Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Hyman's Bunk

In setting up an attack on George Soros, Hyman defends the source of his upcoming attack, a book by David Horowitz and Richard Poe titled The Shadow Party, by attacking one organization that has criticized the book: Media Matters for America.

In interest of full disclosure, while I have never been paid anything by Media Matters, I have written for their Sinclair Watch site, received a spirited defense from them when Hyman attacked me on air, and Media Matters president David Brock was kind enough to send me an autographed copy of his latest book, The Republican Noise Machine, as a gift.

Such are my ties to Media Matters. Now, on to the debunking.

Hyman makes three charges about Media Matters. First, he says they are “seemingly incapable of writing anything that doesn't contain the words lie, smear or slander. Quite ironic considering that its president confessed in his political memoirs that he intentionally lied in multiple articles he wrote for publication.”

There are multiple brief points to make here. First, why does using the words lie, smear, or slander suggest Media Matters is somehow suspect themselves? Given that their mission is to debunk right wing spin and attacks, it’s not surprising they would use these words. After all, they certainly apply to a fair number of what comes from right wing inhabitants of the Prattle-sphere.

Second, a quick search of the Media Matters site found that in fact, they rarely use these words anyway. The words do pop up frequently in their articles, but my overview revealed that most instances came from right wing pundits who were quoted on the site. Unlike most conservative groups, Media Matters routinely publishes the transcripts of the interviews, articles, and media appearances of the people it criticizes. In short, you’re far more likely to read a transcript of O’Reilly claiming he’s been “smeared” by Media Matters than to see that word used in the actual text of a MMFA article. As I know from having written for them, the editors at MMFA are quite studious when it comes to maintaining an even and level tone in their text, even when critiquing the shrillest of right wingers.

Lastly, David Brock has admitted to being less than honest in some of his work early in his career. What Hyman doesn’t tell you is that this occurred when he had been hired to do hit pieces on Hillary Clinton, Anita Hill, and other prominent liberals. What his memoirs (and his most recent book) expose is the utter lack of concern for truth that exists in many right wing media circles. That Brock has admitted and forsaken his past roles in creating right wing propaganda shouldn’t be held against him. And as any reader of MMFA knows, their stories are meticulously sourced and almost always include transcripts of the original remarks made by those they criticize.

The second charge Hyman makes is that MMFA receives George Soros money. But even Hyman admits that MMFA is not directly funded by Soros. MMFA does have ties to other prominent liberal and progressive groups, such as and the Center for American Progress, from whom it received some early support. But while these groups have received money from Soros, the claim that MMFA’s defense of Soros is some sort of quid pro quo is tortured, to say the least, and in terms of logic, says nothing about the validity of MMFA’s criticisms of The Shadow Party.

Thirdly, Hyman claims that in early 2005, Media Matters falsely said that the Staples office supply chain removed advertising from local Sinclair station broadcasts in part as a result of requests by viewers and customers angered by Sinclair’s overt political propagandizing. According to Hyman, MMFA was “humiliated” and was sent “running for cover” when Staples issued a press release saying it wasn’t pulling advertising.

The problem with Hyman’s claim is that he’s simply wrong.
Staples did pull advertising from local Sinclair stations. And as MMFA pointed out, Staples itself vetted the very press release Hyman claims was “false.” Staples executives also spoke on the record to various media outlets confirming not only the decision to pull advertising, but that it was motivated in part by concerns of viewers.

Hyman hangs his hat on a subsequent press release that claimed that while it *had* pulled advertising from local Sinclair broadcasts, it hadn’t pulled ads from Sinclair stations altogether (e.g., ads running during network programming) and that it hadn’t pulled ads because of politics.

But in the context of the documented facts of the case, it's clear this statement is simply a way for Staples to cover its flanks, defending itself from the charge of making a purely political decision in response to a particular interest group. But no one claimed it was. MMFA simply noted that when its customers expressed their concerns, Staples made a business decision that running ads on overtly political newscasts was not a good move.

And once again, what does this have to do with MMFA’s critique of “The Shadow Party?” Not a whole lot.

Tomorrow: Hyman joins Lyndon LaRouche in “U-Boating” George Soros.

And that’s The Counterpoint.

Hyman Index: 5.45


At 11:26 AM, Anonymous Bradley said...

Since Mark Hyman seems so devoted to using the epithet "French convict" every single time he refers to George Soros, doesn't it make sense for those of us who criticize Sinclair Broadcasting to preface every reference to Mark Hyman as "Sex Criminal Lackey"? It seems just as precise to me.

At 7:03 PM, Blogger Ted Remington said...

Actually, I was thinking the exact same thing.



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