Ben Smith of Politico.com reports that the first attack on a new book on Hillary Clinton came from Media Matters for America, “a Democratic-leaning group whose founders are close to the New York Democrat senator’s presidential campaign…” Bingo. It looks like the media may finally be coming to grips with how the Clinton machine operates. The Media Matters attack on a reporter for daring to co-author a book that is somewhat critical of the New York senator is provoking interest in the group’s ties to the Democratic presidential frontrunner. But there is far more to the story.
As we noted in our April 17 special report, “How Hillary’s Hit Man Got Imus,” Media Matters can be considered, for all intents and purposes, a front organization of the Hillary-for-president campaign.
To recap: the attack on Imus really had nothing to do with his shocking comments about a basketball team. Imus was a shock jock paid to say shocking things. Imus was targeted because he hated Hillary and opposed her presidential run. Media Matters posted his comments as a way to get other potential Hillary supporters, such as Al Sharpton, to take up her charge against Imus. Sharpton obliged, later hosting Hillary and her good friend, Marian Wright Edelman, at his National Action Network conference. He had proven to the former First Lady that he could target and destroy one of her main political enemies in the media. For that, Hillary is indebted to Sharpton―and his collaborator, Jesse Jackson.
The book about Hillary, Her Way, is by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta, Jr. Based on published reports, the book alleges that Bill and Hillary forged a “secret pact of ambition” to get to the White House. It raises questions about whether their marriage is a sham and why Mrs. Clinton tolerated Bill Clinton’s numerous extramarital affairs.
At about the same time that Media Matters began its campaign against Gerth, this writer came under attack by Media Matters for raising questions, based on published accounts, about the former First Lady’s lifestyle. Mrs. Clinton is an advocate of the gay rights cause and she has been pressured in the past to accommodate the increasingly radical demands of the gay rights movement. It is not illegitimate to examine why this is the case because politics alone may not be a sufficient explanation.
While Media Matters, which is run by a homosexual, would prefer that the questions not be asked, let alone answered, the senator’s unusual relationship with her husband, the former president, cries out for scrutiny. Her alleged lesbianism may just be a rumor or a smear, as claimed by Darrell M. West of Brown University, who has studied the controversy, but it will not go away as long as questions persist about Bill Clinton’s seemingly unquenchable desire for women other than his wife.
Some members of the press and the public may prefer not to deal with these uncomfortable personal questions, but when control of the White House is at stake, the right to know has to take precedence. Aren’t we supposed to have an adversary press?
Search and Destroy
Smith notes that Media Matters “launched a dense 2,713-word attack on one of the book’s authors,” Gerth, last Thursday night, for a book that appears only to scratch the surface of the Clintons’ curious marriage. “The reporter has been loathed by some Clinton supporters since he was the first national journalist to write about the Whitewater affair in 1992, an investigation that unpredictably would lead to Clinton’s impeachment six years later,” Smith reported.
Jamison Foser, the author of the hit piece on Gerth, is described on the Media Matters website as having “served as Research Director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) for the 2002 cycle.” As we noted in our special report, he is just one of several Media Matters staffers with connections to the Democratic Party. But it is mostly a faction of the party linked to the Clintons.
The founder, David Brock, developed a relationship with then-First Lady Hillary Clinton’s press aide, Neel Lattimore, and came out of the closet, announcing he was a homosexual and joining the liberal cause. Brock then hired Lattimore at Media Matters as director of “special projects."
Glenn Thrush of Newsday has reported very close ties between Brock and the Hillary Clinton machine, even noting that Hillary “advised Brock” on creating his organization. He added, “For her part, Clinton’s extended family of contributors, consultants and friends has played a pivotal role in helping Media Matters grow from a $3.5 million start-up in 2004 to its current $8.5 million budget.”
But here’s where the story gets interesting.
I have been after The Politico for several weeks now, after it published a “correction” of a Tom DeLay column about Media Matters getting money from George Soros. The Politico insisted that Soros “had not funded Media Matters,” not citing a source or citation for this claim.
The source was undoubtedly Media Matters itself. The organization probably pressured The Politico to run that correction.
The group is very squeamish about admitting any ties to Soros, a notorious financial speculator who specializes in the rise and fall of national currencies and governments. In the name of promoting an “open society,” Soros is determined to collapse Western civilization, especially the United States, many conservatives believe, and he funds a myriad of groups dedicated to undermining traditional values. His favorite causes include open borders and legalization of dangerous drugs.
Media Matters has claimed that it has not received “direct” funding from Soros, which may be true, but the claim that it has not received any funding at all from Soros is demonstrably false. I have pointed out to John Harris of The Politico that Media Matters gets funding from the so-called Democracy Alliance, which, by accounts from the Washington Post and Salon.com, itself gets money from Soros. This is not a secret, and Soros has not denied it. For its part, Media Matters admits that it gets money from the Democracy Alliance.
So why should it be considered false to report that Media Matters is funded by Soros? On what basis can the organization continue to maintain it gets no funding from Soros? There is absolutely no basis for this claim. The group’s denial of any financial connection to Soros is simply misinformation designed to throw the media off the trail of who is really calling the shots behind this organization. Its denial throws in doubt everything else that it says. This is a scandal that deserves media attention in its own right. But you can bet that Media Matters will resist any public accounting.
If the organization cannot be trusted to report the basic facts about getting money from Soros, even though the facts are on the public record through accounts in the Washington Post, Salon.com and other sources, how can the public or the press trust anything the group says? And how can you trust Senator Clinton, who seems to be its patron and client at the same time?
Since The Politico’s correction of the DeLay column was itself in error, I asked The Politico editors to run a correction of its correction. I was told it will do so when it revisits the issue, whatever that means. This is not a good reflection of The Politico’s standards of accuracy and accountability. It may be scared of taking more heat from Media Matters. As someone who was the target of one of its malicious and defamatory attacks, it can be somewhat tiresome or even stressful to find your in-box full of hateful messages. This is how Brock and his minions try to manipulate the press and the public.
Ben Smith’s identification of the role played by Media Matters in the attack on the book co-authored by Gerth should cause The Politico and journalists in general to return to the subject. Not only should The Politico set the record straight on Media Matters and Soros, it should explain in more detail the link between the organization and the Hillary machine. The link suggests that a partisan political campaign is using a non-profit group to advance the presidential aspirations of Mrs. Clinton. This raises important legal questions.
However, by going overboard in his criticism of Hillary’s perceived enemies, especially someone as respected in the profession as Jeff Gerth, Brock may have overplayed his hand. He risks being perceived as nothing more than a Hillary groupie, a nuisance who doesn’t deserve a serious response. But he deserves to be taken seriously in the sense that the public needs to know what he’s doing and why. This is a blatantly political and partisan group hiding behind the claim that it is a “watchdog” of the media.
Of course, it not only wants to protect Hillary and other Democrats from criticism, it wants to run conservatives out of the media business. It openly seeks the return of the so-called Fairness Doctrine in order to muzzle and censor conservative media personalities. With Hillary as president of the United States, it would have the power of the Federal Communications Commission at its disposal. The stakes are enormous because freedom of speech literally hangs in the balance.
The Clinton Connection
While Media Matters sometimes defends Democrats other than Hillary, she is their pet. As Newsday’s Thrush reported, one of the links between Media Matters and Hillary is “Kelly Craighead, one of the Clinton’s closest friends, [who] served as one of Brock’s top advisers during Media Matters’ formation in 2004.” He reported, “She was paid as part of a $202,781 contract with her husband, Erick Mullen’s, consulting company, tax records obtained by Newsday show.”
He then added, “Craighead–whose 2001 marriage ceremony in California was performed by Sen. Clinton, acting as a justice of the peace–now serves as a top adviser to the Democracy Alliance. That group, which advises Democratic donors on where to spend their political contributions, has steered more than $6 million to Brock’s group in the past two years, say alliance members.”
The Craighead bio at the website of the Democracy Alliance notes that she “worked for Senator Clinton, during both her tenure as First Lady and later at her leadership PAC.” She is the managing director of the Democracy Alliance.
But there’s more.
Rob Stein, founder of the Democracy Alliance, was “chief of staff at the Washington office of the Clinton-Gore Transition.” Another official, Jonathan Adler, “served as Regional Campaign Coordinator for Senator Hillary Clinton’s successful 2006 Senate re-election campaign.”
Other leading Democrats are also represented, with a Barack Obama connection through David Friedman, a board member of the Democracy Alliance. Friedman is on the National Finance Committee of Obama’s presidential campaign. But the Hillary Clinton connection to the Democracy Alliance, through such people as Stein, Craighead and Adler, dwarfs the relatively minor Obama connection through a board member. Hillary’s friends are the ones handling the day-to-day operations and funding decisions. That means groups that are part of the Hillary apparatus will get funded.
There is also a connection to Wesley Clark, the former General-turned-Democrat who ran for president. Chris Bolyai, who worked on Clark’s presidential campaign, serves the Democracy Alliance (DA) as its manager for “partner services.” That means he cultivates contact with Soros and the other rich people underwriting the organization. This doesn’t present any problem for Hillary, since Clark was Bill Clinton’s General in the illegal war on Yugoslavia and is considered a Clinton sycophant. So Bolyai can be safely counted as a member of the Clinton camp.
Robert McKay, the chairman of the DA board and Taco Bell heir, runs a foundation that gives to activities such as “Mobilize the Immigrant Vote.” The 2005 tax return of the foundation also reveals a $100,000 contribution to Media Matters.
While Soros and other funders of the Democracy Alliance have been named in the press, the organization itself doesn’t identify any of them, saying only that its anonymous “Partners” have to “pay an initiation fee to join and yearly membership dues, as well as committing to annual minimum level of financial support to groups recommended for funding as part of the DA portfolio.” Reports indicate that at least $80 million has been pledged.
Its stated mission is to turn a progressive vision of America into a reality, but says that “funding proposals are reviewed by the Alliance on an invitation-only basis.” This would appear to suggest, based on the public record so far, that those “progressive” groups which can help make Hillary president stand the best chance of getting the money. And that might help explain why Media Matters is so determined to protect Hillary from any real or imagined slight.
Honest reporting demands that Media Matters, usually referred to as a “liberal watchdog group,” be identified as the arm of the Hillary campaign that it is.
The lesson of the Jeff Gerth attack is that any journalist who writes critically of the Senator can be a target. Vicious tactics will be unleashed on anyone perceived to be standing in the way of her march to the White House.
Will our media not only expose but stand up to this bullying?