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Political Ads Masquerading as Facts

Bet you thought I was going to talk about Faux news some more. Instead, it’s really getting to be a problem that Politico keeps being presented as a viable news source, when it’s definitively another arm of the right wing news creating machine. When we see AEI (American Enterprise Institute) in the background, we know that there will be a slant to the presentation. It’s time to recognize the tilt at Politico when its representatives masquerade as journalists.

It should be obvious enough from their reporting, lately a constant dirge for the dead health care reforms, earlier, among others, the message of the November elections being that the Democratic party is dead meat. For me, it was a final straw that my main news report – BBC – totally relied on Politico for reporting the elections in 2009, and thus had not a single word on the dramatic results in New York’s 93rd District.

You have to hand it to Politico’s agent, the staff gets featured regularly on news shows as if their credentials were valid. Their hired hands wear suits and broadcast trained voice certainties, and almost make it into Villager boxes. The presentation of indomitable right wing readings, however, is not the stuff of actual journalism.

Glenn Greenwald alerted on Politico early on, and did a very good background piece of research that appeared in May of 2007.

So the President and CEO of The Politico worked in multiple positions in the Reagan White House, and was continuously promoted until he rose to the level of Assistant to the President. And his close connection to the Reagan family and the Reagan presidency continues through today.

Are we supposed to treat this fact as irrelevant or something when assessing what The Politico is and what type of political coverage it churns out? There is nothing wrong per se with hard-core political operatives running a news organization. Long-time Republican strategist Roger Ailes oversees Fox News, of course. But it seems rather self-evident that a news organization run by someone with such clear-cut political biases ought to have a hard time holding itself out as some sort of politically unbiased source of news.

The Politico’s biggest boosters are Matt Drudge and George W. Bush, and it is run by a Reagan loyalist. At the very least, those facts are worth considering. Given that Editor-in-Chief John Harris has repeatedly vowed to be more "transparent" in how they conduct themselves, shouldn’t we have some understanding of the role played by Ryan, and what his connection is to "Allbritton Communications," whose "deep pockets" are (partially? fully?) financing The Politico?

(snip)

Like most billionaires with diverse business interests, Joe Allbritton had political relationships of all sorts. But the coterie around him — and those who created the Politico, including the Politico’s current CEO — are plainly firmly entrenched in the right-wing political movement, with overlapping business and other ties to the Bushes, all kinds of international financial interactions with the Saudis and various right-wing governments, and long-standing ties of many kinds to the Reagan circle.

We hear incessantly about how this group or that group is funded by George Soros, as though that fact, by itself, proves the group’s political affiliations. But those groups do not purport to be nonpartisan newspapers or sources of news. The Politico claims exactly that. Surely it is notable that those who created The Politico, who are funding it, and who are in charge of its operations, are long-time Republican operatives and those firmly implanted in right-wing circles. (Emphasis added.)

The appearance of Politico functionaries on talk shows is evidence not of the nature of their reporting but rather of their success in sales. The Politico has convinced the casting agents for such shows as Washington Journal that their employees are legitimate journalists. They are not.

I sent an email Friday morning to the Washington Journal (with address). The email passed on my absence from this morning’s report, because they are featuring a group with decided tilt to the news as if it were a news source. I suggested either balancing their Politico aligned representative with one from a fact reporting group, or divulging the Politico’s affiliations.

This will be my practice from now on when Politico agents are featured on news shows. I suggest it for you all.

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Ruth Calvo

Ruth Calvo

I've blogged at The Seminal for about two years, was at cabdrollery for around three. I live in N.TX., worked for Sen.Yarborough of TX after graduation from Wellesley, went on to receive award in playwriting, served on MD Arts Council after award, then managed a few campaigns in MD and served as assistant to a member of the MD House for several years, have worked in legal offices and written for magazines, now am retired but addicted to politics, and join gladly in promoting liberals and liberal policies.

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