I can discern no point of the NY Times article, “Wal-Mart Finds an Ally in Conservatives” than to not-so-subtly suggest that right wing think tanks are corporate shills whose scholars nefariously omit to disclose Walton Family Foundation funding to hide the fact of their intellectual corruption. Of course, the story doesn’t say this right out, and almost, kind of, denies it. But there would seem to be no other reason to even write the story. The upshot seemed to be that there is something shady in not disclosing in op-eds and articles that your organization has received funding from an organization whose interests you are defending, even if the author has no idea who funds their organization.
So maybe the Times will take its own advice, and the next time they write a front page story that approvingly quotes an Economic Policy Institute scholar on the lack of worker bargaining power, they’ll see fit to mention that EPI’s board is controlled by officials from Big Labor, and that they receive big chunks of cash annually from unions.
[ADDENDUM: Oh! And they do mention in EPI in the Wal-Mart article, noting $2.5 mil in union funding just last year. But they should have mentioned that when they were giving EPI a platform to frame the wage statistics. And, anyway, they then allow the fact that Unions are dropping money like crazy to finance attacks on Wal-Mart to be framed by an actual union shill:
In response, Chris Kofinis, communications director for WakeUpWalmart.com, an arm of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union that gives money to liberal research groups, said: “While we openly support the mission of economic justice, Wal-Mart and the Waltons put on a smiley face, hide the truth, all while supporting right-wing causes who are paid to defend Wal-Mart’s exploitative practices.”
Oh! So the money ladled out by unions is in support of economic justice, as opposed to exploitative practices. So no worries!]
Or maybe they’ll accept that money more often follows opinion than the reverse, and that the merits of an argument generally have nothing to do with the motivation behind making it. I’m currently writing something on the Chicago’s idiotic big box ordinance. That I would think this kind of thing is idiotic is not irrelevant to the fact Cato decided to hire me. Does Cato get Walton money? I have no idea, though I hope so. From Target’s foundation? I don’t know. From the people behind Home Depot? No idea! Is the Times really saying that it is better for me to know than to not know? I’d think the fact that I probably own a piece of Wal-Mart through the mutual funds in my 401K would be more relevant. But I don’t know about that, either.