Published February 13, 2012
The head of Media Matters for America -- now out coordinating a new super PAC to help President Obama get reelected -- is operating his nonprofit organization in close coordination with the Obama White House, a new investigative report out Monday says.
David Brock, according to the Daily Caller, has collected a $250,000 annual salary for his work at MMFA, which includes daily screeds against Fox News Channel and other media outlets that allow conservative perspectives in their reporting.
Brock's group, founded in 2004, is spending $20 million this year in a campaign to influence news coverage that sheds a positive image on the current administration as well as progressives and lawmakers in Congress.
And the campaign is going well, according to a former employee who told the DC that "virtually all the mainstream media" has used Media Matters' research.
"We were pretty much writing their prime time," the ex-employee was quoted saying of MSNBC.
Brock is also the head of American Bridge 21st Century, the political action committee that he has boasted would become a rival to Karl Rove's American Crossroads GPS.
Last week, the Obama reelection team dropped its objections to the use of super PACs, saying that the organizations are needed to compete against groups that are supporting Republican candidates.
American Bridge 21st Century and Media Matters share many of the same donors, according to Roll Call, which reported on Monday that the PAC raised $3.7 million from fewer than 50 individual donors and unions last year. Its sister nonprofit group, American Bridge 21st Century Foundation, raised an additional $2.7 million last year, and gave $223,000 of that money, which is not required to be reported, to the super PAC.
Roll Call added that Media Matters, which is classified as a nonprofit organization, raised $13.2 million in 2010, up from $6.7 million the year before, as reported in its most recent IRS filings.
While MMFA raises millions, the DC reports that the organization is in "regular contact with political operatives" in the Obama administration like senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, whom MMFA President Eric Burns and Brock met with in June 2010 at the White House.
The DC also claims Media Matters held weekly strategy calls with former White House deputy communications director Jen Psaki and other groups like the Center for American Progress. Psaki left the administration in October 2011.
Speaking at University of Pennsylvania last week, well-known Israel supporter and Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz reportedly warned the press about MMFA's operations.
"I have, and let me tell you, Max Blumenthal and Media Matters will be singlehandedly responsible for (Obama) losing this election," he is reported saying. The Democrats "cannot win the election and keep this affiliation with them."
It reported that Media Matters is also part of the Common Purpose Project, which meets weekly nearby the White House and is often attended by a representative from the Obama White House.
Media Matters is well-known for several campaigns against broadcasters and commentators. It is credited with getting Don Imus fired from his morning show on CNBC for a comment he made about the Rutgers' women's basketball team. Brock played a central role in that effort, the DC reports.
It also launched the "Drop Dobbs" campaign against then-CNN host Lou Dobbs, who now has a show on the Fox Business Network, over Dobbs' commentaries against illegal immigration.
"Media Matters produced and was prepared to run an advertisement against Ford Motor Company on Spanish language stations in Houston, San Antonio and other cities targeting its top selling product, pick-up trucks, in its top truck buying markets," an internal memo obtained by the DC reveals. Ford dropped its advertising from Dobbs' program before that happened.
The group is also responsible for the pressure placed on advertisers on Glenn Beck's former show on Fox News Channel. The DC reports that Media Matters worked with Color of Change, co-founded by former White House green jobs czar Van Jones. MMFA gave Color of Change's parent company $200,000 for a "campaign to expose Glenn Beck's racist rhetoric."
At the same time, Media Matters was working closely with MSNBC president Phil Griffin as well as with bloggers, reporters at the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, the Huffington Post, Politico and Washington Post reporter Greg Sargent, among others, to write Media Matters-directed stories, the DC reported.
"If you can't get it anywhere else, Greg Sargent's always game," a source reportedly with firsthand knowledge told the DC.
While commanding considerable influence in Washington media and political corners, the DC report describes Brock as "volatile," "erratic" and struggling with mania, a mental illness that manifests itself in grandiose behavior. He has reportedly admitted to drug use, specifically cocaine, and has previously discussed entering the psych ward at Sibley Hospital in Northwest Washington.
Those troubles may be the cause of what is perceived as paranoia on Brock's part, according to the DC, which reported that Brock maintained a phalange of bodyguards.
"He had more security than a Third World dictator," a Media Matters employee told the DC.
The need for personal security, including an assistant who carried a concealed weapon in Washington, D.C., despite very strict gun laws in the city, left Brock "terrified" that he would anger George Soros, a big source of funding for MMFA and a gun control advocate, a source told the Daily Caller.