Professional journalism ethics suggest reporters should avoid conflicts of interest and, well, be accurate. Maybe Mortimer Zuckerman didn’t get that memo. Zuckerman said he couldn’t make political contributions – when he’s made 12 contributions to candidates in 13 years, 10 to Democrats.
Zuckerman, editor-in-chief of U.S. News & World Report and chairman of Boston Properties (NYSE:BXP), was asked about donating money to Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Clinton’s fading campaign by Huffington Post blogger and MSNBC “Morning Joe” regular John Ridley.
“I wish I could make a contribution, but I’m in the world of journalism and I can’t, but thank you for the offer,” Zuckerman said on May 9.
Oops. Maybe Zuckerman forgot, but his conflict of interest statement hasn’t stopped him from donating in the past – the recent past. According to OpenSecrets.org, a Web site maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics that tracks campaign contributions, Zuckerman has given $26,700 to individual campaign from 1995 to as recently as December 2007.
More than half that money was donated to Democratic candidates. The exceptions were $10,000 to former-Democrat-turned-Independent Sen. Joseph Lieberman.(I-Conn.) and $1,000 in 1995 donated to Sen. John Warner (R-Va.).Lieberman and Warner have co-sponsored global warming legislation to push a cap-and-trade bill in Congress.
Zuckerman has been portrayed as an economic prophet by the media. In the MSNBC segment, he warned that high oil prices “represent a huge threat to the basic economic security of this country.” He was interviewed on the March 18 “NBC Nightly News” and spouted doom and gloom (similar to the claims he made just two months earlier.)
“Mort Zuckerman doesn’t sugarcoat it,” NBC correspondent Mike Taibbi said. “One of the country’s wealthiest real estate developers and the editor-in-chief of U.S. News & World Report has been saying for months we’re in the worst economic downturn of his lifetime.”
The problem with that statement is Zuckerman was born in 1937, during the Great Depression. According to Britannica.com, the Depression was a “worldwide economic downturn that began in 1929 and lasted until about 1939.” Other sources give the ending date as the early 1940s.