Thursday, 29 March 2012

Media Matters’ Writer Apologizes After Bashing Drudge for Martin Photo

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The fatal shooting of an African-American teen has spurred a national controversy, as racial tensions ignite and media outlets exploit and capitalize on the story of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin’s death. George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer whom the New York Times labels a "white" Hispanic, shot and killed the teen after Martin allegedly attacked Zimmerman and banged his head against the sidewalk.

As noted above, the incident quickly evolved into a racial war, involving the media, civil rights groups, congressional lawmakers, and Americans on both sides of the political aisle. One of the latest skirmishes involved a social-media tangle between renowned journalist Matt Drudge and MJ Rosenberg (left), a senior analyst with the liberal watchdog group Media Matters.

Shortly after Drudge posted a photo of Martin — sporting a tank top and grinning at the camera through gold teeth — on his popular website, Rosenberg railed against Drudge on his Twitter account. "Racist demagogue Drudge continues to run photo of some kid, not Trayvon for incitement purposes," he tweeted. Rosenberg followed up with a post indicating that Drudge’s purportedly "phony" brand of journalism is a disservice to the American public, writing, "Matt Drudge has done more to debase American news coverage than anyone in history of country."

However, the Media Matters blogger had his facts wrong. Drudge’s photo was not a fake, but an authentic photo that shows Martin noticeably older and bigger than displayed in a photo that has been largely broadcasted by media outlets reporting on the contentious story.

Consequently, Rosenberg apologized: "Mixed up Drudge photo of Trayvon w Michelle Malkin's. Malkin's is an admitted fake. Drudge? Don't know. Sorry." Another tweet, posted immediately after that one, read, "Malkin apologized for fake #Trayvon photo. I apologize for mixing up her photo with one Drudge used."

Evidently, conservative columnist Michelle Malkin’s new website,, posted a different photo of Martin showing him shirtless and flipping off two middle fingers to the camera. This photo, however, was a fake. "We made a mistake," Malkin’s site read in a recent post. "The photo on the right is not of the Trayvon Martin who was shot by Zimmerman. We apologize to our readers and to the Martin Family."

Some might question Rosenberg’s charge that Matt Drudge is a "racist," considering previous remarks Rosenberg made that bashed pro-Israel Jews. Harvard Professor and lifelong Democrat Alan Dershowitz labeled Rosenberg an anti-Semite, and even called on the Democratic Party to dissociate itself from Media Matters.

The Weekly Standard’s Daniel Halper, writing for the Jerusalem Post, provides some insight into Rosenberg’s alleged bigotry:

He even often employs the term "Israel firster" to define an American politician or even pundit who he believes places Israel’s interest above his own nation’s. (The term itself was popularized by white supremacists.) For Rosenberg, support for Israel is tantamount to supporting a wouldbe murderous regime. "There is nothing Israel cd do to Arabs that Hoyer/Weiner/Ackerman/Berman/Berkley/Israel wd object 2.NOTHING," Rosenberg tweeted, linking to a piece he had written that blasted Congress for welcoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to deliver a joint session of Congress. Congressmen Steny Hoyer, Anthony Weiner, Gary Ackerman, Howard Berman, Shelley Berkley and Steve Israel are all Democrats — and Jews.

Rosenberg has also pressed on the presumed influence that Jewish Money has in the political sphere. "I wonder if any candidate in either party other than Joe L would slobber over Israel if it wasn’t for the $. Actually I don’t wonder," he wrote last month.

Media Matters, which has recently been on the receiving end of a flurry of bad press — largely relating to questionable political donations and its 501(c)(3) status — has an explicit goal, as stated on the About Us page of its website:

Launched in May 2004, Media Matters for America put in place, for the first time, the means to systematically monitor a cross section of print, broadcast, cable, radio, and Internet media outlets for conservative misinformation — news or commentary that is not accurate, reliable, or credible and that forwards the conservative agenda — every day, in real time.

It seems, ironically, that Rosenberg’s inaccuracy and misinformation in attacking Drudge are the very distortions that Media Matters is out to expose.

Related article: Religious Broadcasters Urge IRS Probe of Media Matters

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