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May 26th 2005

Media Matters

Media Matters, a liberal media watchdog recently posted an article attacking Accuracy in Media (AIM), a conservative media watchdog. Besides the laughable sophistry that wouldn’t fool a five year-old, the article ends with this tidbit of “information”:

AIM received nearly $3.8 million in funding from conservative foundations between 1985 and 2003, much of it from foundations controlled by conservative billionaire financier Richard Mellon Scaife.

That comes out to about $210,000/year from “conservative foundations.”

Now I certainly don’t have a problem with partisan philanthropists. But it’s deliciously ironic that Media Matters does. They got more than $2 million from fat-cat liberals, including George Soros, in the last year.

4 Responses to “Media Matters”

  1. LaurenceB

    Good point. The kettle calling the pot black.

    That having been said, Media Matters is one of the blogs I visit regularly. It’s very informative to hear the Liberal media critique as a counterpart to the traditional flood of Conservative media crtique we’re used to hearing. Quite often they have good stuff. (Of course, they frequently target opinionists – not “real” news. Fact-checking Michael Savage is like shooting fish in a barrel.)

  2. Andrew

    Doug, the article didn’t attack AIM, it challenged their methodoogy, two completely different things. That methodology is to allege “liberal bias” and then provide scant if any proof.

    LaurenceB, I agree with you that Media Matters fact-checks opinionists, as they should, because so many Americans get their news from people like O’Reilly, Hannity and Limbaugh.

    As Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said, “you’re entitled to your own opinion; you are not entitled to your own facts.” The problem is so-called opinionists on both sides from Michael Moore to Michael Savage don’t always adhere to that credo.

    If you want to talk about the difference between Sciafe and Soros, I’d be happy to discuss it. Personlly I think there’s way too much in politics on both sides and completely corrupted our democracy. That said, there’s a major difference between a wealthy activisit who does not hide his political learnings and is available to the media and someone who stays in the shadows and funded the Arkansas Project, which if you don’t what it is, you should definitely check out.

  3. LaurenceB

    Andrew,

    I understand your point about the difference between Soros and Scaife, but it is not a difference that seems particularly relevant to me. I still tend to agree with Doug that Media Matters is on shaky ground to criticize AIM on with regard to funding.

    On the subject of Soros, however, I want to add that I respect the man immensely. It’s unfortunate that he has been demonized so widely by the extreme right wing. In particular, I think his selfless work in funding post-war Eastern Europe, and his defense of immigrants in the U.S. have been very admirable.

  4. Andrew

    Just think about the difference between what Media Matters does and what the American Spectator does. One is funded in part by Soros. The other is funded almost entirely by Scaife. If I found out that Soros was underwriting something as despicable as the Spectator, in its incarnation during the Clinton adminstration, I’d have just as much a problem with him as I have with Scaife. If Soros is doing something similar, I’d disavow him.

    This is going to be a oversimplification, but what George Soros does is take out full page ads in the New York Times with a substantive argument as to why we should not re-elect George Bush. What Scaife does is fund dishonest journalists to fabricate stories to undermine a sitting president. Now if Scaife or any of his publications were put forward fact based articles, doucments, ads or whatver that promoted their cause in favor of the opposition, I would have no problem with it. But the muckrucking that emerges from his shadowy empire is incredibly damaging to the body politic. I think everyone knows. Even the people that participate in it, know it. But the money is so good, and the results so proved, they can’t help themselves. It’s end justify the means politics of the worst sort.

    Just so there’s no misunderstanding here, I have the same problem with Dan Rather, Newsweek or anyone else filing stories that are based on fiction or inproperly sourced. When this stuff happens, it undermines the trust that the American people need to have in the fourth estate to have a healthy democracy.