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Ifill: “I know it’s much more fun to assume than to read, but if you are really bothered by this, I believe it will put your concerns to rest.”

From Gwen Ifill’s washingtonpost.com chat today:

    Bangor, Maine: I recall clearly the controversy of Ms. Ifill moderating one of the presidential debates in the fall of 2008 while her forthcoming book, “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama” was gaining popular attention. Those who questioned a potential conflict of interest and lack of impartiality on the part of Ms. Ifill were dismissed as trite and politically biased, and her book in no way would benefit from the election of Mr. Obama. Yet, she is seen on CNN discussing her book with Anderson Cooper promoting her book on the first day of Mr. Obama’s presidency. Is this this in conflict with the following clause from the Society of Professional Journalists? It may not be, but in seeking truth, should not the question be asked and answered in open forum?

    “- Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two.” (see: www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp)

    Gwen Ifill: Thanks for asking.

    When you have the opportunity to read the book, I think you will be able to determine for yourself that it is a reported examination of a generation of rising political leaders, including but not limited to, Mr. Obama. I know it’s much more fun to assume than to read, but if you are really bothered by this, I believe it will put your concerns to rest.

    Cliff notes: The book is about Deval Patrick, Artur Davis, Cory Booker, Barack Obama, racial identity, gender politics, legacy politics and a whole bunch of other smart people you probably have never heard of. If you are interested in politics, I think you will enjoy it.

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