What are we to make of these facts?
- The Benghazi talking points prepared by the CIA went through 12 revisions before they were revealed to the press and the public. The White House was involved in that process, and the original references to a terror attack were removed. President Obama’s deputy national security advisor, Ben Rhodes, was instrumental in this.
- CBS News executives are reportedly upset with award-winning CBS reporter, Sharyl Attkisson, who has, almost alone in the mainstream media, continued to investigate and report on the Obama administration’s controversial handling of the Benghazi terrorist attack in Libya, including the apparent obfuscations regarding its cause. Attkinson is having trouble getting her reporting aired, and her position may be in peril.
The president of CBS is David Rhodes, Ben Rhodes’ brother.
The answer is that these facts prove nothing at all, but make us uneasy anyway, or should. This is what judicial and government ethics rules call “the appearance of impropriety,” a set of circumstances that don’t rise to the level of corruption or even a conflict of interest, but that could cause reasonable people to have doubts. Appearances of impropriety erode trust, not as surely as real, demonstrable unethical conduct, but gradually and steadily. This is why one is ethically obligated to avoid them. Most news organizations say that reporters should avoid the appearance of impropriety. It is one of the Canons of Judicial Ethics. It is part of the federal ethics laws regulating government employees.
What, exactly, are the Rhodes brothers supposed to do differently than they are doing, however? Neither is presumably responsible for the other getting his current position. They are both professionals; just because they are brothers doesn’t mean they should be suspected of collusion. Nevertheless, if CBS News appears to be stifling Attkisson’s reporting on a story that may cause grief to the network president’s brother, eyebrows will be raised, because people will wonder. Yet should either brother have to do their job differently so that this unintended appearance of impropriety doesn’t create suspicions of an unholy CBS-White House alliance? No.
If I were David Rhodes, however, I’d let my executives know that I wanted Attkisson to be given free reign to go where the facts took her, even if it was right into his brother’s lap, to protect CBS’s image and integrity.
Then today it was revealed that ABC President Ben Sherwood’s sister, Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, is a Special Assistant to Barack Obama on national security affairs. ABC, especially recently, has been aggressive in covering the Benghazi talking points controversy, which is what we should be able to expect. The incestuousness of Washington politics and the media, however, is neither healthy nor conducive to trust.
In other words, whatever the truth is, it looks bad.
Facts: Daily Caller, Examiner
Graphic: American Cowboy Chronicles
3 thoughts on “The CBS-White House Fraternal Connection: THAT’S An Apearance of Impropriety…So Now what?”
Do you imagine that it’s a coincidence that two high administration security people are also siblings of two network president’s brothers? It does get a little cozy between Washington and the media doesn’t it?
Not that I suspect it’s planned or anything. No, it could happen spontaneously. Like maggots forming from bull shit.
Thanks for reporting this. I knew that most of the alphabet soup networks were biased, but never considered flat out conflict of interest.
“The incestuousness of Washington politics and the media, however, is neither healthy nor conducive to trust.”
Trust is a huge word these days. I am not sure it is still found in the dictionary. I often watch the History channel and watch the horrors of WWII and remember the stories from my late father; then have flash backs to 1966 where the family gathered every evening to watch the news on a new “color” television set and watching the evolution of the news during the Vietnam war years. One news clip showing the peace lovers wanting to make nothing but love then the next clip was bashing the soldiers fighting a war the majority never seemed to get on the same page. I think that was about the time that the news media found a way to spread inaccuracies with a touch of reality. It brought in the new way of marketing to the masses. I agree with Wyo sis last sentence. There is more than maggots found under bull shit which makes hunting wild hogs a relief from the lying news media. This was a wonderful story sharing how “that’s the way it was”. I still have hope for the truth.