It's difficult to know what to say about one of Megan McArdle's latest posts about the tea-baggers and their defenders. It is absolutely unbelievable that McArdle cannot understand her conflict of interest in writing in support of tea-baggers and astro-turfing when her boyfriend is a former astro-turfer who works for Reason magazine. The only conclsion to make is that McArdle has deluded herself that she is a journalist instead of a over-educated and extremely underpaid corporate shill. By hiring her as a "journalist" and paying to fly her around the country, pretending to moderate panels and interview people for the corporate in-house rag, her bosses are getting away with paying her tens of thousands--or even hundreds of thousand--of dollars less than someone in advertising or lobbying. It's extremely clever of The Atlantic to cheat McArdle and her ilk. David G. Bradley is making a fortune off of McArdle's Ivy League reputation, bought at great personal sacrifice by her mommy and daddy. When her reputation is ruined by her corporate shilling she'll be discarded in favor of someone whose reputation is still intact, but she won't have a fat bank account to fall back on like lobbyists and other highly-paid shills.
Reason is funded by the usual right-wing foundations; Koch, Olin, Scaife and others, as well as such corporate sponsors as Eli Lilly, Pfizer, and Bayer. It is an advertising brochure for libertarians, which Webster's Dictionary defines as "the political philosophy of people who act as a corporate whores but are too greedy, stupid and arrogant to know and/or care." When McArdle links to Reason articles supporting astro-turfing and tea-bagging, she obviously is acting as an agent of The Atlantic's and Reason's corporate sponsors. For a discount. She's the Wal-Mart of corporate whores.
McArdle links to Virginia Postrel, former editor for Reason, and writes umpteen articles supporting Postrel's campaign to using the poor for organ harvesting, a deeply immoral goal. Did she arrange to do this before or after her boyfriend was hired? We might never know but because McArdle's conflict of interest is so deep we have to ask. McArdle, of course, is also fighting the very idea of national health care, no doubt also for the benefit of The Atlantic's corporate sponsors such as Astra-Zeneca. How much of her outrage is manufactured and how much is ideological? It doesn't matter any more, because we have to assume it is both. Journalism has been replaced by product placement. And poor, stupid McArdle never got the memo--or the paycheck.