Sunday, August 19, 2007

Disclose the bias or stay off the air

By Libby

There's been something a flap over "newsroom bias" since reports of booing Bush during staff meetings and other internal newsroom functions surfaced this week. The wingers have seized on this as "proof" of liberal bias in the news, as if reporters are automatons with no right to voice personal opinons in private settings. What do you want to bet, they'll ignore this blatant politicking by Hannity on behalf of Giuliani that Steve Benen just unearthed?

In a little noticed event this month, Hannity — co-host of Fox News’ “Hannity & Colmes” and host of a popular WABC radio show — introduced the Republican front-runner at a closed-door, $250-per-head fund-raiser Aug. 9 in Cincinnati, campaign officials acknowledge. [...]

The Aug. 9 fund-raiser where Hannity worked the crowd for Giuliani, held at Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse in downtown Cincinnati, was closed to the press. No known recording of his comments exist.

But some who were there - including Hannity’s boss at WABC, Phil Boyce - said Hannity was typically effusive.

“He talked about Rudy’s leadership after 9/11, about how Rudy had turned the city around and taken people off the welfare rolls,” said Boyce “There wasn’t anything he said that I haven’t heard him say on the radio.”

The obvious difference being that this is fundraiser for one candidate. So we're supposed to believe Hannity is an impartial observer -- why?

Don't misunderstand me. I don't think it's necessarily bad for media figures to support a candidate. They're only human and everyone should have a right to express a personal opinion. But unless Hannity now prefaces his on-air punditry time with a disclosure that he actively supports Giuliani, it's deceitful to pretend he's impartial. That's very wrong.

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