Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Straight Down the Middle?

Recently, Red Maryland’s Mark Newgent went after the new political website Center Maryland for advertising itself as “straight down the middle” when some of its founders are former employees of Governor O’Malley. As it turns out, Newgent’s argument may have more validity than even he believed.

Here are the state and local political contributions of the site’s six founders.

Here are the largest checks written by the founders.

Otis Rolley to Martin O’Malley, 6/20/05: $3,960
Damian O’Doherty to Martin O’Malley, 10/21/07: $3,800
Martin Knott to Jim Smith, 1/13/09: $3,000
Martin Knott to Ken Ulman, 1/9/09: $3,000
Martin Knott to Martin O’Malley, 2/12/05: $2,500

We have no problem with Democrats starting political websites. What do you think MPW is? But when Center Maryland’s founders give 92% of their political contributions to Democrats (including 39% to O’Malley), their claim that they are printing “the news you need straight down the middle” is hard to believe. And it’s not as if these are old contributions that long predated the creation of the site. The six founders have given $10,825 to Democrats and nothing to Republicans since the start of 2009. Former Baltimore Sun reporter and editor Howard Libit, one of Center Maryland’s founders, wrote a $1,000 check to Democratic Attorney General Doug Gansler on 1/11/10, the same day that the site went live.

Our message to Center Maryland is the same as it is to write whatever you wish, but don’t pretend to be something that you are not.