Media Matters, the progressive media watchdog group, is preparing for what its founder, former conservative journalist David Brock, calls a full-scale campaign of "guerrilla warfare and sabotage" against the Fox News Channel. The Media Matters staff of around ninety can be considered a David to Fox's Goliath as they narrow their focus to the conservative behemoth and certain conservative websites.
According to Brock, Media Matters is compiling opposition research files (kind of like J. Edgar Hoover) on top Fox executives, as well as some midlevel officials. A legal team is being assembled to help Fox opponents file lawsuits for defamation, invasion of privacy, and other causes. And two veteran reporters have been hired to investigate the Fox operation for a book due out in 2012.
Brock said the group will also "focus on [News Corp. CEO Rupert] Murdoch and trying to disrupt his commercial interests — whether that be here or looking at what's going on in London right now," alluding to News Corp's bid to control a majority stake in satellite broadcaster BSkyB.
Media Matters has previously harmed the careers of Don Imus and Dr. Laura Schlessinger, as well as embarrassed the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly, but Roger Ailes and co. may just welcome the dumpster diving. Fordham University Media Studies professor, Paul Levinson, said "Fox is happy about it — and it makes their position more vivid among their supporters. One way of keeping your core supporters happy is to be attacked by people your core supporters don't like."
Brock's view of Fox News as a serious threat was manifested in a 2010 planning memo, which stated:
"Criticizing Fox News has nothing to do with criticizing the press. Fox News is not a news organization. It is the de facto leader of the GOP, and it is long past time that it is treated as such by the media, elected officials and the public."