January 25, 2005
ANOTHER OPED PAYOLA SCANDAL? What are these people thinking?
UPDATE: Ed Morrissey says that Drudge misrepresents the Gallagher story, and that it's not another Armstrong Williams case.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Gallagher responds here:
I was not paid to promote marriage. I was paid to produce particular research and writing products (articles, brochures, presentations), which I produced. My lifelong experience in marriage research, public education and advocacy is the reason HHS hired me.
But the real truth is that it never occurred to me. On reflection, I think Howard is right. I should have disclosed a government contract when I later wrote about the Bush marriage initiative. I would have, if I had remembered it. My apologies to my readers.
Seems like a tempest in a teapot to me. I think we're in the midst of another ethical feeding-frenzy, of the sort discussed at length here, in which conduct that wouldn't have raised an eyebrow six months ago, or six months from now, is likely to get a lot of attention.
MORE: Scandal or non-scandal, LaShawn Barber sees it as an opportunity!
STILL MORE: Reader David Jones emails:
The old adage applies: Circumstances alter cases. This was not "payola" and as you observe only has the appearance of being such because of the proximity in time to the Armstrong W debacle. Of course, those who are opposed to Maggie's strong defense of marriage will make the most of it to discredit her. She deserves better.
I'm actually not very familiar with her "strong defense of marriage," and suspect that I might well disagree with it. But while it would have been better for her to disclose this, it seems quite different from the Williams case. And you can't disclose everything -- or, if you do, it becomes a joke, like the "do not eat" warning label on the iPod Shuffle. Some sense of proportion is called for.
I suspect, though, that there are a lot of people on the left and right who couldn't pass the test that's set for Gallagher. Which is why I think this furor will die down soon.