From Milk Prices to SuperPACs

Friday, November 04, 2011

Transcript

The 2012 election is the first presidential race in the post-Citizens United era - and the first in which SuperPACs are expected to have a major impact. Peter Overby, Power, Money and Influence reporter for NPR, traces the history of campaign spending, from Watergate-era donations by milk companies through Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS.

Kid Loco - "The Viaduct"

Comments [2]

Patrick Begos from Connecticut

This story got me thinking about anonymity, and particularly journalists' love-hate relationship with it.

Many journalists will fight almost to the death to preserve their ability to report a story given to them by a source that they refuse to name. Many have gone to jail instead of revealing the source.

Sometimes the anonymity is highly important (like Deep Throat and Watergate). Other times, it is merely part of a quid pro quo between the reporter and source for continued access (think of all the "senior administration officials" who are quoted every day in the paper with their identities shielded)

The story on the SuperPacs seemed to evoke a sense of concern or outrage that entities than "journalists" are able to deliver a message with some measure of anonymity.

Is there really a difference between an anonymous donor funding an media blitz about politician X, and a reporter relying on an anonymous source to tell a sensational story about politician X? It can't be the case that only "journalists" (whatever that means today) are the sole arbiters of who is entitled to tell a story publicly while staying unnamed.

Nor can it be the case that an article by a journalist about a politician has some nobler status than an ad by a SuperPac about that same politician.

Surprisingly, I am generally opposed to the money in politics, and don't like the Citizen's United decision. I think there should be more accountability, not less. But I wonder whether a journalist really has the ability to decry the use of anonymity by SuperPacs without being, or at least appearing to be, two-faced?

Nov. 09 2011 02:00 PM
listener

So while the current administration is right now up to their knees in Solyndra, Fast and Furious, the Corzine scandal to name just a few while they are feverishly fundraising for a billion dollar Presidential campaign, we are given a selective history lesson about Nixon, "Swift Boating" and Rove?

What was that about unbiased public radio again?

Nov. 06 2011 08:46 AM

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