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EDITOR OF REDSTATE

Media Matters’ Desperate Need to Focus on Rush Limbaugh

The Washington Times has the story of Media Matters’ latest effort to drive Rush Limbaugh from the airwaves. They’ll use radio ads in eight cities.

In one of the anti-Limbaugh ads, listeners are urged to call the local station that carries Limbaugh to say “we don’t talk to women like that” in our city.Ad time was purchased in Boston; Chicago; Detroit; Seattle; Milwaukee; St. Louis; Macon, Ga.; and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The cities were selected to support active local campaigns against Limbaugh or because of perceptions Limbaugh may be vulnerable in that market, said Angelo Carusone of Media Matters.

What I found interesting was Media Matters listing Macon, GA. I’m writing this from Macon right now. It’s where I got my start on the radio and where I live. There is no active local campaign to silence Rush Limbaugh.That’s when I realized what Media Matters is doing. They say they are advertising in some locations because “of perceptions Limbaugh may be vulnerable in that market.”Media Matters is trying to be a glory hound and take credit if Rush Limbaugh is dropped when they have nothing to do with it.Three stations in the list, Macon, Detroit, and Chicago, are Cumulus Media stations. Cumulus Media has plans to launch Mike Huckabee as a competitor to Rush Limbaugh later this year. In fact, Cumulus’s management has, though to a lesser degree than Media Matters, been playing up Rush Limbaugh’s comments on Sandra Fluke suggesting Mike Huckabee would be a more responsible alternative.Already I’m being told Cumulus will offer Huckabee as a cheaper programming option than Limbaugh. Likewise, they plan to start putting Huckabee on a number of Cumulus stations around the country as their contract with the Premier Radio for Rush’s show expires. Even Rush’s flagship station, WABC, might go to Huckabee as it is owned by Cumulus.When it happens, Media Matters will try to take credit when, in fact, these are business decisions by Cumulus Media, which is struggling financially following its purchase of Citadel Broadcasting and wants some in house talent it can syndicate instead of having to pay Premier syndication fees.What’s most important though is why Media Matters is trying to keep the focus on Rush Limbaugh.

Media Matters is trying to steer this conversation away from all the problems Media Matters has had in the past month.The Daily Caller began their “Inside Media Matters” coverage on the evening February 12, 2012; they would file several more entries in the category over the coming weeks.Media Matters might have been able to skate by a while longer without much notice except Alan Dershowitz came out against Media Matters over its use of anti-semitic slurs. He even argued that Media Matters could become the Jeremiah Wright of 2012. Media Matters had to find a target to which they could redirect attention. David Brock and Media Matters have by now become conspicuously silent over the Daily Callers reporting — despite being the self-appointed conservative misinformation police — including largely ducking a Daily Caller question at a Brock book event on February 27, 2012, over M. J. Rosenberg’s use of the anti-Semitic “Israel firster” slur, arguing that they “don’t [have to] respond to trolls.”The heat was on. On February 29, 2012, the Rush Limbaugh controversy came to life.Bill Kristol’s Emergency Committee for Israel ran a full-page ad in the New York Times on March 1, 2012 calling out both Media Matters and the Center for American Progress — and their donors — for their involvement in promoting the interests of the murderous Iranian and Syrian regimes on the Israeli-Palestinian question.Alan Dershowitz, in a March 18 interview with NewsMax, noted that the White House appears to be distancing itself from Brock and Media Matters as the election grows closer; for a guy like Brock, who wants to style himself as a “kingmaker in Democratic politics,” even a tacit snub from the President and the White House has got to be personally painful.Media Matters put its years-in-the-making astroturf campaign to strip Limbaugh of his sponsors into effect right as Bill Kristol, Alan Dershowitz, and others were getting media traction. That Media Matters had had its astroturf campaign against Rush just sitting on a shelf collecting dust was uncovered by Prof. Jacobson at Legal Insurrection on March 15, 2012. Lefties tried to laugh off the astroturf charge, but two days ago an excellent bit of investigation revealed that Jacobson was, in fact, right.David Brock wrote an op-ed about Rush Limbaugh and placed it in Politico the other day — a full three weeks after the Sandra Fluke story began, after ducking and dodging probing questions about their organization, leadership, about M.J. Rosenberg, and possibly not-really-tax-exempt practices. It’s not like Brock wrote this op-ed three weeks ago when the whole thing blew up and had some kind of trouble placing it. I think just about everyone inside and outside of journalism knows the Politico and MSNBC serve as near proxies for Media Matters’ hit jobs.David Brock and Media Matters have been trying to bully, intimidate, and otherwise silence other views for some time. As conservatives finally started digging into Media Matters, the organization had to do something to get attention away from them. They grabbed hold of Rush’s comment and fired up their dormant Stop Rush campaign right as the heat was building on Media Matters.That now presents a conundrum for conservatives. We absolutely should be defending Rush Limbaugh. But in the mean time we should also not let up on Media Matters and its tax exempt status. The Daily Caller’s reporting suggests Media Matters should not be tax exempt. Media Matters’ behavior of late also suggests while they want to shut down Rush by driving away his advertisers, Media Matters might have its own problems with its donors.

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