Politics

Politico reporter withheld information about liberal Media Matters For America

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Will Rahn
Senior Editor

Smith, however, did note that Media Matters defended him from Fox News co-anchor Steve Doocy’s criticisms roughly a month prior to his article’s publication.

Near the end of his piece, Smith quoted Media Matters vice president Ari Rabin-Havt as saying Media Matters would target a dozen or so “mid and senior level execs and producers” at Fox News. He did not name them, despite the fact that Media Matters named them all in the memo.

The memo also outlined a strategy of “elite persuasion” involving the targeting of “political and media elites in key markets with aggressive advertising and individual outreach designed to sour conventional wisdom and the media elite’s positive opinions of, misplaced solidarity with, and its tendency to follow or defend Fox News.”

“We will also consider other television radio and print advertising,” the memo continues, “targeting programs and publications that these elites regularly watch, listen to and read like Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, WTOP news radio and Politico.”

Smith was a senior political reporter at Politico when he obtained the memo. In his reporting, he made no mention of Media Matters’ plan to “target” his employer with anti-Fox advertisements.

The complete copy of the Media Matters memo obtained by TheDC did include the five-page budget section omitted in Smith’s online version. Asked why he did not publish those pages, Smith replied, “I posted what I’ve got.”

Responding to a request for comment, Byers said “only Ben can comment on his decision to treat the memo in the way that he did.”

“I chose to note the item because the Daily Caller was writing about a memo it had obtained,” Byers explained in an email, “which had also been obtained and written about last year by one of the very reporters mentioned in DC’s earlier piece.”

Politico editor-in-chief John Harris, did not immediately return a request for comment about why only certain parts of the memo were published in Smith’s March 2011 Politico story.

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Read the full Media Matters memo: