Journalists and Candidates
Earlier this summer, MSNBC did a big "investigative" report on what candidates journalists were maing contributions to. Three of my colleagues were named (two gave money to specific Democratic candidates and 1 to thew Republican party at large) and I thought it was all a rather stupid waste of time.
Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz then weighed in, saying that journalists give up their rights to give money to candidates and that journalists giving money to Democratic candidates just makes the press look biased. He said journalists should never donate. It think Kurtz is silly. There's nothing about being a journalist that denies some one the right to donate to a candidate -- political donations are, for the most part, free speech (though the practice is somewhat regulated, the Supreme Court agrees with me on that).
Now, Sean Hannity is holding s fundraiser for Rudy Giuliani. Well, my employer is Giuliani's national campaign chair so I guess I'm not likely to think this is a big deal.
But... it isn't.
Sean Hannity is an outspoken conservative. If he wants to back Giuliani in a public way, then so be it.
My boss, also an outspoken conservative, made the same choice.
And my colleagues who made political donations also did it publically because all political donations are public.
Fact is, everybody has opinions about who they want to see elected and everyone should. Having a job in media shouldn't change that. I have no problem with Hannity because it's public. Far better that people in all fields live their biases and beliefs rather than pretend to objectivity.
It's easier for me as a magazine journalist to say so. Newspaper types hold objectivity as a prime virtue. We magazine people, involved in more analytic work, hold fairness as the highest virtue. One can be biased but fair. I guess my bias is towards that type of journalism.