On Hannity & Colmes, Morris falsely claimed Gerth book says Media Matters was "set up by Hillary's staff"
Research ››› ››› KATHLEEN HENEHAN
On the May 29 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Fox News contributor and syndicated columnist Dick Morris falsely claimed that in Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta Jr.'s Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton (Little, Brown and Co., June 2007), the authors "point out that Media Matters ... was actually set up by Hillary's staff, and she had a large amount to do with setting it up." In fact, Her Way does not state that Media Matters for America was "set up by Hillary's staff," nor does it claim that Clinton "had a large amount to do with setting it up." Rather, the book notes that Media Matters is "independent" and "had among its earliest supporters and advisers long-standing allies of Hillary and the Democratic Party."
Morris later added: "I haven't read either book, and I really will comment more after I've read it, but I understand good things about the Gerth book."
From Her Way (Pages 268-269):
One of the attendees at the meetings that led to CREW's [Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington] creation was David Brock, a former enemy turned ally of Hillary's who was starting his own nonprofit group about the same time. Hillary and Brock had forged a seemingly strange alliance. Brock's nonprofit, a Washington-based media-monitoring venture called Media Matters for America, found a temporary home in early 2004 at the Center for American Progress. Already providing its daily news summary to Hillary, the center helped [Jodi] Sakol get the daily media analysis prepared by Media Matters in order to help shape the Senate war room activities.
Although it was independent, Media Matters had among its earliest supporters and advisers long-standing allies of Hillary and the Democratic Party. One of them, Kelly Craighead, who planned Hillary's trips for eight years when she was First Lady, advised Media Matters "on all aspects" of its launch. The new group wasted no time becoming an aggressive protector of Hillary's reputation and boasting about its role as a truth police, forcefully going after journalists for what the group deems to be leaving out key information, or cherry-picking material. In three years, the group has cited more than seven thousand examples of "conservative misinformation," Brock said.
Hillary, though not a close friend of Brock's, advised him and "quietly nurtured" his nonprofit empire. The watchdogs at Media Matters often rushed to Hillary's defense.
Moreover, in an endnote on Page 401, the authors note:
Brock, in an e-mail to an author in 2007, said Hillary "was one of a large number of progressive leaders who were interested in the issue of building progressive infrastructure." One of Hillary's closest friends, Susie Tompkins Buell, held a fund-raiser for Brock's cause, and almost half of the Susie Tompkins Buell Foundation's grants in 2004 and 2005 went to Media Matters. (Clinton, Living History, 334, for discussion of their friendship. Form 990 Annual Reports of the Susie Tompkins Buell Foundation for 2004 and 2005 show grants of $300,000 out of total grants of $636,000. See Byron York, "David Brock Is Buzzing Again," National Review, June 14, 2004, for discussion of the fund-raiser.)
From the May 29 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:
MORRIS: Well, I think that it's silly to go after her over the state of her marriage. I felt that Ed Klein (ph) made a mistake when he did that. And, as I understand it, the Gerth book -- I don't know anything about the Bernstein book -- but the Gerth book has a lot of stuff that's really within the foul lines, really fair.
I think he points out that Media Matters, one of the left-wing media critics that periodically unloads on you guys, was actually set up by Hillary's staff, and she had a large amount to do with setting it up. I think they have ethical violations that she committed while a United States senator. So I think that you don't have to go back to archaeology and ancient history. You can talk about the stuff that she's done since she was elected.
COLMES: Well, you say set up by her staff. David Brock set up that site, and he was not a Hillary acolyte, as far as I know.
MORRIS: Well, uh -- but it was set up --
COLMES: But, by the way, the Van Natta book and the Gerth book talk about this plan, this 20-year plan, which has been discounted. They got exclusive, apparently, access to Diane Blair's records, a [unintelligible] friend of Hillary, that says that that's absolutely not true. And it's also discounted by other people like Taylor Branch, who is quoted in the book. And Taylor Branch says, "Absolutely untrue." So that's pretty much been discounted.
MORRIS: Well, I think that Gerth's comment about that 20-year plan, in fact, came from Leon Panetta. And Clinton asked -- Panetta asked Clinton why he was working with me. And Clinton answered that, "Hillary and I have this 20-year plan," and then he went into it. But, listen, I haven't read either book, and I really will comment more after I've read it, but I understand good things about the Gerth book.