LAT Ignores Outside Group Spending to Falsely State That Meg Whitman More Favored by 'Special Interests'

The Los Angeles Times really wants you to know that Meg Whitman has taken more money from "special interests" than her Democratic opponent in the California gubernatorial race.

Not so high on its list of important facts: 97 percent of independent special interest contributions to third party groups have gone towards supporting Brown or defeating Whitman. Yet despite that fact, the Times still managed to run a story today claiming in the headline that "Donations to Whitman undercut her no-special-interests claim".

After a headline, a subheading, and two paragraphs stressing Whitman's $10.7 million in contributions from special interests - contrasted with Brown's $9.5 million - the Times finally gets around to mentioning that "those figures don't tell the whole story - unions and other special interests separately spent a further $13.7 million supporting Brown through independent political committees not controlled by the candidate" (h/t Patterico).

In other words, special interest groups overwhelmingly back Brown's campaign, but donate marginally more directly to Whitman. As of Tuesday, when the Times piece was presumably written, more than $14,000,000 had been spent during the primaries and general election campaigns by independent groups in support of Brown or in opposition to Whitman.

The Republican candidate, in contrast, had enjoyed $450,000 in independent expenditures in her favor over the same period.

But the Times continued pushing the narrative that because Whitman had taken in $1.2 million more in donations from special interests, that her campaign, more than Brown's, was susceptible to claims that she is beholden to those special interests.

As Patterico notes, the Times could just as easily have headlined the article "Brown supported by millions in union and special interest donations" or something to that effect. The first couple paragraphs could note the strikingly one-sided contributions by unions and other organizations to third party political groups, and then gone on to note that "those figures don't tell the whole story" and that Whitman had actually received a bit more in direct contributions.

As is, total contribution figures - not just contributions directly to the candidates - belie the Times's contention that Whitman, more than her opponent, relies on money from special interest groups.