President Biden on Tuesday chose the wife of a top CNN executive as his candidate for the US Embassy in Israel, raising ethical concerns as experts say selection poses “potential conflict of interest »For the liberal network.
Thomas Nides, a Morgan Stanley executive and former senior State Department official, was appointed for the post. His wife, CNN senior vice president of news gathering Virginia Moseley, “oversees all CNN news coverage and national news gathering,” according to the CNN website. Moseley is also responsible for “all coverage plans for the White House, Congress, Department of Justice, Defense, National Security and more reporting teams.”
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Jeffrey McCall, professor at DePauw University and media critic, says the situation “presents a conflict of interest” for the network.
“Israel is often the subject of breaking news and it’s hard to imagine CNN being able to make measured news decisions in this context,” McCall told Fox News. “CNN should come forward and transparently clarify how it plans to separate Moseley from all decision-making regarding Israel, the Middle East and, ultimately, international diplomacy in general. ”
CNN did not immediately respond to a series of questions, including whether the network would inform viewers of the relationship and whether Moseley would be involved in decisions regarding current affairs regarding Israel. Nides and Moseley married in 1992 while she was a producer for CBS News.
McCall noted that this is an era “in which the career trajectory of one spouse should not be diminished by the career of the other spouse,” but “when it comes to international relations and their reporting, all parties must be transparent and careful with the “optics” and potential conflicts.
“For the average American news consumer, this type of appointment only confirms suspicions that the government bureaucracy is tied to the establishment media, thereby damaging the credibility of both entities,” McCall said.
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Lois Boynton, who teaches ethics and public relations at the University of North Carolina and is a member of the University’s Parr Center for Ethics, agreed the appointment was alarming for CNN.
“The situation raises concerns about conflicts of interest, which any network must resolve, regardless of how much confidence it places in its staff to fairly determine what it covers and how it covers it,” Boynton said. at Fox News.
Boynton noted that the Radio Television Digital News Association’s code of ethics read, “Independence from influences that conflict with the public interest remains a core ideal of journalism,” and recommended that media are open and clear about their decisions.
“Still, there is no guarantee that all viewers and critics will trust good faith efforts to reveal how a medium has decided what is most newsworthy and what is not,” Boynton said.
The White House declined to comment when asked if a potential conflict had been considered.
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Nides, who was one of Biden’s biggest campaign clusters during his presidential run, is not the first person close to the administration with links to CNN. Press Secretary Jen Psaki and Secretary of State Antony Blinken are both former CNN experts who have joined the Biden administration.
“CNN must ensure that the Moseley-Nides relationship does not impact media coverage of the Israeli policies of the Biden administration. There should be no repeat of the obvious conflict in that Chris Cuomo is covering and interviewing his brother Governor Andrew Cuomo, ”Cornell Law school teacher and media critic William A. Jacobson told Fox News.
All of Biden’s choices are subject to a confirmation vote in the Senate.
If confirmed, Nides would become the head of US diplomacy in Israel at a time of tumult for the Jewish state. Israel formed a new government this month, ousting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has openly criticized the Biden administration’s policy towards Iran.
Thomas Barrabi of Fox News contributed to this report.