David Brock, the president and CEO of the George Soros-funded character assassination factory, Media Matters for America (MM), which euphemistically describes its mission as “comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media,” isn’t even pretending to be nonpartisan or fair anymore. Brock has assumed the chairmanship of Progressive Media USA (PMUSA) and in that role will spearhead “a four-month, $40 million media campaign centered on attacks on Sen. John McCain,” the Politico reports. “We’re a little behind where we need to be,” Brock said last week of the fledgling group’s fundraising following a Manhattan meeting with Soros, the left-wing philanthropist, and Paul Begala, the ubiquitous TV talking head and longtime Democratic Party operative. As a 501(c)(4) organization, PMUSA doesn’t have to disclose its donors, the articles notes, adding that Brock said he will form a related 527 group, Progressive Media Action, so the campaign can take in donations from unions and other sources.
According to Brock, who is author of the new book, Free Ride: John McCain and the Media, presumptive GOP presidential nominee McCain is a shameless flip-flopper who’s gotten a pass from an adoring media. Brock says reporters have “fallen down on the job” when covering the Arizona senator and are “in love with John McCain.” PMUSA, he says, can help do what journalists ought to be doing while Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama duke it out for the Democratic nomination. “Brock’s words, and his unpaid chairmanship, reflect alarm that Democrats are missing an opportunity to define McCain, even as the presumptive nominee tours the country telling his own story,” writes the Politico’s Ben Smith.
Conservatives ought to welcome Brock’s refreshing honesty. At last he has publicly unmasked himself as a partisan political operative, as opposed to a mere liberal ideologue. Such candor from Brock, the self-described former “right-wing hit man” turned left-wing hit man, is a rare occurrence indeed. (For more on Brock’s mendacity see Rondi Adamson’s profile of Media Matters. Although Adamson’s report is thorough, it barely skims the surface of Brock’s various deceptions. For more on Brock and his tall tales, a good place to start is the “Articles and commentary” section of Wikipedia’s entry on Brock.)
It’s worth noting here that media content analysis, at least as it applies to political news, has traditionally been concerned with the detection of bias, as opposed to functioning as a means of stamping out views with which the content analyst may disagree. Brock seems likely to bring his unique brand of media content analysis –which involves mau-mauing the media into mouthing the politically correct platitudes that pass for profound insights on the far left— to his anti-McCain campaign.
Media Matters relies on what could be called a Leninist approach, complete with paid professional revolutionaries, in an ongoing effort to shame Americans who deal in ideas into embracing, or at least not opposing, their political agenda. This tack motivates the faithful and silences opponents.
These perpetually humorless PC language enforcers are doing their best to alter political discourse by trying to make certain words and the ideas they represent socially unacceptable. Readers of NewsBusters need hardly be reminded that when such ideas are expressed in major media outlets, MM leaps into action, marginalizing those who express them, and urging activists to write complaint letters and e-mails. In some cases, the group tries to have the offender removed from the media outlet (e.g. Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter).
Astonishingly, Media Matters continues to vigorously deny that it is funded by George Soros, but the group’s denials, which rely on hairsplitting, evasion, and shall we say, ‘lawyerly’ use of language, are hard to believe. When denying receiving money from Soros, MM typically notes that there is no actual paper trail proving Soros funds the group, but self-servingly leaves out powerful circumstantial evidence that suggests Soros funds MM at least indirectly. (Examples of the Soros dance appear here and here on the MM website.)
It has been reported that MM has received at least $7 million under the auspices of the Democracy Alliance, a Soros-led consortium of wealthy liberal donors that matches donors to causes the group considers worthy. The $7 million donation, which may have come from one or more Democracy Alliance members including Soros himself, is also referenced at page 117 of The Argument: Billionaires, Bloggers, and the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics, by Matt Bai, a book published in 2007 by Penguin Press. In addition, Democracy Alliance founder Rob Stein acknowledged his consortium’s role in directing funding to Media Matters. During a panel discussion held by the Hudson Institute’s Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal on November 30, 2006, Stein responded to a question from fellow panelist Byron York about “the media organizations in which your partners were putting their money – which ones were they?” Stein responded by saying (see page 22 of PDF): “The major media organization that has been publicly identified is Media Matters. But there are some others, now, that we have funded.”
If George Soros is not funding Media Matters, the group certainly expends significant resources to defend him. A search I just performed on MM’s search page for George Soros (with his name sandwiched in-between quotation marks as “george soros,” and without “start” and “end” dates) generated 235 hits. That’s a lot of defense for Media Matters to be playing, especially for someone who remains virtually unknown except by politics junkies and those interested in finance.
Much better known figures on the left haven’t been discussed as frequently on the MM website, according to searches conducted the same way. A search for Arianna Huffington generated just 31 hits. Here are the numbers I got when searching the names of other noteworthy figures on the left using MM’s internal search engine: Bill Maher got 36 hits, Hugo Chavez got 64 hits, and Jimmy Carter, who is in the news frequently, got 158 hits. (Note: Admittedly, this might not be the most scientific approach, but it does at least provide a snapshot of MM’s priorities. Also, all these figures, obtained April 14, 2008, are subject to change as MM’s site is updated.)
Could Media Matters be less interested in discussing these other figures because they don’t rely on them for funding?
(crossposted at the Capital Research Center blog)
*****UPDATED April 17, 2008: I have posted a lengthy follow-up to this item at the Capital Research Center blog here. Briefly, it discusses Media Matters for America and its continued denial of ties to George Soros, David Brock and his hate-monger minions on the Media Matters website and at ConWebBlog, Media Matters's ridiculous so-called methodology, Media Matters's bizarre linguistic fetishism, and Media Matters's serious ethical lapse in failing to disclose on an item attacking Christopher Hitchens the fact that Hitchens has frequently attacked Brock personally (Brock is well-known to be petty and vindictive and it requires no great leap to conclude he feels he has a score to settle with Hitchens and is using Media Matters to do so).