Do As I Say, Not As I Do
Posted on March 25, 2011Karl Rove’s group, American Crossroads GPS, launched a new website called “Wikiaccountability,” yesterday to great fanfare.
Well, not really. The website’s purpose is pretty simple: As it says itself: “Wikicountability is a repository for Freedom of Information Act requests and other legally obtained official documents. This wiki is community contributed and community edited. The site is a project of Crossroads GPS, founded for the purpose of publicly sharing information obtained through FOIA and other important reports, documents and analyses.”
Pretty simple, huh? Help out the Fourth Estate by figuring out how the Obama Administration is stiffing them when they ask for information. After all, didn’t Mr. Obama promise more openness and transparency? Isn’t it helpful to know how they are doing when it comes to openness and transparency?
Well, the Democrats attacked American Crossroads for being non-transparent because they asked for the government to be more transparent. The New York Times, which should look at this effort with great anticipation, because the New York Times is supposed to be in the news gathering business, instead swallowed the Democratic talking points hook, line and sinker.
In its Caucus blog, the Times quotes a Democratic official: A top Democratic official joked that he “never knew Karl Rove was such a fan of F.O.I.A.’s., but we welcome his new-found interest in greater transparency. And given Crossroads and Mr. Rove’s new-found interest in transparency, we look forward to their taking this opportunity to disclose all Crossroads GPS donors, which to date they have kept secret.”
You would expect that line coming from the Democrats, but what was especially rich was when they quoted Melanie Sloan, who has made a living out of attacking Rove and his operations. Sloan said: “It is incredibly ironic that Crossroads wants to talk about openness when they are highly secretive…I think the whole thing is a gimmick. It is ridiculous coming from Rove.”
But what is really ironic is the fact that Melanie Sloan attacks Karl Rove for not disclosing donors when her own organization, CREW, also doesn’t disclose its donors.
A reporter from the Weekly Standard, Michael Warren, picked up on this hypocrisy: “I called CREW this morning to see if Melanie Sloan would talk about her own group's donors. "CREW does not discuss its donors," said communications director Garrett Russo. I asked him why not, since Sloan said Crossroads GPS was guilty of hypocrisy for not doing the same thing. "CREW does not discuss its donors," Russo repeated. "That's about all I can tell you."
I like Melanie Sloan personally, although we have had more than our fair share of disagreements in the past. But it seems to me that if you are going to attack an organization for not disclosing its donors, you ought to be ready to disclose your own donors.
And there is something else that is disturbing about the arguments being made by Democrats and by their allies, like Melanie.
We all have a stake in knowing what our government is up to. The government doesn’t have the right to find out what we are up to, especially if we are following the law, which both Crossroads and CREW are doing.
This kind of false equivalence is disturbing and the hypocrisy is infuriating.
“Do as I say, not as I do,” may be a kind of philosophical credo, but it isn’t a good one.