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What is the Purpose of the Media Matters Tagline?

By now most of you have heard of the flurry of activity appearing in the seldom read lefty blogosphere, with posts promoting gun control bearing this tagline:

This post is written as part of the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to further Media Matters’ mission to comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. Some of the worst misinformation occurs around the issue of guns, gun violence, and extremism, the fellowship program is designed to fight this misinformation with facts.

I agree, certainly, that some of the worst misinformation occurs around the issue of guns, but it’s occurring from the other side, not our side. That stands to reason, since when it comes to guns, most of them are ignoramuses on anything other than how to become hysterical on the topic. But I keep wondering what the purpose of this tagline is.

It’s certainly not required. Joyce/Media Matters are perfectly free, as fellow citizens with First Amendment rights, to fund anonymous speech. So why the tagline? A few reasons that I can think of.

  • They want to be able to measure how much exposure they are getting for their money. It’s relatively easy to search on the tagline and see how many sites are being reached. It’s also relatively easy to see that the blogger followed through on what he was being paid for.
  • They want to be able to cover their asses if a blog receives funding for a post, but in the next post does something that could qualify as electioneering, and endanger the funders tax status. By labeling the one post that received funding, it protects both the funder from accusations that they may be funding bloggers to do activity which is outside the scope of a 501(c)(3) non-profit.

If I had to take a bet, I think the latter is most likely the reason, maybe with a little of the former. The big downside for our opponents is it’s like spray painting your astroturf bright orange. It’s really easy for us to spot, and point out that, rather than being a genuine grassroots movement, what we have here are people that are pretty obviously being paid to shill for the Joyce Campaign’s anti-gun agenda.

It’s worth noting that NRA doesn’t have to pay shills to do pro-gun posts. Our community is pretty organic, and definitely unpaid. This blog costs me approximately 50 bucks a month to run between paying for the Internet connection to feed it, paying for the electricity to run the server, and upkeep on the server itself. If NRA offered to pay me for a post, I’d absolutely refuse. Even in the depths of unemployment, I still managed to find a few hundred bucks to spend at our “Friends of the NRA” dinner.

If the other side really wants to understand why they continuously lose, they have to understand this: their side can’t get mojo without buying off sympathetic people on the left to shill for their cause. I would not let NRA, or any other gun rights group I believed in, buy words from me. Every penny they spent on that would be money that isn’t going to keep lobbyists on my elected representatives like a pitbull on a poodle. If the gun control extremists want to understand why they can’t get any traction, they need to look no further than the fact that they even need to throw money at people to have a voice at all.

11 Responses to “What is the Purpose of the Media Matters Tagline?”

  1. ddbaxte says:

    The disclaimer makes me wonder who’s really writing the posts.

  2. Phil says:

    That’s the difference between our side and theirs. The antis have to pay their bloggers The Progun rights bloggers pay to be part of the NRA and other national, state, and local gun rights groups.

  3. Phil says:

    pro gun rights. . . I can’t type for anything today.

  4. Thirdpower says:

    The guy from WAVE claims to not have been paid for his MM/JF post.

  5. Robb Allen says:

    WAIT A COTTON PICKING MINUTE!

    If MM is looking to figure out how they’re doing by searching for that phrase, what happens when the pro-gun blogger keep posting it over and over, diluting their effect as well as drawing more eyes toward our point of view?

  6. Mopar says:

    My guess is it also has something to do with increasing their search engine rankings so that when people search for gun facts and other terms they get Media Matters and related posts. The line seems crafted to include as many key search words as possible.

  7. Weer'd Beard says:

    The GUY wasn’t paid, but maybe WAVE was.

    I certainly think there is SOME exchange taking place. You’ll note that Joan Peterson blogs only about gun control, but not all of her posts are tagged with the Media Matters tag. And this isn’t just marking the start of the program. Some posts have it, others later don’t.

    Also the Tag is identical in both text and placement. There must be an email or memo floating around, and I know I’d love to read it.

  8. Dannytheman says:

    I agree with you. I talk on my blog about gun stuff, but mix it up with other things in my life. I am not interested in taking money for my low viewed blog, it’s for me. I have donated over 750 dollars to Friends of NRA this year, I do admit I love the tax deduction. I have donated 200 dollars to NRA-ILA and 100 dollars for other concerns as requested!
    The anti group becomes smaller and smaller. I am always concerned that without us looking at their sights to see what they are up to, they would never have any hits. I strongly believe we lose more by writing responses to their idiotic postings anymore. WE make them relevant, when we should be shunning them completely.

  9. Weer'd Beard says:

    New post up on Joan Peterson’s page this morning. No Media Matters tag.

    The only thing that makes any sense is there MUST be some exchange going on.

  10. Sebastian says:

    Bitter thinks it might be a case where they sent a bunch of talking points to the bloggers, asked them to assemble a post, with the caveat that they add the tagline. So basically they made the pitch and gave the background needed for the post.

    It could be. There are plenty of bloggers on the left out there that agree with gun control, but just don’t give a shit enough about it to write about it on their own. But if they are provided with cookie-cutter talking points, they might be motivated to do something.

  11. Mark says:

    The entire edifice of modern day gun prohibition is based on nothing more than emotional hyperbole and falsehoods, so it stands to reason that the hoplophobes behind the push for that agenda would have to encourage other True Believers™ to spread their message.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. SayUncle » They don’t matter - [...] Simpler reason: They’re shills. [...]
  2. Shills, Paid or Otherwise | Weer'd World - [...] Sebastian muses about the Joyce Tagline that’s appearing under anti-gun articles and blog posts as of late. It reads…
  3. Media (doesn’t) Matter « Not a Tango, nothing to see here - [...] their original tagline as posted by Sebastian. This post is written as part of the Media Matters Gun Facts…
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