Media Matters to Launch New ‘War Room’ for LGBT Equality

Media Matters is launching a new division of its organization devoted to LGBT equality called 'Equality Matters' which will be run by former Clinton adviser Richard Socarides (pictured) and edited by Advocate reporter Kerry Eleveld, who is leaving that publication in January, the NYT reports:

Socarides While a range of groups are working to advance gay rights, the movement has lacked a national rapid-response war room of the sort that can push back against homophobic messages in the media and the political arena and keep the pressure on elected officials, said David Mixner, a gay author and activist.

“I think the lesson we have learned over the last two years is that you’ve got to be tough,” Mr. Mixner said, “and you’ve got to keep people’s feet to the fire.”

The organizers of Equality Matters say that is their intent. Mr. Socarides and the founder of Media Matters, David Brock, said they began planning Equality Matters several months ago. They quickly persuaded Ms. Eleveld, who covered the Obama campaign and has covered Washington for the last two years, to join them.

“I’ve spent the past two years with a front-row seat to history, and the longer I sat there the more I felt drawn to participating,” Ms. Eleveld said in an interview.

Mr. Brock, a former conservative journalist who is gay — and who broke with the right in the 1990s — has lately been expanding the Media Matters organization. He said in an interview that he had raised $23 million in the last year for the group, which has an operating budget of $13 million. His backers include George Soros, the liberal donor; the Hollywood producer Steve Bing; and gay philanthropists like James Hormel, an ambassador to Luxembourg under Mr. Clinton.

The group's website,, has gone live:

Said Socarides in an introductory blog post: "Going forward, we must continue to do battle against the cynical obstructionists of the right-wing apparatus and conservative movement who still try to exploit fear for their own partisan and anti-Obama political reasons. It's clear the right-wing wants to continue to have this fight through the upcoming presidential election and — as candidate Bob Dole tried to do against Bill Clinton in 1996 with the issue of marriage — use it as a wedge against Democrats and progressives."

One Battle Won, Activists Shift Sights [new york times]


  1. I'm Layla Miller I Know Stuff says

    Anti-Gay Vipers and the Outsider Archetype

    People who identify with the LGBT community live in the shadow of the outsider archetype, whether they are or not aware of it. Even in communities where their survival is not immediately threatened from the outside.

    However, the possibility of a life-threatening change remains ever-present. The treacherous activities of the religious right. Political censors. Gay bashers who are penetrating the heart of metropolitan gay communities. Medical professions, which continue to foist drugs known to be toxic such as AZT and DDI to HIV positive people. Cure-happy psychologist.

    All of these figures confirm the need to be wary of anti-gay vipers and their numerous forms. Such narcissism only draws out the worst in people.

    I’m Layla Miller, I Know Stuff

  2. says

    This is the asshat that brought us Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

    If this is his way of asking for forgiveness, he should just quit while he still thinks he is ahead.

  3. B says

    I’m almost as excited to hear kerry eleveld is leaving the advocate as I was when she was hired. Another nail in Here Media coffin, but I’m sure she and the lgbt community will be much better served in her new endeavour. Congratulations Kerry.

  4. says

    @ “Rick Gold”: the persistent lie that Socarides “brought us DADT,” is just a variation of the “Clinton brought us DADT” lie which Obambots role out in turn as the need for such a lie requires.

    While a part of the Clinton administration in 1993, Socarides was not yet in his advisor for gay issues role that he assumed in 1997. He’s not even mentioned in David Mixner’s personal account of struggles over lifting the ban with various members of the White House staff nor in Nathaniel Frank’s entire book on the conversion of the 50+ year old ban into DADT, “Unfriendly Fire.”

    Senator Sam Nunn “brought us DADT” through the conceptualization of his homophobic sociologist Charles Moskos, along with Cong. Ike Skeletor, through veto-proof votes in both houses.

    No need, Mr. Gold, to ask forgiveness for having swallowed whole such bullshit.

  5. says

    Creation of this new, well-funded group is great news. Obviously, they’ve just opened, so to speak, so like the proverbial restaurant reviewer I’ll hold the official review until the kinks have been worked out. But I have to say I’m concerned by something seeming to be critically missing from their first menu—the actualization of an end to the ban.

    Too few understand that passage/signing of the bill just opens the door to open service. By every indication, it will be months and months before a single gay service member can walk through it and breath the oxygen of freedom to live their lives and loves outloud with the freedom—and protections—their nongay comrades have. And, by every realistic measure, there is NO reason it NEEDS to take that long—and there is one obsessed driver of such a plan: Secretary Gates.

    While everyone at the Pentagon has circled the wagons since release of the Pentagon Working Group’s so-called “Comprehensive Review,” ducking and dodging all questions about a timeline, Gates gave a forebodingly definitive benchmark in his February testimony to the SASC committee, insisting he would “need” “at least a year” for “implementation” AFTER passage of “repeal” legislation. At its core, “implementation” translates as “stop discharges,” and a year is both functionally and morally indefensible.

    He dropped another foreboding shoe recently. Sen. Webb said he voted for passage only because Gates assured him that “the policy could be implemented in sequence for different units of the military, rather than all at once.” That is in DIRECT contradiction to the recommendations—based on professional research on successful organizational change—of the 518-page 1993 RAND study, “Sexual Orientation and U.S. Military Personnel Policy”:

    It said unequivocally that the change “should be implemented immediately. Fast and pervasive change will signal commitment to the policy. Any incremental changes would likely be viewed as experimental; commitment to the new policy would therefore be weakened. In addition, phased-in implementation might allow enemies of the new policy to intentionally create problems to ‘prove’ the policy unworkable.”

    Though virtually every other 93 RAND recommendation is recycled in their 2010 “update” that was a part of the recently released review, the imperative of a prompt, universal change is strangely missing, only mentioned as having been a part of the earlier report without any explanation of why it has been excised from their to do list.

    In short, I trust Equality Matters will not assume that they and we can simply trust the military to do the right thing, and abandon the battle for military gay integration for “the Movement’s next and biggest battle” based on the mistaken belief that it’s been resolved.

  6. says

    Good God….can’t any of the above commentors just shelve their pseudo intellectual B.S. and be happy someone wants to do some good? Get over yourselves.

  7. ratbastard says

    Mr Brock is a fine example of how it’s relatively easy to turn an extremist onto another direction and form of extremism. The Nazis and Russian communists both knew their psychology, and they both knew it wasn’t a big deal flipping a communist into a Nazi and vice-versa.

    One day I’m a conservative, righwing Republican, next I’ve transmogrified into a gay leftwinger.

    What’s the lesson? Don’t trust ANY kind ideological extremist.

  8. frank says

    I’m fond of Media Matters and David Brock but the following quote from the NY Times article, if true, shows he’s still a novice on LGBT issues.

    “We know that ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ will be a news hook,” Mr. Brock said. “But we believe the big battle is full equality, which is gay marriage.”

    No David, it’s not gay marriage…it’s marriage…period.

  9. Rowan says

    Eerybody wants a piece of the pie. Opportunism is right and once again for my sins, I agree with Rat! Urgh!

    HRC, GLADD etc were all out there being out and gay working for gay rights for decades befo it became okay in society to be gay.

    Not only is it rude and insulting but when media loving late comers finally join the party AFTER DADT is repealed, don’t make them out to be heroes, when they’re anything but.

    So this wealth rich conservative gay mow he’s even richer and older, wants to do a little good to be in the history books eh? What a doll!

    And lastly, it’s all fine to watch from afar in your comfy homes when all the lgbt orgs are trailing and erroring with ideas or campaigns and do nothing to help them until you can learn from all their mistakes, take it and then start your own org that will have the gay community alight with joy, pronouncing you the new kings, forgetting all that was done previously to make sure you could even start this org with media support.

  10. Chitown Kev says

    A rapid reponse team to the blatherings of anti-gay bigots is long overdue.

    Granted, our blogs have been debunking the bullshit on a regular basis, they simply don’t have the reach and the A-list media contacts to get the word waaaay out there into the public.