Saturday, December 17, 2005

Think tank op-eds

One of the think tankers has had to resign when it was revealed that he accepted money from Jack Abramoff for writing op-eds on order from Jack to support the positions of some of Jack's clients. Another guy who took money from Jack isn't going to resign, and sees nothing wrong with taking money to write op-eds. This is all rather amusing when you think of the history of think tanks. They were set up by the extreme right-wing plutocrats - guys like Richard Mellon Scaife - when it was felt the right had lost the culture wars of the 60s and 70s, and needed to fund some surreptitious right-wing propaganda. The whole point of the think tanks was to bribe those who were willing to shill for the extreme right. No reputable publication should ever publish an op-ed from any think tanker as all of them have been bought and paid for. If the think tanks want these funded opinions to be read, they should pay for publication themselves, and not piggy-back on the reputation of 'legitimate' publications by providing free editorial filler. What the think tank structure has done is simply to institutionalize and legitimize funded opinions. American journalism has become so lost that no one even thinks this system of bribery might be a problem. The guy who had to resign seems to have been guilty only of two things: double dipping, and, more importantly, receiving money from a big-money operator whose name is now mud.