It's often easy to trace Media Matters' influence on a major news story, and you can see that with the coverage of Clinton's email use at the State Department. Media Matters called the New York Times story, which broke March 2, "deceptive," and Brock wrote a letter to the paper asking for a correction.
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The Times eventually did walk back its original Clinton story a bit (although public editor Margaret Sullivan called Brock's complaints "over-the-top"). One recent Media Matters story questioned whether the paper—not exactly a right-wing outlet—is "gearing up for more Clinton warfare".
Clinton has had her fair share of unfair media coverage. In the past, along with Bill O'Reilly, Media Matters' most staunch nemesis may have been MSNBC's Chris Matthews, who the site pointed out made multiple comments surrounding the 2008 campaign that were, at best, borderline sexist. But the ferocity with which Media Matters has defended Clinton can verge on the absurd—like this 2008 story taking down Matthews for alleging that Clinton did not become a New York Yankees fan until she ran for Senate. The group is quick to point out that's not the case today. "He's not being monitored more closely than anybody else," a Media Matters spokesman told National Journal.
The work being done at Media Matters, with hyper-attention to detail, provides a good microcosm of what it's like to be young and working in politics right now. Whether you're a Democratic tracker or a Republican blogger, your boss likely expects you to monitor every tweet, TV hit and fact-checkable sound bite coming out of an opponent's mouth.
While some people can thrive in this environment, feeding off the quirks and blunders of their philosophical adversaries, others only feel a creeping sense of apathy.
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"The moment when I realized I had to leave was when I stopped caring about what they were saying on TV," one former Media Matters staffer told National Journal. "It's like, 'Oh, Bill O'Reilly said this.' Who gives a shit? 'Someone called Michelle Obama fat.' Who cares?"
But Media Matters' president, Bradley Beychok, says no misleading factoid is too small for his group to debunk.
"If a critic is going to say, 'Well, some of those are small details,' they're small details but they add up," Beychok, who joined the organization in 2012 after serving as campaign director at American Bridge, told National Journal. "And from our perspective, if we're not dealing in fact or real information, then the aggregate of that is dangerous."
Beychok partially credited the de-escalating careers of people such as Glenn Beck and Lou Dobbs to his group's hawk-like monitoring of the inaccurate and offensive things they've said. That desire to degrade conservative media, picking off one pundit at a time, is evident in its current and former staff.