Appearing on Newsmax TV’s Steve Malzberg Show on Thursday, NewsBusters’ executive editor Tim Graham commended Facebook for meeting with conservative leaders – including Media Research Center president Brent Bozell – over accusations of liberal bias, but warned: “...these are...the kind of questions that say even in the social media now...there’s just going to be that temptation to say, ‘Let’s do something for the good guys’...usually those are the liberals....And that’s where you get this kind of suppress-the-conservatives business.”
Graham expressed optimism going forward: “I’ve been surprised all along here because I thought the traditional media would try to bury this story, which they did not. And then I thought Facebook would just tough it out, which they did not. They had a meeting. So you know, there is a reason to think there may be some hope here.”
Turning to the 2016 campaign, Malzberg cited liberal Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, “who basically said, ‘You know, we’ve done all the vetting on Hillary [Clinton] that we need to do.’ ‘We’ being the liberal media. ‘We’ve been vetting her for 25 years, there’s nothing new to find out.’”
Graham responded: “I believe Dana Milbank really summarizes the media’s opinion on this. And that is, ‘We don’t have to vet Hillary, we’ve already done it over 25 years’....so there is still that serious double standard and we’re going to be here still calling it out.” He implored the press: “Vet the Clintons, please.”
Here is a partial transcript of the May 19 exchange:
7:24 PM ET
STEVE MALZBERG: Alright, so we just heard from Dana Perino, who was in attendance yesterday, as was your boss, Brent Bozell, in a meeting with the owner and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg. Conservative members of the media, heads of media outlets such as Brent, talking about the alleged bias at Facebook when it comes to posting stories and putting stories in the trending column....Now you weren’t but you’ve talked to Brent, obviously you’ve heard some of the other reaction. I’m curious because Zuckerberg at first said, you know, this wasn’t true, he denied that this was an issue, did he not?
TIM GRAHAM: He did. I think that – I don’t – Brent didn’t give me any details from inside the meeting but I think they were trying to say that, “We recognize that we have an issue, that the Gizmodo story is a problem even if we deny it.” And the reality is the trust that conservatives have that now is shot when you’re saying is this a trending topic or isn’t it. And it wasn’t just that they were suppressing conservative topics, the accusation was that they took an issue like Black Lives Matter and tried to make it trending even though it wasn’t. So I mean, yes, these are kind of – the kind of questions that say even in the social media now – and this is a very powerful social media outlet – there’s just going to be that temptation to say, “Let’s do something for the good guys,” however they perceive the good guys – usually those are the liberals – you know, they’re going to try to do the good things for the good guys. And that’s where you get this kind of suppress-the-conservatives business.
MALZBERG: I get the impression, based on Brent’s statement and from what the others have said, that there will be – or at least it looks like there’ll be follow-ups to this. I would think it’s very easy to solve. If this is going on, if Zuckerberg sees any evidence of it, than all he has to do is say, “Hey, don’t ever do this again, let’s stop doing what we’ve been doing, and fix it.”
GRAHAM: Yeah, I mean, I don’t know if we’re going to have some sort of level of transparency where they show you, “No, here’s the actual trending topics.” I think we’ll just have to guess from looking at the trending topics everyday and seeing if they match our idea of what’s actually trending. But you know, again, I’ve been surprised all along here because I thought the traditional media would try to bury this story, which they did not. And then I thought Facebook would just tough it out, which they did not. They had a meeting. So you know, there is a reason to think there may be some hope here.
And there is sort of this oddity that you have the Trump people and the Trump-supporting websites somehow trying to say that Brent and the other conservatives who attended are some sort of suckers for Zuckerberg.
MALZBERG: Suckers for Zuckerberg, sounds like a campaign slogan. Alright, let’s move on, and I want to keep this in general terms, two stories, yesterday I had Dana Milbank, a columnist for The Washington Post, who basically said, “You know, we’ve done all the vetting on Hillary that we need to do.” “We” being the liberal media. “We’ve been vetting her for 25 years, there’s nothing new to find out.” And at the same time, you had, you know, CBS do a sit-down with Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump’s daughter, basically saying, “Is your father a groper?” Something they would never ask, you know, a Democrat’s daughter. Talk about going forward – we’ve got 40 seconds here – going forward, how is – is this how the media is going to handle this match-up between Trump and Clinton?
GRAHAM: I believe Dana Milbank really summarizes the media’s opinion on this. And that is, “We don’t have to vet Hillary, we’ve already done it over 25 years.” And they still have this mentality like Chelsea Clinton’s 12. “We don’t ask Chelsea questions about her dad being a groper.” You know, we wouldn’t – they never ask her that, they ask her questions about singing The Wheels on the Bus. You know, that’s what she gets. I mean, so there is still that serious double standard and we’re going to be here still calling it out. Vet the Clintons, please.