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Media Matters' Stunning Hypocrisy on Anonymous Donations


Ever since the shellacking Democrats suffered in the midterms, their strategists and donors have been meeting to discuss plans for 2012. Tuesday, the New York Times reported on the latest high profile effort by David Brock, head of Media Matters:

David Brock, a prominent Democratic political operative, says he has amassed $4 million in pledges over the last few weeks and is moving quickly to hire a staff to set up what he hopes will become a permanent liberal counterweight over the airwaves to the Republican-leaning outside groups that spent so heavily on this year’s midterm elections.

The new group, called American Bridge, will be required to publish its donors on a regular basis; however, the Times indicates that Brock is positioning his new entity in such a way that it will be able to receive anonymous money as well:

Mr. Brock appears to be positioning his new organization so that fund-raising consultants can raise money for Democratic-oriented media efforts not just through American Bridge but also via one of the nonprofit organizations Mr. Brock currently runs, Media Matters Action Network, which does not disclose its donors.

The action network, which tracks conservative politicians and advocacy organizations, is organized as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit group and is set to take on an expanded role in the 2012 elections, including potentially running television ads, according to an internal draft concept paper about American Bridge’s and Media Matter Action Network’s plans obtained by The New York Times.

The hypocrisy of this move is nothing short of stunning. Indeed, even the reliably liberal Greg Sargent at the Washington Post finds it disconcerting. Before the midterm elections, Brock’s Media Matters was churning out partisan analysis calling Karl Rove’s group a “slush fund” full of “secret donations.” Media Matters’ Senior Fellow Eric Boehlert wrote repeatedly that the press was not taking enough interest in the Chamber of Commerce story (a baseless story invented by a writer at Think Progress). And that’s truly just scratching the surface. Searching Media Matters’ for the words “Chamber of Commerce” yields 154 results between 10/4/10 and 11/4/10. Apparently, railing against anonymous donations was a big deal at Media Matters, but that was long ago…in October.

Now David Brock is raising millions to build his own group which will operate along similar lines. He offered this defense to Greg Sargent “We do not make the rules. We must make 2012 a more equal contest than 2010.” So, like everything that Media Matters puts out, it was always about politics and never about principle. Mainstream journalists who rely on Brock’s content might want to keep that in mind.

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