"A public demonstration of support for a particular candidate"

See? This is exactly what I was talking about on Monday:

A San Francisco Chronicle editor who gave Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry $400 has been placed on leave for possibly violating the newspaper’s rules, the newspaper said on Wednesday.

The newspaper’s letters editor, William Pates, reached at home by telephone, confirmed that he had contributed about $400 to the Kerry campaign but declined to comment on his paper’s response. Pates said he had worked for the Chronicle for the past 35 years.

“He’s on paid leave while we are investigating. We have not made any judgment at this point as to whether the policy was violated,” said editorial page editor John Diaz.

“It would be a concern to have somebody who is involved in selecting letters make what amounts to a public demonstration of support for a particular candidate.”

This is nonsense on stilts.

Hey, Mr. Diaz–would you really prefer it if your readers had no idea what you and your collegues’ politics are? (Rhetorical question–obviously, the answer is “yes.”)

How exactly are we being well-served by such a facetious pose? Isn’t it far more ethical (to say nothing of honest) if you just disclose where you’re coming from and who you’re giving to, and leave it to us to figure out what to think about it?

Mr. Diaz, you and your collegues are not higher beings–you have opinions like everybody else. Admit it! Just admit it! The poor, benighted little people whose subscriptions pay your salary can handle the truth!

Bring Mr. Pates back onto the job, and then make your policy disclosure, not secrecy and a false pretense of Olympian objectivity. Your paper will be better for it, and your readers will thank you.

Dare to be as honest as a blogger. You’ll find it as liberating as we do.