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Dark Money: What Might the Money Media Cover if They Weren't Covering Trump?

Wednesday, 02 March 2016 00:00 By Laura Flanders, The Laura Flanders Show | Audio Segment
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Media

Dark Money, Super PACs, shady multi-millionaires buying your democracy. When Americans were asked recently what they fear most, it wasn't terrorists (unless you mean the sort that take over your TV at election time.) It was corruption of government officials.

It's that fear that a certain multi-millionaire megalomaniac is playing into when he says "I'm so rich I can't be bought - so vote for me."

So is voting for a billionaire to protect you from rule by billionaires a sensible way to fight money in politics? Not exactly. It just looks that way on TV.

Is today's election auction normal or inevitable? Neither. A handful of Supreme Court decisions, decided by a single vote unloosed the cash-flow. It's happened mostly over the last ten years. As the Brennan Center reported this January, just one justice shifting opinion could speedily restore common sense limits on big spending.

Change won't come easily. In the last quarter century, the share of political contributions traceable to the top hundredth of Americans has doubled - from 15 percent to 30 percent. Excess corporate cash rushes into every Congressional and State House office in the land.

Concentration of wealth is the problem. Corruption is the consequence. But it's just not true there's nothing regular Americans can do.

Reformers in California are gathering signatures to put a Voters Bill of Rights on the ballot next November that would require TV ads to display their top donors clearly - and overhaul the state's campaign finance database to make tracking special interests easier.

California's measure could send a message - even to the justices. Similar efforts are underway in Maine and Washington and South Dakota. But paying more attention to people making change would require money media to pay just a little less attention to that billionaire.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Laura Flanders

Best-selling author and broadcaster Laura Flanders interviews forward thinking people from the worlds of politics, business, culture and social movements on her internationally syndicated TV program, "The Laura Flanders Show." It airs weekly on KCET/LinkTV, FreeSpeech TV, and in English and Spanish in teleSUR. Flanders is also a contributing writer to The Nation and YES! Magazine ("Commonomics") and a regular guest on MSNBC. She is the author of six books, including The New York Times best-seller, BUSHWOMEN: Tales of a Cynical Species (Verso, 2004) and Blue GRIT: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians (Penguin Press, 2007). "The Laura Flanders Show" first aired on Air America Radio from 2004 to 2008. You can find all her archives and more at Lauraflanders.com or via Twitter @GRITlaura.

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Money in Politics: Where Is the Outrage?
By Bernard A. Weisberger, Bill Moyers, Moyers & Company | Op-Ed
Dark Money Could Get Even Darker
By Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, Brennan Center for Justice | News Analysis
Koch-Fueled Playbook Against West Virginia Working Families Exposed
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Dark Money: What Might the Money Media Cover if They Weren't Covering Trump?

Wednesday, 02 March 2016 00:00 By Laura Flanders, The Laura Flanders Show | Audio Segment
  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size
  • Print

Media

Dark Money, Super PACs, shady multi-millionaires buying your democracy. When Americans were asked recently what they fear most, it wasn't terrorists (unless you mean the sort that take over your TV at election time.) It was corruption of government officials.

It's that fear that a certain multi-millionaire megalomaniac is playing into when he says "I'm so rich I can't be bought - so vote for me."

So is voting for a billionaire to protect you from rule by billionaires a sensible way to fight money in politics? Not exactly. It just looks that way on TV.

Is today's election auction normal or inevitable? Neither. A handful of Supreme Court decisions, decided by a single vote unloosed the cash-flow. It's happened mostly over the last ten years. As the Brennan Center reported this January, just one justice shifting opinion could speedily restore common sense limits on big spending.

Change won't come easily. In the last quarter century, the share of political contributions traceable to the top hundredth of Americans has doubled - from 15 percent to 30 percent. Excess corporate cash rushes into every Congressional and State House office in the land.

Concentration of wealth is the problem. Corruption is the consequence. But it's just not true there's nothing regular Americans can do.

Reformers in California are gathering signatures to put a Voters Bill of Rights on the ballot next November that would require TV ads to display their top donors clearly - and overhaul the state's campaign finance database to make tracking special interests easier.

California's measure could send a message - even to the justices. Similar efforts are underway in Maine and Washington and South Dakota. But paying more attention to people making change would require money media to pay just a little less attention to that billionaire.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Laura Flanders

Best-selling author and broadcaster Laura Flanders interviews forward thinking people from the worlds of politics, business, culture and social movements on her internationally syndicated TV program, "The Laura Flanders Show." It airs weekly on KCET/LinkTV, FreeSpeech TV, and in English and Spanish in teleSUR. Flanders is also a contributing writer to The Nation and YES! Magazine ("Commonomics") and a regular guest on MSNBC. She is the author of six books, including The New York Times best-seller, BUSHWOMEN: Tales of a Cynical Species (Verso, 2004) and Blue GRIT: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians (Penguin Press, 2007). "The Laura Flanders Show" first aired on Air America Radio from 2004 to 2008. You can find all her archives and more at Lauraflanders.com or via Twitter @GRITlaura.

Related Stories

Money in Politics: Where Is the Outrage?
By Bernard A. Weisberger, Bill Moyers, Moyers & Company | Op-Ed
Dark Money Could Get Even Darker
By Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, Brennan Center for Justice | News Analysis
Koch-Fueled Playbook Against West Virginia Working Families Exposed
By PR Watch Editors, PR Watch | News Analysis

Hide Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus