Saturday, April 19, 2008

Is this guy for real?

Perhaps Steve Walsh, the Missourinet blogger, is just trying to make a quick splash in the blogosphere.
In the April 2 Turner Report, I wrote about Walsh's attack on bloggers who are not associated with traditional media outlets. That was after he wrote, "Readers must be aware that while the MSM bloggers represent their media outlets and, therefore, must be truthful and accurate ... the vast majority of the political bloggers are unaccountable ... and sometimes fall short of telling 'the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.' "

I was amazed at the arrogance of the statement and he has continued to live up to that not-so-promising beginning in his later posts. Apparently, Walsh's idea of "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth," leaves out quite a few things that his Missourinet readers have every right to know.

In a post on Wednesday, Walsh wrote the following about those who search through campaign disclosure reports to unearth information about those who represent us or who are trying to represent us:

We're already seeing it from the right and the left. Republicans or their surrogates have found a Democrat who took money from a lobbyist or group of lobbyists that work, or once worked, on behalf of a cause that some might consider controversial ... and Democrats or their surrogates have discovered that one GOP candidate or another took a contribution from a lobbyist who represented this client or that business.

To be fair, these searches occasionally find the needle in the haystack. They'll dig deep into an opponent's list of contributors to learn that money came from someone who is known to have committed or is believed to have committed illegal acts. Unfortunately, muckraking ain't what it used to be.

It seems the best we can expect nowadays is to learn that a candidate who took in tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions received a small fraction of that total from a person who is seen as a good target for opponents of the candidate! Not that the contributor did anything illegal ... but a target's a target.

Walsh continued his attack in the next paragraph, ridiculing those who believe, with considerable evidence, that these reports do matter.

Walsh has bought into the argument that a politician's votes and his fundraising are two separate things. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Special interests are not contributing thousands of dollars to people who are not going to vote their way. They are making an investment. And even if a politician is simply receiving money because his beliefs are nearly identical to those of a well-heeled contributor, it is still important for readers and viewers to know that so they can make informed decisions at the ballot box.

When news outlets fail to report on campaign contributions simply because they are legal, or when they reduce their reporting to which candidate has the most money in his account, they are shortchanging the public.

Sadly, Steve Walsh is not alone in his attitude that stories detailing exactly where a candidate's contributions come from are not news. Fortunately, there are some who are willing to dig through campaign finance records and help keep the public informed.


Jason said...

I think sometimes when some MSM reporters are upset when someone on the blogosphere beats them to the punch on a story (although I think Missourinet is more minor league than MSM.)

I think Walsh should concern himself more with his reporting and the stories he misses.

Anonymous said...

Wow - the truth hurts doesn't it. Walsh really nailed it on the truth bit, the whole truth and nothing but the truth will never be found on this blog site.

Anonymous said...

That is absolutely correct. Turner always feels the need to lash out when someone accurately describes his brand of "reporting". I am sure that stings Turner but the majority of people feel that way about your methodology.