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Politico Reporter Withheld Information About Liberal Media Matters For America

02/14/2012

Daily Caller:

About a year ago, the organization Media Matters For America gave Politico reporter Ben Smith a 2010 planning memo for a profile he was writing on the liberal advocacy group.

But Smith curiously withheld key parts of the 89-page document when he published his story, “Media Matters’ war against Fox,” in March 2011.

The Daily Caller became aware of this after obtaining the same document while reporting the series “Inside Media Matters,” which debuted here late Sunday night.

Smith made no mention of Media Matters targeting organizations other than Fox News, such as the libertarian Cato Institute and the conservative Heritage Foundation. Nor does he reveal that, according to the memo, Media Matters was intent on researching Republican political figures like Republican former U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina and Republican Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor, and the prominent libertarian political donor Peter Thiel.

“An opposition research team will serve to hold Thiel and others like him accountable,” the memo states. Smith made no mention of such efforts in his story.

He also failed to disclose Media Matters’ interest in marginalizing political news websites including Newsmax and Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government, saying only that the organization had narrowed its focus to “Fox and a handful of conservative websites.”

It’s not clear why Smith, who recently left Politico for the website BuzzFeed, didn’t include more specifics from the lengthy document in his March 2011 story if he had the full copy.

Approached by The Daily Caller about this on Monday, Smith reacted by subsequently posting most of the memo online at BuzzFeed. His version did not include the final five pages, which contained a Media Matters For America three-year budget outline. READ MORE

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