Media Matters received $50,000 grant to scrutinize religious media

Media Matters for America, the liberal media watchdog -- under the spotlight in a weeklong series by The Daily Caller -- was instructed by a donor to scrutinize religious outlets like the Christian Broadcasting Network and its founder Pat Robertson.

In 2006, the group received a $50,000 grant that specifically instructed the group to "expand the monitoring and fact checking of religious broadcasts." Since 2006, Media Matters has focused heavily on Robertson and other religious figures prominent in the media like Focus on the Family founder James Dobson and the late Rev. Jerry Falwell.

The grant for the religious media monitoring project reportedly came from the Arca Foundation, a 60-year-old organization that funds dozens of causes -- many of them liberal-leaning such as ProgressiveCongress and Tides Center.

Media Matters has run a string of items on its website about Robertson and his "700 Club" program. Many focused on Robertson's comments on Islam.

Among the Robertson headlines were: "Robertson: Europe committing 'racial suicide'"; "Pat Robertson on Kwanzaa: 'I think that's died a merciful death, because nobody paid any attention to it'"; and "Pat Robertson Tells Christian Viewer Named Mohammad To Change His Name To 'Mo or Something.'"

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Nonprofits like Media Matters are supposed to honor instructions that donors place on their contributions -- such as the directions given by the ARCA Foundation.

DC noted that ARCA used to be headed by now-Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., when the group gave $400,000 in grants to organizations related to ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

The ARCA Foundation, which had $51 million in assets in 2010, has also given $190,000 toward the operation of "Democracy Now!," which DC described as a left-wing news and talk radio program; it contributed another $350,000 to the Independent Media Institute, which runs the progressive website, and $250,000 to the nonprofit group that publishes Mother Jones magazine, the DC reported.