The Rich are Different from you and me…

So, let me get this straight. According to Victor Davis Hanson (who would know) there’s some folk out there not making their full disclosures in a timely manner:

[Peter Galbraith] . . . The son of share-the-wealth John K. Galbraith, Galbraith Minor barnstormed the air waves in the dark days of Iraq, in solemn tones predicting the end of Iraq, why Iraq must be trisected (e.g., giving the Kurds an independent country), and in general (in two books) predicting the end of constitutional Iraq. He ritually was slamming Bush, predicting ruin—all at a time when the the U.S. was trying to reassure the Iraqis we supported the territorial integrity of their country and would not abandon them. Ok, fine, well and good, it’s a free country, and pessimism is sometimes warranted.

But now we learn that a possible pay-off for opposing US policy of Iraqi unity was a stake in a Kurdish oil field worth, according to some reports, a potential $100 million. (When did stone-faced diplomats and finger-in-the-wind pundits turn into Texas-style oil tycoons or Russian oilocrats?) Why did not Galbraith from the very beginning disclose his financial interests so that his readers, other diplomats, and those who consulted him might factor his profits into his prognoses?

Italics mine – but it’s a great question. Galbraith, a big-time elite professional journalist, with influence and a wide audience, has no moral or ethical imperative to disclose his $100 Million dollar financial interests in his reportage and op-ed pieces, but we little bloggers must tag every book recommendation we make with a “disclosure” advising readers that we might make sixty cents if you buy a copy though our site? If you buy some Mystic Monk Coffee through my site, and I make a buck or two from the sale, I must disclaim my interest in the filthy lucre coming my way, but for the rich and powerful it’s all -a lofty pheh – not so important!

Well, it goes against my Irish grain to do anything under compulsion, but I’ll keep disclosing my pennies to you.

I recommend Hanson’s whole piece to you, though; it’s a glorious little exposition about the non-stop double standards the media dishout. What Democrats may do with an imperial shrug, a Republican had better not even contemplate, and so forth.

I visited the Reagan ranch yesterday—for the first time. In my 20s and 30s I remember the media mantra about the ex-governor’s getaway: Reagan’s wealthy cronies had supposedly secretly bought him in a sweet-heart-deal a Hearst Castle-like estate where he looked down at hoi polloi below and did photo-ops chopping wood. I half expected “the ranch” to be comparable to Oprah’s nearby estate.

But I was struck by the array of simple farm tools in the garage, the do-it-yourself trails and fences, the unadorned home of about 1700 sq. ft of rustic simplicity and ad-ons with basic old GE appliances, no insulation, wiring conduited onto the whitewashed walls, low ceilings, basic, unevenly settled tile floors. In terms of comfort or frills, the Western White House “ranch” was probably not comparable to “John’s room” inside the Edwards’ “Two Americas” estate, or the garage at one of John Kerry’s mansions, or Al Gore’s boathouse.

How odd that the supposed plutocratic Reagan lived like the proverbial Philemon and Baucis, while today’s populists—Gore, Kerry, Kennedy, Edwards, Rev. Wright, etc., fill in the blanks—seek to emulate Nero’s Golden House.

Read the whole thing, but Hanson forgot one: recall the (not unjustifiable) outrage regarding Armstrong Williams, who received federal compensation for writing in support of the No Child Left Behind Act:

Tribune Media Services will stop distributing columns written by conservative commentator Armstrong Williams because he received money to promote President Bush’s education programs, the company said.

Williams confirmed Friday that he received $240,000 from the Department of Education in exchange for promoting No Child Left Behind,, the centerpiece of Bush’s education agenda. Williams said the payment was merely for advertising time.

Then notice silence so thorough you can hear the crickets chirp over any mention of the Obama White House looking to use NEA monies for the promulgation of Obama-propaganda. As Ed Morrissey notes:

Former actor and present White House associate director of public engagement Kalpen Modi was directly involved in planning the controversial conference call hosted by a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) flack to encourage tax-supported artists to create propaganda for President Obama, according to emails obtained by Judicial Watch via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

We had already known of the involvement of Buffy Wicks, who was the first White House staffer implicated in the attempt to use taxpayer money to create propaganda for Barack Obama in the arts community. This shows that Wicks’ involvement was a last-minute change in the program. Wicks works for Modi, who helped stage the call but couldn’t join because of a scheduling conflict. This moves the White House involvement up the ladder a bit.

Democrats…Hollywood actors…Charles Rangel…they’re different from you and me, and the rules of outrage regarding abuse-of-power, ignorance or tax evasion simply do not apply to them. Provided they have the correct letter after their name.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Liberty60

    Anchoress, if you are assuming that “liberals” are silent or supportive of Galbraith’s dishonesty and conflict of interest, you assume a bit much.

    Glenn Greenwald and ThinkProgress have each commented scathingly on this matter.

    Which brings me to your larger point, which Greenwald especially harps on, continuously; that what we call the objective media is rife with self-serving, self-promoting, and dishonest reporting. Not biased in favor of conservatives or liberals, but biased in favor of their own ends, which is nearly always sucking up to and ingratiating themselves with power, whichever party it happens to be.

    The same reporters who comment on government officials, likely send their children to the same private school, attend the same clubs, and eat at the same restaurants.

    This is how they can look approvingly upon a common thief sentenced to life imprisonment for stealing a slice of pizza, yet view the mysterious disappearance of over a billion dollars by Halliburton in Iraq as a minor problem, that should be overlooked.
    There might have been a time when one of our parties represented the interests of the common people, but I am not seeing either one of them do that now.

    [Oh, I'll agree with you there; neither party is doing much to serve. And yes, the reporters live the same sorts of lives as those they cover (and protect or destroy), but Greenwald and TP are not by any stretch of the imagination, the mainstream media, and their two voices reflect nothing of the incessant cries we heard "Halliburton, Halliburton" with almost robotic regularity for 8 years (and note my thoughts on the Halliburton fixation here). Do you hear every gasbag on tv talking about Galbraith? Is Dowd snarking about it? Is Chris Matthews expectorating about it, are Olbermann's eyes bugging out? Do you hear outrage about Rangel? (Imagine if he were a Republican). The White House-NEA abuse? The press is very selective about whose actions get targeted for search-and-destroy coverage (remember the NY Times trying to get into adoption records of Chief Justice Roberts?). Also related: Coopers' kids are alright; are Rove's? -admin]

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  • dry valleys

    It’s funny that Liberty60 should have said the above because I was just clicking away to make a similar comment.

    It’s a funny old world where I will be sent to prison for stealing a TV (something I wouldn’t do unless starving or to save someone’s life, so pretty much something that’s never going to happen in real life) whereas City banker scum receive my taxes again & again for screwing up the economy to begin with.

    I, further, agree that journalism is becoming a sort of hereditary thing. The likes of Jonah Golberg, Bill Kristol etc. sure as buggery aren’t there on their own merits, & if it happens on the left too it is a problem on the left.

    We are all essentially suffering from the existence of a hopelessly out of touch overclass, be they of a left-wing or a right-wing persuasion. I am not a socialist, but I can see why people become so when I consider the demise of social mobility, for example.

    This is definitely why I laud the blogosphere. So many obscurities have risen to a fame they deserve but might never have got before the late 90s. Further, the self-appointed experts are often no better informed than us & cannot be bothered to do genuine investigative work, so I welcome the efforts of bloggers who haven’t forgotten what reportage is supposed to be. (You should see how many stories on MSM websites have been closed down after my pals have exposed what total rubbish they are).

    I welcome trending on Twitter & the likes if they draw attention to this.

    I am sure there is more to say but I am going to watch the TV- I haven’t got one myself but I go to my mother’s house every week to watch University Challenge, & I rather shame-facedly take the opportunity to watch some completely worthless programmes when there.

    Yes, there’s a certain kind of hideous guilt that only the opening credits of “Come Dine With Me” can bring about :)

  • Liberty60

    I appreciate your response; I think perhaps what is limiting here is the tribalistic nature of the blogosphere;
    That is one criticizes Bush, he MUST at all costs, defend Obama; and vice versa.
    Which leads to endless roounds of what-aboutisms, and leads normally reasonable people to support things that are appalling.

    I think it is intellectual laziness to wave a hand and trot out the “they’re all corrupt” cliche; but it IS true that neither party or ideological movement is honest and consistent.

    There are plenty of points to touch on, but I would like to single out the Halliburton fixation. It isn’t a fixation to view the murky world of government contracting as a cesspool of shady deals and influence-peddling.
    It was interesting to note (again, brought to light by Greenwald) that the ACORN defunding bill would, if interpreted strictly, defunded nearly the entire military/ industrial sector. Nearly all major military contractors have either been convicted or indicted for fraud. Not inoocent billing errors, but actual fraud.
    This is not a partisan issue; it is not an unusual aberration; it is the norm, and only rarely gets noticed or punished.
    One particularly egregious case was that of DynaCorp, under the Clinton Administration in Bosnia; there were credible allegations of security contractors engaging in child sex trafficking, but no one was ever indicted, or punished.
    The reason I dwell on this is that it seems especially corrupting by being concealed by otherwise good people in the name of good things, namely conservatives using the good name of free enterprise to conceal what is a rotting fruit.
    The notion that the connections between the Vice President and the awarding of contracts to his former employer is merely coincidence strains credulity, to put it mildly.
    There are entire websites devoted to exposing the corruption and incompetance of Halliburton alone-
    In the same way that I urge people like Rachel Maddow to stop defending ACORN, I would urge conservatives to stop defending the military contractors.

  • Doc

    This post reminds me to recommend Thomas Sowell’s Visions of the Annointed to all who wonder of ‘the elites’, “what the hell are they thinking?”

    Sowell explains beautifully how the Left view the ‘benighted masses’. We are really unworthy to question their judgement.

    Liberty60, I think it is you who are intellectually lazy in your assessment of the blogosphere. I know of no reputable center-right blog, from Malkin’s sites to Instapundit to Powerline, who give Republicans a pass. If you believe that Republicans get a pass from anyone who critical of Obama, you’ve never read Michelle, or Anchoress, for that matter. That notion sounds like it comes right out of the major network TV talking points on the blogs, or from an advisor working for McCain or Graham.

  • Liberty60

    I responded to Anchoress’ link re: Halliburton. her linked post defended Halliburton as being worthy of their contracts.
    My point is that conservatives should not defend Halliburton this way.
    Did I miss Michelle Malkin’s angry posts criticizing KBR for killing American servicement with their shoddy electrical work?
    Did I overlook Powerline’s denunciation of Blackwater’s killing of Iraqi civilians?
    Did RedState demand that DynCorp be defunded for trafficking in child prostitutes?

    If so, I stand corrected.
    My point is not to poke these sites in the eye; I chided Rachel Maddow/ Thinkprogress for doing the same, on their side.
    My complaint is with the partisan nature of these sites causes them to end up defending the indefensible; and ignoring the deeper rot, like Galbraith’s duplicity in being a pundit without revealing his financial stakes;
    Its bad enough when the MSM misleads us, cozying up to power; its worse when blogs take the bait and only find fault with “the other side”.