Reports exposing Media Matters for taking money to attack religious broadcasters may have hurt the nonprofit's reputation beyond repair, said the president of the National Religious Broadcasters.
"I think you are seeing the beginning of the end of Media Matters," Frank Wright said in a Monday interview with The Christian Post.
News reports exposing the nonprofit for accepting $50,000 in grants to wage attack campaigns on ministry leaders such as Pat Robertson of the Christian Broadcasting Network, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler and Focus on the Family Chairman Emeritus James Dobson have hurt Media Matters' credibility, Wright said.
"When your credibility is gone, you're gone," he summed.
Media Matters accepted the grants from The Arca Foundation and later produced stories titled, "Is there any tragedy Pat Robertson won't exploit," "Pat Robertson tells Christian viewer named Mohammad to change his name to 'Mo or something'" and "Focus on the Family's Minnery Contradicted himself regarding group's involvement with Abramoff associate Reed in casino scheme," among others.
Wright told CP he knew the nonprofit was targeting and monitoring religious broadcasters long before the Daily Caller broke the story late last week. He said Media Matters was clearly taping CBN shows and exploiting misstatements or slips of the tongue.
"They (Media Matters) have shown themselves not to be true investigative journalists," he commented. "They've shown themselves to be activists who are seeking to undo others they disagree with."
NRB Executive Board Treasurer Janet Parshall charged Media Matters with potentially being a political front organization for liberal groups.
"If you start looking into who the donors are, where the funding mechanisms that started coming into Media Matters [came from], you realize that these are not tabula rasa, these are not blank slates, these are people who have [a] particular worldview, a particular agenda legislatively, politically, and they want Media Matters as someone to help shape and mold the debate," she asserted to CP.
Similarly, Wright noted that Media Matters seemingly collaborated with White House staff to delegitimize Fox News as a news source and refuse the news network access to the White House press pool. The evidence he said lies in three years of documented White House meetings.
In carrying out these attacks, Wright said, "I think Media Matters has lost all their credibility and they may have broken some laws."
IRS guidelines require that 501(c)(3) nonprofit groups refrain from adopting political stances.
A spokesperson for The Arca Foundation said that grant recipients largely have the right to decide how to use its funds and denied lobbying Media Matters to accomplish a specific task. However, The Daily Caller revealed that the justice and equity organization would sometimes specify how they wanted the grant funds to be used.
Media Matters has yet to address the allegations in a statement.