Sunday, April 01, 2012

NYT's Collins Can't Recall
if She Gave to Brady Center

New York Times opinion writer Gail Collins, pictured, on March 21 penned a great column, Pity the Poor Gun Lobby, deploring the insanity expanding the rights to carry arms and use them brought about through the corrupting influence of the National Rifle Association. She wrote:

This year, in search of new worlds to conquer — or at least to arm — a couple of states are giving serious attention to bills that would allow gun owners to carry their concealed weapons in places like day-care centers and school buses.

People, do you think there is a loud public outcry for more guns on school buses? I truly believe that this is all the product of a desperate N.R.A., trying to show its base that there are still lots of new battles to be won.

“I subscribe 100 percent to that theory,” said Brian Malte of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a group that is never going to suffer from a problem of not having anything left to work on. 

Allow me to disclose that I am a supporter of, but not a donor to, the Brady Center and their affiliated Brady Campaigns and was in full agreement with Collins' satirical slaps against the powerful NRA. Regardless of sharing her views on guns and controlling them, my curiosity led me to search Federal Election Commission for any contributions she may have made to the Brady Center.

Two donations from 1992 and 1993 from a Gail Collins totaling $550 of New York City, but the actual FEC filing with employment and street address details that could tell us if this is the same writer is not available online. I tried contacting Collins at the Times but had an incorrect addy, but I eventually communicated with the paper's spokeswoman Eileen Murphy who sent a note after speaking with Collins:

You are asking about something that goes back 20 years and Gail has no memory of these donations. 

OK, I'll accept that she has no memory of the contributions and it's surely within the realm of plausibility that there's another Gail Collins in New York City who made those donations.

However, I wish to point out what I wrote Collins and her colleagues. As a news consumer, I want all writers for the mainstream media - columnists and reporters - to not only disclose any recent political donations they may have made, but to also inform their audience of any such giving during their journalistic careers when writing about a person or entity whom they gave to.

And while the donations in question are from 20-years ago, it needs to be noted that Collins is committed to writing as often as possible about Mitt Romney once driving from Boston to Ontario with the family dog strapped to the roof. She has cited this episode dozens of times.

The Romney-dog-on-the-roof story occurred in 1983 - almost 30-years ago, 10-years prior to those FEC donations.

The Times shouldn't be the least bit dismissive of when the donations happened because of when they were made. Not when Collins is consistently referring to an episode nearly 30-years old.

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