Why does the Washington Post allow an employee of Time Warner to write commentaries on Time Warner? That’s the question posed by Glenn Greenwald, who writes that the paper “employs as its media critic an employee of Time Warner, the largest media conglomerate in the world.”
The employee in question is Howard Kurtz, whose latest Post column praises Time magazine and reads, as Greenwald writes, “like a Time Warner Press Release heaping praise on its magazine for great success.”
Time Warner pays Kurtz to host CNN’s “Reliable Sources” show, a fact that is stated almost as an afterthought following his Post column. The disclaimer doesn’t even bother to connect the dots between CNN and Time Magazine, both of which are owned by the same company.
[B]eing paid by CNN presents an inescapable conflict that is at odds with Post rules. They state that a reporter or editor “cannot accept payment from any person, company or organization that he or she covers.” There can be exceptions for some groups, such as broadcast organizations, “unless the reporter or editor is involved in coverage of them.” ... [W]ould The Post allow a reporter who covers energy to be paid on the side by a big oil company?
[And, obviously, covering media issues for CNN while taking a paycheck from The Washington Post Company poses the same conflict].
In the scheme of media sins, this one is relatively small. But on days when Kurtz uses his Post column to pen Time Warner Press Releases under the guise of media criticism, it’s nonetheless worth noting. It demonstrates just how captured the establishment media is by large corporate interests—that’s why they’re the establishment-serving media, after all—and, above all else, demonstrates the Post‘s utter contempt for its own readers and its alleged “ethical standards” and claim to independence. The very idea that it employs a “journalist” to write about Time Warner properties—while being paid a salary directly and substantially by Time Warner—says all you need to know about that newspaper.