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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Oh, Look -- Bloomberg Gets It Right

Ooooh, lookie. An example of real, honest factual reporting. With follow-up. And numbers to back things up. Good on ya, Bloomberg. First, there's this:
U.S. President George W. Bush calls indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff "an equal money dispenser" who helped politicians of both parties. Campaign donation records show Republicans were a lot more equal than Democrats.

Between 2001 and 2004, Abramoff gave more than $127,000 to Republican candidates and committees and nothing to Democrats, federal records show. At the same time, his Indian clients were the only ones among the top 10 tribal donors in the U.S. to donate more money to Republicans than Democrats.
The article goes on to say this:
"Abramoff's big connections were with the Republicans," said Larry Noble, the former top lawyer for the Federal Election Commission, who directs the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics.

"It is somewhat unusual in that most lobbyists try to work with both Republicans and Democrats, but we're already seeing that Jack Abramoff doesn't seem to be a usual lobbyist," Noble said.
Um, yeah. He's a Republican lobbyist who was working a scheme with his Republican cronies to funnel money to Republican causes and Republican legislators, as directed by his Republican pal Tom DeLay and his Republican KStreet project. Is that clear enough for everyone?

And then, Bloomberg actually crunches some numbers. I mean, really crunches them -- totals before and after the tribes hired Abramoff -- and reports on the actual facts of how donations were given, and how they changed in favor of Republican lawmakers at Abramoff's and pals' direction.
Between 2001 and 2004, Abramoff joined with his former partner, Michael Scanlon, and tribal clients to give money to a third of the members of Congress, including former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, according to records of the Federal Election Commission and Internal Revenue Service. At least 171 lawmakers got $1.4 million in campaign donations from the group. Republicans took in most of the money, with 110 lawmakers getting $942,275, or 66 percent of the total.

Of the top 10 political donors among Indian tribes in that period, three are former clients of Abramoff and Scanlon: the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Michigan, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians of California. All three gave most of their donations to Republicans -- by margins of 30 percentage points or more -- while the rest favored Democrats....

Abramoff's tribal clients continued to give money to Democrats even after he began representing them, although in smaller percentages than in the past....

White House spokeswoman Erin Healy said yesterday that Bush was making the point that Abramoff's links weren't exclusively Republican. "The president was referring to press reports showing Mr. Abramoff, his clients and associates have contributed to both Democrats and Republicans alike," Healy said.

"Republicans are bending over backwards to exaggerate the links" between Democrats and Abramoff, said Phil Singer, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. "This is a Republican scandal that involves Republican lawmakers doing favors for a Republican lobbyist."
Jane reported on L'il Debbie's response to the criticism of her inaccurate reporting on the Abramoff mess. Deborah Howell's response was defensive and hurt -- and I'm sure that the firestorm of criticism after she failed to immediately correct her reporting probably did sting. But the point is this: the Administration is using inaccurate reporting to bolster it's PR campaign, and every time a news organization doesn't accurately report the facts, they are helping in that PR. Period.

This is about honest journalism versus helping the Administration shill around its lies. It's about being truthful about an enormous corruption scandal that is Republican in origin, versus enabling the GOP to continue to lie to the country.

And the bottom line is this: when a news organization gets it wrong, they are going to be called on it -- as loudly and as often as it takes until they do the right thing and report honestly on the facts. The chips will fall where they fall -- but enabling corruption will not be tolerated in the face of clear, honest facts. Period.

Bloomberg gets it.