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Salon fails to read its own source

Salon fails to read its own source. This should be impossible to do, given the number of editors and fact-checkers normally employed. But they’ve managed it [1]:

“As millions of Americans buckle under the weight of record-breaking inflation, Republicans in Congress have remained adamant that President Biden, or rather, ‘Bidenflation,’ is the main culprit of price increases across the board, dismissing concerns of corporate profiteering out of hand,” according to the piece. “But a new analysis reveals that Republicans are collecting millions of dollars in donations from the very corporations under scrutiny, calling into question the party’s ability to honestly assess just what’s causing prices to soar.”

One of the companies they accuse of this profiting from inflation is Walmart. They then go on to complain only about those Walmart contributions to Republican politicians. Entirely leaving out the company’s similar donations [2] to the DCCC, Rep. Marc Veasey (D-Texas) and others from the Democratic side of the aisle.

This is probably because their source is equally biased. Accountable.US does just include donations to Republicans [3]. Partisan political posturing does have its place.

But where Salon really fails is in not even managing to read properly that partisan report.

“Chief among Corporate America’s political guardians is Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who last year raked in $1.24 million from industry behemoths like Walmart, Kroger, Chevron, Johnson & Johnson, and Ford,” the piece says.

McConnell would likely love to have taken that much last year. So, too, Blunt: “Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., for instance, took in at least $946,000 last year from goliaths like Walmart, General Motors, Pfizer, and UnitedHealth Group.”

But nothing like that is alleged in the report. Heading the listing of donations to Blunt, for example, is this “Career Donations” – meaning that this is for at least the past 12 years since his first election to the Senate, if not before.

This is not donations in this past year, this is over the entire careers of the named politicians. Which, given that the Walmart contributions to Blunt, again as an example [4], tend to come in $2,500 and $5,000 pieces seems a much more reasonable calculation.

Being politically partisan is one thing, being unable to even read the source report is another.

Salon is listed No. 64 in media sites for law and government – meaning it should grasp, instinctively, that these numbers are wrong. They gain some 9 million visits and month as their audience. They’re also something of a center of the progressive political movement, raising their importance above simple audience size through concentration.

The real worry here is that if Salon can get something so obvious and easily checked wrong then what else are they confusing when the subject is a little more complex?