In a world in which a small-town preacher threatening to burn the Koran and accusations that a candidate hired an illegal alien get reported by tens of thousands of media outlets for days on end, how extensive do you think the coverage would be of the shocking news that a major national lobbying group may be spending foreign money to influence U.S. elections?
It’s illegal for foreign countries, companies or organizations to spend money or in any other way influence our free elections. Americans on all points of the political spectrum are unanimous in wanting to keep foreigners out of our elections. So the real possibility that one of the highest-visibility lobbying groups was funneling foreign money to help candidates of one party should be pretty big news, something the news media wants to cover for days, searching for the latest Tony Hayward or Joe the Plumber.
And how many newspapers, magazines, TV and radio programs, blogs and websites covered it?
Would you believe fewer than 300 stories total on the topic, according to Google News!
The organization in question is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has been feeding Republican candidates cash and taking out attack ads against Democratic candidates all over the country. Much of the Chamber’s lucre, it turns out, comes from foreign companies headquartered in India, Bahrain, China, Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.
The Chamber claims that the money it collects from foreign companies is kept separate from the funds it has been contributing to right-wing candidates.
But is it true?
A public airing or investigation might prove that the Chamber has not used foreign money to influence our elections and so has broken no law. In other words, if the Chamber’s explanation proves true, it merely means that it is using the millions of dollars it receives from these foreign corporations, which by the way take jobs from U.S. workers, to spread the false gospel of global warming deniers and to fight all environmental and safety regulations.
A public airing, though, won’t come without public pressure, and public pressure won’t develop unless the news media tells us the news. And yet our news media for the most part has sat on this story because it is too busy doing everything possible to help Republicans win this year’s elections.