The Mirror

Should A Pro-Union Reporter Be Allowed To Cover Labor?

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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Politico labor reporter Mike Elk is clear about his feelings about unions.

Plain and simple: He supports them.

As The Mirror reported earlier today, Elk is even setting his sights on unionizing Politico. It’s something he planned to do from the time Politico hired him last October after years of working in financially precarious conditions at InTheseTimes. [RELATED: As Predicted, Politico Labor Reporter Plans To Unionize His Workplace]

He says, all in all, it’ll take six months to a year to achieve his goal.

Asked if he sees any professional conflict in being pro-union and being a labor reporter, Elk’s answer was an unequivocal no.

“A lot of reporters in Politico’s newsroom voted in the last election and didn’t see it as a conflict of interest,” he said in an email. “A union is just a representative body: some unions are opposed to keystone pipeline and some unions are in favor of a keystone pipeline. A union can be anything, and to those reporters who may say it’s a conflict of interest, I always say, well, what about the fact that you voted or that you cash a paycheck? Isn’t banking a conflict of interest?”
RedState‘s Erick Erickson sees a clear conflict of interest here. “In other words, the Politico is intellectually incapable of looking critically at unions,” he wrote on Twitter.
But Michael Dougherty, editor of TheSlurve, a baseball newsletter, and a senior correspondent at The Week, sees reason to admire him. “If I worked with Elk, I’d be skeptical about unionization,” he wrote on Twitter. “But I’d welcome him and his allies to try convincing me. I admire him for trying.”
Elk said he’s proud to be a union supporter from three generations of union organizing.
“Dr. Martin Luther King gave his life for the right to collective bargaining and I believe that collective bargaining, as the UN declares, is a basic fundamental human right,” he said.