Heard anything about Barack Obama's sleazy online fundraising, where thanks to purposely lax security measures his site is able to receive untraceable donations from obviously fake names? Not if you've been reading the print edition of the New York Times.
Faced with a huge influx of donations over the Internet, the campaign has also chosen not to use basic security measures to prevent potentially illegal or anonymous contributions from flowing into its accounts, aides acknowledged. Instead, the campaign is scrutinizing its books for improper donations after the money has been deposited.
Those two Post stories mark a Woodward-and-Bernstein level of intensity compared to the Times's treatment. A search indicates that the Times has published zero stories in its newspaper on recent revelations concerning the Obama campaign's avoidance of basic security measures to stop illegal contributions.
On Tuesday's Election Center program, CNN anchor Campbell Brown criticized Barack Obama's decision earlier this year to break his November 2007 pledge to accept public financing of his presidential campaign: “For this last week, Senator Obama will be rolling in dough. His commercials, his get-out-the-vote effort, will, as the pundits have said, dwarf the McCain campaign's final push. But, in fairness, you have to admit, he is getting there, in part, on a broken promise.”
Brown's attack, which she made in her regular “Cutting Through the Bull” commentary at the beginning of her program, came 24 hours before Obama is scheduled to run a 30-minute infomercial on five television networks. She began her commentary by describing how “Barack Obama is loaded, way more loaded than any presidential candidate has ever been before at this stage in the campaign. Just to throw a number out, he's raised well over $600 million since the start of the campaign, close to what George Bush and John Kerry raised combined in 2004.”
Three men brought together by their love for American freedom and opposition to communism played a critical, though largely unheralded role, in introducing Ronald Reagan to a national audience, a new book on the conservative movement explains.
Holmes Tuttle, the owner of a Ford dealership in Los Angeles; Henry Salvatori, the founder of Western Geophysical Company; and A.C. "Cy" Rubel of Union Oil Company formed the original "Kitchen Cabinet" of allies and friends to Reagan.
Their story is told in a new book entitled: "Funding Fathers: The Unsung Heroes of the Conservative Movement." Ron Robinson, executive director of Young America's Foundation (YAF) and his co-author Nicole Holpin, point out that behind the scenes key individuals made strategically important financial contributions to that conservative cause.
If John McCain had gone back on his promise to accept public campaign money, and instead set fundraising records that put him as many as fourteen points ahead in the polls with less than two weeks to go before Election Day, do you think there'd be a lot of media carping and whining about rich Republicans buying the White House?
Probably 24 hours a day, seven days a week until the final vote had been counted, correct?
Yet, despite Barack Obama having gone back on his campaign promise to accept public funds, and reports that he's now over $600 million in contributions, the Obama-loving press don't seem very concerned with liberals buying the presidency.
This obvious hypocrisy struck the Los Angeles Times' Andrew Malcolm Thursday (emphasis added):
When a McCain campaign representative told David Shuster today that the source of much of Barack Obama's fund-raising is unknown, the MSNBC host scoffed, claiming only "right-wing" blogs could believe that and challenging the spokesman to cite a credible source.
Instead of fulminating about the conservative blogosphere, David might want to pick up a copy of Newsweek, which last time I looked had a news-sharing arrangement with . . . MSNBC. None other than Newsweek's Michael Isikoff reported those very facts about Obama's fund-raising last week.
McCain spokesman Ben Porritt was Shuster's guest during MSNBC's 4 PM EDT hour today.
When Lehman Brothers CEO Richard Fuld testified before the House Oversight Committee Oct. 6, the media criticized his wealth and spending amidst financial turmoil in his company and on Wall Street. But conspicuously missing was the story of Fuld's political contributions.
Conservative opposition to a federal bailout of financial institutions is over campaign donations, not a desire to uphold sound market principles, according to CNBC.
CNBC's chief Washington correspondent John Harwood said Sept. 25 on "Squawk Box" that he had a conversation with "a top Republican member of congress last night" who told him the resistance among conservatives to the $700 billion bailout plan is in part due to Wall Street donations to Democrats.
"‘A lot of our guys have decided that we hate Wall Street ... because they're giving a lot of money to Democrats right now,'" Harwood said he was told by an unnamed source.
"We've talked about how nice the bi-partisan coming together of the far left and the far right to oppose this plan. It was heartwarming, right? That finally brought the fringe elements of both sides together on this," co-host Joe Kernen joked.
On Thursday's "Nightline," co-anchor Terry Moran trashed John McCain for running a hypocritical, dishonest campaign against Barack Obama. He accused the Republican of doing "the kind of thing that George W. Bush and his supporters did to McCain in South Carolina in 2000." The segment, which featured no examples of sleazy campaigning by Barack Obama, began with co-anchor Cynthia McFadden complaining, "Make no mistake, John McCain very well may defeat Barack Obama. But to do so, has he compromised principles in the style that got him this far?"
She also whined, "With just 47 days to the election, is the Straight Talk Express shifting course? Will the real John McCain please stand up?" Moran's tone dripped with sarcasm as he ripped into the Arizona senator's supposed hypocrisy. The ABC journalist fretted that McCain "clearly decided he's got to change. Change a lot, in some ways, in order to win this thing." As old and new clips of the candidate were spliced together, Moran added, "John McCain meet John McCain."
It has already been established (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) that the Obama campaign's ad ridiculing John McCain's computer skills, including the claim that McCain "can't e-mail," has several reality-based problems:
McCain has been an e-mail devotee since 2000, if not earlier, receiving help from a loving spouse to respond to messages, and was described by Forbes Magazine that year as "the U.S. Senate’s savviest technologist."
The reason McCain gets help with e-mail is that his severe war injuries prevent him from doing many things many of us take for granted, including typing on a keyboard.
Further, the current and previous Oval Office occupants have rarely used e-mail -- the former because he never learned how while in office, the latter because of legal considerations. Future occupants will likely be, and probably should be, similarly constrained.
So it's as clear as can be that Obama's ad is wrong and, intentionally or not, very mean to a man whose physical challenges are a result of beyond-the-call service to our country.
Beyond all that, Kevin Aylward at Wizbang has noted that McCain's 2000 presidential run was effusively praised as a groundbreaking high-tech campaign by a Democratic Internet pioneer in a 2005 book.
Check out this [emphasis added] excerpt from an LA Weekly report on Michelle Obama's appearance at a private fundraiser last Wednesday in the ritzy LA neighborhood of Holmby Hills. Mrs. Obama was addressing a crowd that reporter Patrick Range McDonald described "heavily entertainment-industry."
Obama then moved on to politics, where she first brought up her husband’s vice-presidential choice. “I think it was a really good pick—Senator Joe Biden,” she said, and later added, “People say they have amazing chemistry, and it’s true.”
Obama continued with talk about Biden when she said, “What you learn about Barack from his choice is that he’s not afraid of smart people.” The crowd softly chuckled.
If a hypothetical tabloid owned by, say, Richard Mellon Scaife, had a cover story with scurrilous accusations about Joe Biden, do you think Chris Matthews would be waving it about on camera and Keith Olbermann citing it? Neither do I. But if for some reason they did, would they possibly fail to mention the mag's ownership?
But Matthews saw fit—not once but twice—to display the cover of Us magazine, with its story "Babies, Lies and Scandals" about Sarah Palin. Olbermann alluded to it as well. And who is the owner of Us? Jann Wenner, the founder of Rolling Stone . . . and a big-time donor to Barack Obama. How big a donor? You can view his list of contributions here, with an image after the jump.
Now it's true that Matthews discounted the "lies" allegation. But why give currency to dubious accusations—by a magazine whose stock-in-trade is celebrity gossip—by displaying them repeatedly on a national news show? There was no suggestion that Us, unlike the National Enquirer in John Edwards' case, had done any significant independent reporting. This is apparently scandal-mongering, pure and simple. And of course, neither Matthews nor Olbermann mentioned the Wenner connection.
"Obama Campaign Wages Fight Against Conservative Group's Ads" is the third story from New York Times reporter Jim Rutenberg in five days that attacks an anti-Obama ad from the American Issues Project that questions the ties between Obama and homegrown terrorist Bill Ayers, cofounder of the Weathermen, the group that tried to blow up the U.S. Capitol in 1971.
In each story, Rutenberg appears far more worked up about the legality of the ads than in the underlying facts of Obama's relationship with Bill Ayers, an unrepentant terrorist turned professor of education in Chicago. The first 10 paragraphs of Rutenberg's online filing Wednesday are devoted to the back-and-forth machinations, again questioning the group's funding while suggesting dubious links to the McCain campaign. Rutenberg noted that Obama is striking back with a counter-ad and the threat of legal action to have the ads taken down.
For good measure, Rutenberg took another bite out of the best-selling book "The Obama Nation" (his first one was in a front-page story on August 13).
Did Maureen bury the lede? The ostensible subject of Dowd's column of this morning, Yes, She Can, is the way that Hillary, with a big helping hand from Bill, is undercutting Obama and casting a shadow over his upcoming convention. But tucked down as her 12th paragraph comes this [emphasis added]:
The Clintons know that a lot of Democrats are muttering that their solipsistic behavior is “disgusting.” But they’re too filled with delicious schadenfreude at the wave of buyer’s remorse that has swept the Democratic Party; many Democrats are questioning whether Obama is fighting back hard enough against McCain, and many are wondering, given his inability to open up a lead in a country fed up with Republicans, if race will be an insurmountable factor.
Dowd might be a thorn in many a side, but the New York Times columnist surely has a wealth of well-placed Dem sources. When she blithely states as a fact that a "wave of buyer’s remorse has swept the Democratic Party," is that not some pretty big news?
Despite the years of hype over how money is the root of all campaigning evil by the press, the respected polling organization reports voters' belief that there is a bigger problem in political campaigns: media bias.
Amanda Carpenter has an interesting little blurb over at Townhall.com where she reports on Townhall's catching the Washington Post misidentifying three donors as McCain contributors when, in reality, these donors did not donate to the McCain campaign at all. It seems some due diligence was dropped at the Washington Post, for sure. Good thing the new media was there to correct the story!
In his story headlined "Bundler Collects from Unlikely Sources," the Post's Matthew Mosk thought he had a way to insinuate that McCain was taking campaign donations from some "unlikely" Muslims. Mosk detailed what he thought was the campaign donations from three people, Ibrahim Marabeh, and Nadia and Shawn Abdalla, each with Muslim sounding names, that he claimed donated to the McCain campaign through a campaign "bundler" named Harry Sargeant III -- a bundler being a campaign supporter that goes out and gathers many donations from friends and associates for his candidate of choice.
Mosk apparently thought that Harry Sargeant III was suspicious because he owns an oil-trading company and the three others apparently seemed suspicious merely because of the sound of their names. But at her Townhall blog, Carpenter discovered in short order than none of the four donors in the Washington Post story donated to the McCain campaign at all.
Joe Scarborough has estimated that 95% of the elite media will pull the lever for Barack Obama. Even so, evidence continues to mount that the MSM is beginning to view the Dem candidate with a more discerning eye. The latest example comes from an unexpected corner, that occupied by NBC correspondent Martin Savidge. As NewsBusters has reported, on everything from climate change to Jesse Helms to the Jena Six, Savidge has consistently toed the liberal media line.
But on MSNBC this afternoon, interviewing an Obama supporter, Savidge surprisingly suggested that Obama was "a bit of a liar" on the subject of oil industry donations that he and John McCain have accepted.
It’s not just the thrills racing up and down Chris Matthews’ leg. Writing in Thursday’s Investor’s Business Daily, author William Tate documents that campaign donations from employees of big media companies are tilting 100-to-1 in favor of the Democrats so far this election cycle.
That’s right, 100-to-1.
[UPDATE: FNC's Bret Baier, in the "Grapevine" segment on the Friday, July 25 Special Report with Brit Hume, read an item on the IBD numbers.]
It’s perhaps not a surprise that those working for NBC Universal are the most eager givers to the Democrats, racking up $104,184 in contributions this cycle, compared to just $3,150 to Republican candidates. Maybe more surprising is that those at Fox broadcasting and the Fox News Channel combined to give $41,853 to the Democrats, with no listed donations going to the Republicans. (Only $1,280 was listed as coming from Fox News employees.)
Look for Mika Brzezinski outside the Danish embassy. True, the Danes had nothing to do with the New Yorker's publication of the Obama cover. But what more time-honored locale to protest an irreverent cartoon of a figure adulated with religious fervor?
Mika has condemned the New Yorker cover as "dangerous." Why dangerous? Mika doesn't quite say. But by darkly musing about unspoken perils that derive from the mocking of Obama, she would apparently place irony about her candidate off limits. Mika sounded the alarm on today's Morning Joe.
He ain't triangulating, he's my post-partisan. That's Eugene Robinson's innovative new MSM means of covering for Barack Obama. As Obama sprints toward the center and away from many of the positions that won him the nomination from the liberal Dem base, WaPo columnist Robinson has suggested that the nominee isn't engaging in the kind of cynical "triangulating" that made Bill Clinton famous. No, Obama's just being the post-partisan he really was all along.
Robinson trotted out his theory on last evening's "Race for the White House" on MSNBC in reaction to Obama's announcement, mirabile dictu, that far from junking Pres. Bush's Office of Faith-Based Initiatives—long a target of the secular left—a President Obama would actually expand the program! Sounds like a cynical ploy to some. But not to Robinson . . .
For months, the mainstream media has obsessed with the evils of the "right wing attack machine." Recently, CBS bizarrely labeled attacks on Obama’s campaign financing flip flop "swift boating." ABC’s George Stephanopoulos even defended the Obama campaign’s discrimination against Muslims to "combat the issue" of false rumors that Obama is a Muslim.
While much of the mainstream media frets about the alleged GOP slime machine, they ignore the much larger, more heavily financed true smear machine from the left. The Politico reports that far left blogger John Aravosis, who also humiliates those who do not fit his brand of liberalism, is now attacking McCain’s Vietnam War record (ironically is exactly the outrage directed at the "swift boat" veterans)
The absence of liberal outrage over Barack Obama’s decision to reject public financing for his presidential campaign took a jaw-dropping turn on the hard-left Pacifica Radio network and its show "Democracy Now!" Host Amy Goodman, who regularly welcomes long screeds from Bill Moyers and his fervor about our bought-and-sold elections, welcomed two campaign "reformers" on Monday, and both failed to criticize Obama or his decision. Goodman proclaimed: "I have to say, it’s interesting to hear campaign finance groups be so uncritical of this decision when this is the very issue that, for example, you, John Rauh, have set up your organization around, Americans for Campaign Reform, and particularly around the issue of clean money and elections and cutting down the role money plays in elections."
This raises the question: have liberals been touting campaign finance "reform" out of genuine socialist conviction, or has it all just been a cynical pose that only lasts as long as they perceive conservatives and Republicans will have a campaign fundraising advantage? Where is Bill Moyers on this? He skipped the fire-and-brimstone sermonizing about it on his Bill Moyers Journal last Friday, a day after Obama’s announcement.
In the past when Warren Buffett has spoken out the "super rich" needing to pay a higher tax rate, the media have hung on his every word. But, now that he has spoken out against a windfall profits tax on oil, will they notice?
"I think it is very hard to have windfall taxes," Buffett said. "Steel has doubled in price. Is that a windfall for the steel producers? Sure. Corn is $7 a bushel; soybeans are at $15 a bushel. I don't think any candidate in his right mind with the number of electoral votes in farm states would say you ought to tax farms specially because they are getting a windfall."
PBS's Bonnie Erbe hosts that network's weekly news analysis program, "To the Contrary with Bonnie Erbe," is a weekly columnist for Scripps Howard Newspapers, and blogs at USNews.com.
Erbe called for the impeachment of George Bush in February 2006. Anyone looking through her Scripps Howard archive will conclude that she can't possibly be labeled a conservative ideologue -- which is why her take on the attempt by CNN's John Lewis to make it appear as if both the Obama and McCain campaigns are equally hampered by flip-flops is so compelling.
Here's how "A battle of accused political 'flip-flops'," the CNN report at which Erbe takes umbrage, begins:
Days after both men reversed course on major issues, the presidential campaigns of Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain spent much of Sunday's talk-show circuit working to ensure accusations of "flip-flopping" don't stick.
The Boston Globe published a really weird, yet inadvertently hilarious, editorial in which they claim that because Barack Obama broke his promise to accept public financing of his campaign...that means we need even more campaign finance reform in terms of both more money and legislation. I kid you not. First the obligatory knuckle rap on Obama by the Boston Globe for going back on his word:
SENATOR Barack Obama has presented himself as the candidate of change, but the change he announced yesterday is a throwback to the no-holds-barred rules of campaign finance that prevailed before Watergate. Obama will be the first major party candidate since Watergate to reject public financing in the general election, instead relying on his base of more than 1.5 million donors for a war chest that could easily double or triple the $84.1 he would get in public financing. His decision deals a body blow both to the system of campaign finance and to his own reputation as a reform candidate.
CNN’s senior political correspondent Candy Crowley, during a report on Thursday’s "The Situation Room," must have thought it was a foregone conclusion that Barack Obama would give up on his pledge that he would accept public financing for his presidential campaign. "If you raised more than a quarter billion dollars in the primary season, would you limit yourself to $85 million in the fall campaign? Duh!" While she did point out Obama’s previous statements affirming his dedication to public financing, both she and Wolf Blitzer used subdued language to describe this broken promise, and tried to spin how this might be a potential issue in the campaign.
On Thursday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann seemed to mock John McCain's military service as he quipped that McCain was "awol" for not showing up for a Senate vote on providing college tuition to American troops, and further accused McCain, whom he called "Senator 'I Support the Troops,'" of "supporting himself instead of the troops." The MSNBC host also mocked McCain as being at the "front lines" of a fund-raiser in California. Notably, just a few weeks ago, Olbermann thought it was amusing to scold Ann Coulter for making a crack about Barack Obama being a "Manchurian candidate" because it might remind people of McCain, even though it was Olbermann, not Coulter, who drew a connection as he observed that the film The Manchurian Candidate was about a "presidential election and an American war hero POW who'd been brainwashed in Southeast Asia." (Video of Olbermann's "Manchurian Candidate" comments can be found here.) (Transcripts follow)
It's not unusual for journalists to attempt to distance themselves from the appearance of political ties, especially when trying not to be perceived as biased. But saying you do and actually doing are two separate things.
U.S. News & World Report Editor-in-Chief and chairman of Boston Properties (NYSE:BXP) Mort Zuckerman was asked about donating money to Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Clinton's fading campaign by Huffington Post blogger and MSNBC "Morning Joe" regular John Ridley on the May 9 "Morning Joe."
"I wish I could make a contribution, but I'm in the world of journalism and I can't, but thank you for the offer," Zuckerman said.
..... and waits until the 30th paragraph of its online story to reveal it.
The feds seem to be closing in on Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich -- and at least one Chicago television station seems determined to minimize exposure not only of his party affiliation, but of others who have received tainted campaign contributions.
CHICAGO (CBS) ― In an explosive development reaching to the state's highest office, a former high-ranking state official claimed Tuesday that Gov. Rod Blagojevich was on hand when he presented $25,000 in campaign money to now-indicted fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko.
Ali Ata, 56, a former executive director of the Illinois Finance Authority, said Blagojevich then asked Rezko if he had talked to Ata about a job on the state payroll.
Ata said later, after he made a second $25,000 campaign contribution, Blagojevich again brought up the subject of a job and said it should be one in which Ata "could make some money."
Time magazine is using the fact that the Democrat presidential candidates are currently being forced to raise more money to battle each other as evidence that the Democrats are much better at online campaign fundraising than the Republicans. Political blinders were firmly in place on Time writers Michael Scherer and Jay Newton-Small when they triumphantly put forth their reality-challenged thesis of Why Democrats Rule the Web:
Republicans, who once were far ahead of Democrats in whizbang TV technology, let their party fall behind the nerd curve as Howard Dean and later John Kerry revolutionized and then exploited online fund-raising in 2004. Four years later, the Democrats have widened that gap, using the Internet not only to raise cash but also to organize canvassers and plot get-out-the-vote efforts. Republicans say the Democrats' Web advantage is due to not just greater enthusiasm but also smarter strategies...
As a loyal Clinton campaign email subscriber, rarely a day goes by that I don't hear from Hillary or Bill. It's good to know they're thinking about me. But today brings some very troubling news: Hillary is WAY behind on her fundraising goal for TV airtime in Pennsylvania. [screencap below page break]
I had been torn between door hangers and yard signs, when I decided to check out some of the other options, and . . . YIKES! As you'll see from the image, the budget for TV airtime in Pennsylvania is $2.5 million, but Hillary has raised only $129,947. That works out to only 5.1% of the goal!