It is more than a little bit rich to consider that Tucker Carlson's Daily Caller is attacking Media Matters for America for some weird allegation of coordination with the White House. In case you weren't aware, the Daily Caller exists because Foster Friess, Rick Santorum's billionaire, has tossed millions into the venture. I'm certain he doesn't expect anything in return for that investment, right? I'm equally certain that they're not skewing their Republican primary coverage in favor of Rick Santorum. Right?
Here's the content of the attack against Media Matters. Carlson's outfit alleges that there is direct coordination of messages between the White House and outside media, and he has unsourced quotes and a private memo to prove it! And because they view Media Matters' head David Brock as paranoid, these things should somehow prove the need to strip them of their tax-exempt status. Of course, this is part of a larger campaign that has been ongoing since July of last year to try to strip Media Matters of their tax-exempt status.
Via The Politico:
The top editors at the Daily Caller have come out with the first in a series of articles about the liberal media watchdog Media Matters For America, and in doing so they have suggested that MSNBC and reporters from the Washington Post, POLITICO, the Huffington Post and elsewhere have served as dumping grounds or willing surrogates for MMFA's research.
But in making this allegation, Carlson, the founder and editor-in-chief of the Daily Caller, and Vince Coglianese, the senior online editor, do not cite specific examples to back up that allegation. And reached by phone this morning, Carlson suggested that he did not need to cite specific examples because the charges against the reporters were being made by staffers at MMFA, not by the Daily Caller.
"The charge is not our charge," Carlson explained. "The charge is being made by employees at Media Matters, who would know. This is not an editorial, it is reporting that we did out of which came the claim that we wrote in the story. I can't add to what they've already told us."
Pardon me here. Media Matters publishes its research for anyone to use. Isn't it likely that liberals would be most likely to use it? I certainly make sure to stop by their site and check because it's a lot easier than actually watching that junk 24/7, after all. This seems to me to be a non-story turned into a story in order to allow Megyn to renew Fox News' call to revoke Media Matters' tax-exempt status, which of course they do in the course of this interview, at about 6:50 or so:
KELLY: I don't know. Is there something you think needs to be done as a result of all of this? About Media Matters. I mean, are they-- in terms of tax dollars, in terms of just public awareness, or is it just a group that has an outlook like a lot of groups that have an outlook, and is entitled to that point of view?
COGLIANESE: Well, we believe that they deserve scrutiny. I mean, as a journalistic organization we believe that Media Matters deserves to be shown the light of day and let the people judge for themselves. Now you bring up the issue of tax exemption. They are a tax-exempt organization, a 501(c)(3).
Their proximity to the White House, their ability to coerce media, and really their efforts to destroy Fox News -- and by the way, that's not just like throwing out a term, they really do want to destroy this network -- really does raise questions.
Can an organization that claims tax-exempt status go after a media organization, a journalistic organization like Fox News and try and destroy its business? They went so far as to try to destroy Ford Motor Company's business in their efforts to take down Lou Dobbs on CNN.
This is an influential organization that's claiming tax-exempt status and it deserves scrutiny.
Hmmm. Let's start with the claims about the Daily Caller. A journalistic organization? Really? They're a journalistic organization like Matt Drudge is, maybe. If you like gossip, innuendo, and lots of unsourced allegations and smears (see the one against Michele Bachmann, for example), they're about as journalistic as the rags sitting at checkout counters.
The rest of his argument should make you spit coffee across your keyboard if you haven't already, but even if we treat it with any kind of seriousness, one must ask about Media Research Center's proximity to right-wing think tanks and media, no? Like, for example, the regular appearance of MRC's founder Brent Bozell on Hannity and O'Reilly's shows, for example? No daylight there that I can see. You? Oh, by the way. Media Research Center is also a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.
Moving on to the newest allegations against Media Matters, Carlson's
rag publication alleges that Media Matters' Eric Burns visited the White House and met with Valerie Jarrett, quotes an internal memo which allegedly states that Fox News "is a political organization, and their aim is to destroy a progressive policy agenda." They say that claim is bolstered by Anita Dunn's declaration a week later dismissing Fox as "more a wing of the Republican party." Well. Duh. I don't think Dunn needed Media Matters to tell her that.
The article even goes so far as to defend discredited birther Jerome Corsi's discredited book, because Media Matters dared to write a memo that the Obama administration echoed in a later release.
Probably the most insidious aspect to Carlson's hack job on Media Matters, though, comes at David Brock's expense. Brock has been a target of the right-wing hacks for years. Now these nasty personal attacks on David Brock couldn't be because he has a new book coming out about Fox News, could they? Witness this insane "analysis" of Brock's personality by Fox News psycho(logist) and Glenn Beck buddy Keith Ablow. Whether paranoia is or isn't a part of Brock's personality shouldn't really have much to do with Media Matters' content, especially when it's Fox News reporting it. Because of course, Roger Ailes isn't paranoid at all either, is he?
As for the breathless allegations about Media Matters' feeding information to that so-called liberal media? Jon Chait debunks it quite well:
This is … really dumb. Obtaining information from biased sources is an activity known in the journalism profession as “reporting.” The job of a journalist is to process the information and to decide if it checks out, if it’s worth publishing, if it means what the source says it means, and so on. (I have no memory of ever communicating with anybody from Media Matters, but it’s possible I have. )
Now, it’s a good story if the Daily Caller can show that Media Matters got reporters to publish stories that weren’t true, or were slanted to its perspective. But the Daily Caller doesn’t show that.
It does apparently have a source claiming that Ben Smith will write whatever Media Matters wants him to write. But that’s transparently false. I’m pretty sure Media Matters didn’t want Ben Smith to write a story linking Media Matters to anti-Semitism. And this, of course, makes you further doubt the alleged source’s claim that various journalists are in Media Matters’ pocket. So we’re really left with a nothing-burger about an advocacy organization that, like hundreds of advocacy organizations, has given its work to journalists. Scandal!
Here's what this is really about. It's really about an organization (Media Matters) showing the right-wing and Fox News in particular for what they are: cynical, biased, obsessed people who are indeed trying to distract viewers from the problems of the right wing by taking aim at the left wing. It's what Breitbart does, it's what Carlson does, and it's what Fox News does. Damn the facts, full speed ahead. They're just ramping up the noise machine in order to stir up those people who are already less informed because they watch Fox News into a froth so that they'll get at least a little bit excited about a 2012 general election that none of them are particularly excited about.
If Tucker Carlson thinks producing an already-published memo and a bunch of rumors will somehow mobilize that group, he's deluding himself. And his billionaire.