Last year on my own blog, I wrote a series of articles called “Newsbusters & Me,” wherein I outlined parts of the MRC gang’s modus operandi. In one, I noted that, in their usage, the word “liberal” is
“the default designation for anyone who isn’t identifiably of the far right on every conceivable issue–those so tagged are often, in reality, conservatives whom outlets like the MRC just decided aren’t conservative enough, or aren’t conservative in the right ways.”
In another, I noted that
“Of the articles that appear on the Center’s Newsbusters blog, a large portion are devoted to simply complaining about the fact that someone somewhere offered a “liberal” (as they use the word) point of view, the implication being that this shouldn’t happen.”
When I just punched up Newsbusters, the first article to appear was an example of both: Kyle Drennen devoting an article to throwing a spotlight on MSNBC host Joe Scarborough’s comparative analysis of the Republican and Democratic conventions. Appearing on NBC’s Today, Scarborough was asked by host Savannah Guthrie, “Pound for pound, speech for speech, night for night, make a call, who had the better convention and who the most riding on it?” He replied:
“Oh, good lord, if we’re going pound for pound, round for round, this wasn’t Ali versus Frasier, this was Muhammed Ali versus Chuck Wepner. It was ugly.”
Drennen didn’t like that very much. He said Scarborough was “gushing over Democrats,” noted that “the liberal crowd assembled around Scarborough at a bar in Charlotte all cheered and applauded” his words, and compared Sarborough’s analysis to Newsbusters “liberal” hate-figure Chuck Todd.
In the real world, Joe Scarborough is an extremely conservative former congressman from Florida. In his time in the House of Representatives, he racked up a career rating of 95% by the American Conservative Union. That in offering his honest opinion, he’s targeted by Newsbusters and held up as an example of liberal bias in the press says nothing about him, and everything about Newsbusters.
 For the younglings out there who may not get the references, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier were very evenly matched, and fought one another in three incredibly brutal contests in the ’70s; by contrast, Ali fought Chuck Wepner in 1975 and, for the most part, beat the stuffings out of him, winning by a TKO in the final round. Though mostly a one-sided massacre, Wepner did at least manage to put Ali on the canvass once, so perhaps Scarborugh is overstating the Republicans’ effectiveness.
 Interest-group ratings can be a tricky business–such groups typically only rate candidates on a handful of issues and, being aligned with one or the other party, stack the deck in order to make their team come out on top but Scarborough’s very high rating – it puts him among those rated the most conservative – is enough to dispel any notion he is to be regarded as a “liberal.”