Keith Olbermann told Cindy Adams of the New York Post that he was so concerned by his new show’s ability to attract top tier guests that he decided to pay them for their appearances.
“It was a concern considering we’re starting from scratch, so I decided to formalize guests. Pay them even if it’s not much money. Make law professors, nonpolitical people, contributors. We built this in a matter of weeks, but the baseline is we’ve formalized it so it wouldn’t be a problem.
Normally guests aren’t paid for appearing on cable television, other than under contract as consultants, and gladly do so for the exposure. But with his new show relegated to cable news purgatory on the Current TV network, Olbermann apparently felt that it was a good idea to implement a “pay to say” policy. In the Society of Professional Journalists code of ethics, part of the code is: “Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; avoid bidding for news.” But isn’t that what Olbermann is doing? Checkbook journalism? But I guess that would only apply if he was a real journalist
Only a desperate man would resort to paying his guests and Olbermann is that man.