News organizations gotta pay the bills. Nothing's more normal than a newspaper, magazine or website—NewsBusters included—selling advertising, including ads by political or issue-advocacy groups.
But somehow it felt different to have opened my morning email from Mike Allen's "Politico Playbook" and find this message [screencap after jump] at the very top: "POLITICO Playbook, presented by the Rights and Responsibilities Tour by Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly." Allen's column often features ads from issue-advocacy groups, ranging across the issue spectrum. But to so identify the column with sponsorship by one side of a controversial political issue would seem to raise serious journalistic issues. More after the jump.
Given the Giffords' sponsorship, how free would Allen feel to highlight matters unfavorable to the gun-control lobby? Compare and contrast the ads from Mark Levin that regularly appear at NewsBusters. Our site is a proudly conservative place. Without endorsing any given stand that The Great One might take, NB readers rightly perceive that we are on the same side of the political divide as the conservative radio host.
But Politico and Allen vehemently reject any notion that they have a political agenda. To the contrary, the site's "About" page claims that it would fail to meet its mission "if we ever fall short of that initial promise of delivering nonpartisan news, fast, fair and first."
Doesn't the very close relationship between Playbook and the gun-control lobby compromise that claim?