***UPDATE: Weigel responds to my story here and pretends there's nothing all that suspicious about the $100 million or so Obama reportedly received in 2008 from donors who contributed $200 or less.
Well, I happen to remember that there were genuine concerns that some of that money might have come from foreign countries. As expected, though, those media concerns never lasted long enough to become a narrative or to pressure Obama into disclosing who funded a large part of his campaign or to make him pay politically for refusing to disclose these donors -- something John McCain did.
Given a choice between American bundlers or foreign countries influencing a president, I know which I would prefer.
Weigel then goes on at length to talk about how big donors can influence campaigns. But again, his concern is selective. On the conference call Weigel was so quick to dismiss today, the Romney campaign dropped example after example of Obama donors who received billions in taxpayer money from the Obama Administration. But Weigel isn't interested in how those bundlers might have profited from fundraising for this president.
Nope, he's only interested in journOlisting compelling and troubling examples of how Obama might have paid off bundlers with taxpayer money into yet another attack on Romney that perfectly fits the Obama campaign's current narrative.
This is a fascinating and I hope insightful first-hand account of how the corrupt media Palace Guards for Obama.
Today the Romney campaign got itself on offense and went after Obama over the issue of how Obama's campaign contributors have benefitted from billions of our tax dollars. You would think our media would be interested in such a thing. After all, the media is obsessed over how Romney spends his own money and how Bain Capital invested its own money. But this is an even bigger story -- a story about how the Obama White House spends OUR money on its own donors.
Pretty compelling stuff, right?
And the Romney camp has its facts together, as well. Here's just a few of the items that came in a press release this morning:
“You Can Call It Crony Capitalism Or Venture Socialism — But By Whatever Name, The Energy Department’s Loan Guarantee Program Privatizes Profits And Socializes Losses.” (Editorial, “The Energy Department’s Loan Guarantee Program Is The Real Solyndra Scandal,” The Washington Post,11/17/11)
Top Obama Fundraisers Worked In His Department Of Energy “As It Showered Billions In Taxpayer-Backed Stimulus Money On Alternative Energy Firms.” “Several of Barack Obama’s top campaign supporters went from soliciting political contributions to working from within the Energy Department as it showered billions in taxpayer-backed stimulus money on alternative energy firms, iWatch News and ABC News have learned.” (Ronnie Green and Matthew Mosk, “Bundlers On The Inside,” iWatch, 9/29/11)
“Several Political Allies” Of President Obama Had “Ties To Companies Receiving Chunks” Of Taxpayer Money From The Stimulus. “A joint investigation by ABC News and the Center for Public Integrity that will air on World News with Diane Sawyer tonight has found that Westly is just one of several political allies of the president who have ties to companies receiving chunks of that money through loans, grants, or loan guarantees.” (Brian Ross and Matthew Mosk, “Did Obama Administration Play Favorites With Energy Loans?,” ABC News, 10/30/11)
There's a lot more here.
Let me reiterate. This isn't the usual-usual we see in politics where bigtime contributors become ambassadors to Algeriastan, or some such place. This is TAXPAYER dollars.
Hoping to push the story along, the Romney folks held a conference call this morning with Senior Romney campaign advisor Ed Gillespie and Andrea Saul, the campaign's national press secretary. Once again, the campaign made a compelling case (I was on the call) connecting Obama contributors to a windfall of tax dollars. Questions from media types were taken and then -- obviously channeling the Obama campaign -- NBC's Peter Alexander asked the following:
I know it's innate in this conversation -- the sense that a lot of the people that gave the Obama campaign money at over the course of the years have benefited by position, political appointees, as you say, and other monies. Will the Romney campaign in the days and weeks ahead release the name of its bundlers so Americans can get a sense of who those people are behind Governor Romney who have largely given him money and who could be influencers going forward.
What Alexander is doing here, and I knew this the moment he asked the question, was changing the subject entirely as a way to blunt and dismiss the evidence the Romney people had gathered about Obama cronies and contributors being paid off with our money.
Though the evidence against Obama would be compelling to any serious reporter interested in holding power accountable, in order to protect Obama from this criticism, Alexander turned the story into one about Romney disclosing who his bundlers are. Romney isn't required to disclose his bundlers, and the media makes an issue out of it because it fits Obama's narrative about Romney and money.
Now, if you'll bear with me, I will need to digress for just a moment here to provide a little context. Compare the media's outrage over Romney not naming his bundlers (who are probably worried about being bullied by Obama) and the media's reaction to Obama's stunning lack of disclosure in 2008…
By September of 2008, over half of the $430 million Obama raised came from small donors who came in under the legal disclosure limit. Obama refused to release those names and the media all but ignored McCain (who disclosed all donors large and small) when he criticized Obama over this. Oh, and don't forget this.
That's right, we still have no idea who donated a huge chunk of Obama's haul in 2008, and the media still doesn’t care. But bundlers they care about. Unless, of course, those are Obama bundlers who received billions of our tax dollars.
Okay, back to the point…
And then, to further Alexander's narrative and to flip a negative Obama story into yet another attack on Romney, Slate's Dave Weigel wrote this.
None of this should be surprising, though, to anyone who understands how the media works.
When the Romney campaign first introduced this line of criticism against Obama, I immediately thought two things:
1. This is effective as hell. Which begs the question….
2. How will the media protect Obama and ensure this information doesn’t become a story?
So what you had happen was NBC jumping into the conference call in order to push the narrative back to exactly where Obama wants it: Romney's oh-so scary and secretive money. And then, because these left-wing media types all guard Obama's palace together, you have Slate following up by writing a story about how this whole line of criticism against Obama just blew up in the Romney camp's face.
See how this works? Not only does this allow the media to ignore Obama enriching his donors with our money, but it's a two-fer: Romney's criticism of Obama has just been journOlisted into yet another attack on Romney.
Corrupt as hell, but genius.
So what have we learned? That keeping up the current Obama line of attack on Romney is more important to our journalist-class than the fact that Obama's contributors are raking in billions of our dollars.
On a personal note, I must say that being on the call and witnessing these media-types do their dirty work in real time was pretty fascinating. They never fail to live up the low standards they set for themselves.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC