• Alex Despain

It's been a reliable refrain since the Mercury came out in favor of water fluoridation: anti-fluoride folks insist we must've been paid off.

"Maybe you are on HKHP's list of people and orgs who were bought? Disgusted with you and I will boycott you forever and a day," said commenter CleanWaterMan.

"It is also painfully obvious that the Mercury needs cash, so took a big old donation for this piece of yellow journalism," commenter "better wear a hat" helpfully chimed in.

"Your paper blows... totally blows!" remarked commenter Sean Denty, who didn't accuse us of taking bribes but is to be applauded for brevity.

Well guess what, everyone: We did get money from this whole fluoride debate! A whopping $1,450!

Problematically for those inclined toward conspiracy, nearly half that money came from anti-fluoride folks. According to Sales Director James Deeley, pro-fluoride political action committee Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland bought $850 worth of online ads between February 13 and March 31. But they didn't buy them directly from us; they used an ad agency.

Anti-fluoride group Clean Water Portland, meanwhile, directly purchased $600 in ads from April 22-28.

So there you have it. We are exposed.