Talk:Media Matters for America

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A "liberal" organization[edit]

Archiving this very old discussion to prevent further troll activity. -- Scjessey (talk) 16:05, 2 March 2018 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

None other than MM founder & chairman David Brock described MM as "liberal" just this year:

"And we're open about the fact that we are a liberal organization. That doesn't mean our facts are wrong." - — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:12, 1 December 2014 (UTC)

This issue has been discussed numerous times before (Talk:Media Matters for America/Archive 3#Propose putting "Liberal" or Progressive in the opening line, Talk:Media Matters for America/Archive 4#Revisiting 'liberal' (comment requested), Talk:Media Matters for America/Archive 7#Liberal or progressive, Talk:Media Matters for America/Archive 8#Is it time for a wide-ranging discussion of "liberal" vs. "progressive"?, Talk:Media Matters for America/Archive 10#Liberal v progressive). What has changed? Media Matters still describes itself as "progressive".[1] The terms "liberal" and "progressive" are virtually synonymous in late 20th and early 21st century American political dialog. International usage of "liberal", on the other hand, more closely matches Classical liberalism and American conservatism than the policies of the American left. As a result, using the organization's self selected label avoids Wikipedia introducing its own bias, does not introduce any significant misconceptions for readers familiar with American politics, and avoids confusion in readers with limited understanding of American politics. --Allen3 talk 17:43, 1 December 2014 (UTC)
Well, if we are going by self-selection of names and we have an extremely RS ref from the founder/leader of the org self-identifying as "liberal" then we had best make sure the article identifies the org as "liberal". Capitalismojo (talk) 23:42, 1 December 2014 (UTC)
By the way, I don't think that using an organization's self-identification comports with policy to use independent RS rather than self-pub sourcing. Capitalismojo (talk) 23:42, 1 December 2014 (UTC)

The section of the transcript is:

STELTER: So, you're saying that you have a diverse number of donors, but they all have t:he same interests, don't they, same liberal politics at heart?
BROCK: Sure. I mean, I think their interest is in honest journalism and a fair debate. And I think we think and I think our donors believe that, in the vast majority of cases, if people get accurate information, rather than misinformation, that's going to serve the progressive cause, sure.
And we're open about the fact that we are a liberal organization. That doesn't mean our facts are wrong.

So he uses the term "progressive" first and uses the term liberal after Stelter refers to "liberal politics." I do not see how a remark made in an interview has greater significance than what is posted on the website. Personally, I would never use a transcript as a source in any article

TFD (talk) 01:57, 2 December 2014 (UTC)

The point made by Allen3 about the varying meanings of "liberal" for English readers outside the US does argue strongly to keep "politically progressive." The "what has changed?" point is head-scratching: the founder & chairman himself called his group "liberal" 2 years after the last discussion here. Relying upon an ideological activist group's website self description for a neutral encyclopedia is hard to fathom. As Capitalismojo said, if we go that route, what takes precedence? Their website or their founder/chairman?

As to TFD's points, Brock's use of "progressive" was to describe the broader "progressive cause"; he used "liberal" to describe Media Matters specifically. Remarks made by activists during interviews on news shows are routinely used in journalism (and I bet are plentiful in biographical articles of conservative activists). The source cited for "progressive" in this article is an opinion piece--also on CNN--where an editor's note describes MM as "progressive." If you don't trust the professional CNN transcribers, watch the video yourself.

I find it rather curious (but not surprising) that this article doesn't contain a Criticism section, while the Media Research Center's article does. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:10, 2 December 2014 (UTC)

We are not journalists. Journalists are able to weigh evidence and determine its accuracy. We can then use their writings as sources. Please read "reliable sources". In some cases journalists reject self-descriptions.

The reason there is no criticism section is that it is poor style - any criticism should be incorporated into the various sections of the article. Also, I do not see any criticism of them in reliable sources, just in fringe writing.

TFD (talk) 04:05, 2 December 2014 (UTC)

If Wikipedia should just uncritically pass along Media Matter's self-description, why not the Family Research Council's: "Family Research Council's mission is to advance faith, family and freedom in public policy and the culture from a Christian worldview"? Instead, there's this: "The FRC promotes what it considers to be traditional family values, by advocating and lobbying for socially conservative policies. It opposes and lobbies against LGBT rights". In addition--in the top section no less--Wikipedia uncritically passes along the left-wing SPLC's view of them as an "anti-gay hate group".
As to the Criticism section in the Media Research Center article, one criticism is sourced to Slate. Hardly a fringe source. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:16, 4 December 2014 (UTC)
What exists in another article is irrelevant (and yes, the FRC is a hate group because it promotes discrimination). And criticism sections are shit magnets written by agenda-driven editors, so good articles avoid them. -- Scjessey (talk) 14:43, 4 December 2014 (UTC)
Reliable sources view MMfA and FRC differently, and that is reflected here. 15:04, 4 December 2014 (UTC)TFD (talk)
Double standard. It has existed for years. Arzel (talk) 13:24, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
You may perceive it that way, but it isn't the case. You cannot compare these organizations because they are completely different. One is a socially-conservative religious group dedicated to forcing religion down American throats, and the other is an organization created to highlight right wing media bias during the darkest years of the Bush presidency. -- Scjessey (talk) 13:34, 19 December 2014 (UTC)
Could you be any more biased or insulting? Arzel (talk) 19:31, 19 December 2014 (UTC)

According to NYT, MM "helped lay the groundwork" for Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:28, 4 May 2016 (UTC)

My confusion is that here the idea is that we'll use what is posted on their website regarding their political views. But on the Breitbart page that is expressly prohibited and we can only use what left leaning outlets call them. The double standard on wiki is out of control. It's officially run by brownshirts. Lktwnr08 (talk) 04:47, 2 March 2018 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Left wing[edit]

This is a stale discussion that was restarted by a troll.
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

This is regarding this edit. The sources presented are entirely insufficient to describe this as far-left, and this appears to be WP:POINTed editing trying to create a false equivalence between Media Matters and Breitbart News' use of "far right". Going through sources:

Grayfell (talk) 07:27, 31 January 2017 (UTC)

They are not left-wing, or even progressive as those terms are normally used. TFD (talk) 07:36, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
Would left-wing be more appropriate than far-left? Thismightbezach (talk) 07:49, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
I don't see any discussions about Marx or anti-capitalism or expropriating the means of production or any of the other left-sites discuss. TFD (talk) 08:43, 31 January 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── This has already been litigated ad nauseam in the previous section, and in prior discussions over several years. "Politically progressive media watchdog" is the current consensus. -- Scjessey (talk) 16:02, 31 January 2017 (UTC)

Even the term "progressive" is confusing because it sounds like "Congressional Progressive Caucus or Progressive Democrats of America, i.e., the progressive as opposed to the corporate wing of the Democratic Party. TFD (talk) 16:17, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
No argument here, but that word is a wikilink to the accurate term. I'm not sure if anything more should be done about it. Sometimes, facts are confusing. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 16:23, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I don't really get why anybody would be confused. The link points to the right place, so what's the problem? -- Scjessey (talk) 16:25, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
I took a good faith stab at a compromise on the lead. There's been a lot of discussion on this, but no consensus that "progressive watchdog" is meaningful, or complete. What does that even mean? I figure using the organization's own words characterizing themselves, followed by the NYT's "liberal advocacy" characterization, is fair to both sides. John2510 (talk) 16:42, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
John2510, check the page archives, as well as higher up on this page. There most certainly is a consensus to describe the organization the way it's described in the lead. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 16:53, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
Scjessey, the guideline for internal links says readers should not have to click them to understand their usage in articles. In any case, the linked article says, "is a broadly based reform movement that reached its height early in the 20th century." The last progressive movement it mentions is Henry Wallace's Progressive Party in 1948. Do you think today's corporate Democrats are in the tradition of Henry Wallace? TFD (talk) 18:47, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
The Four Deuces, what do you suggest we do about it? There's a strong consensus to describe them as progressive. Personally, I'm okay with "left-wing" or (perhaps softer) "left-leaning". The latter is more in line with how media outlets tend to describe such orgs. But I don't think we can get a consensus to change it. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 18:51, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
Ideological descriptions in the U.S. are always a problem because of the lack of the clear dividing lines one sees in other countries, so I guess any description will present problems. But what about "liberal?" TFD (talk) 18:57, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
I'm fine with it, but it's been discussed quite a bit in the archives and discarded. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 19:06, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
That was years ago. Some editors wanted to put "liberal" in the lead, while others opposed any description. But it became obvious this election cycle that they identified with the New Democrat rather than the Progressive grouping within the Democratic Party. TFD (talk) 19:46, 31 January 2017 (UTC)
I'm not disagreeing with you, just pointing out that there's been a long-standing consensus here. Hell, I agree that "liberal" is a more accurate description, though it comes with the baggage tacked onto the word by the political right. I think "left-wing" or "left-leaning" is the best option of the lot, but not by that much. If you want to start an RfC, well... I guess I just told you what my !vote would be. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 20:04, 31 January 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── "Readers should not have to click them to understand their usage" - I'm sorry, but that is a ludicrous argument for not using the term. How is progressive any more confusing than liberal? The latter means different things in different countries, and we want to make sure this article isn't too US-centric. The whole point of blue links is to make sure Wikipedia isn't a single, massively long article explaining everything in the universe. So sorry, that argument is nuts. Likewise, there are problems with "left-leaning" or similar nomenclature because again, what is "left" and what is "right" is different depending on point of view. From my point of view as a British person, Mother Jones appears slightly left of center in the same way as the mainstream Democratic Party is. -- Scjessey (talk) 14:32, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

You said above, "I don't really get why anybody would be confused. The link points to the right place, so what's the problem?" [16:25, 31 January 2017] Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Linking says, "as far as possible do not force a reader to use that link to understand the sentence." So I don't know what you think is ludicrous: your earlier statement or the Manual of Style. The linked article is unhelpful because it talks about historical movements not today. And the term "progressive" is rarely used to refer to the corporate wing of the Democratic Party, it more often refers to Progressive Democrats, i.e., Democrats who oppose foreign wars, the death penalty and super-PACs and support universal health care.
Mother Jones btw is left-wing, it is named after "Mother" Jones, who was a Socialist and IWW organizer. It is certainly distinct in its views from publications such as MMfA.
And I don't see what "liberal" is confusing. More people are aware of what liberal means in the U.S. then they are of progressive. And it means basically the same thing in the UK or Canada.
TFD (talk) 15:26, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
What on earth are you talking about? Mother Jones has nothing to do with the "corporate wing of the Democratic Party", and neither does the article on Progressivism in the United States (or progressivism, for that matter). And while "liberal" should mean the same thing in different countries, the word has been somewhat bastardized in America to mean anything to the left. That's because so many Americans have been trained to think "liberal" is a bad thing. If you think it is confusing, change the link to progressivism, but don't try go against the established consensus and tendentiously try to shove "liberal" or "left" in to the article. -- Scjessey (talk) 15:35, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
You seem to have misinterpreted my posting. Of course Mother Jones has nothing to do with the corporate wing of the Democratic Party, which is why I said it is left-wing. but this article is about Media Matters for America, which is unrelated to Mother Jones, founded by David Brock and supportive of the corporate wing. Perhaps you were confusing the two publications.
Because the U.S. did not have ideological parties or party voting discipline, they adopted (ahistorically) the terms liberal and conservative to describe opposing sides. Anyone who has sufficient familiarity with American politics to read this article, including yourself, knows that. But they might find the term "progressive" confusing. Cameron for example called himself a progressive. And "Progressive Parties" have covered the range of the political spectrum.
TFD (talk) 18:16, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
Oh damn. I was confusing the two publications. You are absolutely right. Nevertheless, exactly the same debate has happened for both publications, with the same consensus result. -- Scjessey (talk) 21:45, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
  • I think it's worth pointing out that to the average person, "progressive" and "liberal" are synonymous. It takes an interest in (or some incidental knowledge of, at least) politics and political history for someone to understand how nebulous the term "progressive" is. To someone like TFD or myself, the word is far less informative than "liberal" would be. There are, for example, right-wing groups who label themselves progressive, including groups as far to the right as the alt-right. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 18:46, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
    It depends on what you mean by "average person" I suppose. I would like to think Wikipedia doesn't deliberately dumb itself down to the lowest common denominator. Moreover, I think one could safely assume that the typical reader of an article on Media Matters for America would have at least a passable understanding of the difference between "liberal" and "progressive". And even if they don't, we have articles to illuminate them. -- Scjessey (talk) 21:45, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
I just want to point out that you're reaffirming my point: the issue is only confusing to someone who does know a thing or two about it. Because TFD's contention is that MMfA is not progressive in their views, but rather liberal or left-wing. This makes the lead confusing to him (which I fully understand but aren't 100% in lockstep agreement with), because he's familiar enough with the subject to note the discrepancy between progressivism and what's described here. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 22:09, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
Adopting the organization's self-characterization without qualifying it as such seems sketchy. That was why I initially suggested including that qualification of the term, along with the NYT characterization. Judging by its "watchdog" nature, it seems to be simply more anti-conservative than anything else. Another option would be to drop the characterizations entirely, and just go with its stated mission as the intro: "Media Matters for America (MMfA) has a stated mission of 'comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.'" I'm not sure that the characterizations add anything, other than to put a inherently judgmental POV label on the organziation - one way or the other. Better to let the organization's "stated mission" speak for itself. John2510 (talk) 15:35, 2 February 2017 (UTC)
The issue with that proposal is that simply repeating their stated mission implies that WP endorses it. While I (personally) respect MMfA as a pretty accurate source of information, the fact that they have a decidedly left-wing bias is pretty obvious. This means that I've found cases where their 'correction' of 'conservative misinformation' wasn't anything but a competing opinion, complete with reciprocally cherry picked sources. MjolnirPants Tell me all about it. 15:41, 2 February 2017 (UTC)
I don't disagree with that, but at least it's presented solely as the organization's claim of a mission. That language is already currently in the lead - all I've done is strike the "progressive watchdog" language and jump ahead. Readers can research and judge for themselves whether they fulfill that mission. Calling them a "progressive watchdog" seems even more an endorsement by WP, and certainly an acceptance of their self-characterization. What's a "watchdog" to one POV is an attacker to another POV. We wouldn't accept "nationalist watchdog" as a characterization of the Nazi party. More to the point, the use of the characterization here is gratuitous. It's certainly gratuitously controversial. John2510 (talk) 18:25, 2 February 2017 (UTC)

Maybe related, is this pro-Clinton site really progressive? –2A03:2267:0:0:6524:87B6:3350:110A (talk) 15:48, 5 March 2017 (UTC)

The leftist editors here are out of control.. Clearly getting anykind of fairness is out of the question. If it doesn't push their narrative than it isn't "fact." Brownshirts. Lktwnr08 (talk) 04:59, 2 March 2018 (UTC)

When you show up on WP and explicitly start announcing your own uncompromising bias and unwillingness to cooperate with a huge swathe of other editors, you are essentially announcing that you can't be trusted to be allowed to continue editing. I strongly advise you to get over your political butthurt and make an effort to remain objective and cooperate before we have to have you removed. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 13:49, 2 March 2018 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Media Matters for America on Hillary Clinton and Her Critics During the 2016 US Presidential Campaign[edit]

In "What Happens to Media Matters in a Post-Hillary World?" by Clio Chang And Alex Shephard, The New Republic said:

"Employees were asked to stay late or work on the weekends specifically to cover Clinton, which many felt came at the expense of other stories and the organization’s mission. Nearly every former staffer we spoke to felt that researchers, in particular, were underpaid and overworked, and that these problems often surfaced when they were forced to work on stories they felt were dubious. As one former staffer described it, “They were paying me $35,000 a year to watch Fox all the time and to do rotating shifts where I’d have to change from a day shift to a night shift every two weeks. It was just a miserable job...”

When it came to the organization’s research standards, most former staffers we talked to agreed that they were lowered when it came to Clinton-related content. One former staffer told us that, compared to “the amount of evidence we would have to collect to go after another story,” Clinton pieces had a “much lower bar. It literally just had to involve Hillary Clinton and that was it.” Another said that they often weren’t allowed to publish Clinton-related pieces “until they had been read by someone in leadership...”

Then there was James Carville’s guest column for the site. In his inaugural post, the longtime Clinton ally stated his intention was to use the space to defend the Clintons: “That’s what happens when you have one standard for the Clintons, and a different one for everybody else, which is why I’ll be writing regularly in this space.” (Bradley Beychok, who was president of Media Matters from 2013 until early December, and who was thought responsible for enforcing the site’s pro-Clinton bent, is close to Carville)"

The New Republic was generally positive about Media Matters: "With the proliferation of conservative misinformation and the rise in popularity of far-right websites like Breitbart, there is a need for organizations like Media Matters now more than ever," but was scathing about their slant toward Hillary Clinton in the last Presidential campaign. Quoting The New Republic article again:

" Media Matters derives its credibility from its objectivity—its posts are dry, often consisting almost entirely of transcripts that aim to show how conservative media is misleading the public. Media Matters is also classified as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit group in the tax code, which means that it cannot explicitly advocate for a political candidate. The organization is careful not to step over that line, always framing pieces with a media angle—for example, “New York Times’s Maureen Dowd Writes Yet Another Anti-Clinton Column.” But with Carville’s column, that veneer of objectivity was tossed aside. Media Matters also had one standard for the Clintons, and a different one for everybody else."

This is an WP:NPOV indictment of Media Matters for America as an unreliable source of information on Hillary Clinton or her critics during the 2016 US Presidential election campaign. The New Republic is a notable liberal political journal which addressed its complaints not to Media Matters' political stance, but to their journalistic ethics and to their violation of the US Tax Code by systematically advocating for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 US Presidential election campaign, activity which is illegal since Media Matters for America is listed with the US Internal Revenue Service as a as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit group. It ought to be mentioned in our article under Controversies. loupgarous (talk) 01:23, 11 January 2018 (UTC)

@Vfrickey: I agree this is indeed a controversial aspect of MMfA that needs to be documented; however, I have two caveats:
  1. The New Republic article, while well written, relies entirely on anonymous sources. With that in mind, I think it is important some effort is made to verify the reporting with a second source.
  2. I am uncomfortable with having a "controversies" section. Per WP:CRIT, I would prefer to see such things woven into the prose of the article. Obviously this would necessitate a significant rewrite, but it is nevertheless a goal that should be undertaken.
Other than those, I really have no objections. With it being so controversial, I think it would be wise to suggest some proposed language here and then seek consensus for its inclusion. -- Scjessey (talk) 13:45, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
This is a critical piece that passes WP:DUE I think, but if you want to make more than a sentence or two out of it, you'll need some independent sources agreeing with it. It's certainly nowhere near enough to make a "criticism" section out of it. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 14:11, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
@Scjessey: Other articles of ours on agenda-driven news agencies such as Fox News, have "controversies" sections. Since Media Matters for America famously declared "war" on Fox News, it earned a "controversies" section of its own by showing it's not primarily a news source, but exists to elicit controversy (rightly or wrongly). It's the left-wing mirror of Media Research Center - our article quotes them as admitting that, and MRC is also not just controversial, but regarded as WP:PUS for some topics. Now we have a national liberal journal which is generally sympathetic with MMfA's general aims (exposing partisan press distortion where it actually exists is a worthy aim) but harshly critical of how Media Matters of America systematically and knowingly supported one candidate over another, even at the risk of losing the non-profit status with the IRS that allows them to operate as a charity, not a business. If anyone first earned a "controversies" section by courting controversy (again, rightly or wrongly), then cemented their controversial status by breaking the tax laws of the United States to use tax-deductible contributions to them for support of Hillary Clinton's run for the Presidency, it's Media Matters for America. I'm entirely comfortable with any news outlet which declares a political agenda, then breaks Federal law governing its existence as a tax-exempt charitable organization to support a specific political campaign having a "controversies" section.
@MjolnirPants, I intended no more than what I said - to add a mention of this specific story in Controversies, which would take no more than a sentence or two, is WP:DUE and mentioned in a WP:RS secondary source. I feel the proper place for any larger exposition of this issue is to impeach their reliability in article talk pages as a source for a fact cited in wikipedia specifically for their coverage of Hillary Clinton and Her Critics During the 2016 US Presidential Campaign, where a reliable secondary source has raised questions about that reliability. I've started such discussions in the talk page of WP:Reliable Sources/Noticeboard and elsewhere. I will continue to research for mention of this issue in other WP:RS. Thanks for your comments, they are helpful. loupgarous (talk) 18:44, 11 January 2018 (UTC)

I propose this language paraphrasing the New Republic article:

"In a December 19, 2016 article The New Republic summarized reports from anonymous Media Matters for America researchers describing a pattern of advocacy for Hillary Clinton and her 2015-6 Presidential campaign and criticism of unflattering media coverage of Mrs. Clinton going back to Media Matters' 2015 article “How NPR’s Terry Gross Created A False Impression That Hillary Clinton Stonewalled On Marriage Equality”. The New Republic article also mentioned Media Matters's giving Clinton loyalist James Carville a regular column during Mrs. Clinton's campaign for the Presidency, and that "On the site, there are 1,468 posts tagged with “Hillary Clinton” as opposed to just 26 tagged “Bernie Sanders”, stating that this systematic support for Mrs. Clinton's campaign violated US Federal law forbidding charitable institutions allowed to accept tax-deductible contributions to "participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates".

loupgarous (talk) 19:05, 11 January 2018 (UTC)

No, that is too much weight for one critical piece. In fact, this piece is already used as a source in the article, for the following sentence: "In 2016 MMfA was criticized to lower their research standards for Hillary Clinton-related content." My advice would be to slightly expand upon that and fix the grammatical errors with it. For example:
In December 2016, the New Republic published an article by Clio Chang and Alex Shephard alleging unduly favorable treatment of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential elections. The work described the group as being "...Clinton’s first line of defense", and cited anonymous former staffers to describe an atmosphere of explicit support.
Without secondary sources repeating the claims in this article, we should not be focusing on them, only on the overall message of the piece. Nor should we be linking directly to IRS laws as if arguing that MMfA is guilty. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 19:48, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
Agreed. And in response to Vfrickey's comment about "controversies" sections appearing in other articles, I say so what? Bad things appearing in other articles is not an excuse to propagate bad things. Besides, the source doesn't even use the word "controversy" or a derivation of same. -- Scjessey (talk) 21:24, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
I've disclosed my reasons for wanting Media Matters for America's reliability considered here. If ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants can show that I am writing with an agenda other than to invite discussion of Media Matters' reliability as a source for facts cited in wikipedia, he is certainly free to so so. I refer people to my talk page, at the bottom of the thread "Snopes Talk", to see another case in which ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants accused me of an agenda I wasn't pushing by making several observations unsupported by the discussion above (that another editor and I were "discussing how to get around WP:RS when my advice to the editor in question was to defer discussion of the point regarding Snopes until he or someone else discovered convincing WP:RS to support it. That's not subverting our WP:RS policy, it's explicit advice to follow it in building a consensus. I didn't think MjolnirPants and I had a serious issue then, but I could be wrong.
I do acknowledge that an inline citation of an RS regarding a statement of its opinion is sufficient to document that opinion. After restoring MjolnirPants' unwarranted revert of my changes to the article, I restored the cite of Media Matters' criticism of Chris Matthews, as it happened long before this other issue with their coverage of press criticism of Hillary Clinton came up, and my edit summary was indeed inaccurate.
The article in The New Republic specifically mentions the cozy relationship between Media Matters founder David Brock and Hillary Clinton, and Media Matters's giving space on their site to Clinton loyalist James Carville during the campaign, with an explicit intent stated by Carville to provide a perspective friendly to Mrs. Clinton. Activist Watch has gone beyond these allegations to allege Media Matters for America's wide-ranging pattern of partisan political comment in an organization prohibited by law from doing so in its "educational activities". [ Regular Washington Post columnist David von Drehle said of Media Matters and its founder, "Today, Brock stands atop an empire of donor-funded political operations. Media Matters for America seeks to mirror the right-wing Media Research Center in lobbing charges of dishonesty at the press; together the two groups have accelerated our path toward a world in which no one believes anything beyond his own biases."
If I erred here, it was by confining the scope of this discussion of Media Matters for America's reliability to their coverage of Hillary Clinton or her critics during the 2016 US Presidential election campaign. Evidence in usually reliable sources points to wider concerns about the reliability of Media Matters for America as the basis for a fact cited in wikipedia, based both on the overt political bias of their comments (they concentrate on criticism of what they regard conservative reporting, the only notable exceptions having been to defend Hillary Clinton from critical press) and the troubling illegality of their operations as an "educational institution" offering its donors the ability to deduct large donations from their taxable income during the two years leading to the 2016 Presidential election. loupgarous (talk) 21:37, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
Stop taking everything so personally for fuck's sake, and stick to discussions that are relevant to this article. If you want to complain about me sensing an agenda in you (and your constant attempts to undermine the credibility of groups you perceive to have a left-wing bias), that's a user talk page matter. If you want to discuss the reliability of MMfA, that's for RSN. If you want to talk about Matthews', that's for the talk page there. If you don't have anything else to say about how to reflect this source in the article better, then please stop commenting here so I can just implement my proposal and be done with it. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 21:42, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
You brought up the Chris Matthews article problem yourself. I simply stated I'd restored your changes after reverting the ones which were only broken as far as WP:EL, which I fixed at the same time But when you accuse me of having an agenda, I'm entitled to defend myself. You can either WP:AGF and observe WP:CIVIL, or expect to have your previous misstatements about me shown as an example that you have misinterpreted what I said in ways that are difficult to explain assuming good faith in the past. But your suggested changes fall short of describing what several sources now say was going on with Media Matters for America in the run-up to the 2016 Presidential campaign. Your WP:OWN issue, not mine. loupgarous (talk) 21:59, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
You brought up the Chris Matthews article problem yourself. Are you lying or experiencing some serious mental difficulties? You brought it up when you posted about it at an entirely different page than this one, which you may recognize as the only place I ever mentioned Matthews other than Matthews' talk page. Please read WP:TPG before you go on any more. Take any other complaints you have to the appropriate place or shut the hell up about them. ᛗᛁᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱPants Tell me all about it. 22:02, 11 January 2018 (UTC)
I think it is undue weight to give much if any attention to investigative journalism unless it has received broad coverage. We have no way of knowing if the allegations are true and no reason to report them if mainstream sources do not. TFD (talk) 00:52, 12 January 2018 (UTC)

Removal of label[edit]

Two thumbs up for this edit. This has been edit warred forever. -- Scjessey (talk) 14:05, 23 April 2018 (UTC)

...and BullRangifer has brought it back. Sigh. -- Scjessey (talk) 10:11, 25 April 2018 (UTC)
I tried. Maybe we can go back to it as a compromise at some point.John2510 (talk) 19:01, 25 April 2018 (UTC)

OMG! Scjessey, sorry about stumbling into a minefield. Oddly, I have never edited this article before, even though I'm a fan. Media Matters was used as a source by someone elsewhere, and while improving the ref format, I noticed the untraditional first sentence here. We never tell what an organization does or its mission, before describing what it is. Never. That's really bad form.

I had no idea there had been any controversy over this and just used their self-identification. That should be uncontroversial. Progressive is a feather in their cap, and they aren't afraid to say it. Neither should we.

So there are two issues here that need to be resolved:

  1. State what the organization is before stating its mission.
  2. Describe its leanings, since that is its primary defining factor, the reason it exists at all.

So what are the best wordings for each one? I just moved a description from further down to the first sentence, and added the leaning. That's all I did. Maybe the leaning should be immediately after rather than before, but it should be in the first sentence. Then what follows makes more sense. -- BullRangifer (talk) PingMe 14:30, 25 April 2018 (UTC)

"What it is" and how to fairly characterizing its leanings is the very controversy. Whether they are truly "progressive" (as they say) or are left-leaning (as others say) is a matter of debate. I figured describing their mission avoided that controversy.
As you note, the real issue is the organization's "leanings." I've added a neutral, credible and reliable source on that. I'm happy to go back to just stating their mission, which seems the best way for people to understand what the organization claims to be - and that it indeed is a claim (rather than some objective reality, which is best left for the reader to determine for himself).John2510 (talk) 19:01, 25 April 2018 (UTC)
What you have written now looks good and flows nicely. Whether it's described as left-leaning, liberal, or progressive is just a matter of how it describes itself. That you immediately state the mission makes sense. -- BullRangifer (talk) PingMe 03:56, 26 April 2018 (UTC)
If it was up to me, I'd scrub Wikipedia's lede paragraphs of political leanings completely, and restrict such labels to the article body where they can be properly explored. Where a person or organization falls on the ideological spectrum is incredibly complicated. For example, Barack Obama has been variously described in US politics as left-leaning, liberal, progressive and even socialist. But in other parts of the world, he would be very much considered right-of-center politically. Adding labels like these always seems to me to fall foul of Wikipedia's goal to be as world-centric as possible. As far as this article is concerned, I guess the best we can do is go with what the sources say, even if the "left-leaning" label is incredibly simplistic. -- Scjessey (talk) 14:55, 26 April 2018 (UTC)
I certainly agree. My philosophy as an editor is to put the relevant facts out there and let the reader decide the conclusions and characterizations for himself. Otherwise, we wind up with edit-warring, followed by vocal advocates getting to pick the label that will be the WP characterization. On other pages, I've often seen facts that would be useful to a reader who is trying to form his own conclusion omitted, because they don't fit in with the consensus conclusion. WP seems to be a poor historian if picking a label/conclusion rather than simply supplying the facts for the reader is the goal. John2510 (talk) 16:38, 26 April 2018 (UTC)
I couldn't agree more. Labels obfuscate almost as often as they inform. The more we focus facts and the less on interpretation of those facts e.g. is a given position liberal, conservative, etc., the less room for disagreement among sources and editors. James J. Lambden (talk) 17:37, 26 April 2018 (UTC)
We should remain cautious when dealing with interpretations in such matters, but be bold when properly sourced self-descriptions are available. Is there any doubt about the current label? No. Has MMFA objected? No. What's the problem? -- BullRangifer (talk) PingMe 19:04, 26 April 2018 (UTC)
By switching this back to MMA's self-description of "progressive" you're proving my point. What's the objective reality here? Who decides, and on what basis? I remain happy with letting their mission statement stand for what it is and letting the reader, rather than WP, decide how to characterize the organization. However, you've argued we need to identify the organization's leanings, which is what the NY Mag. article does. But now you've traded that for identifying a general political philosophy, which you describe as "a feather in their cap." In reality, we should be providing the reader with objective NPOV information upon which the reader may form his own opinions, rather than WP telling him what to think of the organization. John2510 (talk) 16:49, 27 April 2018 (UTC)
It's been "progressive" for years, and I am inclined to stick with that since it seems to have worked. But I'm fine with either "progressive" or "left-leaning", so long as the label can be supported by sources. I do think we'd be doing the reader a disservice if we "scrub Wikipedia's lede paragraphs of political leanings completely, and restrict such labels to the article body where they can be properly explored." If I had never heard of MMfA, and wanted to quickly get the gist of who they are and what they do, I should be able to find that info in the lede, and not have read deep into the article for this type of basic info. But anyways, here's a question for you all--what in your eyes is the distinction between "left-leaning" and "progressive"? To me they mean about the same thing. But maybe I'm just ignorant, or maybe that's just my middle-aged, liberal Californian perspective. Yilloslime (talk) 17:24, 27 April 2018 (UTC)
"Progressive" means favoring improvement of society through change. "Left-leaning" is a different and broader characterization (and, I would argue, more accurate here). Again, I think the mission statement says it all, and fighting over an objective truth label is unproductive. John2510 (talk) 17:33, 27 April 2018 (UTC)
I'm going to push back a little here: That same source,, also says "2. making progress toward better conditions; employing or advocating more enlightened or liberal ideas, new or experimental methods, etc." and lists "liberal" as a synonym. So, to a first approximation, left-leaning == progressive. Can anyone name a "progressive" organization/person/idea that is not also a left-leaning organization/person/idea or vice versa? Yilloslime (talk) 20:14, 27 April 2018 (UTC)
Keep in mind that's the second definition. One could say, in the 1940's, that the atomic bomb was a "progressive" approach to warfare - in that it represented a reformation through technical progress and change. Microchipping employees is a "progressive" approach to identification and access. I don't think either of those would be considered left-leaning or liberal. Not all embracing of progress as a tool of social change is left-leaning or liberal. Some people use "progressive" as a euphemism for "left-leaning" but they aren't really synonymous. John2510 (talk) 21:22, 27 April 2018 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── To be fair, the stated goal of MMfA is not to be "left-leaning" or anything like that. It is to highlight poor quality right-wing media coverage. I don't think "left-leaning" OR "progressive" are really accurate. Either way, the slow-motion edit war going on right now needs to stop. -- Scjessey (talk) 21:12, 27 April 2018 (UTC)

If you want to go back to my original edit, leaving out the gratuitous political characterization, I'd be thrilled with that. John2510 (talk) 21:27, 27 April 2018 (UTC)
  • thumbs down it is not only useful to users to have teh general political slant of political organizations stated at the top of the article, it is standard in such articles to give a simple, description, such as left-leaning or right-leaning. Details can follow in the body of the text. And, yes, I do react badly to such over0simplified descriptions of organizations I care a lot or know a lot about. When I know something about an outfit, such simplifications feels unfair and lacking essential nuance. But when I come to Wikipedia BECAUSE I don't know anything about an organization, or because I can't remember if it is the left-wing or the right-wing organization in a field, I depend on that info to be right at the top of the lede, where it belongs. E.M.Gregory (talk) 20:47, 1 May 2018 (UTC) E.M.Gregory (talk) 20:41, 1 May 2018 (UTC)
Well, if we are going to keep the (arguably inaccurate) label, it must be wikilinked to an article explaining its meaning, and it must be properly attributed in the body of the article. -- Scjessey (talk) 11:59, 2 May 2018 (UTC)

Millions of bytes have been spilled over this for years, see the archives. Let's not rehash this again please. Gamaliel (talk) 16:45, 2 May 2018 (UTC)

Yes, because both factions want to gratuitously impose a characterization. There's no consensus - just an ongoing edit war with cease-fires. As long as that's the position both sides take, it's doomed to continue. Changing it to your preferred characterization and then complaining about the length of the edit war isn't constructive. I tried. John2510 (talk) 22:34, 7 May 2018 (UTC)

A "progressive" organization[edit]

An editor has added to the lead sentence that MMfA is a "progressive" organization.[2] While there is no doubt that some reliable sources may use that desription, it is actually misleading because the term is usually used to refer to left wing of the Democatic Party, while MMfA is clearly centrist Democrat. See for example, Bloomberg, "Progressives Ask Schumer to Pick Like-Minded Financial Watchdogs. Clearly they distinguish between progressives and centrists. TFD (talk) 23:05, 31 May 2018 (UTC)

The progressive label in the lead has been there forever and has been discussed ad nauseum. Please see above and the talk page archives. Do you have anything new to add those discussions? Yilloslime (talk) 23:29, 31 May 2018 (UTC)
I agree with Yilloslime. Also, "progressive" is a term used all around the English-speaking world (which this version of Wikipedia represents), not just the USA. "Progressive" refers to a political philosophy that transcends party politics. There are "progressive" thinkers right across the political spectrum. Besides, the "left wing of the Democratic Party" is actually fairly centrist in the grand scheme of things. -- Scjessey (talk) 13:03, 1 June 2018 (UTC)
As indicated in the discussion immediately above, this has been the subject of a constant edit-war, without ever reaching any sort of consensus. As you can see, my attempts to reach a compromise by avoiding the need for WP to impose a characterization were reverted. Absent a compromise, the issue has been, and will continue to be, discussed ad nauseum. John2510 (talk) 20:36, 7 June 2018 (UTC)