Wednesday, January 26, 2005

More Payola

Add one more to Armstrong Williams Hall of Shame. Columnist Maggie Gallagher received more than $20,000 from the Bush Administration's HHS Department. That's two departments, two B-Level right-wing pundits. From Howie the Ho (go figure, I figured he'd be out getting money for Hugh Hewitt):

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.

"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."

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. Her work under the contract, which ran from January through October 2002, included drafting a magazine article for the HHS official overseeing the initiative, writing brochures for the program and conducting a briefing for department officials.

"Did I violate journalistic ethics by not disclosing it?" Gallagher said yesterday. "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.

So one of the denizens of the intersection of No Shame Street & Restraining Order Avenue is a prostitute? Why you could knock me over with a feather.

Even Rube Goldberg has to comment on this one,

I'm a fan of Gallagher's and I'll withhold final judgement until I know more of the facts. But, I have to say it's really, really disappointing even on the level of appearances -- which do matter.

How Ward Cleaverish. Hugh Beaumont could not have cranked out a better bromide of wan disapprobation. Although I've always preferred SCTV's version of Leave it to Beaver over the real thing, where a now middle-aged Beaver kills Eddie Haskell and a drunken Ward (before his wife, June, now engaged in an affair with Fred Rutherford) tells him 15 to 20 years in the slammer will teach him a lesson he needs about killing people (I loved that show, updating this post, apparently so did James Wolcott on another theme).

Overall, I think this from Jesse at Pandagon sums it up to me (because its whiny and concerns money, two themes dear to my heart):

What's becoming readily apparent is just how flush with cash the conservative punditocracy is. I swear, it's like Maureen Dowd and Paul Krugman have all the liberal money in America reserved, and the rest of us are fighting over the scraps from misappropriated funds for the Cato Institue Weenie Roast and Singles Mixer.

Add my "heh" and "indeed" here.

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