David Brock: Big Money in Politics–for Democrats–Necessary to Defeat GOP ‘Dark Money’

AP Photo/Danny Johnston
AP Photo/Danny Johnston

WASHINGTON — Media Matters for America founder David Brock says that Democrats cannot “unilaterally disarm” when it comes to spending billions against Republicans this election cycle, and that the mainstream media is “on notice” not to wander in the direction of conservative reporting.

Brock held a conversation in a Georgetown University student lounge Monday night, moderated by Politico reporter Hadas Gold and hosted by former Democratic National Committee spokesman Mo Elleithee, and also conducted a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” earlier in the day. Brock, a former conservative reporter who now runs the pro-Clinton super PAC Correct the Record and other pro-Clinton organizations, used violent imagery to describe his war on the Right.

“None of us likes big money in politics, but I believe until we elect more Democrats and change the rules, Democrats can’t unilaterally disarm,” Brock said on Reddit. “That means supporting our SuperPACS. [Correct the Record] follows what the law requires, disclosing all our donors publicly.”

Brock fielded several questions about big donors to progressive politicians, deflecting Redditors’ concerns with an even bigger boogeyman: conservatives, especially the Koch brothers, spending “dark money.”

“Because right-wingers tend to engage more through dark money,” Brock wrote in one of three answers using the term. “Or, put another way, there’s less transparency with those folks.”

Brock went into greater detail in the Georgetown session, where he engaged in a fair amount of paranoid talk about conservatives while plugging his latest book slamming conservative media (Breitbart News and our Washington bureau chief Matthew Boyle show up in the Index).

Here are the highlights from Brock’s talk:

His organizations plan to fight hard this week against the efforts of Trey Gowdy’s Benghazi Committee before Hillary Clinton testifies Thursday:

“Correct the Record is solely a Hillary-centric organization. We’ve already begun doing a lot of pre-emptive work” to show what Republicans are “really up to,” Brock said. Brock noted that Correct the Record is managing a rapid-response operation this week to disseminate pro-Clinton information as she prepares to testify.

Correct the Record has been coordinating closely with the Clinton campaign, claiming that the FEC has not prohibited PACs and political campaigns from coordinating on Internet content that does not include paid advertisements. However, Clinton-World has so far has not shown any evidence that the Federal Election Commission (FEC) has blessed the PAC acting on the presumed loophole.

He thinks the Koch Brothers are trying to “take over” the country:

“I do,” Brock said when asked if he still thinks there’s a “vast right-wing conspiracy.” Brock said that the conspiracy has gotten more advanced since he was a member in the 1990s.

“In comparison to what is going on today, it was a ragtag, seat-of-the-pants operation. Today it is really centered on the Koch Brothers,” who are taking a “disciplined approach, trying to take over not only the federal government” but state governments, as well. “It’s better-funded, it’s more sophisticated. The Koch Brothers operate somewhat in the dark, but now [the conspiracy is] right in front of our face every day.”

The media is “on notice” not to be too conservative:

“The mainstream media was under pressure from the organized Right. Now because of the organizations we have, they know that both sides are watching,” Brock said, noting that Media Matters helped “change how others view Fox [News].”

Previously, “you very frequently saw a story on Fox bounce over to the mainstream media. You don’t see that as much anymore, because the press is on notice that if you run a false story,” there will be consequences.

He likes Politico:

“I didn’t say a bad thing about Politico in my book,” Brock said.

Politico’s Hadas Gold said that her publication gets “ten emails a day” from Media Matters.

Reporting on Hillary is “sexism” and unfair:

Brock complained about “the use of sexism against Hillary” on the email scandal, in contrast to coverage of Colin Powell deleting his emails as Secretary of State or Jeb Bush not disclosing all of his gubernatorial emails.

Brock said that the media was out to get Hillary, as evidenced by the fact that they had reporters covering her before she announced her candidacy.

“I was observing the fact that a lot of media outlets put reporters on Hillary early. Hillary left the State Department in 2013,” and some in the media immediately tried to “tarnish her record and reputation,” Brock said.

“The fact that there were reporters on the Clinton beat early… They were looking for any crumb. For competitive reasons, not ideological reasons… Can the competitiveness lead to flawed reporting because they’re afraid of getting scooped?”

“Aside from Donald Trump, the Clintons are the best for ratings and click-throughs… getting links from Matt Drudge.”

The New York Times erred in promoting Breitbart Senior Editor-at-Large Peter Schweizer’s book Clinton Cash, according to Brock:

“With the Clinton Cash book, they did a deal with a right-wing operative. There was dissension in the newsroom about that.”

Brock blasted the Times for linking Clinton to criminal conduct on the email scandal on its front page at least three times, and he said that the Times has been going after the Clintons since 1992, when Republican operatives managed to convince the newspaper to report on the Whitewater scandal.

It’s too early to know if there’s been a change” in the New York Times‘ Clinton reporting since Carolyn Ryan became political editor, but Brock said that the Times‘ story Sunday on conflict within the Benghazi Committee was “encouraging,” because “earlier articles were clearly coming from leaks from the Benghazi Commission.”

Glenn Beck is old news:

“Honestly, I haven’t followed Beck since he left the Fox News Channel.”

He won’t discuss how often he talks to Hillary:

“If you want to keep the relationships you have, it’s best not to talk about them.”

Hillary didn’t do much wrong with the email server:

“She herself has said that the original decision to use personal email exclusively was wrong. But beyond that, no.”

Conservative media is based on anger:

“There’s something underneath the success of the conservative media that has to do with anger… Anger, rage. They’re tapping into some kind of id of the conservative movement.”

Brock has no conservative friends:

“No,” Brock said. “I have conservative relatives. I maintain some relationships with some conservatives going back to the 1990s… Not in any meaningful way.”