral in a rural community. The deceased was a genuine bastard, disliked by everyone for good reasons, but the preacher was new to the community and knew nothing of this. He invited people to express their grief at the service. No one volunteered. He asked again; again, no response. Finally, he entreated, “Surely someone can say something nice about this man?”

    After a long pause, one fellow stood and said, “His brother was worse.”

  • Kojocaro

    you nutjob atheist militant progressives[GG that means you] are lying if you say you’d have no problem with us building churches or synagogues in saudi arabia we all know how whenever a muslime gets all offended when things do not go their way you progs are the first to scream hate crimes

  • Kojocaro

    you nutjob atheist militant progressives[GG that means you] are lying if you say you’d have no problem with us building churches or synagogues in saudi arabia we all know how whenever a muslime gets all offended when things do not go their way you progs are the first to scream hate crimes