The Wall Street Journal Ran 20 Op-Eds Without Disclosing the Authors’ Ties to Romney


BREAKING: A lot of the people who write op-ed pieces for The Wall Street Journal are in the tank for Mitt Romney.

That information might not come as a shock to anyone possessed of basic media literacy. But a report released today documents 20 different instances in which the Journal ran columns by nine different authors without disclosing that each of them has formal ties to the Romney campaign.

The report comes from Media Matters for America, the watchdog group with ties to the Democratic Party,, George Soros, and lots other people with whom the Journal‘s editorial board don’t see eye-to-eye.

Media Matters spokeswoman Jess Levin said the group first started looking into the Journal‘s disclosure practices after the paper ran several op-ed pieces by Karl Rove without acknowledging his involvement with the American Crossroads Super PAC.

That led to closer scrutiny. Here’s what Media Matters found:

  • Two op-eds by John Bolton, one of Romney’s foreign policy advisers.
  • Four op-eds by Max Boot, a defense adviser for Romney
  • Nine op-eds by Lee A. Casey and David B. Rivkin Jr., members of Romney’s Justice Advisory Committee.
  • An op-ed by Paula Dobriansky, special adviser to Romney’s Foreign Policy and National Security Advisory Team
  • An op-ed by Mary Ann Glendon, co-chair of Romney’s Justice Advisory Committee
  • An op-ed by Glenn Hubbard, a leader of Romney’s Economic Policy Team.
  • Two op-eds by Paul E. Peterson, one written with Martin West, both of whom are members of Romney’s Education Policy Advisory Group.

In many instances, the news side of the Journal was reporting these people’s ties to the Romney campaign.

So what’s the problem with failing to let people know when columnists have ties to a political campaign?

“When you know the person you’re reading is attached to a candidate, you can take their words with a grain of salt,” Levin said. “You expect some sort of campaign type spin to come out of it. Our take has always been ‘Why not?’ You have a few lines to describe where this person came from. Why not just disclose their ties?”

We reached out to The Wall Street Journal and to its editorial-page editors today seeking comment. We’ll let you know when we hear something back.

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