Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fish Wrap in Atlanta

Yesterday, the online version of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution decided to spotlight the political contributions to Representatives Price(R-GA 6th) and Gingrey(R-GA 11th)  from the health care industry in "Price, Gingrey receive thousands in campaign contributions from doctors and health care lobbyists".  Both congressmen are physicians. How very surprising that doctors and other health care providers would give their hard earned campaign contributions to citizen legislators who understand their profession and share their passion about preserving patient centered care in the U.S. What an outrage. Buried later in the article is this tidbit:
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-profit, non-partisan government watchdog group, the health care sector -- not including insurance companies -- made nearly $29 million in campaign contributions in the first six months of this year alone.
About 60 percent of that amount went to Democrats -- and no politician has gotten more campaign contributions from the health sector than President Barack Obama. Obama raked in nearly $20 million from health industry interests during the presidential campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
By the time this jewel found its way to the front page, above the fold, "cover story" in the print edition, the headline had metamorphosed into "Pays to be doctors in the (U.S.) House".  How clever.  And the AJC wonders why its circulation has plummeted.  Last week, the AJC announced that it would no longer endorse political candidates.  What a complete joke.

Putting the political spin of this article aside, let's take a look at its accuracy.  In the article, Bob Keefe states
Campaign finance data released Friday shows that almost three-fourths of the nearly $423,400 in individual contributions that Price's reelection campaign took in during the past three months came from doctors and other medical professionals.

Much of the $367,500 Price took in from political action committees and other lobbying groups during the quarter also came from health-related lobbying organizations, such as the American Academy of Dermatology, the American College of Surgeons and the American Hospital Association.
These "quarterly" numbers match almost exactly, the Federal Elections Commission contributions disclosure for Dr. Price,  for the entire year.  Without boring you with the numbers, the disclosure for Dr. Gingrey on the FEC website reveals the same error.  The quarterly totals for each congressman in the article, are clearly at odds with yesterday's report by the Center for Responsive Politics at (incredibly, one of Mr. Keefe's sources in the article).  I expect a correction will be forthcoming any moment, not that anyone will read it.


  1. Ah, the AJC. This is why I go straight for the comic section with a paper. I don't want to fill my mind with any more useless information than I have to.
    -John D

  2. Correcting the AJC is a full-time job. Especially after they laid off 30% of their news staff. Meanwhile, Rush Limbaugh collects $200 million a year... Go figure.