In the first two years of the Obama administration, Media Matters for America had expended some serious energy toward addressing LGBT issues, most notably in its work helping to refute criticism of and attacks on Kevin Jennings, the assistant deputy secretary for safe and drug-free schools in the Department of Education, and spearheading the joint organizational effort to produce the "Myths and Falsehoods on Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
Now, as Media Matters starts up Equality Matters to address LGBT issues head-on rather than as part of its other work, the organization is losing Karl Frisch, one of the two people who had been key to the organization's LGBT work in recent years. In addition to the work against Jennings' opponents, the out gay Frisch often countered anti-LGBT media coverage and questioned anti-LGBT media attitudes.
The other, Brandon Hersh, left Media Matters late last year to work for Griffin Schake, the communications firm run by Chad Griffin (of the Propostion 8 lawsuit fame).
Frisch and former Media Matters president Eric Burns are leaving to form Bullfight Strategies, along with another founding partner, Clay Johnson. From the new firm's founding news release:
Today, Media Matters for America president Eric Burns announced his departure from the organization to launch a new strategic communications firm -- Bullfight Strategies. Media Matters contributor Karl Frisch also announced his departure to partner with Burns. They first joined forces working on the House Rules Committee for Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) where they spearheaded efforts to address Republican corruption and Congressional ethics.
Also partnering with the duo is Clay Johnson, an original co-founder of the powerhouse political Internet consultancy Blue State Digital, which provided the online tools and technology propelling President Obama into the White House. He will lead the firms efforts in building technology platforms to assist progressive communications professionals and strengthen left-leaning media infrastructure.
Burns and Frisch built the backbone behind Media Matters rapid response communications structure that has forever altered the political and news media landscape. In the House Rules Committee they aggressively pursued Republican corruption offering the messaging and strategy that eventually led to the 2006 ethics reform in Congress.
Although Media Matters has lost Frisch and Hersh, the organization has brought on former Clinton White House official Richard Socarides, former Advocate reporter Kerry Eleveld and former SLDN spokesman Trevor Thomas in recent months to staff Equality Matters.
[Photo: Frisch (Photo from Twitter.)]