PBS recently weighed in
on the Karen Czarnecki flap, saying they were fine with identifying
the Bush-appointed Labor Department official only as a "conservative commentator" when she appears on one of their talk shows, where she sometimes discusses the Bush administration's labor policies.
That contradicts the opinions
of top media ethics experts, as well as that of the network's own ombudsman, Michael Getler, who called
the move a "big mistake" and a possible violation of the network's ethics guidelines. Yesterday, Getler responded
Not to routinely identify [Czarnecki] more fully is not being fair and upfront with viewers, in my opinion, and amounts to withholding information they have a right to know.
. . . . [H]aving looked further into this, I also disagree with PBS's assessment. This, in my opinion, is a breach of faith with broad journalistic principles of full and pertinent identification and much closer to being a violation of PBS's own editorial guidelines than it is to meeting those guidelines, as PBS maintains.