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Friday, January 20, 2006
NewsBusters Misleads on Abramoff Contributions
Topic: NewsBusters
A Jan. 20 NewsBusters post by Vinny Fiore misled readers on the accuracy of a claim made by Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell.

Fiore claimed that Howell wrote "the truth" when she stated in a Jan. 15 column that disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff "had made substantial campaign contributions to both major parties" and that Democrats "have gotten Abramoff campaign money." In fact, that is a broad, misleading statement that ignores the fact that money donated under Abramoff's name went only to Republicans.

While Fiore stated that Howell's "most recent response to her liberal critics ... basically us[ed] the facts," Fiore ignored those facts when he stated:

So when the Washington Post, a well-respected liberal organ writes of Democratic corruption in Congress--and with Jack Abramoff to boot--it is the equivalent of shining daylight on the vampiric left, who cannot brings themselves to admit that they, too, are as guilty as any Republican in what will turn into the next "something-gate" in Washington.

Fiore's claim that Democrats "are as guilty as any Republican" in the Abramoff scandal is contradicted by the facts as noted by Howell:

While Abramoff, a Republican, gave personal contributions only to Republicans, he directed his Indian tribal clients to make millions of dollars in campaign contributions to members of Congress from both parties.

Records from the Federal Elections Commission and the Center for Public Integrity show that Abramoff’s Indian clients contributed between 1999 and 2004 to 195 Republicans and 88 Democrats.

Yes, despite the fact that twice as many Republicans as Democrats received money from "Abramoff's Indian clients," coupled with the fact that Abramoff "gave personal contributions only to Republicans," Fiore still believes that Democrats "are as guilty as any Republican." Go figure.

And we thought the MRC cared about accuracy in its media criticism.

UPDATE: Full disclosure: My employer, Media Matters, has been critical of Howell on this issue.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:36 PM EST
Updated: Friday, January 20, 2006 12:53 PM EST

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