In public accounting, there's a concept known as "independence," which has two aspects: independence in fact and independence in appearance. If you are auditing a company, you may in fact be the most independent person in the world, willing to follow the audit trail wherever it leads, but no matter how much you object, if you own stock in the subject company, you won't be allowed to participate in the audit (by extension, the usual rule is that no firm member can ever own stock in a client company).
This brings me to USA Today reporter Jackie Kucincich, who is the daughter of former Cleveland mayor, multi-term Congressman, and two-time presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich. She may in fact be the most independent and objective reporter on earth, but given her bloodlines and her father's still-present engagement in politics, from appearances alone she has no business being assigned to cover the presidential campaign of Rick Santorum (there's plenty of other non-conflicting work back in Washington, so I'm not proposing that she not be in the media). No matter what she produces in covering Santorum, it will and should be suspect. It just so happens that her latest write-up would, based on its content, be dubious in any event, as it fits too neatly into the "social values-obsessed conservatives" meme which has been all the rage in the Democratic Party and the establishment press (but I repeat myself). Several excerpted paragraphs demonstrate that obsession (bold is mine):