Alan Greenspan's name has come up dozens of times on MSNBC in the last month, but never during the 1 p.m. hour. That's the hour anchored by Andrea Mitchell, who is married to Mr. Greenspan, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve.
For years Ms. Mitchell, the veteran NBC News correspondent who specializes in foreign affairs and politics, has carefully kept her potential conflict of interest in check. But in the last month, as the weakness of the nation's economy has dominated cable news and the campaign trail, Ms. Mitchell has faced the kind of ethical quandary that energizes the staff of the Columbia Journalism Review.
The Review raised questions about Ms. Mitchell's status in an Internet article in late September. The writer, Megan Garber, observed that Mr. Greenspan is inextricably linked to the fate of the financial markets and wondered whether the MSNBC and NBC viewers "are best served by an anchor and reporter who is, in so many ways, so close to the story she's covering."
Steve Capus, the president of NBC News, called the article "overly simplistic." The news division has allowed Ms. Mitchell to continue covering the presidential election, even when the candidates have debated the financial crisis, and has decided on a day-by-day basis what stories are not appropriate for her to cover.
"To me it's a pretty easy balancing act," Mr. Capus said in an interview Sunday. "She knows where to draw the line."