Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Where will it stop?

Looking over the front section of the Sunday Times that he was reading, the PP asked me about a week ago whether it made sense that the government should be spending however much taxpayer money they were about to spend to convince taxpayers that the Bush plan to reform Social Security was a good idea.

The PP tends to ask questions he does not really expect me to answer.

It reminded me of a recent provocative post on iona arc, which argues compellingly that the point of tv news is advertisement. pk's argument is that the point of airing the news is to sell advertisements, and that without ads, news can't run. (There is much, much more to his argument, so read it yourself.)

And of course I had read that post around the time the Armstrong Williams story broke.

Now I see there is more where that came from, courtesy of Drudge:
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 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.

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."

I suppose we knew there would be more, and only the naive among us should be disappointed. Somehow I cannot come up with anything more insightful than Low Culture's response.


pk said...

Hey furious, I love the corpo-write poster.
We have sun hats to protect us from the sun: how come we don't have news hats to protect us from the news? Or money hats to protect our money from the fed?
But all that is trivial compared to the danger posed by government claiming alliance with the family! Families are bad enough by themselves; the Church did untold damage; now state concern will corrupt whatever is left of our fertility, our social potential for cohesion. More people -- on welfare, no backbone -- for anyone.

Isis said...

That's funny about the news hats, pk. I actually addressed that very matter here, but tongue-in-cheek-like, because I have learned that if I feel like I'm going to start to cry, I should laugh instead.

I would be keen to read more of your thoughts about government cooptation of and interference in the family.