MediaMatters

From Citizendium, the Citizens' Compendium
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is developing and not approved.
Main Article
Talk
Related Articles  [?]
Bibliography  [?]
External Links  [?]
Citable Version  [?]
 
This editable Main Article is under development and not meant to be cited; by editing it you can help to improve it towards a future approved, citable version. These unapproved articles are subject to a disclaimer.
See also: David Brock

Media Matters for America is a progressive-identified not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) interest group and think tank, formed in 2004, with a goal of "monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media."[1] Its publication is Web-based. It has a partner organization, Media Matters Action Network, more overtly concerned with action rather than analysis.

David Brock, a former conservative, is chief executive officer.

It received substantial start-up funding from Democratic advocates, and, along with the questions on Brock, has had its neutrality challenged. Other media monitoring services, less subject to ideological challenge, say it fills a niche and is reasonably accurate. Leo Hindery, a Democratic contributor, said "There are people like Mike Lux [a Democratic consultant who runs an important ad agency],who are into the strategy point of view, there's Podesta [ and the Center for American Progress ], who's into the think tank/intellectual side, and I think the third part of the triangle is David's initiative." [2]

Funding

The organization's website does not prominently list funding. A critic, Byron York of National Review, lists:[2]

Soros, however, had denied funding until October 2010, and his name had not appeared in any disclosures.
Despite repeated assertions to the contrary by various Fox News commentators, I have not to date been a funder of Media Matters. However, in view of recent evidence suggesting that the incendiary rhetoric of Fox News hosts may incite violence, I have now decided to support the organization. Media Matters is one of the few groups that attempts to hold Fox News accountable for the false and misleading information they so often broadcast. I am supporting Media Matters in an effort to more widely publicize the challenge Fox News poses to civil and informed discourse in our democracy.[3]

Role and neutrality

The Providence Phoenix pointed out that political media monitoring has been more the province of the Right, as with groups such as Accuracy in Media (AIM) and Media Research Center (MRC). Organized liberal media criticism had been largely the domain of only one group: the 20-year-old Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). This article raised some concerns from the relatively small number of non-ideological media monitoring groups, such as Bryan Keefer, of CJRDaily.org, an online media-monitoring site created by the Columbia Journalism Review: "In terms of accuracy, they’re generally pretty good as far as they go,...But they are "self-consciously lefty.... They’re really only looking for things where liberals have been treated unfairly or where conservatives have gotten away with things." [4] Some right-wing media-monitoring groups are more aggressive, such as Discover the Networks from the David Horowitz Freedom Center and JihadWatch from Robert Spencer.

"I looked around, and aside from FAIR and blogs, it was a pretty empty space," says Brock. FAIR senior analyst Steve Rendall says he welcomed the new entry, noting that FAIR concentrates largely on reporting issues in the mainstream media while Media Matters focuses "on right-wing commentators most of the time." Brock said that he is in a niche, and not trying to do extensive content analyses and monitor standards and practices. "We have a more narrow mission," he says. "To work against undue conservative influence in the media."[4]

The Phoenix stated the challenge, "Given his own history, Brock knows plenty about conservative pressure. But he’s also aware that questions continue to dog him in his new incarnation. Who is the real David Brock, and why should we trust him?"

Harder for Brock is the cloud of suspicion that continues to hang over his work, in light of his ideological journey and confessed unethical behavior. "Once somebody has demonstrated himself to be an utterly untrustworthy liar," asks Tom Rosenstiel of the Washington, DC–based Project for Excellence in Journalism "why in the world would anybody think he has credibility now that he has switched teams?" Brock responded, " "If people don’t know me it can be difficult and it’s a totally legitimate and understandable question. In the history of ideological conversions, I’m not really aware of any that have changed twice."

Recent activity

In October 2009, Brock said, of Fox News,"Our analysis of their programming has led us to the unavoidable conclusion that Fox is no longer operating as a “conservative news organization,” but as an outright partisan political operation – and brazenly so." [5]

Populism

Senior Fellow Eric Boehlert asked why the mainstream media are confusing the legitimate term "populism" with "connection with the right-wing movement that obsessively opposes President Obama. Far from being a populist surge, the movement, led by talkers like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh who pollute the airwaves through smears and innuendos, remains completely divorced from the traditional sense of what "populism" has stood for in American politics." He observes they do not use the more accurate term "right wing populism". [6] He says it happens because the press allows it, citing a Wall Street Journal article[7] in that equated the legitimate populism of the Ross Perot campaign with "Tea Party activists -- whom he described as tapping into a "populist vein" ... Really? Perot supporters in 1996 spent an entire summer month forming wide-eyed mini-mobs in order to make sure that Americans could not discuss the day's important topics at town hall forums? They showed up at rallies with loaded handguns? They routinely compared the president to Adolf Hitler and paraded around with swastika posters? They formed angry crowds around members of Congress and followed them to their cars in parking lots, and hung politicians in effigy? "

Lou Dobbs and Immigration

A September 2009 report pointed at "conspiracy theories, hate speech, and undisclosed conflicts of interest", regarding immigration policy, by former CNN commentator Lou Dobbs.[8] It referred to his lack of disclosure of ties with the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), called a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center; he has broadcast from its meetings and has quoted it without mentioning his affiliation.

The "hate" aspect referred to his quoting, "There are some Mexican citizens and some Mexican-Americans who want to see California, New Mexico and other parts of the Southwestern United States given over to Mexico. These groups call it the reconquista, Spanish for reconquest. And they view the millions of Mexican illegal aliens in particular entering the United States as potentially an army of invaders to achieve that takeover." Correspondent Christine Romans reported, "Long downplayed as a theory of the radical ethnic fringe, the la reconquista, the reconquest, the reclamation, the return, it's resonating with some on the streets," and went on to say, "A lot of open borders groups disavow it completely. But the growing street protests in favor of illegal immigration, Lou, are increasingly taking on the tone of that very radicalism." [9] On his own website, Dobbs, without directly referring to MediaMatters said ""I've said for some time that the only rational actor in this entire immigration crisis, illegal immigration crisis, is the illegal alien, trying to benefit himself, herself and better their lives. But illegal employer is acting against the national interests, acting against the law in every respect. How can we get to the employer who is so shamelessly exploiting the illegal alien and so shamelessly flaunting U.S. law? I have great respect for the people who make up the preponderance of the illegal alien population in our country, that is Mexican migrant workers."[10]

The report mentioned his continued reporting of the threat of a North American Union, which has been discredited by other CNN reporters.

References