When journos push causes

piggy_bankThe July-August issue of Columbia Journalism Review hands a dart to KNXV-TV of Phoenix because news anchor Katie Raml spoke at two WISH List events. Here’s an excerpt of how the Darts & Laurels column describes Raml’s offense:

Last fall, for example, she introduced the speaker at the “graduation ceremonies” at the Republicans’ WISH List Campaign College, described on its Web site as offering “high-caliber instruction” in “how to raise money” and “build effective media relationships.”

(The July-August edition of Darts & Laurels is not yet available online.)

Here’s another detail from the same website, listed under an Our Mission link: “The WISH List raises funds to identify, train and elect pro-choice Republican women at all levels of government — local, state and national.”

Is WISH List’s Republican identity any more partisan than its prochoice mission? What rules should journalists play by? What if a journalist’s employer, as an institution, supports prochoice causes? When I moved to Virginia late last year, I noticed that Richmond magazine was among the sponsors of a gala fundraiser for Planned Parenthood. That hasn’t stopped me from subscribing, but I won’t expect to see it publish sympathetic portraits of, say, prolifers who take unwed mothers into their homes.

Prolifers have long objected to employers’ pressures to support United Way because many of its chapters include Planned Parenthood in their circle of support. (United Way’s national office says its affiliates “have taken a position of neutrality on this divisive issue,” adding that no United Way funds “have ever been used to support abortion services.”

Update: Terry has reminded me that this essay at Poynteronline explored similar questions, and in greater depth.

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  • http://www.tmatt.net Tmatt

    When I was still active in a newsroom staff, the main problem I faced as a union member (and an enthusiastic member, I might add) was the actual pro-abortion-rights activities of the Newspaper Guild itself. That places you in a real bind. I asked if my dues could be used specifically in a union fund that did not go to political lobby work, but never got an answer.

    This is basically the same issue, isn’t it, as that raised at Poynter.org about the gay-marriage coverage. Remember that one?


  • http://www.wildfaith.com Darrell Grizzle

    When I first saw the headline, “When journos push causes,” I thought Doug was going to be writing about the “advocacy journalism” he did for Episcopalians United. :o)

    (I say that in friendly jest; I myself have written some incredibly biased articles…)

    Seriously, though, I find the United Way statement of “neutrality” on abortion to be ludicrous. If they are funding Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion advocacy group, they are funding abortion advocacy. That’s not neutrality.

  • A. Maldonado

    The real concern on this Journo is she’s evidently a TV News head anchor,not just a buck reporter. How can she have any creditability?

    She used her position of trust and credentials to push her own brand of politics and morals. Who is she???

    (I did laugh at her “I’m just dumb” defense.)

    The full article is at:


  • Zach Reyes

    Hey, we know Dan Rather is a Big Journo who likes to push his causes. Maybe Dan Rather and this fellow anchor-politician Katie Raml can get together and start up their own cable show. They can hop on their soap boxes about Bush and argue on a couple of things, but then end by winking and hugging on abortion. Too boring — won’t last a month. There’s nothing new!

  • Annie M

    Wonder if KNXV-TV in Phoenix is going to allow the unethical journo Katie Raml to cover the election for it tomorrow? Of course according to the Columbia Review, which had a follow up on her this month, her station got a Dart aimed at it too.

    And I guess Dan Rather is still standing at CBS…The big question is: will Raml have pro-abortion candidates enough in Arizona to push on the air to keep her busy all night?