August 07, 2008

Advocacy Journalism Today: WaPo/Mosk Just Keeps Coming

After having Matthew Mosk's attack on John McCain discredited within hours yesterday, the Washington Post was forced into running this embarrassing correction to the A1 story.

Correction to This Article
An earlier version of this story about campaign donations that Florida businessman Harry Sargeant III raised for Sen. John McCain, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton incorrectly identified three individuals as being among the donors Sargeant solicited on behalf of McCain. Those donors -- Rite Aid manager Ibrahim Marabeh, and lounge owners Nadia and Shawn Abdalla -- wrote checks to Giuliani and Clinton, not McCain. Also, the first name of Faisal Abdullah, a McCain donor, was misspelled in some versions of the story.

In other words, the premise of the entire article was fatally undermined because a Obama-supporting journalist and his editors didn't take the time to do the basic fact-checking Amanda Carpenter did in a matter of minutes.

The same "journalist", Mosk had attempted to smear McCain in a previous manufactured story about a land deal in May.

The Washington Post's editors, perhaps thinking they can save on the cost of paper and ink by adopting the editorial business practices of the New York Times, let Mosk go to print again today with another smear, one that amounted to stating that—gosh darn it!—there was nothing illegal going on with MCCain's fund-raising, but there should be:

Sargeant told The New York Times this morning that he at times left the task of collecting the checks to a longtime business partner, Mustafa Abu Naba'a. The problem with that is that Abu Naba'a is not an American citizen. According to court records, Abu Naba'a is a dual citizen of Jordan and the Dominican Republic.

The law on this question appears to be unclear, said Fred Wertheimer, a campaign finance expert who runs the advocacy group, Democracy 21.

"There's probably very little law on this," Wertheimer said. "If it is not illegal for a foreign national to bundle checks, it ought to be, since it's illegal for a foreign national to make contributions in the first place."

As even as Democracy 21 admits, there is nothing illegal about a legal foreign national collecting the legal contributions of law-abiding Americans for a Presidential candidate.

What is perhaps even more revealing that what they said, however, is Mosk's decision to use them as a source. Democracy 21 is a far left advocacy group, run by a former Democratic Senator Dick Clark, and is funded by both George Soros' Open Society Institute, and the Joyce Foundation—yes, where Barack Obama sat on the Board of Directors for eight years.

Mosk's choice of sources is only slightly more objective than contacting MoveOn.Org for their opinion.

Paul Ryan, a lawyer with the Campaign Legal Center, said the Federal Election Commission has not explicitly addressed the question. Ryan said there appeared to be conflicting thoughts on this in a 2004 advisory opinion. For instance, in one opinion the FEC has advised that it is permissible for a foreign national to solicit a contribution, while in another it prohibits foreign nationals from playing any role in participation in a candidate's election activities, such as decisions concerning the making of contributions.

"There's a little bit of tension between these two different interpretations," Ryan said.

Matthew Mosk hasn't been able to find a way to smear John McCain, despite three abortive attempts. The questions isn't so much why Mosk is against McCain, but why the editors of the Washington Post keep letting themselves be used as a platform for his specious attacks.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at August 7, 2008 01:28 PM

And how much interest was shown by WaPo in Norman Hsu and the indigent Chinese busboys? Not quite none and I suppose we should be greatful for that. With all this interest today, though, I wonder when we may expect a scrub of Barry's operation. Just how much did Ayers raise for him, anyhow? What is he up to now? Anything?

Posted by: megapotamus at August 7, 2008 03:26 PM

This guy either needs to go to remedial spelling classes or needs new glasses if he confuses the names "Giuliani" and "Clinton" with "McCain."

Posted by: C-C-G at August 7, 2008 05:33 PM