Raising The Specter Of Cancer: Bias By Omission

Cancer is a terrible disease.  It is a slow, painful way to die, and the best of modern medicine can only sometimes beat back its advances.  Also notable: Cancer is a nonpartisan disease, attacking the Jack Kemps and Ted Kennedys of the world with equal impunity.  Only a true cynic could see cancer as a political fundraising opportunity.

Enter the appropriately named Senator Arlen Specter, stage left. The media-beloved Specter has been the subject of much discussion recently, following his decision to switch his party affiliation to Democrat. Some in the mainstream media have painted Specter as a consummate moderate, while others have seen in his party switch the death-knell for the Republican party’s electoral aspirations in the Northeast.  

As a guest on Sunday’s “Face The Nation”,  Specter plugged a Web site, under the guise of medical research funding [h/t Michelle Malkin]:

“And one of the items that I’m working on, Bob, is funding for medical research. I’ve been the spear carrier to increase medical research. And I’ve even established a Web site, Specterforthecure.com, to try to get people to put more pressure on Congress to join me in getting more funding.”

Raising money for cancer research is undeniably a wonderful public service, and Specter would deserve credit for such - if he were actually raising money for that research.  But a closer look at the Web site reveals the following small-print:

Federal election law requires political committees to use best efforts to report the name, mailing address, occupation, and name of employer of individuals whose contributions exceed $200 during an election cycle. An individual may not contribute more than a total of $2400 per election to the committee. Federal law prohibits contributions to the committee from the general treasury funds of a corporation, labor organizations or national banks (including corporate or other business entity credit cards), from any person contributing another's funds, from a Federal government contractor, or from a foreign national who lacks permanent resident status. Contributions are not deductible for Federal income tax purposes.

And now, the coup de grace:

Paid for by Citizens for Arlen Specter

Now one might wonder if the newly-minted Democrat from Pennsylvania might see a change in the preferred media storyline - a storyline which has trumpeted the death of the Republican party in the Northeast, complete with doomsday-for-conservatism braying.  But only a truly cynical media could ignore this, the exploitation of cancer as a fundraising tool.

Compare for yourself: Arlen Specter’s campaign contribution page can be found here, and the offending Web site can be found here.

Congress Media Bias Debate Campaigns & Elections Campaign Financing Bias by Omission 2010 Congressional Arlen Specter