MSNBC has published an article about journalists who make political donations but they bury the lead: 90% of journalist contributions were to leftist politicians or causes.
MSNBC.com 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.
That's a pretty incredible ratio, and the leftist journalists quoted explicitly admit to biased reporting.
The openness didn't extend, however, to telling the public about the donations. Apparently none of the journalists disclosed the donations to readers, viewers or listeners. Few told their bosses, either.
Several of the donating journalists said they had no regrets, whatever the ethical concerns.
"Probably there should be a rule against it," said New Yorker writer Mark Singer, who wrote the magazine's profile of Howard Dean during the 2004 campaign, then gave $250 to America Coming Together and its get-out-the-vote campaign to defeat President Bush. "But there's a rule against murder. If someone had murdered Hitler â€” a journalist interviewing him had murdered him â€” the world would be a better place. I only feel good, as a citizen, about getting rid of George Bush, who has been the most destructive president in my lifetime. I certainly don't regret it."
Gee, no conflict of interest there!
Guy Raz does work for a news organization.
As the Jerusalem correspondent for CNN, he was embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq in June 2004, when he gave $500 to John Kerry.
He didn't supply his occupation or employer to the Kerry campaign, so his donation is listed in federal records with only his name and London address. Now he covers the Pentagon for NPR. Both CNN and NPR forbid political activity.
"I covered international news and European Union stories. I did not cover U.S. news or politics," Raz said in an e-mail to MSNBC.com. When asked how one could define U.S. news so it excludes the U.S. war in Iraq, Raz didn't reply.
Anyway, there are numerous other examples in the article and I won't bother quoting them all.
The Conservative Alternative points out that journalism can be a crusade -- if you're transparent about it.
This is typical of the mindset of journalists who see their jobs as a crusade as opposed to just reporting the news. Journalism can be a crusade, but if you are on a crusade you need to let the reader/viewer know that upfront instead of pretending to be objective.
Does this mean that journalists should be required to publicly display their political tendencies? I think yes. All these journalists have professional biographies on their employers' websites, so why not include a section on which causes and politicians each journalist contributes to and votes for? Then, at the end of each article, include a short sentence such as "So-and-so votes for and contributes to XYZ." Why shouldn't journalists have their motivations examined as closely as they examine those of politicians?
Here's the list of contributions by journalists compiled by MSNBC. Kudos to them for doing the research.