Politics

Hit job: What Media Matters and the SEIU got wrong about Fortune’s Nina Easton

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Mike Riggs
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      Mike Riggs

      Mike Riggs is a staff writer at The Daily Caller. He has written and reported for Reason magazine and reason.com, GQ, the Awl, Decibel, Culture 11, the Philadelphia Bulletin, and the Washington City Paper, where he served as an arts and entertainment editor.

Last week, Nina Easton, the Washington editor of Fortune, wrote a column about the SEIU and National People’s Action. The two progressive groups had sent roughly 500 protesters to Easton’s Chevy Chase neighborhood on May 16th to picket the front yard of Bank of America’s Greg Baer. Easton had just put her 2-year-old son down for a nap, and stepped outside to ask the protesters to quiet down. They didn’t. Easton wrote a column. And now she’s become the target of the SEIU and Media Matters for America.

Why? Because Easton, by “refusing” to disclose her husband’s relationship with Bank of America, was misleading her audience at Fortune, and the viewers of FOX News, where she commented on the protest. The only problem? There is no relationship between Easton’s husband and Bank of America.

According to SEIU blogger John Vandeventer, “one Google search” reveals that Easton’s ”husband is Russell Schriefer, Republican strategist and consultant to several big corporate interest groups. In fact, her husband’s client list includes the Business Roundtable, a special interest group that counts Bank of America and other Wall Street banks among its members.” Media Matters’ Brian Frederick reprinted the same intel, citing Vandeventer. Both writers suggested that Easton had committed journalistic malpractice by not revealing her husband’s business doings.

But according to a source close to the family, both writers are wrong. Yes, Russell Schriefer worked with the Business Roundtable — once, during the 90s. And yes, he’s worked for the Chamber of Commerce, but not since 2006. Currently, his firm “primarily does media for Republican senate, governor and presidential candidates”–not Bank of America.

Presumably it was the assumption that Easton had a dog in the fight–not just the fact that protesters woke up her 2-year-old and terrified Baer’s son, who was home alone — that led Vandeventer to write, “a woman came storming across her lawn, screaming at us to shut up and go away — telling us we had no business being there”; and, “The really interesting question here is: why is Ms. Easton so angry? And why has she decided to use her position as a member of the media to air her own personal rant at the people who showed up to share their foreclosure stories?”

Easton declined to comment for this story. Media Matters could not comment before this story went to print. The SEIU did not return The Daily Caller’s request for comment.

Watch Nina Easton on America Live with Megyn Kelly:

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