posted at 11:15 am on March 26, 2011 by Ed Morrissey
Media criticism has been the bread and butter of the blogosphere from its opening days, especially for conservatives who pushed back against the liberal bias of the mainstream media. The scope of those efforts have run the gamut from fact-checking news pieces to exposing biases of top-ranking executives, such as Eason Jordan at CNN. Media Matters for America was formed as a left-wing analog to the more grassroots efforts in the conservative blogosphere to push back against the pushback and to focus criticism on conservative news and opinion outlets, including Hot Air on more than one occasion.
All of this is perfectly fair game. Media critique is a game anyone can play, and it’s hard to argue that this kind of accountability is somehow bad for business. But is it legitimate to declare that these efforts will consist of “sabotage” and “guerilla warfare”?
The liberal group Media Matters has quietly transformed itself in preparation for what its founder, David Brock, described in an interview as an all-out campaign of “guerrilla warfare and sabotage” aimed at the Fox News Channel.
The group, launched as a more traditional media critic, has all but abandoned its monitoring of newspapers and other television networks and is narrowing its focus to Fox and a handful of conservative websites, which its leaders view as a political organizations and the “nerve center” of the conservative movement. The shift reflects the centrality of the cable channel to the contemporary conservative movement, as well as the loathing it inspires among liberals — not least among the donors who fund Media Matters’ staff of about 90, who are arrayed in neat rows in a giant war room above Massachusetts Avenue.
“The strategy that we had had toward Fox was basically a strategy of containment,” said Brock, Media Matters’ chairman and founder and a former conservative journalist, adding that the group’s main aim had been to challenge the factual claims of the channel and to attempt to prevent them from reaching the mainstream media.
The new strategy, he said, is a “war on Fox.”
This isn’t unique language in the grassroots media-criticism industry. A few individual bloggers have expressed a desire to destroy certain media outlets through criticism, and it’s certainly not unusual for conservatives to cheer the misfortunes of the New York Times, for instance. However, the scale of MMFA and its reported $10 million budget put those boasts in a different and somewhat mor Continue reading