Thursday, December 08, 2011

Money changes everything

Building on my earlier post about media buys in the 2012 campaign, this cash tally on outside campaign spending reinforces the point about the Citizen United effect and also illustrates the sorry state of political journalism.

In the endless quest for false equivalency, the hed was "Political groups raking in the campaign cash" and the lede read: "Political groups representing the left and the right have already spent an eye-popping $35 million to influence the outcome of the 2012 election, according to an investigation by The Hill."

But read the report and see if you can find the problem:
Those that do not have to disclose their spending that participated in The Hill’s survey include the conservative Crossroads GPS ($20 million total with American Crossroads), American Action Network ($2.8 million total on advocacy and electioneering), Americans for Prosperity ($5 million on ads for federal issue advocacy) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (less than $1 million). On the Democratic side, Priorities USA has spent slightly less than $1 million, House Majority PAC is at $921,000 after spending some on House special elections, Patriot Majority PAC has doled out $400,000 and Americans United for Change has spent $350,000.

The main drivers of the outside-group spending have been American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, Republican-affiliated groups co-founded by Karl Rove. They have dropped an unprecedented $20 million attacking Democratic Senate candidates and President Obama. Liberal and conservative groups have combined to spend more than $10 million on Senate races alone.
In other words, Democrats are responsible for well under $3 million out of this $35 million that has been disclosed so far. Maybe it's just me, but a more honest hed might have read, "GOP front groups record smashing spending to influence elections." Or something like that.

[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]

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