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9 Wall Street Journal Op-ed Writers Who Weren't Disclosed As Romney Advisers

The op-eds attack President Obama and his administration or discuss Romney on a range of topics like the economy, health care, education and foreign policy.

The Wall Street Journal has published op-eds from nine writers without disclosing their roles as advisers to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. The op-eds attack President Obama and his administration or discuss Romney on a range of topics like the economy, health care, education and foreign policy.

According to a Media Matters review, the Journal published a total of 20 pieces from the following Romney advisers without disclosing their campaign ties:  John BoltonMax BootLee A. CaseyPaula DobrianskyMary Ann GlendonGlenn HubbardPaul E. PetersonDavid B. Rivkin Jr.; and  Martin West. In several instances, the Journal failed to disclose an op-ed writer's connection despite its own news section reporting that the writer is advising Romney.

With respect to one writer, the Journal disclosed his ties to the campaign in an initial op-ed but failed to do so in subsequent op-eds. With regard to another, the paper failed to disclose the campaign ties in an initial op-ed but did do so in later pieces. The seven remaining writers have not had their Romney connections disclosed in any of their op-eds following the publication of those ties, according to Media Matters' review.

Media Matters  previously documented that the Journal regularly fails to disclose columnist Karl Rove's ties to the super PAC American Crossroads and its related organization Crossroads GPS, which are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to defeat President Obama and other Democratic candidates. The paper's lack of disclosure on Rove has  drawn criticism from some of America's top editorial page editors as well as  Trevor Potter, who served as general counsel to Sen. John McCain's presidential campaigns.

Fox News, which, like The Wall Street Journal, is owned by News Corp., has had  similar problems. There have been  numerous instances in which the network has hosted Romney advisers John Bolton,  Elaine Chao, Jay Sekulow, and Walid Phares without disclosing their ties.

Journal editorial page editor Paul Gigot and spokespersons for the paper and for News Corp. did not respond to requests for comment.

John Bolton

Role with Romney campaign: Foreign policy adviser. [,  3/27/12; The New York Times, 6/27/12]; Campaign surrogate. [,  8/11/128/23/12; Palm Beach Post,  9/9/12]

The WSJ reported in a July 22 article, headlined, "Romney's Top Foreign-Policy Advisers: Moderates, Neocons": "The neoconservative wing is represented but doesn't dominate the group. While former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton offers advice, he isn't one of the most prominent figures."

WSJ non-disclosure: Two op-eds.

In an April 29  op-ed about President Obama's policy with regard to Syria, the Journal disclosed that Bolton "advises Mitt Romney's presidential campaign." That note was not included in two later Bolton op-eds despite discussion of Obama in those pieces:

  • July 17 op-ed questioned President Obama's support of the Law of the Sea Treaty. Bolton also attacked the U.S. for a "lack of effective" oversight of the United Nations.
  • September 10 op-ed criticized President Obama over foreign policy and  allegedly weakening the U.S. Navy.

In those two op-eds, the WSJ identified Bolton as: "Mr. Bolton, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, is the author of "Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations" (Simon & Schuster, 2007)."

Max Boot

Role with Romney campaign: Defense policy adviser. [, accessed  9/18/12; CNN, Fareed Zakaria GPS, 1/15/12 (pictured above); Washington Times,  1/20/12

WSJ non-disclosure: Four op-eds.

Boot has written four Journal op-eds this year in which he's criticized the Obama administration's handling of foreign policy:

  • A February 28  op-ed claimed that the security situation in Afghanistan "has been put in serious jeopardy by President Obama's decision to bring home 32,000 troops by September."
  • An April 18  op-ed criticized the Obama administration for cutting troops in Afghanistan and for its funding level for the Afghan army and police forces.
  • A June 24  op-ed criticized the Obama administration over its handling of the Scarborough Shoal dispute, and alleged that the Obama administration was weak in its handling of China.
  • An August 28  op-ed criticized Obama for being "willing to order troops to fight but not to talk about why they fight or how their fight is going" and lacking a "coherent message to deliver" about Afghanistan. 

The WSJ identified Boot as a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of an upcoming book.