Acknowledging that “it’s been a difficult fund-raising environment,” Burns tells the Observer that Media Matters “raised roughly $10 million in 2009. The haul was less than the organization’s peak numbers in 2008, but still roughly double what Media Matters was taking in a few short years ago.”
The “progressive media watchdog” also “received grants of at least $100,000 from more than a dozen foundations.” All that money pays for “roughly 70 full time staffers,” as well as a move from D.C.’s Dupont Circle “to a more roomy office space in Chinatown.”
Throughout the article, Burns trumpets Lou Dobbs’ departure from CNN as a major triumph:
“…along with their partners in the Drop Dobbs Coalition, Media Matters had successfully taken down a big-game specimen. ‘The Lou Dobbs thing was huge,’ said Mr. Burns.”
In other words, a veteran broadcaster retired from his long time job at age 64. And Media Matters takes credit for it.
Who can blame them? They have to point to some sort of tangible return on those millions of dollars. But so far, the recent Media Matters’ campaign to rebrand Fox News as a “disloyal opposition” third party ingeniously disguised as a broadcast corporation hasn’t gained much traction, even within the rabid far-left blogosphere.
Several network sources recently told The Observer that while they respect some of the work done by Media Matters, they also tune many of the criticisms, which tend to suffer, some said, from a perfunctory level of baked-in outrage. “There’s a boy-who-cried-wolf quality to a lot of it,” said one network insider.
In short, Media Matters pays dozens of employees to mock the Fox & Friends weatherman in typo-ridden blog posts. And don’t forget those three (count ’em) staffers it takes to transcribe Rush Limbaugh‘s show each afternoon.
That’s what $10 million buys you these days.