Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Do Newspapers Document Financial Interests in Controversial Stories? If Not, Why Not?

We demand that elected officials should disclose their major donors in order to be ethical.  It seems to me that we should also demand that journalists disclose dollar figures of ad buys by corporations that become the subjects of journalists' "objective" reports.

I cannot claim to know what dollar amount Lee Beaman pays the Tennessean for advertising. But I would bet that he pays a lot more than the $6,000 he donated to English Only. Assuming that he has paid them hundreds of thousands or even millions for automotive advertising, wouldn't the ethical thing be to divulge those ad sales and the Tennessean's financial interest against reporting less than attractive news about Mr. Beaman?

UPDATE: In fairness to the Tennessean, I did find past articles where they reported some of Lee Beaman's less attractive far-right donations.

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