Georgians in the sixth Congressional district just elected their first female to the House of Representatives in the most expensive House race in history.
While all three broadcast networks reported the race was historic in terms of spending, only NBC clearly acknowledged that most of the donations came from outside the state of Georgia.
The Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff, who didn’t even live in the district he ran for, raised $23 million ahead of the June 20, special election against Republican Karen Handel, according to The New York Times. Roughly $20.3 million (86 percent) of Ossoff’s donations came from places like New York and California. In contrast, Handel raised $4.5 million, but 56 percent of the donations were from Georgians.
Outside super PACs spent an additional $25.8 million for the candidates: $7.6 million promoting Ossoff and $18.2 promoting Handel.
All three broadcast networks had ample opportunity to report those details.
On June 21, ABC, CBS and NBC morning news shows reported that the election was the most expensive congressional race in history. But CBS never pointed out Ossoff’s funding mostly came from out-of-state donors. CBS This Morning correspondent Jeff Glor merely noted Ossoff “raised more than $23 million.”
On Good Morning America, ABC correspondent Steve Osunsami hinted at the out of state funding when he said “Democrats across the country” had “invested hope and millions of dollars in the race.” ButOsunami failed break it down for viewers and say how much was from Georgians versus outsiders.
In the same broadcast, ABC chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl also stated in passing Democrats “heavily financed” Ossoff’s campaign, but when pressed about financing, never mentioned it was mostly out of state.
To its credit, NBC Today correspondent Gabe Gutierrez said the race included “around $60 million spent, mostly from out of state” and that “John Ossoff raked in donors from around the country.” Gutierrez did not break down how much came from out of state, or who those donors were.
The $60 million figure Gutierrez referred to was a rounded combination of both candidates’ donations (about $28 million) plus the $25.8 million outside PACs spent on their behalf.
According to Follow the Money, Ossoff received more individual donations from California, New York, and Massachusetts than from Georgia. On June 8, fundraising reports noted that as little as one in 20 donations actually came from Georgia residents, the Atlantic Journal-Constitution reported.
Employees of Time Warner, Google’s parent company Alphabet and schools like Emory University, Georgia State University, the University of California and Virginia Tech gave thousands of dollars to Ossoff, according to Open Secrets.
The liberal groups League of Conservation Voters and End Citizens United each gave Ossoff more than $10,000.
The liberal blog Daily Kos helped raise at least $1.6 million for Ossoff, the Sacramento Bee reported in May.
Planned Parenthood also gave more than $700,000 to Ossoff’s campaign — something else the networks failed to report.