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Election 2012: The media's giving tree

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The family tree. Finding out who someone is, what they did, and how they did it always intrigues the mind. Everyone loves their own family tree. Digging through historic archives in stately buildings with celebrities driving new GM Chevy Tahoe vehilces is the basis for the hit NBC TV show "Who Do You Think You Are?"

As Election Day is now just five months away, perhaps the same question can readily be asked of today's media conglomerates and their executives.

Who tells us what, how they tell us, and what they tell us is chalked up to one generic term; the media. Based soley on political giving, the signals coming from Comcast (NBC/Universal), Time Warner, News Corporation, and Walt Disney Company are not totally crystal clear. Cutting through the visible static paints a much clearer picture of today's media and its direct connection to political donations.

It's now time to dial in on how deeply involved the media really is in the poitical process. According to the website OPEN SECRETS.org, a list of individual political contributors, labled "Top Individual Contributors" was recently updated (5/30/12). Politics involves people. And people have to still actively write a check, or humanely activate their PAY PAL account and hit the send button. To even get on this list, you just don't need money, you need big money. This particular list contains the names of actual people (and their company affiliaiton) who gave at least $50,000 to federal candidates or parties during one or more electon cycle from 1990 to today.

Of 50 Top Individual Contributors listed on the website, 33 people having ties to the media, or direct media-based services, are on this list. That's about 66% of the list. Ardent political observers always expect to see executives from banks, investors, law firms, unions, health care groups, Top Fortune 100 companies and insurance groups as being big political players. But those in this media group are the real heavy hitters.

Occupy Movements across the United States and Europe are trying to shake down the "ever-evil" one percent and faceless corporations. They expouse and expose the profts of big companies like Wal Mart, Pepsi, Exxon-Mobil, Chase Bank, and Bank of America. While the Occupiers are trying to shake down Wall Street, they just might be barking up the wrong money tree. Those providing us with the news, tv shows, cable, and other web based services seem to be more at the root of the problem. (See Table Below).

The biggest winners of the media's giving tree for 2011-2012 include U.S. Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA), U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), and U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). All three received significant funds from Comcast, News Corporation, Time Warner, and Walt Disney executives. (source: open secrests.org)

Now, when FOX News rails aginst the mainstream media, recall that one of its leading recipients of FOX executive-related cash for 2011-12 is Liberal Agenda Leader, U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein, (D-CA). Then, when Comcast (Universal/NBC/MSNBC) show hosts Rachel Madow, Chris Mathews, and Matt Lauer give you the anti-GOP company line, recall that some of the funds in the Comcast executive's pocketbook went to Eric Cantor (R-VA), a TEA Party advocate. And, when you want to enter Mickey Mouse's Clubhouse or ESPN's Bristol studios, you don't need a Disney Perks Card or ESPN Fan Pass. But, you will need a Democratic Party Membership Card. Top Walt Disney donations by Disney Executives from 1990 to 2012 went to all Democrats, to the tune of over $1,372,000.

So, the next time anyone, of any political party, rants and raves against the "mainstream media," you just might want to tune them out and quickly change the channel.

Affiliated Donor Company: $ Amount (1990-2012)

  • Comcast Executives: $19,665,000.
  • News Corporation Executives: $7,060,000,
  • Time Warner Executives: $4,477,218
  • Walt Disney Company Executives: $4,255,000

(Source: Open Secrets.org)

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