More Payola in the News Biz
I suppose we should be grateful: this time, it's not the government who's paying pundits being. Still, it is disturbing to find out from both Business Week and the NY Times' Paul Krugman that Tom DeLay's good friend Jack Abramoff has been paying off think-tankers at the Cato Institute and elsewhere to spin op-eds that benefit his clients. And once again, there was no disclosure. Cato op-ed writer Doug Bandow, who writes a syndicated column for Copley, took payments of up to $2000 for each of at least 12 and as many as 24 columns promoting Abramoff's clients.
At least he has the good sense to say he made a mistake, as does his boss. What's truly disturbing is the statement by another of Abramoff's beneficiaries, Peter Ferrara (a noted architect of Social Security policy), who is completely shameless: "I do that all the time. I've done that in the past, and I'll do it in the future."
Oh, and Ferrara's boss at the Institute for Policy Innovation, Tom Giovanetti, hasn't figured out the problem either. Giovanetti accuses critics of a "naive purity standard...I have a sense that there are a lot of people at think tanks who have similar arrangements."
Ugly, ugly, ugly.