Today's column, Getting the Story on Jack Abramoff
, starts off as yet another breathless, sloppy wet kiss for the Post
's Steno Sue Schmidt:
Susan Schmidt, a Post veteran of 23 years, has been the lead reporter since the story began to unfold in the fall of 2003; she was later joined by R. Jeffrey Smith and James V. Grimaldi. Their work has been supervised by editors on the national and investigative desks.
Schmidt is known at The Post for a remarkable ability to dig and develop broad and deep sources from all sides of a story.
Schmidt, of course, is mostly known in the reality-based community for her remarkable ability to dig Republican spin and spew it into the pages of her once-proud paper while simultaneously ignoring evidence presented from all other sides of the story.
I almost turned away from this heart-fluttering little puff-piece (Our reporters are so great! That's why being ombudsman for the Post is such a faaaaabulous job!) before I came across this:
In the fall of 2003, a lobbyist called to tip Schmidt that Abramoff was raking in millions of dollars from Indian tribes to lobby on gambling casinos. Schmidt started checking Federal Election Commission records for Abramoff's campaign contributions. Lobbyists also file forms with Congress that give information on clients and fees.
Schmidt quickly found that Abramoff was getting 10 to 20 times as much from Indian tribes as they had paid other lobbyists. And he had made substantial campaign contributions to both major parties.
There, in black-and-white in the pages of the Post, is the lie the Republicans have been working feverishly to push out into the public discourse: that Jack Abramoff, he of the decades-long Republican pedigree and tireless efforts to promote the GOP while simultaneously shutting out the Democrats, isn't the public face of a Republican scandal, because he gave to both parties.
Except, of course, that he didn't. But why should the middle-aged matrons of the Post let trivial things like the truth interfere with their obedient recitation of their lords and masters' talking points?
How does such crap wind up being printed in the Post? Well there are a number of possible factors:
- Howell has no idea what the facts are
- Howell doesn't care what the facts are
- Howell has been successfully cowed by a GOP intimidation campaign
- All of the above
Evidence for the third option is contained in her column, and it suggests that we in the netroots need to take a more active role in pushing back on this issue:
The second complaint is from Republicans, who say The Post purposely hasn't nailed any Democrats. Several stories, including one on June 3 by Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, a Post business reporter, have mentioned that a number of Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) and Sen. Byron Dorgan (N.D.), have gotten Abramoff campaign money.
So far, Schmidt and Grimaldi say their reporting on the investigations hasn't put Democrats in the first tier of people being investigated.
But stay tuned. This story is nowhere near over.
The Republicans are aggressively working the refs to get their dishonest version of events out into the public sphere. Are we working as hard to get the truth out? I urge everyone to contact Howell at the Post via e-mail to set the record straight, but more importantly, keep an eye out in your local media for this lie and be prepared to push back, hard, in letters to the editor and whatever other means are available to counter the GOP lies.
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