Brent Bozell

Ever since George W. Bush was elected in 2000, the left-wing media have developed a taste to expose episodes of media corruption. No, not their corruption. Conservative media corruption.

 The liberal media made loud grunts and noises over columnist Armstrong Williams, who didn't tell readers of his column that he had a public-relations contract with the Department of Education to sell the "No Child Left Behind" legislation. If a columnist is working for a government program or entity, it's always best to disclose to readers your involvement, so they can judge your point of view more fully.

 The latest example arrived with columnist Doug Bandow's inexcusable back-door acceptance of cash from Jack Abramoff for columns promoting his clients' interests. Williams and Bandow both could argue they were only promoting conservative causes they would support anyway. But the exposures of what they wouldn't disclose had the opposite effect. It emits the odor of corruption. It made them look like they were primarily advancing conservative issues through columns because there was personal profit involved.

 But where is that media-ethics crowd erupting with the same outrage when liberal journalists -- even major liberal journalists -- cut ethical corners and feather their own political nests? The major example of this is PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers. In 1999, Knight-Ridder reporter Frank Greve revealed then in his moonlighting job as the president of a liberal foundation (the Florence and John Schumann Foundation) Moyers was funding left-wing activists for campaign finance "reform" -- and then interviewing them on his show, giving them national exposure at taxpayer expense, with no disclosure.

 In June of 1999, Moyers hosted a PBS show ironically called "Free Speech for Sale," and he opened with the views of three "reformers" -- Burt Neuborne of the Brennan Center for Justice, Charles Lewis of the Center for Public Integrity, and Bob Hall of Democracy South. But, as Greve reported, Moyers "never revealed that their organizations have received a total of $2.6 million from the Schumann Foundation in the last five years."

 In 2003, Steve Hayes reported on the pattern again for The Weekly Standard, finding that the Moyers-led foundation had dealt $4.8 million dollars to 16 leftist groups that also received free PR on "Now with Bill Moyers" in the previous 16 months without any bothersome disclosure to PBS viewers. The list included Friends of the Earth, Public Citizen, the Sierra Club, and The Nation magazine. Does anyone remember the outrage over these cozy little corruptions?

Brent Bozell

Founder and President of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell runs the largest media watchdog organization in America.
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Brent Bozell's column. Sign up today and receive daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.
©Creators Syndicate