A historic nomination to the Supreme Court is this week’s story; next week look for questions on “Dealergate.” A preliminary review of the 789 Chrysler dealerships that were ordered to close has demonstrated that their owners overwhelmingly gave to Republican candidates in 2008 (about $450,000) – and the ones who gave to Democrats largely gave to John Edwards and Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign raised just $450 from the dealerships which are closing down.
Where did this story come from? Not on CNN, or MSNBC, or even on Fox News – but from the blogosphere. You may know them as the folks who are often derided by the established media for “not being real journalists.”
This story hasn’t really hit the mainstream news outlets yet, but it should soon. A sample of nearly 800 business owners is as large or larger than samples taken for many opinion polls, which means the initial findings certainly warrant more research.
Having a group of 789 business owners who give to Republicans at a 90-95% clip who happen to have their businesses taken away by a Democrat-controlled government could be a mere statistical anomaly. But it could be more. Some questions I would like to see answered: What was the donor activity of for dealer owners that stayed open? Where were the dealerships that are closing in relationship to the 2008 electoral map – and in relation to key 2010 races?
Aside from being the Obama Administration’s first major scandal, Dealergate offers study in modern media. The story was uncovered by citizen journalists – bloggers who did nothing more than examine public documents with fresh eyes and a criticical viewpoint likely unshared by their paid counterparts in the mainstream media. Now it’s up to the media establishment to prove their worth by seizing upon an interesting lead and doing the research to determine what the full story is.