I had a nice relaxing Fourth of July weekend celebrating my freedom… the freedom from reading the Seattle Times. But now that the holiday is over I’m back to my usual grind, and oy is it particularly grinding today.
Take for example the front page, above-the-fold article on Sen. Patty Murray’s fundraising: “Lobbyists are Sen. Murray’s biggest donors.” Uh-huh. And your point is…?
The headline makes it sound nefarious, but the article, not so much. For example, we learn that back when she was first elected, Murray didn’t attract much money from lobbyists, but now that she’s a three-term incumbent, a top member of the Senate leadership, “one of only four people to sit on both the Senate budget and appropriations committees,” and a chair of two powerful Appropriations subcommittees, the tables have turned.
Well… duh-uh. It’d be professional malpractice for lobbyists not to give to Murray. Dog bites man, and all that.
And then there’s the Times expose of Murray’s big corporate donors, which includes following inexcusable muddle:
Microsoft is Murray’s top donor by contributor; its executives, employees and its PAC have given $131,000 since 2005 to Murray’s campaign and to M-PAC. The company just edged out the No. 2 contributor, ActBlue, a political-action committee that bundles individual donations to Democratic candidates.
Let’s be perfectly clear: ActBlue is no more a contributor to Murray than VISA or MasterCard, and to suggest otherwise is downright misleading. ActBlue is nothing more than tool — an “online clearinghouse for Democratic action” as its motto explains — used by campaigns, bloggers, activists and individuals to facilitate contributions, and you’d think Times reporter Kyung M. Song might want to explain that before implying otherwise.
As for Murray’s top contributors who really are top contributors, it’s kinda amazing that a newspaper so prone to licking the feet of Washington state corporate giants like Microsoft, Boeing and Weyerhaeuser would attempt to make an issue out of Murray receiving donations from Washington state corporate giants like Microsoft, Boeing and Weyerhaeuser, especially while illustrating Murray’s reputation for fierce independence.
One donor was Tim Keating, Boeing’s senior vice president of government operations. Keating donated $2,400 to Murray in April 2009, shortly after the company privately briefed her that it likely would locate a second assembly line for the 787 Dreamliner in Charleston, S.C., instead of in Everett.
Two months later, Keating gave Murray another $2,400. In October, Boeing announced Charleston as its pick. A furious Murray threatened to withhold her support for any Boeing projects beyond Washington’s borders.
Yup, that certainly sounds like Murray is in Boeing’s pockets. Not.
Of course the big checks are gonna stand out, but Murray has received over 65,000 individual contributions so far this cycle, 85 percent of them from within Washington state, in an average amount of only $39.00. To put that in perspective, Murray will likely have more individual contributors this cycle than the allegedly grassrooty Clint Didier will receive votes.
Still, as long as the Times is focusing on this kinda stuff I’m assuming they’ll take an equally hard look at where Rossi has raised his money over the years, and where he’s raising it from now. You know, like the millions of dollars the BIAW has spent trying to elect him to the governor’s mansion, and whether Rossi’s refusal to state a position on Wall Street reform has anything to do with his recent fundraiser with hedge fund manager Paul Singer?
I mean if the the Times is as fair and balanced and objective as they claim to be, we’ll be seeing all that above the fold too, right?