Media Fund

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The Media Fund is a Democrat-supporting 527 committee, running ads in the U.S. presidential election, 2004. The Media Fund is "the principal vehicle for pro-Democratic television commercials by the coalition." [1]

"Democratic groups have created an operation that combines close coordination with a division of labor designed to avoid duplication of effort and maximize resources." The other four allied groups are the Thunder Road Group, which "will concentrate on research and rapid response"; America Coming Together, "which is responsible for get-out-the-vote efforts"; America Votes, "the umbrella organization that will stitch together the activities of various progressive organizations"; and Joint Victory Campaign 2004, "a combined fundraising committee." [2]


The Media Fund is headed by Harold M. Ickes, "former deputy White House chief of staff for President Bill Clinton." [3]

"Bill Knapp, who did ads for the Al Gore and Clinton presidential campaigns the past three elections, oversees the advertising operation for the Media Fund." [4]


"Mr. Ickes says his organization coordinates with the MoveOn.org Voter Fund and the New Democrat Network in choosing which media markets to cover. 'The object is to make sure we stretch resources as far as possible,' he said.

"Mr. Ickes said his organization, which used soft money to finance the 30-second spots that began this week, hoped to continue advertising in the weeks ahead.

"'It will really be a function of money,' he said." 3/10/04 New York Times


In the March 8, 2004, issue of The American Standard, David Tell's "Who's Afraid of George Soros?" says that "Campaign finance reform bites the hand that passed it." Tell sorts through two news items both published February 19, 2004: The first, "Advocacy Groups Permitted to Use Unlimited Funds . . . Ruling Favors Democrats," was the lead story in the New York Times; the second, "FEC Moves to Regulate Groups Opposing Bush," appeared in the Washington Post. [5]

Tell relates that "The Democratic plan got under way in earnest during a meeting of strategists convened last summer at the eccentric multibillionaire's (George Soros) Southampton, Long Island, beach house. Two of the attendees, Steve Rosenthal, former political director of the AFL-CIO, and Ellen R. Malcolm, longtime president of EMILY's List, had just cofounded something called America Coming Together (ACT), an organization through which they hoped to direct 'a massive voter contact program . . . to defeat George W. Bush.' Soros rather liked this idea, seeing as how--he would later tell a Washington Post reporter--Bush's defeat had developed into 'the central focus of my life.' So Soros pulled Rosenthal and Malcolm aside, away from the other guests, told them he'd like to get in on their ACT, and promised to give the group $10 million, just like that. At least half this pledge has since been fulfilled. [6]

"Not coincidentally," Tell adds, "ACT remains the richest and best known of the new anti-Bush 527s. But there are a handful of similar enterprises so closely affiliated that--except on paper--it's difficult to determine where one of them ends and the next begins. Down the hall from ACT, on the same floor of the same Washington office building, is another Soros-supported 527 called the Media Fund, which will produce and purchase all the television ads. Raising additional money for use by both ACT and the Media Fund is a third 527, Joint Victory Campaign 2004. ACT's CEO Rosenthal and Service Employees International Union president Andrew L. Stern, who serves on ACT's executive committee, are also executive director and board chairman, respectively, of still another 527 called Partnership for America's Families. The Partnership plans a voter registration drive focused on union households, women, and 'communities of color'--whom it will 'inform and engage' about the 'disastrous impact' of 'failed Bush administration policies.' And ACT executive Cecile Richards, previously a top aide to House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, is doing double duty as president of America Votes, a 527 whose job it is to ensure that a long list of cooperating nonprofit groups traditionally friendly to the Democratic party--Planned Parenthood, the National Education Association (NEA), the Sierra Club, People for the American Way, the trial lawyers, and so forth--don't work at cross purposes with ACT and its satellites." [7]

Media Fund Contributors


SourceWatch Resources

External links

Websites: mediafund04.org, makeamericaworkforus.com, BushAndSaudis.com

  • 3 December 2003: "H'wood's newest key demos?. Act, Media Fund go after celeb coin" by Gabriel Snyder, Variety.
  • 6 December 2003: "Democrats worried by emerging liberal force" by David Postman, Seattle Times.
  • 7 December 2003: "Money, Votes Pursued for Democrats. Many Groups Formed to Offset Campaign Finance Curbs, Overcome GOP Edge" by Thomas B. Edsall, Washington Post.
  • no date, 2004: "New partisan groups eroding power of political parties," Jewish World Review.
  • 20 February 2004: "Close the Soft Money Tap," Los Angeles Times Op-Ed.
  • 4 March 2004: "Kerry lags far behind Bush in fund raising, will need outside help to catch up" by David Espo, AP: "The Media Fund, financed in part by billionaire George Soros, is expected to begin airing commercials in the next several days. ... 'The object is to give Democrats cover during a Republican advertising onslaught and to make sure that the national political environment stays favorable for Democrats everywhere,' said Jim Jordan, who was Kerry's campaign manager until a staff shake-up last fall, and now is a spokesman for the Media Fund."
  • 9 March 2004: "Bush Campaign Wants Probe of Critical Ads" by Liz Sidoti and Sharon Theimer, Capitol Hill Blue.
  • 10 March 2004: "Democrats Forming Parallel Campaign. Interest Groups Draw GOP Fire" by Dan Balz and Thomas B. Edsall, Washington Post: "A new ad to be launched today was produced by the Media Fund, the principal vehicle for pro-Democratic television commercials by the coalition. But the coalition's advertising effort will be shared by MoveOn.org, the Internet-based liberal advocacy group that has become part of the umbrella operation established by the Democratic organizations. ... The new ad -- one of three tested in focus groups in Tampa and Pittsburgh -- states that 'George Bush's priorities are eroding the American Dream.'"