Newsmax and the Fox News Channel are among the conservative media entities targeted by an “opposition research team” formed by the left-wing media watchdog group Media Matters for America.
That eye-opening disclosure came to light in an internal Media Matters memo obtained by The Daily Caller
, which lists targets including conservative websites, conservative think tanks, media outlets, and politicians.
A Media Matters memo actually went so far as to call for the hiring of private investigators to look into the private lives of Fox News employees and to harass them at their homes.
Media Matters says it is "dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.” Its financial contributors include a who’s who of liberal foundations and philanthropists, including billionaire financier George Soros.
But the group has contemplated activities far more aggressive than simply monitoring, according to a September 2009 memo sent by a staffer to Media Matters founder David Brock and President Eric Burns.
“Simply put,” the staffer wrote, “the progressive movement is in need of an enemy. George W. Bush is gone. We really don’t have John McCain to kick around anymore. Filling the lack of leadership on the right, Fox News has emerged as the central enemy and antagonist of the Obama administration, our Congressional majorities and the progressive movement as a whole.
“We must take Fox News head-on in a well-funded, presidential-style campaign to discredit and embarrass the network, making it illegitimate in the eyes of news consumers.”
The memo also states: “We should hire private investigators to look into the personal lives of Fox News anchors, hosts, reporters, prominent contributors, senior network and corporate staff.”
The memo said Media Matters should look into hiring a law firm to pursue lawsuits against Fox, conduct demonstrations at News Corp. shareholder meetings, attack Fox News employees on Facebook and other social media, mail anti-Fox literature to their homes, and place “yard signs and outdoor advertising in their neighborhoods.”
Media Matters set up its “opposition research team” to target political entities and even individuals associated with them.
“We will conduct extensive public records searches and compile opposition books on individuals,” states the memo, according to The Daily Caller
The research team “will focus on the backgrounds, connections, operations and political and financial activities of the individuals.”
In addition to the Fox News Channel and Newsmax, the target list includes The Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute, Fox News websites, Fox Business Network, and the American Enterprise Institute.
Also on the list are several News Corp. executives, including Rupert Murdoch; Fox News executives, including CEO Roger Ailes; Fox personalities Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and Sean Hannity; conservative donors; and politicians, including John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Mitch McConnell.
The Daily Caller also discloses that Media Matters has been successful in dictating the content of liberal media, and even exerts influence on the Obama administration, thanks to “regular contact with political operatives” inside the Obama White House.
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