Liberal Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz says Media Matters could become the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of 2012 for the Obama campaign if the White House and the Democratic Party don’t clearly distance themselves from the organization.
“Well I think if swing voters in the pro-Israel community had any idea how extreme Media Matters was on issues of Israel and supporters of Israel, they would regard Media Matters as another, you know, Rev. Wright,” Dershowitz told The Daily Caller.
“And for many, many in the pro-Israel community, it would be a game changer.”
Dershowitz went so far as to suggest that Media Matters’s rhetoric on Israel, particularly from Media Matters Action Network senior fellow M.J. Rosenberg, is similar to what one would find on a neo-Nazi website.
“When I started reading their stuff it sounded like the kind of stuff you see on neo-Nazi websites,” Dershowitz said. “Or on Hezbollah-supporter websites. It is so extremist. The thing that shocked me is that anybody regarded it as mainstream.”
Media Matters did not respond to a request by TheDC for comment.
Dershowitz said he is not on Media Matters’s email list and is only aware of the language they use when discussing Israel and Israel’s supporters because of emails sent to him from what he identifies as a neo-Nazi website, ReportersNotebook.
“You know where I get their stuff? I read their stuff mostly on a neo-Nazi website that sends it to me,” he explained. “Somehow I am on their mailing list. I am not on Media Matters’s mailing list. But I tend to read Media Matters articles when they’re sent to me by a neo-Nazi website.” (RELATED: Read the ‘Inside Media Matters’ investigative series)
The man behind ReportersNotebook, Michael Santomauro, denied that his email or blog is neo-Nazi in orientation, though he admits to questioning the narrative of the Holocaust and says he believes that Israel is a fascist state.
Though Dershowitz says he doesn’t think the Obama administration and Media Matters are close, he believes the White House has to clearly distance itself from the organization because Democrats like him cannot exist within a tent that tolerates Media Matters.
“The Obama administration cannot have Media Matters and me or people who look to me for advice,” Dershowitz told TheDC. “We cannot be in the same tent. The tent is not big enough to include us.”
When informed of TheDC’s report that the White House is in regular contact with Media Matters, Dershowitz said that if true it had to stop.
“They should have no connection whatsoever to organizations that are so virulently anti-Israel,” he said.
“Let nobody confuse Media Matters with J-Street or anything like that. We’re not talking about that. We’re talking about virulently bigoted, anti-Israel rhetoric that begins to border on anti-Semitism at some point.”
Dershowitz said those fellow liberals he knows that are aware of what Media Matters puts out are “furious” and if it became more widely known it could hurt President Obama’s re-election prospects.
“People who know about it are furious but the problem is most people don’t know about it. You know, Media Matters doesn’t matter for the most part,” he explained.
He continued: “If this has any influence on the White House and that becomes widely known, it will — I mean, I cannot imagine, I’m down in Florida now, and I cannot imagine and the Jewish community in Florida and the pro-Israel community, which includes a lot of non-Jews as well down here. Many of them are on the fence. And if this were to become well known that would push them off the fence.”
Earlier this month Dershowitz reportedly made a similar call for Democrats to distance themselves from Media Matters while speaking at the University of Pennsylvania.