By MICHAEL JOHNSON
Apparently, it’s okay for the media to pay their sources, to buy news. ABC news does it and so do others.
More proof of that came on Sunday when CNN’s Reliable Source Anchor Howard Kurtz asked one of his panelists about ABC paying $200,000 to the central figure in a news story for information and material that would make its news broadcasts more appealing and therefore more competitive.Lauren Ashburn of Ashburn Media responded that the high demand for ad revenues among news operations is moving the needle toward that kind of checkbook journalism. The answer she said was to find ways to generate more ad revenue so the news operations would not be forced to buy and bribe their way to bigger ratings.
By that analysis, it is okay then for members of Congress to exchange campaign contributions for earmarks in legislation, because the pressure to raise so much money for their campaigns leaves them no other choice. No, actually, it is not okay. It is against the law. Checkbook journalism should be, too.