Right Wing

"Cash for Commentary" is Business as Usual

Blanquita Cullum #1Conservative commentators Armstrong Williams, Maggie Gallagher and Michael McManus have been outed recently for taking money under the table to endorse Bush administration programs. These cases are only the tip of a much bigger iceberg, as you can tell from looking at the images I'm attaching here. I wrote about it three years ago in a story that described the work of conservative direct marketer Bruce Eberle, whose Omega List Company specializes in raising money using mail and e-mail.

On a section of the website that has subsequently been removed, Omega List was quite straightforward about the fact that it pays conservative commentators to endorse clients and their causes. A series of web pages featured conservative radio show host Blanquita Cullum explaining exactly how the system works and how other radio hosts could get in on the gravy. "You do what you do best!" she said. "Get on the air and talk to your listeners! Drive them to your website by conducting a daily survey or a contest on the topic of your choosing." Eberle's "polling wizard" software, installed on the site, would then capture the names of respondents so that they could be hit up for money. "What happens next is a cakewalk," Cullum continued. "Omega will call you with an opportunity to send an endorsement e-mail to your list ... and receive a royalty for lending your name to a cause, organization or product you believe in. ... Omega gives you their specialized software absolutely FREE and presents you with an opportunity to earn an extra $25,000 or more annually."

Feeding Social Insecurities

The "start of a coordinated effort to build public support" to privatize Social Security "and pressure Congress to act" included a Washington DC town hall with the president and six "carefully selected participants." One was a Seattle-area businessman who, after being contacted by the White House, got a call from the conservative lobbying group FreedomWorks, "offering to pay his expenses." FreedomWorks


Norquist Dreams of Twelve More Years

Conservative activist Grover Norquist, from Americans for Tax Reform, told Australian Financial Review journalist Tony Walker that three of his political priorities – tort reform, curtailing political contributions from unions, and promoting free trade – would have the combined effect of weakening support for


White House Astroturf For Social Security Phase Out

When White House Budget Director Joshua B. Bolten introduced a "single mom" from Iowa to promote President Bush's plan to dismantle Social Security, she was presented as one of the "regular folks" in favor of private savings accounts. But Sandra Jaques, who addressed a White House economics conference on Thursday, "is not any random single mother," the New York Times' Edmund Andrews wrote.


Rage Against the Machine

After Philadelphia radio reporter Rachel Buchman couldn't get a right-wing website to stop sending her spam emails, she phoned their office and left an angry message that got her fired. "I acted in anger, and that was wrong," she admits, but we looked into the background of the site's owner and found a long history of scandal and cynical PR opportunism that ought to make you angry too.


Swiftvets Ponder Their Next Mission

Chris LaCivita, formerly a paid political consultant for the anti-Kerry 527 group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, said the group "is pondering its next step" but "will remain a potent force." LaCavita told The Hill that "one possibility is that the Swiftvets will become a full-time


Learning from the Winners

The Center for Media and Democracy's John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton write, "Republican successes have not come quickly or easily. For more than four decades, conservatives have worked to build a network of grassroots organizations and think tanks that formulate and promote their ideas. They are now enjoying the fruits of this long-term investment." The right wing "has simply done a better job than anyone else of organizing from the grassroots up.



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