Media Matters for America, a group that monitors the country’s conservative media for distortions and inaccuracies, fell in for criticism today over the Justice Department’s secret subpoena of the Associated Press’s phone records. As articulated by the Daily Caller:
Media Matters has weighed in on the news that the Justice Department secretly seized extensive phone records from the Associated Press, and the left-wing advocacy group is siding with the government.
The Huffington Post also took a shot at the outfit.
Evidence of this Media Matters-Obama administration mindmeld? This piece here, which says, among other things: “If the press compromised active counter-terror operations for a story that only tipped off the terrorists, that sounds like it should be investigated.” The document is essentially a set of talking points for people who wish to defend the Obama administration over secretly subpoenaing 20 phone lines of a wire service as part of a leak investigation.
So, Media Matters for America, what do you have to say about this? After we put that question to the watchdog group, we got this statement saying, in effect: That’s not us. From David Brock, Chair of Media Matters for America and Media Matters Action Network:
Media Matters for America monitors, analyzes, and corrects conservative misinformation in the media and was not involved with the production of the document focusing on the DOJs investigation. That document was issued by “Message Matters,” a project of the Media Matters Action Network, which posts, through a different editorial process and to a different website, a wide range of potential messaging products for progressive talkers to win public debates with conservatives.
As a media watchdog organization, Media Matters for America recognizes that a free press is necessary for quality journalism and essential to our democracy. A healthy news media is what we fight for every day. Yesterday, 52 news organizations signed a letter to the Department of Justice expressing concerns that the DOJ’s broad subpoena of Associated Press reporters’ phone records runs counter to First Amendment principles and injures the practice of journalism. We stand with those news organizations and share their concerns.
A prediction: This statement is going to prompt some snickering in mediology land.