Thursday, June 21, 2007

Press support for Democrats

In the largest dog bites man story of the week, MSN ran an analysis of contributions by reporters and media members to political campaigns since 2004. MSN has an article describing its findings, the link in the title of this post is to the list of reporters, editors and staffers that MSN lists.

The core result: by a 9-1 margin, the media contributed to Democrats or liberal causes over Republicans or conservative causes.

No shock.

And none of the CNN or Reuters folks listed gave to Republicans.

The most remarkable aspect to The Monk is the descriptions of the activity. MSN sought comment from each of the people it listed. Many maintained silence. Others claimed that the donations were made by someone else like friends or family in their name (which still means approval -- The Monk would tear anyone a new one if ever a donation to Hillary was made in his name). And many BROKE THEIR EMPLOYERS' PROHIBITIONS AGAINST SUCH CONTRIBUTIONS such as this one:

(D) CNN, Guy Raz, Jerusalem correspondent, now with NPR as defense correspondent, $500 to John Kerry in June 2004.

Raz donated to Kerry the same month he was embedded in Iraq with U.S. troops for CNN. He also covered reaction to Abu Ghraib and President Bush's policies in the Middle East. In 2006, he returned to NPR, and covers the Pentagon.

"Yes, I made the donation," Raz said in an e-mail. "At the time, I was a reporter with CNN International based out of London. I covered international news and European Union stories. I did not cover US news or politics."

Both CNN and NPR prohibit political activity by all journalists, no matter their assignment.

This means that Mr. Raz willfully defied his employer to support a presidential candidate, and covered stories that were issues in the presidential election.

But kudos to Alix Kendall for her honesty:

(D) Fox affiliate in Minneapolis, KMSP, Alix Kendall, morning anchor, $250 in September 2006 to Midwest Values PAC, which gave to Democratic candidates.

Kendall said she opposes the war and thought that her donation was anonymous.

"I also believe that the station doesn't own my political views and values. Did I make the contribution? I did. We all have political opinions in this business. A lot of us want to be politically active. But marching in a war protest isn't an option, being a recognizable person, so we give with our checkbook. I don't think that working for a news organization I give up my rights. I interview plenty of people that I don't agree with, but I also ask questions to get the other side. I think it's actually an advantage — in a news organization we have people of many political views. We have healthy debates. I think it's my civic duty to be involved in what matters to me. I think it's ridiculous that anyone who's sitting in front of a camera doesn't have an opinion — come on, we all do. Did I think about that at the time? No, I didn't. Maybe I should have. But I still feel I have a right to my civic duties."

I don't disagree with Kendall, but it would be more honest for reporters to acknowledge and disclose their political contributions and/or affiliations and admit that their alleged objectivity is rubbish.

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