A number of weeks ago, we published a story about payments made by Alhurra, the U.S. government-funded Arabic news channel, to guest commentators on the network. Among the paid commentators were Washington journalists, including Bill Sammon of the Washington Examiner. The story focused on the potential appearance of a conflict of interest for journalists accepting payments from a government-funded organization.
Neither Sammon, nor the Examiner, initially responded to our requests for comment. But as we note in an update to the story, the paper responded today with a comment from executive editor Stephen Smith: "we expect members of our staff to not accept remuneration for activities that would in any way compromise their work or even create an appearance of a conflict of interest.
"We've only had one case in which one of our reporters accepted an honorarium that we thought might create an appearance of a conflict and we immediately directed the reporter to not accept honoraria of that nature."
The paper did not identify the reporter.
Sammon received $2,000 in honoraria from Alhurra for two appearances. Three days before his first appearance, he published a brief interview with Alhurra employee Julie Zann.
Matthew Townsend contributed to this story.