Imagine for a moment that a Republican administration wanted to get support behind some program or legislation they wanted to push and decided the best way to do that was to get prominent people to write glowingly about the topic? Then after said person wrote about it this administration decided to tout the fact that the article had been written as support for their program. Imagine further that it then comes to light that the person doing the writing was paid to do so by the administration and that this paid relationship was deliberately withheld from the public, allowing us to think that it was an unbiased article when, in fact, it was a paid-for PR product.
Think there might be a stink raised about that?
Well, it turns out you don’t need to imagine it. Back in 2005 a man by the name of Armstrong Williams was paid by the Department of Education in the Bush Administration to write helpful articles regarding President Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” program. They left this little factoid out of their proud references to Williams’ writing on the program and when people found out about it, there was some pretty intense coverage of the matter. I myself wrote on the topic and I was none too pleased with Mr. Williams’ actions nor with those of whomever at the DoED it was who made the payments. The coverage was widespread and saw print and air in all the major media. Yes, that included such bleeding-heart liberal outlets as Fox News and the Washington Times.
Fast forward a few years into a new administration and a new program/legislative effort dealing with the massive re-organization of the nation’s healthcare systems. From Sonicfrog Dot Net:
What is it with academics, politics, and honesty? First we had Climategate – Now we have Grubergate! Grubergate? Grubergate???? What the hell is Grubergate?
Well, just like Climategate, if you get most of your news from the MSM, you’ve never heard of it because they’re not reporting it and ignoring the story. It involves MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, who was paid gobs of money by the White House controlled Dept. of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to write a report on health care reform. The report was favorable. The problem is, the report is not publicly available, and, more damning, it was sold to the public as an independent analysis of the administrations health care initiatives.
At that point, he introduces an article dealing with the subject – by Jane Hamsher writing at The Huffington Post. Hamsher goes to town not only on Gruber but on the Obama administration and on the news media because, quite unlike their pursuit of the Armstrong Williams story, the news media have been nearly silent on the matter. And not just the news media, all of the major Democrat / left-wing blogs who were all over the Williams issue have let this matter slip right on by without comment.
Folks, writing pro-anything prose for hire and then representing yourself as an independent agent on the question is unethical, period. I don’t care which side of the debate you’re on and I couldn’t care less about the topic, it’s just dishonorable and dishonest. If what Hamsher is saying is true, then Gruber’s analysis is pretty much the lynchpin of all supporting argumentation for Obamacare. If he wrote this as a paid contractor for the White House – and he did, it is confirmed – then he can hardly be cited as a credible, unbiased source. And the media are covering for him. It says a lot that the White House needed to pay someone off to write the glowing report on Obamacare and none of what it says speaks well for either that legislation or the White House pushing it.