WaPo fails to disclose contributor’s connection to Obama WH

posted at 12:55 pm on July 2, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Meet Patricia McGinnis, a contributor to the Washington Post’s policy blogs, and a big fan of Barack Obama.   For instance, in January of this year, McGinnis decried the “chilling partisanship” of Republicans objecting to Obama’s agenda in Congress, and offered Obama “high marks for his policy choices” and saluted how Obama has “risen to every challenge by calling on his excellent leadership team,” a remark that seems highly ironic in the wake of the Gulf crisis.  In April 2009, McGinnis hailed Obama’s foreign policy and derided the “saber rattlers,” calling his approach “smart” and not “soft.”

McGinnis may have had good reason to go soft on Obama herself, as John Byrne reports at Raw Story, and the Washington Post may have known it:

A week after a Washington Post blogger was forced to resign, in part, because conservatives felt that the paper wasn’t properly labeling his political ideology, an examination of West Wing payroll statistics by RAW STORY reveals that the Post is failing to disclose another blogger’s connection to the White House.

The Post’s Ed O’Keefe reports Friday, “More than 460 White House employees are paid a combined $38.7 million in salary, according to White House payroll statistics released Thursday as part of an annual report to Congress.”

“Three people — an adviser, a policy adviser and a special assistant — work for free,” O’Keefe notes, without naming any of them.

Those three people are: Special Assistant to the White House Council on Women and Girls Maggie Chen; Dr. Shale L. Wong, an adviser to the Office of the First Lady Michelle Obama on childhood obesity; and Patricia G. McGinnis, Advisor to the Obama White House on leadership programs for Presidential Appointees.

McGinnis’ Georgetown biography notes that she “is the former President and CEO of the Council for Excellence in Government, where she created and led a number of innovative programs to improve the performance of government, during her 14 year tenure” and also “serves [as] a panelist and blogger for the Washington Post ‘On Leadership’ website.”

In other words, the Washington Post allowed someone connected to the Obama administration to write opinion columns in its blog section without ever revealing her connection to the administration.  That conflicts with the Post’s ethics policy, as Byrne notes, which considers undeclared connections to government “the most objectionable” of conflicts of interest.  The Post has allowed the Obama White House to have a shill presenting propaganda without ever informing its readers of her connection.

Nor is this just the Post’s ethics problem.  The White House hasn’t paid McGinnis for her assistance, but they allowed her to contribute to the Post without themselves disclosing her connection.  The only way this got discovered is through another form of disclosure altogether, and one obviously not intended to out McGinnis.  It’s just another example of sleazy opacity in an administration that proclaimed itself the most transparent in history.

The main onus here falls on the Post, however.  It’s their responsibility to disclose these conflicts of interests for their readers, especially when someone with a connection to the current administration uses their platform to play Hail to the Chief.


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McGinnis may have had good reason to go soft on Obama herself,

And I’m spent.

lorien1973 on July 2, 2010 at 12:57 PM

No surprise. Nothing to see here – move along

ColumbusConservative on July 2, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Oops! Well, it’s OK because we weren’t supposed to know about it.

AUINSC on July 2, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Wondering if she gives massages?

PappyD61 on July 2, 2010 at 12:59 PM

I’m shocked, I tell you. Shocked.

kingsjester on July 2, 2010 at 12:59 PM

There’s journalists and there’s journolists.

the_nile on July 2, 2010 at 12:59 PM

Captain Renault: I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!

bofh on July 2, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Please Ed, those layers of editorial checkers can’t be expected to catch everything.

Sarcasm alert.

SteveMG on July 2, 2010 at 1:00 PM

At least there was no doubt where Pravda was coming from.

Akzed on July 2, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Expected!

WhatsRight on July 2, 2010 at 1:02 PM

The MSM lies and deceives for the demonrat party? Who wooda thunk it?

volsense on July 2, 2010 at 1:02 PM

The online editors of the Post need a thorough and complete house-cleaning. How many more foulups can then make?

SteveMG on July 2, 2010 at 1:03 PM

It’s just another example of sleazy opacity in an administration that proclaimed itself the most transparent in history.

This administration is transparent; just that it’s in a different spectrum of light that only flies can sense.
cough..cough..bull$hit..cough

Electrongod on July 2, 2010 at 1:04 PM

Note to the WaPo, we can read between the lines, and think for ourselves. You aren’t fool’n anyone but yourself.

Skandia Recluse on July 2, 2010 at 1:05 PM

May WaPo run out of wampum.

GnuBreed on July 2, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Who reads this rag anyway?

PatriotRider on July 2, 2010 at 1:07 PM

Can you guys leave me alone? Please? I’m retired, seriously.

- Captain Renault

Bat Chain Puller on July 2, 2010 at 1:07 PM

Wow, this coming from the newpaper that for months and months made it a mission to destroy a Republican candidate for Virginia governor, and mentioned “macaca” 1,385 times but buried the Congressman grabbing and assaulting the kid on the street. Oh how they have changed.

Marcus on July 2, 2010 at 1:09 PM

Her knee pads are in the mail…………..

Cinday Blackburn on July 2, 2010 at 1:10 PM

the former President and CEO of the Council for Excellence in Government, where she

created and led a number of innovative programs to improve the performance of government

Really? The administration clearly got their money’s worth with Ms. McGinnis.

Dee2008 on July 2, 2010 at 1:13 PM

Wow, did I ever butcher the block quote on that one, lol.

Dee2008 on July 2, 2010 at 1:13 PM

Joseph Goebbels would be proud.

rbj on July 2, 2010 at 1:14 PM

The Republicans need to start treating rags that have ethical issues like these exactly the same way the Dalai Obama treats FOX. They should be excluded from press conferences, and if they demand to be let in, a folder should be given to them by press people stating in clear terms that their spelled-out ethical breaches show that they are untrustworthy and nonconstructive partisans. Imagine this being handed to the WAPO, NYT, LAT, etc.

Virus-X on July 2, 2010 at 1:15 PM

What?? A White House plant in the Alinsky Post? NO!

Eren on July 2, 2010 at 1:16 PM

Is she related to the Palin/McGinnis stalker?

upinak on July 2, 2010 at 1:18 PM

Wow, did I ever butcher the block quote on that one, lol.

Dee2008 on July 2, 2010 at 1:13 PM

LOL. Yeah, I hate it when I do that.

Amadeus on July 2, 2010 at 1:19 PM

…. saluted how Obama has “risen to every challenge by calling on his excellent leadership team,” a remark that seems highly ironic in the wake of the Gulf crisis.

Ed, you may call this remark, “highly ironic,” but I call it utterly ridiculous and downright delusional.

UltimateBob on July 2, 2010 at 1:21 PM

Boob is only half as bad, faint praise, as Oh Bummer.

burt on July 2, 2010 at 1:21 PM

Obama Administration stacking the deck?

Surprise!!!!

portlandon on July 2, 2010 at 1:23 PM

The State run media.

…and people think Rush Limbaugh exaggerates.

rickyricardo on July 2, 2010 at 1:25 PM

Obama Administration stacking the deck?

Surprise!!!!

portlandon on July 2, 2010 at 1:23 PM

52 pick up or jinga? Which would you like to use?

upinak on July 2, 2010 at 1:25 PM

Bagdad “Patty” McGinnis

scituate_tgr on July 2, 2010 at 1:26 PM

Obviously John Byrne acted stupidly.

ButterflyDragon on July 2, 2010 at 1:27 PM

The White House and the WaPo have nothing to do with ethics.

GarandFan on July 2, 2010 at 1:27 PM

The Post has known about her WH connection for more than a year now…

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2009/07/01/for_some_wh_aides_public_servi.html

dtestard on July 2, 2010 at 1:28 PM

2009 is the 1984. George Orwell must be laughing in his grave. Ministry of Propaganda.

antisocial on July 2, 2010 at 1:31 PM

Conflict of interest? This is WaPo’s interest.

BKeyser on July 2, 2010 at 1:31 PM

I think she’s another one of them Russian spies.

Jocundus on July 2, 2010 at 1:33 PM

There is as word to describe individuals who do this.

Mr. Joe on July 2, 2010 at 1:33 PM

I’m a third-generation Washingtonian who finally got fed up and cancelled my subscription to the WaPo five years ago. I occasionally read it online for a few years, until I cancelled my registration during the Allen-Webb campaign.

I don’t even follow links to that pathetic commie rag anymore unless it’s to read Krauthammer’s column.

Tres Angelas on July 2, 2010 at 1:33 PM

We better blame Bush for this too.

Mr. Joe on July 2, 2010 at 1:33 PM

The main onus here falls on the Post, however. It’s their responsibility to disclose these conflicts of interests for their readers, especially when someone with a connection to the current administration uses their platform to play Hail to the Chief.

Actually, the main onus is on the blogger. Clearly she was happy being an unethical shill.

How is she different from 99% of the Corrupt Media Establishment? They all feel connected to the White House and the Democratic Party and shill for them.

TheBigOldDog on July 2, 2010 at 1:36 PM

Why is this news? Doesn’t the entire staff of WaPo work for the White House?

Daggett on July 2, 2010 at 1:36 PM

I greatly appreciate conservatives who read the Washington Post to uncover their lies and duplicity.

Not a job I would want, but I delight in the resulting discomfort of liberals.

donh525 on July 2, 2010 at 1:36 PM

It’s going to be a helluva wreck when this ship hits the rocks. I think people are getting wise to it, and most are casting a cynical eye on the mid-streamers.

mr.blacksheep on July 2, 2010 at 1:38 PM

The Post has allowed the Obama White House to have a shill presenting propaganda without ever informing its readers of her connection.

It’s not just the ethics and disclosure problems for the WaPo that this highlights, it’s the modus operandi of the marxists to infiltrate media to steer the narrative towards statism and groupthink while either manipulating or omitting pertinent facts.

The majority of the MFM, that hide under the guises of freedom of speech and the press, while at the same time working to undermine both, need to be rounded up like the other recent Russian spies.

ontherocks on July 2, 2010 at 1:42 PM

While it’s fun to have the goods proving what we’ve known for well over three decades, I can’t see much difference between what she has written and any other writer there… :)

golfmann on July 2, 2010 at 1:42 PM

“Well, she was vetted just all the other employees at WaPo”…

d1carter on July 2, 2010 at 1:42 PM

The sun rose in the East today, really.

Schadenfreude on July 2, 2010 at 1:48 PM

There is as word to describe individuals who do this.

Weigel?

andycanuck on July 2, 2010 at 1:59 PM

Every time one of these media commentators or bloggers tell us about how this one is ok because they’re buddies or that one is one of the few honest journalists I just have to snort.

There is no such thing — which is why a place like HotAir exists. We take the news and commentary and sort it our ourselves. I get snark and opinion from an anonymous guy who calls himself Allah, hilariously, and another guy who is perfectly transparent to the world, right down to his former employment and his family life.

But I take them both with a few grains of salt. Their own biases on are display and are part of the very process of the blog — Allah laughingly quoting a critic who called him a what…a “Chamberlain-esque RINO candy-ass”? Heh.

Jaibones on July 2, 2010 at 2:01 PM

Double the reward, Andrew Breitbart!

Sekhmet on July 2, 2010 at 2:02 PM

It’s obvious that if, in 2012, evidence came to the attention of two Post reporters that the Repulican campaign HQ had been burglarized by a group of nefarious characters who could be shown to be connected to the current administration, that we wouldn’t be troubled too much with any relentless follow up.
All the president’s men – and women – are now on the payroll.

mugged on July 2, 2010 at 2:12 PM

The White House hasn’t paid McGinnis for her assistance, but they allowed her to contribute to the Post without themselves disclosing her connection

Democrats: THE Party of ZERO Ethics. The Dems are having a huge party in Washington spending like drunken fools, making back-room bookie deals, and pimping out prostitute journolist. The fishy.gov smell reeking from the Dems party lounge, tells you it’s time to drain the swamp.

TN Mom on July 2, 2010 at 2:17 PM

Day after day, person after person, the Obama administration skirts all ethical standards and rules, and sidles up to the edge of all the laws designed to protect the people from a corrupt government. It seems to me that this is the most corrupt legally questionable administration EVER. Worse, I suspect, than Nixon’s. It’s really hard to say at this point, but the alacrity with which they are accumulating these transgressions and the diversity of method and department suggests we’re just scraping the surface of the criminality.

WashingtonsWake on July 2, 2010 at 2:18 PM

Ethics are for the little people

georgealbert on July 2, 2010 at 2:25 PM

Please forgive the redundant “that” in my previous comment.

mugged on July 2, 2010 at 2:35 PM

I think my point is that this isn’t just a story of impropriety or brutish behavior. This is really a gangland takeover. The US is controlled by scoundrels and criminals.

WashingtonsWake on July 2, 2010 at 2:45 PM

Who believes anything in the electronic version of these fish wrappers anyway?

borntoraisehogs on July 2, 2010 at 2:48 PM

McGinnis was also in the 2009 list (as a Ø there, too).
.
I have to express my opinion, as others have, that the Øbummer administration is the most untrustworthy and unbelievable in memory. This collusion between the media titans and the Democrats has robbed the American citizen and legal residents of accurate information and full disclosure, a pillar of good government.
.
I presume that the information and “noos” media think that there is so much information and that “we the people” are so overloaded with it (along with making a living and dealing with everyday challenges) that we’ll just not be aware of the lapses in transparency. It’s despicable on their part, quite reprehensible.

ExpressoBold on July 2, 2010 at 2:49 PM

Ethics?? Liberals don’t need no stinking ethics. Ethics are for their opponents.

docdave on July 2, 2010 at 2:50 PM

McGinnis’ Georgetown biography notes that she “is the former President and CEO of the Council for Excellence in Government, where she created and led a number of innovative programs to improve the performance of government, during her 14 year tenure” and also “serves [as] a panelist and blogger for the Washington Post ‘On Leadership’ website.”

“A number of innovative programs”

Any idea what “goo-goo mush head” programs were?

Gluing multi-colored dots to your forehead to see how people react?

DSchoen on July 2, 2010 at 2:57 PM

Ethics?? Liberals don’t need no stinking ethics. Ethics are for their opponents.

docdave on July 2, 2010 at 2:50 PM

Ethics are an impediment when you believe that the ends justify the means.

halfastro on July 2, 2010 at 3:00 PM

This is how the Maobamists and the FTC are going to “save” and “reinvent” fishy journalism.

Western_Civ on July 2, 2010 at 3:01 PM

Any relation to Palin’s peeping tom, Joe McGinnis?

Western_Civ on July 2, 2010 at 3:12 PM

Need I say it????

What if this had happened in the Bush White House?

rockmom on July 2, 2010 at 3:13 PM

ethics schmethics…

pretty pathetic

cmsinaz on July 2, 2010 at 3:14 PM

rockmom on July 2, 2010 at 3:13 PM

it did….armstrong williams I believe…they pounced on him pretty hard…

cmsinaz on July 2, 2010 at 3:15 PM

The Post has allowed the Obama White House to have a shill presenting propaganda without ever informing its readers of her connection.

But enough about Ezra Klein…

John on July 2, 2010 at 4:22 PM

Wondering if she gives massages?
PappyD61 on July 2, 2010 at 12:59 PM

… and how many releases of second chakras she has under her belt … er, so to speak.

ya2daup on July 2, 2010 at 5:22 PM

Wondering if she gives massages?

PappyD61 on July 2, 2010 at 12:59 PM

Well, her claim that he has “risen to every challenge by calling on his excellent leadership team” sure sounds like a thinly disguised euphemism to me!

Trochilus on July 2, 2010 at 6:39 PM

Next you’ll be trying to get us to believe that there are people who write for WaPo who don’t take orders from the White House. Good luck with that.

snaggletoothie on July 2, 2010 at 8:01 PM

Any relation to Palin’s peeping tom, Joe McGinnis?

Western_Civ on July 2, 2010 at 3:12 PM

And, in addition to the identical surname, “Peeping Patricia” does have a nice alliterative quality to it, don’t you know . . .

But really . . . it makes me want to burst into doggerel!

A lady complicit utmost,
Held a policy beat at the Post,
Pat fawned o’er The One,
With words well fine spun,
On a blog where she shilled as a host!

Trochilus on July 2, 2010 at 8:33 PM