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Hullabaloo


Saturday, June 21, 2008

 
The Dean's Parade of Lies

by dday

Like most Villagers wishing to supplement their income, David Broder has taken tens of thousands of dollars, if not much more, in speaking fees from corporate groups and organizations. As Ken Silverstein at Harper's thoroughly documented, lots of these events were for groups that lobby Congress, like the National Association of Manufacturers' annual meeting and a fundraiser for a PAC for the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors. There are plenty more at the link. This is part of the Village merry go-round, but Dean Broder has a history of tut-tutting at those journalists who collect substantial fees from industry. He actually said this:

People think that we are part of the establishment and therefore part of the problem. I mean, what bothers me is the notion that journalists believe, or some journalists believe, that they can have their cake and eat it too, that you can have all of the special privileges, access and extraordinary freedom that you have because you are a journalist operating in a society which protects journalism to a greater degree than any other country in the world, and at the same time you can be a policy advocate. You can be a public performer on the lecture circuit or television. I think that’s greedy.


Some journalists named David Broder, apparently, believe that.

I wouldn't say this caused much of an uproar outside of the blogs, but it was enough for the Washington Post's ombudsman to follow up:

The Post Stylebook's ethics and standards section says only: "We freelance for no one and accept no speaking engagements without permission from department heads." Broder and Woodward did not check with editors on the appearances Silverstein mentioned [...]

Broder said he adheres to "the newspaper's strict rules on outside activities" and "additional constraints of my own. I have never spoken to partisan gatherings in any role other than a journalist nor to an advocacy group that lobbies Congress or the federal government. Virtually all of the speeches I have made have been to college or civic audiences."

The NAM, the ACCF and the national parents of the Minnesota group and Northern Virginia Realtors do lobby Congress. Broder later said he broke the rules on those speeches. He also said he had cleared his speeches with Milton Coleman, deputy managing editor, or Tom Wilkinson, an assistant managing editor, but neither remembered him mentioning them. Wilkinson said Broder had cleared speeches in the past. Editors should have been consulted on all of the speeches as well as the cruise.

"I am embarrassed by these mistakes and the embarrassment it has caused the paper,'' Broder said.


He's very, very sorry. And that's that. After all, he's the Dean.

Silverstein, by the way, is unimpressed, and we get a picture of Broder as a pathological liar.

Broder first told Howell, “I have never spoken to partisan gatherings in any role other than [that of] a journalist nor to an advocacy group that lobbies Congress or the federal government.” That turned out to be false, as Howell discovered, so Broder came back to say, “I am embarrassed by these mistakes and the embarrassment it has caused the paper.”

Broder told Howell he attended an event at the American Council for Capital Formation, “but did not give a speech.” So apparently someone at the ACCF made up this account of Broder’s speech to the group? [...]

Howell doesn’t mention this—Post reporters, it seems, will call people to ask about their actions but won’t take calls about their own. More outrageous is that Broder specifically denied to Howell that I had sought comment from him (which I know only because Howell told me during a phone conversation), even though I contacted him several times, by phone and email, beginning forty-eight hours before posting the first story [...]

So this is accountability: “We broke the rules, and we’re sorry. But as Post employees, we won’t deign to answer questions from outside reporters; we are accountable only to our internal ombudsman, if bad publicity should prompt her to address such matters.”


True dat. The Villagers demand the same amount of accountability in the politicians they cover as they do themselves, so this is no shocker. They actively participated in George Bush getting away with torture and spying on Americans, so why can't a vague and dismissive 'sorry' be anything worse? They don't mind lies that led us to war, so why not try to lie their way out of their own conflicts of interest and unethical conduct?

The Village is an accountability-free zone and has been so for a long time. They think pointing out lies or seeking justice is just terribly uncouth and inappropriate. They aren't hippies, you know.

I'm eagerly awaiting the hard-hitting Howard Kurtz article on all of this.

... from Broder's last column:

By refusing to join McCain in (town halls and public financing) in order to protect his own interests, Obama raises an important question: Has he built sufficient trust so that his motives will be accepted by the voters who are only now starting to figure out what makes him tick?


By refusing to join the Washington Post guidelines for the lecture circuit and lying to their ombudsman and outside reporters to protect his own interests, Broder raises an important question: Has he built up sufficient trust outside the Beltway so that his motives will be accepted by the readers who are only now starting to figure out that he's an unrepentant liar?

...via Jonathan Schwarz, another brilliant Broder quote for the ages.

I can't for the life of me fathom why any journalists would want to become Insiders, when it's so damn much fun to be outsiders -- irreverent, inquisitive, impudent, incorrigibly independent outsiders -- thumbing our nose at authority and going our own way.


He must have been delivering the "Impdent Outsider" keynote at the National Association of Manufacturers.


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