The Moody Memos: Fox News operates on the "honor system"

Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

Fox News finds itself embroiled in an ethics firestorm for one simple reason: They don't appear to have any rules that actually regulate their employees' political conduct.

Back in 2004, then-Fox News VP John Moody reportedly circulated a policy "discourag[ing]," but not banning, employees from donating to political candidates:

Fox anchor Neil Cavuto, the network's managing editor for business, gave $1,000 to a fundraising dinner for President Bush in 2002.

"I wish he hadn't," said Fox News Vice President John Moody, who responded by circulating a policy Friday that discourages such contributions. "I hope our people will follow the advice I've given to them voluntarily. The potential perception is that they favor one candidate over the other." But he said he wouldn't ban the practice.

A Fox producer for Oliver North, Griffin Jenkins, gave $2,000 to the Bush-Cheney reelection committee.

Apparently, lots of people ignored Moody's advice, as numerous Fox employees have done far more than give a donation or two to a candidate they like -- they are busily raising money for Republican candidates and causes.

Four years after advising against campaign donations, Moody reportedly said that newly-hired political analyst Karl Rove would be able to fairly cover the Obama-McCain campaign because he's "on the honor system" and wouldn't want to "cross an ethical line like that."

One wonders if Moody thinks that Rove has upheld that "honor system," given that he is now promoting, and possibly helping to direct, a $50 million GOP slush fund. With some actual rules in place, this sort of ethics crisis could have been prevented.

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