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Hillary Involvement In Media Matters, CREW

From “Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton,” by Jeff Gerth and Don van Natta, Jr., pp 265-70, which touches upon Mrs. Bill Clinton’s involvement with the George Soros groups CREW and Media Matters:

The War Room

The first decision Hillary faced as she took over the [Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee] committee in early 2003 was whether to keep the staff director, Jodi Sakol. Sakol, in her early thirties, was already a communications veteran, having worked the beat for Al Gore when he was vice president and during his 2000 presidential campaign…

Once she became a member of Hillaryland, Sakol was amazed to discover the loyalty and devotion of Hillary’s extended political family…

Some of the committee’s best ideas came from Hillary…

HILLARY HAD PAID close attention to how the right wing had shaped the public image of Al Gore, and she knew that there was a need to utilize the newly emerging media on the Internet to fight back against her political enemies. Not surprisingly, there was a more receptive climate for these ideas among liberal activists.

By 2003, John Podesta’s Center for American Progress was preparing a daily news summary promoting the organization’s left-leaning agenda. Every morning, officials from the center would apprise Sakol of their daily message. With the help of outside advisers and Daschle’s aides, she would then prepare the rapid-response message of the day for Senate Democrats. Sakol found it odd— “almost backwards”—that outsiders, many of whom were loyal Clintonites, were quietly framing the messages on issues for all the Democrats in the Senate. Hillary had no such reservations, for obvious reasons.

Concurrently, and on her own time, Sakol was involved in discussions about the formation of another nonprofit, left-leaning group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which focused on government corruption. It was Hillary’s “proactive” efforts in this area and her desire to “beat the GOP at their own game” that prompted CREW’s founder, Melanie Sloan, a former prosecutor, to invite Sakol to the initial brainstorming sessions in 2003 where CREW was born. CREW was organized as a tax-exempt nonpartisan group, and on occasion, it has taken on Democratic targets. But since the Congress and the executive branch were in Republican hands at the time of its founding, its investigations were bound to focus on Republicans.

Sakol alerted Hillary and her staff about the newly forming group and its need for “Democratic progressive money.” The hope was that CREW would prove to be a perfect counterbalance to Judicial Watch, the corruption watchdog that had tormented the Clintons with lawsuits and press conferences throughout the 1990s. Hillary’s pollster and strategist Mark Penn became a director and vice president of CREW. “CREW could do things the senators couldn’t do,” Sakol said. And once CREW’s charges “were out in the press,” Sakol noted, other people could cite the findings of the group, which was usually portrayed as nonpartisan in news accounts. CREW played a significant role in unearthing several congressional scandals, including helping a retiring Democratic congressman from Texas to file a complaint against House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

Hillary’s other priority upon assuming control of the steering committee had been to improve the communication and message capabilities of Senate Democrats…

Soon after taking over the committee, she told Sakol, “I want to create a war room in the Senate.” Clinton’s idea was to develop “a one-stop shop for communications for the senators that did not exist before.” …

The 2004 elections, in which the Republican message machine demonstrated its communications prowess, finally woke up Senate Democrats. Among those Democrats losing their seats was Daschle, and his successor, Harry Reid, considered Hillary’s idea to be a “nobrainer.” A few weeks after the election, Reid publicly announced the formation of a war room, allocating the staff and resources that Hillary had unsuccessfully sought. Reid would come to frequently rely on Hillary’s advice in figuring out how to respond to urgent issues or craft a daily message.

One of the attendees at the meetings that led to CREW’s creation was David Brock, a former enemy turned ally of Hillary’s who was starting his own nonprofit group about the same time. Hillary and Brock had forged a seemingly strange alliance. Brock’s nonprofit, a Washington-based media-monitoring venture called Media Matters for America, found a temporary home in early 2004 at the Center for American Progress. Already providing its daily news summary to Hillary, the center helped Sakol get the daily media analysis prepared by Media Matters in order to help shape the Senate war-room activities.

Although it was independent, Media Matters had among its earliest supporters and advisers long-standing allies of Hillary and the Democratic Party. One of them, Kelly Craighead, who planned Hillary’s trips for eight years when she was First Lady, advised Media Matters “on all aspects” of its launch. And the new group wasted no time becoming an aggressive protector of Hillary’s reputation and boasting about its role as truth police, forcefully going after journalists for what the group deems to be leaving out key information or cherry-picking material. In three years, the group has cited more than seven thousand examples of “conservative misinformation,” Brock said.

Hillary, though not a close friend of Brock’s, advised him and “quietly nurtured” his nonprofit empire. The watchdogs at Media Matters often rushed to Hillary’s defense…

In mid-2006, Hillary hired Peter Daou, who in 2004 had directed blog outreach and online rapid response for the Kerry presidential campaign and later worked for Media Matters. Daou, who was raised in Lebanon before eventually settling in Manhattan, viewed the mainstream press as “cowardly” and “sycophantic.”

Several weeks before he joined Hillary’s campaign, Daou wrote in his blog about the “media establishment bending over backwards to accommodate this White House and to regurgitate pro-GOP and anti-Dem spin.” …

Daou agreed to work for Hillary as a blog adviser because he thought it represented a “unique opportunity” to put his words into action to “facilitate and expand her relationship with the netroots,” and to apply what he had learned at Media Matters about the ability of “conservative misinformation” to become part of the mainstream press. (Long before she hired Daou, Hillary had told an aide that blogs were “going to be opinion leaders.”)

Daou first became a consultant to her campaign committee and to her political PAC… A few weeks later, Daou became a full-fledged member of Hillaryland, assuming the title of Internet director for Hillary’s newly launched presidential campaign in 2007

Daou believed that “the candidate who makes smart use of the Internet in 2008 will have a decided edge.” His boss agreed, but she also made it clear that though she had gone high-tech, she certainly hadn’t gone soft. At Hillary’s first official presidential campaign stop, she told Democratic activists in Iowa, “When you are attacked, you have to deck your opponents.” It wasn’t just a strategy— it turned out to be a prediction too.

And from a little later in the book, pp 313-14:

Just as 1992’s election inspired conservatives like Scaife to get involved, the 2000 election was a wake-up call to some wealthy liberals about the reach and influence of the other side’s information infrastructure. One of those who responded was Herb Sandler, who, in concert with his wife, Marion, is an enthusiastic supporter of left-leaning causes. At the time, the Sandlers ran World Savings, one of the nation’s leading savings and loans. Sandler was determined to create an ideological counterweight to conservative think tanks like the Heritage Foundation. From their base in Oakland, California, the couple tried to apply tough-minded business-management techniques to progressive philanthropy.

Meanwhile, John Podesta, the last chief of staff to President Clinton, had coauthored a memo exploring the need for a liberal think tank. The memo found its way to Sandler, and the two men met in Washington. Podesta, a gaunt marathon runner in his fifties, had long worked the trenches of Washington’s public-policy wars. Sandler, a lanky California businessman with big ideas, was a generation older. Both men were trained as lawyers and knew how to negotiate. Podesta agreed to head up the new entity, and Sandler became the organization’s largest donor. Another billionaire supporter of leftist causes, George Soros, also kicked in financial support.

The new tax-exempt group opened its doors in downtown Washington in 2003 as the Center for American Progress. Hillary played a "formative" role in the discussions that preceded the center’s launch. She realized that the right had "created an infrastructure that has come to dominate political discourse" and greeted the center as a "welcome effort to fill that void" and create "some new intellectual capital" for her side.

Once its roots were established, the center broadened its financial base by seeking donations from a group of left-leaning donors that came together in 2005 under the umbrella of an organization called the Democracy Alliance. Some alliance members are close to Hillary; by 2007, the alliance was run by Kelly Craighead, a longtime member of Hillaryland. The alliance has some firm rules: Members must donate at least $250,000 per year to approved causes, and the groups seeking their backing must submit proposals to the alliance for screening and agree to keep secret the source of their donations.

The center, though ostensibly nonpartisan, attracted several veterans of the Clinton administration, and conservatives soon regarded it as an important piece of the Clinton empire…

But the foundation’s critics are correct that Podesta has strong links to Hillary. In 1993, as staff secretary to President Clinton, Podesta had prepared a report on the travel office affair that mentioned Hillary, but his investigation and final report ignored or downplayed parts of Hillary’s role in the affair. Podesta also served on the secret task force in 2006 that advised Hillary on energy issues.

Soon after the Center for American Progress opened, it began collaborating with Hillary and her staff, prompting one former Hillary aide to describe the relationship between Hillary and the center as "very close." A key adviser to Hillary, Neera Tanden, has been a center employee in between jobs at Hillary’s Senate office and on her campaign committee. After Tanden was hired by Hillary’s presidential campaign in early 2007, she was joined by Judd Legum, the center’s research director.

Podesta and his center achieved the goal of their backers; the group’s studies and officials are frequently cited by both the mainstream media and the increasingly active blogosphere. Podesta is a regular guest on network talk shows. When asked on one of them in late 2006, a few weeks before she had announced her intentions, whether he was ready to support Hillary for president, he enthusiastically endorsed her.

Mind you, this account is from the very leftwing duo of the New York Times reporters, Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta.

For a refresher course on the names and groups involved, check out their entries in Discover The Networks, including John Podesta, the Center for American Progress, CREW, and Media Matters.

Of course it doesn’t take a flowchart to see that all of these people are in bed with Hillary, George Soros and the DNC.

Despite each and every one of these groups being granted taxpayer support as non-profit, non-partisan 501c3 "charities."

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, October 4th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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