Four years ago I was covering the Republican National Convention in St. Paul and we were given credentials by the Republicans for various kinds of access, and wore these around our necks on a nylon string. I didn't notice it at the time, but the Republicans had apparently gotten one of the local businesses (I think it might have been Wells Fargo, but it might have been US West) to donate the halters, and woven into the fabric was the company logo or the company name. So, there was a march by some protesters, and I went along for the story (and shot some pictures along the way) and at some point, realized that a rather large woman was screaming in my direction. I looked around to see who it was, to see what was happening, and realized that she was screaming something at me. She'd seen the halter, and demanded to know why I was wearing it. I said, because we were given it with the credentials. She said it was a conflict of interest for a "supposedly objective" news reporter to be wearing such a blatant corporate endorsement. I mean, I didn't even see it when I got it, and I suppose a thousand or so news people were wearing them without seeing it -- it was just a pattern on a half-inch-wide string -- and this woman was completely out of control. And didn't stop. Picked me out and kept following me yelling this crazy stuff about corruption. I finally lost my shit and shouted at her, angrily, "You think I'd sell out for a fuckin' nickel?" which was about what the string was worth. (When you got done with them, you threw them away. There were hundreds of them laying around.)
Implications of conflict of interest have to be carefully thought through. The ludicrous thing is that some people suggested rather archly, or critically, that Mark was rich, while others suggested that he'd sell out for a nickel; that doesn't seem to compute. I'd hate to see that kind of b.s. curdle the freedom to speak on this forum, but it is pretty stupid.