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Media Matters' war against Fox

Posted by on Mar. 28, 2011 at 9:51 AM
  • 106 Replies

The liberal group Media Matters has quietly transformed itself in preparation for what its founder, David Brock, described in an interview as an all-out campaign of “guerrilla warfare and sabotage” aimed at the Fox News Channel.

The group, launched as a more traditional media critic, has all but abandoned its monitoring of newspapers and other television networks and is narrowing its focus to Fox and a handful of conservative websites, which its leaders view as political organizations and the “nerve center” of the conservative movement. The shift reflects the centrality of the cable channel to the contemporary conservative movement, as well as the loathing it inspires among liberals — not least among the donors who fund Media Matters’ staff of about 90, who are arrayed in neat rows in a giant war room above Massachusetts Avenue.

“The strategy that we had had toward Fox was basically a strategy of containment,” said Brock, Media Matters’ chairman and founder and a former conservative journalist, adding that the group’s main aim had been to challenge the factual claims of the channel and to attempt to prevent them from reaching the mainstream media.

The new strategy, he said, is a “war on Fox.”

In an interview and a 2010 planning memo shared with POLITICO, Brock listed the fronts on which Media Matters — which he said is operating on a $10 million-plus annual budget — is working to chip away at Fox and its parent company, News Corp. They include its bread-and-butter distribution of embarrassing clips and attempts to rebut Fox points, as well as a series of under-the-radar tactics.

Media Matters, Brock said, is assembling opposition research files not only on Fox’s top executives but on a series of midlevel officials. It has hired an activist who has led a successful campaign to press advertisers to avoid Glenn Beck’s show. The group is assembling a legal team to help people who have clashed with Fox to file lawsuits for defamation, invasion of privacy or other causes. And it has hired two experienced reporters, Joe Strupp and Alexander Zaitchik, to dig into Fox’s operation to help assemble a book on the network, due out in 2012 from Vintage/Anchor. (In the interest of full disclosure, Media Matters last month also issued a report criticizing “Fox and Friends” co-host Steve Doocy’s criticism of this reporter’s blog.)

Brock said Media Matters also plans to run a broad campaign against Fox’s parent company, News Corp., an effort which most likely will involve opening a United Kingdom arm in London to attack the company’s interests there. The group hired an executive from MoveOn.org to work on developing campaigns among News Corp. shareholders and also is looking for ways to turn regulators in the U.S., U.K., and elsewhere against the network.

The group will “focus on [News Corp. CEO Rupert] Murdoch and trying to disrupt his commercial interests — whether that be here or looking at what’s going on in London right now,” Brock said, referring to News Corp.’s — apparently successful — move to take a majority stake in the satellite broadcaster BSkyB.


Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0311/51949.html#ixzz1HtzVziUd

by on Mar. 28, 2011 at 9:51 AM
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candlegal
by Judy on Mar. 28, 2011 at 9:53 AM

Is Media Matters breaking the law in its 'war' on Fox News?

Media Matters, the George Soros-backed legion of liberal agit-prop shock troops based in the nation's capital, has declared war on Fox News, and in the process quite possibly stepped across the line of legality.

David Brock, MM's founder, was quoted Saturday by Politico promising that his organization is mounting "guerrila warfare and sabotage" against Fox News, which he said "is not a news organization. It is the de facto leader of the GOP, and it is long past time that it is treated as such by the media, elected officials and the public.”

To that end, Brock told Politico that MM will “focus on [News Corp. CEO Rupert] Murdoch and trying to disrupt his commercial interests ..." Murdoch is the founder of Fox News and a media titan with newspaper, broadcast, Internet and other media countries around the world.

There is nothing in the Politico article to suggest that Brock, who was paid just under $300,000 in 2009, according to the group's most recently available tax return, plans to ask the IRS to change his organization's tax status as a 501(C)(3) tax-exempt educational foundation.

Being a C3 puts MM in the non-profit, non-commercial sector, and it also bars the organzation from participating in partisan political activity. This new, more aggressive stance, however, appears to run directly counter to the government's requirements for maintaining a C3 tax status.

Since Brock classifies Fox News as the "leader" of the Republican Party, by his own description he is involving his organization in a partisan battle. High-priced K Street lawyers can probably find a federal judge or a sympathetic IRS bureaucrat willing to either look the other way or accept some sort of MM rationale such as that it is merely providing educational information about a partisan group.

But in the IRS application for 501(C)(3) tax-exempt educational foundation status, Section VIII, Question I asks the applicant: "Do you support or oppose candidates in political campaigns in any way?" (Emphasis added).

Under Brock's definition of Fox News, it appears he is setting MM on a course of actively opposing all Republican candidates. Brandon Kiser at The Right Sphere blog argues that this new statement of MM's mission means it must change its tax status.

Beyond the partisanship issue, explicitly declaring that your purpose as a tax-exempt non-profit public foundation is to interfere with the commercial interests of somebody else's legal business enterprise falls nowhere within the scope of purely educational activities.

The official purpose of MM, according to its 2009 tax return, is to "notify activists, journalists, pundits and the general public about instances of misinformation, providing them with the resources to rebut false claims and take direct action against offending media institutions."

At another point much later in the same return, MM's purpose is more succinctly described as being "dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing and correcting conservative misinformation in the media."

Besides Brock, who is MM's CEO, Eric Burns, who is the organization's president, received just under $260,000 in compensation in 2009.

For the complete Politico piece, go here. And for additional analysis, check out Ed Morrissey's balanced assessment here.

imamomzilla
by on Mar. 28, 2011 at 9:55 AM

 Interesting. I wouldn't doubt there were some MM plants here on CM.

candlegal
by Judy on Mar. 28, 2011 at 10:01 AM

sidesplittinglaughter


Quoting imamomzilla:

 Interesting. I wouldn't doubt there were some MM plants here on CM.


sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Mar. 28, 2011 at 10:08 AM

Fox News' Owner Murdoch Donates Another $1 Million to GOP Group

October 1, 2010

(ChattahBox Political News)- How is Fox News' so-called fair and balanced claim working out? It was always a sham, is still a sham and now, owner Rupert Murdoch has just stopped pretending. News Corp., the Murdoch-owned media conglomerate and parent company of Fox News, has donated $1 million to the Republican advocacy group, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This unprecedented donation during an election cycle, comes on the heels of another $1 million donation to the Republican Governors association. Did Murdoch make similar campaign donations to Democratic groups? No. So, let's just stop with the pretense that Fox News is anything other than a political arm of the Republican Party. 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, under the leadership of the highly-partisan and controversial CEO and president Thomas Donohue, has changed from a mostly bi-partisan business lobbying group to a GOP global warming-denying political operation machine.

Donahue's Chamber largely acts now, as a GOP money laundering operation. And the group has pledged to spend $75 million on national, mostly Republican races this year alone.

The Politico reports that this second $1 million donation made by News Corp. to just one political Party during an election year, is unprecedented for a media company.

"The parent companies of other media companies such as Disney (which owns ABC) and General Electric (which owns NBC) have also made political contributions, but typically in far smaller chunks, and split between Democrats and Republicans."

"In the past, News Corp. has also spread its donations between candidates of both parties. The huge gift to the RGA raised questions among some media critics about whether News Corp. had crossed over an inappropriate line for a media company. The second donation is likely to rekindle that debate - and to make both News Corp. Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch and Fox News even more of a liberal target."

Besides the huge donations to Republicans made by its parent company, Fox News also employees most of the top GOP presidential contenders as contributors, affording them hours of free air time to advance their campaigns.

Jenniejen77
by on Mar. 28, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Fox News is a gossip channel. Is it really still considered a news channel? So sad.

Goodwoman614
by Satan on Mar. 28, 2011 at 10:15 AM
Fox is Not News. So what if an org points this out? But I for one can't help but to smh at how ppl take this carnival entertainment poseur of a show - and it is a "show," most definitely - seriously...it has never been news.
candlegal
by Judy on Mar. 28, 2011 at 10:19 AM

which is why they are trying so hard to bring them down, lol

They just can't handle the competition,  is that it?

Quoting Goodwoman614:

Fox is Not News. So what if an org points this out? But I for one can't help but to smh at how ppl take this carnival entertainment poseur of a show - and it is a "show," most definitely - seriously...it has never been news.


candlegal
by Judy on Mar. 28, 2011 at 10:19 AM

and how much has Soros given to Dems?

Quoting sweet-a-kins:

Fox News' Owner Murdoch Donates Another $1 Million to GOP Group

October 1, 2010

(ChattahBox Political News)- How is Fox News' so-called fair and balanced claim working out? It was always a sham, is still a sham and now, owner Rupert Murdoch has just stopped pretending. News Corp., the Murdoch-owned media conglomerate and parent company of Fox News, has donated $1 million to the Republican advocacy group, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This unprecedented donation during an election cycle, comes on the heels of another $1 million donation to the Republican Governors association. Did Murdoch make similar campaign donations to Democratic groups? No. So, let's just stop with the pretense that Fox News is anything other than a political arm of the Republican Party. 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, under the leadership of the highly-partisan and controversial CEO and president Thomas Donohue, has changed from a mostly bi-partisan business lobbying group to a GOP global warming-denying political operation machine.

Donahue's Chamber largely acts now, as a GOP money laundering operation. And the group has pledged to spend $75 million on national, mostly Republican races this year alone.

The Politico reports that this second $1 million donation made by News Corp. to just one political Party during an election year, is unprecedented for a media company.

"The parent companies of other media companies such as Disney (which owns ABC) and General Electric (which owns NBC) have also made political contributions, but typically in far smaller chunks, and split between Democrats and Republicans."

"In the past, News Corp. has also spread its donations between candidates of both parties. The huge gift to the RGA raised questions among some media critics about whether News Corp. had crossed over an inappropriate line for a media company. The second donation is likely to rekindle that debate - and to make both News Corp. Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch and Fox News even more of a liberal target."

Besides the huge donations to Republicans made by its parent company, Fox News also employees most of the top GOP presidential contenders as contributors, affording them hours of free air time to advance their campaigns.


imamomzilla
by on Mar. 28, 2011 at 10:23 AM

 good

Quoting candlegal:

which is why they are trying so hard to bring them down, lol

They just can't handle the competition,  is that it?

Quoting Goodwoman614:

Fox is Not News. So what if an org points this out? But I for one can't help but to smh at how ppl take this carnival entertainment poseur of a show - and it is a "show," most definitely - seriously...it has never been news.


 

Jenniejen77
by on Mar. 28, 2011 at 10:23 AM

No, it's because Fox News is irresponsible and doesn't report factual news. Granted, that could be said for other stations as well ( I don't have cable of any kind so am not partial to any network), but Fox has been, time and again, shown to lie. That's incredibly irresponsible and they should be held liable for it. 

Quoting candlegal:

which is why they are trying so hard to bring them down, lol

They just can't handle the competition,  is that it?

Quoting Goodwoman614:

Fox is Not News. So what if an org points this out? But I for one can't help but to smh at how ppl take this carnival entertainment poseur of a show - and it is a "show," most definitely - seriously...it has never been news.



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