In The New York Times today, Adam Nagourney and David M. Halbfinger quote John Kerry’s press secretary, Stephanie Cutter, who declared that John Edwards’ “campaign is wholly funded by trial lawyers, which are widely recognized as special interests and lobbyists.” [italics added]

Edwards has certainly relied on his former colleagues for funding — at least $6.7 million of the $14.5 million he raised through Sept. 30, 2003 came from lawyers — but saying his campaign is wholly funded by trial lawyers is, well, wholly inaccurate.

Instead of correcting Cutter, Nagourney and Halbfinger give us this in the way of context: “Mr. Edwards himself is a former trial lawyer.”

Savvy readers will recognize Cutter’s ludicrous declaration for what it is: spin from a seasoned campaign operative. And anyone who thinks about it for a second will realize that it is virtually impossible for a candidate to be completely funded by lawyers.

But the Times leaves that for you to figure out yourself. What happened to the idea of reporters correcting the inevitable distortions of campaign rhetoric?

Brian Montopoli

Brian Montopoli is a writer at CJR Daily.