NPR executives fired off a memo to staffers on Wednesday reminding them that they are not allowed to attend Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's D.C. rallies later this month in order to maintain the appearance of objectivity.
But NPR is not alone in keeping fear alive. Several news organizations have similar policies barring reporters and other staffers from participating in and, in most cases, attending political gatherings — which, in the case of a satirical event like Stewart's "Rally to Restore Sanity," is, quite frankly, insane.
The Associated Press: "Our standards speak for themselves. Most AP reporters would know not to attend."
ABC News: "We have a similar policy, as I expect you'll find at most news organizations."
CBS News: "News employees don't participate in political activity, including rallies."
NBC News: "NBC News prohibits employees who function in an editorial role from participating at partisan events, however on a case by case basis we have permitted MSNBC hosts to participate in such events."
The New York Times: "We would view these at least in part as political events (despite the comic/satirical elements) and would treat them under our guidelines that advise staffers to avoid such events if they could raise any questions about our impartiality."
Politico: "POLITICO staffers do not attend any rally or event that could be construed as partisan and that policy would include these events."
Wall Street Journal: "We expect our people to exercise good judgment regarding whether attending poses a conflict or the appearance of one."
Not every news outfit has lost its mind, however. Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller is being, refreshingly, level-headed: "Our reporters don't need mommy and daddy's permission to go to the zoo."
Luckily for those media employees whose companies have barred them from attending, Stewart and Colbert’s October 30 gathering will be carried live on Comedy Central. (Fox News plans to cover it as "a news event," just like it did for Glenn Beck.)
So they can watch it on TV — assuming that’s allowed.