Well, well, well; I see what you mean. These Repub columnists love to get paid for their, um, written word and "oral skills":
Bush payola scandal deepens as third columnist admits being paid
Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington
Saturday January 29, 2005
The Bush administration was confronted with fresh evidence of a far-reaching clandestine campaign to influence public opinion yesterday after a third conservative commentator admitted receiving payments for championing its policies.
Michael McManus, a newspaper columnist, was paid up to $10,000 (£5,300) to praise the administration's marriage initiative, which diverts funds from welfare to marital counselling, the Los Angeles Times reported.
His fees were approved by a branch of the department of health and human services, and were funnelled through the Lewin Group, a consultancy firm. The commentator's rightwing Marriage Savers Foundation received an additional $49,000 in government grants. Mr McManus did not disclose the payments in his columns.
Neither did Maggie Gallagher, another conservative columnist and even a more prominent supporter of the marriage plan.
The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Ms Gallagher received $21,500 from the department of health and human services, and $20,000 from the justice department for championing the initiative in her syndicated newspaper columns.
George Bush tried to distance the administration from such payment practices earlier this week, and an official from the health department said the payments would cease.
But a report issued on Thursday by Democratic members of the House of Representatives suggested the Bush administration may rely far more heavily on pay-per-view columnists than had been previously thought.
The administration spent more than $88m on public relations contracts last year - more than double the $37m it spent during Mr Bush's first year in office. That brought the administration's first-term spending on PR to $250m.
The first sign of a political payola scandal erupted this month when USA Today reported that Armstrong Williams, a conservative African-American columnist, had been paid $240,000 by the education department to champion the administration's controversial policies in his print, radio and television outlets.
Mr Williams was paid through Ketchum PR, the public relations firm also involved in producing fake "news pieces" last year that touted the administration's prescription drug bill. Some US television stations put the clips straight on the air.
The administration claimed that its use of a fake reporter, Karen Ryan, to sell its programmes, was an isolated incident. It now appears that such covert campaigns were widespread.
The Bush administration's readiness to pay for favourable press at a time of mounting budget deficits has raised eyebrows in Congress.
"While not all public relations spending is illegal or inappropriate, this rapid rise in public relations contracts at a time of growing budget deficits raises questions about the priorities of the administration," a report on public relations spending by the Democratic staff of the house government reform committee said.
In Hollywood, they have "Play or Pay" clauses in contracts so if the movie does not "play", the star has to get their "pay" plus a % extra. In Washington, they have "Pay 2 Say" aka they'll pay a jounalist $$$$ if they tout the policies or speak well of the Adminstation.
"PAY 2 SAY" SCORECARD as of 01-29-2005:
Armstrong Williams (Thru Kechum PR to Armstrong/Graham, Inc) - $240,000 by Dept of Edu
Maggie Gallagher (Personal Payment?) - $21,500 by HHS + $20,000 by Dept of Justice
Michael McManus (Thru The Lewin Group) - $10,000 by HHS
Michael McManus (Thru Marriage Savers Foundation) - $49,000 by HHS
Now I'm beginning to see a very disturbing pattern. The media talkingheads are royally pissed at Armstrong, not his company (Armstrong/Graham, Inc) and not Stedman Graham aka "Oprah's Boyfiend". Tony Blankley says you can't compare what Maggie did to what Armstrong did as well as she was DIRECTLY PAID for her "advise" and not to "tout" Adminstration policy. Now that we have found out Michael has been paid by way of not 1, but 2 avenues (Pub Relations Firm & his own company), what will they say on Meet The Press, Face The Nation, FOXNews Sunday, CNN Late Edition & This Week w/George SitOnTopOfThis/Stephanopolous about him? Why is it that they so despise Armstrong? Is it because he received upwards of 5 times what the others (who have been revealed so far) were paid? I personally don't think that's it. You would think (based on their pattern so far) the overpaid media talkingheads will rake McManus over the coals for "touting" the pet projects of the Administration but I'm beginning to smell a rat here.
Armstrong's column was dropped by Tribune; will Gallagher's and McManus' be dropped by their syndicates as well? We shall see what happens to them and what is said on the Sunday Kiss-Rear Shows.
Sunday Show Big News Story: Iraq Election of 3rd Pay 2 Say Jounalist Outed
Since the Iraqi Elections will be given far more coverage/spin tomorrow, maybe the "Pay 2 Say" issue will be lightly covered.
"The People Who Vote Have No Power. The People Who Count The Vote Have All The Power"
"It's Not What You Are, It's What People Think You Are"
If We Don't Ask, We Can't Learn" & "If We Don't Learn, We Can't Grow"