There’s never been any point in denying that the vast majority of the journalism industry is liberal, and that a liberal bias in pervasive in its output, but it was once possible to deny that there was nothing conspiratorial about it.
It’s just a matter of like-minded people being drawn to the business, we would assure our more paranoid conservative friends, and a resulting group-think mentality. It’s not as if journalists at competing businesses are coordinating their coverage to serve a partisan political agenda at the direction of some government propaganda bureau.
Then came the “Journolist” scandal, in which a series of e-mails leaked to The Daily Caller exposed that numerous well-read journalists from competing businesses were communicating with one another as well as liberal professors and activists to coordinate their coverage to serve a partisan political agenda. Now the same Daily Caller has revealed that the self-proclaimed “media watchdog” Media Matters for America has weekly strategy sessions with the White House communications department and routinely passes along stories to compliant reporters, an arrangement unlikely to calm our paranoid conservative friends.
The series is full of juicy tidbits, including the bizarre and heavily armed behavior of Media Matters head David Brock, and the group’s ruthless efforts to discredit Fox News and other sources perceived as hostile to the liberal agenda, but most of it won’t come as a surprise to those familiar with the group. The group is well-funded by leftist billionaire George Soros, was founded by self-proclaimed liberals, and has publicly acknowledged that its mission is to counter the insidious influence of whatever conservative media might exist. What’s most newsworthy is that the non-profit and therefore supposedly non-partisan group acted as conduit between government officials and compliant journalists.
In addition to the weekly conference calls with the White House communications department and the liberal Center for American Progress think tank, Media Matters would also meet with White House representatives at a weekly face-to-face meeting with a variety of liberal organizations. Media Matters denies there was any coordination, but past administration talking points eerily echoed Media Matters language, and even stalwart liberal Alan Dershowitz is troubled by the White House’s relationship with a group that is also known for its hostility to Israel.
The connection to the White House is important because Media Matters clearly has influence on a variety of news outlets. The sources quoted by The Daily Caller boast of the big-time by-line stars that would use Media Matters material, including Greg Sargent of The Washington Post, Brian Stelter of The New York Times, Jim Rainey of The Los Angeles Times, and Sam Stein and Nico Pitney of The Huffington Post. The sources also state that “The entire progressive blogosphere picked up our stuff,” and that might also have some effect on public opinion.
— Bud Norman