CNN's Sanchez Highlights 'Big Oil' Cash to Republicans, Omits Obama

Rick Sanchez, CNN Anchor | NewsBusters.orgOn Wednesday's Rick's List, CNN's Rick Sanchez twice highlighted how "several Republicans want to keep the cap on what oil companies pay for spills at $75 million" and how apparently that's about "how much they [oil companies] spend on campaign contributions to politicians each year," but omitted that President Obama was the top recipient of money from BP during the 2008 election cycle.

Sanchez first made those statements during a segment just after the beginning of the 3 pm Eastern hour, as he reported on left-wing organization Code Pink's interruption of a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee earlier on Wednesday. Before playing a clip of the protest, the CNN anchor stated how Diane Wilson "disrupted a Senate hearing this morning by pouring oil all over herself." He continued that Wilson "was arrested, but not before she interrupted Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, who is tied, many would argue, to big oil in Alaska."

Sanchez didn't mention that the protester is one of the co-founders of Code Pink. However, CNN.com's article on the protest did acknowledge that Code Pink released a statement from Wilson on her publicity stunt.

After playing the clip of the protest, the anchor tried to further tie Murkowski and other Republican senators to the oil industry: "Murkowski, by the way, is one of several Republicans who want to keep the cap on what oil companies pay for spills at $75 million. Imagine that for a moment- they would only pay $75 million, if they chose to, after all the damage that's been done in the Gulf of Mexico, which is, ironically enough, about how much they spend on campaign contributions to politicians each year."

Speaking of campaign contributions to politicians, a May 5 article on CNN.com recognized that "the top recipient of BP-related donations during the 2008 presidential election was Barack Obama, who collected $71,000, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics." Despite all his attention on Republicans, Sanchez didn't give this key detail.

The same Center for Responsive Politics noted on its OpenSecrets.org website that "individuals and political action committees affiliated with oil and gas companies have donated $238.7 million to candidates and parties since the 1990 election cycle." That's just under $12 million per year over 20 years, so one wonders where the CNN anchor got his figure from.

Sanchez didn't use his "tied to big oil" line during his recap of the report just after the top of the 4 pm Eastern hour, but repeated his statement about Murkowski and the "several Republicans." He again failed to mention Wilson's membership in Code Pink.

SANCHEZ: First of all, I want to show you something that might illustrate the frustration with the oily mess in Gulf of Mexico the best. this is Diane Wilson, a distraught shrimper. She wrote a book about the environmental impact in the Gulf. She disrupted a Senate hearing this morning by pouring oil all over herself right there in front of all these folks. She was arrested, but not before interrupting Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Here it is.

SENATOR LISA MURKOWSKI: It's been a couple weeks now since you have been before the committee. I think last time you were here, the oil from the (unintelligible)-

DIANE WILSON (off-camera): We're tired of the bailouts and we're tired of being dumped on in the Gulf. I'm a commercial fisherman from the Gulf of Mexico, and we're tired of being dumped on.

SENATOR JEFF BINGAMAN (off-camera): Let me announce to the protesters to please exit the room and allow us to proceed with our hearing.

MURKOWSKI: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

SANCHEZ: 'We are tired of being dumped on.'

Murkowski, by the way, is one of several Republicans who want to keep the cap on what oil companies pay for spills at $75 million. Imagine that for a moment- they would only pay $75 million, if they chose to, after all the damage that's been done in the Gulf of Mexico, which is, ironically enough, about how much they spend on campaign contributions to politicians each year.
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center