Published October 16, 2012
The movie “Bad Teacher” had actress Cameron Diaz sleazily trying to earn money so she could marry a rich man and never work again. Perhaps a sequel could be about college professors who pretend to be neutral experts, all the while donating cash to President Obama’s re-election campaign.
That’s the story told quite admirably on Oct. 16 by The Hill Managing Editor Bob Cusack, who revealed how academics who comment on the race have also donated to the president. “At least a half-dozen professors who gave political donations to President Obama have been quoted in news articles opining about his administration and the 2012 race for the White House,” wrote Cusack. The “months-long investigation” found no similar academics for Romney.
The article went on to skewer both the professors and the media, pointing out that the professors didn’t volunteer who they supported and reporters didn’t ask. Cusack explained that “scholars say they didn’t tell reporters that they had donated to Obama, but would have had they been asked.” Even a media expert at the Poynter Institute said journalists should be asking such questions.
Naturally, the prObama profs were nonplussed. Prof. Garrison Nelson, from the University of Vermont, summed up the academic response. “Big deal,” he told The Hill, despite donating “$250 to Obama earlier this year.” Tulane’s Peter Ricchiuti “donated $3,000 to Obama in 2012 and $1,000 to his campaign four years ago.”
Naturally, when ABC News asked him about Obama’s record on job creation in 2011, he said Obama’s initiatives were “all good ideas.”
None of this is especially surprising.
Opensecrets.org lists the National Education Association as its No. 5 “Heavy Hitter” among organizations. The “the nation’s oldest – and largest – teachers union” has already devoted $2.2 million this election cycle to targeting Republicans, four times the $547,000 it has devoted to aid them. According to the NEA, its “3 million members work at every level of education – from pre-school to university graduate programs.”
While The Hill said it “reviewed hundreds of donors who work for universities and dozens of articles in which political science professors provided their input,” there could be more to come because it didn’t include the most recent fundraising being released later this week.