Fiscal Times

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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.

The Fiscal Times describes itself as an "independent digital news publication that reports on fiscal, budgetary, healthcare and international economics issues." Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, however, reports that the Fiscal Times is really a propaganda outlet created and funded by Wall Street billionaire Peter G. Peterson, a former Nixon administration cabinet member who has long used his wealth to promote cuts in Social Security and other government entitlement programs.[1] The Fiscal Times has been established as a limited liability company.[2]

In a launch announcement in December 2009, the Fiscal Times stated that it "will present balanced and accurate reporting and serve as an honest broker in sorting through a broad range of viewpoints. The senior editors and producers have sole responsibility for the selection, editing and display of articles, graphics, illustrations and video that appear on the site."[2]

Publication scandal

In its launch media release, Fiscal Times announced that it and "the Washington Post have agreed to jointly produce content focusing on budget and fiscal issues that will be available to both publications. The content will complement the Post's budget and finance coverage, and will include profiles of key government officials, explanations of important budget trends or proposals and investigative analysis of government spending programs. Arrangements with other publications will be announced as agreements are finalized."[2]

On December 31, 2009, the Washington Post published an article titled "Support Grows for Tackling Nation's Debt," ostensibly about a proposal to create a government commission to examine the nation's growing debt.[3] The article was produced not by Washington Post writers, but by Elaine S. Povich and Eric Pianin who work for the Fiscal Times. According to the article, the debt commission would be charged with exploring "how to rein in skyrocketing spending on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security." The article failed to mention other prominent and growing sources of government spending, for example the $663 billion military budget. The story also reported that President Obama "has voiced support for such a plan”; that thirty-five Republican and Democratic senators, including Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, have signed on to the plan, and that Nancy Pelosi, who once opposed the idea, may now accept such a commission. The article discussed widespread support for the plan to create the debt commission, which some believe would have the ability to cut the budgets of popular entitlement programs.

The story was widely criticized by media organizations like FAIR and the Columbia Journalism Review for, among other things, failing to include any reference to the growing opposition to the debt commission proposal coming from some forty prominent organizations like the NAACP, the SEIU, the AFL-CIO, Common Cause, NOW, and the AARP and Senate Finance Committee chair Max Baucus, who does not support the idea of putting Social Security and Medicare at risk. While the article did state there is “widespread disagreement on how to respond" to the problem of the country’s growing public debt, according to the article, readers would have a hard time figuring out from that the proposed commission faces any resistance at all.[4]

The Center for Media and Democracy also responded by asking readers to join a petition to tell the Post "no more fake news" and to urge the paper to adopt a policy to prevent it from running articles written by groups funded by special interests, like Peter G. Peterson, as "news."[5]

Personnel

Staff

  • Jackie Leo, Editor-in-chief (former EIC of Reader’s Digest)[6]
  • Eric Pianin, Washington editor Pianin (former political editor for Washingtonpost.com);[6]
  • Ann Reilly Dowd (former D.C. bureau chief for Fortune and Money magazines)[6]
  • David Ewing Duncan, a journalist, television producer and author who has written widely on health care and science
  • Merrill Goozner, a health care blogger and former Asia correspondent and chief financial writer for the Chicago Tribune
  • Katherine Reynolds Lewis, former Bloomberg News and Newhouse News Service financial reporter
  • Dan Morgan, former Washington Post investigative and congressional reporter and author
  • Elaine Povich, a former congressional and budget reporter for the Chicago Tribune and Newsday
  • Adam Graham-Silverman

Advisory Board

Members of the advisory board are:[2]

  • Robert D. Reischauer, President of the Urban Institute and former director of the Congressional Budget Office
  • Jodie T. Allen, senior editor of the Pew Research Center, former managing editor and political columnist for U.S. News & World Report, and editor of the Washington Post Sunday "Outlook" section
  • Drew Altman, President and CEO of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and former commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Human Services.
  • G. William Hoagland, CIGNA Corporation's Public Policy Group director and former policy and budget adviser to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and staff director of the Senate Budget Committee
  • Jim Brady, president of digital strategy for Allbritton Communications[6]

Contact Details

Website:http://www.thefiscaltimes.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheFiscalTimes

Articles and resources

Related Sourcewatch articles

References

  1. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, "Washington Post Lets Lobbyists Write Its Stories", January 6, 2010.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 The Fiscal Times, "The Fiscal Times to Launch in Early 2010", Media Release, December 17, 2009.
  3. Elaine S. Povich and Eric Pianin, Fiscal Times Support grows for tackling nation's debt Washington Post, December 31, 2009
  4. Trudy Lieberman Dust-Up at the Washington Post and questions about the new news services Campaign Desk, January 4, 2009
  5. Center for Media and Democracy, Petition to the Washington Post, January 10, 2010, http://tiny.cc//NoMoreFakeNews
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Michael Calderone, "Fiscal Times launching next year", Washington Post. December 17, 2009.

External resources

External articles