Does Maria Shriver Have a Conflict of Interest?

Dear Viewers,

I don't agree with those who say Maria Shriver should not return to journalism in light of her husband's new job. Some say she has a "conflict of interest." In my "original life" as a lawyer, a conflict of interest was when you "hid" a connection so that the person listening or evaluating was unaware that you "might" have a bias or an "interest" in a particular outcome. Here, there is no secret that Maria Shriver is married to the governor-elect. Viewers are smart enough to make independent decisions about how to "accept" her work in journalism and to discern whether a bias might be present on a given topic. To think otherwise is insulting to our viewers.

She will no doubt attempt to stay far away from topics remotely connected to California, but if there is an unexpected connection, big deal! The viewers can handle it and assess her work. Frankly, I think we should give Maria the benefit of the doubt and presume she will do her job as best she can, and as fairly as she can unless she shows otherwise.

If Maria were to be banned from journalism because of her husband's new job, we step backwards. In this day and age, husbands and wives both have careers. Most meet while they are working their careers and hence there is always good chance of potential conflict and thus revealing it stems the problem. Good examples of double careers with potential conflicts are Sen. Elizabeth Dole and former Sen. Bob Dole, NBC's Andrea Mitchell and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. These two couples have handled it very well. Even I run into the problem from time to time with my own husband's career as a lawyer. I simply reveal the connection and allow the viewers to evaluate whether they believe I am independent in my thought and work.

Marriage does not destroy one's independence in thought or a willingness to do the best job possible. I say, "Maria, hurry back to your job if you want."

My question for those of you reading this: Do you agree? Let me know your thoughts by e-mailing me. The e-mail address is:

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