“The strategy that we had had toward Fox was basically a strategy of containment,” said David Brock, the founder of Media Matters. Now the strategy of the liberal group has changed. The new strategy is “war on Fox.”
Politico reports that Brock’s plan of “guerilla warfare and sabotage” against Fox is almost assuming the strategy of grassroots political activism:
The group, launched as a more traditional media critic, has all but abandoned its monitoring of newspapers and other television networks and is narrowing its focus to Fox and a handful of conservative websites, which its leaders view as political organizations and the “nerve center” of the conservative movement. The shift reflects the centrality of the cable channel to the contemporary conservative movement, as well as the loathing it inspires among liberals — not least among the donors who fund Media Matters’ staff of about 90, who are arrayed in neat rows in a giant war room above Massachusetts Avenue.
Brock plans to hire an opposition research team in its campaign against Fox News, showing that Media Matters is shifting its focus from media criticism to political activism, as Politico’s Ben Smith notes.
Media Matters, Brock said, is assembling opposition research files not only on Fox’s top executives but on a series of midlevel officials. It has hired an activist who has led a successful campaign to press advertisers to avoid Glenn Beck’s show. The group is assembling a legal team to help people who have clashed with Fox to file lawsuits for defamation, invasion of privacy or other causes. And it has hired two experienced reporters, Joe Strupp and Alexander Zaitchik, to dig into Fox’s operation to help assemble a book on the network, due out in 2012 from Vintage/Anchor. (In the interest of full disclosure, Media Matters last month also issued a report criticizing “Fox and Friends” co-host Steve Doocy’s criticism of this reporter’s blog.)
Brock said Media Matters also plans to run a broad campaign against Fox’s parent company, News Corp., an effort which most likely will involve opening a United Kingdom arm in London to attack the company’s interests there. The group hired an executive from MoveOn.org to work on developing campaigns among News Corp. shareholders and also is looking for ways to turn regulators in the U.S., U.K., and elsewhere against the network.
“Criticizing Fox News has nothing to do with criticizing the press,” Brock wrote in a planning memo. “Fox News is not a news organization. It is the de facto leader of the GOP, and it is long past time that it is treated as such by the media, elected officials and the public.”