Published September 18, 2012
Newly published emails show the top spokeswoman at the U.S. Justice Department regularly collaborating with the liberal advocacy group Media Matters on stories that slam the administration's critics.
The emails, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request and published by The Daily Caller, often show department public affairs chief Tracy Schmaler communicating with Media Matters bloggers. Sometimes, the emails were in response to inquiries. Other times, Schmaler was pitching ideas, according to the Caller.
In a January 2012 email chain, Schmaler sent a Media Matters writer lines from House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa's comments at a recent hearing. She reportedly underlined passages where the California Republican tries to explain the difference between Operation Fast and Furious and other anti-gunrunning operations under former President George W. Bush.
Hours later, an article appeared on Media Matters' site titled "Rep. Issa Ties Himself in Fast and Furious Knots."
Daily Caller editor Tucker Carlson, also a Fox News contributor, said the emails show "moment-to-moment coordination" between the department and Media Matters.
"We received a massive amount of these communiques that indicate direct coordination between the Obama Justice Department ... and Media Matters to subvert news stories," he said Tuesday. "This proves coordination."
Emails from late 2010 also reportedly showed Schmaler sending Media Matters information to help challenge claims that the department dealt lightly with New Black Panther members who allegedly intimidated voters in Philadelphia in 2008.
Another March 12 email showed Schmaler pointing out "false" statements made by Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips in a Fox News interview. Phillips called Operation Fast and Furious a "political operation" -- pushing a claim that the administration let guns walk across the Mexico border to build a case for gun control.
The Media Matters writer then wrote a blog slamming Phillips' "right-wing conspiracy theory," and also sent the text to Schmaler.
The Daily Caller reported that throughout the exchanges, Media Matters staffers were often sending to Schmaler the full text of what they wrote about the department's critics.