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article imageShould Journalists Donate to Politicians?

By Left-Handed Elephant     Jul 16, 2007 in Politics
This weekend on CNN's Reliable Sources, host Howard Kurtz said journalists should not donate money to political causes. This made me wonder so I did a little digging on my own.
My favorite talk show moment came this weekend when Arianna Huffington and Mary K. Ham met up on CNN’s Reliable Sources.
There were the predictable jabs: Arianna talked about hypocrisy in the family values party (i.e. Senator Vitter) while Mary countered that there’s plenty of hypocrisy to go around; the Live Earth concert, for example, generated far more pollution than it solved (to use the global warming crowd’s language, there’s a “widespread consensus” about this).
Then my ears perked up. Arianna talked about the media’s soft-selling the Iraq progress report last week due to a conservative bias. Mary replied that journalists gave to Democratic or liberal candidates over conservatives at a 9:1 rate. Host Howard Kurtz ended the segment by saying that journalists shouldn’t be giving money to anyone.
That statement made me curious, so I wandered over to Open Secrets, the website of the Center for Responsive Politics. Thanks to the FEC, you can look up individual donor contributions. So I did.
I’m happy to say that Howard Kurtz is true to his word, as near as I can tell. He isn’t listed as having donated to any campaigns. Maybe he should share his view with the rest of the CNN gang, who’ve given over $58,000 to political causes and candidates.
(Note: I’m sure it’s more, but it takes some digging to find them all. For example Dr. Sanjay Gupta is listed as donating $6,000 to various candidates, but you won’t find his name under the CNN listing.) In fact, a search for those listing journalist as occupation revealed $440,447 in political donations. They could all learn from Mr. Kurtz.
Some of these folks are clearly political, like Paul Begala, so it’s to be expected. But when someone is listed as a correspondent or executive producer and they’ve written checks to the DNC, it makes me question their objectivity.
Given that the show Reliable Sources covers how journalists interact with the story they’re telling, I found the numbers very interesting.
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