Media Matters for America (MMFA) is a self described progressive media watch dog organization dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. It was founded by former conservative journalist David Brock, famous for writing the book "Blinded by the Right". As a former Republican, I use to think as do many other right wingers, that Media Matters was a George Soros funded, free speech hating, smear website. However, this website had a profound influence on me coming to realize that my conservative beliefs and my way of thinking were based more on core ideology than by facts.
I first heard about this website when I first started listening to Glenn Beck. I heard from one of Beck's sermons... I mean rants that Media Matters was, you guessed it: a George Soros funded, free speech hating, smear website. These three criticism that right wingers typically throw against Media Matters are baseless. To be fair with the first criticism, Media Matters got its first donation from George Soros in October of 2010, and Media Matters was proud to announce it when he finally did. However this does not excuse the right wing since 2004 making up financial ties and portraying Soros as some Murdoch of Media Matters even before he made his first donation in 2010.
|Bill O'Reilly's infamous George Soros Chart|
The second criticism of Media Matters by the right wing is that Media Matters is a "smear website". This criticism is based on what Media Matters does best; correcting, highlighting, and holding the right wing accountable what gets spread in their media. MMFA is not out on a swift-boating mission. Its' not their fault if they correct the right wing reporting as fact that Obama's trip to India was costing 200 million dollars per day. They did not make Dr. Laura say the n-word 11 times on the air despite her blaming them for her deciding to leave the radio. Also, isn't it appropriate to blame Fox News for a majority of their viewers and the Republican Party believing that President Obama was not born in the U.S. or that its unclear? Fox News itself has become so annoyed with being factually corrected and called out that they've urged their viewers to spam the IRS with phony complaints against MMFA's tax exempt status as a nonprofit organization. Legally, Media Matters has not violated any tax exempt rules by only attacking Fox News, just as the conservative Media Research Center has not by attacking every cable news outlet except Fox News. You can be ideologically partisan and still be a tax exempt organization. Right wing blogger Andrew Breitbart stopped by their building requesting a copy MMFA's IRS 990 form. Finding something illegal is still pending for him.
This brings us to the last criticism the right wing throws at MMFA, that MMFA is anti-free speech. This criticism has a Sarah Palin interpretation of the First Amendment. During the 2008 presidential campaign, the then-vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin responded to the media's criticism of her "negative' campaigning against candidate Obama.
I'm just scratching by head thinking what the hell is she talking about? The whole point of the first amendment is freedom of the press. It does not suppress speech if someone else speaks or challenges someone else who's speaking. This illogical criticism was used with Dr. Laura when she blamed MMFA for her quieting her own show. Dr. Laura's First Amendment rights still remain intact and she's free to say whatever she likes. Pressuring advertisers to drop an offensive program does not constitute being anti-free speech and conservatives should be careful with that accusation for they have a constant double standard. They should understand the First Amendment before they claim their rights are being violated especially by MMFA."If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations," Palin told host WMAL-AM's Chris Plante (via ABC News), "then I don't know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media."
Media Matters is just combating the type of speech that is protected under our First Amendment: False Speech. As Youtuber Liberal Viewer said:"the best antidote for FALSE speech is TRUE speech"