The news that Jay Carney, editor at Time magazine, is leaving the publication to become Vice President-elect Joe Biden’s director of communications doesn’t leave me screaming bloody murder in outrage. But I have the same questions as when Linda Douglass joined Team Obama.
Job offers don’t come together overnight, and for obvious reasons, the hiring process and job interviews are usually confidential. But this means that now we have two examples where members of the press were “covering” the Obama campaign while at the same time angling for a job with them. Not exactly an ideal circumstance for criticism, fairness or objectivity. (To her credit, Douglass actually had a respectable interview of Obama strategist David Plouffe in the weeks before she was hired. But other comments from around the same time looked like blatant buttering-up of a prospective employer.)
Did these reporters’/editors’ superiors know they were interviewing for staff jobs? Don’t they have an obligation to disclose that to their editors? And shouldn’t readers know if a reporter has that potential conflict of interest?*
And as I wrote before, we don’t know if this is the only member of the media who interviewed for a position with Obama or Biden, and whether anyone else is interviewing with his campaign, or other campaigns. Who else in the press has been hoping to be hired by the Obama administration?
*No, no campaign has ever tried to hire me. If any did, I would seriously question their sanity.