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Dear Rupert Murdoch, We’d Like Credit for Our Research Please

Rupert Murdoch (photo: WEF via Wikipedia)

Rupert Murdoch (photo: WEF via Wikipedia)

The good news is that our new system for managing large amounts of “institutional memory” on the Gruber contract is a success. We used it yesterday to build the post entitled How the White House Used Jonathan Gruber’s Work to Orchestrate the Appearance of Broad Consensus, which was widely circulated and discussed.

But it’s ironic that just as Rupert Murdoch begins blocking content from search engines, they should be cribbing the work of others without credit. McJoan gives an accurate rundown of how the discovery was made — DailyKos commenter Mote Dai mentioned it in slinkerwink’s diary. Marcy Wheeler picked it up and ran with it, uncovering the other HHS contract which began presolicitation in February of last year. Ben Smith contacted Gruber and printed his email response.

In the Fox News retelling however, Justin Berger invokes Daily Kos and FDL simply as “even liberals don’t like this” confirmation of the impropriety, which is even more misleading than what the article accuses the White House of doing with Gruber’s work. He allows his readers to believe that it was his own hard work that tripped upon the HHS contract, steals Ben Smith’s email without credit, notes the Washington Post and New England Journal of Medicine articles that Marcy and Ben reported on, and links to. . . nobody.

So now, having credited nobody, Berger assures not only that Fox will get credit for the story, but also that it will get used as a partisan attack weapon. And it does.

Peter Roth of US News writes a column about “a story that first appeared in the blogosphere,” but with no link or acknowledgment. He credits Fox News for their reporting with a link however, so clearly it’s something he knows how to do. The thrust of a story entitled “Shameless Democrats,” equating Gruber with Armstrong Williams in a tit-for-tat “gotcha” moment, would have been seriously undermined by the acknowledgment that it was liberal Democrats who did the original reporting, and Fox News just pinched it.

But yesterday, after the publication of the “broad consensus” piece, Murdoch’s minions really cut loose. The Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece that relied on our research almost entirely to come to the rather weird conclusion that Wellpoint’s data should’ve been given more credence. Research that took a team of people days to put together. They claim (wrongly) that “only came to wide notice when Mr. Gruber wrote a commentary for the New England Journal of Medicine”, when in fact Mote Dai came across it last summer in FedBizOpps while looking for consulting contracts. Mike Enzi gets the credit for being the morality police in the situation.

This isn’t just another bit of griping about the “MSM” stealing blog reporting. Rather, by appropriating it without credit in this case, Murdoch uses it to construct a false narrative where the right are the noble muckrakers holding the corrupt Democrats to account. That is simply not the case. In fact, it is liberals who are holding up the same yardstick to everyone regardless of party identity, and the story is being stolen and distorted to pretend something quite different.

During the Bush years, when libertarian Republican Bruce Fein spoke out against the administration, Fox dismissed him as a “Reagan administration lawyer turned Bush-basher.” In fact, a Google search reveals only 14 references to Fein on the entire Fox News site.

There’s no indication that Jonathan Gruber came to any conclusions about the health care bill that he would not have reached without the contract. To the contrary, his help was sought by the White House because he is a respected economist whose models had reached those very same conclusions before. The problem is not that Gruber was paid to consult with the White House, but rather that the White House tried to pretend he was providing independent verification — and Gruber went along with that by failing to disclose the relationship when he saw that happening.

The fact is, the people who did the work to uncover the Gruber story were liberals. Neither Fox News nor the right-wing noise machine did that kind of in-depth accountability reporting on George Bush. Stealing our research now and presenting it as their own obscures the fact that there is a profound difference in the way that many liberals respond when “our team” is in office, as compared to the slavish propaganda that Fox offered up in honor of George Bush.

One is demanding accountability. The other is just engaging in demagoguery.


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Dear Rupert Murdoch, We’d Like Credit For Our Research Please

The good news is that our new system for managing large amounts of  “institutional memory” on the Gruber contract is a success.  We used it yesterday to build the post entitled How the White House Used Jonathan Gruber’s Work to Orchestrate the Appearance of Broad Consensus, which was widely circulated and discussed.

But it’s ironic that just as Rupert Murdoch begins blocking content from search engines, he should be cribbing the work of others without credit.  McJoan gives an accurate rundown of how the discovery was made — DailyKos commenter Mote Dai mentioned it in slinkerwink’s diary.  Marcy Wheeler picked it up and ran with it, uncovering the other HHS contract which began presolicitation in February of last year.  Ben Smith contacted Gruber and printed his email response.

In the Fox News retelling however, Justin Berger invokes Daily Kos and FDL simply as “even liberals don’t like this” confirmation of the impropriety, which is even more misleading than what the article accuses the White House of doing with Gruber’s work.  He allows his readers to believe that it was his own hard work that tripped upon the HHS contract, steals Ben Smith’s email without credit, notes the Washington Post and New England Journal of Medicine articles that Marcy and Ben reported on, and links…nobody.

So now, having credited nobody, Berger assures not only that Fox will get credit for the story, but also that it will get used as a partisan attack weapon.  And it does.

Peter Roth of US News writes a column about “a story that first appeared in the blogosphere,” but with no link or acknowledgment.  He credits Fox News for their reporting with a link however, so clearly it’s something he knows how to do.   The thrust of a story entitled “Shameless Democrats,” equating Gruber with Armstrong Williams in a partisan tit-for-tat “gotcha” moment, would have been seriously undermined by the acknowledgment that it was liberal Democrats who did the original reporting.  Fox News just pinched it.

But yesterday, after the publication of the “broad consensus” piece, Murdoch’s minions really cut loose.  The Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece that relied on our research almost entirely to come to the rather weird conclusion that Wellpoint’s data should’ve been given more credence.  Research that took a team of people days to put together.  They claim (wrongly) that “only came to wide notice when Mr. Gruber wrote a commentary for the New England Journal of Medicine”, when in fact Mote Dai came across it last summer in FedBizOpps while looking for consulting contracts.  Mike Enzi gets the credit for being the morality police in the situation.

This isn’t just another bit of griping about the “MSM” stealing blog reporting.  Rather, by appropriating it without credit in this case, Murdoch uses it to construct a false narrative where the right are the noble muckrakers holding the corrupt Democrats to account.  That is simply not the case.  In fact, it is liberals who are holding up the same yardstick to everyone regardless of party identity, and the story is being stolen and distorted to pretend something quite different.

During the Bush years, when  libertarian Republican  Bruce Fein spoke out against the administration, Fox dismissed him as a “Reagan administration lawyer turned Bush-basher.”   In fact, a Google search reveals only 14 references to Fein on the entire Fox News site.

There’s no indication that Jonathan Gruber came to any conclusions about the health care bill that he would not have reached without the contract.  To the contrary, his help was sought by the White House because he is a respected economist whose models had reached those very same conclusions before.  The problem is not that Gruber was paid to consult with the White House, but rather that the White House tried to pretend he was providing independent verification — and Gruber went along with that by failing to disclose the relationship when he saw that happening.  But Murdoch’s critique is equally opaque and misleading.

The fact is, the people who did the work to uncover the Gruber story were liberals.  Neither Fox News nor the right-wing noise machine did that kind of in-depth accountability reporting on George Bush.  Stealing our research now and presenting it as their own obscures the fact that there is a profound difference in the way that many liberals respond when “our team” is in office,  as compared to the slavish propaganda that Fox offered up in honor of George Bush.

One is demanding accountability.  The other is just engaging in demagoguery.


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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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