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April 13, 2007

Drudge misleads on Media Matters funding

Matt Drudge falsely claims that Media Matters is funded by George Soros.

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Sure about that?

What about groups "with which he is affiliated"?

Seems like David Brock is using highly parsed Clintonian language there. George Soros is a political activist who I believe provides funding to many political groups. He's not just a "progressive philanthropist" by any means.

His main avenue of political change, the Open Society Institute, works very much like philanthropy. He happens to believe (and I agree) that the best way to develop backward areas of the world is to encourage them to adopt liberal democracy, so he spends money on places where he can effect democratic change, mostly the ex-Soviet bloc. But he still comes off as more of a philanthropist who puts money into what promotes development than an activist who gives to pet political causes; the amount of money he spent on Kerry in 2004, $15 million if memory serves, is minuscule compares to what he was pouring on Georgia and Ukraine then.

Understood.

But jeez $15 million is a LOT of money to give to a candidate. Is it even legal for an individual to contribute that much to a candidate?

If there were evidence that a group which gets a majority of its funding from Soros provided a majority of MMFA's funding, then it might be somewhat fair to call MMFA a "Soros operation" (though he's not their president.)

However, I haven't seen proof that MoveOn or "The Center for America Progress" get a majority of their funding from Soros, not that MMFA gets a majority of its funding from those groups.

The Phantom -

527 groups can take unlimited amounts of soft money, and then run ads AGAINST a candidate (such as Bush), but not FOR a candidate.

MoveOn had a 527 in 2003/2004 called "MOVEON.ORG VOTER FUND" which accepted big donations from George Soros.

If it were up to me, the law would be changed to make 527s subject to donation limits.

Well, if, lets just say, 45% of the funding came from Soros-controlled groups, and another 30% came from his close allies, then Soros effectively controls the thing. Soros is a very clever lad.

I am very suspicious of David Brock's statement. Instead of his carefully structured comment, lets hear how much money he receives from "George Soros and from funds/organizations that directly or indirectly receive money from George Soros" . I guarantee you that he knows that dollar amount, more or less to the penny, and that the dollar total is not "zero".

The Phantom -

Yes, if 45% of the funding of MMFA came from Soros-controlled groups then it might be somewhat justified to call MMFA a "Soros operation."

But where is the evidence that is the case?

I have no idea where his funding comes from.

But if Brock gives a straight answer to the question of his funding, instead of the parsed comment he did give, we'll all have a better idea.

Phantom -

Why shouldn't Drudge have to prove that Brock DOES get funding from Soros? He's the one making the claim, he should have evidence backing it up. Right now it's his word against Brock's, and Brock has shown himself to be far more trustworthy than Drudge over the last few years.

The 1025 post was not from me. I won't hide behind a fake name.

But it would be good to address the Duke matter.

--Brock has shown himself to be far more trustworthy than Drudge over the last few years.--

???

And this is based on?

Brock made the statement, so if he's going to say anything, he may as well say something that is not legalistic and evasive.

What about groups "with which he is affiliated"?

Now who's parsing? What does 'affiliated' mean? Your 'belief' certainly is compelling. Maybe Drudge could, you know, show evidence.

Further, WTF does it matter anyway?

Oh My God. Drudge is a liar!

The only people who didn't already know this work in buildings that say "times" "tribune" or "post" at the end of their names.

With all respect to your journalistic sense, Lindsay, "Drudge misleads" is very much in the category of "dog bites man" stories.

-- "Drudge misleads" is very much in the category of "dog bites man" stories.--
Drudge has indeed made errors, but he has also been unafraid to tackle big stories such as the Clinton relationship with a female employee. When Clinton lied about it over a period of time, Drudge reported the "dress stain" story, which the MSM wouldn't touch with a hundred barge poles.

Newsweek knew of the Lowinsky story but did not have the backbone to print it. Drudge did.

Drudge has broken many stories over the years, which is why his site generates vast traffic, not just from the dreaded right wingers either.

His is a tabloid style--but one that is valuable.

---
-- What does 'affiliated' mean?... Maybe Drudge could, you know, show evidence...Further, WTF does it matter anyway?--

I don't care if Soros gives his entire fortune to this site. But if Brock is going to address the issue of Soros funding, I would like straight talk, not the evasive answer that he did give. Better to say nothing, rather than that lawyered up statement.

"Drudge has indeed made errors..."

He's made errors, and he's fabricated them too: see Michael Ware.

"... but he's also been unafraid to tackle big stories such as a Clinton relationship with a female employee."

And we all remember how that enriched our culture and political discourse. Ten years after after the media and Congress colluded to make our public life into a parody of the Jerry Springer Show, we might think there are stories more worthy of being called "big" (spreading terrorism, catastrophic climate change, a major U.S. city in ruins, the falling dollar, two wars being lost simultaneously) that unfortunately don't lend themselves to a tabloid format.

Though I did hear a rumor, you know, that Mr. D likes (heh, heh) other guys ...

Well, if you don't think that that was a major story, then I hope you never, and I mean never ever, complain about sex harassment or inappropriate relationships between those in power and subordinate employees.

I say that as someone who does not hate Clinton and who opposed impeachment.

I take money from a group funded by Soros: I occasionally sell articles to AlterNet, which gets some funding from Soros.

It would be totally misleading to say that I am "funded by Soros," if what you really meant was that I'd received some money from some group that got something from Soros. If you want to continue that logic, you could say that I'm funded by international currency speculation, because that's what funds Soros, who helps fund AlterNet, which occasionally buys my stuff.

It's not like taking money from Soros is a big deal, despite what the whiny right wingers say. If they can take money from Richard Mellon Scaife, we can take money from George Soros. I applied for a fellowship directly from Soros's Open Society Institute to do photojournalism in New Orleans. I didn't get the funding the first time around, but I'm going to try again next year.

Check out the Open Society Institute web site. As Alon was saying, the vast majority of the organization's expenditures have nothing to do with partisan American politics.

--I take money from a group funded by Soros--

OK. Now that is an honest statement. There's nothing wrong with taking money from a group funded by Soros.

But if you had said "In fact, Majikthise has never received funding from progressive philanthropist George Soros" that would have been an evasive statement, one meant to mislead.


Would you also agree that it's evasive to go around saying, without qualification, that I'm funded by Soros? Drudge brought it up. He's the one playing this game. If Drudge said that about me, I'd be pissed off and not because I'd be ashamed of taking money from Soros.

The whole truth is that one of my clients gets some of its money from Soros. I've got a lot of clients, and AlterNet has a lot of sources of funding. It's not like I'm wholly bankrolled by AlterNet or AlterNet is primarily funded by Soros. I make a couple hundred dollars a year from my AlterNet writing, AlterNet gets some non-majority share of its budget from Soros grants. If you're really interested in the truth, it's not hard to find out. But it's even easier to cast about sloppy coded shorthand trying to imply a poorly defined connection.

The same is true of Media Matters and MoveOn. It's just misleading to say that Media Matters is funded by Soros. MoveOn takes some money from Soros. Drudge didn't even bother to elaborate on what MoveOn does with Media Matters, or whether the outlay by MoveOn happened before or after it got money from Soros. Drudge can't be bothered with these investigative niceties.

This would seem an appropriate place to divulge the fact that Lindsay has accepted funding in the past not only from George Soros, but from myself as well. I made my $15 contribution with the unspoken understanding that she would continue to report on issues which are of interest to me, and to represent a viewpoint with which I'm in general agreement. Its quite possible (as I'm sure she's aware) that if she ever became a Scientologist or a member of the A.N.P., another fifteen dollars might not be forthcoming from me.

My controlling interest in the Central Texas Traction and Electricity Company is not, however, an issue.

Phantom, if the best argument you can come up with is, "well, if MMFA did receive a portion of funding from Soros-backed groups then it would be fair to call MMFA Soros-controlled," then pretty much you have nothing left to say. By a similar token, if my grandmother were male, she's be my grandfather.

"MMFA is controlled by George Soros" is one of those facts that right-wingers all "know" is true, even if they don't know why it is actually true. It could even fall into the category of "even if it's not true, it should be," for them.

"Though I did hear a rumor, you know, that Mr. D likes (heh, heh) other guys ..."

Suppose this is not true. What can Mr. D say? That, no I am completely straight? Would it matter?

Lindsay

I would not say that Drudge is being evasive. I'd say that he's either right or wrong, or, it is more likely, based on how Brock chose to express himself, that Drudge is partially correct.

Brock can easily put an end to this by giving speaking without a forked tongue about what the definition of is is or whatever it was that he said.

lajefla, I don't know or care anything about Drudge's personal life, and didn't mean to introduce it as a topic of conversation. I don't approve of his work.

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