Creator of Fox News/Dick Morris-pushed ads suggests Media Matters employees be "curbstomped"

Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

A Republican strategist behind conservative ad campaigns fundraised for on Fox News by "Fox News political analyst" Dick Morris recently asked why the Media Matters "boys don't get curbstomped fortnightly."

In a September 2 tweet, Rick Wilson, who owns the political consulting firm Intrepid Media, wrote: "Aside from the fact a gentleman doesn't hit women, explain to me why the MMFA boys don't get curbstomped fortnightly?" The top definition on Urban Dictionary for curb stomping is, "To place someone's mouth on a cement curb, and then stomp on their head from behind to break out their teeth."

Wilson's business has been significantly aided by Fox News and its "political analyst" Dick Morris. Since 2008, Morris has urged Fox News viewers to help Republican causes by donating to three groups associated with Morris: National Republican Trust PAC, League of American Voters, and Americans for New Leadership. Wilson produced ads for all three groups, and Morris has specifically mentioned Wilson's ads in soliciting donations for the organizations.

Morris and Wilson also recently did paid work for the unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign of Christy Mihos (R-MA).

National Republican Trust PAC

In 2008, Morris repeatedly touted the National Republican Trust PAC's website, GOPTrust.com, and asked viewers to "give funds to GOPTrust.com." Between October 27, 2008, and November 17, 2008, Morris mentioned GOPTrust.com during at least 13 Fox News appearances without disclosing that the organization paid $24,000 to Morris' consulting firm Triangulation Strategies from the beginning of October 2008 to November 24, 2008.

Wilson has consulted for the group and helped with its ad strategy. Greg Sargent, then with TPM Media, reported on October 30, 2008, that Wilson helped the PAC with an ad attacking President Obama's association with Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Intrepid Media's demo reel contains the group's Wright ad, and a separate GOPTrust.com ad attacking Obama over immigration reform.

Morris solicited donations for Wilson's Wright ad on Fox. For instance, on the October 31, 2008, edition of Fox & Friends, Morris claimed Sen. John McCain "can win this election. And the key to that I think are two issues: One is the Reverend Wright issue, where I hope people give funds to GOPTrust.com to get that issue out."

Morris also solicited help for the group's efforts opposing Democrat James Martin, who ran against Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia. On the November 17, 2008, edition of Fox & Friends, Morris said: "It all comes down to Georgia, Saxby Chambliss' race. ...One of the things that I'm urging people to do is to go online right now to GOPTrust.com, which has raised half a million dollars for an independent expenditure in Georgia." Federal records show that Intrepid Media was paid by GOPTrust.com to produce media against Martin.

League of American Voters

Morris has served as the chief strategist and ad crafter for the conservative group League of American Voters (LAV), which opposed the Democrats' health care reform proposals. On Fox News, Morris implored viewers to donate for ads opposing health care reform at least 10 times just in February and March, often directing viewers to his website, which contained contribution links for the LAV. Morris also regularly solicited funds on Fox for 2009 LAV ad campaigns.

In a February 26 email to DickMorris.com subscribers, Morris wrote that LAV "raised $200,000 in the past three days" to run ads in the districts of "marginal Democrats who voted for healthcare last time." On the October 19, 2009, edition of Hannity, Morris claimed that "at DickMorris.com, we've raised now two and a half million dollars to run ads" against health care reform through LAV.

The Huffington Post Investigative Fund reported in September 2009 that Wilson produced an anti-healthcare reform ad for LAV:

The trail led to a conservative Tallahassee-based media consultant named Rick Wilson. Wilson has produced a number of political TV ads for Republican and conservative causes. One of his most controversial projects was the 2002 spot that flashed a picture of Osama bin Laden and questioned the patriotism of Georgia Democratic Sen. Max Cleland, a decorated veteran who lost both legs and an arm in Vietnam. Cleland was defeated in his bid for reelection.

Wilson said he was paid to produce the health care ad before [LAV executive director] Bob Adams was involved in the League of American Voters -- which raises the question: who hired and paid Wilson?

Wilson declined to say. "I treat my clients with the confidentiality that they expect from me," he said.

In November 2009, the Politico's Ben Smith reported on a LAV ad against health care reform and noted that Wilson is a "consultant to the group."

Intrepid Media's demo reel contains an anti-health care ad for the League of American Voters.

Americans for New Leadership

On the August 30 edition of Fox News' Hannity, Morris suggested that viewers donate to the anti-Harry Reid group Americans for New Leadership. During the segment, Morris did not mention that he's currently fundraising and helping with ad strategy for Americans for New Leadership.

According to its FEC records, Americans for New Leadership paid Intrepid Media in early August for "ad production." Wilson has identified himself as producing ads for Americans for New Leadership, writing in one tweet: "Oh dearie me...the Snitch Patrol at the @mmfa AV Club is attacking one of my ads. I'm soooooo scared. Eye roll. http://bit.ly/bbVKPT." Wilson linked to a Political Correction (a project of Media Matters Action Network) post about an Americans for New Leadership ad.

In a September 4 email through his DickMorris.com list, Morris wrote of Wilson's Americans for New Leadership ad: "Our previous solicitation raised $100,000 but we need $250,000 more. And, if we get it, Harry Reid is done!"

Christy Mihos

Both Morris and Wilson worked together on the Christy Mihos for Governor campaign (MA). The Boston Globe noted that Mihos "paid Morris $20,000 a month for four months last year [2009], state campaign finance records show." Mihos also owed Intrepid Media fees for advertising consulting. From a search of the Massachusetts' Office of Campaign and Political Finance:

(February 2010 report; October 2009; September 2009)

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Dick Morris
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