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The MSM’s ‘Media Matters’ Blackout

While they scramble to bury Rupert Murdoch, they ignore the blatant violation of tax-exempt status by George Soros' pet outfit.

by
Seton Motley

Bio

July 13, 2011 - 12:00 am

The MSM is enjoying a very quiet laugh at the expense of one of their competitors: the Fox News Channel. They’re not saying a word about the all-encompassing, possibly illegal abuse Fox News is experiencing at the hands of the George Soros-funded (to the tune of $1M) Media Matters for America.

Media Matters was co-founded by current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, something which she proudly proclaims. Her fellow founder is David Brock, the fallen conservative journalist who thereafter drifted leftward. Media Matters is an alleged media “monitor,” describing itself on its website thusly:

Launched in May 2004, Media Matters for America put in place, for the first time, the means to systematically monitor a cross section of print, broadcast, cable, radio, and Internet media outlets for conservative misinformation (emphasis mine).

Around March of this year, Brock announced Media Matters was dramatically diminishing said “cross section” by openly declaring “war on Fox.” (The official announcement came just after Soros’ $1M check cleared.) The above link is to the only mainstream outlet I could find that mentions this story.

Brock says Media Matters will hound Fox News with “guerrilla warfare and sabotage.” For instance:

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.

This isn’t “media analysis.” This is a multi-million dollar leftist PR hit squad. Brock is doing all of this because he claims Fox News has become the titular head of the Republican Party.

And herein lies a legal problem for Media Matters.

Media Matters is registered with the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)3 organization. Esteemed attorney C. Boyden Grey explains what that means:

(T)hat is, an organization that can receive tax-deductible contributions to engage in educational activities. The more precise purpose was to counter alleged media bias and so to “identify occurrences of excessive bias in the American media, educate the public as to their existence, and to work with members of the media to reduce them.”

What (Media Matters for America) MMA actually is doing, however, moves far afield from identifying possible bias to mounting a campaign to undermine a major media outlet and to promote the Democratic Party and progressive causes associated with it. Mr. Brock himself has described this new strategy as “a war on Fox,” an effort “to disrupt [Rupert Murdoch‘s] commercial interests” and look for ways to turn regulators against News Corp.’s media outlets.

MMA’s activities should disallow its tax-exempt status in two fundamental ways. First, IRS rulings make clear that attacks on individuals, statement of positions that are unsupported by facts, and use of inflammatory language and other distortions will cost an organization its tax-free status. Second, in declaring “guerrilla warfare” on Fox as the “leader” and “mouthpiece” of the Republican Party and in developing a sophisticated Democratic-leaning media training boot camp, MMA has transformed itself into an aggressive advocate for Democratic and progressive causes and thus produced a second deviation from exempt educational activities.

Per Brock’s own words, if he views Fox News as the head of the Republican Party and has publicly dedicated his organization to going after it, than Media Matters has ceased to be an “educational” entity and has become a political one.

Yet will an investigation commence under President Obama’s IRS? Please don’t halt respiratory activity waiting for that to occur. Racialist shakedown artist Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition — another tax-exempt organization — looks to be a serial violator of IRS law. But as Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly pointed out way back in 2001, that has hardly mattered:

(I)n 1998, the Rainbow Push Coalition cited 1.2 million dollars in travel expenses. But no receipts were provided in the Illinois tax return. You try that.

In 1982, the IRS reviewed Jackson’s nonprofit status. About one million dollars was unaccounted for. Jackson was ordered to repay about seven hundred thousand to the government. It took him years to do it. The IRS did not charge him interest or a penalty. You try to get that deal.

Jesse Jackson is a millionaire but does not have a full-time job. He gets paid to speak and apparently has a steady income flow. He provided his mistress with $40,000 in moving expenses, a $365,000 house and $10,000 a month in child support. Was any of that tax-exempt money? Enquiring minds would like to know.

The government seems to be afraid of Jesse Jackson. He has not been audited since 1982, even though he was a million light. The press is afraid of Jackson, as well. The New York Times played the mistress story on page 26.

Back to Media Matters: the Washington Post reported on Brock last December, but completely by accident. From the article “Outfoxed by Fox News? No Way”:

It takes only an instant for a visitor to Media Matters for America’s headquarters in downtown Washington to sense its mission, if not its methods. A few steps into its modern offices, which resemble a newspaper newsroom, a pair of prominently displayed signs spell out the basics: “Fox Keeps Fear Alive,” reads one; “Restore Sanity, Fight Fox,” reads its companion.

Fighting Fox is what Media Matters does, relentlessly and obsessively. In the six years since its founding, the watchdog group has evolved from an all-purpose scourge of the conservative media into Fox News Channel’s veritable shadow and constant irritant. From well before sunrise to long after it each day, teams of young researchers sift through video clips and transcripts of programs hosted by Fox stars such as Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly to find dubious facts, logical contradictions, and poisonous — at least to Media Matters’ liberal sensibilities — rhetoric.

Juxtapose this gigantic MSM mess with the very recently breaking story of Fox News Channel owner Rupert Murdoch’s problems with his British paper News of the World, which he has now shut down after it came to light that they had hacked telephones in pursuit of stories.

Like Media Matters’ illegal behavior, this too is a big story, and it deserves coverage. Which it has received in heaps.

The media has for months missed that the government should probably yank Media Matters’ tax-exempt status. But they were lightning quick to point out potential government action against Murdoch and Fox News. On ABC’s This Week, Stephen Brill helpfully pointed out:

Well, there is an issue here in the United States. … News Corp has a lot of FCC licenses. There is still a clause in the federal communications law that requires that you have to be of good character to have such a license. And I was reading last night just in the approval that they gave to Comcast to take over NBC, there was actually some guy who challenged the character of Comcast, because when they installed a cable system somewhere they had hurt his building and hadn’t paid for it. And this became a big legal proceeding, actually.

So, here, I am reasonably certain that someone, you know, maybe someone from the political left or whoever, is going to make a big deal of, you know, whether they are fit to have their FCC licenses under the current management.

Yet another opportunity for leftists to improperly and irresponsibly slam their opponents with the massive hammer of government — and it’s the Jurassic Press pointing out the opening. But when leftists are in apparent violation of the law and government action is actually warranted … again, don’t hold your breath.

Seton Motley is a writer, activist, commentator, consultant, political/policy strategist, lecturer, and the president of Less Government, an organization dedicated to, well, less government. Including protecting the First Amendment from governmental assault. He's also editor in chief of StopNetRegulation.org, a project of the Center for Individual Freedom.
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