So I just noticed the Media Matters “Transparency” project today after clicking over from another site. It lists the major donors to all sorts of conservative and libertarian organizations, including my current and previous employers, Reason and Cato.
As I’ve noted before, both Reason and Cato already lists their major donors in their annual reports. At Reason, we also publish the names of everyone who has given the Reason Foundation at least $1,000 each year in the magazine.
But here’s what you won’t find on the Media Matters “Transparency” website, or on the main Media Matters site: a list of the names of the major donors to Media Matters. They keep that secret. As do the various “Progress” groups, who also regularly criticize conservative and free market organizations as being secret front groups for major donors and corporations. (That criticism is crap when it comes to Reason and Cato, for reasons I’ve explained numerous times on this site, but won’t get into again here.)
As I’ve also written in the past, I don’t think political or ideological organizations should be required to disclose their donors. The right to anonymity is a critical part of the right to dissent without fear of retaliation from the government.
But that Media Matters’ won’t list its own donors anywhere on its website dedicated to making think tanks and political advocacy groups more transparent is so astonishingly, jaw-droppingly hypocritical, it’s actually kind of comical.