FrontPage Magazine has an in-depth look inside Media Matters for America, the “progressive” political outfit that’s become quite well known for their vitriolic attacks against anyone who doesn’t toe their party line. FrontPage notes that Media Matters is acting as Hillary Clinton’s personal media attack dogs, and how those political concerns played into their decision to flog the Don Imus story into a national frenzy.
It’s always interesting to note how Hillary used to decry the “vast right-wing conspiracy,” and yet she’s using the same tactics that she claimed the Right used in her quest for political power. The web of allied organizations from George Soros’ Open Society Institutes (as well as support of MoveOn.org, another group with deep ties to the Clintons) and John Podesta’s Center for American Progress which forms Hillary Clinton’s personal shadow cabinet.
The problem with Media Matters for America and the rest of these web of left-wing “think tanks” is that they’re not think tanks at all. They’re not driven by policy, they’re driven by politics. They are essentially cargo cult versions of right-wing institutions such as The Heritage Foundation, but designed not to advance a particular message but be the personal attack dogs of left-wing candidates. Media Matters, for instance, is so stridently partisan as to be unmistakable as anything but a political organization — so much so that they frequently seem to skirt the edge of what a 501(c)(3) organization can do.
Granted, any group of like-minded philanthropists is likely to have connections to a whole host of like-minded groups — that sort of analysis doesn’t prove anything. However, given that all of these organizations seek to advance political rather than policy objectives is telling. Media Matters is not a media watchdog, they’re a group of pit-bulls for hire, part of an attempt by liberal political operatives to create a left-wing analogue of the Right — but not the Right as it actually works, but the Right as they see it — which is why these organizations won’t have much impact once Hillary Clinton’s political future ends.
The reason why right-wing think tanks have been so successful is that they try to stay out of the political fray as much as possible. They’re not in it to support candidates or bash “the other side” but to advance a particular agenda and support that agenda with hard evidence and intellectual arguments. The left, for the most part, doesn’t follow suit. They’re more stridently ideological, less rigorous, and infinitely more political. It’s also why this movement won’t last — temporal politics are constantly shifting, and the “progressive” movement is simply the same old liberalism with a new veneer. It isn’t that their cannot be a legitimate and long-lasting left-wing think tank in this country — the Brookings Institution is a long-standing and very well respected center-left think tank, and the Institute for Policy Studies has been in existence for decades. The problem is that when what should ostensibly be an institute for the study of policy starts getting involved in politics, they lose all pretense of objectivity. Media Matters never even had the pretense, and while they managed to score one scalp with the Imus firing (which happened to hurt Democrats more than Republicans), the reality is that its clear even to other Democrats who pays their bills and why they’re not watchdogs but lapdogs who bark furiously at anyone who dare say an unkind word to their master.