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itzamirakul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 01:41 PM
Original message
News Media Hosts nervous about possible "payola" investigations?
On America's Black Forum this afternoon, liberal talking heads, Julian Bond and Deborah Mathis,the female president of the National Black Journalists, the host of ABF and a rw talking head whose first name was Jack.

The entire program was about Armstrong Williams, who up until this point had been a regular on the show. The host announced that Williams had not told the show about his government contract to promote No Child Left Behind and also that Williams would no longer be appearing on the show.

The National Black Journalists organization has requested of ALL news programs that they not employ Williams as a guest or otherwise as a speaker. They feel sepecially vulnerable after a black journalist at the NYT was found guilty of writing fictitious stories.

At one point during the show, Jack suggested that ALL news journalists and commentators show their tax returns for the last three years. In his zeal to defend Williams, he may have stirred a hornet's nest.

I could tell that no one on the show was particularly interested in going the route of an investigation (except Deborah Mathis, who said, Yes! let's do that! Make everyone SHOW they have not been paid by the government to push government programs.)

Now, we probably can't ever see their tax returns - but we can make them nervous as hell by continually reminding them that we have no confidence in them or that they have no credibility. We can demand that our politicians request an investigation into the propaganda payola of Williams and see if there were others.

If we don't start nipping this stuff in the bud it is going to grow into transparent, ACCEPTABLE behavior on the part of our politicians and their corporate friends.
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Dr Fate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 01:45 PM
Response to Original message
1. DEMs need to go on TV & say "The media needs to stop lying for George Bush
Edited on Sun Jan-16-05 01:45 PM by Dr Fate
We need to confront this head on and NOW.
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Supersedeas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 07:33 PM
Response to Reply #1
8. absolutely...should be direct with each one: have YOU ever been on payroll
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Dr Fate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 07:38 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. "Who did the owner of your network vote for?"
Edited on Sun Jan-16-05 07:41 PM by Dr Fate
I know a lot of people think its silly, but I really think DEMS should be blunt with these media idiots.

We need to start planting talking points that question media credibility in every single appearance.
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calimary Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 07:53 PM
Response to Reply #10
14. Damn straight. EVERY ONE of them needs to be questioned.
What they've done in terms of besmirching their entire industry is just literally an abomination.

Look, credibility is really the only goods a journalist has to sell. His or her credibility. Trust. Believability. They are our eyes and ears to the big leagues. We can't go to Capitol Hill and to the tsunami and to the White House and to the state houses and to the floor of the Stock Exchange and to the big shots' offices and all the places to which our journalists have entree. In effect, they are our representatives, every bit as much as Congress is. And they are DERELICT IN THEIR DUTY if they are not bringing us objective truths from those places they can go, where we cannot.

They evidently don't feel terribly responsible because there are not HUGE uproars from the public about this. There evidently isn't enough of an effort to hold their feet to the fire. Every last one of them needs to be put on the hot seat. Every last one of them needs to fess up about what money they've taken, on the side, from whom and from where. What speaking fees? What stipends or consulting fees? What sort of gratuities or perks have they received, for which they then render service? In truth, they are supposed to be there to render service to US.

Anybody interested? We have to do more than just sit here and complain to each other on this board.
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lawladyprof Donating Member (628 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 08:59 PM
Response to Reply #8
20. Hosts and/or nonconservative commentators ought to ask EVERY
guest, "Have you recieved or contracted to receive any government money to promote any viewpoint/policy argument?" Problem is I'm sure it wasn't just the Department of Ed., but how do you find out if other departments had similar deals going.
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Supersedeas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-05 12:11 PM
Response to Reply #20
30. FOIA requests, but that should stop those from asking and getting
commentators on the record.

If they are proven wrong later, subscribers and their employers can hold them accountable.

Not to mention, the tax-man.
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Mika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-05 09:53 AM
Response to Reply #1
29. But Americans love their crooks and criminals
Not sure that exposing the payolla would work the way you want it. It quite possible could backfire.

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Dr Fate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-05 10:15 PM
Response to Reply #29
34. Sure- if DEMS are doing it too...
...then it would backfire.

Perhaps that is the reason why DEMS always refuse to speak up on any given issue- cuz they are "doing it too."
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itzamirakul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-05 07:01 AM
Response to Reply #34
35. EXACTLY! The Dems are doing it,
TOO!

There can be NO OTHER REASON for their silence....
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Dr Fate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-05 11:46 AM
Response to Reply #35
37. If so, they must not be "doing" a very good job of "it."
Cuz they keep on losing.

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itzamirakul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-19-05 09:11 AM
Response to Reply #37
38. Hi Dr. Fate: Taking payola from the government
or from any other source wouldn't have anything to do with the Democrats winning or losing. It would just be money paid to them to shut up and sit down and keep quiet when they SHOULD be screaming their heads off over the crimes this administration is committing.

So, IMO, a lot of Dems at the top must also be on the take else they would be speaking out more focefully.
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mod mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 01:46 PM
Response to Original message
2. Can't we demand under the FOIA that the government release
the names of which talking heads have been receiving payola?
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pa28 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 02:28 PM
Response to Reply #2
7. Right, you would think it would be public information.
Yet the administration has hinted Williams was in violation of a non-disclosure agreement.

This scandal is more far reaching than the CBS documents story. So where is all the righteous outrage and indignation?
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itzamirakul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 09:08 PM
Response to Reply #2
21. I don't know how the FOIA works except that
it was by a journalist at USA Today using documents from there that Armstrong Williams was busted. The funny thing was that until this story broke, he was still writing a column for this paper.

I think you have to pay for the documents from FOIA and I think you have to ask for documents for a specific person. The government is NOT going to do a lot of blanket checking of documents. It will take a dedicated journalist to be willing to take this on.

It would only take busting one or two big ones before everyone else just came on out and confessed before being "outed."
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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-05 08:01 AM
Response to Reply #21
25. David Brock was onto this in "The Republican Noise Machine."
He didn't connect it with tax money, but he did say many pundits were being directly paid by "think tanks" like the Heritage Foundation.

Now he's pushing hard for FOIA documents. I'm going to send a little donation to help him do it.
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 01:49 PM
Response to Original message
3. Ah, so Williams was on the take AND lied on national TV when he said
he had informed shows, production staff,and so on, that he accepted malAdministration payola?!? Wow :wow: what a surprise, NOT.

I still think a great bumper sticker would be:
Audits for Pundits!
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Clark2008 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 01:54 PM
Response to Original message
4. Of course they're nervous
Even those who didn't take any payola are nervous because it's yet another black eye on the institution of the Fourth Estate.

Now, as far as their tax returns, we can tip off the IRS to audit them. Got a reason to suspect that some pundit is on the take? Call the IRS's fraud line at 1-800-829-0433 and ask that they investigate, oh, I don't know, Robert Novak or David Brooks.
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Eloriel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 07:47 PM
Response to Reply #4
12. Huh? I don't get it --
The payment(s) to Armstrong Williams would have been entirely and properly reported to the IRS, probably on a submission form usually used for independent contractors (forget the number of the form -- 110 or is it 510 or something else entirely?).

The IRS isn't interested unless it's not being reported -- and I just doubt that's the case.
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Jackpine Radical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-19-05 09:29 AM
Response to Reply #12
40. I think it's a 1099, probly the 1099se.
I was thinking the same thing you were, Eloriel. Why wouldn't they report the income legitimately? Also I don't think personal tax records are subject to FOIA.
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janx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 01:59 PM
Response to Original message
5. Thank God for NBJ.
This is the first I've heard of any other journalists who genuinely seem alarmed by this.
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itzamirakul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 02:05 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Once people get USED to seeing all this corruption
and then seeing that no Republican is held accountable for his behavior...they will become accustomed to this behavior and will accept it as "normal."

That's why it is important to keep it in the spotlight and not let it die.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 07:35 PM
Response to Original message
9. This is a bigger story than Dan Rather and CBS....
Maybe Dan will cover it before he leaves??
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calimary Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 08:13 PM
Response to Reply #9
16. That's what Alex Jones of the Shorenstein Center for Media Studies
Edited on Sun Jan-16-05 08:13 PM by calimary
at Harvard University said.

Why?

Because it involves the misuse - the ILLEGAL misuse of taxpayers money, and

Because it was done on the QT. NO public disclosure. They flew like stealth bombers, keeping this under their hats, cashing the checks, and enjoying all that lovely money and favoritism. WHILE FEEDING US LIES!!!! And then CNN turns around and bellows in all its promos and bumper shots about being the most trusted network. What HORSE SHIT.

This goes way beyond the pot calling the kettle black.

Anybody read Frank Rich today? New York Times columnist Frank Rich wrote a humdinger of a column called "ALL THE PRESIDENT'S NEWSMEN:

I do not mean to minimize the CBS News debacle and other recent journalistic outrages at The New York Times and elsewhere. But the Jan. 7 edition of CNN's signature show can stand as an exceptionally ripe paradigm of what is happening to the free flow of information in a country in which a timid news media, the fierce (and often covert) Bush administration propaganda machine, lax and sometimes corrupt journalistic practices, and a celebrity culture all combine to keep the public at many more than six degrees of separation from anything that might resemble the truth.

On this particular "Crossfire," the featured guest was Armstrong Williams, a conservative commentator, talk-show host and newspaper columnist (for papers like The Washington Times and The Detroit Free Press, among many others, according to his Web site). Thanks to investigative reporting by USA Today, he had just been unmasked as the frontman for a scheme in which $240,000 of taxpayers' money was quietly siphoned to him through the Department of Education and a private p.r. firm so that he would "regularly comment" upon (translation: shill for) the Bush administration's No Child Left Behind policy in various media venues during an election year. Given that "Crossfire" was initially conceived as a program for tough interrogation and debate, you'd think that the co-hosts still on duty after Mr. Carlson's departure might try to get some answers about this scandal, whose full contours, I suspect, we are only just beginning to discern.

But there is nothing if not honor among bloviators. "On the left," as they say at "Crossfire," Paul Begala, a Democratic political consultant, offered condemnations of the Bush administration but had only soft questions and plaudits for Mr. Williams. Three times in scarcely as many minutes Mr. Begala congratulated his guest for being "a stand-up guy" simply for appearing in the show's purportedly hostile but entirely friendly confines. When Mr. Williams apologized for having crossed "some ethical lines," that was enough to earn Mr. Begala's benediction: "God bless you for that."

"On the right" was the columnist Robert Novak, who "in the interests of full disclosure" told the audience he is a "personal friend" of Mr. Williams, whom he "greatly" admires as "one of the foremost voices for conservatism in America." Needless to say, Mr. Novak didn't have any tough questions, either, but we should pause a moment to analyze this "Crossfire" co-host's disingenuous use of the term "full disclosure."

It goes on from here - and wait til you read about ROBERT NOVAK'S conflicts of interest. "FULL DISCLOSURE" my ass.

Here's the link to the full thing. A VERY good read:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/16/arts/16rich.html?oref...

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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 07:46 PM
Response to Original message
11. They get honoraria ($$$'s) for speaking to corporate groups!
Williams just perfected and refined the process.

CM(Corporate Media) = PAID NEWS. Why is anyone surprised.
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itzamirakul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 09:15 PM
Response to Reply #11
22. No -No...Cokie Roberts was the first to be paid by the Repubs
to come and speak to their groups many years ago. I remember that distinctly because the question of ethics came up then and it was at that time that I saw Cokie begin to take a definite rw stand on issues while she was still part of the the White House Press Corps. That was over 15-20 years ago.

So Armstrong Williams is just the tip of the iceberg and we really shouldn't let this topic drop.

Oh, unless Bush decides to bomb someone or do something else to take our attention away from whatever we are honing in on....
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autorank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 10:31 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. I agree...The trick is to get them to eat their own, a feeding frenzy.
There are various ways of paying off the whores, most of which are probably well known by the whores. Maybe the younger whores will start outing the senior whores to make their names. Maybe there will be a whistle blower among the whores. Personally, I'd like see Flynt publish that book he threatened to publish on the whores when they were going after Clinton. That would be a nice start. Hell, why not have the Enquirer go after their double dealings, pay offs and personal lives just like they do with the stars. What fun!
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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-05 08:06 AM
Response to Reply #11
26. And much of it comes from the RW "think tanks."
The "think tanks" are at the heart of this, I'm pretty certain--and they are tax-exempt.
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NVMojo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 07:50 PM
Response to Original message
13. We must remember the whoring the MSM did to promote the Iraq war
for Bush. Bush had Rendon Group hired to help him promote to us and then to the middle east after the invasion. This is bigger than we all would want to know ...the whoring of the MSM!!!!
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calimary Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 08:21 PM
Response to Reply #13
17. Yes, that is WELL WORTH remembering.
They WERE whoring for it. Utterly and shamelessly.

So much so that the NYTimes printed a "mea culpa" of sorts, WAY after the fact, about how they, in effect, just simply regurgitated White House press releases during the run-up to the war. All that ever made Page One was what the White House or the Pentagon said was true. ANY objections, from ANYWHERE, MAY have turned up halfway down page A23 or something. IF they even got noted at all.

And, I wonder...

As a mother...

HOW MANY other mothers are sobbing at this very minute over the blood their precious sons or daughters shed, or the legs they lost, or the arms they lost, or the LIVES they lost, so these Human TOILETS could collect some nice fat sweetheart fees under the table - from the owners and operators of the blood factory?
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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 08:04 PM
Response to Original message
15. Couldn't a "Freedom of Information Act" be invoked? What about just
looking up their names on many of the websites who tell the names and states of those who've donated to the Repugs. Then figure...if a journalist is listed as giving to the Repugs...follow that on a Google to see who else they give "speeches" to.

Google Search would show link with journalist and speeches to Colleges, Think Tanks and Corporate groups.

If we did a "name by name" search of all our "Media Talking Heads" what might come up?

I don't think a project like this has been done on DU, yet.. It would be great fun. :-)'s Thanks for bringing it up...
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calimary Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 08:22 PM
Response to Reply #15
18. This might be an interesting link...
CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS IN WASHINGTON

Recent CREW Legal Actions

CREW Files FOIAs to Uncover Government Agency Dealings with PR Firms
http://citizensforethics.org/index.php

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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-05 08:08 AM
Response to Reply #18
27. Media Matters has done much the same. nt
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Scout1071 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-16-05 08:41 PM
Response to Reply #15
19. I believe that an organization
has filed FOIA requests with several agencies. There was a thread a few days ago about it. I believe that some were calling for copies of all contracts given to Ketchum and Fleishman-Hillard.
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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-05 07:56 AM
Response to Original message
24. I think we need to really keep the pressure on--let them know we've
got our eyes on them.

For anyone who's read "The Republican Noise Machine" (David Brock), this isn't a surprising revelation. Brock indicates that the pundits have gotten talking points directly from the RW think tanks for years--it's how we get phrases like "death tax" to describe inheritance taxes, and "partial birth abortion."

Some have even been PAID DIRECTLY by these think tanks (like the Heritage Foundation). It isn't much of a stretch to think this has happened before and is still happening with different players.

I suggest that anyone with an interest in the media payola read this book. I'm watching Media Matters very closely--Brock knows there is more behind this story than we know.
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Gold Metal Flake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-05 09:11 AM
Response to Original message
28. Frame term suggestion: "Payola Press".
Just been thinking about alternatives to "MSM" and "Liberal Bias", both Wrong Wing terms. Payola Press popped into my head as a simple, funny and possibly effective term that is timely contains truth.

"Heard on the Payola Press today..."

"Is he a part of the Payola Press?"

"Are you a part of the Payola Press?"

Fits better on a bumper sticker than my other idea nugget O brilliance, Corporate Whore Consent Machine. Besides, Michael Powell is the one who gave it the easy to remember Payola name, we might as well show our appreciation by taking it and shoving it up the collective ass of the Wrong Wing.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-05 12:14 PM
Response to Original message
31. Listening to Limbaugh defend Armstrong Williams this AM..
I wouuld bet that he is on the payroll also...
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fooj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-05 01:20 PM
Response to Reply #31
32. Limbaugh needs to take a long break...
A 6X6 cell would be nice...
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Cell Whitman Donating Member (872 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-05 03:26 PM
Response to Original message
33. This is one of those 'can't win' fights that must be fought.
Edited on Mon Jan-17-05 03:26 PM by Cell Whitman
Don't you think the more ANY media is trashed the better it is for the right since they are the ones molding the minds of their followers? I am not saying it doesn't deserve some major overhauling, that it is a crap media overall but the right are the ones who want people to distrust ALL so they can more easily manipulate the pod people. imho When the whole is distrusted the poddies will go with FOX and Rush and be gone forever.

I haven't read a lot about it but don't you think that this trying to smudge the blogs with this story is just to take credibility from them and help keep the poddies under control...no extraneous thoughts allowed!!!

I guess I am saying what is needed, in a way, plays into their hands because they are about tearing down.

It's kind of like how the repugs will put someone in charge of a government agency who doesn't support it. If you put someone in charge of EPA that wants to undermine it, then when their policies DO undermine it; that's good for republicans. It gets folks to hate or feel their government can't do the job.

Like when EPA told the people in NY the air was OK after 911 when it wasn't. Then the folks who don't know that it was "Bush" policy to lie to them not EPA, they blame the government. It plays into the anti-American right's hands; the worse they are as stewards of our nation the better for they turn around and tell the pod people, "see I told the government was bad."

Like Bush put a Moon operative in charge of Americorp. Well, Americorp eats into what the "faith based" groups are spose to do...the next thing you know Bush slashes money for Americorp. What will people say? You got it, "Damb the government can't get the job done, we need to privatize and faithatize."

I could go on but it would be even more confusing with my writing. haha

Hey, Gorenfeld has a post up on how Armstrong had a "change of heart" when it comes to one guy's dough.

and if you want to see where the money came from to pay him and finance the theofascist's takeover of our country read the notes starting with #45 here.
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izzybeans Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-05 07:09 AM
Response to Original message
36. Is there also a reason for progressive
journalists to fear an investigation as well? Just a question...

becuase if there is I wouldn't expect much progress on this front. It will be the big elephant in the room. "Who paid you? shhhh.. No one. <wink, wink>" I'd fully expect Julian Bond to support that sort of investigation-Did He?
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spanone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-19-05 09:13 AM
Response to Original message
39. If done right, this investigation will be soo much fun to watch.
I bet the list is loooooooooooooooooong.
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