I was reading Karl Rove's latest Wall Street Journal column this morning -- what do you know, Rove thinks Mitt Romney's in great shape -- and I was reminded of how very busy he must be.
The gist of Rove's column is largely predictable, in large part because it's so similar to what he's said in his previous Wall Street Journal columns: President Obama is bad, Mitt Romney is good, and there's ample reason to believe, with a little hard work from Republicans, the latter will defeat the former in November.
That said, when Rove isn't writing the same column over and over again, he has plenty of other tasks to keep him occupied. He's also on Fox News, for example, where he says on camera many of the things he says in his newspaper pieces, talking up the candidates he likes, tearing down the candidates he doesn't like.
But when he takes off his newspaper-columnist hat and takes off his television-analyst hat, Rove then puts on the hat of partisan fundraiser and political operative. I'm reminded of this recent item from Mike Burns and Marcus Feldman.
The Wall Street Journal is letting Karl Rove pen distortions that directly benefit his financial interest in defeating President Obama in November.
Rove, a Fox News contributor and former George W. Bush adviser, co-founded the GOP super PAC American Crossroads in 2010. Crossroads has devoted itself to defeating Obama and assisting Republicans in congressional races in 2012. As of April, Crossroads and its sister group, Crossroads GPS, had raised nearly $100 million for the election. The groups plan to raise at least $240 million ahead of Election Day.
Last week, a Bloomberg Businessweek article declared Rove "back" after leaving the White House five years ago, and reported that "[a]long with the billionaire Koch brothers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and other conservative allies, the Crossroads-led offensive is collectively poised to spend more than $1 billion on the 2012 elections, according to Republican operatives."
Despite the fact that Rove is raising money to influence the presidential election and congressional races and has a financial stake in the outcome, The Wall Street Journal gives the Republican strategist space in its pages to comment on the election. Or more specifically, the Journal gives Rove an opportunity to publish distortions against Obama that directly benefit his financial interest.
I can't think of a comparable dynamic in modern journalistic history. When Wall Street Journal readers see Rove's column, they're presumably supposed to see him as a professional media analyst, offering insights on political events. When Fox News viewers watch Rove, they're also presumably supposed to see him a credible pundit.
But Rove is, simultaneously, trying to dictate the outcome of the races he's pontificating on. He's also trying to raise money for his attack operation, which is actively engaged in building up and tearing down the very candidates Rove is reflecting on when he has his media hats on.
Is it me or are there some ethical lines being blurred here?