A picture’s worth a thousand words
That’s Mike Wallace two weeks ago at a Brady Center fundraiser in Washington, D.C. At the event, held at the French Embassy, Wallace played a clip of his “60 Minutes” interview with then-NRA president Charlton Heston, whom he described as the “self-righteous enemy of the Jim and Sarah Brady Bunch”. Afterwards, he mocked Heston by holding his hands above his head (as if holding a rifle), and said “in my dead hands… remember when he used to hold up…” while the crowd tittered. He told [event honoree Art] Buchwald he’d made his $250 contribution to the Brady Center.
Edwards sent a letter to the CBS News blog asking about the network’s ethics and disclosure policies governing such appearances.
CBS News Public Eye blogger Vaughn Ververs, mirabile dictu, has responded.
Here’s an excerpt:
Since this is just the kind of question PE is here to help answer, I spoke with Linda Mason, the senior vice president for standards and special projects at CBS News and asked her what the policy is regarding these types of appearances. Here’s what she told me:
“We allow CBS correspondents to speak at various functions and occasionally show video. We have strict regulations that if a CBS correspondent becomes identifiable with one side of a controversial issue, they will not be allowed to cover that issue in the future.”
I asked Mason whether this appearance by Wallace raised him to the level of being “identifiable” with the cause of gun control and she told me, “we’re looking into it to determine” that.
Edwards is not satisfied. Neither am I.
Ververs gets kudos for being responsive, but he’s kidding himself if he or anyone else at CBS News thinks there’s any doubt that Wallace has made himself “identifiable” with a cause.
“Looking into it?”
Look. At. The. Picture.
E-mail The Public Eye with your thoughts: [email protected]
Jeff Soyer at Alphecca:
Look, public people, even TV reporters, can certainly mail off a check if they want to their favorite causes (organizations) but should they really be showing up in person at such events and then try to claim they are still impartial in the stories they report concerning issues backed or attacked by such organizations?
Let’s just use an analogy: If Katie Couric of NBC’s Today Show appeared and supported a fundraiser by a pro-abortion group, shouldn’t that disqualify her — or at least require her to preface her reporting — of stories about pro-abortion or pro-life issues?
Read Cam’s whole piece and I hope the blogosphere gives this more notice.
David Hardy at Of Arms and the Law: “We all know there’s a certain media bias at work, but you’d think they’d be less obvious about it…”
Background: Tim Graham at Newsbusters has more details on other media attendees/organizers.