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Sunday, October 5, 2008
Motley Responds to HuffPo, Still Doesn't Make Sense
Topic: Media Research Center

The MRC's Seton Motley used an Oct. 4 NewsBusters post to respond to the Huffington Post article by Seth Colter Walls about Motley's appearance on "Fox & Friends" in which he spewed apaprently false claims about Barack Obama's relationship with ACORN (as we've previously noted). Motley claimed that Walls is "lying" about the MRC:

I was indeed, in the spirit of ingenuous cooperation, "all ears." At the OUTSET of the call, when NO indication as to the content of the questions was yet made known to me. I "abruptly refused to engage in depth" with him the moment I learned of what his queries consisted. Here's why.

As Walls wrote, I said that "(t)he name of our group is Media Research Center," and that we analyze the media. He omitted what I said next, which was that examining the media is our sole mission because we, as a 501(c)3 organization (on the phone, I said something like "by our charter"), are prohibited from doing anything like "respond(ing) to challenges from the Obama campaign."

Leaving out the additional information I provided allowed Walls to paint me as unreasonably unresponsive and uncooperative. I was in fact quite accommodating.

Motley additionally claimed that "most of my information came from Matthew Vadum of the Capital Research Center," which wrote "an investigative opus on Sen. Obama and his left-wing ties" that "is thoroughly researched, comprehensive and very well written." Motley further stated that he told Walls to contact Vadum, which he claims Walls did not do.

And what does that report say about the CAC? That it's "a non-partisan education and research organization, classified by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) public charity." So, by Motley's standard, Vadum would have had to have taken the same comment-avoidance dive that Motley did.

We're still confused, though: We understand that 501(c)(3) groups are not permitted to engage in explicit partisan political activity, but where exactly in the 501(c)(3) code does it say that a 501(c)(3) can't even respond to questions raised by a political organization about said group's accuracy? (Disclosure: Our day job is with a 501(c)(3) group, but ConWebWatch is entirely separate from it.)

And somehow this law, which purportedly forbids Motley from answering questions froma political campaign, also permits one of its employees on one of its websites to cheer on one political candidate's negative attacks on another? We're confused.

Motley is obfuscating about this, taking refuge in tax law in order to keep from answering simple questions. That still makes him a bit of a coward.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:11 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, October 5, 2008 1:22 AM EDT

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