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NBC News senior business correspondent and MSNBC 9 a.m. anchor Stephanie Ruhle is a financial journalist covering banks and doling out financial advice to NBC News viewers. One of those banks she covers as a journalist is JPMorgan Chase, and Ruhle recently participated in a JPMorgan Chase-branded online discussion focused on smart spending, revamping one’s Covid-19 budget and current state of the economy and small business.
Ruhle said in a video promoting a six-minute Chase Chat that was taped and produced by the financial institution: “Hey, this is Stephanie Ruhle, and I’m looking forward to my conversation with Chase, where we talk about life’s unpredictable moments and how important it is to save and plan for them.” She adds, “I’m excited to be part of Chase Chats webcasts. I hope you’ll join us.”
— Stephanie Ruhle (@SRuhle) September 28, 2020
The issue isn’t the conversation itself, rather it’s the fact that she appears to be filming a promo for an event produced by a bank she covers. This has raised journalistic conflict of interest questions.
JPMorgan Chase is saying that it will now no longer feature Ruhle in these conversations, and has taken down the video of Ruhle from its social media feeds.
MSNBC seems to blame Chase for how this has all gone down. A network spokesperson told TVNewser: “As is a common practice for journalists, Stephanie participated in an interview as a subject matter expert. The issue was not the interview, but the way Chase promoted and framed it across social media. Chase has since recognized and corrected their mistake.”
It is worth noting that Ruhle is not a paid endorser for Chase, she was not paid to participate in these chats (NBC and MSNBC doesn’t allow its journalists to accept payment for speaking engagements) and never explicitly endorsed the financial institution during her appearance in the video hosted by ESPN’s Jay Williams.