Freedom of Information Requests made by The Daily Caller on December 4, 2011 regarding communications between the Department of Justice public affairs director Tracy Schmaler and the liberal “media watchdog” group Media Matters were fulfilled on August 30, 2012–slightly outside the 20-business-days the DOJ has by law to accommodate such requests. The DOJ might not have wanted the Caller to see these e-mails, as it shows collaboration between the Department of Justice and Media Matters. They might just want to change their name to State Media.
E-mails show public affairs director Tracy Schmaler regularly communicating with bloggers at Media Matters, suggesting topics, naming the next victim of media lynching. The e-mails also show the Media Matters’ personnel responding with full text of newly written articles. Many of the subjects targeted in Media Matters hit pieces are opponents of the current DOJ, and the rampant corruption inside the department. Critics of Attorney General Eric Holder were regularly targeted by Media Matters, at the suggestion of Schmaler.
One Media Matters blogger wrote an email to Schmaler on July 8, 2011 saying he had been referred to her by a former Media Matters employee who now worked as a spokeswomen for the Department of Justice. He asked for her help in disproving a Fox News report that operation “Fast and Furious” used stimulus funds. She responded that he was correct that the Fox report was false, but apparently did not say why.
A few months later in September another email chain between the same Media Matters blogger and Schmaler shows concern between the two over a Fox News report that was to come out revealing more information about “Fast and Furious”. Schmaler thanked him for keeping an eye on the situation, and the Media Matters blogger reported back, “The “[c]laim is [that] there was a third gun at the Terry murder scene that was covered up because it was procured by an FBI informant inside the Sinaloa cartel,”” (Full Article).
Rep. Darrel Issa, who is the head of the House Oversight Committee, has been a thorn in the DOJ’s side ever since operation “Fast and Furious” came to light. When he made a statement describing the differences between “Fast and Furious” and the similar Bush era operation, Schmaler emailed his remarks to a Media Matter blogger underlining certain aspects which she wanted covered in a Media Matters article.
In a Jan. 31, 2012, email chain titled “per our conversation,” Schmaler and Gertz are seen cooperating on an article attacking House oversight committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa. At 12:18 p.m. that day, Schmaler sent Gertz two paragraphs of text from Issa’s comments during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Dec. 8, 2011. Schmaler underlined a portion of the text in those paragraphs in which Issa discussed the differences between Fast and Furious and similar — but different in crucial respects — programs from the George W. Bush administration. (Full Article).
Hours later the quotes appeared in the Media Matters article “Rep. Issa Ties Himself In Fast And Furious Knots”. The article trashed Issa, and said that there was no evidence of Obama White house officials knowing anything about the botched operation.
Schmaler also appeared to send orders down from the Justice Department to Media Matters, inciting an attack on Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips. Phillips had appeared on Fox to discuss his belief that operation “Fast and Furious” was not intended to track guns, but rather to leak American guns into Mexico to promote the politically charged belief that American guns cause Mexican crime. Phillips said the operation was an attempt to place “draconian gun control laws here in America”. Schmaler asked a Media Matters blogger if he had seen the interview, sent him the transcript, and referred to Phillips’ comments as completely false. Later that day a blog post appeared from a Media Matters employee attacking Phillips for the Fox interview.
When the New Black Panthers case about voter intimidation at the polls during the 2008 election was being discussed in the media, Schmaler is seen through emails communicating with Media Matters employees to direct attacks at anyone who claimed the suit against the Black Panthers was justified. Schmaler directed the blogger to specific comments and articles, and the blogger later alerted Schmaler when the post was live. Attorney General Eric Holder was another key figure in dismissing this case. There is certainly no lack of controversy surrounding Holder, which is probably why the public affairs director for the DOJ spends so much time attacking Holder’s critics.
There were many other communications between Schmaler and media matters in which she seems to direct the so called media watchdog towards victims chosen by the Department of Justice. This is just one example of the media bias in favor of the government and their power expanding policies. How are we to be vigilant over our government, if the media we trust to give us the facts are just being run by the government? Independent media is paramount, and internet freedom is crucial in allowing independent media to flourish.