WashPost's Eggen Wrings Hands Over 'Faceless Donors' to Campaign Ads; But He Frequently Uses Anonymous Sources Himself

"Behind the ads, faceless donors," blared a front-page headline in today's Washington Post. "Disclosure rare as groups spend on general election," complained the subheading to Dan Eggen's April 26 story. "Nearly all of the independent advertising being aired for the 2012 general-election campaign has come from interest groups that do not disclose their donors, suggesting that much of the political spending over the next six months will come from sources invisible to the public," Eggen lamented in his lead paragraph.

Anonymous campaign spending and hence anonymous political speech really irks the Citizens United-obsessed liberal media. But the hypocrites in the press use anonymous speech all the time as integral to, well, their political speech, their freedom of the press. In fact, Eggen himself has used anonymous sources -- including Super PAC staffers and campaign donors -- at least six times thus far this year, according to a Nexis search of the Washington Post with the terms "condition of anonymity" and "Dan Eggen."

The most recent use of an anonymous source by Eggen is from April 21, in a page A1 story about the communication strategies for the major political parties for this November (emphasis mine):

...[T]he major conservative groups believe grass-roots organizing is best left to Romney and the Republican National Committee.

"A lot of us don't think it's efficient for outside groups to do ground-game activities," said one super PAC official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss strategy. "The campaign finance laws are set up to allow the parties to do that, and we believe they do it quite well. Our added value will be on the airwaves."

On March 1, in a story co-written with Philip Rucker, cited "One top Romney fundraiser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to talk candidly." That "bundler" told Eggen and Rucker that "the campaign clearly is struggling to cope with a fundraising challenge it didn't expect to have several months ago":

"This slog they're in is costing them tons of money," this bundler said. "They've got a fundraising challenge in the sense that they have to keep raising money to keep up with the spending. They're not in the hole or anything, but it's a struggle."

Eggen's use of anonymous sources is bipartisan. Here he is in February, from a February 18 story co-written with Post staffer T.W. Farnum about Obama's fundraising lagging behind expectations:

President Obama's campaign raised far less money in January than it did during the same month four years ago, suggesting that it may have an increasingly difficult time matching his record-shattering financial numbers from 2008.

[...]

"We're not in the midst of a competitive primary and are putting this general election money away in the bank, while investing some of it an organization on the ground the GOP doesn't dream of matching," said one senior campaign aide, who requested anonymity in order to discuss election strategy. "The Republicans are raising primary money, and they are spending whatever they raise."

"Under tax and election laws, most nonprofits, including many that spend money to run ads during election season, are not required to publicly reveal their donors, unlike more purely political groups," Eggen noted in today's article, adding:

The pattern underscores the growing influence of corporations and wealthy individuals in the wake of a Supreme Court decision that made it easier to spend unlimited money on elections. The numbers also suggest that many well-off donors are increasingly opting for the confidentiality of nonprofits rather than allowing the public scrutiny that comes from giving to super PACs or candidates.

“I think there is a potential to see a tremendous amount of money flowing through these nonprofit groups,” said Bill Allison, editorial director at the Sunlight Foundation, which advocates greater disclosure for political organizations and candidates. “For an awful lot of donors, it’s a very attractive way to give without leaving any kind of footprint.”

Of course, while television, radio, and print advertising are expensive propositions, politically biased reporters have carte blanche to get their liberal narrative to potentially millions of American news consumers in the guise of objective news reporting, and all that with the benefit of anonymous sources who help drive the narratives preferred by the liberal media.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters