Patterico's Pontifications

8/21/2004

Suggestion for Steve Lopez

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 5:58 pm

Yesterday, I criticized Steve Lopez’s most recent column, the focal point of which was a Vietnam vet who shares Lopez’s views. I thought that was a lazy, uninteresting, and predictable choice. I suggested that Lopez take on a Vietnam vet who disagrees with him instead.

Alert reader Hank K. notes the possibility that Mr. Lopez doesn’t read my blog. Hard to believe, I know — but possible. So I wrote Mr. Lopez this e-mail today, to make sure he saw my suggestion:
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Los Angeles Times Blows the Story of John O’Neill’s Contributions to Democrats

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 4:34 pm

Very interesting comment in the Los Angeles Times this morning regarding Swift Boat Vet John O’Neill:

In a recent interview, O’Neill . . . said he had not voted for a Republican nominee for president since 1988. But campaign finance records show that between 1992 and 2004, he gave $10,250 to GOP congressional campaigns.

I think it’s poor journalism that the Times doesn’t specifically tell us whether O’Neill’s campaign finance records reveal contributions to Democrats.

The clear implication is that O’Neill has not donated any money to Democrats. After all, the use of the word “but” in that last sentence conveys clear skepticism regarding O’Neill’s claim that he is not a partisan Republican — and cites as allegedly contrary evidence O’Neill’s donations to GOP candidates. This doesn’t mean much if O’Neill has also made significant contributions to Democrats.

But the article says nothing directly speaking to the issue.

If the L.A. Times review of campaign finance records revealed no donations by O’Neill to Democrats, the paper should have said so directly, rather than simply implying it.

If, on the other hand, O’Neill has given money to Democrats — especially significant sums — then the L.A. Times has falsely implied that he has given money to Republicans only. At a minimum, the paper has left out an important part of the story. In that case, the Times owes O’Neill an apology.

I have written the authors of the article (with a copy to the Readers’ Representative) asking if they researched whether O’Neill gave money to Democrats. If he did, I have asked them to tell me how much he gave to Democrats, and over what period of time.

Again, as always, I’ll let you know what I hear.

P.S. It’s also interesting how the article words the statement that O’Neill “had not voted for a Republican nominee for president since 1988.” When you put it that way, the statement doesn’t necessarily seem that convincing. After all, maybe he just hasn’t voted in a presidential election since 1988.

Except that, in an interview I heard O’Neill give, he said that he voted for H. Ross Perot in 1992 and 1996 — and Al Gore in 2000! That would be the same Al Gore who ran against George W. Bush. In other words, O’Neill is willing to vote for an opponent of George W. — just not John Kerry.

Including that level of detail — even just the fact that O’Neill voted for Gore — would have far been more persuasive than simply saying that O’Neill hadn’t voted for a Republican for President since 1988. I wonder why the Times reporters put it the way they did.

Hmmmmmmmmm.

(UPDATES to this post have been extensive. I am placing them in the extended entry.)

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“Web of Connections” Apparently in the Eye of the Beholder

Filed under: Media Bias — Patterico @ 10:05 am

So, when successful lawyers in Houston know prominent Republicans in the state (including Karl Rove), the New York Times calls that a “web of connections” between the White House and a 527 group led by one of those lawyers. And we are treated to a chart such as the FBI might prepare in a prosecution of top Mafia leaders.

But when Saddam Hussein’s intelligence officials repeatedly met with top Al Qaeda leaders — something a little more unusual than lawyers knowing politicians — I don’t remember seeing the phrase “web of connections” used in the New York Times. Or a chart.

Am I the only one who finds that a bit odd?


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