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Ex-Conservative Insider starts anti-Conservative Media group

by Sally Aman Tuesday, May. 04, 2004 at 10:35 AM
202-544-9177

A new poll Indicates concern about the power of Conservative Media; "By 46 percent to 31 percent, respondents said that conservatives have more power and influence in the media today than do liberals. Moderate and Independent voters also reach the same conclusion."

Media Matters for America
May 3, 2004

WASHINGTON, /U.S. Newswire/ --David Brock, an ex-conservative media insider, today announced the launch of Media Matters for America, a new Web-based, not-for-profit progressive research and information center dedicated to monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. Media Matters for America puts in place, for the first time, the means to systematically monitor the media for conservative misinformation -- every day, in real time -- in 2004 and beyond.

"Conservative misinformation is any news or commentary presented in the media that is not accurate, reliable, or credible and that forwards the conservative agenda. In the 1990s, as a conservative media insider, I saw firsthand the damage done to our democracy when conservative misinformation masquerades as journalism," said Brock, Media Matters for America's president and CEO. "In my book Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative (Crown 2002), I revealed how this misinformation -- deliberately bought and paid for by covert political forces -- enveloped the media, poisoned public discourse, and nearly toppled a president. Now, I'm creating an organization to stop this flow of misinformation."

Media Matters for America's principal vehicle for correcting misinformation will be its website -- http://www.mediamatters.org - -- featuring research and information from a range of initiatives:

Media Monitoring:
-- Monitor a cross section of print, broadcast, cable, radio, and Internet media to identify conservative misinformation.

Media Analysis:
-- Rapid-response items analyzing and correcting conservative misinformation -- every day, in real time.
-- Longer research and analytic reports, appearing several times per week.
-- Occasional reports of a broader scope, delving deeper than daily and weekly material.

Inaugural Projects:
-- Democracy Project. Track and swiftly correct conservative media misinformation on major current political issues, with the goal of discouraging responsible news outlets from giving it credence.
-- Radio Project. Comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct targeted political talk radio shows.
-- Columnist Project. Monitor to ensure syndicated columnists -- and the newspapers that publish them -- adhere to fact in their opinion columns.
-- Activism Project. In the planning stages, the Activism Project will spur progressive activism based on standards and accountability in media.

Through these initiatives and advanced technology, Media Matters for America is prepared to go toe-to-toe with right-wing media monitoring groups that have been working for decades as part of a conservative strategy to amass undue media power and influence.

"The nation is awash in conservative misinformation. Every day -- from Limbaugh to Drudge to FOX News -- viewers and listeners are bombarded by conservative misinformation presented as fact," said Brock. "Until now, there wasn't an organization set up to monitor, analyze, and correct these news outlets. Media Matters for America will be joining a broader progressive effort to respond to the conservative movement's $1 billion-plus media machine, which has skewed the media and public debate to the right."

Results from a new poll conducted by the Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group and commissioned by Media Matters for America confirm -- that, despite long-standing conservative complaints of liberal media bias, a plurality of the American electorate -- today believe that conservatives have more power and influence in the media today than do liberals.

"Americans who spend the most time, more than 20 hours a week, using the media to get news and information about government and politics at the national level are particularly likely to point to conservative media dominance," says Geoffrey Garin, president of Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group. "By 46 percent to 31 percent, respondents said that conservatives have more power and influence in the media today than do liberals. Moderate and Independent voters also reach the same conclusion."

The poll also documents the impact of two key media sources -- FOX News Channel and talk radio -- whose audience and market appeal are highly influenced by ideology. "FOX News Channel and talk radio are different from virtually all other news sources in the extraordinary degree to which their audience appeal is based on ideology rather than traditional news values," says Garin.

Consumers of conservative media are far more likely than other voters to believe that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. went to war. Despite the lack of evidence, 71 percent of those who watch FOX News Channel and 74 percent of talk radio listeners believe there are WMDs in Iraq, according to the survey findings.

A summary of the poll, as well as real-time analyses of conservative misinformation, can be found on Media Matters for America's website: http://www.mediamatters.org.

Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. Media Matters for America is the first organization to systematically monitor the media for conservative misinformation -- every day, in real time -- in 2004 and beyond. For more information, log on to http://www.mediamatters.org.
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