Media Matters sides with Justice Dept, says AP ‘sounds like it should be investigated’

Vince Coglianese Editorial Director
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Media Matters has weighed in on the news that the Justice Department secretly seized extensive phone records from the Associated Press, and the left-wing advocacy group is siding with the government.

“The AP revealed yesterday that the Justice Department secretly obtained two months of reporter and editor phone records from 2012, likely as part of an investigation  into leaks around a counterterrorist operation in the Arabian Peninsula,” reads a Tuesday afternoon post on the Media Matters Action Network website.

“If the press compromised active counter-terror operations for a story that only tipped off the terrorists, that sounds like it should be investigated,” Media Matters argued.

The group insists that the “case raises important questions about the balance between a free press and effective national security.”

In the Associated Press’s Monday report, which revealed the Justice Department’s actions, the news organization explained that they actually delayed publication of the relevant report in the interest of national security.

“The AP delayed reporting the story at the request of government officials who said it would jeopardize national security,” according to the article. “Once officials said those concerns were allayed, the AP disclosed the plot, though the Obama administration continued to request that the story be held until the administration could make an official announcement.”

Media Matters has a notably close relationship with the Obama Justice Department.

Government emails obtained by The Daily Caller in September 2012 showed that Media Matters and the Justice Department have worked in close coordination to quell news stories that reflect negatively on the agency.

Media Matters’ decision to publish a piece addressing the Justice Department’s actions followed a period of conspicuous silence on the issue.

On Tuesday afternoon, FishbowlDC — a Washington-based media gossip site — noted the absence of coverage by the group just minutes before Media Matters posted its pro-Justice Department reaction.

“A search of MMFA‘s website for ‘Associated Press,’ ‘AP’ and ‘Gary Pruitt’ produce no results related to the conflict,” FishbowlDC noted. “While MMFA is an openly progressive non-profit, the organization generally peddles along with the news cycle, posting stories and sending out email blasts that either rebut the conservative side or provide more context meant to render the story a wash.”

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