Friday, October 14, 2011

The Media Gets It Wrong ... Again

One of the continuing themes the mainstream media pundits and newspapers keep pushing is that President Obama is "in trouble" when it comes to the 2012 election. One of the indicators they say they're using to determine that is that "donors are not returning" to the campaign. Last month, the NY Times ran a story about "Small Donors Are Slow to Return to the Obama Fold":

But in recent months, the frustration and disillusionment that have dragged down Mr. Obama’s approval ratings have crept into the ranks of his vaunted small-donor army, underscoring the challenges he faces as he seeks to rekindle grass-roots enthusiasm for his re-election bid.
Yes, according to the New York Times he's "in trouble." After all, he's "sinking in the polls," with "dismal approval ratings!" This portends, according to the pundits and media, a problem for the President to be re-elected. Obviously, we (and the Obama campaign) should be panicking right now. The problem with this portrayal? Reality.

A recent poll shows the President's approval rating surging. As in his favorability ratings up 11 points, and his job approval ratings up 6 points. Which doesn't quite match up with the media discussion of his "sinking polls." But the real kicker is in the FEC report for the most recent quarter. OFA sent out an e-mail detailing what they've done:

Here's what you should know about what we'll report to the FEC tomorrow:

-- In the third fundraising quarter of this year, 606,027 people donated to this campaign -- even more than gave in the record-breaking previous quarter.
-- Those people gave more than 766,000 total donations -- 98 percent of them $250 or less, at an average amount of $56. That's more than twice as many donations than we had at this point in the historic 2008 campaign.
-- We are focused on building infrastructure that will help us win in 2012. And each quarter we set a combined goal for the campaign and our allies at the Democratic National Committee. We far exceeded our goal of $55 million this quarter between the two organizations. Great work.
-- Together, Obama for America and the DNC raised more than $70 million. And it all happened during a summer when the President was focused on doing the job he was elected to do -- a summer when we had to cancel a series of fundraising events and ask everyone to dig a little deeper.

If I could sum up this last quarter in a few words: You came through. Thank you.

Here's even bigger news: Right now, 982,967 people have donated to this campaign. We're within striking distance of 1 million donors.
In other words, the reality is that small donors are not "slow to return," they've been donating at a record pace. What's important about that? Small donors are "the tip of the iceberg." Remember, there's a maximum limit on the amount one person can give, and an average of $56 dollars - and most under $250 - means that there are more donations possible, and more money that they can raise.

Which point the newest OFA e-mail makes:

You and a whole lot of other supporters turned that headline upside down. Today we filed a report with the FEC that shows this movement isn't just as strong as ever -- it's growing.

Sometimes the media gets so caught up in its own echo chamber that the storyline separates from the facts.

The great thing about building a grassroots organization based outside of Washington is that the press won't decide what happens here -- you will.
The media has consistently underestimated what this campaign can do. It doesn't fit into their predetermined story, and reality keeps coming back to bite them. Let's keep it up.

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