MMFA and the White House sittin’ in a tree…
Here’s a perfect example of how Media Matters operates. As you read earlier today — and if you haven’t, go read the whole thing — back in Sept. ’09 a Media Matters “senior fellow” named Karl Frisch wrote the following in an internal memo to his bosses:
“Simply put,” Frisch wrote, “the progressive movement is in need of an enemy. George W. Bush is gone. We really don’t have John McCain to kick around any more. Filling the lack of leadership on the right, Fox News has emerged as the central enemy and antagonist of the Obama administration, our Congressional majorities and the progressive movement as a whole.”
We must take Fox News head-on in a well funded, presidential-style campaign to discredit and embarrass the network, making it illegitimate in the eyes of news consumers.”
And then there was some stuff about how to implement this campaign, such as hiring private investigators to dig into the private lives of Fox News employees, and other highly ethical ideas.
Frisch sent that memo on Sept. 29, 2009. That very evening, Media Matters President Eric Burns appeared on Countdown, which at that point was still on MSNBC. (Clip courtesy of Media Matters — thanks, guys! — assuming they haven’t taken it down by the time you read this.)
“So, [Fox News] is no longer a news organization. This is a political organization, and their aim is to destroy a progressive policy agenda. They’d rather win in the ballot box than see any sort of real debate on health care. It’s a real shame.”
Obviously, Burns got the memo.
Who else did? Take it away, Ed Morrissey at Hot Air:
So what was going on at the White House at the time that Frisch sent this memo to Brock? It was just within days that Obama and his administration launched their weird war on Fox News. On October 11th, White House communications chief Anita Dunn — one of MMFA’s main contacts at the White House — went on a nine-minute tirade about Fox on CNN, calling it “an arm of the GOP.” On October 12th, Fox announced that the White House had told them a week earlier that Obama would not do an interview with their network. The same day, John Nichols at The Nation — a leading progressive magazine — called Obama the “Whiner in Chief” over the ongoing battle with Fox. Obama himself joined the attack on October 22nd, complaining that Fox was more like a talk-radio station than a news outlet. Only after this ill-advised war began to unsettle more friendly media outlets and expose the President to gales of criticism over the spectacle of the government launching an attack on a media outlet did the White House retreat at the end of the month from the war they had started.
Weird coincidence, huh? Some guy at a tax-exempt, “nonpartisan” organization puts out an internal memo, and suddenly, out of the blue, the White House is pushing the exact same narrative. As Ed points out, the question isn’t so much whether Media Matters is colluding with the White House, but which one is pulling the other’s strings. Either way, it doesn’t reflect well on the Obama administration.
But then, what does?