WARNING: Donald Trump #Scampaign is Using Your Money To Line His Own Pockets

Ever since Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president he has bragged about his alleged self-financing of his campaign. That was never actually true since he has been soliciting donations from the start and the funds from his own accounts were loans for which he could repay himself from his campaign treasury. But now ABC News is reporting that Trump’s deceit is much worse than merely misleading donors about the source of his funding.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump has been using his campaign as a marketing scheme to enrich himself and his eponymous business enterprises. By using Trump properties and products for campaign goods and services Trump has funneled more than six million dollars back into his own pocket. The services include transportation provided by his famous Trump jet ($3.7 million), office space at his Trump Tower in Manhattan ($915,000), rent and catering at his Mar-a-Lago Club in South Florida ($423,000), dining at Trump restaurants ($135,000), end even purchases of Trump branded water and wine.

If anyone is thinking that this is just good business and a normal practice in politics, you could not be further from the truth. Other wealthy candidates with far-flung business interests made certain that their personal finances were not intermingled with their campaigns. Examples provided by ABC include these fellow billionaires:

“Trump isn’t the first high-profile politician to run a campaign while managing large corporate assets. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and presidential contender Steve Forbes both ran companies bearing their name.”

Both took great care to carefully separate their businesses and their campaigns, their former aides said, citing the complex maze of campaign finance regulations about using corporate resources.”

What this means for Trump’s prospective donors is that they will effectively be paying the tab for Trump to buy his own products and rent his own office space. His campaign is acting as a sort of shell company through which Trump can funnel money to his other businesses. Small donors would have to wonder whether that is a worthy investment of their limited funds. Large donors ought to be even more skeptical of giving thousands of dollars to Trump’s for-profit businesses.

This is particularly troublesome for donors when they consider Trump isn’t spending his campaign funds in a manner that would advance his candidacy. Recent campaign filings show that Hillary Clinton’s campaign has spent about $20 million on advertising in key swing states compared to Trump’s total spending of zero dollars. Additionally, Clinton currently has about $42 million of cash on hand, while Trump is comparatively broke with only $1.3 million. He says that all he needs to do is write a check, but while we’re waiting for that to happen he is still hitting up the usual suspects in the GOP millionaires club.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Given Trump’s peculiar approach to campaign spending, and his predilection for feathering his own gold-encrusted nest, donors will likely think twice before throwing cash at The Donald. And his rapidly deteriorating relationship with the Republican National Committee (RNC) only exacerbates the problem. Why should RNC donors dig into their wallets when Trump keeps insulting them and threatening to go it alone? The only parties who are helped by any of this are the #NeverTrump activists who still hope to keep him from becoming the Party’s nominee.

Watch In Disbelief As ABC News Paints Homophobe Donald Trump As Pro-Gay

The debate over the causes of the Orlando massacre last week have run the gamut from radical Islamic terrorism, to the availability of military-style assault weapons, to violent homophobic extremism. The reality from the available facts is that there are elements of all three contributing to the madness of the shooter. But the media isn’t helping matters when they introduce absurdities into their analysis that blatantly contradict the truth.

Donald Trump

Yesterday on ABC News (video below), their Chief White House Correspondent, Jonathan Karl, promoted Donald Trump’s delusional pronouncement that “LGBT is starting to like Donald Trump very much lately. I will tell you.” Neither Trump nor Karl offered any evidence of that, and polling shows that Trump has a dismal favorability rating with LGBT people of only 18 percent. By contrast, Hillary Clinton is viewed favorably by 54 percent of the LGBT community.

Nevertheless, Karl continued to hype Trump’s stumping on the issue by running clips of Trump criticizing Clinton for accepting donations to the charitable Clinton Foundation from Saudi Arabia or other countries with poor records on human rights for gays and women. But both Trump and Karl neglected to put that claim in context by disclosing that Trump has many business relationships with people and businesses in the same countries that are not charitable in the least, but from which he will personally profit.

Karl closes the segment with a conclusion that can only be described as deranged. He said that…

“When it comes to gay rights, it’s Hillary Clinton who supports gay marriage, not Donald Trump. But even so, there is little doubt, David, that Trump is the most pro gay rights Republican presidential candidate that we have ever seen.”

WTF? Donald Trump cannot be portrayed as pro-gay rights by any stretch of the imagination. He has a long history of insulting remarks and hostile positions aimed at the LGBT community. He has publicly committed to appointing Supreme Court Justices who would overturn marriage equality. He has promised to sign the First Amendment Defense Act, which codifies discrimination against gays in commerce, employment, and housing. He meets with, and panders to, anti-gay hate groups like the Family Research Council. His solicitous embrace of anti-gay, evangelical extremists has been a core strategy of his campaign.

Karl might have been on firmer ground if he had merely suggested that Trump was less anti-gay than other Republicans who blame them for natural disasters and advocate stoning them to death. But only slightly firmer since many of Trump’s friends and allies (i.e. Jerry Falwell, Jr., Tony Perkins, and Alex Jones) proudly hold those views. But to put the words “pro” and “gay” in the same sentence as “Donald Trump” is a deliberate bastardization of the political reality that defines him. It is also a breach of journalistic principles that require adherence to honest representations of news events and figures.

Donald Trump’s cynical play for support from people whom he openly seeks to harm is a sinkhole of lies that no one should be so naive as to fall into. And it’s particularly reprehensible that he is using the tragedy in Orlando to fish for votes among people still in shock over what happened. Karl’s reporting on Trump only makes things worse by his failure to live up to his professional obligation to inform the public with facts and reason and coherent analysis. Karl failed miserably on all three counts.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Tax-Dodger Donald: Trump’s Own Documents Prove He Lied About The Value Of His Properties

Is Donald Trump a billionaire or a world-class grifter?

It has been difficult to pin down Trump’s net worth because he refuses to release his taxes until an alleged audit is complete. That excuse has been ridiculed by experts and even the IRS says there is nothing preventing him from making his own tax information public. Nevertheless, he is continuing to hide behind his lawyers and now says that his returns might not be released until after the election.

Donald Trump

Tax returns have been a staple disclosure in politics for nearly half a century. Hillary Clinton has made more than thirty years of returns available to the public. But Trump told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos this weekend that his tax rate is “none of your business.” However, there is data available through other tax filings that is shedding some light on Trump’s mysterious empire.

ABC News is reporting (video below) that the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, New York, was valued on Trump’s candidate disclosure statement at “more than $50 million.” The high valuation serves Trump’s political purposes to portray himself as a successful businessman. But when he declared the assessment of the resort for tax purposes he claimed that it was worth only $1.75 million. The difference between his tax declaration and his candidate disclosure amounts to a savings of 90% on his tax bill.

When asked by ABC’s Brian Ross to comment on the discrepancy, he was told that the matter was “decades old and not worthy of a response.” He said much the same thing to reporters asking about the recent discovery of an audio tape of him posing as his own fictional press agent when talking to the media. This is a statute of limitations that only applies to Trump, whose obsession with the Clintons’ marital difficulties from the 1990s he still considers fair game.

The ABC story cited several other instances when Trump was less than honest about paying his taxes. One particularly egregious incident was when he purchased the yacht that became his beloved “Trump Princess.” At the time he pretended to have a patriotic incentive for buying the luxury liner. He said:

“I like to see the great jewels of the country being owned by the people of this country. And it had a big play as to why I bought this boat.”

However, as Ross reported, Trump “used off-shore and out-of-state corporations to buy the yacht and saved him a tax bill of some $1.75 million.” What a patriot. Something that Ross left out is that later, when Trump was undergoing a severe financial crisis, he sold the yacht to Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal. So much for “the great jewels of the country.”

The Trump National property was purchased in foreclosure for $8 million, and he spent another $45 million developing the golf course and the club house. So either this property suffered a massive decline in value and Trump isn’t worth what he says he is, or he is deliberately undervaluing it to avoid his legal tax bill. Either way, one of his public declarations is a flagrant lie. And with this report by ABC News will the media pick up the story and begin to tell the truth about Trump’s dishonesty?

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Stephanopoulos Isn’t The Only Media Donor To The Clinton Foundation (Is He, Fox News?)

The conservative media circus is furiously banging their drums to chastise George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC’s Good Morning America and This Week, for his failure to disclose a donation to the Clinton Foundation. This oversight is being portrayed as an unforgivable offense of partisan bias. As with any matter that can be hyper-dramatized by zealous punditry, Fox News took the lead in running Stephanopoulos through the metaphorical grinder.

Fox News Stephanopoulos

A couple of notes need to be raised in order to fairly assess this situation. First of all, Stephanopoulos donated to a charitable organization, not a political campaign. Thus, it cannot really be regarded as partisan in that the Clinton Foundation does not engage in any political activities. Its mission is purely philanthropic and no fair observer has ever alleged any ideological leanings. Furthermore, unlike a corporate donor or a foreign entity, there isn’t any conceivable benefit that Stephanopoulos might have been seeking in exchange for a donation. Even his critics do not allege that his motives were anything but altruistic.

That said, there are problems with his failure to disclose that impact his reporting when the subject is the Foundation itself. For instance, Stephanopoulos recently interviewed the author of “Clinton Cash,” a book that alleges improprieties on the part of Hillary Clinton in connection to donations to the Foundation. The fact that the book was filled with factual errors and failed to prove its premise does not excuse Stephanopoulos from an ethical duty to reveal that he was also a donor.

Taken in its entirety, this scandalette hardly seems to approach the degree of significance that is being assigned to it by Fox News and other conservative media. There was no effort to extract any personal gain and the ethical lapse did not result in any reportorial distortion. But that hasn’t stopped right-wing muckrakers from attempting to whip it up into a full-blown catastrophe for Stephanopoulos. He has been maligned as hopelessly biased and there have been calls for him to resign or be fired. Fox’s Howard Kurtz described the affair as…

“…such a bombshell that George Stephanopoulos has now had to withdraw as ABC’s moderator in the Republican presidential debate next year.”

What makes the debate moderation move somewhat comical is that last November the chairman of the Republican Party, Reince Priebus, ruled out anyone that he regarded as being unfriendly to the Party’s interests.

Priebus: [the] thing that is ridiculous is allowing moderators, who are not serving the best interests of the candidate and the party, to actually be the people to be deposing our people. And I think that’s totally wrong.

Priebus reinforced that edict yesterday saying that “I’ve been very public about this. George Stephanopoulos was never going to moderate a Republican debate anyway.” Somewhere Priebus got the impression that debate moderators are supposed to serve the interests of the candidates. Certainly the interest of the voters never entered into it. And the last thing that the GOP wants is a debate that is truly spirited and informative. They are looking for something more on the order of an infomercial.

Amidst this tumultuous uproar over the fate of Stephanopoulos and his relatively modest $75,000 gift, what has gone unmentioned is that he is not alone in making donations to the Clinton Foundation. In fact, Fox News has been even more generous than Stephanopoulos. Rupert Murdoch’s son James, the COO of 21st Century Fox (parent company of Fox News), made a donation in the range of $1,000,000-$5,000,000. The News Corporation Foundation contributed between $500,000-$1,000,000. Fox regular Donald Trump forked over between $100,000-$250,000.

There might be more of these types of ethical problems involving media personalities on the right donating to Republican charities like the Bush Foundation. However, we can’t uncover them because the Bush Foundation doesn’t disclose their donors like the Clintons do. Curious, isn’t it?

News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

So the question is: How can Fox News criticize George Stephanopoulos for his undisclosed donations to the Clinton Foundation, when they have made far bigger donations without disclosing them? What’s more, the donations from the Fox media empire can be regarded as possible bribes since, unlike Stephanopoulos, they have pending business before the government and its regulatory agencies. If Fox News wants to pretend to be “fair and balanced” they need to immediately come clean. And if Stephanopoulos is denied the opportunity to moderate any GOP debates, then Fox News should be prohibited from airing them.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for Fox to act ethically in this matter. They will neither remove themselves from the debate schedule, nor cease their attacks on Stephanopoulos. That’s just the way Fox does business and it will continue despite the obvious hypocrisy and lack of journalistic principle.

HUMILIATION: Breitbart News Tries To Blame Democrats For Dark Knight Shooting

When it comes to integrity and journalistic ethics, Breitbart News ranks somewhere between the National Enquirer and the Tehran Times. It makes Fox News look like PBS. And they can be expected to sink to ever greater depths of depravity when a story emerges that permits them to dial up the sensationalism and political rhetoric to eye-bleeding levels. The tragic Dark Knight shooting in Aurora, Colorado, was such a story.

On the morning after the shootings all the news networks were engaged in an endlessly repetitious barrage of a limited set of facts and a boundless pool of speculation. It didn’t matter what channel you turned to, you would hear the same recitation of the number of fatalities and injuries, interviews with frightened witnesses, and reminiscences of Columbine. Consequently, there was a determined effort on the part of the reporters to uncover something – anything – that was new or interesting.

In the course of their investigation, ABC News discovered that there was a man associated with the Aurora Tea Party who had the same name as the shooting suspect. They prematurely reported that fact without first verifying whether they were the same person.

George Stephanopoulos: I’m going to go to Brian Ross. You’ve been investigating the background of Jim Holmes here. You found something that might be significant.
Brian Ross: There’s a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado, page on the Colorado Tea party site as well, talking about him joining the Tea Party last year. Now, we don’t know if this is the same Jim Holmes. But it’s Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado.
Stephanopoulos: Okay, we’ll keep looking at that. Brian Ross, thanks very much.

ABC quickly corrected the report, but not before enduring some withering, and deserved, criticism. And it should be noted that, from the start, they acknowledged that all they had was speculation and that they were continuing to investigate. That’s not a proper justification, but it’s also not the same as making an outright accusation, which is what much of the right-wing media is saying.

Breitbart News leapt on this misstep with an article falsely charging “HUMILIATION: ABC News Tries To Blame Tea Party.” There was no attempt on the part of ABC News to blame anyone. They were following a lead and went to air before affirming it, but that’s not an assertion of blame. Breitbart’s column, by the notoriously addle-brained Joel Pollak, goes into hysterics over what he believes is an outrageous insult to his favorite extremist fringe group.

However, what makes Pollak’s pompous theatrics all the more ludicrous is that he immediately perpetrated the very same crime to which he took so much offense.

Breitbart News

Pollak’s article very directly accused the shooter of being a registered Democrat. He rambled through a list of supposed evidence that he never bothered to authenticate and arrived at a conclusion that he deemed certifiable. The only problem is that he was completely wrong – a state of being with which he must be comfortable by now. As it turns out, Pollak also had the wrong guy and the the suspect was not registered to vote at all.

So after castigating ABC for reporting incorrect information, Breitbrat Pollak did the same thing but took over five hours to make a correction. And even that was a weaselly effort that sought to explain away his incompetence by claiming that there was new information. Also, unlike ABC, Pollak included no apology for his gross error and slander of Democrats. But then that’s the sort of unprincipled, pseudo-reporting that is the hallmark of the Breitbart legacy.

ABC News Lists The Wealthy 1% Influencing Politics – But Leaves A Few Out

ABC News has published a list of what they call the “Top 8 Most Powerful Businessmen Influencing Politics.” It is a testament to the success of the Occupy Wall Street movement that a mainstream news organization is even attempting to tackle this issue.

Prior to OWS there was nary a peep about the appalling and dangerous wealth gap in America. The pundits and politicians had a single-minded focus on deficits and ignored the larger question of how they accumulated throughout the Bush administration via tax cuts for rich, off-the-books wars, and irresponsible deregulation.

The Occupy movement has completely shifted the debate to the more relevant issue of economic equity and the abuse of power by corporations and their wealthy proponents. That shift is the reason that ABC News has, for the first time, published a list of One Percenters who influence politics. Unfortunately, the list is woefully incomplete:

  • Koch Brothers
  • George Soros
  • Warren Buffett
  • Jeffrey Katzenberg
  • A. Jerrold Perenchio
  • George Kaiser
  • Howard Schultz

ABC seems to be going out of their way to be non-partisan. The problem with that approach is that the ranks of the wealthy are not themselves non-partisan. Here are a few more Republican power brokers that ABC omitted – and every one a billionaire:

  • Rupert Murdoch
  • Philip Anschutz
  • Sumner Redstone
  • Donald Trump
  • Steve Wynn
  • T. Boone Pickens
  • Arthur Blank
  • Meg Whitman
  • Richard Scaife

The noticeable leaning of wealthy businessmen to the conservative side ought to have been acknowledged by ABC. This is especially true given that so many of them are their colleagues in the media. It is particularly conspicuous that ABC left Rupert Murdoch off of their list given that he may be the world’s most prominent influencer of politics with both his blatantly biased news enterprises and his personal generosity toward conservative causes.

Other than these egregious omissions, it is encouraging to see the mainstream press starting to recognize the imbalance in this nation’s economic and political systems. And for that we can thank the Occupiers.

Charlie Gibson Stepping Down As ABC News Anchor

When Charlie Gibson approached ABC News president David Westin to advise him of his intention to step down as anchor of ABC’s World News Tonight, I have to wonder if Westin asked, “In what respect, Charlie?”

Gibson hardly distinguished himself as an anchor or an editor. The moist prominent role he played was as a pitifully poor moderator for a Democratic presidential primary debate in Philadelphia, where he was universally panned.

Diane Sawyer has been announced as Gibson’s replacement. She is presently the host of ABC’s morning show, Good Morning America. But it is notable that she was once Richard Nixon’s press aide and was on the team that prepped him for the Nixon/Frost interviews.

Despite Sawyer’s political past, I think she’s marginally an improvement over Gibson. Plus, it will mean that two of the Big Three networks have female news anchors. That is a profound advancement in a business that is notoriously male-dominated, and has been for decades. It could bring some new perspectives to television news. These broadcast news programs have twice the viewership of the highest rated cable news programs, so her exposure will be significant.

So goodbye Charlie, and “Yahhh Charlie, Yahhh!”

Gov. Sanford’s Treatment By The Liberal Media

Here are a few examples of how the so-called “liberal” media rushed to smear Republican Gov. Mark Sanford after he surfaced from his hike in Appalachia …er… vacation in South America …er… tryst with his Argentinian mistress. These are emails sent to Sanford to solicit him for interviews.

Griff Jenkins of Fox News
“Having known the Governor for years and even worked with him when he would host radio shows for me — I find this story and the media frenzy surrounding it to be absolutely ridiculous! Please give him my best.”

If the Gov does an interview and its exclusive, it will make air on the tv channel and our radio news service all across the country. And I’m not sure if you’ve seen the stuff I do on the channel as a reporter, but I work mostly for our primetime coverage – Oreilly, Hannity, Greta, Beck – so there likely would be primetime coverage as well for some soundbites of the gov dispelling this flap.

Jenkins, you may recall, is one of the contingent of Fox News ambush journalists (along with Jesse Watters, and Porter Barry). He was also prominent in last April’s Tea Baggery. In this affair he is unabashedly promising a political delinquent favorable treatment.

Brendan Miniter of the Wall Street Journal
“Someone at WSJ should be fired for today’s story. Ridiculous.”

Miniter is actually bashing his own paper for publishing a story that merely reported that Sanford was off hiking the Appalachian Trail. So I guess that I’d agree with Miniter. Someone should be fired for having gotten the story so wrong. And Miniter should go with him for pandering to the story’s subject.

Joseph Deoudes of the Washington Times
“If you all want to speak on this publicly, you’re welcome to Washington Times Radio. You know that you will be on friendly ground here!”

Isn’t nice to know that there is “friendly ground” available for wayward Republicans? Not that this is news coming from the Moonie Times, a perennial happy place for rightists.

Ann Edelberg of MSNBC’s Morning Joe
“Of course the Gov has an open invite to a friendly place here at MJ, if he would like to speak out.”

And if anyone can call themselves a friend of Sanford, it’s Joe Scarborough, the former Florida congressman who had his own problems with the press when an intern turned up dead in his office.

Jake Tapper of ABC News
“NBC spot was slimy.” […] “For the record, I think the TODAY show spot was pretty insulting.”

Tapper’s main problem here is not that he is offering Sanford a safe haven, but that he is deliberately bashing his competition. Tapper is crossing the line in order to get a story. To his credit, he apologized and acknowledged that what he did was inappropriate. None of his colleagues have yet to do so.

Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central
As you may know, I declared myself Governor of South Carolina last night. I went power mad for abut 40 seconds before learning that Gov. Sanford was returning today.

If the governor is looking for a friendly place to make light of what I think is a small story that got blown out of scale I would be happy to have him on. In person here, on the phone, or in South Carolina.

Stay strong, Stephen

Et tu, Colbert? As the most reputable journalist of the bunch, it is disheartening to see that Colbert has compromised his impeccable journalistic credentials (a Peabody winner) in order to suck up to this miscreant governor. Since Colbert is on record as being philosophically opposed to apologies, I wouldn’t expect one to be forthcoming. In fact, it would hardly be necessary for him to bother correcting the record since, as he has noted, “reality has a well known liberal bias.” So what’s the point?

Republicans Yearning For Fairness Doctrine At Healthcare Forum

For at least the past six months, conservative pundits and politicians have fashioned their fear of the Fairness Doctrine into an obsession. Despite the fact that liberals and Democrats, including the President, have expressly stated that they do not favor the Doctrine’s reinstatement, Republicans continue to scamper like frightened ducklings in the shadow of an enemy that doesn’t exist.

How ironic then, that it is the Republican Party and their media mouthpieces who are now crying foul and demanding fair treatment. The object of their scorn is the upcoming ABC News broadcast of a healthcare themed town hall held in the White House. The cry has gone out from the right that this is nothing more than an infomercial for Obamacare and further evidence that the media is “in the tank” for Obama.

There is good reason to maintain a general skepticism with regard to how the press will cover any event, but common sense demands that assessments be made based on what actually occurs and not on imaginary prognostications. How these critics can claim that they know what is going take place before the forum is held, I don’t know. But that is exactly what they are doing.

Immediately after ABC announced the program, the Republican National Committee fired off an indignant letter complaining that they were…

“…deeply concerned and disappointed with ABC’s astonishing decision to exclude opposing voices on this critical issue”

However, there was no such decision made by ABC. To the contrary, they clearly stated that multiple views would be represented and that the President’s policy proposals would be challenged. The RNC’s position went even further saying that…

“Today, the Republican National Committee requested an opportunity to add our Party’s views to those of the President’s to ensure that all sides of the health care reform debate are presented.”

How cute that the RNC now wants to ensure that all sides are presented, and that they believe the media has an obligation to provide this balance. That view has been parroted by everyone in the right-wing mediasphere. All of the usual suspects: Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, Drudge, Hot Air, Human Events, and, of course, Fox News, have weighed in on this perceived violation of journalistic ethics. They have all agreed with the RNC’s demand that ABC provide equal time for their views and their spokespeople.

Setting aside for the moment that ABC has promised that there will be multiple views represented, why is this Republican demand not seen as an endorsement of the Fairness Doctrine? How do they reconcile their past abhorrence of fairness with their new found affinity for it?

The truth is, Republicans are only interested in fairness when they feel that they are the aggrieved party. They never mentioned it when Fox News presented infomercials for George Bush. It isn’t an issue when Dick Cheney gets wall-to-wall coverage to bash Obama. And it is wholly irrelevant in the context of the right’s domination of talk radio. But if a TV network should propose to question the President on one of the most important issues of the day, Republicans believe that the media should guarantee them a seat at the inquisitors table.

To illustrate the absurdity of their claims, try to imagine how Fox News would have handled this program. Would they have refused to come to the White House for such an event? Of course not. Any news enterprise would have jumped at this opportunity. Would they have invited Howard Dean to join their panel of reporters? Yeah, sure they would, and Hugo Chavez too. Would they have altered their programming plans to facilitate critics? Well, they never have before, so…..

The hypocrisy of Republicans pretending care about fairness is really only part of the story. In all likelihood, they are just attempting to work the refs. By complaining about bias they hope to influence ABC reporters to overcompensate by taking a harder line against the President’s policies. That’s a pretty good tactic that usually works, given the mushiness of the mainstream media. The RNC is also exploiting this issue to raise money, and have already sent out fund raising appeals tied to the ABC broadcast.

When this is all over, it will be interesting to see how the right-wing opponents of the Fairness Doctrine continue to justify their opposition. Scratch that. It won’t be the least bit interesting. They will just ignore this episode and act as if nothing has changed. That’s how hypocrites operate.

Washington Times Lies About ABC News

This is a textbook example of how a dishonest news enterprise will employ deceit in pursuit of a partisan agenda. All it takes is an absence of conscience and ethics, and an intent to deliberately mislead your readers.

Ever since ABC announced that they would host a health care themed town hall from the White House, the conservative media machine has been blasting the move as evidence that the media is “in the tank” for Barack Obama. In an effort to advance this theory, the Washington Times commissioned a study by the Center for Responsive Politics on the campaign donations made by ABC employees.

The conclusion, as represented by the Times, was that ABC is a partisan operation that is unfit to call themselves a news service. They cited data from the study that said that over $124,000 was donated by ABC employees to Obama, as compared to about $1,500 to McCain or other candidates. In addition, they sought comments from Dan Gainor of the Business & Media Institute, a far right-wing group affiliated with ultra-conservative Brent Bozell’s Media Research Center. Gainor said that…

“ABC is in bed with their source, so to speak. ABC is supposed to be a news organization, not a producer of infomercials for national health care. And I wonder what they would have done if the Bush administration had asked for positive programming to support the war on terror or Social Security initiatives.”

Gainor couldn’t have come up with two worse examples to make his point. The Bush administration asked for, and received, multiple programming opportunities to hawk his war mongering and Social Security privatization schemes – including one-sided town halls and air time on both broadcast and cable networks.

However, the New York Observer obtained the same study from the CRP and discovered what the Times had conveniently left out. As it happens, the vast majority of the donations cited in the study were from ABC employees who had nothing whatsoever to do with the production of news. The actual breakdown revealed that, of the $124,000, only $885 came from the news division.

The Times was surely aware of these facts, they simply decided to misconstrue them in order to mislead their readers and promote the false allegation of partisanship on the part of ABC News. It is this sort of brazen dishonesty that makes one wonder why anyone would give credence to anything published by the Washington Times.