Urgh, why do we have to write intros - without formatting.
This diary is based on a piece today in The Guardian written by Dean Baker who is co-director at The Center for Economic and Policy Research. He takes on Washington Post for an article they published in their last issue of the decade.
It was a piece written by an interest group - or more precisely written by a group funded by one Fat Wall Street Cat - and disguised as an ordinary news article. And it seems Washington Post are going to have more of these articles.
Via Economist's View I came to read an article by Dean Baker in the Guardian today. Baker is co-director at The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)
Here he really takes on Washington Post:
In its last issue of the decade, it published as a news piece an article: by the Peter Peterson Foundation-funded Fiscal Times. This compromised the Post's journalistic integrity to the extent that readers can no longer take it seriously.
The Fiscal Times piece was indistinguishable in its appearance from any other news story in the Washington Post. Only those careful to read the byline or the note at the bottom of the page would realize that the article was not a regular news story. Nowhere is the Fiscal Times identified as being affiliated with, and funded by, the Peter Peterson Foundation.
(Later info seems to indicate that the Fiscal Times is founded directly by Peterson, not his foundation).
Baker tells about Peterson:
Peter Peterson is a Wall Street billionaire and former Nixon administration cabinet member who has been trying to gut social security payments and Medicare for at least the last quarter of a century. He has written several books that warn of a demographic disaster when the baby boomers retire. These books often include nonsense arguments to make his case.
He also links to a New York Times article on Peterson from 2008. According to that article:
Mr. Peterson has just reaped a $1.8 billion profit from Blackstone’s public offering
On Friday, Mr. Peterson will unveil the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and announce his plan to allocate his newfound billions to projects that will increase public awareness of fiscal imbalances, Social Security deficits and nuclear proliferation.
One of his ideas at the time was:
working with HBO on a documentary film adaptation of his book "Running on Empty," in the hope that the American public wakes up to the dangers of deficits and entitlement spending as it did to global warming after Al Gore’s film "An Inconvenient Truth."
Washington Post has now put up an online correction to the Fiscal Times article:
The article by the Fiscal Times, about growing congressional support for a bipartisan commission to address the nation's debt, contained a statement supporting the concept by Robert L. Bixby, the executive director of the Concord Coalition. The article should have noted that the Concord Coalition receives funding from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. Peterson, but not his foundation, also funds the Fiscal Times, the independent news service (sic) that prepared the article.
In the article Concord Coalition is described as
a nonpartisan group that advocates entitlement reform and balanced budgets
And it seems like this article is just the first of many more Fiscal Times articles to be posted in the Washington Post. According to this piece
The Fiscal Times and the Washington Post have agreed to jointly produce content focusing on budget and fiscal issues that will be available to both publications. The content will complement the Post's budget and finance coverage, and will include profiles of key government officials, explanations of important budget trends or proposals and investigative analysis of government spending programs.
And of course the self-proclaimed goal of this one-man funded interest organization is nothing less than
to become the most trusted news source for unbiased journalism covering government policy and economic issues