Ed Driscoll

Media Matters' Schizophrenic Style

Back in September, when Media Matters got caught doing a little ransom note editing on a Glenn Beck clip, I went back and noted their origins back in 2004:

As James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal noted shortly after Media Matters debuted in 2004:

See the problem here? Brock’s new shop is devoted to faulting conservative opinion journalists for expressing conservative opinions. What the Media Research Center does is entirely different; it analyzes liberal bias in the news media, which are supposed to be objective.

If liberals are willing to spend $2 million funding a Web site that does nothing more than expose conservative commentators for engaging in conservative commentary, can we really afford to trust them with our tax dollars?

In a post today, Glenn Reynolds explains what’s really going on:

Remember, Media Matters’ sole reason for existence is to give journalists who are already hopelessly biased a certain degree of comfort in their already-held views. So it’s not about convincing anyone who pays actual attention. . . .

Heh, indeed.™

When the bogus clips of Rush Limbaugh’s alleged racism first surfaced, and we’re quickly debunked, a commenter on Tim Blair’s site highlighted one of the biggest differences, besides what Taranto noted above, between the SOP of the MRC on the right, and MM on the left:

How is it that when Righties quote Lefties, they have video, audio, and notarized confirmation from the Pope, but when Lefties ‘quote’ Righties, they have Wiki entries contributed by ‘Cobra’?

Because, as Tim Blair’s post was headlined, “They Want To Believe” — and with 7/8th of the legacy media on their side, it’s much easier to get a false quote into general circulation.

In less enlightened times, that was once called a “smear”, however, that’s a word that Media Matters, and others on the left recently redefined for a hip new century. They’ve done it when the truth was pointed out last month about the checkered — and very public pasts of Van Jones and Barney Frank, and they have a whole page devoted to “Fox News and Glenn Beck: America’s # 1 Smearers.”

As Andy McCarthy wrote last month, responding to Jay Nordlinger:

Jay, I have another one for you: “smear.” Didn’t that used to mean falsely accusing someone of saying or doing something awful — something he did not say or do?

I’m reading the Truther Van “smear” protests and I keep looking for the one that says, “He never said that,” or “He never signed that,” or “That audio-tape is phony.” So far, none of that.  Instead we are getting “What’s a little harmless 9/11 truther jibber-jabber among Mumia fans?”

When Ted Kennedy said Bob Bork wanted to drive women to back-alley abortions and black kids to segregated lunch counters, that wasn’t true. Does that distinction matter anymore?

Not really, I guess. Having been caught cooking the books earlier this month on Rush, Media Matters resorts to the New York Times’ infamous defense of Dan Rather in 2004: it was fake but accurate, as Kathy Shaidle noted yesterday at Newsreal:

Today, the indispensible “Radio Equalizer,” Brian Maloney, has the scoop. On a radio program yesterday, Media Matters‘ Karl Frisch and liberal host Stephanie Miller had the following exchange:

MILLER (3:36): He (Limbaugh) made a big deal out of you know that people had gotten those two quotes about what was it, slavery and James Earl Ray? (Miller laughing) And so those two out of a lifetime of documented racist comments he didn’t say.

KARL FRISCH: You know, in fairness to Rush, those two out of literally dozens of racist things were not necessarily accurate. We were never able to find them. We’ve had people call us trying to find it. We don’t know where they came from. They could just be Internet apparitions. But you know, that being said, anyone who wants to know how racist he is, we’re happy to give them other examples.

MILLER: In fact we always send people to you guys because you guys are obviously the most reputable around, in terms of you always make sure everything’s sourced. So, if it is on there you know it’s true. So, you know but hilarious isn’t it how Rush is whining about this?

In fact, conservative bloggers (who aren’t on George Soros‘ payroll) claim they’ve sourced these “internet apparitions” to the I.P. address connected to a liberal New York law firm.

So let’s review: fake but accurate is fine when the left is attacking someone on the right. But the truth is a “smear” when it flows from the opposite direction, no matter how well sourced the quote is.

OK, then. I’m glad we’ve cleared that one up.

Update: Say, how would Media Matters respond if a conservative called CNN or MSNBC “lethal?” Wouldn’t that also be, you know, a smear?

Related: Dana Loesch on “Free Speech and Double Standards.”