In light of recent investigative reports from the Daily Caller that reveal close coordination between Media Matters for America and the White House, BigJournalism and BigGovernment have undertaken the task of revisiting some of our prior reporting on the media watchdog group and our list of its donors. We thought it prudent to highlight some of the mutual financial connections to the Obama White House and MMFA, starting with Big Labor.
In all, labor unions have donated at least nearly $500,000 directly to MMFA over the last three years.
During the heated health care reform debates in 2009, there were a series of incidents that occurred, the timing of which seemed to suggest there may have been coordination between MMFA, various White House personnel and some of those donor labor unions.
The build-up of activity culminated in a heavy presence of opposing members from both the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the Tea Party at a town hall meeting in St Louis, Missouri on August 6th, 2009. Earlier that day, Obama advisers David Axelrod and Jim Messina told senators in a two-hour health care brainstorming session for the Democratic Caucus, “If you get hit, we will punch back twice as hard.”
Obama’s Organizing for America sent out a mass email on the same day. Later that evening, the now infamous incident involving the beating of Kenneth Gladney by members of SEIU occurred.
The media scramble that followed the next morning and into the weekend quickly developed into an orchestrated series of gyrations to hijack and control the mainstream narrative, flooding the web and the airwaves with deflection and disinformation to eradicate any hint of accountability away from anyone associated with SEIU or the White House. That charge was lead by MMFA.
In 2010, BigGovernment compiled a detailed timeline of those events, and highlighted the SEIU’s financial contributions to MMFA. The contributions stood out at the time, not only because SEIU was deeply embroiled in the health care reform debate and the Gladney incident, but because the notorious purple-shirted labor union had never contributed to MMFA prior to that time, nor has it done so ever since, at least not according to Department of Labor financial reports.
The Daily Caller has reported that MMFA founder David Brock met at the White House in June 2010 with Valerie Jarrett and Anita Dunn, and that since then, MMFA has been conducting weekly conference calls with the White House. It also notes that progressive groups participate in a weekly meeting together that includes a White House representative.
Labor unions have also contributed to progressive organizations that have been financially tied to MMFA, like the Tides Foundation and the Center for American Progress (CAP), to which unions contributed over $420,000 and over $1,000,000 dollars in 2010 alone, respectively. You may recall from prior reporting at BigGovernment that CAP – along with help from Hillary Clinton and Democracy Alliance – also helped to get MMFA off the ground.
Harvard Law professor and liberal Democrat Alan Dershowitz recently admonished both MMFA and CAP as “the David Duke of the extreme left,” and proclaimed that he “cannot vote for a candidate with anything to do with Media Matters or the Center for American Progress.”
Big Labor spent $400 million in 2008 ($60 million alone from the SEIU) to elect President Barack Obama and Democrats, and the Associated Press reports today that they are gearing up to spend another $400 million in the 2012 election to re-elect them again.
With all the money and influence wrapped up in a progressive “watchdog” organization that shares such powerful donors and connections with the White House, it’s difficult to see how the work of MMFA – a tax-exempt entity – constitutes transparency.
Is the time ripe for #OccupyMediaMatters?