Friday, April 24, 2015

Mailman Attempts To Raise Awareness of Money in Politics, MRC Gang Goes Berzerk

MRC Watch Dept. - Doug Hughes was on a mission. The 61-year-old mailman from Florida wanted to raise some awareness about money in politics, so he boarded his gyrocopter last week and flew it into Washington D.C., violating the no-fly zone and landing on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol to personally deliver to congress letters expressing his concerns. As a news story, it’s a relatively minor tale about a guy who committed some minor civil disobedience in an effort to draw some attention to an important issue. But it’s a liberal issue and the response of the Media Research Center was fast, furious, preposterously authoritarian and, for such a lighthearted story, both remarkably ugly and completely hysterical.

And extensive. Newsbusters has run 8 articles in as many days on the subject of Hughes and the coverage he received. In them, Hughes is described as a “disgruntled mailman,” a “lefty gyro-copter loon” with a “liberal agenda” who carried out a “dangerous stunt“. Ken Shepherdwas appalled that MSNBC’s “seemed rather bemused rather than alarmed” by Hughes’s actions:
“Mr. Hughes is damn lucky he wasn’t injured or killed in the process of his stunt and that he didn’t injure an innocent bystander — he could have lost control of his aircraft and crashed into tourists on the National Mall, for example… [I]t is a deadly serious matter and a cable-news host like Wagner would do well to keep that in mind.”
There was, of  course, about as much "danger" in Hughes’s actions as there was of any aircraft falling out of the sky at random, but Shepherd continued this theme in another article, which objected to portraying Hughes in a less hysterical, more human way:
“It’s worth noting for the record that neither [Democratic Rep. Steve] Israel nor [Politico reporter] Vogel seemed incredibly concerned about the peril and inconvenience that Hughes unnecessarily put thousands of Washingtonians in, judging him a harmless and earnest man of sincere political conviction, if misguided tactics in communicating that vision.”
When ABC’s Good Morning America interviewed Hughes, Scott Whitlock asserted that while “no one was killed” by Hughes’s actions, “they could have been” and complained that the interview had presented Hughes as — gasp! — a likable guy!:
“…the tone of the segment was one of appreciation for an odd, but lovable rascal. [Host George] Stephanopoulos cheered Hughes’s ‘quirky sense of humor.'”
Kyle Drennen took the false assertion that Hughes’ actions were “dangerous” and tried to spin it into a standard right-wing persecution narrative, claiming that network news is “eager to falsely blame conservatives” for violent acts but that “none of the reports [on Hughes] attempted to connect the reckless action to heated Democratic rhetoric on the topic.” Drennen wants the networks to try to use Hughes to make Democrats stop talking about the issue of money in politics. Hughes “stunt,” he writer, constitutes
“reckless criminal action that could have put bystanders in real danger. Where was the press analysis of his political ideology? Where were the calls for Democrats to tone down their rhetoric to prevent such risky forms of protest?"
In another article, Drennen told us what kind of folks would support Hughes:
An update to the story at 1:50 p.m. noted Hughes winning a supporter on the Hill: “Richard Burns, 27, who said he works for a marijuana lobby group in Washington, stood in wonder and solidarity. ‘I don’t know whatever it was he was doing but I support him.'”
And so on.[*] Press outlets who offered any less-than-negative coverage, from the Tampa Bay Times to the Washington Post to Hardball, have been raked over the coals by the MRC gang.
All this over a mailman who simply wanted to draw some attention to money in politics.



[*] The MRC’s ideological jihadists make a regular practice of challenging the conservatism of conservatives who express any view with which the jihadists disagree and Scott Whitlock took the Hughes story as an opportunity to slam Nicolle Wallace of ABC’s The View on the grounds that she “yet again failed to offer the conservative perspective.” Her sin? “Wallace praised Doug Hughes, the postal worker who landed on the grounds of the Capitol, hyping, ‘He had a cause and I think he probably did his cause some good.'”

[Note: This article was written for MRC Watch, a blog dedicated to a critique of the Media Research Center]

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