MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle loses gig with JPMorgan Chase when questions arise over conflict of interest

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JPMorgan Chase will no longer be using NBC News’ Stephanie Ruhle in promotional videos and has pulled existing content from its sites.

The banking company’s move came after questions were raised about their involvement with the NBC News senior business correspondent, prompting the removal of a commercial-like video featuring Ruhle who was neither paid for her appearance nor directly endorsed Chase, Fox News reported.

In the video footage posted in September, Ruhle said she was “excited” about her interview with ESPN’s Jay Williams for the “Chase Chat” segment.

“I’m looking forward to my conversations with Chase, where we talk about life’s unpredictable moments and how important it is to save and plan for them,” Ruhle said, adding that they were going to “dig into all the crazy things we’re dealing with in our lives right now, and how we can best prepare for them.”

The video was removed from Facebook, according to Mediaite, but has so far remained on Chase’s Twitter account.

The “MSNBC Live” anchor’s appearance in the Chase footage raised questions about the partnership and a potential conflict of interest for the journalist who frequently covers the financial sector.

“She was not paid for this financial literacy content. It was our mistake to promote it, and we’re sorry,” JP Morgan Chase spokesperson Trish Wexler told Fox News.

Weeks before the company released the video with Ruhle, she had conducted a flattering interview with  JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon on the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

“You care an awful lot about policy,” Ruhle told the CEO. “Does that mean you can see yourself as a member of an administration? Maybe a Treasury secretary?”

“I don’t think I’m suited to politics,” Dimon responded.

The 44-year-old Ruhle also raised eyebrows last year when the Wall Street Journal reported on her alleged relationship with Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank.

An NBC source confirmed that Chase would no longer be using the footage of Ruhle in its promotional content.

“As is a common practice for journalists, Stephanie participated in an interview as a subject matter expert,” an MSNBC spokesperson told The Hill. “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.”

Media critic Jeffrey McCall believes the “public should understandably question the fairness and objectivity of any reporter who is advocating on behalf of a commercial interest.”

“The journalism world is under wide suspicion from the public these days for activism and bias. It is up to the professional journalism industry to fix any real or perceived conflicts of interest,” the DePauw University professor told Fox News.

Though Ruhle was not paid for her “Chase Chat” appearance and did not endorse the banking company, her participation raised a red flag due to her MSNBC title and her financial background.

“The various journalism association codes are clear about avoiding conflicts of interest – both real and perceived. Although she did not literally endorse Chase in a ‘Chase Chat’ interview about budgeting, her participation on the Chase site and in Chase’s Twitter feed at minimum creates a perception that she has a relationship with the company,” University of North Carolina professor Lois Boynton told Fox News.

“Perception is everything — it’s an issue all reporters must be mindful of. The goal is to remain independent from potential influences, regardless of whether that influence comes to fruition or not,” Boynton added. “When she next reports about Chase, there likely will be some individuals who question her credibility since she has appeared in the company’s promotions.”

Frieda Powers

Senior Staff Writer
[email protected]

Originally from New York, Powers graduated from New York University and eventually made her way to sunny South Florida where she has been writing for the BizPacReview team since 2015.
Frieda Powers

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