Subsidizing our own divide: Media Matters, National Review and the fleecing of the American taxpayer

May 15, 2016

left-right-compromiseWhether you are on the left, right or living the Life of Riley in that magical, mystical “middle” of the political spectrum I think there is one thing that we can all agree on: America is more divided today than at any time since at least the late 1960’s and possibly even the prelude years of the Civil War.

Modern tactics can be traced back to the 1992 Bill Clinton Presidential campaign where political soldier George Stephanopoulos and Clinton spouse Hillary ran the “war room” formed to squelch all the “bimbo eruptions” of Bill’s infidelities Their tactic of “politics of personal destruction” is now the norm for political campaigns.

And for awhile it stayed in the political realm. Until 2004 when one David Brock, former conservative activist who had bought into Hillary’s 1998 “vast right-wing conspiracy” invaded the internet with Media Matters for America. (MMFA)

Though it’s stated goal was to “identify occurrences of excessive bias in the American media, educate the public as to their existence, and work with members of the media to reduce them…” it has operated as an arm of the Democrat party from the beginning.

From day one, MMFA has been funded by a myriad of politically left activists all the way up to George Soros himself. And for 12 years it has fed the American public a daily dose of “conservatives hate” and “liberals love”.

Brock is so in the tank for Hillary that he even accused New York Times Washington bureau chief Carolyn Ryan of wanting to turn the Times into a “megaphone for conservative propaganda” and that “the Times will have a special place in hell” for its Clinton coverage.

The New York Times? A megaphone for conservative propaganda? Sanity would call that delusional at best.

And then there’s this:

“The white middle class may like the idea of Trump as a giant pulsing humanoid middle finger held up in the face of the Cathedral….“the Establishment,” but nobody did this to them. They failed themselves.”

And this:

“The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die…Morally, they are indefensible…..Forget your sanctimony about struggling Rust Belt factory towns….The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles.”

Now that’s some serious hate ranting there. But it didn’t come from MMFA. It came from one Kevin D. Williamson of National Review in a March piece dovetailing off the conservative magazine’s Against Trump special issue prior to the Iowa Caucuses.

Which now brings the question not whether Williamson and Brock have a right to their partisan rants but rather should we as American taxpayers be subsidizing them to disseminate them?

Media Matters openly operates under 501 c 3 tax exempt status from the IRS allowing it to forgo paying any “fair share” in federal taxes all while its donors also reduce their own “fair share”.

National Review is a bit more subtle as it operates as a for profit subsidiary of its tax exempt parent National Review Institute. But with Williamson and others employed as “fellows” of the Institute, tax deductible donations to the Institute indirectly support National Review. Great gig if you can get it.

And while both organizations are operating within the law as written I can’t help but look across the landscape of our political discourse and wonder if it’s time to re-write that law.

The First Amendment grants us all free speech, but I find nowhere in its text that the American taxpayer is required to grant free rides to publish it.

PULISHER’s NOTE:  A version of this column first appeared in the May 15, 2016 print edition of the Joplin Globe.

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