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The Media Matters Bombshell (with a Semi-Defense of Ben Smith)

John on February 13, 2012 at 9:06 pm

So the story of the day was the Daily Caller piece on Media Matters. There’s a lot here and none of it is good for MM. First off, it really paints David Brock as a bipolar, paranoiac:

David Brock was smoking a cigarette on the roof of his Washington, D.C. office one day in the late fall of 2010 when his assistant and two bodyguards suddenly appeared and whisked him and his colleague Eric Burns down the stairs.

Brock, the head of the liberal nonprofit Media Matters for America, had told friends and co-workers that he feared he was in imminent danger from right-wing assassins and needed a security team to keep him safe.

The threat he faced while smoking on his roof? “Snipers,” a former co-worker recalled.

“He had more security than a Third World dictator,” one employee said, explaining that Brock’s bodyguards would rarely leave his side, even accompanying him to his home in an affluent Washington neighborhood each night where they “stood post” to protect him. “What movement leader has a detail?” asked someone who saw it.

He also apparently has fits of erratic, aggressive behavior:

shortly after the 2010 election, Brock behaved in a way one prominent liberal who was there described as “erratic, unstable and disturbing.” Brock’s aggression, this person said, was “hard to ignore and noticed by a number of people,” generating “quite a bit of concern” about his condition.

There’s a suggestion that part of Brock’s problem may be drug related:

A number of people in Brock’s orbit believe he was regularly using illegal drugs, including cocaine. “It’s not like he was trying to keep it a secret,” says a female friend of Brock’s.

But my favorite part of this piece is the way in which Media Matters places stories with certain reliable “journalists”:

Greg Sargent [of the Washington Post] will write anything you give him. He was the go-to guy to leak stuff.”

“If you can’t get it anywhere else, Greg Sargent’s always game,” agreed another source with firsthand knowledge.

Reached by phone, Sargent declined to comment.

Shocking stuff that is. I’d have never pegged Sargent as a mouthpiece for…oh, wait. Never mind. Greg Sargent has consistently used his blog at the Post as a place for liberals in the news to push out favorable quotes. Anyone who is surprised by this revelation hasn’t been paying attention.

The piece also says that Ben Smith at Politico would publish their stuff. In this case I’m going to defend Smith a bit. Yes, I think he leans left, and this additional article suggests he even shielded Media Matters in a report. That said, he also posted stuff we sent him on a few occasions, and we’re about as polar opposite to Media Matters as you can get. Again, that doesn’t mean he’s neutral, but it does mean he was at least open to publishing material tipped from the right as well as the left. Would anyone say the same of Greg Sargent?

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Category: MSM & Bias, Politics |

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