The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

27 July 2010

NY Journalist: Charlie Rangel Given Softball Interview As He's Provided 'Good Inside Information'

CRONYISM 101

For Rangel, Neighborhood Ties Mean Breezy Interview







You're a columnist for a major metropolitan newspaper about to interview an entrenched lawmaker facing serious ethics charges. Do you A) ask tough, pointed questions, or B) carefully sidestep the issues, focusing on mundane topics instead?

While filling in for libtalker Ed Schultz Friday, New York Daily News columnist Errol Louis sadly chose the latter option, a particularly disappointing selection as his guest was none other than embattled US Rep Charlie Rangel (D-NY).

With the longtime congressman facing disturbing allegations, Louis missed a fantastic opportunity to hold Rangel's feet to the fire. And while a state-run media hack giving a longtime crony a free pass might not seem shocking, what is highly unusual was the columnist's candid admission later in the program that going soft was a result of neighborhood ties and Rangel's past assistance to the paper in the form of "good inside information".

Always nice to help an old friend, isn't it?

From the program:





ERROL LOUIS (HOUR TWO) (29:13): I think what Joe [previous caller] was getting at and a lot of people do feel this way is that there are a lot of people, the progressive media, who will shade stuff, I mean, will shade stuff, there's no question about it. I mean, look, even the Charlie Rangel thing, I could have hammered him with a bunch of questions but, I mean, I didn't do it, I didn't do it.

And I told you all up front, I used to live in Harlem, I like the guy, I know his work, you know, he's been a friend to my show and he's given us a lot of good inside information when we needed it about what was going on in Congress and I'm not in a position to do it. Now not everybody will tell you that and I think that's where people start to think that there could be a bias at work.

You see, the way I think about it, and I tell people this, I teach journalism and I tell my kids this, the goal is not to be unbiased. The goal should be to be fair.


The goal is not to be unbiased? As a columnist, certainly, a point of view is necessary. But ethics apply to everyone in the newsroom, including commentators. Disturbingly, Louis admits here that longtime connections and quid pro quo trump honesty, ethics and integrity.

No wonder New York is in so much trouble these days, protecting friends is clearly more important than good government.

This man teaches journalism!


4 Comments:

  • There's a new "Teflon Don" in New York and I fear his name is Charlie Rangel.....

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 27 July, 2010 09:50  

  • What Maloney left out, of course, is that I interviewed Rangel about 10 minutes before he was due to step in front of a batch of Washington reporters at a press conference he'd called that was carried live on cable TV.

    My talk with him was to get a sense of his his mood and have him lay out his view about what was likely to happen, in keeping with the ground rules I'd arranged with his staff minutes before we went on the air.

    Needless to say, I would have explained this to Brian Maloney if he had contacted me before publishing his ritualistic hit job. Very ethical, Brian.

    By Blogger Errol, at 27 July, 2010 12:09  

  • Errol's concerns addressed here.

    By Blogger Lachlan, at 28 July, 2010 18:28  

  • My talk with him was to get a sense of his his mood and have him lay out his view about what was likely to happen, in keeping with the ground rules I'd arranged with his staff minutes before we went on the air.

    If I understand correctly, you're now saying his staff was responsible for the parameters of your obsequious interview with Mr. Rangel, and you bent over anyway?

    If this wasn't so pathetic it would be funny...

    By Blogger Roger Bournival, at 28 July, 2010 19:44  

Post a Comment

<< Home



 
Page Rank Checker

Powered by Blogger