Washington Babylon — May 29, 2008, 9:32 am

High Priest of Journalism Ethics Knee-Deep in Moral Quicksand, Again

From the New York Times:

When Howard Kurtz invited Kimberly Dozier, the CBS journalist wounded in Iraq, onto his program, “Reliable Sources,” on CNN on Sunday, he was not a disinterested interviewer. Mr. Kurtz’s wife, Sheri Annis, had been paid to serve as a publicist for Ms. Dozier’s memoir, “Breathing the Fire,” which Ms. Dozier had come on the program to discuss. After the interview, in which he also read aloud from the book, Mr. Kurtz told his viewers that he considered Ms. Dozier “a remarkable woman.” He then added, “I should mention that my wife has done some promotion work for Kim Dozier’s book.”

The interview represented another complicated tangle in the complex world of Mr. Kurtz. He is paid by two of the nation’s largest media entities — The Washington Post Company, which employs him as a media reporter, and Time Warner, which owns CNN — to cover the doings at their news organizations, and those at their competitors’. But several media ethicists interviewed in recent days said that, given the financial arrangement between Ms. Dozier’s publisher, Meredith Books, and Ms. Annis, Mr. Kurtz should not have done this particular interview at all. (Ms. Annis said she was actually paid by a subcontractor hired by Meredith.)

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