In his new book “This Town,” New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich describes a concerted effort by the Obama White House to feed negative stories about Rep. Darrel Issa’s past to willing and “trusted” reporters in Washington. The Washington Post has an early copy of the book and explains the context of the anti-Issa smear job:
In the summer of 2010, with Republicans poised to take over the House and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) in line to lead the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the White House started urging reporters to write negative stories about the congressman’s past, a new book says.
It looks like the happy anti-free press folks at Media Matters took up the assignment with gusto. In January of 2011, one week after Issa took over as Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Media Matters issues a breathless “report” entitled REPORT: Media Ignore Rep. Issa’s Alleged Criminal Past.
The post is peppered with lots of scare sub-headlines like, “The Real Issa: Suspected Arson” and “The Real Issa: Auto Theft & Weapons Charges.” All of the sub-headlines and section headers are designed to increase the Google SEO on search terms associated with “Issa” so Media Matters’ smears will receive higher results.
The report is Orwellien in two respects for the Obama Administration, Not only is Media Matters able to repeat the smears promulgated by the White House under the guise of an objective report, but they also pinpoint, name names and bully news outlets for not passing on the White House’s Issa stories.
The report even links to a spreadsheet showing how Media Matters has been watching, listening and monitoring the stories by news agencies and it notes how the media “ignore” the unfounded and baseless allegations against the Republican congressman.
Good to know the White House still has plenty of “trusted reporters” to do their bidding at Media Matters.