Marcy Wheeler at the very independent liberal blog Firedoglake has exposed that Jonathan Gruber, an MIT academic and very influential promoter of Obama's health reform proposals, has not been properly disclosing the hundreds of thousands of dollars he has received in government health care policy grants. The New York Times promptly responded by correcting an earlier opinion column they ran by Gruber, noting "had editors been aware of Professor Gruber’s government ties, the Op-Ed page would have insisted on disclosure or not published his article." Jane Hamsher, founder of Firedoglake, says that "When Obama wanted to tax middle class health care plans, Gruber defends the tax. When Obama wants to force people to buy private insurance, Gruber defends individual mandate. When Obama does not want the public option, Gruber says a public option is not important. ... It is simply not right for the White House to cite Gruber's analysis to illustrate the benefits of the bill they support without disclosing that Gruber is on the government payroll." She is calling on the Obama Administration to "come clean on its payoffs to Jonathan Gruber and any other undisclosed paid promoters." But the New York Times' star columnist Paul Krugman is snarling at the watchdogs at Firedoglake and asking them "do you really want to become just like the right-wingers with their endless supply of fake scandals?" Fake scandal? Maybe Krugman needs to pay more attention to his own paper's corrections. The PBS Newshour is now describing Gruber as "a paid consultant to the Obama administration." Hamsher has analyzed how the White House used Gruber's work to spin support for its positions.
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