The Today Show has announced that former bug eater-turned-talk show host Elisabeth Hasselbeck is about to join former beauty queen-turned-possible Second-in-Command to lead the Free World Sarah Palin, on the campaign trail. This bit of news has those of us with a journalism degree, or well, who even read Ethics-4-Dummies scratching our collective head.
While most people think of The View as a lifestyle (read: fluff) program, in recent years it has become the go-to place for political discussion, that is when the Fab Four plus Babs aren't loudly shrieking and hissing at each other like some primitive reptilian species. Isn't it slightly unethical for Hasselbeck to campaign for a presidential candidate when The View is associated with ABC News?
Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey for the first time in her career endorsed a presidential candidate last year when she decided to support Barack Obama's bid for president, and I will readily admit that move also gave me a moment's pause, even though The Oprah Winfrey Show is syndicated. However, to The Mighty O's credit once she decided to endorse the other Might O, she decided none of the candidates, including Obama would come on her show during this past election year. Winfrey reasoned that her support of Obama would make it look as if she were going to hard on John McCain or Palin if they appeared on her show, or that she was handling Obama and Co. with kid gloves if they appeared on her talker. Meanwhile all of the candidates, their wives, dentists and even a few pet psychics have appeared on Hasselbeck's The View.
I really think Dear Old Babs must be asleep at the wheel to allow this to take place. This isn't a partisan issue, its about media law and ethics. ABC and its television stations receive campaign money from all candidates, this is one of the reasons why journalists are supposed to remain impartial if they plan to cover an election.
These rules aren't as hard and fast for the blogosphere (I doubt McCain or Obama would be interested in buying ad time here with us at DC, even with the snazzy new layout!), but it is a bit disconcerting to see what's playing out with the "traditional media". FOX News is basically a 24-hour advertisement for conservative ideology and it's no secret that CNN and MSBC lean Left. That's why it's more important for people like Joe the Plumber and Suzy the Soap Blog Reader to find out what the issues are for themselves and make up their own mind who to vote for on Election Day.
I am voting for the candidate who best reflects my world view and who will best preserve my rights as a citizen of this country and you should do the same, whether or not you are a fan of Oprah, Elisabeth or Leo. Make the choice that's best for you on Nov. 4. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go run out and get a haircut so I can look more Obama-esque for church this weekend!