[star]The American Mind[star]

January 26, 2005

Another Columnist on the Dole

Maggie Gallagher is the second conservative columnist to be outed for not telling anyone she was on the federal government's payroll. In 2002, the strong marriage advocate wrote an essay defending the Bush administrations marriage promotion plan. At the same time she was writing pro-marriage materials for the Department of Health and Human Services.

Gallagher's excuse was that "it never occurred to me" to disclose it.

Is it really that hard to remember you were paid by the government on a subject you're writing a column on? Gallagher's flipant response shows she doesn't take her lack of disclosure seriously. I rarely read any of her work, but this bit of news will guarantee I will skip over anything with her byline on it. Tribune Media Services felt the same way. They dropped her syndicated column. (With Gallagher and Armstrong Williams

Armstrong Willams' and Gallagher's indiscretions bring up an interesting set of questions. How should intellectuals (in lieu of a better word) work with the government? We all agree full disclosure is good to keep oneself intellectually honest. However, is it all right for them to take government money on subjects they'll later write on? What is the statute of limitations if any? Should outside intellectuals get paid at all?

In line with the last question is an example: is it ethical for the government to pay a scholar like Bernard Lewis to come to Washington, D.C. to speak to the State Department? Is it ethical for Lewis to accept such an offer? Is Lewis' scholarship tainted by being paid? Lewis is not the best example because he's never been shy about mentioning his meetings with Bush administration officials.

Gallagher wonders [via Andrew Sullivan] about these same questions:

My first instinct is to say, no, Howard, I had no special obligation to disclose this information. I'm a marriage expert. I get paid to write, edit, research, and educate on marriage. If a scholar or expert gets paid to do some work for the government, should he or she disclose that if he writes a paper, essay, or op-ed on the same or similar subject? If this is the ethical standard, it is an entirely new standard. I was not paid to promote marriage. I was paid to produce particular research and writing products (articles, brochures, presentations) which I produced. My lifelong experience in marriage research, public education and advocacy is the reason HHS hired me.

Captain Ed sees Gallagher's error as less than that of Williams. He actually thinks her lame response was worse for her credibility.

Michelle Malkin is again disgusted and demands the Bush administration and any other paid pundits come clean.

Slant Point sees this as an "emerging proof of pattern" for the administration.

Jib comes clean with his past conflicts.

"Columnist Backing Bush Plan Had Federal Contract"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 12:29 AM | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (1)
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