Friday, February 13, 2009

Conflict of interest at the News & Observer?... "readers' advocate" doesn't see it

See if you can spot the conflict of interest in this arrangement. The News & Observer has launched a moneymaking venture with a Raleigh lobbyist to produce a monthly newsletter covering health-related issues at the state capitol. The lobbyist, Harrison J. Kaplan, has clients who include pharmaceutical company, other health care companies, and, the N&O. The email newsletter, produced in partnership with an N&O publication called The Insider, is called N.C. Legislative HealthWatch. If you want to subscribe, you have to pony up $399 a year.

The N&O public editor Ted Vaden, self-described "readers’ advocate,” doesn't see a conflict.

It seems dumb to me for an independent news organization to have a side money-making arrangement with a lobbyist. The potential for abuse is wide-open. And, shouldn't the N&O disclose Kaplan's clients?

Question for readers in North Carolina -- who are Kaplan's clients? If you have info, leave it in comments.

Hat tip: John in Carolina


Anonymous said...

You said the key word yourself. "Independent" they are not, unless the claim suits them at the time. The fact is, your entire "health section is nothing but a big advertisement disguised as news. Most of the so called stories are not even written by the papers employees.

That isn't the only section that has nothing to do with independence or any sort of public serivce. These flim flam artists make 7 to 10 times the normal advertising rate with their editorial sections or seeding their news with approved editorial comment to fit the paid agenda.

Conflict of Interest? Nope, not if you take into consideration that their interest is not what they say it is.

Anonymous said...

In the biased N&O, you can read an article about plants and gardening, and it will contain propaganda about global warning. I just got sick of the hidden agendas. I don't give a good shit what happens to them. Once you don’t trust a newspaper, it over, done, kaput.

Anonymous said...

Pro lib = No conflict

Pro American = "How dare you"

Typical Marxist psycho lib talk pretending to be the truth

Anonymous said...

The N&O got rid of Melanie Sill to the SacBee, you have to at least give credit for that.

Anonymous said...

The N&O’s liberal bias for BHO was so blatant, they didn’t really follow up on the thugs that hung around the voting precincts.

Remember all the stories about the poor voters that had to stand it line too long? The media helped the liberals pretend it was a plan to keep the poor from voting. Odd, those long lines of the poor, waiting to vote for Obama, were something to celebrate!

Les Weatherford said...

If the situation is, indeed, as described, I don't have to see a conflict. I can smell it all the way back to Kansas City.

(Full disclosure: I worked for The KC Star nearly 22 years and was laid off in November. )

Anonymous said...

Les, it used to be this sort of deal wouldn‘t fly, now anything goes. Ethics, they don't need no damn ethics.

Anonymous said...

The N & O is a liberal rag, if they fall into the liberal hole they dug, who cares?

Anonymous said...

Did they dig the liberal hole with the liberal shovel of liberality?

Anonymous said...


Welcome back to the fight.

This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Anonymous said...

Oh! Such drama!