Media Matters matters even less on the Internet

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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Despite having the ear of Obama administration officials and generating research that has had a major influence in driving the agenda of establishment media, direct interest in Media Matters For America on the Internet has been on a downward spiral for years.

Publicly available Web traffic data from Compete, Inc. shows a 62.46 percent decline in unique visitor traffic from U.S. visitors between January 2011 and January 2012. According to Compete, MediaMatters.org received only 219,437 unique views for the month of January 2012. Compete did not return TheDC’s request for comment.

Unique visitor traffic for the Media Research Center, a conservative counterpart to Media Matters, declined only 1.08 percent during the same timeframe, despite having smaller unique traffic numbers. MRC also did not return TheDC’s request for comment.

MediaMatters.org’s traffic generally consists of Caucasian and African-American males — ages 45 and up — who possess graduate degrees and have a yearly income of over $100,000, according to Quantcast. Quantcast did not return TheDC’s request for comment by the time of publication.

Search interest has also decreased tremendously over the years, according to Google Insights for Search.

Since David Brock, a self-described former “conservative hitman,” founded the progressive media organization in 2004, the overall trend in U.S. Web user interest has been on the decline. Conversely, media mentions of Media Matters experienced a brief spike for several months in 2010 and 2011. (INSIDE MEDIA MATTERS: Follow the investigative series here)

Another major search interest spike happened in October 2007, which coincided with the release of a study one month earlier that alleged to have found “conservative syndicated columnists are carried in far more newspapers, with much greater audience reach than their progressive counterparts, giving them a distinct advantage in the marketplace of ideas.”

The study was, however, completed by researchers who “used only their own subjective judgment to assess the ideology of the opinion writers,” Tim Groseclose — author of “Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind” — told TheDC.

Groseclose told TheDC that, in contrast, he computer-based analysis to assess the ideology of politicians when he wrote his book on media bias.

“The opposite was true with the Media Matters researchers,” said Groseclose. “Consequently, they make some questionable assertions. For instance, they call Mort Kondracke conservative, and they call Cokie Roberts centrist.”

Groseclose also told TheDC that Media Matters’ opposition research files on mid-level Fox News employees did not sound like “part of an informational or educational mission,” but rather, more “like harassment.”

Media Matters For America did not respond to TheDC’s request for comment.

Update, Feb. 15:

The Media Research Center clarified Wednesday that it manages four distinct websites, all of whose traffic should be counted together in order to measure the organization’s unique-visitor readership between January 2011 and January 2012: MRC.org (137,362 unique visitors in Jan. 2012), NewsBusters.org (520,208), CNSNews.com (873,737) and MRCTV.org.
MRCAction.org (98,872) is also another distinct website in the MRC Network.
The same can be said for Media Matters for America, which controls the websites MediaMatters.org (219,437 unique visitors in Jan. 2012), MediaMattersAction.org (6,414), PoliticalCorrection.org (18,963), EqualityMatters.org (4,155) and DropFox.com.
Compete.com’s 2011 numbers for MRCTV.org — formerly EyeBlast.tv — and DropFox.com are incomplete and difficult to calculate.
For the sites in the MRC Network for which numbers are available, there were a total of 1,630,179 unique visitors in January 2012, a 39 percent increase from January 2011.
There were a total of 248,969 unique visitors to the corresponding Media Matters sites in January 2012, a 63 percent decline in the same period.

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