Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Opposition Research

One of the most tedious aspects of the MSM isn't that there is an inherent bias in favor of the Democratic Party, it's that certain stories have a built-in narrative template that reporters follow with the same dull routine as a bored secretary cutting and pasting client letters. A case in point: how do you suppose a political campaign is reported when the candidate is a wealthy Republican?:Whitman Pumps $20 Million More Into Campaign

Billionaire Republican Meg Whitman's decision to toss another $20 million of her own money into her campaign to become California's next governor has set off a tsunami of mud-slinging attack ads - and a pricey new chapter in a record-breaking race to the top.


Whitman's announcement Tuesday that she has bulked up her gubernatorial campaign coffers - putting her total personal investment at $59 million - came as her Republican rival, state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, unveiled new radio ads.

Whitman's latest donation to her campaign drew heated charges from supporters of Brown and Poizner, who say she is trying to "buy the election," and it set off a wave of ads and countercharges among the three campaigns.
That's right, she's "buying the election." How original! Is there going to be sales tax applied on that? Maybe if enough California tech billionaires run for office, we can close the budget gap by applying an extra .05% sales tax on their "purchases."

Lame stories like this are the reason why it's often pointless to rely on the MSM for campaign news. All there is here is a bunch of whining about fund raising and campaign ads. There's nothing about Whitman's positions, which are detailed on her campaign website, if any newshounds are interested. No, it's just a bunch of faux-populist tub-thumping (from the same newspaper that supports billionaire Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Dianne Feinstein) about "the rich." Spare me.

Whitman has spent a considerable percentage of her wealth on this effort, which should at least underscore that she is serious about this race. She hasn't had to raise money from deep-pockets donors, or shady fund-raisers. That should be a good thing. If left-liberals want to complain about someone trying to "buy" an election, it would be nice if they could at least acknowledge the high barriers of entry that candidates face due to the campaign finance laws that they love so much. But they won't because it's so easy to use the media to drum up a fake controversy over a self-financed campaign.

I don't know what has motivated Whitman to run for office. She may elide this fact, but it's clear that she was not politically active prior to 2008. She says she wants to lead a reform of California government, which is certainly a worthy and much-needed goal. Certainly, the loudmouth "public servants" who have been running California into the ground for the last decade or so (AKA "Jerry Brown's base") have no right to complain when a previously disengaged private citizen decides she could do a better job. And so far, the electorate seems willing to give her a chance to make her case.

Whitman is a political novice in a hurry, yet she's already put forward a reform plan, developed a sophisticated media presence, sewn up the GOP nomination (it's hers to lose), and is already grappling with Democrats. But all you can learn from the self-proclaimed Voice of the West is that she is a billionaire "pumping" her own funds into her campaign in order to "buy" an election. It's a template that does little more than provide Democrats with free opposition research and raw material for attack ads. But, it's not reporting.

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