Media Matters is watching everything that FoxNews, and conservative commentators such as Rush Limbaugh, say or do waiting to pounce on any sentence, or clause in a sentence, or word in a clause, which can be twisted out of context and blown up into a faux scandal.
Media Matters also is very good at shaping public opinion on the blogosphere through its Action network, as I documented previously.
A good example of how Media Matters stretches to find something where there is nothing is a post by Media Matters blog star Eric Boehlert on December 24. In the post, titled FoxNews.com, please define “just barely”, Boehlert takes FoxNews.com to task for writing that the Senate passed the Reid bill “just barely.” Boehlert points out that the vote was 60-39 in favor of the bill, hence the mocking “define ‘just barely'” theme.
Any fair reading of the FoxNews.com sentence quoted by Boehlert, however, makes clear that FoxNews was referring to the Senate barely making Reid’s Christmas deadline, not barely passing the bill (Boehlert added emphasis to the final three words in his post):
Congress may be gone for several weeks enjoying a winter holiday, but Republicans have vowed to keep up the pressure on Democrats who succeeded in getting their Senate health insurance overhaul bill passed before Christmas — if just barely.
Even the usually sycophantic commenters at Media Matters recognized that Boehlert was off base on this one, and were willing to give FoxNews the benefit of the doubt on the words in question.
Will Boehlert acknowledge that he was seeing ghosts, and give FoxNews the benefit of any doubt?
It’s possible, but just barely.