Friday, December 16, 2005

This Space for Rent

Lest anyone think that the shrinking freedom of the press was the product solely of shadowy dealings between major newspapers and Washington officials, I'm here to set the record straight. BusinessWeek is reporting that one of indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff's multitude of misdealings includes the bribing of an op-ed columnist at Copley News Service. And, in case there was any doubt, the columnist (Doug Bandow, now an ex-senior fellow at the Cato Institute) wasn't being paid off in the interest of "protecting our national security." He was talking up Abramoff's Indian tribal clients, while Abramoff was busy fleecing them.
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Oh, and let's not forget to mention Peter Ferrara. Ferrara, a senior policy adviser at the conservative Institute for Policy Innovation, also wrote articles supportive of Abramoff's clients in exchange for payments. Amazingly, neither Ferrara, nor his boss Tom Giovanetti, have found this at all problematic. "I've done that in the past, and I'll do it in the future," says Ferrara. Wonderful. At least he's being (somewhat) honest.

Thankfully, as the extent of this troubling practice of paying for opinions is uncovered piece by piece, there is one bright spot in Washington. [your name here], an increasingly influential and well-respected political insider, has openly denounced "pay-for-play," as the practice is more commonly known, and his/her employer, [your company here], is actively supporting his/her position. Said [your company here]'s president, "Mr./Ms. [your last name here]'s work, as an independent and principled writer and thinker is in keeping with our organizational mission. We have no intention of encouraging or tolerating any outside influence whatsoever, financial or otherwise. Our reputation has been built on our integrity, and we intend to keep it that way."

Fine words from the fine folks at [your company here].

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