Back in May, we did a little write-up about Gregory Roberts, who had just been hired as the new political reporter at the Baton Rouge Advocate, and we made the prediction based on his background that Roberts would offer up some hideously biased journalism.
But does anybody really think Roberts is going to cover politics objectively for the Advocate? If so, what in this bio would give you that idea? Is it the fact he’s coming from a job as the press flack for the Democrats in the Washington state legislature? Or that before that he was the communications guy for a gun control group?
A paper attempting to connect with its readership – the newspaper-reading demographic in the Baton Rouge market is pretty demonstrably conservative – wouldn’t hire somebody coming from a job as the communications flack for the Democrat legislative caucus in Washington state. But that’s exactly who they hired.
And today, we see a good example of what we were warning about back in May.
Yesterday, we had a piece on 2nd quarter fundraising among the two major Senate candidates in Louisiana noting that Bill Cassidy had posted a record $1.6 million quarter from April through June, and he had run his war chest from $5 million at the end of the first quarter up to $5.8 million after spending $800,000 against that $1.6 million. That same piece outlined the fact Mary Landrieu spent $3.4 million and raised $2.1 million, meaning that her campaign war chest had been drawn down from $7.5 million at the end of March to $6.2 million now.
Those numbers lead to the fact Landrieu only has a $400,000 cash-on-hand advantage over Cassidy. At the end of March she had a $2.5 million cash-on-hand advantage. She’s lost a comparative $2.1 million to him in three months, and for an incumbent who has outspent her Republican challenger by a minimum of 2-to-1 in all three of her previous races (every one of which was decided by a relatively narrow margin) that is a terrifying circumstance considering the closeness of the race to date.
These are numbers and facts, and fairly inescapable conclusions to be had from them. Right?
Well, here is the headline of Roberts’ article on 2nd quarter fundraising in the Landrieu-Cassidy race…
Landrieu extends fundraising lead
Because she outraised him by $500,000, while spending $2.6 million more than he did and surrendering $2.1 million of her cash advantage. That’s known at the Baton Rouge Advocate as “extending your fundraising lead.”
Too much more “extending” like this, and she’ll find herself in a hole against Cassidy.
The body of the piece isn’t much better…
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu widened her fundraising lead over her best-financed Republican challenger, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, in the April-June quarter this year, according to information released Wednesday by both campaigns in this fall’s Senate election.
Roberts buried his lede, in which he does manage to report what Landrieu spent in the 2nd quarter and does manage to mention what Landrieu and Cassidy have in the bank, but never manages to inform his readers that Cassidy gained significant ground on Landrieu in the money race during the 2nd quarter.
To call this bad journalism is hardly sufficient. It’s not journalism at all. It’s propaganda. The piece as presented is intended to mislead its readers.
A reputable newspaper would fire Roberts for such a miscarriage of his profession. You’ll excuse us for doubting that will happen anytime soon. But just keep this in mind as the campaign heats up and further dispatches from the Landrieu propaganda brigade make their way into the Advocate’s reportage.
UPDATE: The Louisiana GOP noticed this, too. A statement from the party’s executive director Jason Dore’…
“When you see a headline and a story like this that reads like something the Landrieu campaign would put out, it’s easy to see why people don’t trust the media. The truth is Dr. Cassidy has almost as much money on hand as Senator Landrieu and has raised more money than any previous Landrieu challenger. Mary Landrieu blew through money spending big on ads to cover up her ineffective track record as an Obama rubber stamp, and now Dr. Cassidy is well-positioned to take the fight to her in these final months.”