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Another conservative ‘journalist’ paid with taxpayer funds

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Yes, one more conservative columnist was paid with taxpayer money to promote the Bush agenda. Surprise. Surprise.

Only this time it’s a paltry $21,500 vs. $241,000 that Armstrong Williams received… man, she sure got a raw deal… she must not have taken any negotiation classes in school.

But shill she did for the proposed $300mm “Defense of Marriage” act… with the publics money.

So once again, you can’t ‘sell’ a policy proposal on its merits, so you pay from the public purse to propagandize it under the cover of objectivity.

I can’t wait to hear how much more money the ‘fiscal conservatives’ running the government have paid out in the last 4 years to push their policies. I’m sure we won’t have to wait long to find out.

From the Washington Post today:

In 2002, syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher repeatedly defended President Bush’s push for a $300 million initiative encouraging marriage as a way of strengthening families.

“The Bush marriage initiative would emphasize the importance of marriage to poor couples” and “educate teens on the value of delaying childbearing until marriage,” she wrote in National Review Online, for example, adding that this could “carry big payoffs down the road for taxpayers and children.”

But Gallagher failed to mention that she had a $21,500 contract with the Department of Health and Human Services to help promote the president’s proposal. Her work under the contract, which ran from January through October 2002, included drafting a magazine article for the HHS official overseeing the initiative, writing brochures for the program and conducting a briefing for department officials.

“Did I violate journalistic ethics by not disclosing it?” Gallagher said yesterday. “I don’t know. You tell me.” She said she would have “been happy to tell anyone who called me” about the contract but that “frankly, it never occurred to me” to disclose it.

Gallagher received an additional $20,000 from the Bush administration in 2002 and 2003 for writing a report, titled “Can Government Strengthen Marriage?”, for a private organization called the National Fatherhood Initiative. That report, published last year, was funded by a Justice Department grant, said NFI spokesman Vincent DiCaro. Gallagher said she was “aware vaguely” that her work was federally funded.

National Review Editor Rich Lowry said of the HHS contract: “We would have preferred that she told us, and we would have disclosed it in her bio.”

“Did I violate journalistic ethics by not disclosing it?” Gallagher said yesterday. “I don’t know. You tell me.”… well since you asked Maggie, the answer is YES.

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About spiderleaf

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Yes. Again. Another stain. Rather. Blair. Williams & Gallagher (the new media ethics law firm

    But remember – though the distinction does and will get lost – in these payola scandals – columnists and opinion shills, not journalists.

  • http://jadedreality.blogspot.com spiderleaf

    Rather and Blair weren’t paid with public funds though.

    And I did put quotes around ‘journalist’ in the title because although she was considered ‘an expert’ on the issues, she certainly didn’t adher to any journalistic ethics… and doesn’t even seem to realize what those are by her comments…

  • Eric Olsen

    all wrong all the way – completely right to call her out, whether an editorialist or news writer, she represented ideas and opinions as her own when she was on the take to sell a specific side – totally an ethics violation

  • http://cbcbcbcb.blogspot.com/ cb

    Yep. Payola for bloviation stinks. I’m looking forward to a complete accounting of the practice going back at least 10 years.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    >>Rather and Blair weren’t paid with public funds though. << Which raises the question of how much worse it is to take payola from the US Government than it is to take it from private organizations or businesses. For example, George Soros funds this whole silly Air America network and its 4 affiliates specifically to promote a socialist agenda over the airwaves. Isn’t that essentially buying the specific opinions of like minded people who have media access? Or consider Jesse Jackson. He has a lot of public and takes payoffs to not attack certain companies on the issue of thei racial hiring policies. Isn’t that equally reprehensible? It just seems to me like the entire media and every talking head is basically for sale. Do I now have to limit myself to listening to no one but Neal Boortz and Hunter S. Thompson – the only trustworthy people in America? Dave

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    It’s much worse to take it from the government – unless you want to get even deeper into campaign finance reform.

    For one, it’s public money and taxes are the big bitch of most of the country. .

    But any journalist on a news forum / outlet that portrays itself as real, should not except money from anyone or anything he or she will ever cover. And there are some things – like governement – which no reporters should ever take money and/or gifts from.

    That’s why journalism ethics even go so far as to stop reporters accepting gifts and such. The rule differs some but the standing rule most places i’ve worked at has been, if you can eat it, share with everyone. If it’s less than $10 or so, don’t worry, it aint’w orth the hassle. If more thna that, politely give it back or give it to charity with a note back to the one giving.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Ok, then how is what they did in this case worse than the zillion PSAs they pay for? I’m far more offended by my tax dollars going to anti-marijuana PSAs than I am by them going to support programs like No Child Left Behind.

    Yes, this is propaganda, but so are PSAs and so is Air America. I think the problem is that the line has becoem so blurred that the differences are meaningless.

    Dave

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    And if you think those two are the only two trustworthy people – than yes.

    I didn’t see the quotes around the ‘journalist’ in the headline.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    It occurs to me on reviewing the details of both this case and the Armstrong Williams case that in neither instance was the money actually paid as a bribe. In both cases the subjects were paid for other services relating to the issue, not directly paid on a quid pro quo basis. Williams was paid for advertising on his show to promote No Child Left Behind and Gallagher was paid for doing some commissioned writing work on behalf of the Defense of Marriage Act. Unless you can prove that these bits of freelance work were basically a front for a payoff there’s not much here to take issue with – except for the general sorry state of both government and the media.

    Dave

  • http://mike.shelikesit.net mrbenning

    Sounds like Payola for Politics.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    But it’s not Payola, because those who provide Payola – which by the way is happening again in the music industry today – profit directly and personally and monetarily from the actions of the DJ. Plus payola is the only way I can explain Ashlee Simpson.

    Dave

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Dave I’m about to lose ALL respect for you. Is nothing unethical in your eyes?

    Are you really just being being blinded by partisanship. Sho on the other foot Dave. Shoe on the other foot.

    PSAs are clearly labeled as such and, if I recall correctly, most are given freely to help match the obligations of each network to provide a certain number of hours of educational TV.

    Don’t try and confligrate the music industry with government either. It won’t work with anyone who stops and thinks for a moment.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    I think you misred me, TS. EVERYTHING is unethical in my eyes. It’s all one big mass welter of circle-jerking corruption and autophagic narcissism. So I’ve ceased to care. All media is a meaningless wasteland.

    Dave

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    George Soros funds this whole silly Air America network and its 4 affiliates specifically to promote a socialist agenda over the airwaves.

    That’s nonsense. Air America is about promoting liberal ideas of all people on the left end of the spectrum. That’s not a socialist agenda.

    Isn’t that essentially buying the specific opinions of like minded people who have media access?

    Let’s ask Rupert Murdoch or Sinclair Broadcasting or Clear Channel.

    Dave every time you tell someone from the left some snide comment about socialism, you aren’t convincing anybody. I believe in liberal democratic ideals and I DON’T believe in socialism. When I read someone equate the two, it convinces me that they don’t understand my ideology, rather than that I might be wrong. So this constant attempt at demonization of an ideology is a no-win situation in terms of convincing people.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>Dave every time you tell someone from the left some snide comment about socialism, you aren’t convincing anybody. I believe in liberal democratic ideals and I DON’T believe in socialism. When I read someone equate the two, it convinces me that they don’t understand my ideology, rather than that I might be wrong. So this constant attempt at demonization of an ideology is a no-win situation in terms of convincing people.<< Steve, I have no problems with Liberals who ARE liberals, but the fact is that the liberal movement in America has largely been subverted by radical socialism and people who are otherwise fairly reasonable even if on the left politically, are getting sucked in to a whole realm of ideological insanity and irrational hatred which does no one any good. MoveOn.org, George Soros, Noam Chomsky and their ilk are not liberals. They are anti-capitalist, socialist extremists. They are destroying and marginalizing the Democratic party and if you can’t see that then you’ve forgotten what the party used to stand for in more sensible times. Dave

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Dave the conservative lectures about Democratic ideals. Interesting. Clearly the expert.

    And I get you on the media thing. Doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, but I understand where you’re coming from.

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    the fact is that the liberal movement in America has largely been subverted by radical socialism and people who are otherwise fairly reasonable even if on the left politically, are getting sucked in to a whole realm of ideological insanity and irrational hatred which does no one any good.

    That’s what a lot of people believe. From my perspective, I see the conservative/moderates sucked into a whole realm of ideological insanity from the neo cons and religious right. The view I see is scarier because it is the one coming to fruition.

    They are destroying and marginalizing the Democratic party

    My thought is that the Democratic party needs to break in two. But that it can’t do that unless the Republican party does as well (and it needs to also). I know a lot more people would go to conservative ideals about a lot of things if they didn’t equate conservatism with ‘right wingers’. But they do, as you and a lot of others equate the left with socialism.

    Until/unless the break in parties happens, I hope the Democratic party doesn’t go Republican lite. Maybe they don’t have to go as Left as Chomsky, but they don’t need to go right, that area is already covered by a well established party.

    In terms of the far Left making the Democratic party out of touch with things, I think that is a matter of perspective. Kerry was portrayed as a liberal elite. But it was Dean, who is possibly more liberal, who inspired and motivated through unprecedented grassroots efforts. When the wails of the Right said ‘you all are too far Left’, people faltered and doubted and turned from Dean. But they didn’t turn to Lieberman or Zell Miller. They turned to Kerry, who you all hate for his liberalness.

    There still is a large enough support system out there for a good leader with strong liberal ideals. I just hope Democratic leaders remember that and don’t necessarily take advice from the Right about what people and organizations are acceptable to have in our own fold.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I find the loony extremists of the right just as distasteful as the loony extremists of the left, and I don’t count Kerry among those, btw.

    I agree that Democrats shouldn’t listen to Republican extremists in remaking their party, but they also shouldn’t listen to their own extremists.

    Politically I’m relatively neutral – I know you don’t believe this based on like 2 issues that I’ve talked about, but it’s true – and I can see what’s happening to the Democrats. The politics of MoveOn.org are a lethal dead-end for the party. They may be glad to have these folks as allies in the short run, but in the long run when they find themselves unable to cut free of them, the party will regret it.

    Dave

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Moveon.org killed Paul Babbitt here in Arizona. not the only thing but it was the first strike.

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    Politically I’m relatively neutral – I know you don’t believe this based on like 2 issues that I’ve talked about, but it’s true

    I believe politics is based on ideology. And I don’t think you are ideologically neutral at all.

    You’ve talked about more than a few issues, and in almost every single comment, no matter the topic, without exception, you demonize and/or slam something about the Left. My impression is that you are far from neutral.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    >>I believe politics is based on ideology. And I don’t think you are ideologically neutral at all. < < No, I'm not ideologically neutral, but the ideology I subscribe to is neither that of Republican or Democrat extremists. I have nothing in common with Neocons or International Socialists. >>You’ve talked about more than a few issues, and in almost every single comment, no matter the topic, without exception, you demonize and/or slam something about the Left. My impression is that you are far from neutral.<< Well, no one is giving me any good opportunities to slam the extreme right – except for the one discussion of SpongeBob. The errors of the left are more prominent and the advocates of the left are more outspoken, so they’re the ones I have to respond to. When BlogCritics gets a flaming, ranting pro-lifer or homophobe or school christianizer I’ll be the first to bash them. Dave

  • http://gratefuldread.net Natalie Davis

    If there is anything funny about this, it’s this: How typical that the Bushies pay a woman less than a man for doing the same job.

    The whole thing reminds me of a funny story I heard eons ago:

    A gentleman asked a society woman if she would consider having sex with someone for $10 million. The woman was taken aback by the question and thought about the prospect for a moment. Eventually, she answered, “Yes, yes I would.”

    The gentleman had another question: “Would you do it for $10?”

    “Absolutely not,” she replied, feeling insulted. “Just what do you take me for?”

    “My dear, we have already established that,” the man said. “Now, we are merely haggling over the price.”

    Anyone with eyes can see what Gallagher, Williams, and too many media types are.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    It wasn’t a gentleman, it was Oscar Wilde.

    Dave

  • http://gratefuldread.net Natalie Davis

    Mr. Nalle, I could kiss you! I couldn’t recall Wilde’s name — getting old, you know. Thank you!

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    I’ll be the first to bash them.

    Bashing is always a good answer. If the opportunity comes along you can take a break from bashing the Left and bash the Right for awhile. Does the bones and cardiovascular system some good.

    I have nothing in common with Neocons

    With all due respect, I completely disagree. You use the neocon strategy of demonizing your political enemy. You post a blog about educators being the ‘enemies of children’, you equate mainstream liberalism with socialism with innuendo and off hand remarks. Far from neutral, your remarks are just as politically motivated as ideologically.

    And so far, (and this is probably what you were referring to when you said ‘2 issues’ earlier), the topics that you have talked about, you have been in ideological agreement with the neocons, some Spongebob thread notwithstanding.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Neocons, Liberals, Communists, Socialists and Me all agree that the sky is blue. I guess that means that we all agree on everything.

    >>With all due respect, I completely disagree.< < Then you would be completely wrong. >> You use the neocon strategy of demonizing your political enemy. < < That's a leftist radical strategy, actually. Or perhaps one used by all extremists. I don't demonize my political enemies, I expose their demonic nature. Not the same thing. >>You post a blog about educators being the ‘enemies of children’, < < In the context in which I posted they are. Do you read my posts, btw? If you had read any more than the title you'd realize there wasn't a lot of demonizing going on. >>you equate mainstream liberalism with socialism with innuendo and off hand remarks. < < Wrong. I fear that mainstream liberalism is in danger of being overwhelmed by radical socialism and losing all of its good qualities and replacing them with the agenda of internationalist groupthink and paternalistic elitism. >>Far from neutral, your remarks are just as politically motivated as ideologically.<< Well sure they’re politically motivated. I know what I think is good – a rational society dedicated to individual liberty. The irrational and the oppressive are my enemies and there’s an awful lot of irrationality on both the left and the right and plenty of extremists who want to oppress the rest of us. If I find myself at odds with the left most of the time, it’s because they put themselves and their agenda out in public more than the extremists on the opposite end of the spectrum. With a few exceptions most of the irrational conservative issues are sort of like the Spongebob controversy. They’re stupid and offensive, but hard to take seriously. Going after them in a serious way is overkill and more likely to legitimize them than make any real impression. Maybe it’s that the conservative nuts are so obviously nuts that fewer people take them seriously and they are therefore far less dangerous. Plus most of their issues are dead in the water as far as mainstream politics go. The leftist nuts seem to be a lot more numerous and get more people to take them seriously, so they demand serious opposition more. But if it makes you happy I’ll repost to blogcritics my endless series of blog articles on why the Ten Commandments shouldn’t ever be posted anywhere. Or maybe I can ferret out something new on the right to be unhappy with. Dave

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    I don’t demonize my political enemies, I expose their demonic nature. Not the same thing.

    That line is a hoot to me. But thank you for the clarification about your interpretation of the direction of the Left, it helps me to understand where you are coming from. I don’t agree, but I understand better.

  • http://www.myspace.com/welcometobrookhollow Scott

    “I don’t demonize my political enemies, I expose their demonic nature. Not the same thing.”

    Way to be, Dave. Expose those demonic natures!