Report On Journalists' Political Donations Has Dishonestly Broad Definition Of 'Journalist'

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 04:  Carole Simpson speaks onstage at the The Jackie Robinson Foundation Annual Awards' Dinner at the Wa
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 04: Carole Simpson speaks onstage at the The Jackie Robinson Foundation Annual Awards' Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel on March 4, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for The Jackie Robinson Foundation)

The Center for Public Integrity has issued a report claiming to detail how "journalists" have donated to Hillary Clinton's campaign far more than to Donald Trump's. Needless to say, the right-wing media jumped right on it because it reaffirms the longstanding "liberal media" narrative conservative have been pushing for decades. For example, the headline at the Media Research Center's NewsBusters blog screamed "TILT: Study of Journalist Donations for President Find More Than 96 Percent Went to Hillary Clinton."

But if you read the report closely -- which the right-wing media has no interest in doing -- it's obvious that CPI is using an overly broad definition of "journalist."

The star finding, usually cited in right-wing stories on the report, is that former ABC anchor Carole Simpson has donated $2,800 to Clinton. What CPI doesn't make clear: Simpson left ABC in 2006 and currently works as a college professor. Insisting that Simpson continue to be held to the standards of a job she has not held for a decade -- CPI offers no evidence that Simpson made any political donations while employed as a journalist -- is simply dishonest.

CPI also touts the donations to Clinton by talk show host Larry King, which are also usually highlighted in reports on the study. But has anybody ever considered King to be a "journalist"? No.

In fact, the first example of an actual working journalist the CPI provides is the New Yorker's Emily Nussbaum. But she's a TV critic and rarely covers news or politics. Indeed, most of the working journalists in hard news that CPI cites as making political donations are employed by small local papers, not large media organizations, which generally prohibit reporters from making political donations.

As the Washington Post's Callum Borchers noted, "The Center for Public Integrity's findings would be far more concerning if they included the journalists who shape coverage of the race for the White House," pointing out that no campaign trail reporters are on the CPI's list.

But because this dishonesty plays into the hands of the right-wing narrative about the evil "liberal media," the right-wing media will stick with the clickbait headline and ignore the dubious contents.