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Lesley Stahl’s Conflict of Interest: Letter to CBS News

Earlier today, I wrote about Lesley Stahl’s serious breach of basic journalistic standards due to her service on the advisory board of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. I’ve followed this up with a letter to CBS’ management seeking an explanation.

Here is the letter:

May 2nd 2013

To: John Frazee Senior Vice President, CBS News Services
      Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews, Vice President, CBS News
      Frank Governale, Vice President, CBS News Operations
Re: Leslie Stahl’s Service on the Peter G. Peterson Foundation Advisory Board
I am writing to inquire about CBS’ view regarding the service of “60 Minutes” correspondent Leslie Stahl on the advisory board of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. As I outlined in a report on Working Life, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation serves as a vehicle to promote a highly partisan public policy position. One would assume that service on such a board by a journalist would be prohibited as an obvious violation of the most basic journalistic standards. The background of the issue is explored here:
I would request answers to several questions:
1. Does Ms. Stahl’s service adhere to the ethical guidelines set forth by CBS?
2. If her service violates the guidelines, is it the intention on the part of CBS management to direct Ms. Stahl to resign her position on the advisory board and/or impose any kind of sanction on Ms. Stahl?
3. Was anyone aware, at the management level of CBS news, about Ms. Stahl’s service?
4. Did she explicitly request permission to serve on the advisory board? If the answer is yes, can you provide documentation for such a request?
5. If such a request was not made, is that failure grounds for any discipline on the part of CBS management if, in fact, such service is permitted with prior approval?
Any answers you provide will be posted publicly on Working Life and made available to others.
Sincerely,
Jonathan Tasini
Publisher-Editor
Working Life
Twitter: @jonathantasini
[note: the original post misspelled Stahl's first name...I blame an old friend's proper spelling of Leslie...and my own carelessness!]

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  1. [...] there are still unanswered questions — questions I asked CBS a week ago, which were never answered, either to me, to anyone else to my knowledge, or certainly not in any [...]


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