We previously encountered Tom Giovenetti, president of the IPI think tank when he told me that IPI keeps its funders secret:
Second, regarding whether we take money from Microsoft, IPI has an absolute policy of protecting our donors’ privacy. I’m sure if you donated money to IPI, you would appreciate that policy.
Giovenetti has now weighed in with an NRO column defending pundit payola. I’m linking to the director’s cut on his blog. Giovenetti starts with an attack on conservatives who think that journalists should disclose their funding:
But after seeing a smattering of silly columns and blogs by conservatives on this issue, I thought it was probably past time for me to provide some much-needed context.
Giovenetti goes on for a while about how Javers is running a political campaign against the right. Then he has this:
But the third reason we did not take action against Peter is that, while it’s easy for inexperienced young writers and bloggers to opine in retrospect about how “I’d never, ever do that,” in the thirteen years I’ve been president of IPI, to the best of my knowledge IPI has never been asked about financial disclosure by a newspaper. There have been no clear policies, no rules, no precedents. Rather, the rules are being asserted now, in hindsight, by politically-biased accusers, and their new rules are being given time to crystallize by the hesitancy of organizations to stand up against the accusers, and by naive conservatives who don’t see this effort for what it really is.
Well I asked him (see above). I don’t see how that doesn’t count just because I’m not a newspaper. Nor are folks making up new rules. The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics is not new and states that journalists should disclose unavoidable conflicts of interest.
Giovenetti goes on to misrepresent the reason for Fumento’s firing:
So, because Fumento’s work was supported by corporations, the left hangs a cloud of controversy over it, even though everything seems to have been done in a completely above-board and legal manner.
The controversy is because Fumento did not disclose his payments from Monsanto. This is not “completely above-board”
Meanwhile Fumento tells us some more scary stuff about the “Enemies List” that he claims is designed to eliminate conservative writers.
Paul Rodriguez, a writer for Newsmax, indicated to me he’s seen the list. But so far as I know, one list was handed to the NYTimes and one to Business Week. That makes it hard to get ahold of. That there IS a list is readily deducible from Waxman and Javers calling the same people about the same alleged pay-for-play column. It would be awfully coincidental otherwise. My best guess (derived from the best guesses of others) is that the bad actors are Fenton Communications and the Environmental Working Group. But until I have proof, I leave it at that.
Fumento says his job is coming to an end at the Hudson Institute in the next month. “A little bit of it has to do with my not having a column anymore. My being involved in this scandal. They know I didn’t do anything wrong but there’s this taint. There’s been scandal involved in his name. That’s why Scripps dropped me. They didn’t even consult me.”
Fumento says it is the practice for fellows at think tanks to solicit corporate money (as Fumento did). “Hudson finally said enough is enough.” …
I called in to Prager’s show. I was the first caller on this topic.
Luke: “A journalist can not go soliciting money from people he plans to write about. Michael Fumento asked for money from Monsanto and various agribusiness companies to finance his  book [BioEvolution]. He did not disclose it in his book. It’s an elementary matter of journalistic ethics. He should be fired.”
Prager: “Who should’ve fired him?”
Luke: “Anyone who employs him as a journalist. He did something beyond the pale. If I’m going to write about somebody, I can’t go to them and ask them for money to write about them. He didn’t disclose it in his book and he didn’t disclose it in his columns.”
Michael: “These rules are new to me. In fact, they are new to everybody. Are you a writer?”
[My answer did not make it on the air.] Luke: “Yes.”
Michael: “These rules are new to me. They are new to everybody. That’s exactly what Business Week did. They invented new rules and applied them retroactively. I don’t care much for retroactive rules. I’m willing to follow rules that are made up before I do something.”
I think that these rules are not retroactive. It is elementary journalistic ethics that you do not solicit funds from people you plan to write about.
Michael: “The book took four years to write. I got far less than minimum wage to write it.”
Dennis: “In retrospect, you should’ve mentioned the [Monsanto] grant.”
“The other way the other side [the Left] works is that they do not [concern themselves with truth].”
Fumento keeps painting the issue as a Left-Right debate when it is a matter of journalistic ethics. “Whenever you analyze research, you examine the funding,” notes a caller. “For your guest to say that all of a sudden there are new rules…to not disclose your source of funding. Corporations do not give away something for no value. To say that this is a new rule is an egregious misstatement for scholars and scientists.”