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Local Reporters' Political Tribs

So there was an investigation by MSNBC reporter Bill Dedmaninto American reporters giving political contributions to candidates for federal office. And one reporter pops up as giving money from the Sun-Sentinel. Can you guess who?

Yeah, it was Ethan Skolnick.

He's always been such a blowhard political ha-- ... hey, wait a minute, Ethan Skolnick? He's a sports reporter. And a good guy (I once played on a softball team he "coached"). The investigation found that he gave $250 to Peter Deutsch, Democratic candidate for Senate, in July 2004, and $250 to Debbie Schultz, Democratic candidate for House, in June 2005.

Here's Skolnick's explanation, which he e-mailed to Dedman:

"I no longer can make any more. At the time that I made them — they were both friends of a politically active friend — I was not aware of the newspaper's policy that restricts us from

doing so (even if we work in sports, as I do).

"Anyway, after carefully reading the ethics policy last year, I disclosed the donations to my editor. When I've been asked for donations since, I have declined. I also told political organizations to take me off of their call lists."

Probably a good idea, but does anybody really care if a sports reporter gives political contributions? If it was Anthony Man, there's be a problem. But is there a conflict in supporting Democratic candidates while waxing poetic on the Marlins? I don't give it a second thought, but I suppose newspapers should be consistent.

The findings on the Palm Beach Post and Miami Herald were a little closer to the bone. Just a little. The Post's George McEvoy, who is an editorial columnist, gave $400 to John Kerry and $204 to the Democratic National Committee in 2004. McEvoy didn't reply to Dedman's request for comment. It helps that McEvoy is a columnist paid to give his opinion rather than straight political reporting, and reading his stuff it's no secret where he leans (just read this). Still probably not a good idea, perception-wise, but hardly newsworthy.

But now we get to the worst case, this one involving a copy editor/page designer for the Miami Herald named Harry Broertjes, who gave $250 to the Republican National Committee in June 2006, $500 more in August 2006 and $200 to President Bush in August 2004.

Broertjes, who works in the Broward bureau, didn't comment to Dedman, but Herald managing editor Dave Wilson told Dedman the policy was "clear": "Journalists should not make campaign contributions."

I agree. But giving money to Bush? That's the worst crime of all.

(Gotta go, the Liberal Bias Police are coming).

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman

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