Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Bruce Cain: 'I Am Not a Pundit';
KGO/ABC Claims He Discloses

The issue here is not that pundit Bruce Cain, the widely quoted and supposed impartial political observer, has donated at least $2,800 in recent years at the state and federal levels to Democrats. Rather, it is that disclosure about the donations is sorely lacking when he's quoted, as he very frequently is, by the NY Times, the SF Chronicle and other outlets.

Cain responded yesterday to my blog post, and here is the entire response:
except i am not a pundit...and i do not discuss any race i have contributed to. check the media clips. i am a professor...i dont make a living giving my opinions. and i do no more or less than you do re disclosure. you might check out my views on disclosure in the most recent issue of cato unbound, which you should note is a conservative/libertarian journal. then try to figure out my prejudices. all the best with your stereotypes
First of all, this is how Webster's defines pundit:
1. a learned person, expert, or authority.
2. a person who makes comments or judgments, esp. in an authoritativemanner; critic or commentator.
If that doesn't apply to Cain, then he's a big fool. Second, I did check out his piece for the Cato Institute yesterday, on potential changes in disclosure regulations related to elections. I also mentioned he didn't disclose his contributions in the piece.

Third, regardless of the political bent of the site where he posted that piece, the issue is still Cain's lack of transparency. He comes across as very defensive about this matter, and I think it behooves him and his University of California bosses to simply post all of his political donations on Cain's bio page.

Fourth point. He claims he doesn't opine on any race he's given to, but how are readers or viewers supposed to know which races he's contributed, and not discussing, if he and the outlet presenting him as an expert, don't engage in transparency about the giving? 

Also yesterday, I heard from Mark Matthews, the top political reporter at KGO-TV here in San Francisco, about this matter. This outlet is an affiliate of ABC and is the current local broadcast home for Cain's punditry:
As our political analyst Bruce Cain has always disclosed his political contributions. 
I followed up on that claim, and searched the KGO site for proof that the disclosure was on their site, and found nothing relevant. Since Matthews' terse note wasn't clear about who Cain had made the disclosures to, along with where and when he did so, and if he was transparent with viewers or visitors to the station's site, I asked Miller for further info.

Sorry to say Matthews' hasn't responded, but I hold out hope that he, KOG, along with Cain, not to mention the NY Times, the SF Chronicle and every other media operation that quotes Cain, will give transparency to his donations.

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