One cardinal rule of journalism is that reporters shouldn’t give or receive money, favors or services from anyone or any organization connected to stories they report on. In fact, many news organizations require their reporters to sign “pay for play” agreements that expressly prohibit such arrangements. Crossing that line is a firing offense in many news organizations.
So, can someone please explain this? The e-mail below was sent recently by the performers’ union–American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA)–to its membership. Its membership includes most network correspondents and anchors, as well as almost all reporters and anchors in the nation’s top markets–the very people who are trying to “objectively” report on the evening news, the health care debate in Congress.
The e-mail in its entirety reads:
As the two health care reform bills merge, it’s important to join the labor movement in letting your Representatives know a final bill must include the best pieces of the House bill, which includes a public option to keep insurance companies accountable and does more to make health insurance affordable.
The Senate bill includes a 40% tax on many middle class families’ insurance benefits instead, which would result in higher premiums for some workers and higher out-of-pocket costs. Join millions of your fellow union members in letting your Representatives know that taxing middle-class Americans’ health benefits is not the way to pay for reform.
The AFL-CIO is mobilizing working Americans to let our voices be heard today by joining in the National Call-In Blitz for Health Care Reform.
Call 1-877-3-AFLCIO (1-877-323-5246) toll-free and urge your Representatives to support working families by voting for health care reform that:
. Does NOT tax our health care benefits;
. Requires employers to pay their fair share; and
. Reduces health care costs -the best way to do this is with a public health insurance option.
Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this.
If that bothers you, you should also know that your “objective” network correspondent, roaming the halls of Congress right now trying to ferret out the “truth,” probably pays hundreds, or even thousands of dollars in union dues to AFTRA every year. He or she, in all likelihood, depends on AFTRA for one of those “Cadillac” health insurance plans that is the subject of so much debate. He or she also will receive a nice little AFTRA pension come retirement time, and perhaps most importantly, will depend on AFTRA to help defend, protect or advise them in any serious conflicts, demotions, firings or legal issues with management at their TV station or network.
Now, do you really think your friendly network correspondent is gonna criticize the Senate Democrats’ bill? I got an offer you can’t refuse…
The preceding piece was written by a well-known news anchor from a top-10, big-city news station. The Daily Caller has elected to protect his identity.