This column was reprinted by permission of L. Brent Bozell and Creators
Syndicate. To reprint this or any of his twice weekly syndicated columns, please contact Creators Syndicate at (310) 337-7003 ext. 110
Media Scandals on the Left
Ever since George W. Bush was
elected in 2000, the left-wing media have developed a taste to expose episodes
of media corruption. No, not their corruption. Conservative
The liberal media made loud grunts and noises over columnist Armstrong Williams,
who didn't tell readers of his column that he had a public-relations contract
with the Department of Education to sell the "No Child Left Behind" legislation.
If a columnist is working for a government program or entity, it's always best
to disclose to readers your involvement, so they can judge your point of view
The latest example arrived with columnist Doug Bandow's inexcusable back-door
acceptance of cash from Jack Abramoff for columns promoting his clients'
interests. Williams and Bandow both could argue they were only promoting
conservative causes they would support anyway. But the exposures of what they
wouldn't disclose had the opposite effect. It emits the odor of corruption. It
made them look like they were primarily advancing conservative issues through
columns because there was personal profit involved.
But where is that media-ethics crowd erupting with the same outrage when liberal
journalists - even major liberal journalists - cut ethical corners and feather
their own political nests? The major example of this is PBS omnipresence Bill
Moyers. In 1999, Knight-Ridder reporter Frank Greve revealed than in his
moonlighting job as the president of a liberal foundation (the Florence and John
Schumann Foundation), Moyers was funding left-wing activists for campaign
finance "reform"- and then interviewing them on his show, giving them national
exposure at taxpayer expense, with no disclosure.
In June of 1999, Moyers hosted a PBS show ironically called "Free Speech for
Sale," and he opened with the views of three "reformers" -- Burt Neuborne of the
Brennan Center for Justice, Charles Lewis of the Center for Public Integrity,
and Bob Hall of Democracy South. But as Greve reported, Moyers "never revealed
that their organizations have received a total of $2.6 million from the Schumann
Foundation in the last five years."
In 2003, Steve Hayes reported on the pattern again for The Weekly Standard,
finding that the Moyers-led foundation had dealt $4.8 million dollars to 16
leftist groups that also received free PR on "Now with Bill Moyers" in the
previous 16 months without any bothersome disclosure to PBS viewers. The list
included Friends of the Earth, Public Citizen, the Sierra Club, and The Nation
magazine. Does anyone remember the outrage over these cozy little corruptions?
The New York Times put the Doug Bandow story on the front page on December 23,
but back in 1993, they, too, were abusing PBS with a private agenda. PBS
welcomed the end of the Reagan-Bush era with a documentary titled "James Reston:
The Man Millions Read," another forum for cliched liberal attacks on
conservative politicians. The program lionized Reston, the veteran Times
reporter and columnist, for his role as a Washington power broker, and featured
only Reston and a few of his Times colleagues. Why? Because the show was
produced and funded by The New York Times. At the time, public-broadcasting
analyst Laurence Jarvik noted that PBS violated its own underwriting guidelines,
which forbid underwriters "having a direct and immediate interest in the content
of a program."
There are other little cozy arrangements that no one seems to notice. When Time
magazine named Bill and Melinda Gates (and rock star Bono) as their Persons of
the Year, deep in the story, Time admitted the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
"was a major sponsor of the Time Global Health Summit, held in New York City in
November." A Time press release before the summit claimed the Gates group was "the major supporter," not merely "a" major supporter.
Gates not only funded the conference, but was hailed as a global philanthropic
hero on the summit's "keynote panel." Time managing editor James Kelly paired
him with another liberal hero, Bill Clinton, who didn't stop oozing over how
ridiculously "modest" Bill Gates was and how "thrilled" he was over how
"well-organized" the Gates Foundation was, and how Gates and his wife were
"going all over Hell's half-acre" to help the poor.
Doesn't that fawning event and the Time "Person of the Year" honors look like a
big thank-you card to the Gates Foundation for their financial support? Nobody
who fulminates against Doug Bandow or Armstrong Williams has been heard from on
Time magazine's back-scratching payoffs.
I'm sure Time magazine would argue that they organized a Global Health Summit
because it fit with their humanitarian beliefs. But if Williams and Bandow are
to be condemned because the perception of their financial intake corrupted an
ideological cause, the same can, and should, be said of Time magazine and all
other liberal entities participating in similar questionable pay-for-play
Voice Your Opinion!
Write to Brent Bozell
Home | News Division
| Bozell Columns | CyberAlerts
Media Reality Check | Notable Quotables | Contact
the MRC | Subscribe