When I worked as a manager in the call-center business, I would often go out in the center to take calls myself and handle other traffic when it got busy. It sent a message to those who worked for me that I was expected to pitch in, and that the work was important enough for everyone to take seriously. Plus, I just enjoyed that aspect of the job, and it kept me in touch with the issues that my team had with customers and the support systems we deployed to serve them.
It’s good to see that kind of philosophy at a major, unbiased news organization, too. The Los Angeles Times covered the latest in Barack Obama fundraisers, this one staged by the LGBT Leadership Council in Beverly Hills, part of a two-day, five-event fundraising tour. Their reporter ran into CBS News president Les Moonves in line waiting for his wristband, mentioned at the bottom of the article (via Just the Tip):
Before the event began, a long line of partygoers waited on the sidewalk outside the hotel to check in. CBS chief Les Moonves and his wife, Julie Chen, waited patiently for their wristbands. Obama, Moonves said, “has shown great leadership” on the issue of gay marriage.
Though he heads a news division, Moonves said, “ultimately journalism has changed … partisanship is very much a part of journalism now.”
He hastened to add that despite his presence, “I run a news division. I’ve given no money to any candidate.”
Oh, yes. I’m certain that Moonves was only there to cover the event, and got in for free. For the record, Open Secrets does report that Moonves’ only donation in the 2008 and 2012 cycles is one donation of $5,000 to CBS’ PAC last year, at least so far, but the reporting period for this event comes at the end of this month. We’ll see if Moonves got a free pass to a tony Beverly Hills fundraiser for Obama at that point.
That still wouldn’t answer the question of why the president of a supposedly unbiased news organization would be attending a fundraiser for a presidential candidate, unless Moonves was planning on submitting a pad-and-paper report for the website — and if so, why bring the wife? Other networks have suspended on-air talent for making donations to candidates and damaging the perception of fairness at the network, most absurdly in the case of NBC with Keith Olbermann. What about having the boss cheering on a presidential candidate at a ritzy fundraiser, even if it is from the cheap seats, assuming that there were any to be had, and then rushing to insist that he hasn’t donated any money while waiting to be admitted to said big-ticket fundraiser?