New York Times reinforces policy prohibiting reporters from appearing on cable shows like Maddow

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The New York Times has begun re-enforcing a standing policy that forbids reporters and editors from appearing on cable news opinion programs deemed too partisan, a list that includes MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show,” according to a Vanity Fair report.

The story includes an anecdote about the Times’s finance editor David Enrich being invited to appear on Maddow’s prime-time program earlier this month to discuss a report regarding President Trump, Jared Kushner and allegedly suspect transactions involving Deutsche Bank before Trump took office.

After Enrich agreed to appear he was instructed to back out by his superiors.
{mosads}”The Times was wary of how viewers might perceive a down-the-middle journalist like Enrich talking politics with a mega-ideological host like Maddow,” reads the report by Joe Pompeo, who went on say that a Maddow producer was “miffed about the cancellation,” according to sources.

Other programs deemed too opinionated and partisan for the Times’s reporters and editors to appear on included “CNN Tonight” with Don Lemon and MSNBC’s “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.” 

It said Fox’s “Hannity” and “Tucker Carlson Tonight” would also fall into that category, though Pompeo wrote that Times reporters might not appear on those more conservative programs commonly.

An MSNBC spokesperson told Vanity Fair that Maddow’s “commitment to journalism is part of the DNA of the show.”

“For over a decade, The Rachel Maddow Show has welcomed the best journalists from across the country and celebrated the hard work they do, day-in and day-out. This includes countless New York Times reporters and editors. That commitment to journalism is part of the DNA of the show.”

According to the Times’s handbook of values and practices for the news and editorial departments, staff members should avoid shows that “emphasize punditry and reckless opinion-mongering.” 

Staff members “may participate in radio, television or Internet interviews or discussions, paid or unpaid, that deal with articles they have written or subjects that figure in the coverage they provide, edit, package or supervise,” the public document reads.  

“In deciding whether to make a radio, television or Internet appearance, a staff member should consider its probable tone and content to make sure they are consistent with Times standards,” it adds. “Staff members should avoid strident, theatrical forums that emphasize punditry and reckless opinion-mongering.” 

The report comes as journalism in the U.S. “has gradually shifted away from objective news and offers more opinion-based content that appeals to emotion and relies heavily on argumentation and advocacy,” according to an extensive Rand Corp. analysis released last week. 

“Our research provides quantitative evidence for what we all can see in the media landscape: Journalism in the U.S. has become more subjective and consists less of the detailed event- or context-based reporting that used to characterize news coverage,” said Jennifer Kavanagh, the lead author of the report.

Kavanagh also serves as a senior political scientist at Rand Corp. 

The Hill has reached out to The New York Times for comment.  

Tags CNN Don Lemon Jared Kushner Lawrence O'Donnell MSNBC Rachel Maddow The New York Times Tucker Carlson

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