Should Media Matters Lose Nonprofit Status for Fighting Fox?

Politico Arena question of the day really hit a nerve with me. We live in such a mediated society that there is no question the media forms us as it informs us. Nor is there any questions of Fox News’s slant. But ownership of the airwaves apparently isn’t enough for this greedy group. Read on, and then share your thoughts.

Arena Question: Fox News is ratcheting up its counterattack against Media Matters, a liberal advocacy group and the network’s most persistent critic. The news channel has recently run more than 30 segments calling for the nonprofit group to be stripped of its tax-exempt status.

Has Media Matter’s reporting on Fox been unfair? And should the self-proclaimed watchdog group lose its nonprofit status?

How I Answered: Oh good grief. Fox going after Media Matters reminds me of the time my sister complained to our mother that I had hit her back.

Fox is a corporate Goliath that uses its powerful franchise of the airways to skew public perception to advantage right-wing political power, and yet it has the hubris to call what it does “fair and balanced.” For giant Fox to attack the tax exempt status of its David-sized critic is as ludicrous as my sister’s complaint.

To begin with, as the legal experts have pointed out, there is the small point of free speech on the side of Media Matters. The Constitution applies regardless of whether an an organization is for profit or not. Equally important, it’s only fair and balanced that the left should have the opportunity to research and respond to news reportage, since in addition to the Fox behemoth, the right has funded nonprofit organizations that criticize the mainstream media for decades. In fact, these conservative groups have prevailed largely by intimidating journalists with the fear of being labeled “liberal” regardless of the veracity of their reportage. If Fox News is so sure of its reporting quality then it should have nothing to fear from its far less well-heeled critics. (NB: here’s one example of a correction of Fox’s fact mangling from Media Matters website.)

But then perhaps the big media bully remembers how the Biblical story ends.

Super Tuesday 5PM

For the last few days, the internet has been buzzing with impassioned presidential endorsements by feminists, many of whom have been in or even leading the movement for decades and others who are the bright young voices of the present and the future. This extraordinary piece of cultural criticism by Robin Morgan is my personal favorite.

Seems the women of America have found their voices concerning whom they do and don’t support, thank you very much.

So where then does Andrew Sullivan yes, the conservative (though gay and hiv positive—put those together with “conservative” for an amazing oxymoron) pundit get off in his thinly veiled misogynist attempt to instruct feminists on how to vote?

Yes, the same Andrew Sullivan who acknowledged posting ads soliciting “bareback” sex and pled his right to privacy in such matters even while asserting that Roe v wade should be overturned. That Andrew Sullivan.

His punch line: One day, there will be a woman worth electing to the White House. But not this one.

Fortunately, Echidne of the Snakes has written an outstanding analysis of Sullivan’s warped attempt to retain his own gender’s hegemony. Here’s an excerpt:

Because there is always something else that is more important than women. A war must be won before they can get the right to vote, or a depression must be fixed before women’s concerns can be addressed, or a revolution must be finished first or an occupier must be vanquished, or something else equally important must take precedence. Women. Never. Come. First.

I remember an interview with an Afghan man when the Taliban first came into power there. At first his daughters could go to school only in burqas and wearing gloves. Then they couldn’t go to school at all. This educated man said that the time to worry about his daughters’ education was to be later. First they needed to get the warring over. And so it goes. Always.

In twenty years’ time, when some future Andrew Sullivan gives you that very same excuse, remember this post.

Women have always tended to put others before themselves. But as those conflicting e-mails whizzing through cyberspace prove, women are thinking deeply about this election. Whatever reasons we might have for voting one way or another, let us not allow the Andrew Sullivans of the world to determine the worthiness of our decisions.