- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 13, 2019

One conservative government watchdog is a busy place indeed. Judicial Watch leads the nation’s nonprofit organizations in the number of Freedom of Information Act lawsuits — FOIAs — it has filed during the last 17 years. So says the FOIA Project, a Syracuse University research program which tracks those lawsuits and who makes them.

There were 626 nonprofit groups which filed the lawsuits during a study period from Jan. 21, 2001, when President George W. Bush assumed office, through July 31, 2018, — all seeking government accountability or insight into specific policy arenas like the environment, immigration and national security.

Judicial Watch was ranked No. 1 on the list nonprofit or advocacy groups challenging federal government sources with 391 FOIA lawsuits filed during the study’s 17-year period.

In second place was the American Civil Liberties Union with 130 lawsuits, followed by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (94), Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (88) and Electronic Privacy Information Center (74) to round out the top five organizations.

“We’ve led the way in holding the government to account as both the media and Congress have gone AWOL. Most of what we know about government corruption — from Clinton emails to Deep State abuses — are as a result of our historic FOIA lawsuits,” says Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.



“The most-sued agency is the Department of Justice, which has been the defendant in 2,312 FOIA suits since 2001. Within the DOJ, the FBI has been the most sued division with 712 suits,” Mr. Fitton notes, adding that his organization is currently pursuing 41 lawsuits against Justice.

He also says he cited the Syracuse study because this week is “Sunshine Week” — an annual observation organized by the American Society of News Editors and Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press to celebrate access to public information.

‘I ONLY CARE WHAT YOU THINK’

It is always interesting to follow the frequent public opinion polls sent out by President Trump’s re-election campaign — which remains on message and on target with voters in a unforgiving political marketplace. The latest of these polls is titled “Mainstream Media Accountability Survey,” and does not mince words. The 20 questions in the new inquiry tell all. A few samples:

“Do you believe the mainstream media has tried to delegitimize the crisis at our southern border? Do you believe reporters like Jim Acosta angle their questions to promote liberal propaganda? On which issues does the mainstream media do the worst job of representing President Trump? Do you believe that the media purposely tries to divide Republicans in order to help elect Democrats? Do you agree with President Trump’s strategy of communicating directly with his supporters through Twitter, email, text messages and Facebook videos?” are among the questions.

“The mainstream media have never been more dishonest than they are today. Stories have been reported that have absolutely no basis in fact. Some are so eager to report something negative about our movement, that they don’t even seek verification. They are totally out of control!” Mr. Trump says in his message to respondents.

“They have no boundaries or principles. They only seek to undermine and insult anyone associated with my administration and our great movement. The mainstream media can make up fake stories and lie about my administration all they want, but at the end of the day, I only really care what you think,” the president advises.

HOWARD OVER BRIAN

A clash of the media analysis titans? Maybe. But one get a bigger audience than the other.

“Fox News Channel’s MediaBuzz with Howard Kurtz is the No. 1 media criticism show, which makes CNN’s Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter No. 2. The two shows air head-to-head at 11 a.m. ET on Sundays,” observes A.J. Katz, editor of Adweek’s TV Newser blog.

And the Nielsen Media Research numbers of note: Mr. Kurtz draws an audience of 1.3 million, Mr. Stelter 871,000.

MR. HOYER’S WISDOM

The Democratic Party has dozens of new lawmakers on the job, rather than a certain trio who attract extensive media coverage.

“We’ve got 62 new members. Not three,” House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer tells Fox News.

“Hoyer apparently was referring to Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who regularly have fought the Trump administration’s policies since entering Congress,” the network noted in an analysis.

ANTITRUST EXPLAINED

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren is among those who insist that “big tech” is bad news for consumers, innovation and property rights. There are now calls to use antitrust law to penalize or quash big tech companies like Facebook, Amazon and Google.

“Before we take that step, we need to ask ourselves: Do we need heavy-handed government regulators using antitrust regulation to break up big firms? What will we be losing by hacking apart the nation’s most successful companies?” points out Iain Murray, vice president of strategy for the Competitive Enterprise institute, a nonprofit policy group.

“History is rife with examples of once-dominant large companies, like CompuServe and Nokia, which fell from their positions of power because they were unable to innovate enough to compete in the free market. The truth is that government intervention does more to create barriers to entry that entrench powerful incumbent corporations than the free market, which forces companies to innovate in order to grow their business and prosper,” Mr. Murray explains.

That said, his organization has launched a comprehensive video and information source for consumers brave enough to approach the complex matter. Find it all at CEI.org/antitrust.

POLL DU JOUR

26 percent of registered U.S. voters “strongly approve” of the Democratic National Committee’s decision to bar Fox News from hosting a Democratic presidential debate; 9 percent of Republicans, 23 percent of independents and 45 percent of Democrats agree.

15 percent overall “somewhat approve” of the decision; 11 percent of Republicans, 14 percent of independents and 19 percent of Democrats agree.

23 percent overall are undecided; 21 percent of Republicans, 31 percent of independents and 18 percent of Democrats agree.

12 percent overall “somewhat disapprove”; 12 percent of Republicans, 12 percent of independents and 12 percent of Democrats agree.

24 percent overall “strongly disapprove” of the decision; 48 percent of Republicans, 20 percent of independents and 7 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Politico/Morning Consult poll of 1,994 registered U.S. voters conducted March 8-10.

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