Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Another payola pundit

One of the very first things I blogged about was the outrage I felt over the Bush administration's use of payola pundits to corrupt the fourth estate. Although time forces me into brevity, I must observe that I'm also outraged - again - that the Obama administration has employed at least one such "independent" analyst who was clandestinely on the WH's payroll.

In January 2005, USA Today revealed that a U.S. Department of Education contract paid Williams to promote Bush's No Child Left Behind legislation on his TV show and to ask other African American journalists to do likewise. Democrats and media activists were appropriately outraged at such blatant and hidden government propaganda. A January 7, 2010, report by Marcy Wheeler on her Firedoglake blog exposed the similar failure of the Obama Administration and influential MIT economist Jonathan Gruber to fully and consistently reveal Gruber's role in receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars as a paid consultant to the Obama Administration, while promoting Obama's health care legislation.

What a difference partisanship makes now that Obama is president. In the Gruber scandal prominent liberals including New York Times columnist Paul Krugman have attacked the messenger, Marcy Wheeler and Firedoglake, rather than criticizing the lack of disclosure and the money changing hands, and digging further into the relationship between Obama and his paid health care advocate Jonathan Gruber. Who else is receiving convenient Administration funding while flacking "independently" for Obama policies? In a democracy, we need to know and we have a right to know, no matter which party controls the White House.
Also see Glenn Greenwald's response to those who would defend the failure to disclose Kruber's finanical ties.

No comments: