From today’s WaPo:
In the ever-evolving world of campaign fundraising, some politicians have stumbled on yet another way to bring in buckets of cash. Let’s call it the “money blurt.”
Here’s how it works: An up-and-coming politician blurts out something incendiary, provocative or otherwise controversial. The remark bounces around the blogs and talk shows and becomes a sensation.
And in the midst of it all, the politician’s fundraisers are manning the phones and raking in the donations.
Nothing surprising there. We know politicians’ “spontaneous” outbursts are increasingly staged and intended to gin up attention and cash. But this I found interesting:
Jeff Cosgrove, managing director of the CommonSense Media online advertising network, which has clients in both parties, said a growing number of campaigns book ads in connection with television appearances or other public events.
“These things aren’t necessarily as organic as you would think,” Cosgrove said. “They seem to be often premeditated.” [Emphasis added]
If you follow the link to CommonSense Media and then click on the About page you find this:
Yes, that’s right, CommonSense Media, a firm that does work for Republicans, is led by Jane Hamsher.
In isolation, I don’t care what Jane Hamsher does for money (and it’s not even clear that any revenues from CommonSense Media make it to Hamsher’s pocket). She can do whatever she wants, and I’m not interested in getting in to any battle about purity with her or any of her allies. But it’s time for the media to stop lazily presenting her as a representative figure of liberal Democrats, of the Netroots or of ideologically committed progressives. She’s not. She’s someone who leads a firm that Republicans pay to help them defeat Democrats.
CommonSense Media Ad Network has done work for Democrats in the past, and they may still be doing work for Democrats. They have done work for Harry Reid. In 2011 Hamsher may be telling prospective Obama voters “don’t give yourself away cheaply,” but in 2010 they thought the president was still in to them, because the Democratic National Committee paid for $10,000 worth of advertising through CommonSense Media.
But CommonSense Media also does work for entities working against progressive interests and Democratic candidates. At the same time BP was being accused of “greenwashing” their record after the Gulf oil spill, CommonSense media was doing online advertising for BP. In Campaigns and Elections magazine’s political pages, a directory of political consultants, Democratic firms have a D after their name, Republicans an R. Commonsense Media has an N (presumably either “nonpartisan” or “neutral”).
There isn’t a good online tool to search for vendors listed in FEC reports, so it’s unclear which Republican(s) are CommonSense Media clients. I suspect they’re not working for rightwing culture warriors. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re working for Scott-Walker-if-he-were-more-low-key-&-didn’t-care-if-you-get-stoned, AKA Greenwald-darling Gary Johnson. But just because we don’t know which Republicans they’re working for, Commonsense Media says they have Republican clients, so why shouldn’t we take them at their word?
If the national political media is going to present Jane Hamsher as a one-time Obama supporter who has now concluded that Obama “just isn’t in to her,” fine. But it’s horribly irresponsible and inaccurate for the press to file those stories without noting that she at one time did business with the DNC, and apparently now does business with Republicans seeking to defeat Democrats. She’s not just a disaffected progressive, she’s someone who leads a business that takes money from Republicans to defeat Democrats.