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Monday, May 19, 2008
NewsBusters' Distorted Comparison of Presidential Investments
Topic: NewsBusters

A May 15 NewsBusters post by Terry Trippany has the stated purpose of "Applying the AP's McCain Standard to Barack Obama Shows Sudanese Connections to His Campaign." But that's not what Trippany did.

Here's Trippany's explanation:

AP writer Jim Kuhnhenn is applying a six degrees of separation style standard in trying to accuse John McCain of investing in the Sudan because his wife owned some mutual funds that had holdings in an Indian company that allegedly does business in the Sudan. The far left has picked up on this "AP newsbreak" as evidenced by its front page status at The Huffington Post.

So I decided to play the game myself by looking at the mainstream media's favorite target of obsessive adulation, Barack Obama. My my, would you look at that? When I applied the McCain standard to Barack Obama I quickly discovered that Obama's top contributors are being targeted by activists that are targeting financial companies to divest in the Sudan. Surprised?

But a supporter of a candidate is not the same as the candidate's spouse.

Trippany then distorts things further by directly equating donations by individual employees of a company or organization with the activities of that company:

According to Barack Obama received $544,000 from people associated with or employed by Goldman Sachs. Not good. In 1998 China was set to make its first public offering on the New York Stock exchange via a company called the China National Petroleum Company (CNPC). The deal quickly came under fire because China was financing arms sales to the Sudan and allegedly used Chinese prison laborers to build oil pipelines in the region.

Trippany then called Goldman Sachs "Barack Obama's number one contributor" even though it's individual Goldman Sachs employees who have donated to Obama's campaign. Not the same thing.

Trippany distorts things further by calling the University of California "Obama's number 2 contributor" without the disclaimer that the university itself did not donate -- we're pretty sure that would be illegal -- but individual employees did.

Indeed, the page from which Trippany cribbed this information has at the top of the page in big red letters, "The organizations themselves did not donate," adding,"rather the money came from the organization's PAC, its individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals' immediate families."

Trippany asserted that the AP's "standard is bogus,"but doesn't note an important piece of informatin from the AP article -- that Obama divested Sudan-related investments from his portfolio a year ago. 

Which explains why Trippany had to resort to the misleading comparison of Obama supporters vs. McCain's wife.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:22 AM EDT

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