Here’s a new wrinkle to the Rally to Restore Sanity and March to Keep Fear Alive events: NPR has sent a reminder to certain of its divisions noting that they will not be allowed to attend unless they’re covering the rallies.
From: [Senior vice president for news] Ellen Weiss
Sent: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 8:46 AM
To: News-All Staff
Subject: NPR Journalists and political activity
As we head into the final weeks of this political season, I thought it would be valuable to send out a reminder of what NPR News Ethics Policies and Social Media Guidelines are regarding political activity.
. . .
* NPR journalists may not participate in marches and rallies involving causes or issues that NPR covers, nor should they sign petitions or otherwise lend their name to such causes, or contribute money to them. This restriction applies to the upcoming John Stewart and Stephen Colbert rallies.
. . .
Look, NPR, I applaud your rules on elections, donations, etc., as an overall policy, but here’s a little factoid that I think makes a big difference: these rallies are NOT political events.
The rally and march are entertainment. They will benefit non-political and non-partisan charities. Although an unfortunately large portion of the mainstream media wants to play up the “liberal rally” idea, it is not true. Does NPR bar its reporters from attending Barbra Streisand concerts during election years just because she’s usually associated in people’s minds with Democrats? That would seem equally draconian.
Also? It’s “Jon Stewart” — no “h”. Top notch newsies you’ve got there, NPR.