Did SEIU Pay Media Matters to Cover Up the Gladney Beating?
People on the left are constantly asking Andrew Breitbart who funds his "operation." It's grown to become rather amusing, actually. For those of us who are bloggers on The Bigs, we know the truth, we see how things operate. We know there's no giant conservative-leaning lump of cash greasing this machine. If that were the case, I for one think Andrew would probably be home with his family even more, rather than traveling around, worrying about advertising or other ways of self-funding this little "hobby" of his, as the left often like to refer to it.
But let's just look for one moment at where some of that line of thinking comes from on the other side. I've written previously about the birth of Media Matters as a spawn of Rob Stein's Conservative Message Machine Money Matrix road show, from which the Democracy Alliance was born. It's through this organization from which much of the organization's funding had come; in recent years, more has been spread out across other progressive organizations, but the funders often remain the same names in most cases. For instance, The Tides Foundation gave Media Matters and their Action Network over $175,000 just last year. In earlier years, groups like Montclair, New Jersey-based (hometown of Media Matters' Eric Boehlert) Schumann Center for Media & Democracy gave the organization $500,000.
The donors' list is vast and diverse, and we plan to cover that in detail in the future. So I'll focus in on one set of donors to Media Matters, which is the Labor Unions. More specifically, in light of some recent posts regarding the Kenneth Gladney incident, I thought it appropriate to revisit donations made to Media Matters specifically by the Service Employees International Union.
When you look at the timeline of events and the media calendar in general leading up to the Gladney incident last August, it's difficult not to conclude that there was collaboration amongst White House staff, components of Big Labor, and certain liberal media outlets. However, we know that all will continue to deny it.
Further, just as the flurry of media activity finally starts to wind down a bit around October last year, this is when SEIU makes three separate donations to Media Matters totaling $50,000, under the classification of "Communications", according to the SEIU LM-2 report. (In reviewing other LM-2s for several previous years, this appears at least to be the first time that SEIU has donated to Media Matters, and there does not seem to have been another donation recorded since these.)
This is the type of funding that I would question in return to Media Matters. With their membership being so low and their unfunded pension expenses so high, can the SEIU really afford to be randomly donating funds to an organization like Media Matters? Perhaps SEIU purchased advertising on Media Matters' website, but then I'd think it would be categorized as such, as others ad expenses in the LM-2 were. If not advertising, if not random donations, then what's the reason for SEIU having donated these funds? One could logically conclude that Media Matters performed a service in return. Only they can answer that.
That said, I can simply present the basic information here and suggest that readers do their own research and draw their own conclusions, in the absence of any explanation from Media Matters.
The timeline follows below. While it is not all inclusive, it presents a collection of the most pertinent sources at that time.
- Back in St. Louis, Congressman Russ Carnahan's campaign announces Sara Howard as the new director of communications. Howard was formerly Senior Strategist at Obama for America, National Media Relations Specialist for Anna Burger / SEIU, Communications Director for Senator Mark Dayton, and spokesperson for George Soros funded American Coming Together (ACT). She also worked with Buffy Wicks while with SEIU on door-to-door campaigns in Missouri.
- 11:09 pm ET: Media Matters tries to discredit Tea Party protesters by broadly painting the entire movement as "birthers"
12:13 am ET, Media Matters: Special Report says "public venting" at health care town halls, ignores conservative efforts to pack events
- 9:53 AM ET, Huffington Post/Sam Stein: Unions To Take On Conservative Groups Health Care Town Halls; "In a memo sent out on Thursday, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney outlined the blueprint for how the union conglomerate would step up recess activities on health care reform... also uses the specter of the infamous 2000 recount "Brooks Brothers" protest to rally its members to the administration's side."
- Richard Trumka, then AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer (now President) issues a statement, slams the town halls, calls the events corporate funded and part of the conservative strategy.
- 12:47 pm ET, Media Matters: AP reported on town hall disruptions, ignored conservative strategy
- Afternoon: White House aides give Senate Democrats a recess battle plan; David Axelrod and Jim Messina tell senators, “If you get hit, we will punch back twice as hard.” See Politico: White House to Democrats: 'Punch back twice as hard'
- Organizing for America sends out mass email for the Bernard Middle School event in St. Louis, MO:
That very evening, the Kenneth Gladney incident happens in St. Louis at the Bernard Middle School event. A black conservative is beaten by members of SEIU. I'll let the guys at 24th State cover the details of that evening's outcome.
7:14 PM ET by Kate Thomas: Violent tactics at last night's St. Louis town hall meeting
10:11 am ET by Media Matters, Eric Boehlert: Inventing tales of a union "beating"
And after this date, there are so many more, from SEIU and from Media Matters. Simply type in this Google search to retrieve a relatively thorough list.
As you'll see from Google's timeline, October is when the activity calmed down.
Seems to me that -hypothetically speaking, of course - if there were any sort of service arrangement in place, October would have been the most appropriate time for SEIU to make its payment installments and thank Media Matters for a job well done. (That's of course before anyone knew things would be heating up again once the police report would become available in November)
Hm. I wonder if these types of payment installments are regulated under the financial reform bill?