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David Broder’s Glass House

broder-boodle.jpgThe great thing about being a pundit in the GOP/Media complex is that so long as you don’t justifiably praise a Democrat, or pick on a Republican that’s currently in good odor with the Republican National Committee, you get to do whatever you want without fear that more than a handful of your peers, even at rival newspapers and networks, will actually notice. Case in point: David Broder.

As Lithium Cola points out at Daily Kos, David Broder’s Sunday column tsk-tsked Barack Obama for (horrors!) taking money from "a rich vein of small contributors using the Internet." In other words: Us. You and me, dear reader. And of course Broder’s loyal and obedient servant, Chris Cilizza, serves as his echo chamber. (As the great blogger MacDaffy observes, one would think they would be happy to see a black man refuse public assistance.)

Broder and Cilizza do this at the same time that they lavish praise on John McCain for allegedly being a campaign-finance saint, when any FDL reader of more than three months’ standing could have told them all about McCain’s not just breaking campaign finance law, but grinding the broken pieces into the dirt:

According to the latest Federal Election Commission report, John McCain has now spent $58.4 million dollars. McCain applied for public financing, and according to FEC chairman David Mason (in a letter to McCain), he can’t withdraw without permission of the FEC. So he is now legally in violation of campaign finance law.

Funny how Broder doesn’t mention that. It’s also funny how Broder doesn’t mention how he’s being smacked around by his own ombudsman, Deborah Howell, for taking money for speaking to industry and "special interest groups." That’s right — Lil’ Debbie, who normally is asleep at the wheel when it comes to going after her own, is spanking the Dean on this, along with Bob Woodward, another guy who normally can do no wrong.

Neither is Broder commenting on the excellent journalism done by Harper’s scribe Ken Silverstein, whose work is what led to Deborah Howell’s dork-slapping Broder yesterday. Here’s just a taste:

How much does Broder get paid for these speeches (and there have been a number of others over the past few years)? I don’t know for sure—thus far he has not responded to phone and email messages requesting comment. He did apparently get paid $12,000 for a 2006 keynote speech to the League of Minnesota Cities. “He’s Superman in a brown suit!” says promotional material, which called Broder the “high priest of political journalism,” and “the most respected and influential political journalist in the country.”

Perhaps the groups to whom Broder spoke paid only for his expenses. Even if that’s true, he still appears to have—at minimum—been on the receiving end of some sweet junkets. And shouldn’t Broder disclose to the Post’s readers and the general public his moonlighting activities, especially when he writes about topics that overlap with his speaking gigs?

(If Broder does reply, I will update this story.)

That was posted at the Harper’s website at 9:09 am on June 12. It’s now June 23. There has been no update. Draw your own conclusions.

But if Broder’s been silent, that doesn’t mean Silverstein will be. He, too, was astonished to see that Howell deigned to upbraid both Broder and Woodward, but noted that in both cases, she seriously pulled most of her punches:

But Howell goes very easy on Broder—who has been flagrantly dishonest with his own employer and with Howell–and Woodward, who is allowed to glide away from some very embarrassing matters. Also, Howell deals with only a few speeches by Woodward and Broder, even though Woodward gave dozens and Broder gave roughly a score. I understand that she could not deal with each instance individually (nor did I), but she could have mentioned prominently the fact that the two men, and especially Woodward, are regulars on the talk circuit and that the problem is not restricted to the few speeches she discusses in her column.

Silverstein then goes on to provide the details that Howell didn’t — including that Broder has been caught lying out his ass about it all. He also mentions that the Post was busy in the 1990s with a crusade against Capitol Hill lawmakers accepting up to $2000 — or one-thirtieth of Bob Woodward’s current top fee, $60,000. He concludes thus:

I leave you with one of many comments posted on the Post’s website by readers of Howell’s column. They get it, even if the Post doesn’t:

Broder said he adheres to “the newspaper’s strict rules on outside activities” and “additional constraints of my own.”

Broder later said he broke the rules on those speeches. He also said he had cleared his speeches with Milton Coleman, deputy managing editor, or Tom Wilkinson, an assistant managing editor, but neither remembered him mentioning them.

Ok, so when Broder was first confronted he lied about the speeches. When he was faced with clear evidence he then admitted that he broke the rules but then tried to blame it on others by saying that he had told them. They of course didn’t remember him saying a word (remind you of Judy Miller at the NYT?). Mr. Broder is obviously a serial liar who thought he could BS his way out of a mess of his own making. So the only question left to ask is—what is the Post going to do about his repeated unethical conduct?

What, indeed?

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