Ifill Must be Removed

Whether or not this proves to be the “Age of Obama,” no one who has a financial interest in the outcome of the election — as does PBS’ Gwen Ifill — should be permitted to moderate any debate in the campaign season.

Ifill, who is scheduled to moderate the important debate tomorrow night between Republican Sarah Palin and Democrat Joe Biden, has a conflict of interest that, by even the most rudimentary ethical standards of journalism, must preclude her from moderating or even reporting on the debate.

Ifill is the author of “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama," a new book scheduled for release on Inauguration Day. Its promotional statement says, “In ‘The Breakthrough,’ veteran journalist Gwen Ifill surveys the American political landscape, shedding new light on the impact of Barack Obama’s stunning presidential campaign and introducing the emerging young African American politicians forging a bold new path to political power.”

We are used to liberal bias in the media, and it’s questionable if PBS can even find among its journalists someone who approaches an unbiased point of view. Nevertheless, Ifill has a financial interest in the outcome of the election. If Obama loses, her book will be DOA. If Obama wins, she wins greater book sales and thus far greater income from royalties. This, by any standard, is a disqualifying conflict of interest.

Ifill must be removed from the moderator’s slot — today — and replaced by someone who at the very least does not have a financial interest in the outcome of tomorrow night’s debate.