Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Did Van Susteren Violate Ethics Standards With Cain Interview?


by Mike Burns/Media Matters

In the past, Fox News' Greta Van Susteren repeatedly pushed ethical boundaries by hyping Sarah Palin without disclosing that her husband, John Coale, advised Palin following the 2008 presidential campaign and started both her political action committee, SarahPAC, and her legal defense fund.
Now it seems there is a possibility that Van Susteren has once again breached journalistic ethics.
In a taped interview that aired on today's edition of On the Record, Van Susteren hosted Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain to allow Cain to respond to sexual harassment allegations against him. At no point during the interview or the live show did Van Susteren mention that her husband has identified himself as a "friend" of Cain or that he indicated before Palin dropped out that he would most likely back Cain's campaign if Palin did indeed drop out.
According to an October 6 Politico article, Coale told the paper's Alexander Burns, "I think [Cain] would be my guy if Sarah doesn't get in," and added, "[t]he less establishment, the better."
Politico has also reported that Coale appeared at a Cain event today as a "friend" of the candidate. From Politico:
Herman Cain gave his a TV interview Monday to Fox News host Greta van Susteren, in the process seriously muddling his story on the financial settlements with former female employees of the National Restaurant Association.
That's why it struck me as interesting to see Van Susteren's husband, attorney John Coale, upstairs at the National Press Club -- in the members-only area where Cain was camped out -- after the Republican presidential candidate's remarks there this afternoon.
I emailed Coale to ask if he was giving Cain legal advice or whether he was simply there as a friend and/or supporter. He replied that he was there as a "friend" of Cain.
It should be noted that, when the husband of NPR's Michele Norris took a position with President Obama's re-election campaign, Norris took a leave of absence from her position as co-host of All Things Considered.
So, shouldn't Van Susteren at least have disclosed her husband's relationship with Cain?
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