[original post 5/18/2010]

People on the left are constantly asking Andrew Breitbart who funds his “operation.”  It’s grown to become rather amusing, actually.  For those of us who are bloggers on The Bigs, we know the truth, we see how things operate. We know there’s no giant conservative-leaning lump of cash greasing this machine.  If that were the case, I for one think Andrew would probably be home with his family even more, rather than traveling around, worrying about advertising or other ways of self-funding this little “hobby” of his, as the left often like to refer to it.

But let’s just look for one moment at where some of that line of thinking comes from on the other side.  I’ve written previously about the birth of Media Matters as a spawn of Rob Stein’s Conservative Message Machine Money Matrix road show, from which the Democracy Alliance was born.  It’s through this organization from which much of the organization’s funding had come; in recent years, more has been spread out across other progressive organizations, but the funders often remain the same names in most cases.  For instance, The Tides Foundation gave Media Matters and their Action Network over $175,000 just last year.  In earlier years, groups like Montclair, New Jersey-based (hometown of Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert) Schumann Center for Media & Democracy gave the organization $500,000.

The donors’ list is vast and diverse, and we plan to cover that in detail in the future.  So I’ll focus in on one set of donors to Media Matters, which is the Labor Unions.  More specifically, in light of some recent posts regarding the Kenneth Gladney incident, I thought it appropriate to revisit donations made to Media Matters specifically by the Service Employees International Union.

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When you look at the timeline of events and the media calendar in general leading up to the Gladney incident last August, it’s difficult not to conclude that there was collaboration amongst White House staff, components of Big Labor, and certain liberal media outlets.  However, we know that all will continue to deny it.

Further, just as the flurry of media activity finally starts to wind down a bit around October last year, this is when SEIU makes three separate donations to Media Matters totaling $50,000, under the classification of “Communications”, according to the SEIU LM-2 report. (In reviewing other LM-2s for several previous years, this appears at least to be the first time that SEIU has donated to Media Matters, and there does not seem to have been another donation recorded since these.)

This is the type of funding that I would question in return to Media Matters.  With their membership being so low and their unfunded pension expenses so high, can the SEIU really afford to be randomly donating funds to an organization like Media Matters?  Perhaps SEIU purchased advertising on Media Matters’ website, but then I’d think it would be categorized as such, as others ad expenses in the LM-2 were.  If not advertising, if not random donations,  then what’s the reason for SEIU having donated these funds?  One could logically conclude that Media Matters performed a service in return.  Only they can answer that.

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