Wednesday, October 11, 2006

This Evening's Special: Red Herring a la Hyman

There’s not much that needs be said about Mark Hyman’s recent editorial advocating greater transparency in Senate campaign financing. Commenting on the antiquated (i.e., un-computerized) system of processing reports of contributions, Hyman advocates for electronic filing of such reports.

Here, here. Not only is it a good idea, but it’s a good idea that most Senators favor as well. Reportedly, there are a few die-hard old timers who are anonymously blocking measures to create an electronic filing system, but most Senators are on record as supporting it, including both Senators McCain and Feingold.

Why is that relevant? It’s not particularly, except for the fact that Hyman throws in a red herring by linking the absence of an electronic filing system to the (altogether, now) “infamous” McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform legislation.

There’s no link between the two, save for the fact that, as Hyman lamely offers, “the Senate, which championed McCain-Feingold, exempted itself from electronic reporting.”

There are other mistaken assertions in Hyman’s argument, such as the claim that McCain-Feingold “placed free speech restrictions on third party interests” (it neither restricted speech nor hampered third party spending, as the number of 527 groups shows). He also wrongly claims that such third party groups “often hold incumbents accountable for their votes.”
As we’ve noted in the past, incumbents make out like bandits when it comes to raking in third party dough; after all, with the re-election rate as high as it is in Congress, it only makes sense to bet on incumbents in the form of giving money to their campaigns.

Why does Hyman bend over backwards to advocate for the rights of third parties to donate to political campaigns without restriction? Perhaps it’s because Sinclair Broadcasting has its very own PAC which gives money almost solely to Republican candidates. It might also have something to do with the fact that Hyman was in bed with the most infamous 527 of them all, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth [sic], a group that collaborated with the organization producing the propaganda hit piece on John Kerry that Sinclair planned to run, and did run large parts of, despite an outcry from the public.

In any case, Hyman manages to mangle the truth, even when defending a common-sense idea that just about everybody agrees with.

But that’s our Mark: snatching dishonesty from the jaws of reality.

And that’s The Counterpoint.

Hyman Index: 4.27


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