On Friday's Hardball, Chris Matthews interviewed his daughter, Caroline, as one of the student members of the group Concerned Youth of America, and ju
September 29, 2008

On Friday's Hardball, Chris Matthews interviewed his daughter, Caroline, as one of the student members of the group Concerned Youth of America, and just didn't bother mentioning the familial relationship. Apparently his daughter had asked not to be identified as such and, rather than interview another member of the group and thus preserve his journalistic integrity (heh), Matthews went right ahead anyways.

It's such a small-beer breach of what passes for journalistic ethics nowadays as to go almost un-noticed, although in the halcyon days of journalism it would probably have gotten him fired or at least earned the censure of his peers. It simply doesn't compare, though, with the likes of Andrea Mitchell reporting on the bank bailout plan - and blaming Obama for its failure - while married to Alan Greenspan and not making full disclosure of that fact before every report.

Indeed, there are a great many more media/political marriages creating potential conflicts of interest that don't get enough attention or even disclosure. Back in May of last year, Washington Monthly's T.A. Frank had a look at some of Washington’s power couples. Included in his list were such media figures as:

- Ron Brownstein, LA Times, married to Eileen McMenamin, John McCain's communications director.

- NBC’s David Gregory, married to Beth Wilkinson, general counsel for Fannie Mae.

- Time’s Matthew Cooper, married to Mandy Grunwald, ad guru for Hillary Clinton.

- Campbell Brown, anchor for the weekend edition of NBC’s Today Show, married to Dan Senor, GOP operative and former head of the Coalition Provisional Authority.

- Jim VandeHei, former Washington Post reporter and founder of The Politico, married to former Tom DeLay staffer Autumn Hanna VandeHei.

- National Review writer Kate O’Beirne, married to WH staffer Jim O’Beirne.

- Robert Kagan, op-ed writer, married to Victoria Nuland, current ambassador to NATO.

I'm sure there's at least some of those which come as a surprise to most readers, as they were to me. I find myself wishing I'd known all this before I read or watched these media figures. Maybe their marriage doesn't effect their work, maybe they keep the two utterly separate and never discuss insider information with their spouses. if so, they're like no marriages I've ever seen in the real world.

You can add, to such egregious conflicts of interest, the mainstream media's natural tendency towards stenography of the Powers That Be in order to preserve it's precious access to them, and the unfortunate tendency of some to represent themselves as nonpartisan reporters of "just the facts" even while their not-often-acknowledged resume speaks otherwise. No wonder the the notion that the establishment media comprises - on its own - a Fourth Estate, still able to impartially produce news which informs voters of the bare facts so that those voters can make decisions thereby, is as dead as the Dodo.

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