Democratic Megadonors Bankroll Media Matters, Leaked Donor List Shows


Media Matters for America, a progressive activist group that masquerades as a media watchdog, is bankrolled by some of the largest Democratic donors in the country, according to a confidential donor list obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

As a charity, Media Matters is not required to disclose its donors to the public. But the group appears to have mistakenly identified its five largest contributors in a public filing to the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General in November. Media Matters received $4 million from Indiana-based shopping mall magnate Debora Simon, who pledged to do everything in her power to defeat former President Donald Trump and has contributed $53 million to Democratic politicians and groups since 2018. The group also received $1.75 million from Bain Capital co-chairman Joshua Bekenstein and his wife, Anita, both of whom are prolific contributors to Democratic super PACs.

The list, which contains a notice that it is “not open for public inspection,” also identifies gay rights activist Tim Gill’s private foundation as a major contributor to Media Matters. Gill is known for working with Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D.) to bring “dark money” to the state level in the mid-2000s. Media Matters also disclosed the Stephen Silberstein Foundation and the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation as major contributors in the list.

Media Matters’s donor list is the latest evidence of the so-called watchdog’s partisan leanings. Founded in 2004 by Clinton loyalist David Brock, Media Matters received tax-exempt status after claiming to the IRS it would identify and correct conservative misinformation in the news by presenting a “full and fair exposition of the pertinent facts.” The group dropped its objective façade in 2016 when it threw its support behind Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, according to the New Republic. Media Matters also shared an address with American Bridge 21st Century, one of the largest Democratic super PACs in the country.

Despite this, mainstream media outlets frequently downplay or ignore Media Matters’s partisan leanings. CNBC and JP failed to mention Media Matters’s liberal bias in articles as recently as November, instead referring to the group as a media watchdog.

Media Matters raised $16.5 million in 2022, which it used to lavish its top executives with lucrative salaries. Media Matters president Angelo Carusone raked in $406,000 while Brock, who left the charity in November 2022 to launch a dark money group dedicated to defending President Joe Biden, received $270,000 on top of a $189,000 payment from a deferred compensation plan.

Media Matters has focused its efforts in recent years organizing advertising boycotts against Fox News and other conservative media outlets. The charity also targeted tech billionaire Elon Musk and X, formerly known as Twitter, in November with an article claiming the social media network served ads next to extremist content promoting Adolf Hitler. Media Matters then used its findings to pressure major advertisers such as IBM and Comcast to stop advertising on X.

But X alleged in a defamation lawsuit in response that Media Matters manipulated its algorithms to produce the results, which it called “manufactured, inorganic, and extraordinarily rare.” The story “completely misrepresented the real user experience on X, in another attempt to undermine freedom of speech and mislead advertisers,” the social media platform wrote.

“X Corp will be filing a thermonuclear lawsuit against Media Matters and ALL those who colluded in this fraudulent attack on our company,” Musk wrote on Nov. 18. “Their board, their donors, their network of dark money, all of them.”

Republican state attorneys general Ken Paxton of Texas and Andrew Bailey of Missouri also launched investigations into Media Matters for engaging in “potential fraudulent activity” surrounding the report.

“We are examining the issue closely to ensure that the public has not been deceived by the schemes of radical left-wing organizations who would like nothing more than to limit freedom by reducing participation in the public square,” Paxton said. Carusone, the Media Matters president, said Musk’s lawsuit was “meritless.”

Media Matters did not respond to a request for comment.

Las Vegas News Magazine

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