Newsday repeated misleading claim from 2006 NY Times article about Clinton's contributions from "health care industry"

Newsday repeated misleading claim from 2006 NY Times article about Clinton's contributions from "health care industry"

››› ››› SARAH PAVLUS

A Newsday article on Sen. Hillary Clinton's health care reform proposal repeated an assertion made in a 2006 New York Times article that the health care "industry contributed more than $850,000 to her re-election campaign, the second highest level of contributions to any senator." But Newsday did not note that the number includes donations from individual health care professionals, such as nurses and doctors, and neither newspaper reported that if only health care PAC donations were considered -- that is, donations from the actual health care "industry" -- Clinton drops off the list of top 25 congressional recipients of health care industry money entirely.

In a September 16 Newsday article on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-NY) health care reform proposal, the third part of which she released on September 17, reporter Glenn Thrush repeated an assertion made in a 2006 New York Times article that the health care "industry contributed more than $850,000 to her re-election campaign, the second highest level of contributions to any senator." However, Thrush did not note that the number includes donations from individual health care professionals, such as nurses and doctors, and neither Thrush nor the Times noted that if only health care political action committee (PAC) donations were considered -- that is, donations from the actual health care "industry" -- Clinton drops off the list of top 25 congressional recipients of health care industry money entirely.

The New York Times reported on July 12, 2006, in a front-page article: "Separate analyses by the Center for Responsive Politics, an independent group that tracks campaign finance, and by The New York Times show that Senator Clinton has received $854,462 from the health care industry in 2005-06, a larger amount than any candidate except [then-] Senator [Rick] Santorum [R-PA], with $977,354." However, while the 2006 Times analysis noted that Clinton's total donations from the "health care industry" included campaign contributions made by institutions as well as individuals, at no point did the Times or Newsday report where Clinton would rank if only donations from health care industry PACs were considered.

According to an updated Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) analysis of Clinton's campaign contributions -- which includes the contributions Clinton received for the entire 2006 cycle -- if contributions from individuals who are employed in the health care sector are excluded, Clinton would not even make the list of the top 25 congressional recipients of contributions from the health care industry for the 2006 election cycle. It is only when contributions from individuals are included that Clinton jumps to second place. This information and these rankings are updated on a quarterly basis by the CRP.

Moreover, neither the Times nor Newsday explicitly acknowledged the faulty assumptions inherent in lumping together "industry" contributions from individuals like doctors and groups like insurance companies, that can have competing or conflicting interests. The Times simply reported that Clinton "received more money from health care providers than from insurers, in part because she has been more outspoken in support of the providers, while criticizing insurers from time to time."

From the July 12, 2006, Times article:

When she tried to overhaul the nation's health care system as first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton alienated some people and institutions in the health care industry by championing a huge expansion of the federal role. She provoked a fierce reaction from the industry, which mocked her proposal in television advertisements and dispatched lobbyists who ultimately helped kill the plan.

But times change. As she runs for re-election to the Senate from New York this year and lays the groundwork for a possible presidential bid in 2008, Mrs. Clinton is receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from doctors, hospitals, drug manufacturers and insurers. Nationwide, she is the No. 2 recipient of donations from the industry, trailing only Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, a member of the Republican leadership.

[...]

Separate analyses by the Center for Responsive Politics, an independent group that tracks campaign finance, and by The New York Times show that Senator Clinton has received $854,462 from the health care industry in 2005-6, a larger amount than any candidate except Senator Santorum, with $977,354. Other industries have opened their wallets to Senator Clinton, a formidable fund-raiser. But none warred with her as the health care industry did.

Contributions to Senator Clinton over the last 18 months include more than $431,000 from doctors and other health care professionals and more than $142,000 from hospitals and nursing homes.

The Times also included a graphic listing the top 10 recipients in Congress of money from the "health care industry" and a breakdown of Clinton's donations as received from health professionals, hospitals and nursing homes, health services and health maintenance organizations (HMOs), pharmaceuticals and health care products, and others.

From the September 16 Newsday article:

Clinton, who says she still bears "the scars" from the experience, is a less fearsome figure these days. Since being elected to the Senate, she's enjoyed a good relationship with in-state drug companies such as Pfizer and has delivered federal funding to the hospitals she once demonized. Her rhetoric, particularly against Big Pharma, can still be fierce, but her pariahs are now patrons: The industry .contributed more than $850,000 to her re-election campaign, the second highest level of .contributions to any senator.

Network/Outlet
The New York Times, Newsday
Stories/Interests
Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
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