By Tucker Carlson, Vince Coglianese, Alex Pappas and Will Rahn – The Daily Caller
David Brock was smoking a cigarette on the roof of his Washington, D.C. office one day in the late fall of 2010 when his assistant and two bodyguards suddenly appeared and whisked him and his colleague Eric Burns down the stairs.
Brock, the head of the liberalÂ nonprofitÂ Media Matters for America, had told friends and co-workers that he feared he was in imminent danger from right-wing assassins and needed a security team to keep him safe.
The threat he faced while smoking on his roof? â€œSnipers,â€ a former co-worker recalled.
â€œHe had more security than a Third World dictator,â€ one employee said, explaining that Brockâ€™s bodyguards would rarely leave his side, even accompanying him to his home in an affluent Washington neighborhood each night where they â€œstood postâ€ to protect him. â€œWhat movement leader has a detail?â€ asked someone who saw it.
Extensive interviews with a number of Brockâ€™s current and former colleagues at Media Matters, as well as with leaders from across the spectrum of Democratic politics, reveal an organization roiled by its leaderâ€™s volatile and erratic behavior and struggles with mental illness, and an office where Brockâ€™s executive assistant carried a handgun to public events in order to defend his boss from unseen threats.
Yet those same interviews, as well as a detailed organizational planning memo obtained by The Daily Caller, also suggest that Media Matters has to a great extent achieved its central goal of influencing the national media.
Founded by Brock in 2004 as a liberal counterweight to â€œconservative misinformationâ€ in the press, Media Matters has in less than a decade become a powerful player in Democratic politics. The group operates in regular coordination with the highest levels of the Obama White House, as well as with members of Congress and progressive groups around the country. Brock, who collected over $250,000 in salary from Media Matters in 2010, has himself become a major fundraiser on the left. According to an internal memo obtained by TheDC, Media Matters intends to spend nearly $20 million in 2012 to influence news coverage.
Donors have every reason to expect success, as the groupâ€™s effect on many news organizations has already been profound. â€œWe were pretty much writing their prime time,â€ a former Media Matters employee said of the cable channel MSNBC. â€œBut then virtually all the mainstream media was using our stuff.â€