Now This

This blog is now read by more machines than humans: RSS robots, spam-laying insectopoids, echoes of blog-gathering .edu projects. This essentially is the state of affairs that all human activities w

Cleaning Up the Nation

Austin Bay:

If Air America were a conservative radio network its corrupt funding trail and cynical abuse of a poverty program would be front page news at the NY Times and full-time mega-scandal at

Rank Materialism

Freedom. I am now the proud new owner of a Gateway 6020GZ laptop, perfect for students and others with limited means. I can now go into a Starbucks or a Barnes & Noble and look like I'm doing some

Fallujah Fonda

Uh-oh. From the Telegraph comes this exciting news:

Jane Fonda is returning to anti-war activism and embarking on a cross-country tour to call for an end to US military operations in Iraq.

Acros

John Pilger: Partner in Terrorism

In an outrageous piece of terrorist propaganda appearing on the cover of today's New Statesman, John Pilger puts the blame for the 7/7 London attacks not on the terrorists, but rather on Tony Blair:

On the Take

It's early in the unravelling, but this appears really trashy (via Glenn):

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.

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, reveals Howard Kurtz in Wednesday runs of the WASHINGTON POST.

The Drudge info doesn't say exactly when she received the payment or payments, but she wrote an article on the topic at National Review Online which appeared on that site on May 3, 2002. The article also appears on the non-partisan, non-profit Family Instititue of Connecticut's website, rather uncomfortably at this point. But less egregious timing would only slightly mitigate her failure here.

"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."

Gallagher explains to Kurtz: "Did I violate journalistic ethics by not disclosing it? 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.

"I don't know"!? "You tell me"!?

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."

Well I should say. Either that or not printed anything from her on the topic. Or at all. Journalists ought not take money from the government and then write as if they hadn't. It's quite simple. News and commentary outlets ought not publish anything from journalists who are on the take, unless they run it with a disclaimer: And now, a message from your government.

NRO is going to have to come clean on every detail about what they knew about her, and probably others. It's quite possible, maybe even likely, that they were completely unaware of this contract. But their reputation is at stake. Well, among people with whom they have a reputation anyway- I'm one of them.

As for the government side of it, as I commented somewhere, the FCC is not the proper body to investigate the Armstrong Williams thing, and of course they have no standing here. Congress will no doubt begin investigations, and they should. But their only question should be how is it that the government is wasting money in this manner? Like Williams, Gallagher was also paid by HHS, or their pr firm anyway. Let's hope that these contracts are limited to that department. [Correction: Williams was paid by Education.]

Congress should not get involved in any kind of press accountablity or journalist ethics questions. It can only make things worse. The media will have to deal with this themselves, along with the public.

Anyway, a second term is supposed to be about scandals. That was the CW from the Democrats. They've got one.

Update: Here's the Howard Kurtz article at the Post (registration required). It's bad.

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.

So the NRO article appeared smack dab in the middle of that, in May.

Later in the day [after talking to Kurtz], Gallagher filed a column in which she said that "I should have disclosed a government contract when I later wrote about the Bush marriage initiative. I would have, if I had remembered it. My apologies to my readers."

If she had remembered it. Oy. Must be nice to be in a position where you don't remember $20,000 government contracts. "Maggie, there's another $20,000 check from the government here." "Not another one! Throw it in the fire!"

And what's this "when I later wrote about the Bush marriage initiative"? According to Kurtz's timeline, she wrote about it during the contract.

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.

"Maggie, there's more checks vaguely from the government here." "Again? Look, if it's not for more than $50,000 then throw it away! I just don't have the time or memory to deal with this right now."

Update: Jonah Goldberg at NRO posted this on The Corner earlier:

All I know is what's up on Drudge. Howard Kurtz is reporting in tomorrow's paper that Maggie Gallagher took $21,500 from HHS to promote Bush's marriage proposals. I'm a fan of Gallagher's and I'll withhold final judgement until I know more of the facts. But, I have to say it's really, really disappointing even on the level of appearances -- which do matter.

That's a good first response.

Update: Here a few other takes on the matter, from Captain's Quarters, The American Mind, pandagon, and Talking Points Memo. I find that I agree most with Michelle Malkin on this, where she writes that we must hold our own side to a higher standard. See also my post on Fox News.

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Comments

I think you're being a little excessive here. Primarily because from all appearances, Gallagher was doing legitimate work at a market rate. Williams got paid $250k explicitly to propagandize. The "I would have if I had remembered it" line is lame, but all told this is pretty small beer compared with Williams, Kos, and god know what else out there. And where do we draw the line? How far back do we go? How relevant does a business relationaship need to be? Yeah, this should have been disclosed, but there's a big difference between $21,000 for doing real work and what Williams, or Kos, or Krugman did.

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