Much Ado About Money

This MSNBC story about political contributions from major media reporters has really been making the rounds today. On the one hand, it’s kind of funny, especially if you read all the stammering and backpedalling and lame excuses offered up by most of the reporters themselves. On the other hand, it’s dumb.

It’s dumb because as a few of the reporters interviewed note, there’s not a thing wrong with any of them making donations to political campaigns and/or organizations. As far as I’m concerned, they ought to be complimented on being civically involved enough to actually spend their own money–even though, as the article notes, the vast majority of that money went to causes and politicians that I personally find odious.

As I said back during the 2004 campaign, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with reporters or editors or copy boys (are they still called copy boys? Nah, they’d have to be copy persons by now) having political opinions. I do think there’s something wrong when somebody interested enough in politics to get a job writing about it denies that they have political opinions, or worse, makes the incredibly pompous pronouncement (as a few on today’s list have) that their opinions have absolutely no impact on their work.

Right.

It’s fine for these guys and gals to have given money to campaigns. Frankly, I prefer it this way. Far better that they give and disclose than not give and keep their leanings a secret, pretending all the while to be higher beings capable of rising above all us poor benighted folk who don’t work for newspapers or TV stations.

The latter, unfortunately, appears to be formal policy for most of the MSM. That fundamental lack of transparency is a shame, and it’s also one of the main reasons why the press is held in such low regard these days. Pity they can’t figure that out for themselves.

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4 Responses to “Much Ado About Money”

  1. John Says:

    All week, I thought you screwed up your Sopranos post. I finally

  2. Neo Says:

    I don’t see your point.

    Since major media outlets are the biggest benefactors of campaign money, aren’t donations by reporters just another “special interest” group buying access to politicians ? Or is it just plainlu a quid pro quo

  3. frank martin Says:

    Its a disclosure issue, nothing more nothing less. If a financial reporter owns stock in wal-mart and publishes a report thats nice to wal-mart, I just ask that he discloses that at the end of his piece. It helps me evaulate the information for any possible signs of, ahem, reporter bias.

    So go ahead, you young “scions of journalism”, give till its bleeds to the party of your choice, but dont go and spend a lot of time telling me that you’re unbiased after you do. Now that we live in the age of information, we know who you are and we know what you did, so fess up already, ok?

    Theres nothing wrong with bias. The growth of the blog-o-sphere shows that frankly, most of us crave bias.

    Now for the record just a few years ago at the end of the internet bubble, everyone had an absolute cow over financial reporters who didnt disclose their stock participation in the stocks they were “covering”.

    Somehow we the public seem to get the message right away when our own stock turns to crap on bad advice, but we seem to look the other way when reporters who should be doing the reporting, are instead nothing but PR shills for one political party.

    Does that mean I’m comparing the Democrats to pets.com and political reporters to ‘street signs’ on CNBC during the late 1990’s? Well that would be generous because neither of those two groups is that competent or ethical as either pets.com or CNBC.

  4. political forums Says:

    If I were a journalist, like Chris Matthews or something like that, I would probably not contribute to a political party. It’s just less trouble for you have to deal with. I think that people can reduce the amount of bias they have in their profession and still contribute to political parties though.

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