NPR CEO Vivian Schiller reminded staffers in a company wide email this morning that they are expressly forbidden from attending Jon Stewart’s “Rally To Restore Sanity” on October 30th, as well as Stephen Colbert’s “March To Keep Fear Alive” on the same day. Journalists are “required to abide by a blanket ban on political participation instituted by the programming service’s News Code of Ethics and Social Media Guidelines.”
According to the guidelines members of NPR’s news, communications, programming, legal, and digital divisions are forbidden from participating in or contributing money to events for causes that NPR covers. Although the rules only apply to employees in those specific departments, the email sent to all NPR employees stipulates that regardless of position no employee is allowed to participate in Jon Stewart’s “Rally To Restore Sanity.”
NPR’s strict reminder certainly implies that Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s events are to be treated as real political events and not merely entertainment. Though both men are in fact comedians and entertainers, in recent years both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report have come to be seen as real news sources, so NPRs stance is not surprising. What do you think? Should Stewart and Colbert’s rallies be treated as serious political events by the news media? Or has the line between news and entertainment become too blurred?