Attacks on Media Matters

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  • “Mind control,” “shadow government,” and Seth Rich: Sean Hannity’s history of pushing conspiracy theories

    ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    Fox News host Sean Hannity attracted widespread condemnation for pushing conspiracy theories about a murdered Democratic National Committee staffer, but it wasn’t his first time promoting or entertaining such wild claims on air. From claiming that the NFL’s Colin Kaepernick protested the national anthem because he “may have converted to Islam” to implying that former President Barack Obama is a terrorist sympathizer, here are some examples of Hannity embracing conspiracy theories.

  • Sharyl Attkisson's Media Matters Conspiracy Theory

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Sharyl Attkisson

    Former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson is augmenting her campaign to paint herself as a victim of liberal media bias with conspiratorial and false attacks on Media Matters.

    Earlier this year Attkisson, who had been celebrated by conservative activists for her often shoddy reporting on the Obama administration, ended her two-decade career at CBS News. She has since made numerous media appearances, often on Fox News, claiming that her reporting had been curtailed by CBS managers who opposed critical reporting on the administration. As Media Matters noted last week, Attkisson has provided little to no evidence to support her broad claims that politics, rather than newsworthiness, was keeping her stories off CBS' air.

    Attkisson responded during an April 20 appearance on CNN's Reliable Sources. After Attkisson claimed that there is a "campaign by those who really want to controversialize the reporting I do," host Brian Stelter asked, "Media Matters has been campaigning against you and saying you've been inaccurate in your reporting, is that what they're doing? They're just trying to controversialize the issue?" Attkisson responded that she had been "targeted" by Media Matters and hinted at a motive, saying, "I don't know if someone paid them to do it or they just took it on their own." After Stelter asked her whether she really believed Media Matters had been paid to target her, she responded, "Perhaps, sure. I think that's what some of these groups do, absolutely."  

    Attkisson's claims quickly found a ready audience on Fox News.

    But Attkisson's claims are false. Media Matters has never taken contributions to target her or any other reporter. We have published research on her reports on green energy and Obamacare, among other topics, when those reports have been inaccurate or misleading -- the same standard to which we hold any other reporter.

    Attkisson decided to float this conspiracy theory without any evidence during an appearance on a news program, suggesting that she doesn't believe she needs to prove her contentions before bringing them to a national audience. If that was the reporting standard she sought to uphold at CBS News, it's no wonder that her managers were unwilling to let her promote half-baked conspiracies on their airwaves.

  • USA Today Op-Ed Accusing Media Matters Of 21st Century "Book Burning" Is Missing A Major Disclosure

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    USA Today published an op-ed from The Media Institute president Patrick Maines attacking Media Matters for purportedly engaging "in the 21st century's version of book burning" by "target[ing] advertisers on shows such as Rush Limbaugh and Fox News." But the paper didn't disclose that Maines' group receives financial support from the very media companies that have a business interest in preventing such actions, including Fox News and Clear Channel, which owns Rush Limbaugh syndicator Premiere Networks.

    Maines' October 16 op-ed accused Media Matters of supporting "the suppression of speech" for having targeted advertisers. He added that Media Matters "traffics in the 21st century's version of book burning" and "it's something to ponder as the country celebrates Free Speech Week this month."

    Maines also criticized TruthRevolt for its boycott campaign of Al Sharpton's MSNBC program. TruthRevolt is a new organization headed by discredited activists Ben Shapiro and David Horowitz which aspires to be the conservative equivalent of Media Matters.  

    The op-ed simply identified Maines as: "Patrick Maines is president of The Media Institute."

  • Senate Minority Leader McConnell Lashes Out At Media Matters

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    In a June 21 appearance at the American Enterprise Institute to speak about "Washington's ongoing assault on free speech," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) described Media Matters for America as part of a "coordinated assault from groups on the left that don't like the idea of anyone criticizing their aims" that seeks to "harass" and "intimidate conservatives with the goal of scaring them off the political playing field."

    McConnell described this as "a grave and growing threat to the First Amendment."

    In response to McConnell's comments, Media Matters president Bradley Beychok said, "Mitch McConnell seems to be implying there is something underhanded or sinister about what Media Matters does. That is not the case. We monitor and correct conservative misinformation in the media. So what the Senator and so many others on the right are actually afraid of are their own words, which every day prove to contain plenty of misinformation."

    MCCONNELL: Last June I stood here and warned of a grave and growing threat to the First Amendment. That threat has not let up at all. Our ability to freely engage in civic life and organize in defense of our beliefs is still under coordinated assault from groups on the left that don't like the idea of anyone criticizing their aims. And from a White House that appears determined to shut up anybody who disagrees with it. Now on the outside there is a well-documented effort by a number of left wing groups like Media Matters to harass and to intimidate conservatives with the goal of scaring them off the political playing field and off the airwaves as well. An internal Media Matters memo from January 2010 showed the extent to which these tactics have been turned, literally, into a science. In it, we learned of the group's plan to conduct opposition research into the lives of on-air news personalities and other key decision makers over at Fox News. And to coordinate with 100 or so partner groups to pressure the network's advertisers and shareholders to, get this, by the threat of actual boycotts, rallies, demonstrations, shame, embarrassment and other tactics on a variety of issues important to the progressive agenda. They call themselves progressives these days. They had to make up a new name after the Reagan era because the term liberal is rather pejorative to most Americans these days. Now it's multiple databases could also be used, the memo said, to remove what it describes as chronically problematic media figures. Chronically problematic media figures. Or to preempt programming all together. Then of course there is the widespread effort to stifle speech actually from within the government itself, something the Obama administration has engaged in from its earliest days.

    Some have traced this back even further to the 2008 campaign, but my central point when I was here with many of you last June, and my central point today, is this: the attacks on speech that we've seen over the past several years, were never, never, limited to a few left-wing pressure groups or even to the DISCLOSE Act which has been promoted over in Congress, which I'll turn to in a minute. They extend throughout the federal government to places like the FEC, the FCC, the HHS, and the SEC. And as all Americans now know, even to the IRS. These assaults often have been aided and abetted by the administration's allies in Congress and they are as virulent as ever.