Friday, January 28, 2005

Letter from David Brock to Universal Press Syndicate

January 26, 2005

Lee Salem
Executive Vice President and Editor
Universal Press Syndicate
4520 Main Street
Kansas City, MO 64111-7701

Dear Mr. Salem:

I am writing to bring to your attention a report in the January 26 edition of The Washington Post that conservative columnist Maggie Gallagher was paid $21,500 by the U.S. government to promote a Bush administration proposal intended to promote marriage.

Gallagher has acknowledged the payments, has acknowledged that she failed to disclose the payments -- even though, as the Post reported, she "repeatedly defended President Bush's push for a $300 million initiative encouraging marriage" in her columns -- and has acknowledged that she should have disclosed the payments. Yet despite Ms. Gallagher's admission that she was secretly paid by the Bush administration to promote government policies during a period of time when the president was publicly debating those policies, the Post article indicated that Universal Press Syndicate has no plans to drop her column. I respectfully ask that you reconsider, on the grounds that Ms. Gallagher has irrevocably damaged her integrity by taking money to influence the public debate and failing to disclose such payments. Readers have a right to expect that the columns they are reading have not been secretly bought and paid for by the government. If Universal Press does not take any action in this matter, readers will know that the syndicate does not take that expectation seriously.

Yours sincerely,

David Brock
President and CEO
Media Matters for America

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