Accuracy in Media


Ben Smith of 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 AIM 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, AIM editor Kincaid 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, 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.” 

Pressure Campaign

But here’s where the story gets interesting.

AIM editor Kincaid has 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 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,” many conservatives believe Soros is determined to collapse Western civilization, especially the United States, 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. AIM 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, 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, 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.”

More Democrats

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 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 such 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.


By Roger Aronoff

The Rosie O’Donnell-Elisabeth Hasselbeck battle was big news, and it resulted in Rosie leaving the ABC program “The View” before she was scheduled to depart.

But there is more at stake than a clash of media personalities. Whatever happened to the media’s responsibility to get the facts right?

On May 17, Rosie implied that U.S. Government officials and U.S. soldiers in Iraq were terrorists, saying, “I just want to say something. 655,000 Iraqi civilians are dead. Who are the terrorists?” She later attempted to distinguish between supporting the troops while opposing the government that sent them to Iraq.

But where did this figure of 655,000 come from?

It’s based on a study released last October by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health for the British magazine Lancet. The figure is said to be “excess Iraqi deaths as a consequence of the war.” But this study was shown to be wildly off base, as I pointed out in a column last November.

From the political backgrounds and agendas of the authors of the study, to their methodology, to their ignoring the evidence that would suggest that in fact there has likely been a substantial saving of lives through better hospitals and medical care and a vastly increased average life span, this report was badly flawed and misrepresented in the media. Incredibly, the study gives the number of 655,000, but with a plus or minus 250,000. If such a study were accurate, it would suggest that in the 1,300 or so days between the start of the war and the release of the report, an average of over 500 “excess Iraqi deaths” were occurring every day, seven days a week. This is preposterous.

There have been some days when civilian deaths numbered in the hundreds, and these make big news.

Overall, however, the figure of dead Iraqis is probably closer to 50,000 than 650,000. How many of them were terrorists? And of those civilian dead, a significant number, probably a majority, was killed by terrorists.

Rosie made no such distinctions, blaming the U.S. for all of the deaths. This kind of propaganda does have an impact, especially on the millions of women watching the show.

No Accountability

Of course, using misinformation as a weapon is what people like Rosie accuse Bush of doing. But why isn’t Rosie being held accountable? Is it because she is assumed to be a know-nothing who utters nonsensical things for entertainment purposes only? Unfortunately, we can’t assume that’s the case. She may believe what she’s saying, and some who listen to her may believe it, too.

You may recall that Rosie also buys into the dubious theory that Building Seven of the World Trade Center complex must have been purposely destroyed by some sinister forces in the U.S. government. She said she believes this because steel had never been melted by fire. Has she ever been to a steel mill? Thousands of tons of scrap iron are melted by fire every day in steel mills all over the world, and then molded into beams, pipes and rods.

How this building collapsed has been analyzed by Popular Mechanics magazine, without a political axe to grind. Briefly, the building was hit by debris with “the force of a volcanic eruption,” and fires raged in the building for seven hours, seriously weakening the structural beams holding it up.

The Impact

Why does it matter what they say on “The View?” Because it has the ABC brand name attached to it, millions of women watch it, and Barbara Walters is its creator and a panelist. Walters used to be a respected newsperson. But her association with this show has clearly diminished her reputation as a serious journalist.

AIM Rebuffed

What’s worse, there is no interest at the show in putting out accurate information. Accuracy in Media spoke with a producer of “The View,” trying to get some factual information about Iraq to Elisabeth Hasselbeck, the token conservative on the show. But the producer wouldn’t even take down our information or a message.

The reaction to the show may help explain why the Iraq War is so unpopular. Fake “facts” with an anti-American slant go unchallenged and the exchange is treated as fun-loving entertainment. But there’s nothing funny about media personalities with millions of viewers spewing out misinformation to a national television audience.

If Americans are being subjected to misinformation like this, you can imagine the impact that Al-Jazeera and other hate-American media are having on the Arab/Muslim world. This is the part of the war that the U.S. is definitely losing. And we are losing it at home, thanks to programs like “The View.”

What You Can Do

AIM wants to launch a special “Hillary Clinton Investigative Fund” to probe the aspects of the former First Lady’s career that the major media are ignoring. Please use the enclosed postcard to send AIM a contribution so that we can proceed with this project.

If you would like a copy of AIM editor Cliff Kincaid’s interview of Barbara Olson about Hillary, please send the other postcard.

And drop Wolf Blitzer of CNN a postcard about his failure to ask Mrs. Clinton about her ties to Indian-born multimillionaire Vin Gupta during the June 3 Democratic presidential debate.

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