Full Disclosure? CNN Reporter Who’ll Interview Hillary Recently Attended Clinton Aide’s Wedding
So here’s an interesting factoid for those interested in tracking the incessant D.C.-centric co-mingling of journalists and politicians: Brianna Keilar, the CNN reporter who’ll perform the first sit-down interview with Hillary Clinton, recently attended the wedding of the Democratic candidate’s grassroots director.
During the wedding of Adam Parkhomenko (Clinton’s current Director of Grassroots Engagement) and Kirby Hoag (Ready for Hillary’s deputy operations director), a former staffer tweeted a photograph of the journalists in attendance. Keilar, who will interview Clinton on Tuesday, is second from the right:
Also pictured are Keilar’s CNN colleagues Dan Merica and Ashley Killough.
Now the important questions: Will Keilar disclose this relationship to a top Clinton aide before or during her interview with the presidential candidate? Does she even need to?
To answer the latter question: Yes. Always err on the side of full disclosure.
Keilar’s declared beat is “covering 2016 Democrats and Hillary Clinton,” so perhaps it’s expected that she would have contacts (that verge on friendships) within the candidate’s inner circle. But the average viewer should be made aware of those ties.
Without such disclosure, Keilar is liable to set CNN up for a George Stephanopoulos-like embarrassment (albeit without the financial connection, as far as we know).
Though I’d argue that “objective journalism” never existed, it remains the label on which many reporters hang their hats. When one fails to disclose even the remotest personal or financial connections to the people or organizations they cover, it is only fair that accusations of bias follow.
One could easily connect the above photograph to Keilar’s big interview score and assume the sit-down was secured via friendly connections between the CNN reporter and Clinton aides. The next logical step in that thought process would be to assume unwritten ground rules for what sort of tone and/or questions the reporter can take with her subject.
Keilar may want to avoid any of that and just note for her audience that she is friendly with a top campaign aide, no matter how awkward it may feel to do so. It only takes a few words.
UPDATE — 3:25 p.m. ET: The same former staffer who took the photograph had this to say on Twitter:
Hey @AndrewKirell, did you know the CNN anchor you just went after attended wedding w/ her boyfriend, Paul Ryan's former comms guy? GASP!
— Seth Bringman (@sethbringman) July 6, 2015
1) No one “went after” Keilar. Just a suggestion that she disclose such connections to avoid accusations of bias; 2) If and when Keilar interviews Paul Ryan, she should absolutely disclose that relationship as well; 3) This isn’t that difficult to grasp.
[h/t Stephen Miller]
[Image via CNN/screengrab]
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