How Will Media Handle Journalists With Spouses on Team Obama?

How will major news organizations handle the challenge or conflict-of-interest problems when they have employees with spouses at high levels of the Obama administration? The newly named head of the White House Office of Health Reform, Nancy-Ann DeParle, is married to New York Times reporter Jason DeParle. The marriage was mentioned in the Times article on Mrs. DeParle’s appointment, but will the editor or the Public Editor of the Times explain how they’ll avoid a conflict?

Time magazine saluted Mrs. DeParle’s resume, including running Medicare at the end of the Clinton administration, but like the Times, they were more concerned with her private-sector conflicts: "Since then she has become a highly sought-after corporate, academic and foundation consultant, earning enough money with her husband, New York Times reporter Jason DeParle, to buy a $3 million house in the Washington suburbs in 2007."

This theme emerged earlier: United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice is married to Ian Cameron, who was named last fall to be the executive producer of ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos. It might seem obvious that ABC’s less interested in the appearance problems of any conflicts, with Stephanopoulos the Clinton operative as its top political analyst (and a Cuomo as a news anchor).

Newsweek’s Martha Brant profiled Rice for Stanford Magazine in 2000:

The daughter of one of Washington's elite black families, she married a white Canadian, college sweetheart Ian Cameron, '83....Rice and Cameron met during her freshman orientation at Stanford. He was a senior. "She struck me right away as someone unique. She was more aware and very confident," says Cameron, now a producer at ABC News.

Announcements of both the Rice-Cameron nuptials and the Min-DeParle nuptials were published by the New York Times. Both were Episcopalian services.

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