Today, Professor Ilya Somin responded to my blog post of this morning.
Hello Volokh readers!
From his opening:
The implication is that the media must disclose any connections, however indirect, that an expert has with politically motivated funders of any kind. Being an adjunct scholar at Cato is an unpaid position that doesn’t give Cato any control over my research (or me over theirs) — much less giving any such control to individual Cato donors. If that is going to be the standard, it should be applied consistently across the board.All I'd have to say to the first sentence is this: Well yea.
For example, most major universities get funding from liberal foundations such as the Ford Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation, and often also from individual liberal donors such as George Soros. Many of the liberal legal scholars who are quoted in the media in support of the individual mandate are affiliated with the American Constitution Society, which also gets some of its funding from Soros (full disclosure: I’ve spoken at several ACS events myself). Some of them also blog at liberal legal blogs, such as Balkinization.
And did you catch the ending of the second paragraph? When he discloses that he's spoken at ACS events?
Full (or at least fuller) disclosure is a good thing. Too bad it just doesn't happen on the pages of the Tribune-Review.
Let's do a little thought experiment. Since George Soros is mentioned in Somin's response, let's start there.
Suppose George Soros owned the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. And then suppose the editorial page of the P-G quoted (or perhaps just interviewed someone who writes for it) Media Matters, a left leaning news fact-checking organization that Soros has given a million dollars to. Now suppose they did that without disclosing those financial connections. What do you think would happen then?
This is my point.