Yesterday, my fellow Philly Mag blogger Joel Mathis was able to rile up the ire of the left with his post “Fox News Used Fake Online Commenters to Counter Bad Publicity.”
I had to smile at the indignation of posters to the stunning disclosure that some people aren’t who they say they are on the Internet. I hope none of the commenters, many of them anonymous, aren’t too disappointed when Bambi, the college cheerleader they’ve been chatting with online turns out to be Chuck the long haul trucker.
Aside from the feigned indignation from the ignorantly blissful, I was more than a little irritated that the primary source of the story is Media Matters, a liberal media goon squad whose sole objective is to discredit stories and sources that don’t toe the progressive, democratic party line.
I worked as the morning host of WWIQ, a short-lived conservative talk radio station. The sales staff was bright, eager and happy to have jobs in a tough economy. It was difficult to stomach, as Media Matters undermined sale after sale. A client would buy time and suddenly get phone calls and emails from a concerned mother, a retired veteran or a fellow business owner; all claiming to be from the area; all threatening to boycott if the owner didn’t stop running ads on IQ 106.9.
It didn’t matter that the caller IDs showed many of the phone calls were from Washington, D.C., or Massachusets, the businesses didn’t need the headache and so they would cancel. Sales person after sales person was let go until the station was finally sold. Some of the sales staff still have not found employment, all because they worked for a radio station that didn’t agree with Media Matters. All because of the same kind of well orchestrated, less than honest campaign that Media Matters now finds so offensive from Fox News.
Media Matters has used these tactics across the country to attack and undermine radio stations, blogs and its prime target, Fox News. Media Matters CEO David Brock boasted to Politico in 2011 that his organization engages in “guerilla warfare and sabotage” to battle conservatives in the media.
Who finances this goon squad of liberal media assassins? You do, whether you agree with them or not. Media Matters has federal tax-exempt status. In other words, they get a federal tax subsidy to undermine free speech, to quiet and discredit anyone with whom they disagree.
I don’t think there are many of us who like the current media trend of partisan opinion over facts or manipulated argument over honest debate that only serves to further divide us without educating us. But in a country that holds freedom of expression sacred, media organizations, like Fox News and MSNBC, are allowed to pander to the adoring political bases of the two major political parties, as long as they are self-funded.
No one questions the right of Media Matters to disagree with Fox News or conservative radio stations, even if it hypocritically engages in the same partisan blood sport that it claims to abhor. But no one can defend its status as a non-profit, a designation saved for charitable organizations that help the sick and needy, without political agenda or partisan purpose.
The fact that Media Matters manipulates tax law to attack and “sabotage” in self-interest, is much more repulsive than any accusation it makes against Fox News.