I'm not sure what it ought to be called. But as far as I'm not concerned, it is in no way free and fair reporting.
Let’s pretend that in the spring of 2012 Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, John Engler of the Business Roundtable, Tim Phillips of Americans for Prosperity, and Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association began to organize an assembly of right-leaning groups.
Let’s pretend that in the months since there had been not one but two meetings where these luminaries joined with representatives of Christians United For Israel, the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Tea Party Express, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, and the American Petroleum Institute to discuss strategy and promote a series of “structural reforms” that would make it easier for them to advance conservative goals in Congress.
Let’s pretend that by the time of the second meeting, which was held within sight of the White House, the coalition had grown to encompass some 36 different interest groups pledging millions of dollars.
How much press coverage would be devoted to this fictive cabal?
It is impossible to say. But is it not unreasonable to assume that our pretend meeting of the vast right-wing conspiracy would attract far more scrutiny than was devoted to the actual, real-life, believe-it-or-not inaugural meetings of the progressive “Democracy Initiative”? After all, no one seemed to know anything about those meetings, held in June and December 2012, until a writer for Mother Jones named Andy Kroll broke the story on Wednesday. As of this writing exactly two other people, a blogger for the Washington Monthly and a blogger for The Ed Show, have picked up Kroll’s story.
The rest of what is too generously called the “mainstream media” has not said a word. Instead the campaign finance reporter of the New York Times, who used to work at the Washington Monthly, had a long investigative piece on the various conflicts-of-interest associated with advocates of pro-growth tax and entitlement reform. (Spoiler: They’re in it for themselves.) Slate meanwhile asked the pressing question, “Why Do the Rich and Famous Always Sunbathe Topless?” Other outlets were distracted by the glitzy baubles of nomination fights and gun control. About this major story of coordination and concerted spending among powerful lobbies, however, the press had little to say.