Eric E. Burns
President of Media Matters
A key leader within the progressive movement, Eric Burns is president of Media Matters for America, the nation's premier progressive media watchdog, research and information center. A regular guest on the progressive talk radio circuit, Burns has also appeared on a variety of major news outlets including NPR, CNN and MSNBC. He has been quoted extensively in publications throughout the country including The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post and Rolling Stone to name just a few.
A progressive political communications, management and strategy professional with more than a decade of experience in local, state, and national politics, Burns joined Media Matters in the Fall of 2006 as chief communications strategist and pioneered the creation of a cutting-edge communications center within the organization.
Burns put into practice a holistic strategy that maximized message impact by leveraging unprecedented coordination between outreach to both new and traditional media with cooperation from partner groups, pundits and other newsmakers. This approach continues to yield dramatic results for Media Matters and has become a model for progressive organizations throughout Washington.
Before arriving at Media Matters, Burns spent several years driving ethics reform and exposing Republican corruption in Congress. While serving as communications director for Congressman Chris Bell (D-TX), Burns conceived and directed the communications strategy for the historic 2004 ethics complaint filed against then House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), which resulted in DeLay’s public admonishment by the House Ethics Committee, and opened the floodgates for additional scrutiny of DeLay’s activities ultimately leading to his downfall and resignation from Congress.
In 2005, Burns was tapped to serve as communications director for then Ranking Member Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and the Democratic staff of the House Rules Committee. Continuing his aggressive coordination of communications strategy for the growing Democratic anti-corruption effort, the subject quickly became one of two centerpiece issues in the historic 2006 elections which retuned control of both houses of Congress to Democrats for the first time in a dozen years. Exit polls later showed that corruption was the number one issue for voters in 2006, outpacing even the Iraq war.
Before officially joining the Democratic Party in 2002, Burns worked as a Republican political operative and consultant in Texas. Early in his career, Burns worked briefly for then Texas Governor George W. Bush. He later worked with prominent Republican consultants Mike Murphy and John Weaver, served as chief of staff for two Houston City Councilmembers and managed multiple state and local campaigns.
A former public finance investment banker, Burns obtained a B.A. in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin. A Houston native, Burns now resides in Washington, DC.