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WALL STREET JOURNAL: J. Edgar Moyers. “Memories are short in Washington, and Mr. Moyers has gone on to promote himself as a political moralist, routinely sermonizing about what he claims are abuses of power by his ideological enemies.” There are so many stories like this — hatchetmen rewarded for their service by becoming revered “thinkers” in the media — that it’s really hard to take the “have you no decency” routine seriously any more.

The story is about Bill Moyers asking the FBI to investigate two men who were “suspected as having homosexual tendencies.”

NOW THEY ASK: Will America Now Have a Pravda? With’s Steve Bannon now in a seat of White House power, Donald Trump will have a weapon no president has ever wielded, Jack Shafer claims at Politico.

And while I’m not at all sure the late Andrew Breitbart would approve of what’s become of his site over the past year, surely he would get a chuckle over the notion that’s now on the level of mandatory consumption, as Pravda was for Soviet citizens.


BILL MOYERS HAS A SAD: What Happens to Journalists When No One Wants to Print Their Words Anymore? Moyers, of course, was always a political operative, sometimes with a byline. And that gets to this comment from Thomas Lipscomb that I saw on Facebook:

It’s so simple even a journalist should understand it. Anyone who has been a real reporter does.

Print media are MASS MARKET MEDIA.

When reporters become “journalists” they ignore the market which sustains their economic model and start worrying about their peers in the business and handing one another awards and citations. And the journalists being hired out of the hothouses of American academia today are so deracinated from the market they need to serve that it became chic to have contempt for it as a great mob of the unwashed clinging to its guns and bibles. No more uncredentialed rough-hewn geniuses need apply these days.

And the vital information the mass market used to expect from its newspapers, like the make up of the rioting teenaged crowd that trashed a shopping center yesterday, was carefully kept out of the paper as being possibly “divisive.” This makes it impossible to calculate degrees of shopping risk, so retail sales and advertising dives and Amazon, which doesn’t advertise, thrives.

In fact a lot of the stuff the mass market wants to see in the paper, as we know from a century’s worth of market research has been pruned by elitists wanting to elevate the tone. This isn’t surprising since more than 90% of people in the business are so far left politically from at least 50% of their market that the notion of balanced press coverage today is a bad joke.

Alas, the only award that counts is circulation. Pulitzer, Hearst, and Edward Bernays all understood this.

So now the “journalists” finally have the papers that cater to THEIR tastes and there just aren’t enough journalists buying news papers to support the new business model.

Exeunt omnes pursued by a bear market.

Who could have seen this coming?

SUPREME ETHICS:  Democrats on the Hill, led by Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY), are once again pushing legislation that would impose a code of ethics upon the U.S. Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court itself has repeatedly rejected the idea of adopting such an ethics code, including the current Roberts Court.  Members of the Court do voluntarily agree, however, to follow the same rules as other federal judges on honoraria, gifts, and outside income.

There is a Judicial Code of Conduct for United States Judges— which binds all federal judges except the U.S. Supreme Court–which requires recusal in certain instances of bias and prohibits federal judges from engaging in various acts that may create an appearance of partiality, including engaging in political activities. So why doesn’t this Judicial Code of Conduct also apply to Supreme Court Justices?  Because the Supreme Court is the only court that is constitutionally required to exist, with all lower federal courts existing only insofar as Congress wishes to establish them.  The lower federal courts, therefore, are “creatures” of Congress, established and controlled by it.  Congress’ ability to impose a code of conduct upon judges it creates is thus clear, as a legal matter.

But the Supreme Court is not created by Congress; it has independent constitutional existence.  While Congress has power to regulate the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, give Senatorial advice and consent to Supreme Court nominations, impeach Justices, control the Supreme Court’s budget and even to enact legislation defining the number of Justices that sit on the Court, it otherwise lacks a clear textual authority to regulate the way the Court adjudicates cases.  The Court’s historic position is that because it isn’t created by Congress, Congress cannot impose a code of ethics upon it; doing so would violate separation of powers.

While having the Supreme Court abide by a Code of Ethics sounds good at first blush, the question isn’t really whether it should have such a code, but whether Congress should be able to impose one upon a co-equal branch of government.  And the reasons cited for congressional enactment of such a code focus exclusively on supposed unethical behavior by conservative Justices.  For example, Justice Clarence Thomas failed to report his spouse’s income from conservative groups, necessitating several years of revised disclosure forms.  Justices Antonin Scalia and Thomas have attended events at the National Lawyers’ Convention of the Federalist Society.

But of course, liberal Justices have engaged in the exact same behavior.  Justice Ginsburg has lent her name and given speeches to the NOW Legal fund and recently made comments about same-sex marriage cases that clearly indicate her prejudgment on the issue. Justice Elena Kagan refused to recuse herself from the recent Obamacare subsidy case, King v. Burwell, even though she served as the U.S. Solicitor General and was intimately involved in the defense of the law. And like Ginsburg, Kagan’s comments and officiating at a same-sex marriage ceremony have called for her recusal from the same-sex marriage cases now pending before the Court.  Justice Breyer has faced his own calls for recusal, based on potential financial conflicts.

The point is that while it may be a good idea for the Supreme Court voluntarily to adopt ethics rules for itself (which it de facto seems already to have done), I am highly skeptical about Congress imposing them, and the political mischief that could ensue.  Indeed, liberals/progressives are already overtly attempting to bully the Court, calling for term limits (which, btw, would require a constitutional amendment), and generally calling for “reforms” of a Court they think is too conservative (and likely to stay that way for some time).

My hunch is that congressionally-imposed SCOTUS ethics rules would only further politicize the Court, which would not be good for the rule of law.

JACKASSERY IS HIS PRIMARY MODE OF OPERATION: “The Bill Moyers operation thinks mocking religious people is a good move. I say it’s prime jackassery.” Also, Bill Moyers’ own finances don’t hold up so well under scrutiny.

TWO PBSs IN ONE! PBS’s Mark Shields: ‘The Rich Are the Scum of the Earth:’

MARK SHIELDS, PBS: I think it was G. K. Chesterton who said, “Wherever they are, the rich are the scum of the earth.”


SHIELDS: For some reason, Charles doesn’t want to stand up for rich Russians. And I think somebody has to stand up for people who put their money in offshore or nontaxable places. Let’s remember, I mean, look at it this way: Cyprus is the Cayman Islands of a different time zone. That’s what it is. We don’t want rich people paying taxes whether they’re Russian or whether they’re Republicans.

GORDON PETERSON: But the rich people he’s talking about …

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: You don’t think there’s a difference between the way the Russian economy works and who gets rich? Russia doesn’t have a Steve Jobs. Russia has people who steal from what was once Soviet property and you get your money if you’re a crony of Putin and his other people.

SHIELDS: I wasn’t defending how one gets it. I was just merely addressing the compulsion to keep it and never to surrender any to the public wheel.

KRAUTHAMMER: There’s a difference between gains which are ill-gotten or fairly gotten.


NINA TOTENBERG, NPR: [Groans] I’m not sure that a lot of the people that Mark is talking about who aren’t Russian got it so fairly either.

But please you wealthy people whom we just condemned, continue to sponsor our shows, and give generously during one of our seemingly weekly fundraisers. A generous pledge of $500 will bring you a $9.99 DVD of Woodstock and a PBS totebag!

Actually, the full Chesterton quote is:

“You English are an extraordinary lot,” said the Irishman, with a sudden and sombre quietude. ” I sometimes feel you may pull through after all.”

After another silence he said, ‘ You’re always right, Hump, and one oughtn’t to think of Yankees like that. The rich are the scum of the earth in every country. And a vast proportion of the real Americans are among the most courteous, intelligent, self-respecting people in the world. Some attribute this to the fact that a vast proportion of the real Americans are Irishmen.”

Modesty regarding my own heritage means that I can neither confirm nor deny the last portion of that sentiment, but it’s difficult to see anyone at PBS declaring that “a vast proportion of the real Americans are among the most courteous, intelligent, self-respecting people in the world.” I would imagine the thoughts of someone staring out from the glass windows of a PBS building into the hinterlands would be much more akin to this. Not to mention, this.

RELATED: Tales of the One Percent: “WaPo Executives Make Millions While Paper Cuts Staff, Benefits.” That seems rather “unexpectedly” paradoxical behavior from the management of a paper that supported Occupy Wall Street in 2011.

NOW WITH SURGING BIPARTISAN MOMENTUM! Bill Moyers endorses my revolving-door-tax idea.


“Our most effective ad is our welfare ad”–Romney ad strategist:

1) Told you so;

2) It was clear at an Atlantic/National Journal forum in Tampa this morning that the MSM is very proud of itself for abandoning traditional “false balance” and declaring in its own voice that Romney’s ads are wrong. A front page news (not opinion) article in the New York Times simply asserts:

The Romney campaign is airing an advertisement falsely charging that Mr. Obama has “quietly announced” plans to eliminate work and job training requirements for welfare beneficiaries …

The only trouble with this inspiring reclamation of journalistic manhood is that … Mr. Obama did quietly announce what certainly seemed like plans to eliminate work and job training requirements for many welfare beneficiaries. Bring back false balance.

Plus this: “I didn’t think Obama supporters would resort to crudely arguing that talking about welfare is really talking about race–a historic loser complaint for them. I was wrong. Maybe voters suddenly love being told that their concern for a work ethic makes them racist, and that legitimate misgivings about the dole–voiced, in the past, by Bill Moyers and Piven and Cloward, not to mention Bill Clinton–are really a ‘dog whistle’ to bigots.”

BILL MOYERS ATTACKS PLUTOCRACY. Well, he should know. But it’s not the most contemptible thing in his background.

BILL MOYERS: Loyal apparatchik, rewarded.

BILL MOYERS: The Power of Outing.

STILL MORE on Bill Moyers’ dirty tricks.

HAVE YOU NO DECENCY, SIR? (CONT’D): More on Bill Moyers’ dirty tricks.

HAVE YOU NO DECENCY, SIR? “Bill Moyers, a White House aide now best known as a liberal television commentator, is described in the records as seeking information on the sexual preferences of White House staff members.” (Via NewsAlert). Moyers now says his memory of this is “unclear.”


Bill Moyers thinks it’s genetic.

REFRESHING THAT memory. “The Johnson campaign of 1964, in which Moyers played a key role, smeared Goldwater as a reckless warmonger and portrayed LBJ as a man of peace, even as Johnson was planning the ‘escalation’ in Vietnam.” Yet that story has been buried and nearly forgotten and Bill Moyers recast from hatchetman to wise old head. That’s nothing to what we’ll be seeing in the way of revisionist history as the Obama Administration establishes its not-so-new approach.


Look at New York’s Senator Charles Schumer, chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. According to The New York Times, the week after he attended a breakfast of financial high rollers and promised them that Democrats would make sure their $700 billion bailout got through Congress, those same fat cats sent $135,000 in campaign contributions.

Or New York Congressman Charlie Rangel, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, who reversed himself on a tax break for a business called Nabors Industries the same month that company donated $100,000 to a City College school for public service named after — all together now, class — Charlie Rangel.

Life imitates satire — and vice versa.

Of course, these are just right-wing shills talking. You know, Bill Moyers, right-wing shill.

POTS, KETTLES, and Bill Moyers.

DANA MILBANK ON JEREMIAH WRIGHT: For Obama, the Voice of Doom? “Speaking before an audience that included Marion Barry, Cornel West, Malik Zulu Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party and Nation of Islam official Jamil Muhammad, Wright praised Louis Farrakhan, defended the view that Zionism is racism, accused the United States of terrorism, repeated his view that the government created the AIDS virus to cause the genocide of racial minorities, stood by other past remarks (‘God damn America’) and held himself out as a spokesman for the black church in America.” I don’t see how this can help him.

UPDATE: Joe Klein: “I’ve been to dozens and dozens of African-American church services over the years, including the investiture of one of my friends as an AME minister two years ago, and I have very rarely, if ever, heard the kind of rants that are part of Reverend Wright’s canon. . . . Wright’s purpose now seems quite clear: to aggrandize himself–the guy is going to be a go-to mainstream media source for racial extremist spew, the next iteration of Al Sharpton–and destroy Barack Obama.” Yeah, if Wright’s not trying to sabotage Obama’s candidacy, what is he doing?

ANOTHER UPDATE: Some useful background here. Doesn’t today’s speech mean that Bill Moyers wasted his time and reputation in trying to walk Wright back from the brink?

MORE: Ouch: “Frankly, it’s as selfish of a move as we’ve seen in some time. Imagine, for example, if Norman Hsu or Vicki Iseman were doing publicity tours right now.”

STILL MORE: Ron Coleman says the chickens are coming home to roost. And here’s more from The Telegraph.

MORE STILL: Andrew Sullivan finally catches on: “But what he said today extemporaneously, the way in which he said it, the unrepentant manner in which he reiterated some of his most absurd and offensive views, his attempt to equate everything he believes with the black church as a whole, and his open public embrace of Farrakhan and hostility to the existence of Israel Zionism, make any further defense of him impossible. This was a calculated, ugly, repulsive, vile display of arrogance, egotism, and self-regard. This is an outright attack on the stated beliefs and policies and values of Barack Obama in a secular setting.”

Yes, Wright’s views certainly contradict Obama’s stated beliefs, policies, and values. Andrew adds: “Obama needs not just to distance himself from Wright’s views; he needs to disown him at this point. Wright himself, it seems to me, has become part of what Obama is fighting against.” Become? I don’t see that Wright has changed. People have just noticed. And if this is what Obama is fighting against, then . . . where’s the fighting against part?

FINALLY: Eric Scheie on Pastor Wright’s fantasy world of hyperbole. Some of that hyperbole is deflated by this comment from The Volokh Conspiracy:

“Louis Farrakhan is not my enemy. He did not put me in chains. He did not put me in slavery. And he didn’t make me this color.”

Nobody put Wright in chains.
Nobody put Wright in slavery.
Wright’s color is due to his Negroid and Caucasian genes.

People can be so literal. Or is the whole thing being cleverly staged to give Obama the all-time greatest Sister Souljah moment?

BILL MOYERS pitching softballs. Or maybe whiffleballs. Whatever.

UPDATE: Gerard Van Der Leun emails: “Waffleballs.”

HEH: “After 30 years of railing for separation of church and state, Bill Moyers comes to the aid of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.”

WE USED TO HAVE A “MISSILE GAP.” Now we have talk of a “corruption gap?”

The “missile gap,” if I recall correctly, turned out to be phony. The corruption gap? Well, the corruption is real. The gap . . . I’m not so sure.

UPDATE: A Bill Moyers angle.

ANOTHER UPDATE: “How do you do?”

CHRIS WALLACE on Bill Moyers.

MORE ON BILL MOYERS: Rick Byrne of Public Affairs Television sends a letter from Bill Moyers on the Beisner matter, which I had previously mentioned in connection with Bill Moyers’ legal threats against a blogger. Click “read more” for Moyers’ letter. I’ll just note that getting your story out this way is a lot smarter than trying to intimidate bloggers with legal threats, as Moyers has already done. Still, we want to reward people for learning . . . .

And checking the threatened blogger’s site for updates I found this.

Continue reading ‘MORE ON BILL MOYERS: Rick Byrne of Public Affairs Television sends a letter from Bill Moyers on the…’ »

BILL MOYERS HITS BLOGGER WITH LAWYERS, over a claim that “When Moyers interviewed me for the documentary last spring, he very candidly told me that he is a liberal Democrat and intended for the documentary to influence the November elections to bring control of Congress back to the Democrats.”

Moyers and his lawyers say it’s false and threaten a libel suit. I think that’s unwise. And underscoring that point, I doubt I ever would have heard of this charge had Moyers not threatened legal action.

UPDATE: Yes, this gives Bill Moyers something in common with Dennis Hastert.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Greg Marquez emails: “The two letters on the site you linked re Bill Moyers contain what have to be to be the two most pretentious lawyer signatures of all time.”

MISSING THE POINT: I’ve gotten a lot of lefty email like this piece from Andrew Moyers:

So you think it is alright to have a gay male prostitute in the WH press room? Where were you when we needed you? You can have done great work in defending Bill Clinton’s discretions.

Dude, I think you mean indiscretions. And I did coauthor this book, which was seen as generally pro-Clinton, enough that Lanny Davis used it as a text. But, see, I’m a libertarian — I’ve got no problem with gay male prostitutes. Or even gay female prostitutes (they have those, right?). Heck, I’d legalize prostitution — gay and straight — if it was up to me, and think of its practitioners as every bit as respectable as other professionals like lawyers, lobbyists and journalists. (Maybe moreso, as I suspect the client satisfaction rate is higher . . . .)

What I don’t quite get is when the Left became such a bunch of obsessively puritanical, curtain-peering Gladys Kravitz types. Lighten up, guys! It’s only sex, and as we all know, especially post-Clinton, sex, and lying about sex, is no big deal!

UPDATE: Wrong link for “obsessively” above — fixed now. Thanks to reader Rick Francis for pointing it out!

ANOTHER UPDATE: Jeff Goldstein slams Howard Kurtz. Ouch! Mickey Kaus can only look on in wonder. And envy.

MORE: Reader Thomas Castle emails:

You are, again, missing the point entirely. The problem with Gannon isn’t that he’s a gay male prostitute, it’s that he’s a vetted WH reporter using a pseudonym and masquerading as a journalist when he is, in fact, merely a shill. THAT’S the offensive part. This business that he was booted because he’s gay, or a prostitute, or both is bogus, although I’m sure some of the fundies do indeed have a problem with it.

I don’t know. That’s not what Moyers was saying, and what I was responding to. But let’s see: “Masquerading as a journalist when he is, in fact, merely a shill” would disqualify rather a lot of the poseurs I see shouting at press conferences. As for the gay angle being why he was booted — that’s what Howard Kurtz said, and I believe it. And while you can claim that this isn’t really about the gay angle, a quick look at the juvenile gay-themed stuff on the lefty blogs suggests otherwise. I should also note that while Moyers did charge that Gannon was a gay male prostitute, I don’t think that’s been clearly established. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

For some more serious journalism, here’s an analysis of softball press conference questions that names names and quotes transcripts. Five “Gannons” are identified.

A HANDSOME APOLOGY FROM BILL MOYERS, and perhaps a lesson for some other people.

JAMES LILEKS responds to Bill Moyers.

DAVE KOPEL: “Bill Moyers’ new column for the Minneapolis Star Tribune is stunning for both its mean-spiritedness and for its departure from elementary standards of opinion journalism.” Here’s the column.

MICKEY KAUS comments on my MSNBC Kurtz piece. I agree that the Gallagher and Kurtz cases aren’t the same — my point in mentioning Kurtz, and Kaus’s critique of him, was simply that lots of people in the pundit class have conflicts, and don’t disclose them every time. And, as I said, I don’t share Kaus’s criticisms of Kurtz.

Still, Kaus makes a good point when he observes that Kurtz’s position is somewhat unique, and there may be something to this point:

The issue with Kurtz isn’t whether he discloses his conflict with CNN (he usually does, though not always). The issue is whether even disclosure of the conflict cures his problem, or whether the conflict is so great Kurtz can’t be trusted on his beat even with disclosure. … Clearly, by the conventional MSM standards, Kurtz should be taken off the beat. The Post wouldn’t let a reporter who had a lucrative gig with General Motors cover General Motors, as Charles Kaiser has noted. … The issue was settled, in my mind, when Kurtz went soft on CNN in the Eason Jordan/Saddam atrocity scandal. He’s a great reporter, but you can’t trust anything he writes about CNN anymore. They have him by the balls. (That’s especially true now, when CNN’s whole programming approach is under review. Does Kurtz want to offend Jon Klein, the man who’ll decide whether to cancel his show? He sure didn’t when he interviewed his paymaster in this January 6 WaPo story.) …

The big question, I guess, is what do you do? Kurtz is a one-man media empire. You could, I guess, say that such things shouldn’t exist. Or you could rely on a system that’s big, and diverse, enough that they don’t matter so much when they do. I tend to favor the latter approach. Diversity, and markets, are better than regulations.

UPDATE: Reader Richard Samuelson emails:

I realize that this point is easing into satire, but I am making a serious point. In principle wouldn’t true full disclosure, if we were really to get serious about it, require that reporters disclose who is paying their spouses, and perhaps children? If it were Kurtz’s wife who worked for CNN, rather than Kurtz himself would the conflict of interest be any less real.

Incidentally, Jonah Goldberg was very good about that when his wife was working for Attorney General Ashcroft. But he’s an opinion journalist, so it is easier for him. How many others have been similarly good? The age of the two-earner family makes things difficult in this regard, but that does not mean that we should have no standards.

Yeah, there’s a huge array of things you might disclose. The problem is that it gets unwieldy. And I think that although Kurtz’s Gallagher story makes clear (sort of) that the case isn’t an Armstrong Williams pay-for-play story, it’s being spun that way. One ethical consideration for journalists, beyond conflict of interest, involves covering stories in ways that contribute to that sort of spin. I don’t know how you could make a rule for that, but it’s certainly a consideration. This is especially true when the herd instinct strikes, and “me-too” journalism leads latecomers to try to make their stories sound more like others that were big news than they really are.

One also wonders why people like Bill Moyers don’t get more attention. Or — to pick a somewhat less significant example — CNN commentators James Carville and Paul Begala, who joined the Kerry campaign while staying on the air for CNN. In Carville and Begala’s case, I guess the viewer expects them to be shilling for whoever the Democratic nominee is.

Then again, that’s probably true for Moyers, too. Nonetheless, his case seems rather significant.


Well, the week went pretty much as I predicted seven days ago:



But it turns out JOE WILSON LIED! PEOPLE DIED. Of embarrassment mostly. At least I’m assuming that’s why the New York Times, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, PBS drone Bill Moyers and all the other media bigwigs Joseph C. Wilson IV suckered have fallen silent on the subject of the white knight of integrity they’ve previously given the hold-the-front-page treatment, too. . . .

But before he gets lowered in his yellowcake overcoat into the Niger River, let’s pause to consider: What do Joe Wilson’s lies mean? And what does it say about the Democrats and the media that so many high-ranking figures took him at his word?

He also quotes Roger Simon approvingly. The Los Angeles Times’ Tim Rutten on the other hand — still spinning for Wilson — uses the same quote, but isn’t as happy about it. No word from Rutten on the L.A. Times’ own accuracy problems. It’s a “sea of malice, mendacity and misrepresentation,” all right. And Wilson is one of the fish.

UPDATE: Tom Maguire — who’s on a roll — has more on Rutten’s piece, “which continues the pattern established by Josh Marshall and picked up by Wesley Clark’s former press spokesperson at Salon — begin with name-calling and derogation of the other side.” It pretty much ends there, too.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More from The Ombudgsgod, here. Excerpt:

So thorough was Wilson’s discrediting that the media’s “Bush lied” narrative came briefly to a halt. Wilson’s name nearly disappeared from print, except in the columns of a handful of conservative pundits who pointed out what had happened. Even Jim Romenesko, who normally covers media controversy like a rash, was totally silent, despite having provided plenty of coverage to Wilson’s earlier claims.

Now, like Imhotep in the Mummy Returns, Wilson is attempting to bring himself back to life.

I think he’s coming unwound.

BILL MOYERS WILL LEAVE PBS, after the elections.

BUT OF COURSE: A French reporter looked at French media coverage of the war:

Hertoghe’s book covers the performance of four national newspapers and France’s largest regional daily over a three-week period in March and April. It contends that the coverage was ideological, in line with the French government’s position opposing the United States, and that it was desirous of portraying a great catastrophe for the Americans.

His reward? He was fired. More crushing of dissent, in Jacques Chirac’s France! Meanwhile a German media watchdog group looked at German coverage:

A draft of the report, underwritten in part by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, says of the state networks: “After assuming a position of sharp criticism of American military actions, abandoned only after their increasing success, and after fixating on the Iraqis as suffering victims, they created a representation of the war in line with the position” of the German government. It continues, “Critical questions concerning the extent to which the unrelenting German position contributed to the escalation of the conflict were thus kept from public scrutiny.”

Do tell. And yet people like Bill Moyers are always saying that American media coverage is slanted because we don’t have state-controlled media.

NICK CONFESSORE IS picking on TechCentralStation (well, really in the process of picking on James Glassman) over in the Washington Monthly.

It’s hard to know exactly what he doesn’t like about TCS — other than, you know, the fact that a lot of its authors disagree with his politics — but it seems to have something to do with the fact that it’s not a non-profit, instead relying on some sort of new innovation called “sponsors”(cleverly concealed <a href=”here on the TCS website!) to pay the bills. But he doesn’t really critique any actual articles, or supply much in the way of specifics.

All I’ll say is that I’ve written for TCS for nearly two years, and they’ve never told me what to write. Occasionally the editor, Nick Schulz, will suggest a topic — last week he suggested that I write something about the Federal Marriage Amendment, and I stupidly declined, not realizing what a big issue it would be this week — but it’s certainly hard for me to discern any Subtle Corporate Agenda in those suggestions.

Of course, if it were a really subtle corporate agenda, I might not notice. In fact, I might write articles that I thought were my own idea, but that really advanced the Subtle Corporate Agenda. But let’s not get paranoid, here. If that were true, I would have written a nonspecific article in some other publication, pretending at criticism but actually announcing that TCS was really good at advancing the agendas of its paying sponsors, thus encouraging more companies to become paying sponsors. Hmm. Hey, you don’t think. . . . ?

UPDATE: Daniel Drezner, who writes for TCS from time to time, wonders if he’s a paid lobbyist (not paid much, if he gets what I’m getting!) and observes:

One surprise for me, given that Confessore contributes to Tapped, is that he failed to mention Tech Central Station’s willingness to recruit its contributors from the blogosphere. Flipping through the authors, I saw a fair number of bloggers that are TCS contributors — Radley Balko, Joe Katzman, Lynne Kiesling, Arnold Kling, Megan McArdle, Charles Murtaugh, Virginia Postrel, Glenn Reynolds, Rand Simberg, Eugene Volokh, and Matthew Yglesias. I’d like to think that explains part of Tech Central Station’s success.

[Oh no! Drezner’s outed Yglesias, the TCS mole at TAPPED! –Ed. It’s a policy mag — with an ideology! I’m selling this story to Oliver Stone. . . .] And, as with Drezner, my only real interaction — except for an occasional email with the graphics guy — has been with Nick Schulz. I’ve never even gotten an email from Glassman, much less anyone else.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Sasha Volokh notes an ad from sounding the same theme [ Aren’t they funded by Bill Moyers, and doesn’t he “lavishly” fund The American Prospect which funds Confessore? — Ed. Shh. Leave the conspiracy theories to those guys. I’m sure it’s perfectly innocent.] and he’s thinking of suing them — for not using his name when they quoted his piece. Yes, “be sure you spell my name right” only works if you mention the name.

Megan McArdle weighs in, too. But the best line is from her comments section: “This is probably a sign that TCS is having a real impact: the ad hominems have started.” Heh. Indeed.

Michael Totten has comments, too.

Pejman Yousefzadah responds with a Fisking. Unlike Confessore, Pejman points to actual articles, and everything.

Personally, I think the whole affair looks like what my ethics book calls Petty Blifil. And thanks to the coolness of Amazon, you can follow that link and read what that means.

MORE SHADY JOURNALISM: Stephen F. Hayes says that Bill Moyers has some ‘splaining to do.

Continued Moyers: “According to the watchdog group Public Citizen, power companies pushing for the law’s repeal gave more than $15 million to federal candidates.”

But who will watch the watchdog? Public Citizen is a frequent recipient of Schumann grants: $42,000 in 1999 to “fund a full-time investigative reporter to research and write on the nexus between special interest political contributions and the outcome of major domestic policy debates.” Another $75,000 in 2000 for “the Public Citizen Congress Watch investigative research program.” A further $204,000 in 2001 for “general support of Public Citizen’s educational efforts.” In fact, from 1991 to 2001, the last year for which IRS records are available, Moyers’s Schumann Foundation gave Public Citizen a total of $411,000.

Seems like a one-sided deal, doesn’t it? Courtesy of Moyers, Public Citizen gets a lot of money and, courtesy of PBS, it gets publicity for its work. Not to worry. Public Citizen can scratch backs, too, noting on its website: “It is not often that we advertise for TV programs, but we’ll make an exception this time. Bill Moyers has done a documentary on PBS entitled: ‘Trading Democracy,'” which you can order from Public Citizen “for $29.95 (plus shipping).”

This seems a lot worse than a lot of things people have made a big fuss about. So why is Moyers getting a pass?

ANDREW SULLIVAN points out the combination of ignorance and misplaced moralism that makes up much of today’s left, with examples from Adam Clymer and Bill Moyers. He also mentions Garrison Keillor and Tom Paulin as examples of something worse.

JOHANNESBURG UPDATE: Reader Kevin Connors has noticed something:

It seems the Johannesburg summit generated 400 tons of trash, used 5 million sheets of paper and dumped 30,000 lbs of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Yes, and each participant used 53 gallons of water a day, while lecturing us on American wastefulness. The global ruling class will always live at least as well as ordinary Americans do today, however many calls for sacrifice it issues. Count on it.

In a similar vein, reader Arthur Hellyer wasn’t impressed by the Bill Moyers commentary I referenced below:

He ends his commentary, after basically saying human kind isn’t fit for life on earth, by saying we “owe” his daughter a better world. You would think with such pessimism he wouldn’t burden the world with another child. That’s liberalism though. He really likes things as they are, he just doesn’t want the rest of us around.

Yep. That’s typical. That’s why I prefer my version of sustainability to the sacrifice-for-the-little-people version being peddled by the UN apparat.


I used to respect Bill Moyers. But now he thinks you can sum up human achievement in “the missing Armenians, Buchenwald and Auschwitz, the little girl aflame with made-in-America Napalm, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, Luanda and Srebrenica, the 11th of September.”

He fails to note the ease with which he traveled halfway around the world to comfortably sit under that 800-year old Banyan tree making a speech heard instantly by 10 million people all across the US in the comfort of their homes and air-conditioned cars. Puh-lease.

Yes, what’s wrong with the Left — at least the Establishment, academic-and-media Left — is that sitting around playing “ain’t it awful” is seen as moral seriousness. NPR needs to let Moyers join the fossils he talks about, and get somebody like Ken Layne, who has actual ideas, and a moral sense that goes beyond “isn’t it terrible that terrible things happen, and if some people do terrible things then people — and doing things — must be terrible, too. ”

STEPHEN F. HAYES reports that Bill Moyers poses a problem for PBS, sufficiently so that quite a few stations pulled his show during pledge week for fear of offending viewers.

BIZARRO WORLD, CONT’D: It’s not just TAPPED praising Jonah Goldberg, it’s the Columbia Journalism Review, too. What next? Bill Moyers funding the G-File?

WHY TAP DOESN’T SUCK NOW: I wonder if they’ll have a quote from me on their site soon — “TAP doesn’t suck anymore” — Glenn Reynolds? Well, probably not. But a reader writes with an explanation for the phenomenon I identified below:

There is one reason, and only one reason, for the success of The American Prospect online: Chris Mooney became the editor. It was the approach that he brought to TAP that ushered in the blog and the new non-sleep inducing articles. If I had Bill Moyers’ e-mail address, I’d tell ask him to put Mooney in charge of the whole thing.

PS: The old TAP didn’t completely suck. The political coverage was… bad and the opinion columns were easily ignored, but the criticism – movie, music, book and otherwise – has always been good.

I almost never even looked at TAP until the past few months, and in fact one of the few articles I’d read before then was one by Chris Mooney. So maybe this is true. Pay him more! Er, or at least don’t lay him off. . . .

MICKEY KAUS says that The American Prospect is like Enron . (But he adds a note to Bill Moyers: “Keep the blog!”) He also adds that it’s like Vietnam, and Ishtar, too! C’mon, Mickey — do you like it, or not?