For years conservatives have assailed NPR for its supposed "liberal bias." It's the same mindless zombie-like accusation hurled at the likes of CNN, the New York Times, Time magazine and just about every other news outlet that doesn't conform to the Fox News brand of pseudo-journalism.
Well, Jim Romenesko reports today on an internal NPR staff memo that deftly rebuffs right-wing attacks while simultaneously providing Fox News and other conservative media outlets with a roadmap to ethical journalistic practices.
The internal memo reminds staff that "NPR journalists may not participate in marches and rallies involving causes or issues that NPR covers" which includes "the upcoming John Stewart and Stephen Colbert rallies."
Isn't it odd that the "liberal" NPR doesn't want its staff participating in the rally of those Comedy Central lefties? Not really. NPR is just doing what all media outlets should be doing -- upholding some semblance of journalistic integrity.
Imagine just for a moment if Fox News lived by such high standards. Would there even be a tea party movement?
Perhaps. It just wouldn't have any big name speakers for its fringe festivals or a major cable news outlet offering up wall-to-wall promotion free of charge.
You can read the internal memo after the jump.
The memo reads (emphasis added):
From: [Senior vice president for news] Ellen Weiss
Sent: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 8:46 AM
To: News-All Staff
Subject: NPR Journalists and political activity
As we head into the final weeks of this political season, I thought it would be valuable to send out a reminder of what NPR News Ethics Policies and Social Media Guidelines are regarding political activity. These are the relevant excerpts from the full documents that can be found online.
Please review carefully and if you have any questions please talk to your direct supervisor.
* NPR journalists may not run for office, endorse candidates or otherwise engage in politics. Since contributions to candidates are part of the public record, NPR journalists may not contribute to political campaigns, as doing so would call into question a journalist's impartiality.
* NPR journalists may not participate in marches and rallies involving causes or issues that NPR covers, nor should they sign petitions or otherwise lend their name to such causes, or contribute money to them. This restriction applies to the upcoming John Stewart and Stephen Colbert rallies.
* You must not advocate for political or other polarizing issues online. This extends to joining online groups or using social media in any form (including your Facebook page or a personal blog) to express personal views on a political or other controversial issue that you could not write for the air or post on NPR.org.
* NPR journalists may not serve on government boards or commissions.