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Ed Driscoll

‘Is the White House Manipulating the Media through Media Matters?’

February 13th, 2012 - 11:00 am

Everybody and his cousin in the starboard side of the Blogosphere has linked to the Daily Caller’s first expose inside the paranoid Media Matters bunker, the sequel to their brilliant 2010 reporting on the JournoList, the self-described “non-official campaign” in the Beltway media to help elect Obama president in 2008. And speaking of which, note this in yesterday’s article:

“The entire progressive blogosphere picked up our stuff,” says a Media Matters source, “from Daily Kos to Salon. Greg Sargent [of the Washington Post] will write anything you give him. He was the go-to guy to leak stuff.”

“If you can’t get it anywhere else, Greg Sargent’s always game,” agreed another source with firsthand knowledge.

Reached by phone, Sargent declined to comment.

“The HuffPo guys were good, Sam Stein and Nico [Pitney],” remembered one former staffer. “The people at Huffington Post were always eager to cooperate, which is no surprise given David’s long history with Arianna [Huffington].”

“Jim Rainey at the LA Times took a lot of our stuff,” the staffer continued. “So did Joe Garofoli at the San Francisco Chronicle. We’ve pushed stories to Eugene Robinson and E.J. Dionne [at the Washington Post]. Brian Stelter at the New York Times was helpful.”

“Ben Smith [formerly of Politico, now at BuzzFeed.com] will take stories and write what you want him to write,” explained the former employee, whose account was confirmed by other sources. Staffers at Media Matters “knew they could dump stuff to Ben Smith, they knew they could dump it at Plum Line [Greg Sargent’s Washington Post blog], so that’s where they sent it.”

Smith, who refused to comment on the substance of these claims, later took to Twitter to say that he has been critical of Media Matters.

Smith was also a self-confessed member of the JournoList; as Glenn Reynolds notes, MMFA and the JournoList share some remarkable traits:

Of course, to the extent that Media Matters affects coverage it’s because left-leaning journos regard it as legitimate, and want to help. In this regard, like JournoList, it’s a “self-herding device.”

And like the JournoList, a way to take ordinarily mild-mannered folks and whip them into a frenzied mob.

But Ed Morrissey, the source of our headline above, wonders if the Daily Caller didn’t out-think themselves and wound-up burying the lede on their story:

The actual story here might be the reverse of how Carlson et al frame it here.  This sounds as though the White House uses Brock and Media Matters to conduct a proxy war against its perceived enemies in the news media and to push its propaganda out through the MSM.  The DC’s descriptions of attacks on reporters and media outlets who don’t fall in line would make MMFA a very valuable pitbull for Jarrett and Obama, and one with some plausible deniability, at least until now.  This should really be the screaming red flag in the article, rather than some of the salacious tidbits about Brock.

Interestingly, just a few days ago someone else connected the White House to Media Matters, along with a warning that their relationship could cost Obama the next election.  The name of that right-wing nut?  Alan Dershowitz:

Read the whole thing (both Ed’s post and the underlying Daily Caller article).

Another timely question is posed by P.J. Salvatore of Big Journalism: “Who did MMfA tick off that so many sources as of late are throwing them under the bus?

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