Times has run them, too

Published September 10, 2006

The St. Petersburg Times has published three columns by James K. Glassman and another writer from Tech Central Station about issues affecting ExxonMobil, AT&T and McDonald's.

The columns did not disclose that the companies sponsored the writers' Web site.

The Times published a Glassman column about telecommunications law and another that was his tribute to Julia Child, which noted her fondness for McDonald's fries and her disdain for "the Food Police, the self-styled gang of thin-lipped pseudo-scientists and their pals in the press and the Nanny State, who frighten Americans out of eating anything that gives them joy."

The Times also published a column by Nick Schulz, the editor of Tech Central Station, about global-warming movies.

Philip Gailey, editor of the Times editorial page, said the columns came from Scripps Howard and the Los Angeles Times.

"I guess I made the mistake of assuming that an op-ed that appears in the Los Angeles Times or moves on the Scripps Howard News Service wire has been vetted and comes with adequate, if not full, disclosure," Gailey said. "That obviously is not the case, which makes me determined to be even more vigilant."

He said he doesn't mind publishing columnists who have financial connections to groups they write about "as long as they disclose the tie."

Gailey said disclosure is critical. "Our readers deserve no less."