Wednesday, January 04, 2006


MMfA: Media confuse political contributions with illegal influence peddling in Abramoff case

Media Matters for America today reported that various media outlets have confused two categories of conduct, one legal and the other illegal, in casting the Abramoff scandal as bipartisan. The baseless suggestion that Jack Abramoff  arrives at the federal justice building in Miami  where he is expected to plead quilty to criminal charges stemming from the 2000 purchase of SunCruz Casinos Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2006. Abramoff plead guilty in federal court Washington Tuesday to mail fraud, conspiracy and tax evasion charges.  (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)any lawmaker who received contributions from Jack Abramoff, right, or his clients -- conduct that is, in and of itself, legal and ethical -- might be implicated in an investigation that is, in fact, focused on possible illegal conduct -- including the receipt of contributions in exchange for something -- allows the media to then characterize the scandal as bipartisan, since both Democrats and Republicans did in fact receive money from Abramoff's clients.

As The Christian Science Monitor reported on today, "not everyone who ever took Abramoff-related money or perks is guilty of wrongdoing."

Several in the media have blurred this distinction. A January 4 CNN.com report suggested that Democrats as well as Republicans will be hurt by the scandal because members of both parties received Abramoff money. According to the report: "Even though Abramoff's political donations were not exclusive to Republicans, Democrats contend that he is a GOP lobbyist and this scandal will hurt Republicans in the midterm elections." And on the January 3 broadcast of NPR's Morning Edition, national political correspondent Mara Liasson said that "more Republicans took money from Jack Abramoff than Democrats. That's almost logical, because they are in the majority." Aside from the fact that Liasson's suggestion that Democrats took money from Abramoff at all appears to be false -- a search of the Center for Responsive Politics' database turned up no data showing any contributions from Abramoff himself to any Democrats -- "political donations" or who "took money from Jack Abramoff" per se are not the issue.

Source: Media Matters for America.

Submitted by Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas.

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