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Another Journalist Ensnared In Government Contract Hunt

Is it acceptable for someone who writes a newspaper column to do research and writing for the government?

That's the question columnist Maggie Gallagher asks after Howard Kurtz questions her contract with the Department of Health and Human Services.

From her description of the contract it sounds quite different from Armstrong Williams contract. She was paid to write material for HHS assistant secretary for children and families (ACF) Wade Horn (such as this article - Closing the Marriage Gap) and produce written materials for use by the agency.


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Comments (8)

I'm sure other people have ... (Below threshold)
-S-:

I'm sure other people have noticed, and that is that ANYone with ANY affiliation in media to or for President Bush is being suspised by the liberal media otherwise.

They are truly showing their true cores here and that is that to even provide paid services to government, IF the President is George Bush (and probably will also apply to any/all Republicans), there's just gotta be something wrong there IF you're liberal and/or otherwise a Democrat, and particularly if and when you are either/both and otherwise using media yourself. To a liberal advantage.

But, specifically, this woman provided paid services. I don't see any conspiracy or bad motive or unethical aspect to what she's done. I don't know about Kurtz, have my questions there.

But, notice the theme: marriage, health, education. Liberals really, really NEED these areas under their control inorder to survive as political movement. They appear to be quite desperate at this point to destruct any conservative who tries to participate, not like they haven't already.

The woman's explanation see... (Below threshold)
-S-:

The woman's explanation seems adequate. If we are to follow this suggested theme by Kurtz through to it's conclusion, then, no one of any capacity will or should ever receive payment for services rendered when and if services are rendered to a "government" source.

And, or, so long to "paid experts" and their advice. I agree that this columnists' services and behavior are a different issue altogether from Armstrong's, but Kurtz seems to suggest that invoices now become a matter of public discussion when and if you write for a living (have "readers"), when and if you're employed/retained by a "government" source. That's a huge area of generality there, one that no one with any sense of individual privacy would/could ever support. Least of all, Kurtz I am thinking...

Although not nearly to the ... (Below threshold)

Although not nearly to the same scale as Armstrong Williams, Maggie should have come clean long ago - for her own credibility.

S: While I would generally ... (Below threshold)

S: While I would generally agree with your second comment, I believe your first one is a little out there.

Armstrong Williams gave liberals in general a damn good reason to whine- and he handed it to them on a silver platter.

If the shoe were on the other foot, I guarantee you the Republican outcry would be every bit as loud and vindictive- as it should be. (Read: Rathergate. Sorry. Nearest comparison available on one cup of coffee.)

If one promotes anything under the guise of commentary, and doesn't disclose financial gain recieved from the agency associated with said product or service, one invites every criticism they get.

I'm sorry, but this one won't fit under the blanket of partisanship.

Kurtz seems to suggest t... (Below threshold)
tee bee:

Kurtz seems to suggest that invoices now become a matter of public discussion when and if you write for a living

funny, reminded me of Kerry releasing his tax returns last year.

It must be because I'm jus... (Below threshold)
Peter:

It must be because I'm just a po' country boy but, as hard as I try, I can't quite figure the difference between what Gallagher and Williams did and the big names in journalism charging speaking fees bigger than a rural deputy sheriff's yearly take-home pay.
Even the medium big names get fees in the low five figures, for a ONE TIME appearence, then they go out and do stories, that may have an impact on the group that paid them those fees, most often without disclosure to the public.
Yes, they SHOULD have disclosed the connection. I'll get real excited that they didn't when I start seeing every other journalist disclose all income outside their paychecks from their main media employers. I'll get my briefs in a knot about Gallagher and Williams when I stop seeing ads in newspapers and on TV from the very groups and industries they're running stories about.
That's just me, though, I'm sure all these real smart people can see a great big difference.

I see a big difference betw... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

I see a big difference between what she did and Williams.

Disclosure is always a good idea, but I just don't see this as being on the same level as the Williams thing.

Jim Price: you misundersto... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Jim Price: you misunderstood what I expressed there. I wrote that Armstrong's behavior was bad, to that effect anyway...about how he handled himself in that experience as he did, it was very unethical how he mismanaged his position of trust, and I agree that he needed a public lecture about what he did and how.

This lady columnist, however, it's a different circumstance. She's an "expert on marriage" and was asked to provide her expertise in that regard, and did, to a government source. She is a writer as an expert on marriage and maintains a column within that expertise. She didn't share wiht her readers that she'd contracted as an expert within her area of expertise to provide certain services to a government client, BUT it doesn't even seem relevant that she would have had any occasion TO write about that in her column to general readers. Unless the issue arose, which it now has and she's written about it in that perspective.

So, case closed. I see no comparison between what the columnist in this case has done, with the poor behavior by Armstrong, who appears to hav actually made attempts to avoid revealing the information, to have had motive to conceal, while this other columnist did not.

Other things, also, but my only point was that the columnist in this case doesn't appear to pose any covert aspects to her very meager provision of expert contribution to a government project. It isn't as if she was on a salary or a contributor to policy, just asked for an opinion, charged for her time, provided the opinion, continued with other professional work in the meantime. Admitted her client contact afterward, case closed. Armstrong, on the other hand, appears to have had other motives and behaved quite differently, AND, the degree to which he was involved was greater in that he also appears to have conducted an actual effort to go about changing public opinion as an aspect of what he was paid to do...indicates a far different level of involvement and activity, is what I mean, as did his behavior afterward once confronted.

I don't see what's "out there" about those opinions, but feel free to explain further if you want.




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