Since when does the Department of Justice coordinate with an obviously liberal media organization to go after a conservative reporter? It’s official: At least since 2011.
In email exchanges obtained by The Daily Caller in two separate FOIA requests, a coordinated effort to slam Breitbart News reporter Matthew Boyle emerged. To be sure, Boyle is not a reporter who is beloved by other reporters and he’s been critiqued on any number of matters that include his youthful chipmunk cheeks, his previously questionable Twitter avatar and his TV skills. But his beat was DOJ and Eric Holder and shouldn’t a reporter be commended for going after an enterprising story or two on his beat?
Even Slate‘s Dave Weigel agreed with that sentiment. “I see Media Matters giving Holder a huzzah for calling the Caller out,” he wrote in November 2011. “But calling it out for what? Are news organizations not allowed to enterprise stories by asking people whether they think someone should resign? News organizations do this all the time. The Caller’s ‘sin’ seems to be doing it with no back-up from the rest of the press.”
And yet, all this media scheming from the Department of Justice.
As revealed in the FOIA docs, Media Matters Deputy Research Director Matt Gertz sent a post concerning the NRA’s growing contributions to Holder’s critics to DOJ spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler, Holder’s top press flack who resigned in March, 2013. She replied, “Thanks, you know boyle has been doing robo calls to top members right? This is campaign mounted by daily caller. He has called 60 offices and gotten to 8 last week.” Gertz replied, “Yeah, that was what my original piece on the story was about.”
At the time of the exchange, Boyle worked for The Daily Caller.
Years later in February, 2013, Boyle wrote a story for Breitbart News about Schmaler’s “colluding” with “far left wing” Media Matters to attack him, lawmakers and other members of the media. Funny enough, Boyle attempted to seek comment from Schmaler on why she resigned. He wrote, “Schmaler has not answered when asked by Breitbart News whether her resignation has anything to do with the coming hearings on DOJ collusion with groups like Media Matters.”
Weirdly, it takes two years (or longer) for DOJ to respond to FOIA requests.
Further perplexing: TheDC FOIA’d the Justice Department for all mentions of Matthew Boyle in agency communications. The specific request was ”All records relating to and about Matthew Boyle.” Carmen Mallon, chief of staff for DOJ, replied in a formal letter saying that no such records existed despite the above exchange between Schmaler and Gertz.
“For your information, neither this Office nor any of these senior leadership offices of the Department typically maintain records on individuals,” she wrote. “As such, this office would not maintain the type of records you are seeking.
“However, in an effort to be of assistance, please be advised that a search has been conducted of the electronic database of the Departmental Executive Secretariat, which is the official records repository for the Offices of the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General, and Associate Attorney General, and no records subject to FOIA were located. A search has also been conducted in the Office of Information Policy and no records subject to the FOIA were located.”
Gee, thanks Carmen. Except that the records concerning DOJ and Boyle were maintained, located and sent.
Please be advised. If you’re the DOJ and want to get some bad press out there on a reporter who may or may not be a thorn in your side, Media Matters is on speed dial.