NPR Host Welcomes Obama for Cocktails
President Obama is now on his fourth annual “man of the people” summer vacation to Martha’s Vineyard (for some reason, Obama skipped that vacation three months prior to Election Day 2012). While there, he hangs around fellow rich and powerful liberals. Last night (August 12), one of those liberals included NPR anchor and special correspondent Michele Norris, who hosted Obama for a cocktail party at her vacation home on the Vineyard.
In 2011, Norris appropriately notified her NPR supervisors that husband Broderick Johnson was offered a full-time position in the Obama reelection campaign. She then recused herself from any coverage of the 2012 campaign and became a special correspondent and fill-in host. Now apparently nothing is off-limits, including hosting at her home the president she inevitably has to cover (or at least discuss) as a journalist. The official pool report from the White House press corps didn't list any media conflict:
Motorcade was on the move again at 5:46 pm. About 10 minutes later POTUS arrived at a cocktail party at the home of Broderick Johnson, who was an adviser on the Obama 2012 campaign, and his wife, Michele Norris Johnson. FLOTUS is also at the cocktail party.
As transparently partisan as Norris’ hosting Obama at her home is, it pales in comparison to the daily conflict-of-interest at NPR experienced by its White House correspondent Ari Shapiro. Even though his job requires that he impartially cover the White House, he is married to an attorney working in the White House.
Neither he nor NPR has ever made a public disclosure of that conflict on the air or on its website. In fact, it is not clear whether Shapiro ever even bothered to inform his superiors at NPR about the situation (as is required), or whether NPR had to bring up the issue to him after they heard about it from others. What is clear is that Shapiro has no meaningful restrictions placed upon his White House coverage.