Patterico's Pontifications

10/6/2010

L.A. Times Headlines Perpetrate Outrageous Distortion of Campaign Finance Figures in California Gubernatorial Election

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 7:47 am

Here is the typical format for an L.A. Times article on a political contest between a Democrat and a Republican:

Headline Disfavoring Republican in Bold

Somewhat longer headline in italics, called the “deck headline,” elaborating on why the story disfavors the Republican

DATELINE — Lead that disfavors Republican.

Second paragraph that disfavors Republican.

Later paragraph, expressed as an aside, that completely undermines point of entire story.

You can see how this template is filled in, in this story about the funds received by the candidates in California’s race for Governor:

Donations to Whitman undercut her no-special-interests claim

Reports show the Republican candidate has received more money from outside donors than has her Democratic rival, Jerry Brown, whom she paints as beholden to unions.

Donors with business before the state and corporate leaders poured millions of dollars into Meg Whitman’s campaign in the last three months, potentially undercutting her claim that her personal fortune makes her uniquely free of special-interest entanglements, campaign disclosure reports filed Tuesday show.

Whitman, the billionaire former chief executive of online auction house EBay, raised more money from outside donors than her Democratic rival, Jerry Brown, whom she has criticized heavily for his dependence on support from the state’s public employee unions. Whitman pulled in more than $10.7 million from individuals, businesses and other groups to Brown’s $9.5 million.

Although those figures don’t tell the whole story — unions and other special interests separately spent a further $13.7 million supporting Brown through independent political committees not controlled by the candidate — they highlight that Brown is not the only one getting a big assist from wealthy individuals and groups.

You have seriously got to be [expletive deleted]ing kidding me.

Look at all the money that Republican Whitman got! Republican Whitman got more money (coughdirectlycough) than Brown has received!!! It may really hurt Republican Whitman that she has received all that money!!! OkbythewaytheunionshavespentwaymoretosupportBrownthanWhitmanhasreceivedfromanyonebutnevermindthat. Now back to our thesis about how Republican Whitman has gotten a ton of money — more than Brown!!!

The spin becomes even more outrageous when you go searching for the comparable sum that Whitman has received from special interests. It turns out it is a mere $450,000 to Brown’s $13.7 million (or more, see below).

I had to poke around to find these figures. I found them here, at the web site of the California Fair Political Practices Commission. When I clicked the link and opened the spreadsheet, I was so astounded by what I saw that I spent some time with a calculator adding it all up, and took a screenshot so you could see it for yourself:

(Ignore the yellow line; I’m not sure how it got there. Maybe it indicates the new donation since the previous report.)

At first glance it all looks about equal. Then you look at the column on the right side saying “Support/Oppose” and realize: nearly all of it is support for Brown and opposition to Whitman.

I got out a calculator and added it all up. Feel free to correct my math. A total of $10,656,676 was donated to support Brown in the general election, combined with $10,606 in the primary season. Add to that $2,688,091 to oppose Whitman in the general, plus $682,573 in the primary season. The totals: $13,344,767 spent to support Brown or oppose Whitman in the general. When you include funds from the primary season, unions and other special interests have spent a whopping $14,037,946 to support Brown or oppose Whitman.

That all compares to a mere $450,000 to support Whitman, from a single group: California Law and Order IEC.

Here’s what the story should have said:

Brown supported by millions in union and special interest donations

Donations on his behalf outnumber Whitman’s more than 30 to 1

Unions and special donors with business before the state and corporate leaders poured millions of dollars into supporting Jerry Brown’s campaign in the general election, lending credence to Meg Whitman’s claim that Brown is dependent on support from the state’s public employee unions. Only $450,000 was spent to support Whitman by special interests and unions, compared to more than $14 million to support Brown and oppose Whitman in the general and primary elections combined.

Although those figures don’t tell the whole story — Whitman directly pulled in more than $10.7 million from individuals, businesses and other groups to Brown’s $9.5 million in direct donations — they highlight that Brown is virtually the only one getting indirect support from unions and other groups.

The spin on this story is truly outrageous. It’s a prime example of why this paper needs to die.

34 Responses to “L.A. Times Headlines Perpetrate Outrageous Distortion of Campaign Finance Figures in California Gubernatorial Election”

  1. Media bias? … you cannot be serious!

    bill g;ass (949521)

  2. Objectivity can sometimes get lost when you work in a fun, non-linear creative environment.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  3. I’ll let Orwell explain it:

    I tell you Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes: only in the mind of the party, which is collective and immortal. Whatever the party holds to be truth, is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party.

    Kevin M (298030)

  4. That is beyond “spin”, which is usually presented as “glass half full” optimism od what on its face looks bad.

    What the LA Slimes did was lie to their readership on behalf of the Democrat party about special interest funding of the two candidates.

    SGT Ted (36d79c)

  5. So the LA Times lies, distorts the truth, refuses to correct errors and totes water for the Democrats. What else is new? All of which makes the ongoing demise of the paper so much more delicious.

    BarSinister (a148e1)

  6. There was a Frank Luntz focus group on Hannity last night. The reaction to the Allred illegal maid story was interesting. The divide in California about illegal immigration seems to overwhelm other issues in spite of the tea parties. Then there is the news about poverty increasing in the country. Nobody seems to be making the connection that we are importing poverty just as fast as those people can cross the Arizona desert.

    Why do they cross in Arizona, by the way ? Because there is a fence in California. The trip is just a little longer for them until that fence gets extended. The Allred caper might be enough to elect Brown.

    Mike K (568408)

  7. Which would are one to being expected of from the liberral medias? They are being in ther last throws and they will going to fite ther poisoneous war until to the ends. Time at for us to disappears!

    The Anonymous Tea-Partier (0692b1)

  8. Corection: Time at for them to disappears!

    The Anonymous Tea-Partier (0692b1)

  9. Give it up Jake; It’s Chinatown!

    AD-RtR/OS! (fe9f09)

  10. Every dollar spent by the L.A. Times in its publications is money spent for the campaign of Jerry Brown.

    Michael Ejercito (249c90)

  11. The Allred caper might be enough to elect Brown.

    Only because the fifth columnist media is willing to hide the truth and even lie.

    Michael Ejercito (249c90)

  12. Norwegians would know how to deal with Fifth-Columnists (even those in the Fourth-Estate)!

    AD-RtR/OS! (fe9f09)

  13. As SGT Ted says, this is way beyond spin and this excellent post makes it clear. Sadly, though, it appears that too many Californians don’t see it for what it really is.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  14. They don’t know how to read… it looks to me like someone just looked at the numbers and did not understand the whole “for” vs. “oppose” nuance.

    So the writer might be disingenuous; or stupid… or both even

    SteveG (cc5dc9)

  15. Well, unfortunately KFI 640AM (for those of you out outside of Southern California, it’s the largest talk radio station in the region) has picked up on this meme and is announcing it at every news break. When they do the brief version they make it sound as bad as the LA Times does; when they do the longer version they do acknowledge that Brown is benefiting greatly from independent expenditures from unions and left-wing advocacy groups.

    JVW (eccfd6)

  16. Yes, I heard that at the 1100 newbreak. At least they mentioned that none of the contributions comes even close to what Whitman is spending from her own purse.

    AD-RtR/OS! (fe9f09)

  17. The chart was poorly constructed, on purpose? to lead to a misrepresented result

    ian cormac (6709ab)

  18. The AP gives this hard-to-believe number:

    Campaign finance reports filed Tuesday show Whitman has raised $29.5 million from outside sources, about $4.7 million from out-of-state donors, since she entered the race last year.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (a18ddc)

  19. So now the tenor of the KFI report has slightly changed. The latest news update gave a lot more play to the idea that Brown has been the recipient of help from outside groups to a much greater extent than Whitman has. Interesting how they are backtracking somewhat.

    And as to the chart, notice how that awful nurses’ union spends $180k on anti-Whitman ads during the primary, then quickly sets up a second organization with a different name and spends $400k (to date) on more anti-Whitman ads, probably in the hopes that no one notices how much money from the “poor underpaid nurses” they are throwing away on Democrats. This doesn’t even begin to account for their share of the “California Working Families” bill. I like nurses — I’ve seen all those 70s movies about them — but the nurses’ union is one of the most militant and partisan unions out there. I wouldn’t give them the time of day if I were an elected official.

    JVW (eccfd6)

  20. Nice work, Patterico.

    Beldar (fa3a16)

  21. So it’s nice to know that ACORN’s political arm, the Working Families party had nothing to do with the whitewashed report, that Angeleno was going on about

    ian cormac (6709ab)

  22. Anymore, if you assume the opposite of the LA Times headlines, you will get an accurate representation of reality.

    JD (a61253)

  23. The nurses union is worse than the teachers union. I know of at least one patient, and I’m sure there are many more, who died because of union rules imposed by the union and unbendable even in the operating room.

    Mike K (568408)

  24. To me, the most exasperating thing about the LA Times story is the absence of any link to the campaign finance report. Or did I just miss it?

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (a18ddc)

  25. I like nurses — I’ve seen all those 70s movies about them
    Comment by JVW — 10/6/2010 @ 2:08 pm

    Which ones were those JVW?
    Candy Stripers?
    Naughty Nurses?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    AD-RtR/OS! (fe9f09)

  26. Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. — 10/6/2010 @ 3:44 pm

    They wouldn’t put that in there; it might encourage people to actually look up the data and find out how much smoke is being blown up their backsides.

    AD-RtR/OS! (fe9f09)

  27. Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. — 10/6/2010 @ 3:44 pm

    They wouldn’t put that in there; it might encourage people to actually look up the data and find out how much smoke is being blown up their backsides.

    Indeed.

    What do the lower “clinging” classes need with the actual data? They should be quite content with what the self-anointed elites of The Party tell them.

    [sarc off]

    ConservativeWanderer (b8d454)

  28. I think the left needs to put out some more environmental snuff videos to support their candidates. I’m not sure enough people saw that 10:10 No Pressure thing before it got pulled to have an impact.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  29. En la contabilidad hay ganacia

    Sycophantshateme (4f78d0)

  30. And those totals don’t even count all the non-monetary donations Brown is receiving. For example, the L.A. Times article in question.

    malclave (1db6c5)

  31. And those totals don’t even count all the non-monetary donations Brown is receiving. For example, the L.A. Times article in question.

    Every dollar spent by the L.A. Times is a dollar spent for the Brown campaign.

    Michael Ejercito (249c90)

  32. Click here for some unintentional humor, about the LAT’s superior accuracy over those biased blogs.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (a18ddc)

  33. The spin on this story is truly outrageous. It’s a prime example of why this paper needs to die.

    If a growing percentage of Los Angeles/southern California becomes as sloppily liberal, dysfunctional, stagnant, low-income and semi-literate as large portions of Mexico are, I think your wish will be granted.

    Actually, I envision the LA Times eventually becoming similar to the LA Weekly or some other rather obscure, semi-non-profit type of alternative publication.

    Mark (3e3a7c)

  34. Mark, you mean supported by medical marijuana ads and prostitute classifieds?

    SPQR (26be8b)


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