Public broadcasting is often a sacred cow in the media. Reporters don't often dig skeptically to find self-dealing inside the walls of PBS or NPR stations. But kudos should go to Paul Farhi and The Washington Post for offering such a story on Tuesday.
NPR listeners in the Washington metropolitan area get their news programs on WAMU-FM, based at American University. One of its regular features is called Capitol News Connection, which offers little newscasts within WAMU's regular NPR news shows. Farhi found a conflict-of-interest case, and notice how the adjective “public” can fall away from public radio:
As it happens, the founder and chief executive of CNC's parent company is also the wife of the WAMU executive charged with determining which programs the station airs.
WAMU officials say they see no problem with the admittedly unusual arrangement, which isn't mentioned in any of WAMU's public filings or press material about the program. The station executive, Mark McDonald, has recused himself from any dealings about Capitol News Connection, according to WAMU.