Politico and its very excitable BP-Obama reporting

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

Trolling for a Drudge link, here's how Politico played up findings about oil giant BP and its campaign contributions over the years:

Obama biggest recipient of BP cash

Lede [emphasis added]:

While the BP oil geyser pumps millions of gallons of petroleum into the Gulf of Mexico, President Barack Obama and members of Congress may have to answer for the millions in campaign contributions they've taken from the oil and gas giant over the years.

Kind of interesting, right? Politico has no idea if Obama will have to answer for the campaign contributions. (i.e. Did he do anything wrong?) And Politico can't find anybody in the entire article demanding that Obama answer for the contributions. Yet Politico builds an entire article around the premise that Obama might have to do so-and-so.

Meanwhile, Time's Michael Scherer highlights the obvious (intentional?) lack of context in Politico's reporting:

It is true that according to this online database Obama received slightly more money from BP's PAC and employees since 1990 than anyone else. But there is a major a reason for that, which the story fails to mention: People who run for President raise much more money, and received much more money from BP interests--and just about every other interest.

The problem with Politico often weak brand of journalism is that it then infects the rest of the press corps. Witness today's New York Post:

O's gush of BP cash

I guess it depends on what the meaning of "gusher" is:

While running for the Senate and during his presidential campaign, Obama collected more than $77,000 from BP's political-action committee as well as from the company's employees, according to figures provided by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

During the course of those campaigns, Obama raised more than $800 million, so I'm not sure how BP's contribution of $77,000, less than .01%, qualifies as a "gusher."

UPDATED: I like New York magazine's take on the rather breathless reporting on the contribution topic:

Why did you take money from a company whose oil rig was going to explode two years later, Obama?!? Bastard!
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