Good “Elk” Hunting

Posted by Margaret Mire on Monday, February 2nd, 2015 at 9:28 am - Permalink

Why Americans Don’t Trust Journalists 

According to polls conducted by Gallup over the past 40 years, America’s trust in journalism has consistently been low.

And why shouldn't it be?

Take POLITICO for example, one of Washington, DC’s most popular news sources which recently hired Mike Elk to be their labor and employment “reporter.”  Many POLITICO readers may not know Elk has a clear union bias. 

He is a fourth generation union supporter who has actively pushed for collective bargaining agreements at several companies, such as Volkswagen in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where the United Auto Workers tried to organize in 2014.

Given his history of strong union ties, it of no surprise that just a few short months after joining POLITICO, Elk has already tweeted about his plans to unionize the company:

“Hey I have unionized every media publication at which I worked – why would @politico be different?”

One would think that Elk’s activist nature and career as a labor reporter would create a conflict of interest.

And it has.  

Elk blurred ethical lines in 2011 when he worked as a blogger for the Huffington Post.  The Huffington Post wrote:

“Elk sparked controversy in 2011 after giving a press credential, which he obtained as a Huffington Post blogger, to a construction union leader who used it to disrupt a mortgage bankers conference, a move that blurred the line between labor activism and reporting.”

Elk as a reporter is not only a potential headache for his employers, who have to deal with the repercussions of his actions.  It is dangerous for readers as well. 

Labor and employment is a subject of news that effects all people.  Despite age, gender, ethnicity, and ideology, everyone has a vested interested in jobs and the job market.

POLITICO editors must know that such a major subject should be covered by a writer who understands the importance of promoting credible facts, and is not interested in using their occupation to push their political agenda.

POLITICO's decision to hire Elk despite his track record does no one any favors, least of all POLITICO.