For seven years, Fox News has pushed back against the daily scrutiny and criticism leveled at it by Media Matters, the liberal watchdog group. But after founder David Brock said in March that his group’s new strategy amounted to a “war on Fox,” the network ratcheted up its response.
In the past 10 days, Fox has run more than 30 segments calling for the nonprofit group to be stripped of its tax-exempt status. Its Fox Nation website has even provided a link to pre-completed complaint forms against Media Matters to send to the Internal Revenue Service.
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While Fox News personalities like Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly have long grumbled about Media Matters, this attack on the group has been carried out across the channel’s news and opinion programs. It has included shows like “The O’Reilly Factor,” news coverage of the complaints to the IRS and even a psychological profile of Brock, a former conservative journalist who went over to the liberal side, on “Fox & Friends” that suggested he might be “full of self-hatred” because he was adopted.
“Media Matters is not a media investigative organization,” Fox News contributor and Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer said on “Special Report With Bret Baier” last week. “It’s a war on Fox. And you’re allowed to do that in a democracy. You can be as nasty as you want. The only thing is, don’t ask for a government subsidy.”
To get tax-free status, educational nonprofits have to support their claims with facts and refrain from directly engaging in politics — though they can be as ideological as they like. Fox argues that Media Matters has veered from that educational mission and should be stripped of its special status.