In 70 percent of op-eds written by Mitt Romney advisers, The Wall Street Journal failed to disclose the writer's connections to the Romney campaign, according to a Media Matters study. The Journal has published 23 op-eds in which a writer's Romney ties were not identified, and just 10 in which they were.
The Journal published a total of 23 op-eds from the following Romney advisers without disclosing their campaign ties: John Bolton; Max Boot; Lee A. Casey; Paula Dobriansky; Mary Ann Glendon; Glenn Hubbard; Michael Mukasey; Paul E. Peterson; David B. Rivkin Jr.; and Martin West.
The Journal published a total of 10 op-eds from the following Romney advisers and disclosed their campaign ties: John Bolton; Martin Feldstein; Glenn Hubbard; William Kilberg; John Lehman; and Dan Senor.
In the case of John Bolton, the Journal disclosed he was advising Romney in an initial op-ed but failed to do so in subsequent op-eds. With regard to Hubbard, the paper failed to disclose his campaign ties in an initial op-ed but did do so in later pieces.
Editorial page editors from across the country have criticized the Journal for a lack of transparency in its editorial pages, and several media outlets have noted their failure to disclose. Media Matters has also launched a petition urging the Journal to disclose the conflicts. The Journal has not responded to requests for comment from Media Matters and other news outlets about the paper's disclosure policies.
The following 10 Wall Street Journal op-eds disclosed that they were written, or co-written, by a Romney adviser:
- “Why Israel Has Doubts About Obama,” March 5, by Dan Senor. Senor was identified as “an adviser to the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney.”
- “Romney vs. Obama on Corporate Tax Reform,” March 14, co-written by Glenn Hubbard. Hubbard was identified as “an economic adviser to Mitt Romney.”
- “Obama's Budget Means a Tax Increase on Everyone,” April 24, by Glenn Hubbard. Hubbard was identified as “an economic adviser to Mitt Romney.”
- “The Seas Are Great but the Navy Is Small,” April 26, by John Lehman. Lehman was identified as “a senior adviser to presidential candidate Mitt Romney.”
- “Iran and Obama's Syria Hesitation,” April 29, by John Bolton. Bolton's identification stated: “He advises Mitt Romney's presidential campaign.”
- “What a Romney Recovery Might Look Like,” June 6, co-written by Glenn Hubbard. Hubbard was identified as “an economic adviser to Mitt Romney.”
- “The Wrong Remedy for Health Care,” June 28, co-written by Glenn Hubbard. Hubbard was identified as “an adviser to Mitt Romney.”
- “What I Learned Fighting the NLRB,” July 11, by William Kilberg. Kilberg was identified as the “chairman of the Mitt Romney Campaign Labor Policy Committee.”
- “The Romney Plan for Economic Recovery,” August 1, by Glenn Hubbard. Hubbard was identified as “an economic adviser to Gov. Romney.”
- “Romney's Tax Plan Can Raise Revenue,” August 28, by Martin Feldstein. Feldstein's identification stated: “He advises the Romney campaign.”
The following 23 Wall Street Journal op-eds failed to disclose that they were written, or co-written, by a Romney adviser:
- “ObamaCare's Latest Judicial Defeat,” August 18, 2011, by David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey. Rivkin and Casey are members of Romney's Justice Advisory Committee.
- “The Legal Case Against Palestinian Statehood,” September 20, 2011, by David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey.
- “ObamaCare and the Limits of Government,” November 15, 2011, by David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey.
- “It's Still Possible to Cut Spending: Here's How,” November 23, 2011, by Glenn Hubbard.
- “Obama and the Hezbollah Terrorist,” December 7, 2011, co-written by David B. Rivkin Jr.
- “Obama's Reckless Recess Ploy, January 6, by David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey.
- “Birth-Control Mandate: Unconstitutional and Illegal,” February 15, co-written by David B. Rivkin Jr.
- “Afghans Don't Hate America,” February 28, by Max Boot. Boot is a defense policy adviser.
- “The Supreme Court Weighs ObamaCare,” March 23, by David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey.
- “The Taliban Are Too Weak for a Tet Offensive,” April 18, by Max Boot.
- “Obama and the bin Laden Bragging Rights,” April 30, by Michael Mukasey. Mukasey is co-chair of Romney's Law Enforcement Advisory Group.
- “Why the Bishops Are Suing the U.S. Government,” May 21, by Mary Ann Glendon. Glendon is co-chair of Romney's Justice Advisory Committee, and a national co-chair of Catholics for Romney.
- “Teachers Unions Have a Popularity Problem,” June 4, co-written by Paul E. Peterson and Martin West. Both are members of Romney's Education Policy Advisory Group; West is K-12 Education co-chair.
- “Plugging the National Security Leaks,” June 20, by Michael Mukasey.
- “A Triumph and Tragedy for the Law,” June 29, by David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey.
- “China Starts to Claim the Seas,” June 24, by Max Boot.
- “How About a Free-Trade Deal With Europe?” July 8, co-written by Paula Dobriansky. Dobriansky is a special adviser on Romney's Foreign Policy and National Security Advisory Team, and a co-chair of its international organizations working group.
- “What America Gets for Its U.N. Blank Check,” July 17, by John Bolton.
- “Obama vs. Congress--and the Law,” July 26, by David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey.
- “A Generation of School-Voucher Success,” August 23, co-written by Paul E. Peterson.
- “Afghanistan--The 'Who Cares?' War,” August 28, by Max Boot.
- “As China Muscles Into the Pacific, the U.S. Lacks a Strategy,” September 10, by John Bolton.
- “Will Obama Free the Blind Sheik?” September 24, by Michael Mukasey.
The Journal also published two book reviews by Boot this year -- on May 31 and June 22 -- in which he was critical of the Obama administration but did not note his campaign ties. The Journal disclosed that Boot was advising Romney in a September 28 book review. Media Matters did not include book review pieces in our initial op-ed study -- which preceded the September 28 disclosure -- and in the total numbers for this study.
METHODOLOGY: Media Matters searched the Factiva database for the names of listed advisers in Romney campaign press releases and material, including the following: Agriculture Advisory Committee; Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders for Romney; Black Leadership Council; Catholics for Romney; Economic Policy Team; Education Policy Advisory Group; Energy Policy Advisory Group; Foreign Policy and National Security Advisory Team (additional); Health Care Policy Advisory Group; Hispanic Steering Committee; Jewish Americans for Romney coalition; Justice Advisory Committee; Law Enforcement Advisory Group; Space Policy Advisory Group; Trade Policy Advisory Group; Urban Policy; Veterans and Military Families for Romney Coalition; Women for Mitt; and Young Americans for Romney Leadership Team.
Media Matters also used the following search strings in Factiva:
- advis* /n10/ romney
- board* /n10/ romney
- chair* /n10/ romney
- consultant /n10/ romney
- director /n10/ romney
- manager /n10/ romney
- pollster /n10/ romney
- strategist /n10/ romney
- supporter /n10/ romney
- surrogate /n10/ romney
- romney (within source: The Wall Street Journal, subject:Commentary/Opinion)
Media Matters used the search strings with the time range of April 11, 2011, when Romney announced his presidential exploratory committee, through October 2.