Last week I presented an ethical dilemma involving journalist expressing their personal beliefs. On October 13, NPR's Senior vice president Ellen Weiss sent out a memo to the staff banning them from attending the Rallies to Restore Sanity/Keep Fear Alive hosted by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert if they were not sent to cover the event. The memo was sent because staffers were asking whether a rally hosted by comedians is considered political. NPR decided the rallies were political.
The rallies, which were held at the National Mall in Washington D.C. October 30, drew an estimated 215,000 people over twice as many as Glenn Beck's Restoring Honor Rally in August. Along with NPR, The New York Times, CNN and The Washington Post all agreed that the rallies were political and attending would show basis. On the other side, Arianna Huffington, head of The Huffington Post, rented 200 buses to bring people from New York City to Washington D.C. for the rallies. Each publications reactions to the rallies brings up interesting questions about the extent to which journalist can attend rallies and show opinion.
To continue the discussion from class, here are a few specific questions to think about:
Can journalist attend political rallies? If they can, then to what extent? Also, is Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's rallies considered political?
Here is the link to the memo: http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=45&aid=192569