Media Research Center

Media Research Center

Background

The Media Research Center (MRC) was founded in 1987 by L. Brent Bozell. The Media Research Center 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.” [1]

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.” [2]

The MRC and its subsidiary, the Business & Media Institute (BMI), have opposed mainstream science behind climate change (featuring climate change deniers in their news coverage, for example). The BMI website, businessandmedia.org, was not online as of December, 2015. [3], [4], [5]

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.” [6], [7]

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]

Stance on Climate Change

The Media Research Center has listed global warming as a “Media Myth,” suggesting that global cooling may be the issue: [9]

“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:  [9]

Other sources they mention include:
  • Kyle Swanson — University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Brit Hum — Fox News anchor

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). [10]

Year Sarah Scaife Foundation Allegheny Foundation Grand 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: [11]

Year Total
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. [11]

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

Donor Total
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
Schwab Charitable Fund $1,623,745
Hickory Foundation $1,100,000
*DonorsTrust $1,082,270
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 $44,712,720

*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. [12]

ExxonMobil Funding

According to Greenpeace's ExxonSecrets project, the Media Research Center also received at least $412,500 from ExxonMobil since 1998. [13]

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: [18]

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 

Key People

The following were listed on the Media Research Institute's 2014 Annual Report. For a full list of staff and trustees, view the attached .xls spreadsheet.

Board of Directors

  • Karl Ottosen — Chairman, MRC Board of Directors. President, Sonitrol Security Systems
  • L. Brent Bozell III — Founder and President, Media Research Center.
  • Seymour Fein, M.D. — Chairman, MRC Board of Trustees. Managing Partner, CNF Pharma, LLC.
  • Michael Keiser — President, Bandon Dunes Golf Resorts.
  • Rebekah Mercer — Wall Street Trader, Retired.
  • Abby Moffat — Vice President and COODiana Davis Spencer Foundation.
  • William L. Walton — Managing Partner, Rappahannock Ventures, LLC.
  • The Honorable Curtin Winsor, Jr. — Former Ambassador to Costa Rica

Actions

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. [19]

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. [20]

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. [14]

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.” [14]

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!” [15]

“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.” 
[15]
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. [16]
“[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. [16]

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.” [17][9]

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.” [17]

Related Organizations

Resources

  1. To Create a Media Culture in America Where Truth and Liberty Flourish,” Media Research Center. Archived January 19, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6edjADfax

  2. Another Nail In The Liberal Media's Coffin,” Media Research Center, October 25, 2012. Archived December 30, 2015. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6e9arywKK

  3. Business & Media Institute,” Business and Media Institute, Archived February 16, 2008. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogblog.

  4. About the Business and Media Institute,” Media Research Center Network. Archived December 30, 2015. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6e9dhKj5r

  5. Sean Long. “Joe Bastardi: Media Just ‘Want to Be Popular’ on Climate Change,” MRC Business, July 21, 2014. Archived Decembe 30, 2015. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6e9eJpRj5

  6. About Us,” CNSNews.com. Archived December 30, 2015. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6e9bkQcT7

  7. Media Research Center,” SourceWatch.

  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 DeSmogBlog.

  9. Julia A. Seymour. “Media Myth: Networks Stick to Warming Theme Despite Avalanche of Chilling News,” MRC Business, March 4, 2009. Archived January 19, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6ef2DoV9W

  10. Scaife Family Foundations,” DeSmogBlog.

  11. Media Research Center,” Conservative Transparency. Accessed January 19, 2016.

  12. Andy Kroll. “Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement,” Mother Jones, February 5, 2013. Archived July 24, 2015.

  13. FACTSHEET: MEDIA RESEARCH CENTER, MRC,” ExxonSecrets. Accessed January 19, 2016.

  14. Joseph Rossell. “Media Hype Hansen’s Latest ‘Alarming’ Prediction: Sea Levels to Rise 10 Feet,” MRC Business, July 28, 2015. Archived January 19, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6edkDp77W

  15. Howard Kurtz. “Hear No Lichtblau, See No Lichtblau,” The Washington Post, June 28, 2004. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6eetKygKm

  16. Dan Gainor and Julia A. Seymour. “Global Warming Censored,” MRC Business, March 3, 2008. Archived January 19, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6ef2kHpxE

  17. Dan Gainor. “Fire and Ice,” Media Research Center, November 3, 2010. Archived January 19, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6ef3JIW7Q

  18. “Contact,” Media Research Center. Archived May 28, 2016. WebCite URLhttp://www.webcitation.org/6hqzoaEvA4

  19. “Coalition letter to the President on Scott Pruitt,” (PDF) Heartland Institute. Archived .pdf on file with DeSmogBlog.

  20. Senator Whitehouse. “Time to wake up: Web of Deceit” April 23, 2018. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.li/HzIsa