Jay Reding.com

Hillary’s Pit Bulls For Hire

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.

7 responses to “Hillary’s Pit Bulls For Hire”

  1. Mentoc says:

    I’ve been reading Media Matters for years and I don’t think they’ve ever pretended to be anything but a progressive media watchdog group. They’ve never put up the pretense of balance that you claim they’re violating.

    Their stated purpose has been to chronicle examples of biased media coverage of progressives. I don’t understand how, at their website, you could get any kind of impression that they’re interested in poor portrayals of conservatives, too.

    They’re open about their politics and they supply full context for each incident – much more than can be said for any such watchdog group on the right.

    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.

    Clearly David Brock learned well from the time he spent amongst you.

  2. Jay Reding says:

    I’ve been reading Media Matters for years and I don’t think they’ve ever pretended to be anything but a progressive media watchdog group. They’ve never put up the pretense of balance that you claim they’re violating.

    They don’t have to be balanced, but they can’t engage in the sort of blatant political activity without jeopardizing their 501(c)(3) status. MM is not a charitable organization, they’re a 527 group, and the fact that they’re pretending to be otherwise is dubious at best.

    Their stated purpose has been to chronicle examples of biased media coverage of progressives. I don’t understand how, at their website, you could get any kind of impression that they’re interested in poor portrayals of conservatives, too.

    Their stated purpose is one thing — their record is another. By their record, they are nothing more than attack dogs going after anyone who departs from their vision of the “party line” — and that party line is dictated, directly or indirectly, by the Clinton campaign.

    They’re open about their politics and they supply full context for each incident – much more than can be said for any such watchdog group on the right.

    No, they don’t. It’s not logically consistent to argue that on one hand you’re a media “watchdog” and on the other you’re pushing an agenda. MM isn’t a watchdog, they’re an organization designed to attack those who don’t toe their own party line — including mainstream media outlets that are by no means “conservative” or “right-wing.”

    Clearly David Brock learned well from the time he spent amongst you.

    David Brock has always been a hack, the only difference between then and now is that now he’s a hack for the other side. The fact that the left is embracing him doesn’t reflect well on the left given that he’s already amply demonstrated his own desire to lie for political purposes before. Just because he’s switched sides doesn’t make him any less of a partisan hack.

  3. Mentoc says:

    They don’t have to be balanced, but they can’t engage in the sort of blatant political activity without jeopardizing their 501(c)(3) status.

    I don’t see that they’re especially political. They’ve not endorsed Hillary or any other Democratic candidate; I presume they don’t donate to campaigns or anything else. Obama and Edwards benefit as much from their attentions as Hillary does so to pretend like they’re some kind of Clinton apparatchik would appear to be ignoring the whole picture.

    By their record, they are nothing more than attack dogs going after anyone who departs from their vision of the “party line” — and that party line is dictated, directly or indirectly, by the Clinton campaign.

    Yeah… I just don’t know what you’re talking about. They’re a progressive organization, so naturally they take the view that progressive policies are more effective than conservative ones. Certainly they have considerable evidence that a progressive agenda better represents the position of the American people.

    As for being “dictated by the Clinton campaign”, that’s just an assumption of bad faith on your part. There’s no evidence at all that Hillary Clinton determines the content of Media Matters. If she did, wouldn’t they spend a lot less time defending Obama and Edwards? Wouldn’t Media Matters be attacking those figures? Obama, especially?

    Certainly Media Matters is progressive and opposed to conservative narratives being privileged by the media. That’s kind of their deal. The implication that they’re completely in Hillary’s corner isn’t supported by any evidence; and it’s contradicted by Media Matters being pretty clearly on the side of any public progressive.

    It’s not logically consistent to argue that on one hand you’re a media “watchdog” and on the other you’re pushing an agenda.

    I don’t see that they’re pushing anything. But just because one is a watchdog doesn’t mean one watches everything. They focus on conservative media figures and media unfairly prejudiced against progressives. That’s their deal. That they don’t pay attention to the few instances when conservatives get the short end of the stick isn’t inconsistent with that – God knows conservatives have their own watchdogs. I don’t see why Media Matters has to do their work for them. Look, here’s what they say about themselves:

    Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.

    I don’t see where they make any particular claims of neutrality. If you want to fault them for being liberal, well, duh. I don’t see any evidence that they’ve taken a particular position on any election, however, which is why they fall within 501(c)(3) status.

    I dunno, maybe you can dive around their website and find where they’ve explicitly endorsed a candidate.

    David Brock has always been a hack

    If you say so, but the tactics he documented are wide-spread among the right. Certainly Ann Coulter hasn’t altered her playbook since the Clinton era. So from what I can see, while he may or may not be a hack, he was someone your side was perfectly willing to use for its own purposes. Complaining now that the shoe is on the other foot – if it even is – just seems like sour grapes, to me. I mean, when this guy was pushing anti-Clinton nonsense, you couldn’t get enough of him.

  4. Jay Reding says:

    1.) The funding of MM is directly connected to high-level Clinton operatives.
    2.) The attack on Don Imus was payback for his comments about Hillary — Don Imus was not a conservative, nor right-wing. He was flogging for Kerry throughout 2004.
    3.) I was 10 years old when David Brock was doing hit pieces on Anita Hill. I certainly wasn’t paying attention them at the time.
    4.) MM is a group of attack dogs. They’re not a 501(c)(3) organization, they act as a 527 like MoveOn.org — they’re misusing the tax code to get preferential tax treatment.

    In the end, getting your information from a blatantly biased, unreliable, and explicitly partisan source like MM is probably your first problem…

  5. Mentoc says:

    1.) The funding of MM is directly connected to high-level Clinton operatives.

    Clinton “operatives”? Tin foil hat, much?

    The attack on Don Imus was payback for his comments about Hillary

    Um, are you sure? Don Imus was fired for his racist comments about a baketball team, not because of anything he said about Hillary. Nobody I know ever considered Don Imus any kind of liberal or progressive, not for the past 10 years anyway, and he was hardly an obscure media figure by any means, so why wouldn’t he have been someone Media Matters kept tabs on? If they’re listening to Debbie Schlussel they have time to listen to Don Imus, I’m sure.

    He was flogging for Kerry throughout 2004.

    So was Andrew Sullivan. Kerry took something like 47% of the vote, right? Clearly supporting Kerry over Bush isn’t the defining character of liberalism – unless you’re saying that slavish devotion to George Bush is mandatory for conservatives.

    They’re not a 501(c)(3) organization

    Um, no, they are a 501(c)(3) organization, it’s a matter of public record. 501(c)(3)’s aren’t required to never take any position on anything; they’re just not allowed to advocate for particular candidates, influence elections, contribute to political parties, or lobby the government. Media Matters doesn’t do any of those things. They post about media coverage on a website. Where is that against the rules for a 501(c)(3)?

    Just being liberal isn’t a violation of the 501(c)(3) statute. Please stop pretending like it is, ok?

    In the end, getting your information from a blatantly biased, unreliable, and explicitly partisan source like MM is probably your first problem…

    I could say the same thing about “Front Page Magazine”, only in that case, it would actually be a true statement. What did I post from Media Matters that was factually inaccurate? What facts have they ever stated that were inaccurate? If you’re going to assert that they’re unreliable, I’d like to see some evidence. Tin foil hat conspiracies about Clinton “operatives” – like she’s got a stable of level 20 ninjas ready to pour poison down a thread while you sleep – don’t substantiate any of your claims.

  6. Jay Reding says:

    Clinton “operatives”? Tin foil hat, much?

    John Podesta, Mark Heilprin, and George Soros are all part of Clinton’s circle, as FrontPage points out.

    Now, that in itself isn’t enough, but when combined with the way that MM conveniently seems to attack those who say anything unkind about the Clinton campaign, there’s more than enough to suggest that MM is acting on the behalf of those who fund them.

    Um, are you sure? Don Imus was fired for his racist comments about a baketball team, not because of anything he said about Hillary. Nobody I know ever considered Don Imus any kind of liberal or progressive, not for the past 10 years anyway, and he was hardly an obscure media figure by any means, so why wouldn’t he have been someone Media Matters kept tabs on? If they’re listening to Debbie Schlussel they have time to listen to Don Imus, I’m sure.

    Imus sure as hell wasn’t a Republican. MM’s flogging of the Imus story reeks of political payback. Imus was one of the few radio hosts who had frequent Democratic guests. Trying to paint him as a “conservative” isn’t borne out by the facts. Imus had been attacking Hillary, and MM just so happens to have been the one flogging the Imus comments. It isn’t enough to take to court, but it’s suspicious as hell.

    Um, no, they are a 501(c)(3) organization, it’s a matter of public record. 501(c)(3)’s aren’t required to never take any position on anything; they’re just not allowed to advocate for particular candidates, influence elections, contribute to political parties, or lobby the government. Media Matters doesn’t do any of those things. They post about media coverage on a website. Where is that against the rules for a 501(c)(3)?

    They have filed as a 501(c)(3), but they constantly skirt the edge of what a 501(c)(3) can legally do. Furthermore, their funding sources indicate close political ties to the Clinton campaign and other 527 groups and they act in a coordinated manner with those groups — which a 501(c)(3) can’t do.

    If MM were a 527, they’d be just another left-wing advocacy group. But they’re shielding themselves as a non-profit charity while engaging in political activism, which is at the very least improper.

  7. Mentoc says:

    John Podesta, Mark Heilprin, and George Soros are all part of Clinton’s circle, as FrontPage points out.

    She’s a person, Jay, she’s allowed to have friends. And those friends are allowed to have jobs, etc. Somehow I think George Soros has better things to do – like manage his multibillion-dollar investment group – than take marching orders from Hillary Clinton.

    Now, that in itself isn’t enough, but when combined with the way that MM conveniently seems to attack those who say anything unkind about the Clinton campaign

    Well, but look. Firstly, Media Matters isn’t attacking people for saying negative things about Hillary Clinton. If they were we’d at the very least never see pieces defending Obama and Edwards – which we do – or we’d see pieces attacking them – which we don’t. Hillary has far more to fear from her two main Democratic challengers, including the one beating her in fundraising, than from any of the Republicans. So if Media Matters was shilling for Clinton, they have a funny way of doing it.

    Secondly – the people who would tend to be saying negative things about Clinton are media conservatives anyway, so naturally they’re saying things that Media Matters finds objectionable. As I told you before they don’t hide the fact that they’re progressive. It’s true that Media Matters highlights people who are saying false things about Hillary Clinton – but she’s a progressive political candidate, and pointing out those things falls within their stated mission.

    The idea that they’re taking marching orders from Hillary just doesn’t make any sense, considering how often they’re defending Edwards and Obama from attacks, too.

    Imus sure as hell wasn’t a Republican.

    So he was neither Democrat nor Republican – just a guy that liked to shoot his mouth off and say stupid things. What’s the issue, here? If you look at their page on Imus, there’s far more about his Rutgers Basketball team remarks than about anything he’s ever said about Hillary. The idea that Hillary sent her Media Matters attack dogs after ol’ Don might play well on Red State, but it doesn’t seem to be supported by any evidence.

    MM just so happens to have been the one flogging the Imus comments.

    They’d been keeping tabs on him for a while. It’s what they do.

    They have filed as a 501(c)(3), but they constantly skirt the edge of what a 501(c)(3) can legally do.

    That’s your opinion, but again, I don’t see it supported with any evidence. The requirements for 501(c)(3) status are quite clear and they clearly fall within them. 501(c)(3) isn’t just for conservatives, you know, but that appears to be your main objection to Media Matters.

    Furthermore, their funding sources indicate close political ties to the Clinton campaign and other 527 groups and they act in a coordinated manner with those groups — which a 501(c)(3) can’t do.

    They do get to be funded, Jay, by anybody who chooses to cut them a check. That’s entirely within the bounds of the 501(c)(3) statute. It should hardly be surprising that someone who donates to Media Matters goes on to donate to other progressive organizations. I don’t see how it even skirts the letter of the law.

    But they’re shielding themselves as a non-profit charity while engaging in political activism, which is at the very least improper.

    What activism? Do they lobby? No. Do they contribute? No. They’re not involved in any election campaign – or if they are, you certainly haven’t shown any evidence of it.