Except For All The Problems

by digby

... it's perfectly fine.

The Washington Post ombudsman finally responded to the complaints about the paper's inappropriate relationship with Pete Peterson and his new "news" operation the Fiscal Times. He says there's nothing wrong with it because Peterson has hired good reporters and the stories will be edited by the paper's staff.

Dean Baker wonders if he would say the same thing if the paper contacted with the NRAs "Firearms Gazette" or the tobacco industry's "Smoking Today." After all, he seems to think that the Fiscal (End) Times can be trusted, with safeguards, to write unbiased copy. But here's the rub:
Can anyone imagine the Peterson Foundation putting a story showing how much the failure of the Fed to combat the housing bubble added to country's debt? How about a piece that showed that the U.S. deficit problem is driven entirely by our broken health care system?

No, these pieces, or many others like them, are not going to run in the Fiscal Times, because that is not what Peter Peterson wants to buy with his millions. And, the very good reporters who have signed up to work for the Fiscal Times know very well what the boss wants, even if he does not intervene directly in their reporting.
In fact, Alexander even admitted that the Fiscal Times could not produce one little story without showing its bias. As Alexander noted:

"The story had serious deficiencies.

A footnote said only that Fiscal Times is 'an independent digital news publication reporting on fiscal, budgetary, health-care and international economics issues.' But it should have disclosed that it was created and funded by Peterson and noted his interest in the issues.

The story quoted the head of the Concord Coalition, 'a nonpartisan group that advocates entitlement reform and balanced budgets.' It failed to divulge that the group receives funding from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. ....

The story also cited data from a study by the Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform, again failing to note that it was the same Peterson who is behind the Fiscal Times.

The timing of the story was problematic, coming weeks before the Senate may consider the commission idea. The Fiscal Times plans to cover a spectrum of issues, but having its first story focused on one so closely tied to Peterson was inviting suspicion about its motives
Finally, the story also was not sufficiently balanced with the views of those opposed to a fast-track commission. "

That's a lot of mistakes in an article that is only 935 words, all of them favoring Peterson's political agenda.

That's how it works in what is obviously a full blown propaganda campaign working several different angles of the mainstream media in different ways. First there was the "documentary" IOUSA, which CNN ran uninterrupted as a feature two days in a row, followed by a panel discussion of experts who all agreed with the premise.

Then the Peterson Institute contracted with MTVs college network MTVU to promote generational warfare (and, not incidentally, try to pry the younger voters away from the Democrats.)

Now, as Susie Madrak caught the other day, they are preparing a new "documentary" with what can only be described as a very biased agenda.

I'm sure there's more of this wealth protecting propaganda masquerading as news and education in the pipeline. With newspapers in a deep spiral and a competitive media environment desperate for any kind of advantage, I would guess that a few of Peterson's millions are welcome indeed, in whatever form they take, particularly if Peterson continues to package this material as slickly as we've seen and enlist others to validate him with their credibility. The Washington Post had already signaled its intent to sell itself to the highest bidder when it scheduled its pay-to-play industry "salons" with industry earlier this year. This partnership with Peterson is exactly the same thing except that they've eliminated the middle men --- the reporters --- and are just letting the advocates write the stuff directly. Obviously, the Washington Post no longer cares about its crediblity. Caveat emptor.

Keep your eyes open for more Peterson media infiltration.  They are obviously gearing up for a full blown attack on social security and medicare and from what I can tell the Villagers are more than willing to help them do it.  After all, there's nothing these pampered celebrities love more than to pretend that "we" are all in this together and must sacrifice our meager social security and health benefits to ensure that wealthy people like themselves don't have to pay higher taxes.  It's a good deal for them.  For us, not so much.

Update: Speaking of Susie Madrak she's running a fund drive and could use your help if you have some to spare. She's an original voice in the sphere --- and she's not related to Pete Peterson.