ethics schmethics

Brian Zick

Matt Stoller reports: with regard to the subject "Conflict of Interest: [Chris] Matthews Big Speaking Engagements at Right Wing Organizations," Rick Kaplan (President of MSNBC) maintains that "No NBC anchors take money from any interest group…or any group that I can think of."Kaplan's statement would seem to indicate that MSNBC has a policy of not allowing anchors to take money for speaking fees from "interest groups." In 2002, Howard Kurtz reported in the Washington Post that "a number of news organizations, including ABC and NBC, banned the practice. (The Washington Post had long barred honoraria from corporations or trade groups that lobby Congress.) "But Think Progress has confirmed that what Kaplan said isn't true:Three trade associations independently confirmed to ThinkProgress that Matthews spoke for hefty fees on several occasions, as recently as last year:- The National Venture Capital Assocation (NVCA) confirmed that Matthews spoke at its 2005 Annual Meeting. NVCA told Think Progress that it booked Matthews through the Washington Speakers Bureau and that he received a fee of approximately $35,000. He received speaking fees from NCVA on at least two other occasions. - The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) confirmed that Matthews spoke at its 2001 Annual Meeting. NACDS said it booked Matthews through the Washington Speakers Bureau and that he received a fee for speaking. - The American Hospital Association (AHA) confirmed that Matthews spoke at its 2005 Annual Meeting. AHA said it booked Matthews through the Washington Speakers Bureau and that he received a fee for speaking. --Okay, so Rick Kaplan was going with the Sergeant Schulz defense. But the cat's outta the bag now. And if there is indeed a formal MSNBC policy against anchors taking speaking fees, Matthews is in violation. But even if there is no policy, Kaplan now can't very well avoid the multi-thousand dollar appearance that his boy Matthews has been bought. But, then, I expect maybe IOKIYAR-OAMSNBCA.

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