I’m Not Sure What He is Saying

I think this piece about Gruber might be the sloppiest post by Glenzilla I’ve ever read from him, and I’ve gone through all the updates and I’m not quite sure what exactly he is advocating (admittedly, this may be the fault of the Percocets and the throbbing shoulder). You’ll have to read it for yourself, because it is far too long to quote, but for the life of me I can not figure out his point.

If all he is saying is that Gruber should have repeatedly disclosed his grant, I have no problem with that, but it sure seems like he is going a lot farther. The Armstrong Williams/Maggie Gallagher comparisons make no sense whatsoever, because unlike Gruber, they were paid to covertly push the company line, while Gruber was not- he was paid because he is the go to guy in the field. In fact, he goes to great length to point out all the ways he agrees that Gruber is not the same as Williams/Armstrong. If you are going to make all those caveats, maybe the comparison should never have been used in the first place. The military scandal makes even less sense as a comparison. Likewise, this passage was confusing:

What will make it impossible to effectively call out wrongdoing by future corrupt administrations (by which Krugman seems to mean: Republican administrations) is the willingness of some people to tolerate and defend corruption when done by “their side.” The next time we have what Krugman calls a “genuinely corruption administration” which, say, secretly pays people they’re holding out as “independent” experts, the administration’s defenders will say: “how can you possibly object to our doing this when Obama did it, and not only did you fail to object then, but you defended it?”

Nowhere has Glenn stated that Gruber is corrupt, but now those defending Gruber are defending corruption? What is Greenwald actually saying- that no one can receive grants from the government and be independent? Is he asserting that Gruber has somehow bent the truth or tweaked his work to satisfy the government and retain his grant. Is he arguing that Gruber’s academic reputation is suspect? Does Glenn have any evidence that Gruber has been doing biased work simply to please his masters? Is Glenn stating that it is completely impossible to be “objective” and “independent” if a scientist receives grant money- because that is absurd. Does that mean that every single medical study somewhat funded by federal money is now somehow suspect as having the outcomes guided to a government preferred solution? That is absurd. All of the people advocating regarding global warming are somehow tainted if they work for an organization that received money from the government? That is crazy.

Again, I agree he should have disclosed his relationship more clearly, but I reject the idea that he is somehow incapable of being independent or objective, and calling him on that seems to be jumping the gun when you have provided no evidence that he is somehow incapable of being independent or objective. If Glenn’s new standard is what describes “corruption,” we might as well simply shut down the relationship between the government and academia, because anyone who has ever taken a dollar from the government to pursue and advance lines of research is now no different from Armstrong Williams.

I reject that.

*** Update ***

Good discussion in the comments.

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