The explosion of issue advocacy -- money spent by individuals and independent groups to support political causes -- threatens to make even an outright ban on "soft" money irrelevant. Worse, much of what passes for "issue advocacy" is really covert campaign financing. Still worse, it can't be regulated.
In Virginia, fresh-faced, environmentally minded schoolchildren gather biological samples and test water quality in rivers and waterways, part of the Izaak Walton League's Save Our Streams initiative. In Chicago, amid Tai Chi classes and body massages, families with young children enjoy performance art and teenagers flock to an all-night "rave," all part of the Museum of Contemporary Art's Summer Solstice weekend. In Minnesota hundreds of children with HIV or AIDS come together each year at Camp Heartland, where they can "escape the isolation and misunderstanding they so often face because of this illness." And all of these kids can thank the caring people at Philip Morris.
Is journalism the only industry whose quality is adversely affected by the capitalist drive to increase profit margins?
You might think so, judging by the media response to the resignation of Jay T. Harris, publisher of the San Jose Mercury News. Harris abruptly quit his job as chief of the Knight Ridderowned daily earlier this spring--with a public salvo aimed at his bosses. "So far," he wrote, "we have been unable to find a way to meet the new [financial] targets without risking significant and lasting harm to the Mercury News as a journalistic enterprise."
Just before the November election, concern about foreign influence
over U.S. trade policy suddenly emerged amid revelations that
the Clinton campaign had accepted (and then returned) illegal
donations from wealthy East Asian nationals. But as the media
focused on the connections of one fundraiser to the White House
and the debate became tinged with xenophobia, a bigger story of
influence-peddling got lost: the role of multinational corporations
that nominally fly the American flag.