Media Ethics

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  • Roger Stone Being Featured At Politico Event A Day After Claiming Clinton Involvement In Vince Foster Conspiracy

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Roger Stone

    Longtime Donald Trump adviser and notorious “dirty trickster” Roger Stone is scheduled to appear as part of Politico’s “Playbook Breakfast at the RNC” event one day after smearing Hillary Clinton as a “mentally unbalanced criminal” and suggesting she was involved in a conspiracy surrounding the death of former White House aide Vince Foster.

    Stone has a long history of violent, sexist, and racist rhetoric, including calling for the killing of several public figures. Stone is listed on Politico’s website as a guest for the July 19 event. NBC News managing editor of politics Dafna Linzer and CNN politics executive editor Mark Preston are scheduled to appear before Stone. Stone is currently banned from appearing on both of those networks due to his incendiary commentary.

    On July 18, appearing as the “co-host” of the “America First Unity Rally 2016,” Stone described Hillary Clinton as “a short-tempered, foul-mouthed, greedy, bipolar, mentally unbalanced criminal” and pushed the conspiracy theory that she had White House aide Vince Foster’s body moved from his office to Fort Marcy Park.

    Stone is an informal advisor to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, and at the rally said he was delayed due to “meetings" with members of "the Trump staff.”

    Stone’s rally comments are in line with his history of incendiary and false statements.

    He had several tweets that referred to African-American figures as “stupid negro,” “fat negro,” Uncle Tom,” “Mandingo” and “house negro.” Additionally he referred to African-American and Latina commentators as “quota hires.” Stone also made misogynistic comments on his Twitter account.

    Stone has called for the execution of Hillary Clinton and George Soros, and argued that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) should be “shot” for “treason.”

    Stone has also targeted Politico staffers on his Twitter account. He tweeted in May, “Fact- more people watching Newsmax TV than reading the shit cranked out by dishonest 'reporter' @kenvogel at Clintonite POLITICO.” In a since-deleted tweet, Stone once asked, “Which female Politico Reporter goes commando regularly.”

  • Report: Roger Ailes Accuser Tried To Make Her Sexual Harassment Claim Against Him Decades Ago

    One Of Ailes’ Accusers Reportedly Made Claim To LA Weekly In 1990s, Which Received No Clear Denial From Ailes

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The Chicago Reader’s Michael Miner reported that one of the women alleging Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes sexually harassed her “tried to tell the world” about her harassment “decades ago” and that Ailes didn’t “clear[ly] den[y]” the allegation at the time.

    On July 6, former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson filed a “sexual harassment/retaliation” lawsuit against Ailes, alleging that he fired her “after she rebuffed Mr. Ailes’ sexual advances and also tried to challenge what she felt was unequal treatment of her in the newsroom by some of her male colleagues.” Since Carlson filed her lawsuit, New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman reported six more women have come forward alleging Ailes harassed them. Ailes’ lawyer called the women’s allegations “all 30 to 50 years old” and “false.” 

    In a July 14 article, Miner wrote that he has personally known one of the women who spoke to New York magazine since childhood, and that she told him "about her encounter with Roger Ailes decades ago and—more to the point—she tried to tell the world too.” Miner claimed that the woman, using the pseudonym “Susan,” tried to tell the newspaper LA Weekly about her incident in 1992, and that according to the editor of the Weekly, Ailes “‘didn't really make any clear denial’” when asked about the charge, but instead “‘was fumbling around in self-pity.’” From Miner’s article:

    New York magazine interviewed some of the women who'd contacted Carlson's lawyer, and last weekend posted "Six More Women Allege That Roger Ailes Sexually Harassed Them." One of these women was "Susan."

    [...]

    So I write here to put something on the record: I've known Susan, not her real name, since we were both children. She did not just come out of the woodwork. She told me about her encounter with Roger Ailes decades ago and—more to the point—she tried to tell the world too.

    In 1988 she saw Ailes rise to national prominence as the media svengali in Bush's come-from-behind victory over Michael Dukakis, the artisan of negativity chiefly responsible for Bush's devastating "revolving door" TV attack ad. Four years later Bush ran for reelection, and Susan expected more of the same from Ailes. (Ultimately, he had no formal role in Bush's 1992 campaign.) Susan typed up an account of the Mike Douglas Show encounter and sent it to the primary alternative newspaper in what was by then her home town, LA Weekly. "Roger, You Made Me a Democrat," she called her story, and went on to say that, pre-Ailes, she'd been a "Goldwater Girl," her mother a Republican committeewoman.

    The story she submitted in 1992 was a more detailed version of the account just published by New York Magazine. Jay Levin, the editor of LA Weekly at the time, remembers it. Levin assigned a staff writer, Ron Curran, to call Ailes. "We had expected the usual 'She’s lying and I will sue you,'" says Levin; "Instead, Curran said he got a kind of mumbling self-pity from Ailes. So I decided I needed to hear him myself."

    Levin got the same. "To the best of my memory," he says, "Ailes repeated something about being in a bad place in his past life. He didn't make any threats and he didn't really make any clear denial. He was fumbling around in self-pity. I said, 'OK, to be clear, are you denying this or not? Are you saying she's a liar? I don't hear a clear denial.' He said, weakly, 'Yes, I'm denying it,' and he wanted to know what we were going to do."

    Levin said he didn't know, and in the end LA Weekly didn't publish Susan's account—for reasons I understand. This was a story requiring strong corroboration, and Levin had no other names. Furthermore, Ailes was in the east, and following up would have meant hiring a reporter there to spend weeks tracking down women who'd worked for him. There was the obvious risk of a lawsuit. And Ailes wasn't then who he is now—one of the most powerful men in American media. "Going after him," says Levin, "would be a misallocation of resources."

    [...]

    When I read about Carlson suing Ailes, I sent Susan an e-mail that said, "Isn't this your guy?" Susan told me she'd already called Carlson's lawyers.

  • Report: Roger Ailes Is Trying To Cover Up Widespread Sex Discrimination Claims

    NY Times Explains How Roger Ailes Is Keeping Pervasive Sexual Harassment Claims Secret, Out Of The Justice System And Into A Private, Pro-Corporate Court

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The New York Times explained that Gretchen Carlson’s Fox News contract -- which may bar the former network anchor from taking her sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox News CEO Roger Ailes to any federal court -- “could significantly impede [her]chances of prevailing.” 

    On July 6, former Fox News host Carlson filed a lawsuit against Fox CEO Roger Ailes, alleging that he fired her “after she rebuffed Mr. Ailes’ sexual advances and also tried to challenge what she felt was unequal treatment of her in the newsroom by some of her male colleagues.” Carlson also alleged that while she was a host of Fox & Friends, her co-host Steve Doocy “engaged in a pattern of severe and pervasive mistreatment” of Carlson. Carlson has been a witness to years of sexism from her male colleagues, plenty of it directed at her. Several other women have come forward with complaints or contacted Carlson’s law firm to report similar experiences of mistreatment.

    In a July 13 New York Times article, Noam Scheiber and Jessica Silver-Greenberg explained that Carlson’s “chances of prevailing” in her sexual harassment lawsuit could be significantly impeded because her Fox News employment contract requires employment disputes to be handled confidentially through arbitration, rather than in a federal court -- and “has much broader secrecy language than is common.” As the Times explained, arbitration “can obscure patterns of wrongdoing” because it is “conducted out of public view with no judge or jury.” Through arbitration clauses, employers like Ailes effectively “take[] away one of the few tools that workers have to fight harassment or discrimination.” The Times drew parallels between Carlson’s case and that of an American Apparel case, where a contractual arbitration agreement kept multiple sexual harassment allegations against former CEO Dov Charney “out of court” and “private,” to Charney’s legal advantage. 

    When Gretchen Carlson sought her day in court with a sexual harassment lawsuit against Roger Ailes, her former boss at Fox News, Mr. Ailes’s lawyers had a quick response: Move the case to arbitration.

    Experts and lawyers who have studied arbitration cases say that process, if enacted, could significantly impede Ms. Carlson’s chances of prevailing.

    While arbitration is normally a secretive process, a typical plaintiff involved in arbitration would at least be able to speak publicly about his or her case. But Ms. Carlson, a former anchor who was let go last month, had a contract that makes the process even more secret, stipulating that “all filings, evidence and testimony connected with the arbitration, and all relevant allegations and events leading up to the arbitration, shall be held in strict confidence.”

    “The clause has much broader secrecy language than is common in arbitration,” said F. Paul Bland Jr., an arbitration expert and executive director of the advocacy group Public Justice. “This clause explicitly put in gag-order language on all facts and evidence relating to these types of allegations.”

    The use of arbitration has proliferated over the last decade, as a soaring number of corporations have sought to keep employment disputes private. That is because arbitration in general is a private process, conducted out of public view with no judge or jury. By using the arbitration clauses to bar people from joining together as a group, employers, both large and small, have effectively taken away one of the few tools that workers have to fight harassment or discrimination.

    In a report issued just last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission noted that forced arbitration “can prevent employees from learning about similar concerns shared by others in their workplace.”

    Some regulators and civil rights experts also worry that arbitration clauses can obscure patterns of wrongdoing.

    [...]

    In one example, American Apparel required many employees to agree to resolve disputes through arbitration, and to keep most of the details of the arbitration process completely private. Many employment contracts also included a confidentiality agreement that prohibited workers from publicly sharing personal details about Dov Charney, the company’s founder and former chief executive. Those who did, the contracts stipulated, could be required to pay damages of $1 million.

    Several cases in which female employees sued American Apparel and Mr. Charney for sexual harassment were pushed out of court and into arbitration, where details were kept private. (An employee who accused Mr. Charney of choking him and rubbing dirt in his face did win the right to pursue his case in court in 2013.) Mr. Charney’s board eventually let him go as chief executive in 2014.

    [...]

    In arbitration, the rules tilt toward businesses, employment experts say. Instead of judges, cases are decided by arbitrators who sometimes consider the companies that routinely bring them business their clients, according to interviews with arbitrators.

  • New Trump Legal Filing Showcases 10 Million Reasons CNN’s Lewandowski Toes The Campaign Line On-Air

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Lewandowski

    Donald Trump has filed a $10 million arbitration claim against former campaign aide Sam Nunberg, alleging that he leaked confidential information to reporters, violating the nondisclosure agreement he signed. CNN’s Corey Lewandowski has most likely signed a similar agreement, but was still hired by the network.

    The Associated Press reported that Trump “requires nearly everyone in his campaign and businesses to sign legally binding nondisclosure agreements prohibiting them from releasing any confidential or disparaging information” about him, his companies, or his family.

    Nunberg filed a lawsuit denying Trump’s accusation that he leaked a May story to the New York Post about a public quarrel between then-Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks. In his suit, Nunberg also asserts that the broad nondisclosure agreement violates his free speech rights.

    The Trump campaign fired Nunberg in August 2015 after racially charged Facebook posts he wrote surfaced. He is an associate of longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone.

    Lewandowski likely signed a similar agreement with Trump, but despite the restrictions such an agreement would impose on his ability to offer opinions and observations on the network, he was still hired by CNN. The move has been widely criticized by observers for its lack of ethical transparency.

    Lewandowski's appearances on the network thus far have aligned far more with the actions of a campaign spokesperson than a political observer. He has repeatedly defended Trump in a manner that was described by The Washington Post as someone who “has not yet transitioned out of his role as a Trump employee.”

    In a report on the lawsuit on the July 13 edition of CNN Newsroom, reporter M.J. Lee confirmed with Nunberg’s lawyer that the aide had been accused of “violating certain confidentiality provisions by talking about Donald Trump after he was let go from the campaign.” Anchor John Berman noted, “We knew that Trump had confidentiality agreements. We now know that he plans to enforce them via lawsuits.”

    CNN’s ethics quandary worsened when it was recently revealed that while in the employ of the network, Lewandowski is “still receiving severance” payments from the Trump campaign. The disclosure was made on-air by CNN’s Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo. That means Lewandowski is simultaneously collecting payments from Trump and CNN.

  • Journalism Professor Explains How Trump Has Shattered Normal Conventions Of Campaign Coverage

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    In a Washington Post opinion blog, New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen wrote that Donald Trump has “shatter[ed]” journalists’ system of fact-checking in election coverage. Rosen argued that because Trump “wants to increase public confusion about where he stands,” journalists must “become less predictable.”

    Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, with the help of many in the media, has peddled an unprecedented amount of outrageous lies. Trump’s dominance of the airwaves has allowed him to amplify deceitful statements on cable networks that “have been very bad at challenging his misstatements, his lies, [and] giving the audience the proper context” for his untruths. Veteran journalists have explained that this substandard coverage exists, in part, because “Trump is smart enough to know that if he gets out in front of the media with some outrageous statement, he backs up their ability to follow up the outrageous statement he made yesterday.”

    In the July 13 post for The Washington Post, Rosen explained that Trump shattered the premise of fact-checking in campaign coverage intended to “constrain[] a candidate’s power to distort the public dialogue,” and has “crashed” the premise that candidates wouldn’t “spread malicious rumors and unreliable information.” Rosen urged journalists to, in turn, “be less predictable” in order “to explain to the public that Trump is a special case, and the normal rules do not apply":

    One of the newer parts of that system is fact-checking, but this is also a practice with a premise. The premise is that fact-checking will have some shaming effect on the kind of behavior it calls out. Notice I said “some.” While all candidates (including Hillary Clinton) will avoid inconvenient facts, make dubious claims or even lie at times if they think they can get away with it, they normally change behavior when a statement has been widely debunked. They may not admit they were wrong, but they will stop repeating the unsupportable claim, or alter it to make it more plausible. That’s what a “check” is supposed to be: it constrains a candidate’s power to distort the public dialogue.
    Trump shatters this premise.

    As FactCheck.org put it: “He stands out not only for the sheer number of his factually false claims, but also for his brazen refusals to admit error when proven wrong.” Said Glenn Kessler, The Post’s Fact Checker columnist: “What’s unusual about Trump is he’s a leading candidate and he seems to have no interest in getting important things factually correct.”

    Under conditions like these, fact-checking may still be worthwhile, but not because it has any shaming effect on the candidate. In fact, it could even be useful to Trump in whipping up resentment against the media, a key part of his appeal. My point is this: When the assumptions underneath a practice collapse, the ethics of that practice may shift as well.

    [...]

    One of the assumptions of campaign coverage was that candidates would never use their huge platforms to spread malicious rumors and unreliable information for which they have no proof: Too risky, too ugly. Trump has crashed that premise too. When called out on his rumormongering, he just says: Hey, it’s out there already. For journalists, this changes the practice of giving the candidate a broadcast platform. Just by granting that platform you may be participating in a misinformation campaign. Are you sure you know what you’re doing?

    Imagine a candidate who wants to increase public confusion about where he stands on things so that voters give up on trying to stay informed and instead vote with raw emotion. Under those conditions, does asking “Where do you stand, sir?” serve the goals of journalism, or does it enlist the interviewer in the candidate’s chaotic plan?

    I know what you’re thinking, journalists: “What do you want us to do? Stop covering a major party candidate for president? That would be irresponsible.” True. But this reaction short-circuits intelligent debate. Beneath every common practice in election coverage there are premises about how candidates will behave. I want you to ask: Do these still apply? Trump isn’t behaving like a normal candidate; he’s acting like an unbound one. In response, journalists have to become less predictable themselves. They have to come up with novel responses. They have to do things they have never done. They may even have to shock us.

  • Fox’s Howard Kurtz Carries Roger Ailes’ Water In Report On Sexual Harassment Allegations

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVER WILLIS

    Kurtz

    Fox News media analyst Howard Kurtz was the first reporter at the network to file a story on former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson’s allegations that network head Roger Ailes repeatedly sexually harassed her and derailed her career after she rejected his advances. Kurtz’s story leaned heavily on Ailes’ statement denying the allegation.

    Carlson's lawsuit, filed in a New Jersey civil court, also alleges that she repeatedly complained to Ailes that her colleagues on Fox & Friends (specifically co-host Steve Doocy) had created a sexist atmosphere, and he responded by dismissing her complaints and demoting her from the morning show to a daytime position.

    Her allegations follow a pattern of sexist programming on Fox News and a long reported history of sexist behavior by Ailes.

    Kurtz’s piece is headlined “Ailes denies allegations in Gretchen Carlson harassment suit as Fox News launches investigation,” and the bulk of the story takes the same tone.

    Kurtz begins by citing Ailes’ denial, before establishing the facts about the allegations he’s denying in the first place.

    Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes responded forcefully Wednesday night to a lawsuit filed by Gretchen Carlson after her contract was not renewed as a daytime host at the network, calling the allegations “false” and “offensive.”

    Kurtz later notes, “While the lawsuit is based in part on alleged comments by Ailes in private conversations with Carlson, it provides no e-mail, texts or voice mail as evidence.”

    In his statement, Ailes claims that Carlson’s contract wasn’t renewed due to her ratings. Kurtz echoes this point, writing, “In describing her success, Carlson says in the suit that her daytime show consistently ranked first in its time slot. But it is also true that she lost to CNN more often than any other Fox News program.”

    Kurtz also publishes past praise that Carlson has given Ailes:

    In her book “Getting Real,” published last year, Carlson called Ailes “the most accessible boss I’ve ever worked for,” and said “he saw Fox as a big family, and he cared about everything we did.” She said he had even urged her to speak occasionally about having been Miss America in 1989.

    Carlson’s lawyers explained the praise in a statement released after Kurtz’s story was posted: “Ailes does not allow his employees to speak to the press or publish anything without prior approval. Gretchen was chastised for answering a question from a hometown newspaper about her favorite Minnesota State Fair food. In her book Gretchen told her story while trying to keep her job - knowing that Ailes had to approve what she said.”

    Kurtz’s report is the only significant mention of the case on Fox so far, and it only appeared online. Fox & Friends, whose co-hosts are a key part of the allegations, ignored the story. By contrast, the Carlson allegations have been covered on NBC, ABC, CBS and CNN.

    Since joining Fox News, Kurtz has often ignored or downplayed media controversies that paint the network in a bad light, while defending his employers from criticism.

    When Kurtz was at CNN, he criticized Fox News for underplaying coverage of a scandal involving Rupert Murdoch, who owns Fox News’ parent company. He said, “What you're signaling to viewers is there's a double standard. We're only aggressive when some other organization is in trouble. And I think that can undermine your credibility.”

    In contrast, Brian Stelter, who took over from Kurtz as the host of CNN’s Reliable Sources, has shown that it is possible to cast a critical eye on one’s employer.

    Stelter, while reporting on his network’s controversial hiring of former Donald Trump operative Corey Lewandowski, recently noted he was “the most controversial addition to CNN in several years” and that he had a history of “hostile” behavior toward reporters. Stelter even noted that the possible existence of non-disparagement agreements between Trump and Lewandowski raised “ethical questions” about CNN’s decision making.

  • Editorial Page Editors: WSJ Lack Of Romney Advisers Disclosure "Inexcusable" And "Shameless"

    Blog ››› ››› JOE STRUPP

    The WSJ TenThe Wall Street Journal's failure to disclose that 10 of its op-ed writers are Mitt Romney advisers has drawn criticism from veteran editorial page editors at some of the nation's top newspapers.

    In a total of 23 pieces, the op-ed writers attacked President Obama or praised Romney without the paper acknowledging their Romney connections. 

    Media Matters reached out to several veteran opinion editors who either criticized the Journal directly or noted that their papers handle such disclosures more openly.

    "Not disclosing is inexcusable," declared Stephen Henderson, editorial page editor of the Detroit Free Press since 2009. "If you don't know, that is one thing, but if you are hiding it or purposely not disclosing it I am not sure what the rationale would be. We are pretty careful here to disclose any affiliation. There are times we have declined pieces because someone is too close to it. I am pretty shocked by that."

    He added that it's the newspaper's responsibility to discover and report conflicts: "The Journal is publishing this stuff, so the responsibility falls on them. I expect my op ed editor to ask anyone who is writing about a campaign or a ballot issue, 'are you involved with the campaign? Are you being paid by someone to write this?' That is our job."

    Nicholas Goldberg, Los Angeles Times editorial page editor since 2009, said that providing transparency for the relationships of op-ed writers is "absolutely essential."  

    "Op-ed writers aren't supposed to be objective or to have no stake in the subjects they're writing about," he explained. "But when a writer does have a particular relationship to his subject that is not immediately apparent to the reader, it is important to disclose that so that the reader can evaluate the argument intelligently."

    But such information is not always provided to readers of the Journal

    This is not the first time the Journal's editorial page has come under fire for lack of transparency. Several of the editorial page editors who spoke with Media Matters had previously criticized the Journal for failing to disclose that weekly columnist Karl Rove is the co-founder of a super PAC, American Crossroads, which raises funds to oppose Democrats. The Journal apparently changed that practice, disclosing Rove's super PAC connection in his latest column published Thursday. 

    Journal Editorial Page Editor Paul Gigot and a Journal spokesperson did not respond to repeated requests for comment on the paper's failure to disclose the op-ed writers' Romney ties. Media Matters sought comment both before and after the Journal's apparent change in policy to disclose Rove's role with Crossroads.

  • Fox Won't Disclose News Corp. Testing Contracts At Heart Of The Chicago Teachers' Strike

    Blog ››› ››› ROB SAVILLO

    In 89 segments between September 10 and 16, Fox News reported on the Chicago Teachers Union's strike without disclosing its financial ties to the educational technology company administering the standardized tests with which the union takes issue.  

    Fox News parent company News Corp. acquired a 90-percent stake in Wireless Generation in 2010. Last May, the company agreed to provide Early Mathematics Assessment Services and Early Literacy Assessment Services to Chicago Public Schools. These contracts total $4.7 million. A central reason the Chicago Teachers Union decided to strike is their objection to the school district's call for heavily weighing such standardized testing to ultimately determine teacher pay and layoffs.

    But Fox News anchors and reporters never once disclosed its parent company's ties to Wireless Generation even as the network routinely criticized the strike and the Chicago Teachers Union.Chart

    The programs that covered the story most often:Fox & Friends (including the FirstSaturday, and Sunday editions) with 31 segments over the entire week; America's News Headquarters aired 12 segments this last weekend alone; America Live was next with 7 segments; and Fox Report with Shepard Smith and Special Report followed with 6 segments each. Not one segment disclosed News Corp.'s business relationship with Wireless Generation despite repeated mentions and discussions of the teacher evaluations at the heart of the strike.

    During Monday's Special Report with Bret Baier, correspondent Steve Brown reported of the strike: "At issue, says the union president, is trust." Indeed. It's also an issue for Fox News. How can Fox's viewers trust that the network has provided a "fair and balanced" overview of events unfolding in Chicago when it won't disclose its financial interests?

  • UPDATED: Politico Uncovers "Family Ties" Between Wash. Post's George Will And Perry Campaign

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Politico reported that the wife of Washington Post columnist George Will has taken a job with the campaign of Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry, a fact Will reportedly plans to disclose on Sunday on ABC News and in future columns.

    As noted* by Politico's Dylan Byers, the ties between the Perry camp and Will's wife, Mari Maseng, developed in recent weeks as Will was discussing Perry's opponents in Washington Post columns and during appearances on ABC News.

    Washington Post editor Fred Hiatt, however, dismissed concerns about Will's past columns:

    "There was no relationship between his wife and any campaign the last time he wrote a column on the campaign, or any aspect of the campaign," Hiatt said. "This developed after the last column that was two weeks ago. He has never written a column while there was a relationship between his wife and the campaign."

    Will has however had multiple columns within the last two weeks. His most recent column for the Post was published online November 9 and in print November 10. A column about the GOP debates was published online November 4 (in print November 6), and a column that disparaged Romney as "the pretzel candidate" was published online October 28 (in print October 30).

    And there is some confusion over Maseng's status: Both Hiatt and Washington Post Writer Group editor Alan Scherer say that when Will informed them of Maseng's role, he said it was unpaid. However, Miner told us that this was a paid position. Will did not return more than half-a-dozen calls.

    Maseng's job may also pose a problem for Will's relationship with ABC News. On November 6, two days before the debate and after Maseng started her work for the campaign, Will appeared on ABC's "This Week" and faulted Perry's GOP challengers, including Romney.

    *Updated to reflect changes in the Politico article.

    UPDATE: Politico is now reporting that Will's wife also sought work with the Romney campaign:

    In addition to her current work for the Perry campaign and her earlier work for the Bachmann campaign, a source knowledgeable of the situation tells us that Maseng sought out a role with the Romney campaign in June.

    On June 28, Maseng went to Boston and met with multiple, "high-level officials" in the Romney campaign about joining on as an adviser. No formal offer was ever made, according to the source.

  • Does CNN's Dana Loesch Not Trust CNN?

    Blog ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

    CNN contributor and Andrew Breitbart editor in chief Dana Loesch has taken the editorial position that it is "laughable" for CNN to claim it is "the most trusted name in news."

    In a post on Big Journalism, John Nolte takes issue with CNN for using the Pulitzer Prize winning website PolitFact to fact-check political statements:

    CNN is even worse than PolitiFact, because they're the ones using them. Obviously, CNN doesn't want to damage their laughable reputation as the "most trusted name in news," but they do want to help Barack Obama get reelected. Therefore, they hire outside mercenaries like PolitiFact to come on the air disguised as objective do-gooders.

    Note the awkward banner atop Nolte's post blasting CNN:

    Loesch

    Loesch joined "the most trusted name in news" in February.

    (h/t St. Louis Activist Hub)

  • WSJ: Beck and Hannity get "paid ... to promote politically motivated groups"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    A November 9 Wall Street Journal article sheds more light on the ongoing ethics problem involving Fox News personalities, who have relentlessly endorsed, raised money, or campaigned for Republican candidates or organizations.

    The Journal reports that Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity -- along with Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin -- "are being paid to use their voices and faces to promote politically motivated groups." The Journal also reported Fox News' response to Beck's actions:

    "Because Glenn Beck's Mercury Radio Arts agreement predates his agreement with Fox News, Glenn has certain radio obligations with which he needs to comply," said Dianne Brandi, Fox News executive vice president for legal and business affairs.

    From the Journal article:

    Cable-news network MSNBC briefly suspended liberal host Keith Olbermann last week for crossing a line between the media and politics when it learned he donated $2,400 each to three Democratic Party candidates. But that line is increasingly porous--especially in the rough-and-tumble world of talk radio.

    In radio, a lot of money is already flowing in the other direction. A handful of the top talk-radio hosts in the U.S.--including Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity--are being paid to use their voices and faces to promote politically motivated groups. Messrs. Beck and Hannity also have highly rated television programs on Fox News.

    Mr. Beck, whose radio program averages 10 million weekly listeners, has given paid endorsements on the show since May for FreedomWorks, a Washington, D.C.-based libertarian advocacy group that worked closely with tea party groups to support dozens of conservative candidates in last Tuesday's election. As part of what are called "live-read" advertisements, Mr. Beck has urged listeners to join FreedomWorks--a group he also had expressed support for prior to the commercial advertising arrangement.

    Mr. Beck declined to comment directly, but Christopher Balfe, president and chief operating officer of Mr. Beck's production company, said in a statement the spots are no different than any other advertising and Mr. Beck won't endorse any service or product he doesn't believe in. Mr. Beck previously has also dropped at least one advertiser after he no longer supported the company, the spokesman said.

    [...]

    TV news networks generally do not allow live-read sponsorships like those in the radio world--though there are sometimes exceptions for hosts who also have radio shows.

    "Because Glenn Beck's Mercury Radio Arts agreement predates his agreement with Fox News, Glenn has certain radio obligations with which he needs to comply," said Dianne Brandi, Fox News executive vice president for legal and business affairs. (Fox News and The Wall Street Journal are owned by News Corp.)