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January 28, 2005

Williams, Gallagher, Disclosure and Bias.

As you probably know there’s something of a debate going on about payments to journalists and whether they should disclose them. Instapundit is as usual linking to a lot of the stories, like this Opinion Journal piece, the Kaus piece above, Brian Noggle, well, everyone and their grandfather seems to have an opinion and is not afraid to share it. (Which is a good thing of course.)

I’ve said before that I think that in the Armstrong Williams case, the scandal was that he would have said all those things without the $240,000, it thus being a clear case of a waste of taxpayer’s money. The later Gallagher case, where she got $20k odd for a bit of ghostwriting seems to me even more alarming. As Reason noted, not every Federal Bureaucrat appears to have had to study real hard for their various advanced degrees, but surely somewhere within the bureaucracy there are a few that are literate? Maybe just one or two that can put words in the correct order even if happens not to  be the political appointee running the shop?  Y’know, these people who are already being paid for by the taxpayers?

My position has been made clear a number of times. You can buy my efforts, just send the money. What I’ll charge is directly proportional to how far away from my own views the ones you want me to promote are. Free trade, globalisation, liberty, freedom? I do that for free here already and I’ll do it for you at the usual journalistic rates. Want me to say something nice about New Labour or the Democrats? Rather higher prices I fear.  Defend Michael Moore? No problem, his weekly food budget per 50 words. Praise Communism? Why not, at the price of the budget of a small country (or a large one if it has recently been Communist, wouldn’t want to sell out too cheaply).

Alas and alack I don’t think any of this is going to happen, given which side of the pond I come from. For as Humbert Wolfe told us nearly a century ago:

You cannot hope to bribe or twist (thank God!) the British journalist. But, seeing what the man will do unbribed, there's no occasion to.

Which I think means that I am stuck with peddling stuff at 10 cents a word. Ah well, glad I have a day job as well.

January 28, 2005 in Weblogs | Permalink


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Tracked on Jan 29, 2005 12:46:03 AM