I’m not sure why the news of Jay Carney leaving his post as Time magazine’s Washington bureau chief to join Joe Biden’s staff bothers me, but it does.

I suppose there’s nothing wrong with reporters ditching journalism for politics, but it’s different than when politicos join the journalist ranks.

When someone like George Stephanopoulos leaves the game to become a journalist, viewers approach it with a critical lense: They know he’s coming from the left, and filter his comments accordingly.  I would argue that while Stephanopoulos has done an admirable job at checking his partisan tendencies at the door, it doesn’t mean that he’s rid himself of the “soft filter” that many viewers have of him.

But since he was a politico first — and a high profile one at that — there’s a certain amount of transparency that will always shadow him, and that’s a good thing.

But when career journalists — people like Jay Carney — up and bolt the profession to become a player, it’s a bit unnerving.  I mean, it’s not like he had some kind of road to Damascus conversion one day and decided it was time to enter the fray; he had to be thinking about it for a while, and part of the motivation likely included a strong, progressive (read liberal) streak.

Again, this doesn’t make him a bad guy, but it sort of gets you wondering — how long did he harbor these ambitions, and did it color his reporting at Time (how could it not)?  And since he was a career journalist, it’s not like readers ever had the chance to filter his point of view appropriately, (which we clearly know now).

It just leaves me with an uneasy feeling.   I never gave much thought to Carney’s political leanings because he always seemed like an objective journalist, but I feel slightly duped.   All reporters bring some type of political direction to their work — it would be impossible to have no point of view on anything — but it has to be deep seeded and burning to make them quit their profession and enter the game.  And how could that not influence their reporting.


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