Media Matters: A largely influential, yet insidious organization tasked with subverting the narrative through deceptive means

This is the secret of propaganda: Those who are to be persuaded by it should be completely immersed in the ideas of the propaganda, without ever noticing that they are being immersed in it

– Joseph Goebbels, famed propagandist of Adolf Hitler

When we read news/editorials, or when we see opinions on social media (whether they be comments, videos or articles from information-driven websites), generally, we are inclined to believe that said dialogue; or rather, said excerpts of information, are rooted within the visage of impartiality and/or the altruistic ideologue of informing one under the guise of educating you for the sake of your own personal benefit.

We understand that this information presented might be derived from someone’s personal ideology, or more specifically, from one’s inherent viewpoint or outlook on specific ideologies or world events that shape our political landscape.  We are aware that the specific platform on which one’s viewpoint is presented, might be politically slanted towards a liberal or conservative viewpoint; however, beyond that, most consumers tend to interpret the information with an uncritical perspective in the sense that one generally might not suspect that beyond the message, lies a political agenda which might be pushed upon you, for one’s own gain or benefit.  Certainly, not all stories or excerpts of information that we are exposed to (through media outlets) are rooted in an inconspicuous politically-driven ideology; however, with an ever-increasing and exponentially amplified information landscape, the information that we see, or that is shared and pushed on Facebook for example, is very much politicized (to the point where most are certainly unaware) and driven by a goal that in itself, is not simply designed to just inform one, but also, influence your opinions in a manner that is beneficial to a clandestine organization’s end-goal.  Simply said, there are organizations who benefit from controlling your outlook on world-events, and it is naive to believe many are not susceptible to this deceptive, yet pervasive form of public-relations; or, in a blunter sense, propaganda.

One of these institutions being alluded to, who certainly benefit from shaping your view on the world, and who influence your beliefs through insidious means using social media, or more broadly through many other forms of media, is Media Matters, the left-wing’s flagship ‘media watchdog’.  Indeed, few have heard of this organization lead by the cunning David Brock, a long-time Clinton propagandist, and even more are unaware of the subversive tactics they use to achieve their goals.

Through a leaked memo and a simple search on David Brock’s name on Google, we can find that his (and his organizations’) end-goals include: ‘regaining power for the Democrats in 2020’ and ‘defeating Trump either through impeachment or at the ballot box in 2020’.  To achieve these goals, Media Matters, throughout this memo, devised a pernicious list of strategies, guidelines and objectives, in order to achieve these means.

By taking just a cursory look at the leaked document, it seems rather clear that they are waging a war of information through propagandized and deceitful means.  Moreover, they are not a mickey-mouse organisation; in fact, we can see in the memo that through a David-Brock led organisation called CREW, they have ‘worked extensively with the New York Times editorial board to condemn the utterly inadequate solutions Trump has proposed‘.  An organisation tasked with the mandate of bringing down the Republican party and demonizing Trump works extensively (in their own words) with the New York Times – one of the world’s most prominent newspapers.  They do not only have a large budget; but the organizations themselves are highly respected in the journalism world.

Here is a leak of the linked memo; and here are some more of the revelatory excerpts which constitute causes for concern:

Clearly through these examples we can see that David Brock, through his organisations -Media Matters, American Bridge 21st Century, CREW and Shareblue – employs deceitful and propagandized tactics to achieve their end-goals, which include, but are not limited to: waging a propaganda war on impartial information; ‘saturating the (media) landscape’ with anti-Trump rhetoric; pressuring Facebook, Reddit and Google to ‘prohibit’ fake news (essentially meaning right-wing news sources who go against their viewpoint) and alter their algorithm; threatening journalists, public figures or politicians who support Trump or even ‘normalize’ him; astroturfing social media, or in other words, employing workers who aggressively seek out posts on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit etc. to push an agenda or viewpoint, while disguising themselves as regular people or grassroots organizations (shilling); aggressively pressuring mainstream news sites to employ a certain contrived agenda on topics, threatening to lay waste to their credibility if they cover certain stories, or refuse to abide or acquiesce to using their devised narratives on stories; filing lawsuits against the Trump administration; promoting or creating fictitious/heavily-biased viewpoints with the end goal of deceiving the consumer and so on and so forth.

No doubt, this is a highly influential organization.  Looking through the stats and figures on the memo we can see that:

  • Shareblue’s Anti-Trump videos were viewed more than 20 million times
  • #1 twitter, and #2 Facebook interaction rate among major political news sites during 2016 election cycle (almost two-thirds of Americans, 200 million, consume news on social media)
  • Shareblue has 65 million Facebook impressions monthly
  • Since 2011, over $311 million dollars worth of value of TV airtime for research and video has been amassed(American Bridge 21st century)
  • $170 million in earned TV airtime for Media Matters research and video since 2013
  • 192 million unique visitors to Media Matters website since 2013
  • 17929 articles highlighting or relying on Media Matters
  • 18134 research, analysis and rapid-response pieces published since 2013
  • Combined budget of roughly $40 million for 2017

After reading this memo, it becomes clear that our media landscape has become highly compromised and is thinly disguised under the veneer of journalism and non-partisanship.  Media Matters (and David Brock) has had a huge effect on the information we read and consume, and is shaping the narrative through more ways than one.    From pressuring and working with mainstream media outlets like the New York Times, to spending millions of dollars on creating and propagating false viewpoints through the platforms of social media, to pressuring Facebook and Google to altering their algorithm in ways which benefit them – we can no longer read news or opinion with an uncritical eye.

No one likes to hear the fact that they have been lied to; that they have been unaware of such subversion and are possibly a product of propagated means.  How hard it must have been for Jim Carrey on the Truman Show when he found out he had been lied to his whole life.  However, it still took guts for him to walk through that door – so to do we have that option to walk through that door, and only then can we truly see who’s operating the cameras and who’s writing the scripts.

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About Jake Beaumont 55 Articles
BA in Media Studies from the University of Guelph. Graduated from the University of Guelph-Humber with a Diploma in Journalism. Former Research Analyst for Honest Reporting Canada. Published in the Huffington Post, Vancouver Province and many other newspapers across Canada. Specializes in Middle-East politics. Currently situated in Toronto.

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