It's all about the money
David Sirota has an excellent post over at The Huffington Post on the hidden story behind the Tom Delay, Jack Abramoff, congressional scandals that are sweeping Washington D.C., and what is wrong with the political/media establishment in general. He also explains why the likes of Chris Matthews do not really represent the mainstream:
In other words, the opinion makers - the pundits/commentators who play one of the key role in creating the boundaries of the political debate - are often bought off. Many of these people, not surprisingly, come out of the bigger world of corporate-funded think tanks that dominate Washington, D.C. These are the propaganda machines who the media and politicians loyally rely on for background research and overall debate framing, rarely - if ever - thinking about or reporting on who actually is funding the institutions in the first place.
So, for instance, if you read the newspapers or listen to a congressional hearing, you might think that organizations like the Heritage Foundation or the Cato Institute are just naturally occurring organizations sprouting up from the a supposed overall extreme conservative economic slant of the American public. These institutions - which D.C. is teeming with - are cited as official-esque sources, described only in ideological terms as "conservative." They are almost never labeled according to which industries fund them, just as the politicians who spew corporate PR are almost never identified in the media as having taken huge sums of cash from the industry being shilled for. It is as if naming the funders would be to offer the public too much truth about who owns their political debate - a major Establishment taboo.
But even worse than not identifying the backers of these corporate-funded entities is how those politicians/reporters/pundits who cite them - and thus allow them to distort the political debate - don't themselves even consider/care that the organizations are corporate appendages, artificially narrowing the debate not out of some ideological motive, but from a very obvious desire to make sure that economic debates always end with Big Money interests making off like bandits.