Politico reported Friday that more than a week prior, the wife of conservative Washington Post columnist George Will took a messaging position with the campaign of Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry. Politico noted that Will had since discussed the GOP primary and disparaged Perry's primary opponents in two Post columns and on ABC's This Week, all without disclosing his wife's position. The article also indicated that while Will had told his Post editors that his wife's role was unpaid, it is in fact a paid position.
This morning, Will finally disclosed his wife's position during ABC's This Week. When given the opportunity by host Christiane Amanpour to do some “personal housekeeping,” Will did not apologize for his failure to reveal this information, nor did he pledge to continue to make such disclosures in the future. In fact, Will's only “housekeeping” was mentioning that “some of the more excitable and perhaps less mature members of the Romney campaign have tried to make this personal.”
AMANPOUR: I know you want to take care of some personal housekeeping.
WILL: Yes. For More than 30 years, my wife Mari has been in the political business. She was a speech writer for Ronald Reagan's campaign, in his White House, she was his last White House director of communications. As part of her profession, which is to consult with businesses and congenial political candidates, she has been in the political business off and on for 30 years. Last Monday, she became part of the Perry campaign, specializing in messaging and debate preparation.
AMANPOUR: Isn't she banging her fist against her head, then?
WILL: Well, that's what she's there for is to fix things. Some of the more excitable and perhaps less mature members of the Romney campaign have tried to make this personal. At the Michigan debate, after the debate, Mari waved to Ann and Mitt Romney, they came over and talked, they've been guests at our dinner table, and Romney gave her a kiss on the cheek and they went their separate ways.
This morning, an interesting question was asked by veteran journalist Lauren Ashburn on CNN's Reliable Sources: would Will have disclosed his wife's position within the Perry camp had Politico not done it for him? Watch:
Even if the answer is yes, Will's ethical responsibility as a journalist would be to disclose that fact within the articles he writes about the GOP candidates running against Rick Perry -- a task that thus far, Will has conveniently chosen to ignore.