Media Matters wants a fight, but can’t take a punch

Brock was at least once offered, and refused, an invitation to appear on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” on Feb. 19. “We asked Media Matters to make someone available,” host Howard Kurtz told viewers on that day’s broadcast. “David Brock is not able to come on — the founder of the group — because he’s got a book coming out next week,” he explained.

During that program, when challenged on why Media Matters hadn’t yet responded to the reports published by TheDC, Kurtz responded, “Well, we’re going to give them that opportunity, perhaps next week.”

That opportunity never came, and it was not for a lack of trying.

A producer for “Reliable Sources” accidentally reached out to TheDC to confirm Brock’s appearance on the Feb. 26 broadcast. But that invitation was later retracted, according to Kurtz.

“In the end we wound up not inviting him because we had too much other news to deal with,” Kurtz told TheDC via email.

As to why Brock hasn’t even appeared on the liberal MSNBC to promote the book, the network did not return TheDC’s request for comment.

MSNBC may have some incentive for maintaining distance from Brock. A source within his organization originally told TheDC that Media Matters took credit for “pretty much writing their [MSNBC’s] prime time.” The network’s president, Phil Griffin, made himself readily available to phone calls by Media Matters staff.

Politico, among the few national outlets to speak with Brock for his book tour, published a playful interview with him on March 13. The questions, ranging from “tell us your favorite joke” to “how often do you Google yourself?” are the same asked of every guest in the publication’s “Answer This” series.

Reporter Patrick Gavin told TheDC that he offered Brock the interview on Feb. 7, “before the Daily Caller thing ran [on Feb. 12].” Gavin said Brock’s answers were emailed back to him on Feb. 22, ten days into TheDC’s investigative series on the group.

Brock was also on MSNBC host Ed Schultz’s Feb. 21 radio show, where he took a cursory question regarding TheDC’s reporting.

“We haven’t responded,” Brock said. “Reuters [columnist Jack Shafer] said that The Daily Caller piece was ‘bad journalism and lame propaganda,’ and we don’t feel like we need to respond to that.”

It’s a drastically different PR strategy for an organization whose founder once published an open letter challenging Fox News host Bill O’Reilly to an on-air debate in an effort to defend Media Matters and George Soros, the liberal financier who would eventually become a major contributor to the group.

According to the Dec. 16, 2004 letter, O’Reilly had previously dismissed Media Matters as a “far left, deceitful, disgusting website” composed of “‘character assassins’ and ‘despicable weasels.'”

“You once offered your viewers your definition of the word ‘coward,'” Brock responded in the letter. “On the January 5, 2004, O’Reilly Factor, you declared: ‘If you attack someone publicly, as these men did to me, you have an obligation to face the person you are smearing. If you don’t you are a coward,'” he recalled.

“Well, Mr. O’Reilly,” Brock continued, “you have attacked me publicly on numerous occasions, and you refuse to face me. You, sir, are a coward — by your own definition of the term.”

“Should you continue to refuse this offer,” Brock concluded, “it is only reasonable that the American people will conclude that you are not only — as you would put it — a ‘coward,’ but a hypocrite as well.”

Beginning in February, Fox News has devoted extensive coverage to the challenges facing Media Matters, but none of those reports have elicited a response from the oft-pugnacious media monitoring group. Even the “Fox Attacks Media Matters” video round-up — featured prominently on the MediaMatters.org homepage — has gone dark, with the last clip dated February 8, 2012. The organization’s coverage now excludes dozens of once-meticulously documented mentions of Media Matters on Fox News programs.

Additionally, Media Matters has not published a single entry on its website challenging the many news stories released over the last month about its own operations.

Media Matters did not return a request for comment for this story.

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