UPDATED: National Journal profiles Media Matters as "rapid-response liberal cadre of misinformation hunters"

Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

Out today is the latest edition of National Journal Magazine which includes a profile describing Media Matters as "the rapid-response liberal cadre of 'misinformation' hunters that for six years has been raising its visibility -- while also raising the volume of invective that flavors much of today's press criticism."

Some excerpts from Charles S. Clark's piece (paywall):

The Media Matters view of Washington soared in January, when the nonprofit's nearly 70-member staff moved into the panoramic, glassed-in sixth floor of a new building a few blocks from the Capitol, on Massachusetts Avenue NW. Its "more collaborative" work environment features seven rows of newsroom-style desks; researchers sit in front of their computer monitors beneath fluorescent lights and exposed ceiling ducts.


To push an output of 350 to 400 pieces of content a week, the researchers work in three shifts beginning at 5 a.m. and ending after midnight. They are organized in five-person teams assigned to such beats as health care, energy and climate, and the Supreme Court. Each team has an editor with final authority on printed reports and statements, although Web-posting privileges are egalitarian.

Above the online sleuths and less-than-famous pundits is a bank of televisions that follow 17 networks. The center has a video archive going back six years and a custom-built suite for clipping and mounting video live on the Web in five minutes or less. At one end of the room is a radio booth that can transmit Media Matters's interviews to 100 participating stations.

A wall-mounted whiteboard summarizes the day's pending stories, labeled "smears." Those are assertions from news industry and right-wing sources for which rebuttals are in progress. On one recent day, the smear board included "Biden said 8 million jobs aren't coming back"; "Obama hates British due to torture of his grandfather"; and "Biden compared GOP to Nazis."

The casually dressed staffers are not short on self-confidence. "We have never made a major mistake as an organization," Rabin-Havt says, "and that has helped our reputation grow." Countering misleading rhetoric with hard facts and persnickety documentation, he says, shows "the respect we have for our readers."

Be sure to read the entire profile.

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