Media Equality Group joins Tea Party organization to protest against CNN at CNN Center July 22

CNN Center will be the site of a protest scheduled at noon Saturday against the news operation. CREDIT: Scott Trubey

This was posted Tuesday, July 18, 2017 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

The Media Equality Project, a new group started recently by two former talk show hosts who are friends with Sean Hannity, is working on a protest demonstration against CNN at CNN Center this Saturday at noon.

Their beef? CNN’s laser focus on Donald Trump that to them appears to be a ham-handed effort to take down his administration, not fair journalism.

Debbie Dooley, co-founder of Atlanta-based Main Street Patriots, a Tea Party activist group, said they held a similar protest in June that was covered by Breitbart. Media Equality reached out to her after that event and are helping promote this second one. “Things are getting worse and worse with CNN,” Dooley said. “We’ll keep having these monthly.”

“I think we’re trying to send a message that bad reporting has consequences,” said Media Equality co-creator Brian Maloney, who is based out of Boston. “Real lives have been damaged by CNN’s reckless smear campaign against anyone and everyone nominated for any position in the current presidential administration.” (He referenced Sheriff David Clarke and Monica Crowley.)

He also cited the recent CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski tracking down the Reddit user who created a wrestling GIF that Donald Trump retweeted and the retraction of a Russian collusion story that led to three CNN employees resigning.

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“CNN has an obsession with this Russian story,” added his co-organizer Melanie Morgan, who is ironically based in San Francisco, a liberal bastion she admits is a “target-rich environment.””It’s got to stop. We feel it’s drastically disproportionate coverage. It’s nothing more than an effort to take down and destroy a presidency before it’s had a chance to get on its feet.”

She said this isn’t a pro-Trump rally. “We’re not here to protest on his behalf,” she said. “We’re here to protest on behalf of everyone who has a right to expect the airwaves not to be hijacked by a left-wing agenda.”

The organizers were initially upset to see liberal media watch group Media Matters help take down Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly with an organized advertiser boycott following revelations of massive payouts to women who had accused him of sexual harassment. 

But then conservatives believed Media Matters began targeting Hannity for tying a dead Democratic National Committee staffer to Wikileaks. Media Equality sprung to life in May to contact advertisers to convince them to stick with or return to Hannity.

“We’re sick and tired of our conservative icons being taken down in an organized fashion,” Morgan said. ” They’ve even created a new hashtag called #StoptheScalpings. She said their strategy is to “fight fire with fire.”

Media Matters posted Hannity’s advertisers but said it did not actively push a boycott, unlike what they did against O’Reilly. In the end, Hannity survived that maelstrom and remains on Fox News.

Media Equality has raised more than $90,000 through a GoFundMe page. Its primary targets for now appear to be CNN and MSNBC although Maloney said they are open to putting Fox News’ feet to the fire if need be.

Morgan considers their group purely grassroots with more than 100,000 likes on their Facebook page, fueled in part by Hannity’s support on his radio and TV show. Thus, they are holding their first official boots-on-the-ground protest.

Atlanta talk show host Bryan Crabtree of Biz1190 and AM920 The Answer will be there as well. (He wrote this treatise critiquing CNN today in advance of the protest.)

“CNN definitely knows we’re coming,” Maloney said. “We have been in a snarky Twitter war with them for weeks.”

I’ve reached out to several CNN publicists and am awaiting a response.

Although there is a long-standing conservative media watch group called the Media Research Center led by L. Brent Bozell II, Maloney (without citing MRC directly) said many groups in D.C. are “just sitting around, taking in donor money and grants and not doing anything but paying themselves ridiculous salaries.”

Why not hold the rally outside the New York CNN offices, where Jeff Zucker and most of the on-air personalities work?

“Atlanta is still the symbolic headquarters of CNN,” Maloney said, “regardless where their reporters and anchors are. CNN is still associated with Atlanta, not New York.” (This is also where Main Street Patriots is based.)

Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, said he has not been impressed with Media Equality’s work so far. He noted how they hyped a big investigation against him but in the end used old info dug up by The Daily Caller. “They pretended it was brand new,” he said.

In Carusone’s mind, the group is  “reckless, irresponsible and phony.”

Maloney acknowledged much of what they did on Carusone was from The Daily Caller and it was properly cited. He said they are planning to publicize more negative intel about Media Matters down the road.

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