December 3, 2022

Republican collects twice as much from small-dollar donors but gets hit for sham 'share'

The cover of Miami Herald on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022.

Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida has raised about $30 million through the end of August for his re-election race. That includes $6.3 million from so-called “small dollar donors” — those who contribute less than $200 per election cycle and are sometimes seen as an accurate measure of voter enthusiasm.

Democratic challenger Rep. Charlie Crist has raised about $9 million, which includes about $2.7 million from small dollar donors.

Got that? DeSantis, 6.3; Crist, 2.7.

Yet somehow, the Miami Herald, which is predictably and reflexively anti-DeSantis, arrived at a front-page, top-of-the-fold headline that begins “Crist beating DeSantis in small dollar donors.”

The second paragraph writes, “Crist has outpaced DeSantis in one category: percentage of donations from small dollar donors.”

Anyone with eighth grade math skills understands that this is meaningless. A candidate who had raised $500, comprised of one $250 donation and 10 $25 donations, can accurately be said to have raised “50% of his donations from small dollar donors.” Would the Miami Herald feel that a gubernatorial candidate who’d raised only $500 from 11 donors was worthy of an admiring headline? Is that a meaningful show of electoral strength?

The Herald’s goal couldn’t be more obvious. This is an avenue to give voice to those who share the newspaper’s viewpoint against DeSantis. The third paragraph is devoted to a quote from a 75-year-old retiree who says “I’d vote for anyone running against Ron DeSantis.”

And, despite the fact that DeSantis has far more small dollar donors than Crist and collected more than twice as much in total from those small donors, the small donor backing DeSantis doesn’t show up until after the jump in paragraph seven.

This is a master class in how the mainstream media deceives its readers. There is nothing factually incorrect in the story. There are no lies. But they portray Crist, who has collected less than half as much money from small dollar donors as DeSantis, as somehow “beating DeSantis” in that category. The article intentionally gives the false impression that DeSantis’ support comes from rich guys and corporations, while Crist is loved by ordinary Floridians.

According to Gallup, the percentage of Americans who say they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in newspapers and television news hit record lows this summer, dropping to 16% (newspapers) and 11% (tv). The majority of that collapse comes from Republicans. According to Axios, “Just 5% of Republicans said they had ‘a great deal or quite a lot of confidence’ in newspapers, compared to 35% of Democrats.”

Bogus stories like this one in the Herald, clearly designed to buoy the Democratic nominee six weeks before Election Day, help explain why Republicans don’t trust the media.

People are smart enough to understand what the journalists are up to. The writers and editors at mainstream publications are now overwhelmingly comprised of liberal elites. Our friends at the California Globe cited researchers Jonathan Wai and Kaja Perina, who produced a study called “Expertise in Journalism: Factors Shaping a Cognitive and Culturally Elite Profession.” “The authors found that 52% of the staff writers at the New York Times and 54% at the Wall Street Journal received degrees from one of America’s 29 most prestigious universities. They estimate that ‘those who reach the pinnacle of the journalism profession attended an elite school and were likely in the top 1% of cognitive ability. This means top 1% people are overrepresented among the NYT and WSJ mastheads by a factor of about 50.’”

As California Globe wrote, “A trade once plied by working-class heroes like Jimmy Breslin and Mike Royko and Pete Hamill had largely given way to a profession practiced by alumni of the Ivy League and Stanford.”

Voters — and its newspaper readers— get it. But the people writing and editing the Herald clearly expect that the deplorables of Florida will not read beyond a headline that blares – inaccurately- “Crist beating DeSantis.”