Today on my regular blog trawling I checked out Christopher Lydon's Radio Open Source site and got a bit of a surprise: an ad for John McCain For President. Click the image to the right to see a full size version.
I'm hardly a bosum buddy of Chris, but I have worked with him a bit here and there. I wouldn't have pegged him as a McCain supporter, but neither would I guess that he wouldn't be, either. Hell, Chris might not even know about the ad...at the bottom it says "Ads by Google" and, IIRC, the individual blog has little control over those ads.
Regardless, my initial reaction was that it was pretty inappropriate for a journalist/talk-show host's site to have a political ad for any candidate. Impartiality and all that, you know?
Then I mused a bit more and wondered really if it was all that inappropriate. Chris certainly has a long history as a traditional journalist, but technically he's not a radio or TV journalist anyone - he's purely on the web, and like it or not, the rules are somewhat different for web journalists. Primarily because of the odd phenomena where you have so little control over what ads are delivered on your site, and yet most people know that and are, consciously at least, reasonably comfortable divorcing their opinion of your ads and their opinion of your work. Of course, how successful at unconsciously divorcing those two issues is open to debate, and that's why I think most journalists lean towards avoiding the issue entirely.