There’s a lot I could say and have said about the infamous Media Matters, a George Soros-supported attack dog headed by David Brock, who came to prominence writing for the American Spectator and authoring books exposing Anita Hill and Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Brock became a media establishment darling by turning his fire on the right – and befriending the Clintons and the left.
In fact, I’m not even going to address the whole report, just part of one paragraph about which I have first-hand knowledge.
My hope is it will shed some light on the factual errors replete in Media Matters reports, some context for understanding the nature of Media Matters and some history about its founder that is apparently not well known.
The report itself is about the recent Western Conservative Conference in Phoenix sponsored by the Western Journalism Center, which I founded in 1991. I did not attend the conference, so I cannot speak to the accuracy of the entire report. I will only address one part of one paragraph in which I am mentioned. There are enough errors and omissions in those two sentences that will require an entire column to refute.
Here, in full, are the relevant sentences: “Joseph Farah founded the WCJ in the early ’90s to churn out Clinton conspiracies with arch-conservative Richard Mellon Scaife’s money, which it did in enough volume to spin off WorldNetDaily in 1998. … The WCJ went dormant during the Bush years, while an increasingly scammy WND grew in traffic and for-sale email list.”
The writer, Alexander Zaitchik, states that I founded WCJ in the early ’90s to churn out Clinton conspiracies. As I stated earlier, and as I’m sure the writer well knows, Clinton did not even seek office until 1992. The WCJ was founded in 1991 – long before anyone knew Bill Clinton would even run for president, let alone win.
I don’t think I could have told you who Bill Clinton was when I founded WCJ. My interest then, as it remains today, was fostering investigative reporting into government waste, fraud and abuse – the central role of a free press in a free society. At the time I was editor of the Sacramento Union and focused almost entirely reporting on what was going on in California. There was more than enough government fraud, waste and abuse in that state (and there still is) to keep our small team of investigative reporters busy for a lifetime.
Apparently Zaitchik thinks I have the gift of prophecy – and knew Bill Clinton would be elected president more than a year later. Actually, I had no knowledge of him.
He then goes on to state that WCJ was launched with the help of funds from Richard Mellon Scaife. Not true. Richard Mellon Scaife served on the board of directors of the Sacramento Union. He was neither solicited for support, nor did he offer any until several years later – when Clinton was actually president.
He then goes on to state that Scaife donated enough money to WCJ so that WorldNetDaily could be spun off in 1998. Again, not true. First, WorldNetDaily wasn’t spun off until 1999. By that time, Scaife was backing a project that was meant to compete directly with WorldNetDaily – the site called Newsmax. None of Scaife’s money was used to support WorldNetDaily before, during or after the spinoff.
Lastly, he writes that WCJ went dormant during the Bush years, while WND grew and sold its email list. While it’s true WCJ went dormant after 1999, that’s because I was forced to step down as president and maintain an arm’s length distance from the organization I founded to avoid any conflict of interest involved in the spinoff of WorldNetDaily, which was occupying all of my time as a for-profit corporation. Lastly, WND never sold its email list, which, indeed, has continued to grow. What the writer probably meant to say was that advertisers had an opportunity to rent the list, as they do with all email lists from online companies like WND.
You may think these are small details, hardly worthy of mentioning given Media Matters’ proclivity to lie and lie abundantly, boldly and without conscience.
But there’s something more substantive I need to mention – something that might change your mind. It might even blow your mind.
During those years in which Zaitchik contends WCJ was churning out “Clinton conspiracies,” do you know what his boss, David Brock was doing?
He was reporting admirably on many of the same Clinton issues WCJ was covering. In fact, he was doing such a good job uncovering Troopergate, the Paula Jones scandal and other activities of Bill and Hill that he accepted cash and a courage-in-journalism award from none other than WCJ and me.
I wonder why Zaitchik forgot to mention that little factoid.
I’ll tell you why. Because that truth doesn’t fit so neatly into the Media Matters’ narrative.
In fact, you could say, if I was involved in churning out “Clinton conspiracies” during that time, which I wasn’t, Zaitchik’s boss was up to his neck in it, too.
But the biggest oversight of all in this smear of WCJ is something very relevant to what we see happening with the Barack Obama regime today: Bill Clinton got even with the WCJ by personally sending a letter to the Internal Revenue Service to initiate an audit of the organization, according to a Treasury Department investigation. The audit was so thorough it lasted nine months. It was announced with fanfare by an IRS agent who told our accountant it was “a political case that would be decided at the national level.” Later, that same agent explained the audit to me, our attorney and our accountant like this: “What do expect to happen when you criticize the president in an election year?”
Bill Clinton and his IRS got away with audits like that in the 1990s. It wasn’t just the WCJ. Virtually every critic of the Clinton administration was targeted. But no one was forced to resign. The media establishment didn’t mind that “conservatives,” journalists, Clinton opponents and his so-called “bimbos” were victimized with impunity.
And that’s why it’s happening, again – under Barack Obama.
And that’s why it will happen again and again – right under the watchful eyes of unscrupulous people like David Brock and his minions who don’t have to worry about their First Amendment rights being trampled nor where their next paycheck is going to come from.
I will be sharing more of my experiences with the Clinton administration in the days ahead because they are not only relevant for the present, but for the future, too.
Media wishing to interview Joseph Farah, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.