Media Matters memo reportedly detailed
plan to target Fox News staff
Liberal media watchdog group Media Matters once
contemplated harassing Fox News employees with yard signs in their
neighborhoods, hiring private investigators to dig into their personal lives and
retaining a "major law firm" to study legal action against the network,
according to a report Tuesday in the Daily Caller.
It's unclear to what extent the organization, a
501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit group, followed through on the detailed
suggestions, but they would appear to comport with Brock's early 2011 claim that
he planned to prosecute a "war on Fox."
The tactics floated by Frisch were likened to a
"presidential-style campaign," one which he hoped would "discredit and embarrass
He suggested hiring "trackers" to "stake out" events
with Fox News employees, sending "anti-Fox News literature" to employees' homes
and even convincing director Michael
Moore to make a documentary about the network. Frisch also suggested
establishing a "front group" of shareholders to target parent company News
At least one of the ideas appears to have come to
fruition -- a suggestion that Media Matters publish an anti-Fox News book under
Brock's name. "The Fox Effect," co-written by Brock and the Media Matters
organization, is due for release next week.
The memo is the latest revelation in a Daily Caller
series about Media Matters' campaign against Fox News. The online news outlet
also reported that when ex-Politico writer Ben
Smith wrote about Media Matters' "war" in 2011, he left out certain parts of
a 2010 Media Matters planning memo.
The memo, according to the Daily Caller, also
suggested targeting the libertarian Cato Institute and conservative Heritage
Foundation, as well as Republican officials like House GOP Leader Eric
Cantor, and websites including Newsmax.
Smith, who now works at the website BuzzFeed, has
since posted most of the memo online, minus a five-page
budget section that Smith said he never received.
A former Media Matters employee told the Daily Caller
that several mainstream media reporters were known to reliably incorporate Media
Matters items in their own reporting. Smith, the source said, would "take
stories and write what you want him to write."
Politico frequently picked up Media Matters items in
its articles, a rough list of which can be seen here.
Smith has defended his own work, tweeting that he's
both "used ... & rejected tips from MM, just as from conservatives."
Politico continues to write about Fox News, as
recently as Tuesday offering a top story on its web site about what it deemed a
course correction leftward in Fox News' political reporting. The outlet's media
blogger, Dylan Byers, who used to work for Smith, also wrote two rebuttals to the DC story on Monday suggesting that the
piece and DC founder Tucker Carlson, a principal writer in the Media Matter
series, did not back up the criticism of Politico with examples and was not
accurately reporting the story.