Monday, November 08, 2010

NYT, SFC Omit Pundit
Bruce Cain's $2,800 Dem Donations

One of the most quoted political pundits is Bruce Cain, of UC Berkeley's Washington Center. He enjoys a media platform at several outlets as a supposed unbiased observer and commentator, but his political donations tell a different story. All of his donations that I can track online show he likes giving to Democrats.

Click here to read my 2005 post on Cain's $300 donation to John Kerry's campaign for president. Go here to read the FEC info on his $500 contribution to Act Blue last year, and his $1,000 donation to the failed effort of California Democrat Mark Desaulnier's effort to win a U.S. House seat.

At California state level, records show he gave $500 in 2009 to Democratic candidate Das Williams for an assembly seat, and $500 to Hannah Beth Jackson who wanted to become a state senator.

Cain's Democratic donations come to at least $2,800. I have not searched other states' or California county campaign donations' sites.

Both the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle like to quote him as an impartial pundit, and neither paper discloses his giving exclusively to Democrats. And they're not the only mainstream outlets that seek his opinion and fail to disclose his donations. Quite a few other news orgs do the same.

Ironically, today he has a long piece posted at the Cato Institute's site titled "Shade from the Glare: The Case for Semi-Disclosure." While he doesn't disclose any of his contributions, Cain does have something positive to say about one of his recipients:

Act Blue, for instance, make [sic] it possible for donors to report their required information online (e.g. address, occupation, date of contribution) and transfer funds at the same time.

As a news consumer, I'd like for any and all outlets that quote Cain to fully disclose his Democratic leanings and donations. The Times, the Chronicle and all media operations owe it to the audience to tell Cain has a bias toward the Democrats. And as his Cato piece today amply illustrates, he is not someone who willing discloses this crucial info.

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