Late Sunday night, The Daily Caller published its first story in what will be an investigative series about Media Matters for America and its allegedly cozy relationship with the Obama Administration, MSNBC and certain scribes such as WaPo‘s “The Plumline” blogger Greg Sergent and BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith. The story names a number of journalists and outlets who have purportedly always been “game” for accepting leaks from MMFA. Apart from the aforementioned Sergent and Smith, they include MSNBC President Phil Griffin, Daily Kos, Salon, HuffPost‘s Sam Stein and former editor Nico Pitney, LAT‘s Jim Rainey and San Francisco Chronicle‘s Joe Garofoli.
The project was a group effort: Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson, who doesn’t normally attach his byline on a lead story, and Vince Coglianese are the primary authors, with Alex Pappas and Will Rahn contributing.
The story centers on MMFA Founder David Brock and his reportedly systematic effort to “influence” the national media. Former and current employees describe what they allege to be his erratic, manic and paranoid behavior in the workplace, badmouthing Obama in social settings, cocaine use and more. The degree of security around Brock is astonishing.
An excerpt: The threat he faced while smoking on his roof? “Snipers,” a former co-worker recalled. “He had more security than a Third World dictator,” one employee said, explaining that Brock’s bodyguards would rarely leave his side, even accompanying him to his home in an affluent DC neighborhood each night, where they “stood post” to protect him. “What movement leader has a detail?” asked someone who saw it.
A little comic relief: Brock apparently can’t stand ugly people, and once wanted to can a researcher for his or her looks. “‘David really doesn’t like ugly people,'” one employee explains.
Part I has a little something for everyone: war room researchers having sex at work, drugs, guns and mental illness.
Brock and the named reporters chose not to defend themselves… The piece is predominately comprised of anonymous sources, but there are a lot of them, and internal memos such as one stating that “Media Matters intends to spend nearly $20 million in 2012 to influence news coverage.” Neither Sergent nor Smith would comment for the story despite requests. Brock also had no response. “I called Brock’s cell and office, texted him and sent notes to both of his email addresses,” Carlson told FishbowlDC. “No response. Disappointing.”