And on June 7 Media Matters deployed a suite of eight Web articles in an attempt to extinguish the widespread perception that former President Bill Clinton had gone off script from the Obama campaign’s talking points on several occasions. Among other surprises, Clinton told long-time pal Harvey Weinstein, then sitting in for Piers Morgan on CNN, that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney had a “sterling” record in the business world.
As a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, Media Matters is not permitted to campaign for or against any candidate for elective public office.
But the rules for such government-approved non-profits are advantageously vague and permissive, and Media Matters has so far avoided publicized federal government scrutiny of its qualifications for an income tax exemption — outside of causing concern among congressional Republicans in February.
Media Matters has used that 501(c)(3) status to wage a declared “war” on Fox News Channel, which the group has referred to as the “de facto leader of the GOP,” and to offer regularly published support to Democrats.
TheDC has reported that Media Matters maintains a close working relationship with the Obama White House.
The Washington Free Beacon reported in May that Media Matters executive vice president Ari Rabin-Havt was overheard at a Democratic donors meeting “bragging about a phone call he had received from Stephanie Cutter, deputy campaign manager for the Obama re-election team.”
Neither Rabin-Havt nor Cutter responded to TheDC’s questions about the specifics of that conversation.
And providing cover for Democratic politicians and social progressives has been part of the group’s portfolio since its beginning.
TheDC revealed in April that David Brock, Media Matters’ formerly conservative and presently liberal founder, applied for his fledgling organization’s tax-exempt status in part to combat conservative Christianity in the United States.
That mission was apparent as the group joined the president in attempting to squelch criticism of his administration’s contraception mandate. That demand forced businesses, including religious institutions, to include contraceptive services in their employee health plans despite widespread religious objection.
Media Matters spokesperson Jess Levin did not respond to requests for comment.