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I've been saying it for a while now, and its become one of my "fundamental" issues regarding what's wrong these days. And its this:
Doug Bandow, Senior Fellow at the esteemed Cato Institute admits that he took money from Jack Abramoff for writing columns that were favorable to Abramoff's clients.
Bandow confirms that he received $2,000 for some pieces, but says it was "usually less than that amount." He says he wrote all the pieces himself, though with topics and information provided by Abramoff. He adds that he wouldn't write about subjects that didn't interest him.
And this is the part that amuses me. Of course these columnists will all adamently declare that they are writing their own opinions and that they are not paid to push certain agendas. But few will go so far as to admit that they would never have a career as a "professional" opinion maker if there was not someone out there willing to pay them for their "useful opinions".
Its a market, and having a better product means you'll go further.
Bandow isn't the only think-tanker to have received payments from Abramoff for writing articles. Peter Ferrara, a senior policy adviser at the conservative Institute for Policy Innovation, says he, too, took money from Abramoff to write op-ed pieces boosting the lobbyist's clients. "I do that all the time," Ferrara says. "I've done that in the past, and I'll do it in the future."
Ferrara is more honest about what he does. He sells his opinions. Now it stands to reason that if your opinion is not marketable then you will never make a living at writing op/eds.
Its not hard to come up with a few opinions that might be easy sells:
There's more, but the trend is easy to spot. Any opinion that promotes the idea that powerful people should become more rich, more powerful and more protected will get support. They are, after all, just protecting their interests by making sure that their point of view gets airtime. But it should come as no suprise to us that the majority of people out there making their living by writing opinions are pushing a pro-wealthy set of ideas.
Which is fine, except that most of these columnists seem to think that they are part of the journalism profession when in fact they are just freelance salesmen.
more at eschaton, Cursor, and Media Transparency
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Dissolve into Evergreens