The Rocky Mountain News on September 2 published a letter to the editor from Bill Menezes, editorial director of Colorado Media Matters, addressing several inaccuracies stated in earlier letters to the editor regarding the organization. The earlier letters, published August 12, were in response to an August 5 column by News media critic Jason Salzman about Colorado Media Matters. Here is the text of the September 2 letter:
Letter writers wrong about Media Matters
I'd like to address some of the misleading and inaccurate statements made in two letters in the Rocky Mountain News, "Salzman snookered" and "Web site has its own ideological agenda" (Talk Back to the Media, Aug. 12), published in response to Jason Salzman's Aug. 5 column about Colorado Media Matters ("Media Matters takes on the right").
It is true that by monitoring, analyzing and correcting conservative misinformation that appears in the local media, Colorado Media Matters calls attention to progressive points of view that otherwise would be omitted or crowded out by the large number of conservative voices and talking points featured in mainstream news reports and on talk radio. But what is inaccurate is the statement that Colorado Media Matters - or Media Matters for America, for that matter - has a "hidden agenda."
Our Web site, colorado.mediamatters.org, clearly in two places on our home page ("About" and "About Us") explains that this organization is a "Web-based, progressive research and information center." Furthermore, site visitors who click the "About" link get access to a detailed "Staff/Advisors" list of our entire Colorado-based staff, including brief biographies of each person. So, while one of the letter writers cited above might have had problems finding a list of our staff or our motivations, it's hard to see how.
Finally, the other letter writer inaccurately states that "most of what Media Matters calls 'mis- information' is merely a difference of opinion." Both Colorado Media Matters and Media Matters for America focus on factual misinformation rather than "bias," or what Hartwell might view as "difference of opinion."
Conservative misinformation is pervasive in the news media. Colorado Media Matters exists to monitor, analyze and correct it, and let members of the public form their own opinions about what we find. That is a fact, not opinion.
Colorado Media Matters
Here are the texts of the August 12 letters:
Errors of right and left need correction
I read Jason Salzman's column on Media Matters ("Media Matters takes on the right," Aug. 5 News), but am confused on how it helps anything. Just like liberals are unlikely to listen to Mike Rosen and Jon Caldara, conservatives are unlikely to be swayed by Media Matters, even if they occasionally point out factual errors.
The fact that Media Matters only points out conservative misinformation is all the evidence you need that it is run by liberals, who, regardless of how you try to convince me otherwise, have their own bias/agenda, just like the conservatives they are trying to discredit.
What we need is a nonpartisan resource that points out instances both of liberal and conservative bias/factual errors. Now that would be interesting.
The liberals categorically deny a liberal bias in the media, which is silly; the conservatives overblow it to conspiracy levels, which is also silly. Pointing out both in one source would be much more credible.
Chris Roland Hotz
Jason Salzman's Aug. 5 column ("Media Matters takes on the right") lauded the Web site Colorado Media Matters for keeping tabs on commentators like Jon Caldara and Mike Rosen, who he says "often practice the worst kind of media criticism." I went to the national Media Matters Web site and found the worst kind of liberal ranting.
Bill Menezes, the editorial director of Media Matters, appeared on left-winger Jay Marvin's AM 760 radio program on July 25.
Does Salzman really think that Menezes has no hidden agenda? Salzman said there are 12 staffers. What are their names and e-mail addresses? They may be listed somewhere on the Web site, but I could find no such listing.
Salzman has been snookered into endorsing a left-wing Web site and presenting it to his readers as a neutral, unbiased one. In words found in the New Testament, "You were a stranger - and they took you in."
Web site has its own ideological agenda
While Jason Salzman defends the local newspapers against having a liberal bias, he is provided with free space to advertise a progressive web site. ("Media Matters takes on the right," Aug. 5).
Salzman takes jabs at Mike Rosen and Jon Caldara, but fails to specifically address the complaints he has found in their reporting. In fact, most of what Media Matters calls "misinformation" is merely a difference of opinion.
For example, are we to assume that since Colorado Statesman reporter Terry Scanlon failed to point out that Bill Ritter's 97 percent plea-bargain rate was near the national average that it must be misinformation?
Salzman fails to point out that Media Matters of America was funded in part by groups associated with George Soros, backer of leftwing Air America.