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The Gravy Train Cometh: Factor Guest Dropped by Washington Times For Taking Money from Abramoff

Reported by Marie Therese - December 26, 2005

On November 29th, I reported on an interview Bill O'Reilly conducted with Peter Ferrara of the supposedly "non-partisan" Institute for Policy Innovation. During that show's Impact Segment, O'Reilly and Ferrara savaged singer-activist Harry Belafonte and excoriated the AARP for having the nerve to nominate Mr. Belafonte as their Person of the Year. In the same post I noted that blogger Mark Schmitt raised some questions regarding Ferrara's possible connections to lobbyist Jack Abramoff. According to today's Washington Post, it would appear that Schmitt was right and Mr. Ferrara has joined a growing cabal of ethically challenged experts.

Washington Post, 12-26-05: Peter Ferrara of the Institute for Policy Innovation has acknowledged taking payments years ago from a half-dozen lobbyists, including Abramoff. Two of his papers, the Washington Times and Manchester (N.H.) Union Leader, have now dropped him. But Ferrara is unapologetic, saying: "There is nothing unethical about taking money from someone and writing an article."

According to the Post, many so-called experts have been offered what amounts to "bribes" to write articles favorable to a particular product, company or POV. Most of them reject such offers because they, rightly, feel that this would reduce their credibility as analysts.

A few disreputable flacks, like Peter Ferrara, however, view their think thank job as a perpetual ticket to ride the gravy train. Therefore, they have no qualms about the ethics involved in selling their expert opinions to the highest bidder.

Peter Ferrara is closely allied with Jim Pinkerton as a Senior Fellow at the Free Enterprise Fund, yet another conservative think tank, founded by former Senator Jack Kemp and CNBC's Larry Kudlow

In light of Ferrara's admission, both the Free Enterprise Fund and the Institute for Policy Innovation should immediately sever their connections to Mr. Ferrara.

As for FOX News Channel, who knows what they will do. Perhaps they'll give Peter Ferrara a seat on the FOX News Watch panel, right along side his good buddy Jim Pinkerton - that is, after they've managed to find some excuse or other to get rid of mouthy, opinionated liberal Neil Gabler, whose "FOX pundits created the War on Christmas" comments must have gone over like a lead balloon at FOX Central in New York City.

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