Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Is the Post Being Spun?: The Washington Post is caught up in a nasty tussle with the progressive blogosphere over its repeated attempts to portray the Jack Abramoff story as a bipartisan scandal. In particular, the Post has reported that a number of Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) and Sen. Byron Dorgan (N.D.), have gotten Abramoff campaign money. In her column this week, Post ombudsman (the person supposedly responsible for policing erroneous reports) Deborah Howell repeated the claim that Abramoff "made substantial campaign contributions to both major parties."

That's either deliberately misleading or terminologically inexact to the point of being obtuse. Abramoff gave money exclusively to Republicans. If Howell is trying to say that Democrats received money from clients of the disgraced lobbyist, that's true. But if the implication is that Abramoff influenced donations to Democrats, it would be nice to see some evidence.

Right now, the facts suggest otherwise. The Saginaw Chippewas, for example, gave less money to Democrats after retaining Abramoff than they did before, while their donations to Republicans increased threefold. That makes it sounds as if they were giving to Democrats despite Abramoff rather than because of him, which makes it difficult to see how the Post can call those donations "Abramoff money."

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