Our fearless leader (aka, Rob Long) has many favorite sayings, but none is more famous than "Skin in the Game." Ya got have skin.
But what happens when you have too much in the game, especially if you represent yourself to the public as a journalist whose first loyalty is supposed to be to the truth?
Earlier this month, Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Connie Schultz crashed a local Tea Party event near her home in Avon, Ohio. One of the featured speakers was Josh Mandel, the State Treasurer and the front-runner for the GOP Senate nomination next year. Also in attendance was a Democratic operative whom Ms. Schultz obviously recognized, because when the operative began taping Mr. Mandel's remarks he was asked to leave. And because he was asked to leave, Connie took over his assignment. You see, the operative worked for Connie's husband, US Senator Sherrod Brown. If Josh Mandel was going to pull a George Allen, Connie wanted it on tape.
After a local blogger wrote about the incident, Connie Schultz was forced to resign. In a moment of pure candor, Plain Dealer Editor Debra Adams Simmons praised Schultz with all the liberal code phrases she could find, from "her steadfast commitment to social and economic justice" to the tried and true "efforts to speak truth to power."
But are you speaking truth to power when you're sleeping with it at night? When you hear that such and such reporter has a certain powerful person's ear, you have to ask what other piece of their anatomy do they have and does it get in the way of the truth?
|Claire Shipman||ABC News||Jay Carney||White House Spokesman|
|Christiane Amanpour||ABC News||James Rubin||Clinton State Department|
|Rita Braver||CBS News||Robert B. Barnett||Lawyer, Dem. Debate coach|
|Todd Purdum||Editor, Vanity Fair||Dee Dee Myers||Clinton Spokesperson|
|Ron Brownstein||Los Angeles Times||Eileen McMenamin||Spokesperson, McCain '08|
|Andrea Mitchell||NBC News||Alan Greenspan||Fmr. Chairman, Federal Reserve|
|David Gregory||NBC News||Beth Wilkinson||General Counsel for Fannie Mae|
|Chuck Todd||NBC News||Kristian Denny Todd||Democratic Strategist|
|Campbell Brown||NBC News||Dan Senor||Bush 43 aide|
|Michelle Norris||NPR||Broderick Johnson||Adviser to Kerry, Obama|
|Judith Miller||NY Times||Les Aspin (deceased)||Congressman, SecDef|
|Matthew Cooper||The Atlantic (Fmr. Time)||Mandy Grunwald||Dem. Media Consultant|
|John Dickerson||Time||Anne Dickerson||Rep. Political Consultant|
|Walter Pincus||Washington Post||Ann Terry Pincus||Dir., Office of Research USIA|
Then there are other less obvious conflicts of interest. Like the fact that ABC News President Ben Sherwood has a sister who is a Special Adviser to President Obama. (ABC seems to lead the world in training people for the Obama Administration as former employees Linda Douglass, David Ensor and Geoff Morrell have all taken paychecks from the current Administration. And they are nice place to land, too. Just ask George Stephanopoulos, or Mario Cuomo's son, Chris.) When the Washington Post's Dana Milbank writes about banking does he mention his wife was a Product Manager for CitiBank? Or that she currently works for Experian, a credit bureau that has access to the credit records of 215 million Americans?
Do spouses and other relatives deserve to live their own lives? Sure. But it might make for a lot of interesting talk around the dinner table and the bedroom, too.
Addendum: On the above list Judith Miller no longer works for The Times. But she did cover politics when the late Les Aspin was Clinton's Defense Secretary. And Mr. Milbank's wife worked for Citi when he was a reporter covering finance for the Wall Street Journal.