Posted by P.J.Slavatore
March 4, 2011
The Agitator notes the silly hypocrisy in the “irrelevant” Media Matters’ new effort at transparency.
So I just noticed the Media Matters “Transparency” project today after clicking over from another site. It lists the major donors to all sorts of conservative and libertarian organizations, including my current and previous employers, Reason and Cato.
As I’ve noted before, both Reason and Cato already lists their major donors in their annual reports. At Reason, we also publish the names of everyone who has given the Reason Foundation at least $1,000 each year in the magazine.
But here’s what you won’t find on the Media Matters “Transparency” website, or on the main Media Matters site: a list of the names of the major donors to Media Matters. They keep that secret.
The one big donor of which we know is socialist George Soros who gave the “irrelevant” website $1 million dollars to watch a lot of Fox News and stalk Andrew Breitbart on Twitter. So essentially they got paid a lot of money to do what most basement bloggers already do, and some even better, for free.
What is the point in Media Matters’ war of the billionaires? To go with the billionaire that pays them the most? To go with the billionaire that provides a way for them to wax poetic about failed political theories? How can one complain about the activities of free businessmen when they are the hacks for one?
Expanding on the above a bit:
Meet American Bridge, Democrats’ answer to the ‘shadow GOP’
By Holly Bailey
November 23, 2010
Democrats are officially launching their own outside-money push ahead of the 2012 presidential campaign.
Media Matters founder and author DavidBrock plans to file paperwork Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission detailing plans to raise and spend unlimited funds to influence the upcoming election.
The group will be called American Bridge, and Brock tells the New York Times’ Michael Luo that he’s already gotten $4 million in pledges from Democratic donors including Rob McKay, heir to the Taco Bell fortune, and longtime TV producer Marcy Carsey, best known as the executive producer of “The Cosby Show.”
The chairwoman of American Bridge will be Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the former lieutenant governor of Maryland and daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy.
The group will be filed as a so-called 527 political group under the Internal Revenue Service tax code, which means it will disclose its donors. But Brock hints to Luo that he’ll also follow the lead of outside conservative groups (known to critics as the shadow GOP) like Crossroads GPS, which as a 501-c4 political organization does not report its source of funds. According to initial plans, the Media Matters Action Network, a 501-c4 already associated with Brock, is set to take on an expanded role in the 2012 elections, including potentially running TV ads, Luo reports.
“Money is money,” Brock told the Times.
The big question is how the White House will react. While President Obama discouraged outside spending on his behalf during the 2008 campaign, administration officials in recent weeks have given the thumbs up to Democrats looking to compete with GOP outside groups, which spent millions to influence the 2010 elections.
Still, it’s not clear whether the administration has explicitly approved groups that plan to operate without disclosing donors. Obama attacked groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for not making its donor list public while it spent tens of millions on political ads attacking Democrats. It would be a significant flip-flop on Obama’s behalf if he appears to be giving the OK to Democrats to pursue similar politicking on his behalf in 2012.
But Brock isn’t the only Democrat plotting outside efforts in the 2012 campaign. A group of liberal donors met last week in Washington to discuss outside efforts. And on Monday, the operatives behind America Coming Together, a 527 group that spent millions to boost John Kerry in 2004, also held talks about the upcoming campaign.
Effort for Liberal Balance to G.O.P. Groups Begins
By MICHAEL LUO
Published: November 23, 2010
Leading Democratic donors who have already pledged money to the group include Rob McKay, heir to the Taco Bell fortune and chairman of the Democracy Alliance, a partnership of wealthy liberal donors; Robert Dyson, who heads Dyson-Kissner-Moran, a takeover and acquisitions firm in New York City; and Marcia L. Carsey, a television producer who gave $1 million to Democratic outside groups in 2004.
Mr. Brock said in an interview that he planned to formally file papers with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday to set up American Bridge as what is known as an independent-expenditure-only political action committee, meaning it will be able to take in contributions of unlimited size from individuals and corporations but must regularly disclose its donors.
Certain to set off debate, however, is that Mr. Brock appears to be positioning his new organization so that fund-raising consultants can raise money for Democratic-oriented media efforts not just through American Bridge but also via one of the nonprofit organizations Mr. Brock currently runs, Media Matters Action Network, which does not disclose its donors.
The action network, which tracks conservative politicians and advocacy organizations, is organized as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit group and is set to take on an expanded role in the 2012 elections, including potentially running television ads, according to an internal draft concept paper about American Bridge’s and Media Matter Action Network’s plans obtained by The New York Times.
But Mr. Brock, a former conservative journalist who publicly disavowed the right in the late 1990s, is a respected political player, who has drawn plaudits from liberal donors for his running of the array of groups under the Media Matters umbrella.
Mr. Brock pointed out that the various groups associated with Media Matters had raised a combined $23 million this year. Its backers include major Democratic donors like George Soros, the billionaire who recently announced he had given $1 million to the group; Peter B. Lewis, the billionaire chairman of Progressive Insurance, who, like Mr. Soros, gave more than $20 million to Democratic-oriented groups in 2004; and the Hollywood producer Steve Bing.
“My donor base already constitutes the major individual players who have historically given hundreds of millions of dollars to these types of efforts,” Mr. Brock said. “They just need to be asked, and I have no doubt they will step up at this critical time.”
There also seems to be widespread agreement among Democratic activists and donors on the need for such groups to be more heavily involved in the 2012 elections.
White House officials have signaled in recent weeks that the Obama administration would not object to Democratic-leaning outside groups getting involved in the 2012 elections, a change from the Obama campaign’s attitude toward such groups in 2008. But they have also indicated that they would prefer that the names of donors be disclosed.
Media Matters for America Treasurer among Who’s Who on George Soros Democracy Alliance
By Judi McLeod
January 14, 2008
With David Brock getting the lion’s share of the attention as the benighted “King of Switcheroo” over at Media Matters for America, who pays any attention to members of his board of directors?
Guess that’s how most folk missed that Media Matter’s Treasurer, Rachel Pritzker Hunter is among the Who’s Who in the George Soros $100 million clearing house known as the Democracy Alliance (DA).
“Rachel Pritzker Hunter of the Hyatt Hotel Pritzkers was a DA board member after the group was created.” (Matthew Vadum James Dellinger, Capital Research Center, Canada Free Press, Jan. 10, 2008).
Missing Rachel’s membership in Democracy Alliance, which funds groups like Media Matters is a natural with hatchet man David Brock going after anything right of center out on the hustings.
Shell-shocked by their stinging defeat only three years ago, Soros and other wealthy liberals aimed to fund a political comeback. They created a permanent political infrastructure of non-profits, think tanks, media outlets, leadership schools, and activist groups, or what Vadum and Dellinger describe as a kind of “vast left wing conspiracy” to compete with the conservative movement.
A founding DA member, Pritzker Hunter, a nutritionist claiming expertise in sensitivity to foods by profession, is a generous donor to Democrat candidates and politicians.
According to documents filed by the Federal Election Commission, Pritzker Hunter gave $500 to Ohio Democrat Senator Sherrod Brown in August of 2006.
In 2004, Pritzker Hunter gave $1,000 to Howard Dean’s campaign, $500 to Senator John Kerry and $500 to Democrat Presidential nominee Wesley Clark.
Some journalists might categorize Media Matter’s treasurer’s DA membership as a classic conflict of interest on the board of a media monitor organization perpetually on the hunt for “conservative misinformation”, but Media Matters Pooh-bahs only recognize Republican conflicts of interest.
There may have been a method in the madness that allowed someone as blatantly controversial as David Brock at the helm of Media Matters.
The USS David Brock keeps changing course.
A conservative turned liberal writer, Brock was a reporter for the conservative magazine The American Spectator in the 1990s.
“In the aftermath of his biography of Hillary Clinton that brought disastrous reviews, Brock engaged in a public self-denunciation, characterizing all his past writings critical of liberal figures as a confection of lies and slanders.” ( HYPERLINK “http://www.DiscoverTheNetworks.org” http://www.DiscoverTheNetworks.org, A Guide to the Political Left).
Better at reinventing himself than even “The Material Girl”, in his new mode, Brock insists that the mainstream media have fallen under the sway of conservative ideology. “He believes that conservatives have moved the mainstream media “to the right and therefore they’ve moved American politics to the right…I wanted to create an institution (Media Matters) to combat what they’re doing.”
How any government of any political stripe could bestow a 501 © (3) public charity status on a group that admits to focus on a hunt for “conservative misinformation” in today’s media world, begs ridicule.
“In addition to “news or commentary that is not accurate, reliable, or credible,” the organization’s concept of “misinformation” includes anything that “forwards the conservative agenda”. Thus political differences of opinion are often portrayed by Media Matters as lies or worse.”
With everybody not on their side a potential liar, Media Matters is a sort of ACLU of the media monitoring game.
Brock comes down like a brick on the wrong side of freedom of speech, and it should surprise none of his many detractors that he is one of the leading proponents of the tossed out Fairness Doctrine. In fact, it is Brock and his allies on the left who clamor for legislation to bring back the Fairness Doctrine, as an easy way to rid the airwaves of popular radio talk show hosts.
The nest of vipers who are Brock’s main backers are proof positive that the big money behind Media Matters won’t be drying up anytime soon.
“Standing behind Brock in creating Media Matters was John Podesta, a former chief of staff in the Clinton administration and the head of the “progressive” Washington, DC think tank, the center for American Progress,” according to DiscoverTheNetworks.org. “In 2004, Podesta provided Brock with office space for his fledgling enterprise. Soon after, Media Matters received over $2 million in seed donations from a roster of affluent donors including Leo Hindery Jr., a former cable magnate; Susie Tompkins Buell, a co-founder of the fashion company Espirit and a close ally of Senator Hillary Clinton; James Hormel, a San Francisco philanthropist who nearly served as ambassador to Luxembourg during the Clinton administration; Bren Simon, a Democratic activist and the wife of shopping mall developer Mel Simon; and New York psychologist and philanthropist Gail Furman. Media Matters, which can accept tax-deductible contributions under section 501 © (3) of the tax code, has also benefited from the patronage of Peter Lewis, chairman of the Progressive Corporation and a longtime consort of leftist financier George Soros.
“Media Matters has not always been forthcoming about its high-profile backers. In particular, the group has long labored to obscure any financial ties to George Soros. But in March 2003, the Cybercast News Service (CNS) detailed the copious links between Media Matters and several Soros “affiliates”—among them MoveOn.org, the Center for American Progress, and Peter Lewis. Confronted with this story, a spokesman for the organization explained that “Media Matters for America has never received funding directly from George Soros.” (emphasis added), a transparent evasion.”
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