National Rifle Association president David Keene told NRA News’ “The Daily News with Ginny Simone” that the Department of Justice’s collusion with left-wing advocacy organization Media Matters for America is a taxpayer-funded “propaganda machine.”
“This is not an administration that deals in issues,” Keene, a veteran of GOP politics for several decades, said on the show. “This is an administration that deals in personalities. You can see it at the presidential level – the whole [argument] is not ‘Gov. Romney is wrong on the issues,’ it’s ‘Gov. Romney is a rotten person who you shouldn’t have anything to do with.’ It’s not that the ‘whistleblowers weren’t telling people what was true,’ it’s that the ‘whistleblowers are not perfect people either.’ It’s not that ‘what the reporter is saying is wrong,’ it’s that what the ‘reporter shouldn’t be saying it because the reporter is doing it for ambitious reasons or doesn’t like us or had something in his past that we can exploit.’”
“These are people who are involved in character assassination for purely political and ideological reasons,” Keene added. “What The Daily Caller has done is unearthed the emails through the Freedom of Information Act that shows they’re doing it on our dime. The taxpayers are paying for a massive political operation designed the smear the character American citizens who are just doing their jobs.”
This week, The Daily Caller published a series of emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request that show the Justice Department’s Office of Public Affairs director Tracy Schmaler working with Media Matters staffers to attack reporters covering administration scandals.
Many of the targets of the coordination between Schmaler and Media Matters – including one former Justice Department employee — have called for Schmaler’s resignation. Members of Congress have banded together, too, to call for investigations into whether Media Matters should lose its tax-exempt status.
Tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, which Media Matters enjoys, allows its donors to claim income-tax deductions for their contributions, and also exempts Media Matters itself from paying federal tax on its income. That status is typically reserved for organizations that don’t engage in excessive partisan politicking.
House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa compared the collusive behavior between the administration and Media Matters to former President Richard Nixon’s infamous “enemies list.”
“Not since Richard Nixon have we seen a president who puts together an enemies list and has a whole team pursuing it,” Issa said this week. “That’s what’s happened in this administration. It’s sad. It’s not the America I want to see going forward. I sincerely hope that after the election, regardless, the American people will have made a statement that they won’t tolerate this.”
But Keene said the Obama administration has gone a step further than Nixon ever did.
“Everybody was so upset when Richard Nixon kept an ‘enemies list’ of people he didn’t like,” Keene said. “They said, well, ‘This is terrible for a president to do that,’ even if they couldn’t prove he did anything against them [the people on the list]. Here, we have an administration complicit with the media developing an enemies list that they can all go after.”
“It is a propaganda machine,” Keene added. “And, the terrible part – I’ve been involved at the political level in this country for 40 years. I’ve been involved in every presidential campaign since the ‘60s. I’ve been involved in lots of other campaigns and advocacy activities – not just for the NRA, but through a whole career – and I can tell you right now that I have never seen a year, never seen a cycle, where the mainstream media is so in bed with a political party and an ideology. They will do anything. You see it not just on the refusal – except when forced – to cover Fast and Furious, and just like the news in the past few days on what happened in Libya, they will not even cover that.”