The Media Research Center, an organization whose stated mission is to “bring balance and responsibility to the news media,” is recruiting conservative supporters with deep pockets.
Two unnamed backers are matching every dollar given to the organization through 2009. The center has also added several multi-millionaires to its board of trustees.
Calling itself “America’s Media Watchdog,” the organization monitors print and broadcast news reports, pointing out examples of what it describes as “undeniable” liberal bias.
T. Boone Pickens
Center reports are regularly cited by conservative talk show hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. The group also publishes a blog, called NewsBusters.org.
Frequent targets are the usual liberal suspects: MSNBC (Joe Scarborough and Pat Buchanan being notable exceptions), Bill Maher and The New York Times. Negative reviews aren’t limited to the media. Entertainers such as Barbra Streisand and Carole King also come under criticism.
A major concern among center supporters is the belief that most journalists widely favor the Obama administration. As organization founder and president L. Brent Bozell III wrote in last year’s annual report, “The media pulled out all the stops to elect The One.”
Bozell is also founder of the Conservative Victory Committee, whose treasurer, Leif Noren, chairs Creative Response Concepts, a public relations firms whose clients have included Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.
The center’s 2007 tax returns, the most recent publicly available, show annual revenues of $12 million. The organization’s fundraising capacity has grown as Democrats have gained support over the past few years.
Relative newcomers to the board include Elsa Prince Broekhuizen, mother of Erik Prince, who gave $450,000 to stop gay marriage in California.
Other trustees, according to the organization’s 2008 annual report, include:
- Billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, whom the Washington Post has called “Funding Father of the Right.” Scaife gave American Spectator magazine $2.3 million to investigate Bill Clinton.
- Richard M. DeVos, co-founder of Amway and father of Dick DeVos, unsuccessful candidate for Michigan governor. Dick DeVos is married to Betsy DeVos, daughter of Elsa Prince Broekhuizen and former chair of the Michigan Republican party.
- Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens Jr., a frequent contributor to Republican campaign who has recently switched his attention to alternative energy.
- Billionaire Elizabeth S. Wiskemann, widow of R. Martin Wiskemann, who managed the precious metals fund for Franklin Resources.
- Carl Lindner Jr., another billionaire. Lindner is American Financial Group and former chairman of Chiquita Brands International. He was a bundler for the McCain presidential campaign after co-chairing fundraising for Mitt Romney’s bid. He was also a major donor to the Swift Boat campaign in 2004.
- John Templeton Jr., son of the founder of Templeton Mutual Funds. Like Broekhuizen, Templeton was a major funder of the efforts to pass California’s Prop 8 banning same-sex marriages. He also underwrote Let Freedom Ring, a group that opposed Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign.