Remember earlier this week when Beltway media sage Mark Halperin dismissed the unfolding story about how the GOP-friendly U.S. Chamber of Commerce was raising the money it's spending on its massive campaign to elect Republicans in the fall. Halperin mocked the story and the associated concerns about whether the Chamber was using foreign funds to influence American election.
Why the dismissive attitude? The story was "convoluted and far-fetched," Halperin announced. And oh yeah, voters weren't interested in the "offbeat" story. In fact we've heard a lot of that kind of pundit chatter since the Chamber story broke last week, and since additional questions have been raised about who is funding the independent groups that are spending tens of millions of dollars on behalf of Republicans.
Pundit talking point: Nobody cares!
Except that, of course, people do care. As Greg Sargent recently noted:
[A] new poll commissioned by MoveOn, and done by the respected non-partisan firm Survey USA, strongly suggests that the issue may indeed matter a good deal to voters after all.
The poll finds that two thirds of registered voters, or 66 percent, are aware that outside groups are behind some of the ads they're seeing. This makes sense, since the issue has dominated the media amid the battle over the huge ad onslaught against Dems funded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove's groups.
What's more, an overwhelming 84 percent say they have a "right to know" who's bankrolling the ads.
And from NPR came this report:
Voters Say They Want To Know Who Funds Ads
It's always dangerous when journalists lift their fingers to the wind to decide which unfolding news stories are, and are not, worth attention. It's especially dangerous when journalists come to the wrong conclusions about which "offbeat" stories aren't worth covering.