Wednesday, March 10, 2004


Here is a great example how journalism obscures the role of political interest groups in politics: by burying them in he-said-she-said "process" stories that detaches the political money from the issues and interests in question.

The newsworthiness of this article is that **NEWS FLASH** both sides are spending money in the 2004 presidential race. Democrats are spending more than they used to, and getting more sophisticated. That is to say, dems may be catching up by creating political organization outside the structure of the DNC party as a way to anchor it to core democratic issues.

What is Left money buying?:

1. TV ads:"Politically, we are trying to really highlight, underscore and push into sharp focus the policies of the Republicans. That may have a certain effect on the Bush or the Kerry campaign, but we are not involved in electing or defeating people. We are raising issues."

2. Grassroots organization: The group is recruiting an army of people like Sean McDonald, a 31-year-old who left his job installing carpet to make $8 an hour as a door knocker in Massillon, Ohio, near his hometown, Canton. The goal is simple: Find out what issues are on the minds of potential voters...At some houses, he thrusts a palm computer in the door to show a 16-second video clip of a steelworker talking about losing his job.

How the Right does it and the missing interest:
Even with all this new spending from the Left in 2004, it still won't add up to a hill of beans in comparison to what Right groups spend on politics all the time, election year or not. I would be willing to wager that the money spent by business on passing NAFTA (on the order of $30 million, not counting the Mexican government's Washington lobbying campaign) and China PNTR (i have no hard figures on this) alone still blows Left spending on presidential spending out of the water.

Rest assured the Right is not sitting idley by:

[A] conservative group, Club for Growth, is expected to run advertisements against Mr. Kerry soon.

First off, calling the Club for Growth a "conservative group" really betrays the precision of focus in what CFG's 9,000 members, dominated by Wall Street financiers and executives intended as the organization's purpose and agenda: "Our members help elect candidates who support the Reagan vision of limited government and lower taxes."

[P.S. CFG's director is Stephen Moore, formerly of the Cato Institute, and mass media mogul at Time, Wall Street Journal, National Review, Fox News, etc.]

**UPDATE: And of course, Bush fundraising and affiliated spending does not capture the campaign costs that Bush is able to pawn off on the American taxpayer--flying all over the country in Air Force One to do political events, and then staying over for a million dollar fundraiser almost every single day; spending $22 million on a propagandistic Medicare media campaign, akin to electioneering on Bush's Medicare law.


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