Religious broadcasters want IRS investigation of Media Matters

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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Officials at the National Religious Broadcasters organization say they would support the government conducting an investigation into the non-profit tax status of Media Matters after The Daily Caller reported that the liberal group took a $50,000 grant to monitor and attack religious broadcasts.

In an interview with TheDC on Monday, Craig Parshall, the senior vice president and general counsel of the NRB, said he is “deeply disturbed” by the report and said the group welcomes the Internal Revenue Service looking into whether these activities by Media Matters violate its 501(c)3 non-profit status.

It was revealed in TheDC’s “Inside Media Matters” series last week that Media Matters took the grant in 2006 from the ARCA Foundation, a 60-year-old philanthropy that funds Democratic causes.

The Christian Post first reported the news over the weekend that NRB officials support an IRS investigation.

Critics of Media Matters have questioned the group’s non-profit status, accusing it of being activist and partisan.

“I’m wondering if Media Matters needs to re-state in its 990 to the IRS, ‘Oh yeah, our charitable purpose is to conduct Spanish inquisitions of Christian broadcasters and drive them out of the media market place,'” Parshall told TheDC.

“We take ourselves very seriously,” Parshall said Monday. “We tell our people to ascribe to high ethical, financial standards and also good reporting techniques.” (RELATED: More stories in the ‘Inside Media Matters’ investigative series)

The details of Media Matters’ religious monitoring project are not clear and a spokeswoman for Media Matters did not return numerous requests for comments from The Daily Caller last week.

Since 2006, Media Matters has published at least 65 articles about the Christian Broadcasting Network. Titles of those stories include “Is there any tragedy Pat Robertson won’t exploit?” and “Robertson blamed [Ariel] Sharon stroke on policy of ‘dividing God’s land.'”

Other articles critical of religious broadcasters included swipes at Rev. Jerry Falwell and the then-president of Focus on the Family, Dr. James Dobson.

The NRB is a “non-partisan, international association of Christian communicators,” according to its website.

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