In one final dig at the Pete Ricketts campaign, the Omaha World Herald came up with a rather idiotic way of assessing the spending for the ’06 Senate campaign (Ricketts spent three times as much per vote as Nelson – OWH – 12/7/06).
The final spending numbers came out, showing Ricketts spent about $12 million in his campaign to unseat incumbent Senator Ben Nelson, where Nelson spent about $7 million to defeat the political newcomer. Of course they left out the additional $2 million that the national Democrats spent on behalf of Nelson, where the national GOP did not spend on Ricketts. So that makes it approximately $12.7 million to $9.3 million right?
Well, no, the OWH presents it to you this way: Ricketts spent $60 per VOTE versus Nelson’s $19 per VOTE. As if Ricketts’ plan was to garner only 36%. Most normal media outlets would calculate per VOTER in such an analysis. If done correctly, it comes out that Ricketts spent, approximately, $21 per voter and Nelson spent approximately $15 per voter. That’s a hell of a lot different than what the OWH came up with, isn’t it?
And just so you Omahans who don’t read anything else can compare, take a look at the REPORTING on this story that Nate Jenkins of the Associated Press did (Campaign reports: Ricketts spent nearly twice as much as Nelson – LJS – 12/7/06). (However, we would also like to point out to Jenkins that he left out the $2M chucked in by the national Dems, and that when that amount is added in, it comes out that Ricketts spent more like 1.3 times more than Nelson — not twice as much.) We’d also point out that Jenkins made the effort to reflect the Consumer Price index of 1988 dollars versus 2006 dollars when comparing the amount spent in the other high-priced Senate campaign – which the OWH again neglected to do.
This is a ridiculously asinine, biased and frankly unethical reporting of the news by the OWH. What is their motive? We guess it’s something along the lines of trying to shame candidates from spending huge amounts in a campaign (which Ricketts obviously did). (And that’s even being kind on our part, since their motive could rather be just to suck up to the newly elected Senator, who they biasedly supported all along.)
But hey, guess what? That’s not what the NEWS SECTION is for. At least it shouldn’t be. That’s why there’s an EDITORIAL page – so people can at least see, by definition, that the paper is expressing an opinion, as opposed to just reporting the news.
Papers and the other media can talk all day long about politicians being honest and ethical. But when the Omaha World Herald pulls this kind of crap, it’s time THEY get called on it. If only THEY could be voted out of office…