Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Media Companies Need Policy About Political Contributions by Reporters and Editors

MSNBC reported on a story this week about newspaper editors and reporters at various respected publications making contributions to political candidates and causes. Juicy stuff for those who see bias in the media, especially when the story reported they gave to liberal/Democract causes at a rate of 9 to 1.

Here is a snipet from that story by Bill Dedman, an investigative reporter with MSNBC:
Whether you sample your news feed from ABC or CBS (or, yes, even NBC and MSNBC), whether you prefer Fox News Channel or National Public Radio, The Wall Street Journal or The New Yorker, some of the journalists feeding you are also feeding cash to politicians, parties or political action committees. identified 144 journalists who made political contributions from 2004 through the start of the 2008 campaign, according to the public records of the Federal Election Commission. Most of the newsroom checkbooks leaned to the left: 125 journalists gave to Democrats and liberal causes. Only 17 gave to Republicans. Two gave to both parties.

Other local reporters are writing about this same story. Folks like Tony Messenger at the News-Leader.

Journalists in smaller markets have similar pressures (to give to candidates) and a similar interest in causes. Most due not because of journalism ethics.

But what about company policy on this issue?

What is the policy at your newspaper, radio or TV station about political campaign contributions made by reporters, editors, producers and such? If your publication or company does not have an official policy, you might consider following the national trend which is to prohibit all political contributions by journalists to political candidates or parties.

A large part of being fair is the perception of being fair. It isn't possible for a journalist to do objective news stories on a cause or candidate they support.


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