A July, 2015 memorandum is prepared for Clinton by her senior campaign staffers entitled “Strategy memo for primary campaign” and it includes a section called “Muddy the Waters on GOP Candidates.” It suggests the Clinton campaign work with Media Matters for America (MMFA), a nonprofit media watchdog group owned and operated by Clinton ally, David Brock.
Nonprofits are prohibited from engaging in political campaigns, yet the memo states, “Work with MMFA to highlight examples of when the press won’t cover the same issues with Republicans.” (Wikileaks, 11/02/2016)
Several months later, on January 4, 2016, Clinton’s traveling press secretary Nick Merrill writes an email to several senior campaign staff members, expressing a concern that a Vanity Fair story soon to be published, may be less than complimentary of senior Clinton aide, Huma Abedin.
Merrill writes, “They are now going to put the Huma piece on the website on Wednesday morning [January 6, 2016] and it will hit newsstands on the 12th. I think we should do a call about this and figure out how we’re going to rally the troops to defend whatever nonsense is in there. We will need to engage CtR [Correct the Record] and Media Matters as well. If the primary focus of the piece is the Muslim Brotherhood nonsense, then we can more easily line up women MoC’s to go after VF and defend Huma pretty aggressively I’d imagine. If the Teneo/SGE stuff has anything new or noteworthy in it, that will make life a little more difficult, and will require a little more hand to hand combat5, with press.” (Wikileaks, 11/03/2016)
The following evening, Merrill follows up with another email stating that Media Matters and Correct the Record are ready to push back now that Vanity Fair has published the article.
Merrill then includes a list of “Surrogate Talking Points for Vanity Fair” and suggests, “Vanity Fair is no stranger to provocative, hyperbolic stories, and this is no exception.” (Wikileaks, 10/22/2016)
A day later, on Jan. 6, 2016, Media Matters publishes a post titled, “Vanity Fair’s Huma Abedin Hit Piece by the Numbers: More Than 500 Words On Whether She Is A Muslim Brotherhood Operative (She Isn’t).” (Media Matters, 01/06/2016)
Correct the Record published a piece in April 2016, stating, “Task force will help Clinton supporters push back on online harassment and thank superdelegates” (Correct the Record, 4/21/2016)