by Max Brantley
The New York Times gets into the visit by Fox News' John Stossel to Arkansas this week to join lobbying against health reform by a conservative advocacy group funded by the wealthy Koch family.
Most news organizations discourage participation at partisan political events. In its publicity material for the forums, Americans for Prosperity identifies Mr. Stossel a “veteran journalist.” But Fox says Mr. Stossel is not a part of its hard news division; rather, he is an analyst and host.
In its responses to the White House and other critics, Fox has said there are differences between its journalists and its opinion program hosts. But the Obama administration and others have asserted that those lines are regularly blurred.
In an interview Tuesday, Mr. Stossel said he was an activist — for “free markets.” He has long identified himself as a libertarian and has covered stories accordingly. Mr. Stossel joined Fox earlier this month , and will soon begin hosting a weekly program for Fox Business. He will also provide regular analysis on Fox News.
The article notes that a private donor will pay for Stossel's trip (more than just expenses, I'd speculate.)
Greg Sargent, a blogger for the Web site whorunsgov.com, a Wahington Post Company Web site, wrote last week that Mr. Stossel would be effectively working “as a political activist” by attending the forums, and said it “doesn’t seem like great timing” given Fox’s feud with the White House.
Mark Feldstein, an associate professor of journalism at the George Washington University, said the relationship between Mr. Stossel and a partisan group was “pretty shameful” by traditional journalistic standards. “But I guess we’re no longer in an age of tradition,” he said.