February 14th, 2008
To Vote, or Not to Vote?
By Adrian Uribarri
Mike Allen, Jim VandeHei and John F. Harris take on an old question at Politico.
Allen wrote that he’s voted only once: In a Democratic primary, when his roommates campaigned their hearts out for a candidate and he didn’t want to let them down.
VandeHei, who covered the Bush-Kerry race for The Washington Post, wrote that he abstained from voting in the 2004 general election because he was told he would cover the winner and didn’t want readers to think he voted for against his subject. He sat out the Virginia primaries this year, but doesn’t object to voting in local elections that the Politico doesn’t cover.
Harris has voted in every presidential race since 1984. He wrote that he didn’t participate in the Virginia primaries because he didn’t want people to know within which party he would have voted.
I have voted in elections in which I’m not required to reveal a party preference. But I often wonder: At what point does political participation become an ethical no-no for journalists? Is it enough to stop at running for office? At what point does a conversation between an editor and a reporter turn into a newsroom’s unwritten commentary on politics?