It was heralded as a major part of the “new politics” surrounded Barack Obama. It was lauded as being the end of special interest politics dominated by special interest money. It was the primary reason Obama cited to justify his breaking of his promise to accept public financing.
And now the media finally tells us that the whole thing was a gigantic industrial-sized crock of crap.
Way to go, mainstream media. Thanks for doing such a great job reporting Obama’s propaganda for the last two years, only to now get around to “correcting the record” after it no longer matters.
As USA Today reports:
Report says Obama’s small-donor base claim is off
By Ken Dilanian, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — Despite attracting millions of new contributors to his campaign, President-elect Barack Obama received about the same percentage of his total political funds from small donors as President Bush did in 2004, according to a study released today by the non-partisan Campaign Finance Institute.
The analysis undercuts Obama’s claim that his supporters “changed the way campaigns are funded” by reducing the influence of special-interest givers.
“The myth is that money from small donors dominated Barack Obama’s finances,”
said Michael Malbin, the institute’s executive director. “The reality of Obama’s fundraising was impressive, but the reality does not match the myth.”
About $156 million, or a quarter of Obama’s record-shattering campaign account, came from donors of $200 or less, according to the institute’s analysis of federal election reports through Oct. 15. That compares with $205 million, or about a third, from those who gave between $2,300 and $4,600, the maximum allowed by law.
Forty-eight percent of Obama’s total take came from donors of $1,000 or more, compared with 56% for John Kerry and 60% for both Bush and John McCain, the analysis found.
The small-donor percentage is lower than figures previously reported in news stories because the institute’s analysis accounted for people who gave several small donations over the course of the election that added up to a larger sum, Malbin said.
Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said in an e-mail that the campaign had more than 3.95 million donors, and “91% of our contributions were in amounts of $100 or less. … There’s no doubt that small-dollar contributors played a critical and unprecedented role” in Obama’s victory.
The study said Obama brought in a total $638 million, the most ever raised in a political campaign, compared with $206 million by McCain, who accepted $84.1 million in taxpayer financing for the general election. Obama reported 580,000 donors who gave more than $200.
Donors giving $200 or less need not be disclosed, but the difference between the number of donors provided by the Obama campaign and the number reported in federal election records shows there were about 3.4 million of them.
McCain reported 170,000 donors of $200 or more.
Obama opted out of public financing, raising private money through November and significantly outspending McCain in battleground states.
When Obama announced in June that he would forgo public financing, he told supporters in a video message that “instead of forcing us to rely on millions from Washington lobbyists and special-interest PACs, you’ve fueled this campaign with donations of $5, $10, $20, whatever you can afford. … You’ve already changed the way campaigns are funded, because you know that’s the only way we can truly change how Washington works.”
Meredith McGehee, a campaign-finance reform advocate at the non-partisan Campaign Legal Center, said Obama cannot claim “this election somehow created an alternative system for public finance. … The data doesn’t show that.”
Obama did not accept contributions from political action committees or registered federal lobbyists, but many of his top fundraisers have keen economic interests in federal policies.
Contributing: Fredreka Schouten
I like the US News & World Report title better: “Barack Obama’s Fundraising and the Small-Donor Myth.”
This is why I am so routinely furious at the media. It is simply blatant. They could have done the story themselves when Barack Obama was so pompously and self-righteously breaking his word because his fundraising actually resulted in MORE openness and LESS big money (in other words, when he lied) over his reasons not to keep his promise and accept public financing.
But it simply wasn’t in their ideology to report the truth about Obama’s all-time record fund raising. It was a GOOD thing that he lied; it was a GOOD thing that as a result of his oath-breaking, he was able to raise more than three times as much money as John McCain.
In breaking his word, Obama demonized his opponent who was keeping his. But the media bought his reasoning hook line and sinker without bothering to see if his money were really coming from all those poor huddling masses who had previously been shut out of campaign contributions because of all those fat cats. And now we find out it was a lie, and that Obama had as many fat cats as anyone else (actually FAR, FAR, MORE, given that he raised $640 MILLION dollars).
But now, after the election, the mainstream media will prove how “objective” it is by finally reporting on news that should have been reported six months ago.
Given that Obama in all likelihood won this election due to his 3-1 fund raising advantage, it would have been only FAIR to investigate his fund raising. The McCain campaign vigorously attempted to prevent fraud, while Obama cared only about maximizing his contributions by any means available. The result was ALL SORTS of documented fraud that proved Obama’s fundraising was a disgrace to fairness, or public access, or accountability, or anything else.
This is the same type of thing that we got from the media all along. How Obama Got Elected.com was one of many daggers in any pretense of media objectivity, demonstrating that the media kept voters ignorant of negative information about Obama-Biden, but just relentlessly pounded home every negative bit of information (whether true or not) about McCain-Palin.
The media has been so blatantly biased throughout its election coverage that it is completely accurate to say that we are now in a propaganda state. There is no possible way that Republicans can win in this media climate: whether you look at the Media Research Center, or at the Project for Excellence in Journalism (or again at their brand new study), or at the University of Wisconsin’s Wisconsin Advertising Project, there is widespread agreement with one longtime ABC journalist that the media is dangerously biased. Pew Research discovered that Americans believe by a 70% to 9% margin that the media is biased in favor of Obama and against McCain. The media now represents a fifth column of government – a propaganda wing – that attacks conservatives and celebrates and defends Democrats and their ideology.
Democracy is going extinct in the country that founded democracy, because no free society can survive such a climate of propaganda.