Don’t Blame Malloy — Blame People Magazine

by Categorized: Media, Politics Date:

There’s a lot of hand-wringing in Connecticut media and politics circles about Gov. Dannel P. Malloy accepting a trip to Washington DC and a night at the White House Correspondents Dinner from People magazine, and rightly so.

Never mind the governor’s legal and ethical judgment in letting that happen. What is People Magazine doing, paying for politicians to travel and hang out?

malloy people mag cover It’s a serious issue because you, the readers, have a right to journalism untainted by paid sources.  And you’re not always getting it.

News outlets paying for news is considered taboo in the United States but some organizations find ways around it.  Some of the big TV networks — not local TV stations — offer paydays to news subjects for “exclusive rights” to photos, with a nod, nod, wink wink agreement that the exclusive extends to the interview.

We heard reports in Newtown of at least one major network sending large amounts of food platters to victims’ houses, then following up with requests for interviews.

U.S. newspapers adhere to the no-pay standard strictly and religiously, as far as we know, although that wasn’t always true. The American Journalism Review said in a 1999 report that the New York Times got an exclusive in 1912 by paying the Titanic’s wireless operator $1,000 for his story. That’s $23,500 today.

People magazine didn’t pay Malloy for news, as far as we know, when it kicked in more than $1,000 ($42 in 1912) to take him to the decadent media lovefest last weekend. Not exactly, anyway. But what happens the next time People wants a political exclusive? Will he jump? That’s the danger — and worse, when we have to believe paid sources who are unknown, suddenly selling their stories.

All of this matters more now than in the recent past because it’s harder to tell where your news is coming from. News outlets, whether they’re TV networks, local stations, magazines, newspapers or online only, compete minute-to-minute for public attention on the Web.  So we’re seeing a media convergence, but without a convergence of ethics and standards.  Which Web site you’re reading does matter.

Media critics including Abby Martin rightly decry the White House Correspondents Dinner and similar events as a giant conflict of interest.  “It’s not just the fact that journalists are hanging out with celebrities. It’s that they’re befriending the very politicians and corporations they’re supposed to be holding to the fire,” Martin said on a video this week.

Chumminess is not the same as paying sources, but in both, it’s the media outlet that has to be watched closely, not just the politicians. Blame People magazine for this week’s flap, not Malloy.




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14 thoughts on “Don’t Blame Malloy — Blame People Magazine

  1. DRT

    Why is it mutually exclusive…blame People not Malloy ? If what he knowingly chose to do was not an ethics violation by the rules, it certainly was by judgement standards. So, I say, blame Malloy, not People, or both, but Malloy is certainly not blameless. He is, however, a Democrat, and this is, after all, CT a hopelessly blue and politically corrupt state. So,alls’ well.

  2. Are you kidding?

    You say “Blame People magazine, not Malloy?”
    How about both? When a moth is attracted to the flame, it’s not just the moth’s fault.

  3. Reg

    What about Sharkey giving him cover on this thing? Has all common sense left the democrats in the capitol completely? I wish there with still a democrat in this state with some backbone to finally say and do the right thing by the taxpayers of Conn.

    ………maybe those days are gone

  4. Mitch

    No .. blame Malloy. He should be smart enough to refuse anything related to this. Besides, what was he doing at the correspondents dinner anyway? Oh right, probably the same thing the Hollywood people were doing there….pathetic.

  5. Fortinbras

    Does this qualify as ironic? A pathetic sycophant in the news media trying to protect a bribed politician while condemning the bribing company and denouncing the incestuous relationship between the media and our political figures. Apparently Mr. Haar is looking for some tasty boots to lick.

  6. Bob Hebee

    People Magazine? Please….all true blue, liberal Democrats know that it was George Bush fault.

  7. Richard Hurtz

    This whole state is a joke…. You want to know why??? I got audited by steve sullivan and had to hire a 2nd Tax Attorney to do my taxes and they still took over 4K more out of my bank accounts and he has nothing to say about it besides “hey, tough luck Sir..” You should recieve it back in less than a year, if at all… nice.. That was money I was going to send to my son at college but not now.. How do I tell him that he has to take a semester off because we have lack luster Ct Tax proffesionals?

  8. pete

    Of course NEVER blame a “RAT LEFTIST LIBERAL LIKE DANNY BOY. It’s ALWAYS someone else’s fault with the liberals like DANNY BOY and his pal barry. They can do no wrong in the eyes of the lying liberal press

  9. Gadfly

    Mr. Haar,

    Normally your columns are thoughtful and well written, but this could possibly be the dumbest thing you have ever presented.
    Go. Malloy is supposedly an adult, and therefor should be able to distinguish right from wrong. If we expect an 18 y/o college athlete to know that accepting gifts from agents/boosters is wrong, then we should expect a 50-something y/o elected official to identify a possible impropriety and say ‘thank you but no’.

  10. walls

    Hey Danny Boy, what say you about this from a Niki Haley speech [SC Gov.]:

    “Connecticut expanded early under ‘Obamacare’ and just reported a $190 million Medicaid deficit – in spite of subjecting their citizens to a massive tax increase,” Haley said during the State of the State address. “California just raised taxes in part to cover their Medicaid deficit and yet needs $350 million more to pay for ‘Obamacare’ next year. That’s not us. That’s not South Carolina.”

    No truer words were spoken. Yes, SC is not CT!

  11. Cagey

    I guess the press should have blamed the guys who gave the hot tub to gov. john roland, right?

    dbl standard anyone?

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