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Media Matters: where scare quotes magically transform facts into “smears”

September 24, 2009



One of the left’s favorite (and lamest) rhetorical tricks is to simply reprint one of their opponent’s statements, verbatim, and without comment. You see, the statement’s idiocy and offensiveness is self-evident, and will surely shock the conscience of any “right thinking” reader. No rebuttal required.

It’s a lazy, sophomoric ploy. I suppose the left has been our self-appointed cultural hall monitor for so long they’ve lost the ability, or the need, to offer up sound counter-arguments.

There’s a classic example of this dopey tactic up at Media Matters today.

The Media Matters post is nothing more than a video clip from FOX News, and the headline: “Doocy smears Frank, suggests he tolerated ‘somebody running a prostitution ring out of his house'”.

That is: this morning, FOX News morning host Steve Doocey “smeared” Congressman Barney Frank, by uttering a revolting lie about him on the air.

Except: what Doocy said is inconveniently true, and a matter of public record:

In 1987 Frank publicly announced that he was a homosexual. Three years later the House of Representatives, acting on the recommendation of the House Ethics Committee, voted by a 408-18 margin to reprimand the congressman for having “reflected discredit upon the House.” At issue was the fact that Frank had paid for sex from a male prostitute named Steve Gobie, whom he subsequently hired as a personal “aide.” Frank also had paid for Gobie’s psychiatric treatments; had used his political influence to dismiss 33 parking tickets which the prostitute had been issued; and had written, on congressional stationery, letters on Gobie’s behalf to Virginia probation officials. Gobie, for his part, had used Frank’s Capitol Hill apartment as a house of prostitution for 18 months. The congressman later claimed that he had been unaware of Gobie’s illegal activities inside the apartment, and that he had fired the aide upon learning of them.

Reflecting later on the nature of his relationship with Gobie, Frank characterized himself as an unwitting “good liberal” who had gotten “suckered” and “victimized” while “trying to help” the young sex worker. “Thinking I was going to be Henry Higgins and trying to turn him into Pygmalion was the biggest mistake I’ve made,” Frank said at a news conference. In a 2004 retrospective discussion about the Gobie affair, Frank accused Republicans and conservative media outlets of “plotting to ruin my social life,” and suggested that he, like the sex-scandal-plagued former President Bill Clinton, was fighting a “fundamental battle for the soul of America.”

The ACORN/Fannie & Freddie jokes write themselves…

As we’ve noted here before, the left has now redefined the expression “smear campaign” to mean “rudely publicizing actual facts about one of our friends that make them and us look bad.”

Increasingly, the left’s vaunted “bag of tricks” looks to contain nothing but a broken wand, some cheap scarves and a dead rabbit.

  1. Mark permalink
    September 24, 2009 9:26 am

    I don’t really want to come to the defense of Barney Frank or Media Matters, but your quote gives no evidence Frank knew what was happening in his apartment, let alone “tolerated” it.

  2. September 24, 2009 9:47 am

    Mark, do you know what is going on in YOUR apartment?

    Would someone be able to run a lemonade stand out of it for 18 months without you finding out?

    Think about it mentally.

    • pbrauer permalink
      September 24, 2009 10:45 am


      The part you highlight in the quote isn’t part of public record at all, it’s an opinion of the person who wrote the piece on your smear sight Discoverthenetworks.

    • Paul Cooper permalink
      September 24, 2009 1:02 pm

      Great response Kathy!

    • jbtrevor permalink
      September 24, 2009 1:57 pm

      Thinking…now there’s an idea, Kathy! LOL

  3. September 24, 2009 2:37 pm

    I take it the three folks coming over suddenly to comment on all my Media Matters posts are part of the George Soros Steno Pool. Am I right?

    Shouldn’t you be busily investigating my history of alcohol abuse or something for some future sordid expose? I’ve written about it extensively so you’ll have no problem finding the info.

    • pbrauer permalink
      September 24, 2009 3:30 pm

      LOL, you are wrong in my case, Kathy, about 3,000 miles wrong. I never met David Brock or his fantastic crew. I’ll tell you what though, they seem to be hitting the mark or you would not be taking pot shots (and missing). They run circles around Newsbusters who frankly have no focus. They come off as bunch of guys sitting around in their PJ’s bitching about this or that, but as I said no focus. Media Matters are pros.

      If two sport teams are playing and you count only the score of one team, which team will win? This is the game Newsbusters plays when the try to say the media is liberal. They count one side not the other. Stupid. It’s not journalism by any stretch of the imagination.

      If you’ve had a problem with alcohol and haven’t touched the stuff, I salute you. Keep up the good work!!! When I was mush younger I would consume too much beer for my own good and it was a strain on our marriage. Today I can drink a beer or two and I have no desire to get drunk. We are much happier that way.

    • pbrauer permalink
      September 24, 2009 3:44 pm

      You wrong in my case, Kathy. If you have had a problem with alcohol, I hope you have beaten it. Your accusation that I would smear you because you had drinking problem reveals much about how you think. I wouldn’t do such a thing, but maybe you would.

  4. LostSailor permalink
    September 24, 2009 2:42 pm

    Mark, do you know what is going on in YOUR apartment?

    When all that is needed to run a “prostitution ring” is a phone, it’s entirely possible and plausible that Frank didn’t know. But there is no evidence that Frank “tolerated” it. Only your supposition and personal opinion, which–sorry–aren’t facts. Even the House Ethics panel that reprimanded Frank dismissed the notion that Frank knew about it, much less tolerated it. Talk about “smears.”

    Think about it, you know, mentally.

    • jbtrevor permalink
      September 24, 2009 3:28 pm

      “Even the House Ethics panel that reprimanded Frank dismissed the notion that Frank knew about it,”

      Well that makes all the difference in the world…

      Think about it LostSailor…does the term feckless come to mind?

  5. Brent permalink
    September 24, 2009 4:09 pm

    I think a lot of people are missing the point of Kathy’s post here. Her point was not to debate whether or not Barney Frank new a prostitute was working out of his apartment. (Even though if you buy that I have the Statue of Liberty for sale at a fair price I promise.) Anyway, her point was point out a lame effort on behalf of Media Matters to attack Fox News because one of their on air personalities was talking about something that happened.

    • pbrauer permalink
      September 24, 2009 5:32 pm

      Sorry, but the lame effort was done by Doocy. His homophobic comment had nothing to do with Barney Frank’s non support of ACORN. It was a shot out of the dark – typical of FOX.

  6. September 24, 2009 4:29 pm

    I’m referring to Media Matters’ obsession with Glenn Beck’s history of drug and alcohol abuse, which they’ve trumpeted on the front page of their site all week and call it “reporting.”

    Brent: “missing the point” is what these guys do! Don’t ruin their “hobby” 🙂

    • pbrauer permalink
      September 24, 2009 5:41 pm

      I miss misinterpreted what you wrote. Glenn Beck often talks about his drug and alcohol abuse, what did they report that is wrong?

  7. Revnant Dream permalink
    September 24, 2009 4:31 pm

    Matters posts are part of the George Soros Steno Pool
    lol good line (O:}.

    As Ive said before “Media Matters” should be changed to “Marx Matters”.
    This is the sorting house for Political correct Communism.
    A billboard for socialist opinion ,with orders in essays for the faithful Marxist
    on what to follow as social fads.

  8. Louie723 permalink
    September 24, 2009 8:11 pm

    “They run circles around Newsbusters who frankly have no focus… Media Matters are pros.”


    Newsbusters do pretty well considering they don’t have Soros $$$ propping them up as Media Matters does.

  9. September 24, 2009 11:59 pm

    Shaidle does not disprove Media Matters’ point, which is that Frank has not been demonstrated to have had any knowledge that Gobie was running a prostituion ring out of his apartment. MM was correct in pointing out that Doocy was making an assertion he can’t prove and which the available evidence shows to be incorrect.

    Also, Soros has not donated to Media Matters (though some right-wingers like DTN misleadingly portray indirect links as direct ones). Further, NewsBusters does quite well — it’s operated by the Media Research Center, which receives funding from the usual array of right-wing foundations (as does the parent of Newsreal).

    • September 25, 2009 7:12 am

      Goodness Terry, I had no idea you were so familiar with NewsReal’s budget. Have you hacked into my email?

      • September 26, 2009 10:28 pm

        Sadly, the main source on conservative foundation funding, Media Transparency, is offline and in the midst of being rebuilt, so I can’t link you up. But I would wager that names like Scaife, Olin, Bradley, Koch and Coors can be found on donations to the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Which makes the right-wing obsession over whether Media Matters is funded by Soros (again, it’s not) a bit silly.

        • September 27, 2009 6:58 am

          “Scaife, Olin, Bradley, Koch and Coors can be found on donations to the David Horowitz Freedom Center.”

          So what?

  10. Larry D. Crumbley permalink
    September 25, 2009 7:54 am

    There some guy here that Media-Matters are pros. Theya re psos at getting everything wrong, and being liars to the core. Why do these people even come to this area of the internet? Can someone please tell me? They know exactly nothing about conservatism, and yet they think that if they look into what is suppose to be a conservative site that they can make comments on subjects that they do not even have any knowledge on. Does anyone knoe the answer to that question? Wait a minute I know even they have a right to look at anything on the internet and make comments on them even though they are way so wrong in all that they comment on.

    Thank you,
    Larry D. Crumbley

    P. S. I am not afraid of using my real name. Because I believe in whatI say.

  11. Joy permalink
    September 25, 2009 11:02 am

    Barney Frank DIDN’T know about the gay sex going on in his apartment? Yea. Sure. Barney got a little action on the side (fair play for free rent to loverboy). And he has recently admitted to not a little action years ago in Palm Springs where there’s PLENTY going on! “Frank”ly, I’m surprised he isn’t HIV positive! Hell, he’s lucky to be alive! – given all that went on during the period when HIV/AIDS was just getting started and the gay community was devasted.

    But his biggest crime continues to be his actions – and responsibility for those actions – on the House Banking Committee. “Banking Queen” is just such a perfect parody….

  12. Judy permalink
    September 25, 2009 1:42 pm

    I know that we have had this conversation before, but, they do not have to tell the truth or get the facts straight, because the rules in the race to the Progressive’s goals do not include truth. The end goal is all that matters. All else is irrelevent and exempt from the cause.

  13. joh permalink
    September 26, 2009 4:25 pm

    Not to be argumentative, but I actually believe that Frank didn’t know. However, that’s only because Frank has proven time and time again to be completely incompetent.

    Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity. – Robert J. Hanlon

  14. September 27, 2009 8:04 am

    Why are right-wingers obsessed with who funds Media Matters? Or, more to the point, why do they insist on creating false links between Soros and Media Matters?

    • September 27, 2009 8:17 am

      You dodged my question Terry. Very Telling. As to why we might be concerned about what Soros is doing with his money:

      • September 27, 2009 2:21 pm

        Ah, yes. I remember that book:

        I’m merely positing that Soros isn’t really all that different from, say, Richard Mellon Scaife, except that Scaife helps fund part of your paycheck and Soros doesn’t.

        • September 27, 2009 2:52 pm

          And except that you’re more in line with Soros’ vision of what America should become.

          You read that book? Or you just going to let Media Matters think for you?

          Soros and Scaife’s visions of America are worlds apart. One celebrates the American idea and wants to use his money to defend it. The other does not and would rather invest his money in remaking this country as something very different than what it is today.

          • September 27, 2009 3:25 pm

            Spending millions to dig up scandalous dirt on a president he didn’t like is hardly “celebrating the American idea” — though I guess in a perverse way it is. I’m pretty sure that’s not the America I want.

            Have you read anything Soros has written, or do you let David Horowitz do your thinking for you?

            • September 27, 2009 3:49 pm

              This is the second time you IGNORED my question in this discussion, thus demonstrating that you have no interest in legitimate intellectual dialogue.

  15. September 27, 2009 4:12 pm

    You’ve ignored my questions as well. Does that mean I can claim that you don’t want legitimate intellectual dialogue either?

    Since you appear to want an answer, here’s one: I think for myself. And I care about the truth. Which is what I’m doing here in the first place — to correct a misleading claim.

    So, any chance that will happen anytime soon?

    • In the know permalink
      September 28, 2009 10:07 am

      If you cared for the truth, your argument of “they do it too” would not be only basis for your argument. Is it? Mediamatters has proven time and again that facts are less important than their opinion. Using them as a reference is almost as ridiculous as

  16. LCpl Mosley permalink
    November 18, 2009 9:17 pm

    Media Matters is the one who smeared Doocy. By falsely claimed he “smeared” aka in leftist lie wordspeak told the truth about that criminal Frank. Frank is a sick joke. Media Matters is a disgusting and foolish bunch of imbeciles whose sole job in life is obsufucate and lie and smear Republicans, Chriatians and Conservatives with inane garbage that has been and always will be soundly refuted.

  17. LCpl Mosley permalink
    November 18, 2009 9:19 pm

    Underage teen boys being molested not the first I’ve heard of this crap happening in Frank’s house.


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