Popular opinion holds that mainstream media and Web content lean Democratic, and a cursory look at campaign donations by professionals lends weight to that opinion. Even without figures, it’s easy to compare story lines for the candidates. Sen. Barack Obama spends 20 years in a church led by a pastor who damns America from the pulpit and media accepts the senator’s explanation he didn’t hear words of hate during the whole time he attended the church. But former senator Phil Gramm mentions whining, and the media not only takes his comments out of context, they make it sound like he stomped on a puppy. Media overwhelmingly want sunshine in government, even on classified military situations. But media is not so accommodating when it comes to in-house sunshine.
I spent part of this morning using an interactive tool at The Orlando Sentinel. The tool allows you to look up campaign donations by profession, by name, by employer and by just about any other search term applicable. I admit this isn’t a scientific study, but I used identical search terms for each candidate.I posted the full chart showing my findings at The US Report, but I’m new at the Red State blog and I’m not quite sure how to incorporate a graphic (or even if I am permitted to) here. There are some comparisons worth noting, based on figures from the Federal Election Commission for donations during the first 3 quarters of 2007. The figures reflect donations from professionals who either work as employees or are self-employed in each field. Figures cited here are a snapshot of all the figures on the chart.
Writers love Obama. They gave him almost a million dollars—$932,885. McCain got some writerly love—he received $84,376 from this group.
Journalists are also fond of Obama, donating $63,460 to him. McCain got $2,800 from journalists. That’s the most troubling figure for me, because journalists shape the story narrative the public hears, sees or reads.
Editors, like journalists, also heart Obama. Editors gave the Illinois junior senator $147,871. To McCain editors donated $14,665.
Even marketing types prefer to send their bucks to Obama, with public relations professionals sending him $92,983. McCain received $35,105.
One of the most astonishing search results related to the Web. Google employees appear to be wild about Obama, donating $135,230 to his campaign. They donated $4,350 to McCain. Yahoo employees followed their Google brethren, bestowing $29,459 on Obama and $2,300 on McCain. Those of us who have a tendency to distrust may wonder why conservative sites sometimes take so long to locate.
Last year I spoke to a group of college students about writing. One young woman asked me about ethics. My exact words were, “Journalism has no ethics at present.”
When I decided to go public with my support for McCain, I deliberately stopped writing straight news for two clients. I posted a disclosure at my blog. Anyone presenting news as straight news should do the same so the reader understands exactly where a writer or journalist’s sentiments fall. Not a single professional organization is addressing this issue right now and I can make that statement because I belong to many, including those that require vetting.
Next time you see Obama get a pass for something like calling regular Americans bitter and projecting them as gun-toting religious nuts, or next time you see McCain taken to task over something as minute as an out-of-context, hyperbolic statement by an economic adviser, remember these figures, and I’ll throw a few more in from another source as well.
In October, 2007, the Committee of Concerned Journalists called attention to a study undertaken by The Project for Excellence in Journalism. The study compared campaign coverage of each candidate. At that time, results indicated of all stories related to Obama, 46.7 percent were positive and 15.8 percent were negative. Of all stories run on Sen. John McCain, 12.4 percent were positive and 47.9 percent were negative.
Media truly does heart Obama, not only with ink and pixels but with dollars as well.
*Originally posted the day of the switch to new site; a number of comments accompany the original post.*