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Eric Boehlert, senior fellow at Media Matters, spends his life on Twitter obsessing over President Obama’s poll numbers, constantly highlighting the polls that show him as relatively popular and downplaying the ones that show him crumpling like a piñata at a keg party. This week, for example, a major poll was released showing that a generic Republican would beat Obama by 8 points if the election were held today. What did Boehlert focus on? “His approval rating is pretty unchanged over the last 700 days,” he tweeted on July 14. Two hours before that tweet, Boehlert spouted, “so there’s that …. Poll: Obama Tops GOP On Economy, Debt.” A few minutes before that: “Fox News heads implode … Voters still blame Bush 4 country’s economic woes, Obama approval holds steady …”
Aside from trumpeting Obama’s polling data like a White House press secretary, Boehlert’s organization routinely defends Obama personally from all criticism, minor or major. The same day as Boehlert’s defensive tweetfest over Obama’s polling numbers, Media Matters featured posts trumpeting the positive effects of the Obama stimulus package; bashing Fox News for quoting a CBS poll that found that 69 percent of Americans thought the debt ceiling should not be raised; and praising Obama for walking out on “default crisis talks.”
Now, Media Matters is clever. Their defense for this shameless Obama-promotion is that they aren’t really defending Obama – rather, they’re attacking “media disinformation.” But in none of the above three posts or in any of Boehlert’s tweets were they actually attacking media disinformation. There was no disinformation. Poll numbers are poll numbers; CBS’ poll is CBS’ poll; Republicans who attacked Obama for walking out on the debt ceiling talks did so, and there is no debate about it.
Ironically enough, the easiest way to tell whether Media Matters should be a 501(c)3 organization is by looking at its chief opponents: Fox News, Andrew Breitbart, Hot Air. None of these are 501(c)3 organizations. They are all heavily political organizations who make no bones about it. Media Matters belongs in the same taxable category. But don’t look for the Obama IRS – which grows leaps and bounds thanks to this Administration — to do anything about it.
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