"[A 'news analyst' has] a very different role than that of a commentator or columnist. News analysts may not take personal public positions on controversial issues; doing so undermines their credibility as analysts, and that's what’s happened in this situation. As you all well know, we offer views of all kinds on your air every day, but those views are expressed by those we interview — not our reporters and analysts....Now, NPR is in a position where it must prove that's not a pretext by applying that policy, with comparable severity, to its other on-air personalities. Lefties and righties are getting into this game. The lefties are targeting Mara Liasson. Here's Eric Boehlert at Media Matters:
"... NPR’s ethics code [states]: 'In appearing on TV or other media. ... NPR journalists should not express views they would not air in their role as an NPR journalist. They should not participate in shows ... that encourage punditry and speculation rather than fact-based analysis.”
"More fundamentally, 'In appearing on TV or other media including electronic Web-based forums, NPR journalists should not express views they would not air in their role as an NPR journalist.'"
[I]f you look at NPR's code of ethics, there's simply no way Liasson should be making appearances on Fox....On the right, at the Weekly Standard, Stephen F. Hayes points at Nina Totenberg:
Liasson is part of the Fox News family. Period. For instance, Liasson appears on the Fox News website as a "Fox News contributor," not as "Fox News contributor to the sorta/kinda serious shows." The only way she'd really be able to defend her continued alliance would be to argue that Fox News in its entirely (i.e. Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity) is a serious endeavor worthy of NPR's status. But if Liasson can't defend all of Fox News, then her half-pregnant approach (i.e. she's only employed by a tiny portion of Fox News) just doesn't fly.
Over the past month, in her regular appearances on “Inside Washington,” she has: criticized a ruling of the Roberts Court as scandalous; claimed that Michelle Obama gives people “warm and fuzzy” feelings; called Bill Clinton “the most gifted politician I’ve ever seen;” and lamented that the Democratic Party is diverse enough to include moderates that want to extend all Bush tax cuts....Hayes goes on, marshaling the evidence. You get the idea. It's open season on NPR news analysts... with 11 days to go before election day. A grisly October surprise.
Her most partisan comment came when Charles Krauthammer pointed out that 31 Democrats in the House had written to Nancy Pelosi to call for extending the Bush tax cuts, Totenberg wished them out of the party. “When a party actually has a huge majority, it has a huge diversity. And that is part of the problem that Democrats have. But would I like it to be otherwise? Of course.”