[The item below arrived in my mailbox via the Politech mailing list, which all free thinkers and free speech advocates are highly advised to subscribe to. Thought it was appropriate to the theme of this web log. -Thomas]
I thought you [and Politech] might enjoy this essay on the blurring line
between journalism and lobbying. The title is “Meet the Press”, by
Nicholas Confessore from the December 2003 Washington Monthly.
James Glassman and TCS have given birth to something quite new in
Washington: journo-lobbying. It’s an innovation driven primarily by the
influence industry. Lobbying firms that once specialized in gaining
person-to-person access to key decision-makers have branched out. The new
game is to dominate the entire intellectual environment in which officials
make policy decisions, which means funding everything from think tanks to
issue ads to phony grassroots pressure groups.
But TCS doesn’t just act like a lobbying shop. It’s actually published by
one–the DCI Group, a prominent Washington “public affairs” firm
specializing in P.R., lobbying, and so-called “Astroturf” organizing,
generally on behalf of corporations, GOP politicians, and the occasional
Third-World despot. The two organizations share most of the same owners,
some staff, and even the same suite of offices in downtown Washington, a
block off K Street. As it happens, many of DCI’s clients are also
“sponsors” of the site it houses. TCS not only runs the sponsors’ banner
ads; its contributors aggressively defend those firms’ policy positions, on
TCS and elsewhere.