When David Brock applied for tax-exempt status for Media Matters for America, he told the IRS exactly who his group would be fighting against: businesses, wealthy Americans and conservative Christians.
“Media Matters for America (MMA) believes that news reporting and analysis by the American media, with its eye on profit margin and preservation of the status quo, has become biased,” read the group’s application, obtained by The Daily Caller, “It is common for news and commentary by the press to present viewpoints that tend to overly promote corporate interests, the rights of the wealthy, and a conservative, Christian-influenced ideology.”
Treasury Department documents — 88 pages that The Daily Caller obtained through a public records request to the IRS — reveal for the first time how the organization described its mission while applying for coveted 501(c)(3) non-profit status.
Media Matters has made no secret of its adherence to progressive principles, but flagging Christianity as having undue influence in media is the latest revelation about the group’s treatment of religion. (RELATED: Complete coverage of Media Matters for America)
The Democratic-aligned ARCA Foundation specifically supplied Media Matters with a $50,000 grant in 2006 “to support a Religious Broadcasting Project to expand the monitoring and fact checking of religious broadcasts,” TheDC reported in February.
A present-day search of the Media Matters website for the terms “religion” and “Christianity” yields a steady stream of anti-Christian criticism and posts aimed at dismissing Christians’ religious concern over President Obama’s contraception mandate.
Another search revealed a large number of articles critical of perceived “Islamophobia.”
The American media are dominated by conservatism and should be called out for that bias, Media Matters claimed in its tax-exempt application.
“The domination of media’s coverage of news by a single ideology betrays the public trust and weakens our democracy,” the group wrote. “MMA has been established to identify occurrences of excessive bias in the American media, educate the public as to their existence, and work with members of the media to reduce them in order to ensure that the public receives news coverage and information that is not only accurate but free from domination by a particular world view.”
Media Matters relied on a survey it commissioned in 2004 to back its claims of conservative media bias. “[D]espite longstanding conservative complaints of liberal media bias,” read an inaugural press release supplied to the IRS, “a plurality of the American electorate today believe that conservatives have more power and influence in the media today than do liberals.”
Conversely, a 2011 Gallup survey showed 60 percent of Americans saw bias in the media, with 47 percent of respondents saying the media are “too liberal.” Only 13 percent said the media are “too conservative.”
Those data have seen little change since Media Matters’ arrival in 2004, when 48 percent of those polled perceived liberal bias while just 15 percent perceived conservative bias.
Media Matters was eventually granted its tax-exempt status and classified as an educational charity.
The group continues to ignore requests for comment for this story and others.