Accuracy in Media

AIM media analyst Roger Aronoff was on CNN’s Newsroom this afternoon, debating Eric Boehlert of Media Matters, a liberal media watchdog. CNN host Rick Sanchez said he’d serve as “referee.” Did he cross a line and pitch for the home team?  You be the judge:

Here’s a great analysis of the exchange from Matthew Balan at NewsBusters:

Anchor Rick Sanchez used another crazed gunman’s rampage to blast conservative media during CNN’s Newsroom program on Thursday, and brought on Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert as his aide to bash talk radio and Fox News. He hinted that the white supremacist who killed a guard at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, might have been “motivated to move by right-wing pronouncements…on some TV and radio outlets.”

Sanchez began his panel discussion with Boehlert and Accuracy in Media’s Roger Aronoff at the end of the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program with his indicting line of questioning against conservative radio and TV: “Was there a tone in this country that was actually started with the election of our first black president that is bringing the crazies out of the woodwork, and are they being motivated to move by right-wing pronouncements, like he’s dangerous- he’s a socialist- he’s a Muslim, and he isn’t even a U.S. citizen? This is what we hear on some TV and radio outlets.”

After introducing his two guests, the CNN anchor let the left-wing partisan Boehlert “start with the premise” which, of course, echoed the preceding introduction: “I don’t think there’s any doubt since Barack Obama’s been elected, there’s been a complete unhinged reaction from the conservative movement in America, and sort of this vigilante and- and militia-style rhetoric has become a cornerstone of the movement, and certainly of conservative media.”

When Sanchez asked if there was a “cause and effect” between the conservative media and these acts of violence, the Media Matters senior fellow affirmed that “it absolutely creates a dangerous environment. There’s no doubt about that. Now, the people who commit these crimes are ultimately responsible, but there’s no question it creates a very dangerous environment.”

Aronoff then countered with “the hatred coming from the Left and people like Keith Olbermann” during the Bush administration. Boehlert flatly denied that there hadn’t been any left-wing inspired violence during that time period: “Where’s the violence on the Left been in the last six or eight years? There hasn’t been any.” He would later claim that there was a “false equivalency now- you know, liberals were critical of Bush and had hate speech during his years. I can’t find any, you know, dehumanizing, demonizing quotes from anyone on the Left about military recruiters.”

The Media Matters fellow is being dishonest. As many assorted left-wing pundits and political leaders condemned the Iraq war and the global war on terrorism, their activist peers in the anti-war movement vandalized recruiting stations in several cities across the U.S. throughout the Bush years, and chased military recruiters off college campuses. More recently, churches which voiced support of Proposition 8 in California were picketed, their services disrupted, and their property damaged after pro-homosexual “marriage” supporters on the Left denounced the “hate” supposedly emanating from the pulpits.

Sanchez did not chime in at any point to question Boehlert’s claims, and even assisted the Media Matters fellow. When Aronoff tried to discredit their claims by citing the website of James von Brunn, the Holocaust Museum shooter, where he proclaimed that “socialism is the future of the world,” the CNN anchor brushed this off: “No, that’s not the kind of socialism he’s talking about….He’s talking about socialism as in the Nazi Party socialism.”  That aside, Sanchez must not have heard about how von Brunn railed against “neo-conservatives” and criticized Christianity as a “hoax….[which] destroyed Roman civilization.” He then let Boehlert come back and again recite his talking points: “The Left is not built around this vigilante sort of militia rhetoric of hate….the conservative movement now embraces it.”

What do you think? Was Sanchez fair, or did he play favorites?

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