When Ted Cruz dismissed Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly's questions to him on immigration as something a "liberal journalist" would ask, the right-wing Media Research Center applauded it. After all, that evasion tactic is straight from the MRC playbook.
The MRC reinforces to conservatives that any tough question a journalist would want to ask them is, by definition, a "liberal" question and, thus, does not need to be answered. After all, conservatives know that they will never face tough questions when they appear on Fox News.
Here's how this works in practice, as seen through assorted MRC blog posts and items:
- MRC analyst Jeffrey Meyer claimed that in an interview with Ben Carson, "CBS This Morning's Norah O'Donnell repeatedly hit the famed neurosurgeon from the left on abortion," though Meyer never explained how the question O'Donnell asked Carson -- whether he would ban abortions in the case of rape, incest, and life of the mother -- was "from the left." Still, Meyer praised Carson for having "pushed back against O'Donnell's liberal question."
Notice a pattern there? The MRC effectively defines the nebulous "liberal question" to a conservative candidate as nothing more than a tough question that challenges them to explain their views. Because they don't want to answer the question anyway, deflecting it as a "liberal question" gives them an excuse not to answer it, as well as having the side benefit of playing to the base, whom the MRC and other conservative organizations have spent millions of dollars over the past few decades inculcating in conservatives the urge to despise as "liberal media" any outlet that dares to ask tough questions of conservatives.
So of course Cruz would invoke the MRC-approved tactic of deflecting a question he didn't want to answer as something a "liberal journalist" would ask, even though the idea that anyone would consider Megyn Kelly a "liberal journalist" strains logic.
But then, the MRC seems content to throw its conservative friends at Fox News under the bus for the sake of ideological purity; it was curiously silent about the questions Fox anchors asked at the recent Republican presidential debate after they proved a little too challenging for some of the candidates -- or, in the words of the complainers, the questions sounded like they came from liberal journalists. Perhaps it had to stay silent; a Fox-hosted debate is what the MRC wanted after years of complaining that Republicans were holding debates on non-Fox news channels where they are in allegedly greater danger of those "liberal" questions.
The MRC conditions conservative candidates to dismiss tough questions as "liberal." Ted Cruz demonstrated the results of that conditioning.