Speaking Fees And Big-Time Career Journalism

Meet The Press moderator David Gregory is the “Keynote Address” speaker at the upcoming National Federation of Independent Business “Small Business Summit” conference. This is a conservative advocacy group that solidly aligns with Republicans.
Here is a speakers bureau page promoting Gregory for speaking engagements for “$40,001 & up” per appearance.
I have not verified if he is getting paid, but he is doing the “speaking” circuit. A very brief look around finds him at the 2007 American Resort Development Association. The 2006 United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) symposium, at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Orlando. At the 2010 Milken Institute Shaping the Future conference. 2010 Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. The Risk Management Association 2011 annual conference.
A few years ago I looked into Chris Matthews’ speaking engagements with Republican-aligned lobbying groups. Matthews was doing this regularly, and there was an NBC policy against accepting speaking fees.
NBC’s President said Matthews’ fees were going to a charity. So assuming this is true and he really was donating the money to a charity, that is still receiving a thing of value. He was speaking before Republican-aligned groups again and again, and spouting Republican positions on the air.
Back to Gregory. Is it still NBC’s policy to prohibit speaking engagements for pay?
There is a certain tedium involved with speaking at trade association meetings, so one does it for a reason. I assume the reason he does this is not that he really, really loves speaking to trade associations. Why would someone do it continually, if not for compensation – which I would say includes being given money to donate to favored charities? And if someone is getting compensation of “$40,001 & up” for an hour’s work, shouldn’t we assume this just might affect what they are willing to say or not say on the air?
Updates on Gregory speaking engagements:
2011 Palm Beach Civic Association
2007 American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) and the Sales Association of the Paper Industry
2011 Nantucket Atheneum Geschke Lecture Series
2011 Food Safety Summit

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