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“An Ethical Morass”: The Wall Street Journal Won’t Acknowledge Its Karl Rove Ties

Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal continues to trip over its Karl Rove conflict of interest, with the paper’s newsroom routinely failing to mention that the man who helped found an anti-Obama super PAC is also a Journal employee. Time and again this election season the Journal has reported on Rove’s campaign work with American Crossroads, and time and again the newsroom has neglected to acknowledge Rove works for the Journal as a political columnist.

The disclosure failure, and the obvious lack of transparency, is just part of the paper’s ongoing ethical morass with regards to Rove. As Media Matters has reported, scores of editorial page editors have criticized the paper for failing to disclose in its opinion pages where Rove’s anti-Obama columns appear, that Rove is closely associated with an anti-Obama campaign group.

The very fact that the Journal hired Rove, a GOP fundraiser, to write columns about the races Rove is trying to win for the GOP represents a glaring ethical lapse. The Journal’s refusal to disclose those ties only compounds the problem; a problem that extends from the opinion pages to the newsroom.

Today’s front-page Journal article examines whether conservative super PACs have been effective in denting the president’s re-election chances. Rove’s Crossroads group is featured as the pivotal conservative super PAC in the article. Yet nowhere in the piece is it reported that Rove also works for the newspaper.

That transparency failure has become commonplace. On September 6, the newspaper published an article about super PAC fundraising efforts by liberal and conservative groups and noted, “By contrast, American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, two Republican groups founded with the help of Karl Rove, have spent $67 million combined.”

There was no mention that Rove’s a Journal employee.

On Sept. 5, the Journal focused on the surprisingly tight U.S. senate race in North Dakota, and the amount of outside money pouring into the campaign:

Crossroads GPS, a Republican campaign fund co-founded by Karl Rove in 2010, and Majority PAC, a group that aims to protect Democrats’ Senate majority, have spent heavily and run negative ads in the state.

No mention that Rove’s a WSJ employee.

And back on July 19, the newspaper reported that Crossroads was coming to the aide of Romney with new television ads designed to defend the candidate’s career at Bain Capitol. The Journal noted the super PAC “was founded with the help of Bush White House aide, Karl Rove.”

No mention though, that Rove’s a Journal employee.


By: Eric Boehlert, Sr. Fellow, Media Matters, September 24, 2012

September 27, 2012 - Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , ,


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