Andy Birkey first reported Wednesday at The Column article that 57A: GOP candidate criticizes opponents LGBT ‘lifestyle,’ family. Ali Jimenez-Hopper:
A House candidate in Apple Valley used race and sexual orientation to criticize her opponent at a recent GOP convention. . . .
In a speech at the Republican endorsing convention in mid-May — which has since been posted to Youtube — Jimenez-Hopper took a shot at Quade’s family and ancestral background...
The story has been picked up nationally by Think Progress and Raw Story, as well as by the City Pages in Ali Jimenez-Hopper, bad politician, talks about 'half-black' opponent's lesbian 'lifestyle' [AUDIO].
One would think that Jimenez-Hopper might need some help with crisis communications given these nittering nabobs of negativity nipping at her nascent campaign. Unfortunately, her choice of media maven only opens up additional ethics questions.
She tweeted late in May:
Who is @psamsunder? Preya Samsunder, whose twitter profile identifies her as "Born and raised in the Midwest. Writer and Researcher for
@AlphaNewsMN. RT & Likes are not endorsements." She's actively reporting for the conservative news outlet in articles such as Blame Game Continues as House and Senate Leaders Meet Over a Special Session.
What's the issue? The Society for Professional Journalism Ethics Committee Position Paper on Political Involvement notes:
The SPJ Ethics Committee gets a significant number of questions about whether journalists should engage in political activity. The simplest answer is “No.” Don’t do it. Don’t get involved. Don’t contribute money, don’t work in a campaign, don’t lobby, and especially, don’t run for office yourself.. . .
For political reporters, yard signs, bumper stickers and even campaign buttons should be considered off-limits. For a broader range of journalists — whether they’re covering politics or not — political activism should be avoided. The editor/publisher of a Denver newspaper once told his employees not to attend a concert whose proceeds were being donated by the band to a candidate for the U.S. Senate. That applied to all employees, from newsroom to mailroom.
Many employers’ codes of ethics are much more specific than SPJ’s code about their employees’ involvement in politics. The SPJ code is merely advisory, but a journalist can be fired for violating an employer’s ethical rules. NPR’s code, for instance, says quite bluntly that “NPR journalists may not participate in marches and rallies” concerning issues that NPR covers — which is pretty much everything.
Alpha News uses advanced social media and online technology platforms to deliver important news programming to audiences everywhere in Minnesota. Alpha News reports on issues relating to local, state and federal government, as well as the people and personalities involved. Unlike traditional media, our programming goes beyond the headlines and focuses on issues of local interest that consistently go unreported.
Can a news outlet staff member also serve as the communications director for a political campaign? Not in any universe that we know of, but we don't get out much.
Learn more about Alpha News in the Minnesota Public Radio report, At some Minnesota news sites, partisans write the checks and the Strib's The mysterious launch of Alpha News, which reported:
Erynn said Alpha News will be receiving press credentials, which are issued by non-partisan staff of the Minnesota House of Representatives and Minnesota Senate.
Erynn referred to Alpha News as a "news organization" and said it will generate revenue from advertising, but added "a number of private donors" are also providing financial support.
We're not sure that those credentials were ever issued, but with a staff writer and researcher now actively working on a Minnesota House campaign, perhaps the wisdom of Alpha News possessing legislative press passes needs to be examined.
Alpha News MN - Alphanewsmn.com is now listed as a Capitol News Coverage Organization in the Minnesota Senate News Directory. [end update]
Photo: Preya Samsunder, via twitter.
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