Gwen Ifill, Debate Commission Try 'No Comment' on Obama-Book Conflict of Interest

Everyone knows how the media hates stonewalling politicians. We all saw it last week when they stomped around over Sarah Palin's photo-ops at the United Nations. So why is it okay for Gwen Ifill and the Commission on Presidential Debates to try the "no comment" defense on Ifill's conflict of interest with the Obama "Breakthrough" book? (That is, other than telling AP conservatives are racist to raise questions.) Columbia Journalism Review's Liz Cox Barrett tried:

A Newshour spokeswoman returned my call to Ifill. The spokeswoman said that “as a journalist, Gwen has to focus on the task at hand: preparing for the debate” (adding that “way before this issue came up, [Ifill] decided not to do interviews” in advance of the debate). I asked the spokeswoman about the appearance of conflict and she replied that Ifill had “proven herself to be fair and balanced and no doubt will be” tomorrow night.

I was then bumped up to the spokeswoman’s boss who said that Ifill had “set this aside,” was focusing on debate prep, and that he didn’t “think Gwen is in a position” to talk to me about this but that he would try to reach her and ask.

Not only is Ifill supposed to represent the media's reverence for accountability and transparency, she's also taxpayer-subsidized, so she's stiffing the public in two maddening ways. The Boston Herald also noted its former food writer was stonewalling off the public:

Ifill did not return an e-mail. Peter Eyre of the Commission on Presidential Debates, which selected Ifill, didn’t return a call.

Wouldn't it be nice to hear from these people before the debate?

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis