Media Research Center

Media Research Center

Background

The Media Research Center (MRC) was founded in 1987 by L. Brent Bozell. The MRC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that describes itself as “the nation’s premier media watchdog” with its mission to “to expose and neutralize the propaganda arm of the Left: the national news media.”1To Create a Media Culture in America Where Truth and Liberty Flourish,” Media Research Center. Archived January 19, 2016. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/qc4rY

According to founder Brent Bozell, the MRC’s mission is to “bring balance and responsibility to the news media by documenting and exposing liberal media bias.”2Another Nail In The Liberal Media’s Coffin,” Media Research Center, October 25, 2012. Archived December 30, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/SYnTp

The MRC and its subsidiary, the Business & Media Institute (BMI),3Business & Media Institute,” Business and Media Institute, Archived February 16, 2008. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. have opposed mainstream science behind climate change (featuring climate change deniers in their news coverage, for example)4About the Business and Media Institute,” Media Research Center Network. Archived December 30, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/b21af. The BMI website, businessandmedia.org, was not online as of December, 2015.5Sean Long. “Joe Bastardi: Media Just ‘Want to Be Popular’ on Climate Change,” MRC Business, July 21, 2014. Archived December 30, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/AkXuy

The MRC’s other projects have included CNSNews.com, the NewsBusters blog, TimesWatch, the Culture and Media Institute, and the MRC Action Team. The Cybercast News Service (CNSNews.com) is a conservative news website that claims to put a “higher premium on balance than spin.”6About Us,” CNSNews.com. Archived December 30, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/uOVmJ 7Media Research Center,” SourceWatch.

The Parents Television Council, founded in 1995, also started as a MRC project, however split off in 2000 to become a separate entity. Brent Bozell resigned as president of the Parents Television Council in 2006.8(Press Release). “PTC President Bozell Announces Decision to Step Down and Welcomes Tim Winter as New President,” ParentsTv.org. Archived February 26, 2008. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/1KSQW

Stance on Climate Change

The Media Research Center has listed global warming as a “Media Myth,” suggesting that global cooling may be the issue:9Julia A. Seymour. “Media Myth: Networks Stick to Warming Theme Despite Avalanche of Chilling News,” MRC Business, March 4, 2009. Archived January 19, 2016. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/T9wHJ

“Reality is not cooperating with the network news’ global warming theme, yet reporters are unwilling to even discuss the possibility that the Earth is cooling.

Global warming alarmists repeatedly link weather phenomena like tornadoes, hurricanes, ice melt, droughts and wildfires with global warming and the media embrace the stories. Yet, when cities or regions are buried in snow like the city of Chenzhou, China was in February 2008 there wasn’t a word about climate change in the cooling direction,” Julia A. Seymour, Assistant Managing Editor for MRC Business writes.

In the above article, MRC cites a long list of well-known climate change skeptics to back up that claim. Those skeptics include the following:10Julia A. Seymour. “Media Myth: Networks Stick to Warming Theme Despite Avalanche of Chilling News,” MRC Business, March 4, 2009. Archived January 19, 2016. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/T9wHJ

Other sources they mention include:

  • Kyle Swanson — University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Brit Hum — Fox News anchor

Comments Surrounding 2021 Capitol Insurrection

The Media Research Center was among dozens of the individuals and organizations profiled in DeSmog’s Disinformation Database who posted online or gave interviews about the events surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection. Some posted claims of election fraud, similar to those that drove the Stop the Steal rally on Jan. 6. Some circulated dubious information about the insurrection itself. DeSmog has preserved a selection of notable posts related to the events of Jan. 6, 2021, including some that were later deleted or removed.

The Media Research Center also posted retweeted a message from @BrentBozell on Jan. 6, 2021, in the wake of the failed Capitol insurrection.

Funding

Scaife Funding

According to publicly available 990 forms, the MRC has received over $4.5 million from the oil money-backed Scaife Family Foundations (breakdown below).11Scaife Family Foundations,” DeSmog.

YearSarah Scaife FoundationAllegheny FoundationGrand Total
2001$242,000 $242,000
2002$150,000 $150,000
2003$350,000 $350,000
2004$350,000 $350,000
2005$350,000 $350,000
2006$200,000 $200,000
2008$325,000 $325,000
2009$250,000 $250,000
2010$250,000 $250,000
2011$300,000$50,000$350,000
2012$400,000 $400,000
2013$400,000 $400,000
2014$300,000 $300,000
2015$300,000 $300,000
2016$300,000 $300,000
Grand Total$4,467,000$50,000$4,517,000

Mercer Funding

According to data from publicly available 990s and the Conservative Transparency Project, the Mercer Family Foundation has given at least $20,466,420 to MRC between 2008 and 2017:12Media Research Center,” Conservative Transparency. Accessed January 19, 2016. Data on file at DeSmog.

YearTotal
2008$500,000
2009$1,000,000
2010$1,194,000
2011$1,800,000
2012$3,000,000
2013$2,972,420
2014$3,000,000
2015$3,000,000
2016$2,000,000
2017$2,000,000
Grand Total$20,466,420

All Funders

Below is a breakdown by the Conservative Transparency Project combined with data collected from public 990 tax forms. Note that not all funding values have been verified by DeSmog.13Media Research Center,” Conservative Transparency. Accessed January 19, 2016. Data on file at DeSmog.

View the attached spreadsheet for details on Media Research Center funding by year (.xlsx).

DonorTotal
Mercer Family Foundation$20,466,420
Sarah Scaife Foundation$4,467,000
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation$2,650,000
Ed Uihlein Family Foundation$2,120,000
DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative$2,100,000
*DonorsTrust$1,895,670
Schwab Charitable Fund$1,623,745
Hickory Foundation$1,100,000
John Templeton Foundation$1,055,000
Bradley Impact Fund$800,000
Diana Davis Spencer Foundation$768,000
Dorothy D. and Joseph A. Moller Foundation$721,725
Thewes Family Foundation$507,000
Joe R Lee Family Foundation$500,000
*Donors Capital Fund$456,520
William H Donner Foundation$434,746
Armstrong Foundation$420,000
Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation$407,500
Exxon Mobil$362,500
F.M. Kirby Foundation$280,000
National Christian Charitable Foundation$268,300
Castle Rock Foundation$225,000
Adolph Coors Foundation$220,000
National Philanthropic Trust$202,000
Dodge Jones Foundation$182,500
Charles and Ann Johnson Foundation$162,301
The McWethy Foundation$156,500
Robert S. and Star Pepper Foundation$130,000
Leadership Institute$92,818
The Shelby Cullom Davis Foundation$70,000
The TWS Foundation$70,000
JM Foundation$60,000
John M. Olin Foundation$60,000
The Whitcomb Charitable Foundation$50,500
Allegheny Foundation$50,000
Kickapoo Springs Foundation$37,500
The Roe Foundation$34,000
PG Beil Foundation$33,000
Deramus Foundation$30,000
Charles Maxfield Parrish and Gloria F Parrish Foundation$30,000
Same Line Foundation$30,000
The Randolph Foundation$25,000
Barney Family Foundation$25,000
Marcus Foundation$25,000
Claude R Lambe Charitable Foundation$14,030
The Hamlin Family Foundation$13,500
American Values$10,500
Holman Foundation$10,000
Thomas W Smith Foundation$10,000
Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation$10,000
Family Research Council$7,500
Arthur N. Rupe Foundation$7,000
Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty$5,000
Eric Javits Family Foundation$4,450
Richard Seth Staley Educational Foundation$4,300
Robert and Marie Hansen Family Foundation$3,750
John P and Kathryn G Evans Foundation$3,100
True Foundation$2,800
Joyce and Donald Rumsfeld Foundation$2,500
Wodecroft Foundation$2,000
Dunn’s Foundation for the Advancement of Right Thinking$2,000
Gilder Foundation$2,000
Chiavacci Family Foundation$2,000
Orville D & Ruth Merillat Foundation$1,000
The Gordon and Mary Cain Foundation$1,000
The Vernon K. Krieble Foundation$1,000
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation$975
The Howell Foundation$400
The A William and Eileen Pratt Foundation$70
Grand Total$45,526,120

*Donors Trust (DT) and its sister organization, Donors Capital Fund (DCF) have been described as the “dark money ATM” of the conservative movement, and are known for concealing the original donor information of conservative groups.14Andy Kroll. “Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement,” Mother Jones, February 5, 2013. Archived July 24, 2015. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/cNiyF

ExxonMobil Funding

According to Greenpeace’s ExxonSecrets project, the Media Research Center also received at least $412,500 from ExxonMobil since 1998.15FACTSHEET: MEDIA RESEARCH CENTER, MRC,” ExxonSecrets. Archived March 31, 2017.

Other Funders

The Media Research Center lists funders in their annual reports.

Below are some notable corporate and foundations who have funded MRC (listed in the MRC annual reports). View attached .xls spreadsheet for a complete list of funders.

990 Forms

Annual Reports

Address & Contact Information

As of May 28 2016, the Media Research Center listed its contact information as follows:16“Contact,” Media Research Center. Archived May 28, 2016. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/XIIBN

Media Research Center
1900 Campus Commons Drive, Suite 600
Reston, VA 20191
Phone (local): (571) 267-3500
Phone (toll-free): (800) 672-1423
Fax: (571) 357-0099

http://www.mrc.org/

Key People

Actions

February 2022

MRC launched an initiative titled CensorTrack to monitor what The Daily Caller described as “acts of censorship across online platforms.” The Daily Caller claimed the project had tracked flags of Covid misinformation including the Great Barrington Declaration, as censorship.17Ailan Evans. “EXCLUSIVE: Big Tech Censored Dozens Of Doctors, Over 800 Accounts For COVID-19 ‘Misinformation,’ Study Shows,” The Daily Caller, February 9, 2022. Archived April 25, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/TouUp

“Big Tech set up a system where you can’t disagree with ‘the science’ even though that’s the foundation of the scientific method,” MRC’s Dan Gainor told The Daily Caller. “If doctors and academic journals can’t debate publicly, then it’s not science at all. It’s religion.”

“We tallied 32 different doctors who were censored, including mRNA vaccine innovator Dr. Robert Malone,” Gainor said. “Censoring views of credentialed experts doesn’t ensure confidence in vaccines, it undermines faith in government COVID-19 strategies.“

Some of the issues CensorTrack tracks included “Pro-Life,” “LGBTQ Issues,” and “Hate Speechamong others.

March 23, 2020

As reported at DeSmog,18Dana Drugmand. “Under Cover of Pandemic, Fossil Fuel Interests Unleash Lobbying Frenzy,” DeSmog, April 2, 2020. Life:Powered sent a letter to Congress critical of the COVID-19 stimulus package for including “tax incentives and spending for unreliable ‘green’ energy
programs.”19Coronavirus Stimulus Letter, Life:Powered, March 23, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

The letter, to which the Media Research Center is a signatory, concludes:20Coronavirus Stimulus Letter, Life:Powered, March 23, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

“This is no time for political games. Climate change is not an immediate threat to humanity. Climate-related deaths have declined 98.9% in the last century, and humanity is growing more and more resilient thanks to the availability of affordable, reliable energy. On behalf of all Americans, we urge you to oppose any stimulus proposals that carve out special treatment for or bail out any energy companies and focus instead on stopping COVID-19.”

The full list of signatories is below:21Coronavirus Stimulus Letter, Life:Powered, March 23, 2020. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

NameTitleOrganization
Jason IsaacSenior Manager & Distinguished FellowLife:Powered/Texas Public Policy Foundation
Myron EbellDirector, Center for Energy and EnvironmentCompetitive Enterprise Institute
Bette GrandeCEORoughrider Policy Center
Ellen WeaverPresident & CEOPalmetto Promise Institute
Isaac OrrPolicy FellowCenter of the American Experiment
Bethany MarcumExecutive DirectorAlaska Policy Forum
David T. StevensonDirector, Center for Energy and EnvironmentCaesar Rodney Institute
Donald van der VaartSenior FellowJohn Locke Foundation
Jason HayesDirector of Environmental PolicyMackinac Center for Public Policy
John Droz, Jr.FounderAlliance for Wise Energy Decisions
George K. Rasley, Jr.Managing EditorConservativeHQ.com
Becky Norton DunlopFormer Secretary of Natural ResourcesCommonwealth of Virginia
James L. MartinFounder/Chairman60 Plus Association
Saulius “Saul” AnuzisPresident60 Plus Association
Ken BlackwellSenior FellowFamily Research Council
Eunie SmithPresidentEagle Forum
Jenny Beth MartinHonorary ChairmanTea Party Patriots Action
Jon CaldaraPresidentIndependence Institute
L. Brent Bozell, IIIFounder and PresidentMedia Research Center
Jason PyeVice President of Legislative AffairsFreedomWorks
Jameson TaylorVice President for PolicyMississippi Center for Public Policy
Carol Platt LiebauPresidentYankee Institute
Mike StenhouseCEORhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity
Daniel ErspamerCEOPelican Institute for Public Policy
Christian N. BraunlichPresidentThomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy
Todd MyersEnvironmental DirectorWashington Policy Center

April 23, 2018

The Media Research Center, represented by Saulius “Saul” Anuzius, was among 22 groups signed on to an open letter asking President Trump to ignore recent criticism of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.22“Coalition letter to the President on Scott Pruitt,” (PDF) Heartland Institute. Archived .pdf on file with DeSmog.

In a speech to the U.S. Senate, a group of Democratic senators identified the organizations as front groups for the Koch Brothers and other wealthy donors, nicknamed the “Web of Deceit.” The senators outlined how, in addition to funding from the Koch network, many of the groups use untraceable “dark money” funneled through groups like Donors Capital Fund and Donors Trust to influence legislation, particularly with regards to climate and pollution.

Senator Whitehouse outlined it as “a web of deceit conceived and bankrolled by the Koch brothers and other self-interested billionaires to advocate for very selfish and unpatriotic policies.” Whitehouse added: “This web of deceit has infiltrated and populated the Trump administration, and it is swamping the interests of everyday Americans.23Senator Whitehouse. “Time to wake up: Web of Deceit,” Whitehouse.senate.gov. April 23, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.li/HzIsa

The full list of pro-Pruitt signatories and their respective organizations is as follows:

July 28, 2015

The MRC Business reported that James Hansen’s recent study about rising sea levels had “zero credibility,” citing an unnamed geologist as their source.24Joseph Rossell. “Media Hype Hansen’s Latest ‘Alarming’ Prediction: Sea Levels to Rise 10 Feet,” MRC Business, July 28, 2015. Archived January 19, 2016. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/TQNDn

MRC Busines salso quotes Climate Depot‘s Marc Morano as saying “The world needs to take a collective yawn at Hansen’s latest claims and ask how in the world was this man ever allowed to be in charge of the NASA temperature datasets.”25Joseph Rossell. “Media Hype Hansen’s Latest ‘Alarming’ Prediction: Sea Levels to Rise 10 Feet,” MRC Business, July 28, 2015. Archived January 19, 2016. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/TQNDn

June, 2004

The Media Research Center raised $2.8 million for newspaper ads in 15 markets, billboards in 40 cities and a talk-radio blitz aimed at countering what he sees as a “liberal jihad” that is unfair to President Bush, writes The Washington Post. The MRC’s uses the slogan “Don’t believe the liberal media!”26Howard Kurtz. “Hear No Lichtblau, See No Lichtblau,” The Washington Post, June 28, 2004. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/bSLTw

“This is a media that in the last year has gotten out of control,” MRC President Brent Bozell says. “They’re so blatant in the way they slant the news. […] It’s as if people in newsrooms have just taken off the gloves, whether it’s foreign policy, economic news or political news, there’s a spin on everything that’s said.”

March 2008

The Media Research Center’s project, Business & Media Institute (BMI), released a “special report” titled “Global Warming Censored” where they claimed that news networks were one-sided and not giving climate change skeptics enough coverage in mainstream media.27Dan Gainor and Julia A. Seymour. “Global Warming Censored,” MRC Business, March 3, 2008. Archived January 19, 2016. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/bSLTw

“[T]here are hundreds of scientists from around the world who question the global warming ‘consensus’ – but in the news the latter half of 2007 you had to look hard to find them,” Dan Gainor and Julia A. Seymour write in the article.28Dan Gainor and Julia A. Seymour. “Global Warming Censored,” MRC Business, March 3, 2008. Archived January 19, 2016. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/bSLTw

2007

The MRC’s Business and Media Institute published its first special report on global warming, titled “Fire & Ice,” which it claimed “exposed the media’s warnings about impending climate doom during four different times in the last century switching from worries over global cooling to warming to cooling to warming again.” 29Dan Gainor. “Fire and Ice,” Media Research Center, November 3, 2010. Archived January 19, 2016. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/N12rc 30Julia A. Seymour. “Media Myth: Networks Stick to Warming Theme Despite Avalanche of Chilling News,” MRC Business, March 4, 2009. Archived January 19, 2016. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/T9wHJ

In the “Recommendations” section of the BMI report, Dan Gainor questions mainstream climate science:

”[…] Most scientists do agree that the earth has warmed a little more than a degree in the last 100 years. That doesn’t mean that scientists concur mankind is to blame. Even if that were the case, the impact of warming is unclear.”31Dan Gainor. “Fire and Ice,” Media Research Center, November 3, 2010. Archived January 19, 2016. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/N12rc

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