Criminal Justice

Media Matters Slams Heritage for Being Soft on Crime


Yes, you read that correctly. The liberal website Media Matters has posted a sleazy attack on the conservative Heritage Foundation that, frankly, reads like a press release from some law and order senator's office.

For background, Heritage has started a website called which documents and advocates against the mass criminalization of American society, from too many laws, to the over-federalization of law (which in most cases ought to be a local issue), to the arbitrary enforcement of the law and the overly broad powers given to prosecutors.

I think it's great that an organization like Heritage is giving these issues attention. You'd think a liberal organization like Media Matters would, too. Apparently not. The site today takes a cheap shot at Heritage for listing a series of bills related to child pornography and child sex trafficking under its "Legislative Watch" section. I don't know anything about Chris Harris, the author of the posts. But he owes a debt to the likes of Bill Bennett and James Q. Wilson, because he's stealing their shtick.

A sampling of what the Heritage Foundation views as the "rampant overcriminalization" of "trivial conduct" is truly striking and shows why conservative politicians should think twice before embracing the views held by the conservative think tank.

As you can see below, the folks at Heritage oppose legislation tackling child sex slavery, child sex trafficking, child pornography and violence against children…

Media Matters launched a similar attack on Heritage back in August:

Members of Congress should debate this bill on its merits, weighing the pros and cons of such legislation.  But by implying stricter penalties on child sex offenders is an example of Big Government overreaching its authority in order to punish "trivial conduct," the Heritage Foundation reveals just how much the conservative movement has lost touch with American families.

This is incredibly trashy. For starters, it isn't clear that the Overcriminalization project actually takes a position one way or the other on these particular bills. The "Legislative Watch" section seems to be more of a clearinghouse list of pending legislation that would be of interest to people who have subscribed to the project's update list. Yes, the general position of the project is that there are too many laws. But there's no specific commentary on these bills, or any of the bills listed on that particular section of the website. In fact, that section also lists bills the project would presumably support, such as a bill by Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Penn.) that would strengthen attorney-client privilege.

But even assuming Heritage did list those bills as examples of government overreach to be opposed, it's certainly possible to oppose a federal bill that broadens police and prosecutor powers—or that makes it more difficult for paroled sex offenders to try to rehabilitate themselves and live somewhat normal lives—without being objectively pro-child porn or pro-sex trafficking, trivializing either crime, or having "lost touch with American families," whatever the hell that means.

This is the kind of crap conservatives have been pulling on law and order issues for years: If you don't support mandatory minimums, you're defending rapists, murderers, and drug dealers! If you don't support the latest law named after a murdered child, you clearly are fine with that child having been murdered. Buckets of shame on Media Matters for adopting the same sleazy tactics just to take a cheap shot at a conservative think tank.

Thanks to Walter Olson for the tip.

NEXT: Science Monday: Vat Grown Rabbit Penises

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  1. Buckets of shame on Media Matters for adopting the same sleazy tactics just to take a cheap shot at a conservative think tank.

    The left is as about as faithful to civil liberties concerns as the right is to small government. This doesn’t surprise me in the slightest.

    These people are nothing but partisans. If the other side takes a position, they take the opposite. There are no principles. There is only TEAM RED TEAM BLUE and winning.

    1. Hmmm, yah … maybe … sometimes …

      In our extended family and associates we’ve got both past Republican and past Democratic county chairman, members of both Democratic and Republican Whitehouse teams etc. In my experience only certain of the Democrats have ever displayed such partisan cynical contrarian behavior as you describe. But only some. In general from my experience Progressive/Left Democrats only support civil liberties, civil rights and human rights to the extent that such efforts further a larger Gramscian project and/or when such support it is PC.

  2. Winning what?

    1. That’s exactly the point, ProL, though I think the prosaic answer is “power”.

      1. If you kill the Golden Goose, what’s the benefit in owning it?

        1. What is the benefit to the Yankees in winning the World Series?

          1. It drives Sox fans out of their fucking minds?

            1. Go back to Jersey, you fucking Guido.

              1. Apparently the Yankees win a World Series every 3.9 years. How terribly exciting.

              2. Go beat your wife and drink, you fucking Masshole.

            2. Never underestimate the sheer pleasure of being a contrarian.

              1. Contradictions are down the hall on the left.

                1. Man:
                  Is this the right room for an argument?

                  Other Man:(John Cleese)
                  I’ve told you once.

                  No you haven’t!

                  Other Man:
                  Yes I have.


                  Other Man:
                  Just now.

                  No you didn’t!

                  Other Man: Yes I did!

  3. The left is as about as faithful to civil liberties concerns as the right is to small government.

    The left is faithful to civil liberties? Since when?

    The left has been stepping out on civil liberties like Wilt Chamberlain. You could hold a family reunion of it’s illegitimate kids.

    The right has tried to be faithful, god knows it’s tried, but it’s wife has been ho’in it out like a Rock of Love reject trying to score some meth in downtown Jacksonville.

    1. JW, Epi was being ironic.

      1. Ironic and sarcastic. Define and give examples.

    2. I think Episiarch is saying the left isn’t faithful to civil liberties, and the right isn’t faithful to small government.

      1. What? I took Epi seriously for nothing? See if I ever do that again.

  4. The right has actually faithful to civil liberties concerns. ie, concerns that there are too many damn civil liberties.

    1. The solution to that would be to have a small government step in and place restrictions on the exercise of civil liberties.

  5. Tedium Tatters and everyone connected with it are trash.

    It is so obviously an agit prop group whose sole purpose is to cheer lead for the expansion of state power and to smear anyone critical of that expansion.

    One can see what crap they are by observing how brain dead their average fan is, who robotically cuts and pastes their ALWAYS mendacious blurbs all over yahoo and google groups.

  6. It’s good to know that Media Matters has no intellectual honesty or integrity.

  7. I never thought i would agree

    with media matters on anything, but the bills Heritage Foundation want

    to get passed make me sick, i will never look at them the same again.

    1. You are REALLY falling asleep in class.

      Pay attention.

  8. If you kill the Golden Goose, what’s the benefit in owning it?

    I hear the liver is delicious.

  9. That’s about the way these idiots think. Mmmm, Golden Goose liver.

  10. It’s encouraging to see that the mentally challenged are getting high paying jobs on web logs.

  11. The key word here is “targeting.” MediaMatters seems to think a bill should be evaluated for its purpose (“OMG! Protect teh childrens!) rather than its implications.

    Let’s pass a bill called, “Everyone Gets a Piece of Cake,” but pay for it by looting MediaMatters’ bank account.

    1. “The cake is a lie.”

      1. You just keep on trying till you run out of cake

    2. 100% agreement. Instead of “Everyone gets an overpriced health insurance plan mandated” lets have “Get Soros to pay off the national debt” bill.

    3. I would like some cake.

  12. In other news media wing of political party slams think tank of other political party over things first political party would otherwise agree with if it wasn’t being pursued by the second political party.

  13. Soros has sand in his vag all the time. Maybe one day it, or something, will send his nazi loving ass to socialist utopia (hell).

  14. My ex, a teetotaler, once opined that we should have the death penalty for drunk driving (DUI). I pointed out that we do not have the death penalty for murder! It was later determined that she was a borderline personality, which explained a lot about her views.

    A constitutional and reasoned approach to punishment and rehabilitation would do a lot to make the justice system both fair and equitable.


    1. My ex, a teetotaler, once opined that we should have the death penalty for drunk driving (DUI).

      Only if they caused a fatal accident while doing so.

      1. Which part of the “do not have capital punishment for murder” and the “borderline personality” reference do you not get? Or is this an exercise in helpful self-identification?

      2. Don’t think so.

        An “accident,” by definition, is not pre-meditated and thus the death penalty would not apply.

  15. Mark Lunsford the Dad of Jessica who was kidnapped, raped and murdered, was recently on television talking about the disappearance of another girl from Florida.

    They asked him about the search using the sex offenders database. He said something to the effect that they wasted a lot of time because those who were convicted of public urination are in the database with actual sex offenders.

    In the future we will all be sex offenders.

    1. What? You don’t support identifying as sex offenders those pervs who deploy their members in public? You should be ashamed and named!

  16. It’s Media Matters. When you have George Soros’s money, pimpin IS easy.

  17. What does this have to do with Roman Polanski again?

  18. If it’s related to Media Matters then it’s funded by Soros. If it’s funded by Soros, then it’s a lie. If it’s a lie, then I ignore it. Hence, I have been to the Media Matters website once. Never again.

  19. Christ, it’s fucking Media Matters. That they are sleazy scum bags is about as relevatory as being told Keith Olbermann and Ed Schultz have low ratings.

  20. Media Mattters = retarded fetuses.

  21. I call drive-by slander on you, Radly. Give us some links to the conservatives who have said that “If you don’t support mandatory minimums, you’re defending rapists, murderers, and drug dealers! If you don’t support the latest law named after a murdered child, you clearly are fine with that child having been murdered.” and let us judge your interpretation of their words.

    1. Someone hasn’t been paying attention to Radley’s overall body of work…

    2. I’m guessing you’ve never read one of Radley’s posts before.

  22. Why should anyone be surprised over only one of many MediaMatters misinformational musings?

    Oooh, say that three times in a row.

  23. It should be pointed out that the early drug laws were formulated by the ‘greatest good for the greatest number’ sorts, the ‘progressives’ of the day…who weren’t all that ‘progressive’, seeing how they felt about minorities and drugs.

    Nietzsche had these guys pegged when he said:

    “But thus do I counsel you, my friends: distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful! They are people of bad race and lineage; out of their countenances peer the hangman and the sleuth-hound. Distrust all those who talk much of their justice! Verily, in their souls not only honey is lacking. And when they call themselves ‘the good and just,’ forget not, that for them to be Pharisees, nothing is lacking but- power!” (Thomas Common translation)

    Punish, punish, punish…for not being suitably ‘liberal’ enough. And what’s funny is that ‘liberal’ used to mean having ‘libertarian’ sentiments, as did the Founders. Today’s ‘liberals’ are just one side of the same coin which has the neoconservatives on the backside. They both want to use the resources of The State to ram their ideals down the throats of the electorate, and each side accuses the other of the same sins. A pox on all of them!

    1. How deep into his syphilis was Nietzsche when he wrote those inspiring words?

      In fact, his biography makes clear why power was such a major concern with him. The only place he had it was in his own mind (though I admit that he could turn a good phrase).

      As to the Founders, many of them opposed some or all of the Bill of Rights, which, as you know, was not included in the original Constitution. But the good old days MUST have been wonderful, right?

      1. And I see that you do not wish to address the main point, which is that those who claimed the mantle of being ‘progressive’, through their arrogance, created the conditions which would cause misery to future generations of those they claimed to be ‘helping’.

        Their motivations may have been ‘pure as the driven snow’ in their own minds, but the results of their actions have saddled us with a government that has stepped beyond the bounds set for it by the Constitution, tipping the ‘balance of power’ ever further in its’ favor at the expense of State and local government. And that during the process of becoming ever more centralized and unresponsive to demands that it return to those boundaries, it has savaged individual rights and liberties once thought inviolate. That we even have to take notice of such is a damning indictment of just how much freedom we as a people have surrendered in order to attain a chimerical ‘security’. Again, all under the rubric of ‘greatest good for the greatest number’…the usual battle cry of the soi-disant ‘progressive’.

        The modern variety of ‘progressives’ make a lot of noise about justice, but when confronted with the results of their particular brand of ‘justice’ (i.e. the drug laws, which hurt minorities more than they do the majority of the population, who foots the bill for it), they tend to target the messenger rather than acknowledge the message.

        And as to poor ol’ Nietzsche, it would seem his words were quite prescient regarding those who expound greatly about ‘justice’ but who seem to feel that, to paraphrase that butcher Mao Zedong, justice grows out of the barrel of a gun. for when they are holding those guns, they invariably point them at those they claim to want to assist, hence the old line about I’m from the government; I’m here to help you.”

  24. The link you provided isn’t Media Matters for America. You’ve been had…

  25. High ratings are a measure of the number of viewers, not a measure of the quality of what they’re viewing.

    For example, some very boring Super Bowl games draw very large numbers of viewers.

  26. Update: The Rachel Maddow Show featured this same attack on the Heritage Foundation in her program tonight. It was towards the end. It quoted the Media Matters site, made the same mistake in inferring commentary on the Overcriminalization blog to the specific bills, and did more of the idiotic moralizing mentioned earlier.

    Yes, I watched Rachel Maddow. There are really no good options in cable news.

  27. Fecal Matters for America…

  28. With the coming war…I’m pleased to think about conservatives and others who I would enjoy removing. Since I am armed (thanks to the second amendment) I will enjoy the retarded who I will cleanse. If you are to the right…I can’t wait to take you out!!

  29. You must understand…I was a sniper stationed in Iraq. The right-wingers were almost inevitably f@ggots and h@mos….they would come back bragging about their conquest of young Iraq boys..they always claimed they were teaching them to respect American authority. It was disgusting…

  30. I used to have respect for Media Matters, but nowadays, most of what they do is sleazy. This is just the latest example of it. These people are not independent media watchdogs, they are hardcore partisans with an agenda. Lame.

  31. Jeremy it’s too bad you support pedophiles…..

  32. hey you down there

    stupid masshole

  33. why are you guys writing about the stupid yankees

    fcking dummies.

  34. So . . . you think the Heritage people support bills that criminalize “conduct that is socially and economically beneficial”? They must really hate America.
    “The Legislative Update provides details, status, and basic commentary on legislation pending in Congress that could perpetuate the dangerous trend of criminalizing more and more conduct that is socially and economically beneficial”

  35. Saul’s seen as much action in Iraq as he’s seen in real life – namely nothing but special missions with the Keyboard Kommando squad. Media Matters ain’t actually paying you for this third-rate trolling, are they, bottom boy?

  36. I used to have respect for Media Matters, but nowadays, most of what they do is sleazy. This is just the latest example of it. These people are not independent media watchdogs, they are hardcore partisans with an agenda. Lame.

  37. Yeah, Media Matters has lost a lot of credibility. Even with their corrections of other libertarians, I thought they were fair. But over the last couple years they’ve gone the way of Huffington Post and turned into schlock factories.

  38. Since when was Media Matters libertarian???

  39. Thank you for sharing, I really like your blog

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