It was somewhat slimy when then-Politico‘s Jonathan Martin appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” while his then-girlfriend now-wife Betsy Fischer was executive producer of the program. Seems Politico could have offered up anyone else. Earlier this year, during the summer, Fischer left her role with the program after 22 years but remains with NBC as Managing Editor of NBC News Political Programming. Also this summer: Martin joined the New York Times. He has yet to reappear on the show.
But those too-close-for-comfort, incestuous TV moments are not as unusual for Washington as they maybe should be.
Last Friday, Brad Dayspring, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, appeared on CNN’s “The Lead.” The odd thing there is that the show’s publicist is Lauren Pratapas, who just happens to be Dayspring’s fiancé. Jake Tapper wasn’t hosting the program that day — the network’s Washington-based Joe Johns filled in for him.
Should the program have disclosed that Dayspring’s fiancé is the publicist? Or one step better: maybe Dayspring should avoid appearing on the show altogether. Might cut down on the questionable circumstances of how he landed a spot on there in the first place.
Media analyst Brad Phillips, who writes the Mr. Media Training blog, said no, Dayspring doesn’t need to be knocked off the show. But full disclosure would’ve helped things. “Banning Mr. Dayspring from the show seems unnecessary – as a top political spokesperson, he’s a logical television guest,” he told The Mirror. “And there’s no suggestion that his fiancée was directly involved in his booking; publicists usually aren’t bookers, so there may not be any actual conflict of interest here. Still, they probably should have disclosed their relationship anyway. The Society of Professional Journalist’s Code of Ethics advises journalists to ‘Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived’ and to ‘Disclose unavoidable conflicts.’ A brief acknowledgement at the beginning of the segment would have been sufficient.”
The future Daysprings had no comment on the matter by press time.
Note to readers: Phillips’ quote was added to this posting at 2:25 p.m.