News bought and paid for?
Can one trust a news outlet receiving a direct payment from a candidate, campaign, or a candidate's super PAC for unbiased coverage?
I have written about presidential politics since 2007. I have never received a dime from any presidential candidate, campaign committee, or super PAC.
Now news outlets are certainly free to sell advertising, I do, though I typically make just enough to pay for web hosting and web development tools to keep the website up.
I certainly haven’t been able to support myself full-time writing, though I certainly wish I could and kudos to those who have been able to earn enough to do that.
In my experience reading FEC filings, campaigns and super PACs generally use third party digital advertising firms to place ads. They rarely make direct ad buys on a particular website.
Also, when news outlets run political ads, you know they are advertisements.
Like this ad on The Des Moines Register’s home page from Americans for Prosperity Action, which is third-party ad. So that ad is delivered to me through a network, it’s not something DMR’s website explicitly served up.
Here’s another example of a third-party ad, found on The Sioux City Journal’s home page.
This is similar to Google Ads (which I used to run). News outlets receive money from Google Ads based on impressions and clicks, but had very little control over what ad is served. I was able to ban particular ads and categories of ads, but I couldn’t control who advertised.