Sunday, January 6, 2013

Duping Readers: The Wall Street Journal Fails to Disclose Op-ed Writers' Political Ties

Published on Alternet (

Media Matters for America [1] / By Eric Hananoki [2]

Duping Readers: The Wall Street Journal Fails to Disclose Op-ed Writers' Political Ties

December 28, 2012

In 2012 The Wall Street Journal regularly failed to disclose the election-related conflicts of interest of its op-ed writers. The paper's editorial page published op-eds from 12 writers without disclosing their roles as advisers to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. It also didn't regularly disclose columnist Karl Rove's close ties to the super PAC American Crossroads and the affiliated political organization American Crossroads GPS, two groups which spent a massive sum of money attempting to aid Mitt Romney and various Republican congressional candidates in November's elections.

According to a Media Matters review [3], the Journal published 2012 pieces from the following Romney advisers without disclosing their campaign ties: John Bolton [4]; Max Boot [5]; Lee A. Casey [6]; Seth Cropsey [7]; Paula Dobriansky [8]; Mary Ann Glendon [9]; Kevin Hassett [10]; Michael Mukasey [11]; Paul E. Peterson [12]; David B. Rivkin Jr. [6]; John Taylor [13]; and Martin West [12].

An October 2 study [14] by Media Matters found that in 70 percent of op-eds written by Mitt Romney advisers, the Journal failed to disclose the writer's connections to the Romney campaign. In several instances, the paper failed to disclose an op-ed writer's connection despite its own news section reporting that the writer is advising Romney.

For months, the News Corp.-owned publication also failed [15] to disclose that Rove is the co-founder and adviser for American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, even though Rove's columns were regularly about the political races that Crossroads was spending money on. Rove's columns contained optimistic forecasts for Romney and falsehoods against President Obama.

The paper's failure on both fronts drew criticism from veteran editorial page editors [16] at some of the nation's top newspapers [17]. Editors told Media Matters that providing adequate disclosure is "essential" when publishing op-eds. Media Matters also launched a petition [18]urging the Journal to disclose the conflicts.

Following criticism, the Journal eventually disclosed Rove's super PAC connection in late September, and noted the Romney affiliations of a writer [13] in at least two subsequent op-eds (while backsliding [13] on others [19]).

Los Angeles Times editor Nicholas Goldberg told Media Matters, "when a writer does have a particular relationship to his subject that is not immediately apparent to the reader, it is important to disclose that so that the reader can evaluate the argument intelligently."

Unfortunately for Journal readers, that information wasn't available in more than twenty op-ed pieces and dozens of Rove columns in 2012.

Source URL:





















Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

No comments: