To the People

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Media Matters: Even We Don't Believe Our Own Press Releases

There was an amusing mini-scandal in the Washington blogosphere today. The left-wing self-styled watchdog group Media Matters put out a press release trying to slap down Republican Senator Jeff Sessions for his questioning of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. It claimed major media outlets were ignoring 23 year-old allegations that Sessions had been involved in a racially-motivated prosecution.

It was pretty thin stuff as even one of Media Matters' own people pointed out in a draft of the memo. And, as if to prove what a bunch of hacks they are, they accidentally blast emailed the draft version to reporters. National Review's Mark Hemingway had some fun with it:
Media Matters for America just sent out the following press release:


I wanted to make sure you had seen Media Matters’ latest research on the media ignoring allegations that surfaced during Sen. Jeff Sessions’ 1986 nomination to the U.S. district court. As reported by the Associated Press, Sessions’ "nomination originally drew fire from civil rights groups because of his [1985] prosecution ... of three west Alabama civil rights activists on vote fraud charges. The three were acquitted by a federal court jury, prompting civil rights leaders to charge that the prosecution was an attempt to intimidate black voters." Doesn’t the fact that we quote the AP undermine the idea that the media is ignoring the story? Could we say, “research on much of the media ignoring…”

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or if you would like additional information.

Jessica Levin
Press Secretary
Media Matters for America

[Hemingway] My emphasis added — I guess somebody forgot to delete that parenthetical edit. I'd always thought that Media Matters tried in vain to prove conservative media bias, but I didn't expect that the organization itself would confirm my suspicion.
Hemingway went on to make the case that allegations against Sessions were scurrilous. Reason's Michael Moynihan jumped on board, noting the charge that media outlets weren't reporting the allegations was itself bogus, a point also raised by Salon. Media Matters posted a wonderfully pissy response in which they furiously try to spin this as proof of how thorough they are in their reports:
[T]he oversight simply highlights the extent to which Media Matters goes to make factually and logically sound arguments.
Oh, bullshit.

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