Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Speaking Fee Story a Page-Turner

JOURNALIST CLARENCE PAGE.(Photo credit: RubyGoes)The Chicago Tribune is weighing its options regarding what action, if any, to take against Trib editorial board member and syndicated columnist Clarence Page, whose controversial speaking engagement in Paris last month purportedly violated the daily's code of editorial principles.

The 65-year-old Page, a Pulitzer Prize winning commentator and frequent panelist on The McLaughlin Group and The Chris Matthews Show, reportedly received travel expenses and a $20,000 appearance fee to deliver a three-minute speech at a rally supporting Mujahadin-e-Khalq (MEK), an Iranian group looking to vacate its slot on the U.S.-compiled list of foreign terrorist organizations, according to accounts by ProPublica and the Romanesko.com media Web site.

Although the Tribune allows some latitude to employees concerning paid speaking engagements, the paper requires editorial staffers to obtain management approval before accepting "buckraking" gigs. ProPublica reports Page has received payment for seven appearances over the past year-and-a-half.

The columnist is quoted as saying that he has not sought superiors' approval in more than three years regarding speaking appearances. A Tribune article claims Page had "misgivings" once he determined the Paris event was more than just a human rights rally and discussion about Iranian exiles, but delivered his remarks nonetheless.
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