Journalist Moving from Paper to ACLU: A 'Continuation of Her Work'

This isn't The Onion; it's for real (HT Hot Air; bold after title is mine):

Sun, Jan. 13, 2008

Burke named executive director of ACLU in Texas

Terri Burke, former editor of the Abilene Reporter-News, has been named executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas.

Burke, 56, will begin work at the ACLU of Texas on Tuesday. Her duties will include lobbying, fundraising, administering the organization and communicating with the public.

Burke said her new job seems like a continuation of her work in the newspaper business.

"I wanted to be a journalist because I thought journalism was a way to further the democratic process," Burke said. "At its heart, journalism is about the First Amendment. All my life, I've been interested in those kinds of issues."

I will suggest that no one in Old Media will think of Burke's move as the least bit odd.

Funny, that's not how they saw it in 1998 when the late David Brinkley retired and became a spokesman for a large corporation.

Here's how the New York Times's Brinkley obituary in 2003 described the reaction to his post-retirement move (bolds are mine):

In 1998, he surprised many of his admirers in the news business when he agreed to become a spokesman for Archer Daniels Midland, the agribusiness giant. He had retired from ABC only months earlier. Archer had gotten itself into serious difficulty with the federal government in 1996, paying a $100 million fine for the price fixing of food and feed additives.

Some of the most esteemed figures in television news, including Cronkite, the retired CBS News correspondent and anchor, expressed reservations and puzzlement, since representing a corporation appeared to be in conflict with Brinkley's image of independence as a newsman.

When the commercial turned up only on the program that Brinkley had just retired from, ABC pulled the ad, but it reinstated it a few months later.

Isn't Terri Burke's in conflict with her "image of independence" as a newsperson, and call into question the fairness and balance in her coverage of First Amendment and criminal defense matters during her career? Or does "independence" only become an issue when an ex-newsperson becomes a spokesperson for an eeeeevil capitalist company or an unfavored cause?

Cross-posted at

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