Progressive Media USA

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Progressive Media USA is a pro-Obama PR war room coordinated by John Podesta's Center for American Progress through its Center for American Progress Action Fund, and Media Matters. According to a May 14, 2008 article in the Washington Post, it was initially formed by "Tom Matzzie, a leader of the liberal group" and "David Brock, once a conservative journalist who is now a liberal media critic ... pledging to raise $40 million and lead the attack on McCain." The group did not air any advertisements in 2008 in deference to a request from then presidential candidate Barack Obama, and has since reinvented itself in 2009 as a pro-Obama operation.[1]

Progressive Media coordinates closely with Common Purpose Project, another component of the pro-Obama messaging and strategy effort.

2009: Messaging for Obama

"The Center for American Progress — which has emerged as perhaps Washington’s most influential idea factory in the age of Obama — is launching a major new war room, to be staffed by nearly a dozen people, that will focus on driving the White House’s message and agenda, I’m told. The Democratic operatives running the project are already holding a daily early morning call with dozens of operatives from liberal groups - labor, health care, the environment - to coordinate messaging and to deliver usable talking points for the day, according to liberal operative Jennifer Palmieri, who’s the project’s communications director. The new war room - which is called Progressive Media - represents a serious ratcheting up of efforts to present a united liberal front in the coming policy wars. The goal of the war room will be to do hard-hitting research that boils down complex policy questions into usable talking points and narratives that play well in the media and build public support for the White House’s policy goals. ... The war room - a joint project of CAP Action Fund and Media Matters Action Network — will be headed by well-known liberal operative Tara McGuinness, who worked on John Kerry’s presidential campaign and was a major player in the anti-war movement during the Bush years. ... 'We do a coordination call to get our content out and to coordinate people so they can fire up for the day,' Palmieri says, adding that the group will work with the White House 'only informally.'"[2]

2008 Startup

PMUSA's website states, "Progressive Media USA is a non-profit organization working to bring about progressive change by informing the American people about the risks of conservative policies and leaders and by ensuring that progressive voices are heard in the public debate. Progressive Media USA will create a permanent communications infrastructure to counter the right-wing message machine and amplify the progressive message across television, radio, print media and the Internet. ... We work on issues relating to the war in Iraq, the economy, corporate influence, campaign finance, and ethics."[3]

Despite being founded by interests dedicated to defeating Republicans and electing Democrats, PMUSA's website asks "Is Progressive Media USA affiliated with any party?" and answers "No. Progressive Media USA is an independent organization. We do not endorse any party or candidate." Obviously the intent of the organization is to run issue advocacy ads as a non-profit organization which will allow it to legally attack John McCain and other candidates without revealing its donor list, as long as PMUSA does not specifically endorse or oppose McCain or any other candidate.

Progressive Media US, according to an opinion article in the conservative New Republic, is led by David Brock of Media Matters and "has said it will spend $40 million on a media campaign against McCain. In its previous incarnation, Campaign to Defend America, the group ran an ad in Pennsylvania and Ohio called McSame. ... This group seems to be leading the Democratic offensive in the general election, already having raised nearly twice as much as [[Fund for America] in 2008.[4]



PMUSA does not list any contact information on its website other than its Washington, DC phone number:

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch Articles


  1. Jonathan Weisman and Michael D. Shear, "Obama looks to control message: He tells his donors to shirk outside groups", Washington Post, May 14, 2008.
  2. Greg Sargent, "Center For American Progress Launching Big War Room To Drive Obama Agenda", The Plum Line, March 10, 2009.
  3. [1]
  4. Cara Parks, "Let the Attack Ads Roll", The New Republic, June 12, 2008.

External links

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