Rove's Latest Column Highlights The Wall Street Journal's Ethics Problem

The Wall Street Journal continued its practice of publishing Karl Rove's weekly column boosting Mitt Romney without consistently disclosing that Rove is affiliated with groups working to elect Romney. Current and former editorial page editors from the nation's top newspapers have harshly criticized the Journal's failure to disclose Rove's affiliation.

In his latest Journal column, Rove wrote that even though more people view Romney unfavorably than they view President Obama, Romney's negative ratings are “easier to reverse.” Rove claimed that Obama's negative ratings are based on people's perceptions of Obama's handling of the economy. He pointed to several polls to back up his claim.

But Rove never disclosed that Obama's polling on economic issues may be influenced by Rove's own actions. Rove co-founded the super PAC American Crossroads and its related organization Crossroads GPS. And Crossroads GPS produced numerous ads attacking Obama's economic record.

For instance, Crossroads GPS produced an ad that pushes the discredited myth that the stimulus bill failed and another ad that pushes falsehoods about energy loans given out during the Obama administration.

Rove also suggested that Romney can decrease his negatives by changing the Obama campaign's narrative of Romney as an “outsourcer of jobs” and a “vampire capitalist.” And lo and behold, Rove's American Crossroads has produced an ad attacking the Obama campaign's criticism of Romney's business record.

Rove further suggests that Romney highlight the positive aspects of his own record and provide voters “a stronger sense of who he is and what he'll do.” This mirrors advice that Rove gave Romney in an earlier Wall Street Journal column. And in that earlier column, Rove explicitly said that Romney should leave the negative ads to outside groups without disclosing his involvement with such a group.

Rove continues to use his column to advance the interests of the groups he runs, but the Journal continues to fail to consistently disclose Rove's affiliation with those groups. And that remains a big problem.