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Most Cable News Commentators are Actually Paid Corporate Lobbyists

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  • Most Cable News Commentators are Actually Paid Corporate Lobbyists

    This article came of great surprise to me that so many of the cable news commentators are being paid handsome salaries as corporate lobbyists without full disclosure from the networks. Many viewers believe that they are getting an honest opinion on the subject manner, but it's quite the contrary. The full article can be read at The Nation, it's pretty interesting and worth reading.

    The Media-Lobbying Complex

    President Obama spent most of December 4 touring Allentown, Pennsylvania, meeting with local workers and discussing the economic crisis. A few hours later, the state's former governor, Tom Ridge, was on MSNBC's Hardball With Chris Matthews, offering up his own recovery plan. There were "modest things" the White House might try, like cutting taxes or opening up credit for small businesses, but the real answer was for the president to "take his green agenda and blow it out of the box." The first step, Ridge explained, was to "create nuclear power plants." Combined with some waste coal and natural gas extraction, you would have an "innovation setter" that would "create jobs, create exports."

    As Ridge counseled the administration to "put that package together," he sure seemed like an objective commentator. But what viewers weren't told was that since 2005, Ridge has pocketed $530,659 in executive compensation for serving on the board of Exelon, the nation's largest nuclear power company. As of March 2009, he also held an estimated $248,299 in Exelon stock, according to SEC filings.

    Moments earlier, retired general and "NBC Military Analyst" Barry McCaffrey told viewers that the war in Afghanistan would require an additional "three- to ten-year effort" and "a lot of money." Unmentioned was the fact that DynCorp paid McCaffrey $182,309 in 2009 alone. The government had just granted DynCorp a five-year deal worth an estimated $5.9 billion to aid American forces in Afghanistan. The first year is locked in at $644 million, but the additional four options are subject to renewal, contingent on military needs and political realities.

    These incidents represent only a fraction of the covert corporate influence peddling on cable news, a four-month investigation by The Nation has found. Since 2007 at least seventy-five registered lobbyists, public relations representatives and corporate officials--people paid by companies and trade groups to manage their public image and promote their financial and political interests--have appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, CNBC and Fox Business Network with no disclosure of the corporate interests that had paid them. Many have been regulars on more than one of the cable networks, turning in dozens--and in some cases hundreds--of appearances.
    There is also this slideshow that can be viewed and has a description of some of the worst offenders:

    Slide Show: The Faces of the Media-Lobbying Complex

    Public relations operative Richard Wolffe was one of a handful of substitute hosts for Countdown who had no mention of their prior affiliations--at the time of his appearance, Wolffe was working at a large PR firm specializing in corporate reputation.

    Bernard Whitman is President and CEO of Whitman Insight Strategies, a communications and lobbying firm that has worked with AIG. Whitman's YouTube site includes over 100 clips of Whitman appearing on television news shows, several of which feature Whitman talking about AIG's bailout and the economy without mentioning his ties to the company.

    "AIG hired PR megafirm Burson-Marsteller to handle 'controversial issues.' In April 2009, B-M hired former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino...a month later she was also picked up as a contributor to Fox News, where she has had occasion to discuss the economic meltdown like when she joined a roundtable on Fox Business Network's Money for Breakfast last July."

    When former Governor Howard Dean appeared on Countdown, the program did not disclose his work as a pharmaceutical company consultant.

    Dick Gephardt appeared on MSNBC's Morning Meeting September 24, 2009. He labeled the public option "not essential." Host Dylan Ratigan discussed healthcare with Gephardt because of his experience as a Congressman during the Clinton 1993 effort yet he never mentioned Gephardt's active work advising insurance and pharmaceutical interests. Gephardt owns the lobbying firm Gephardt Government Affairs and is a lobbyist for NBC/Universal.

    Tom Daschle appeared on MSNBC on numerous occasions to discuss healthcare reform. Yet in no instance did he (or MSNBC) disclose his work on behalf of lobbying firm Alston and Bird, which advises insurer UnitedHealth Group. On December 8, 2009 Dr. Nancy confronted him about his simultaneous work for lobbying firms and he promised "I certainly want to be appreciative of perception, so we're going to take great care in how we go forward." A month later on Andrea Mitchell, his work went unmentioned.

    Todd Boulanger appeared on MSNBC, even while he was an Abramoff-connected lobbyist working for Cassidy and Associates. He went on TV with no identification of his work while he was under investigation for corruption (he pled guilty in January 2009).

    Mark Penn appeared on Morning Joe identified as a "Clinton administration pollster" and "Democratic strategist." On the show he suggested the Obama administration put healthcare reform on ice. But it was never mentioned he was the CEO of Burson-Marsteller, which has an entire healthcare division devoted to helping clients like Eli Lilly and Pfizer "create and manage perceptions that deliver positive business results."
    |TG-X| mp40x

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  • #2
    Re: Most Cable News Commentators are Actually Paid Corporate Lobbyists

    It is obvious to me that almost all of them have something to sell. Their message is just too "on track" and they are so unwilling to consider any other viewpoint. Only somebody getting paid (or a religious/ideological zealot) can be like that.

    I think this is the reason Americans seem to be so divided. The only people they EVER see are salesmen or zealots. Reasonable, thinking people are rarely given a chance to speak. And when they are the saleots from all sides attack them for being weak or some such nonsense.
    Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
    - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
    - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
    - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
    - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
    - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
    - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife


    • #3
      Re: Most Cable News Commentators are Actually Paid Corporate Lobbyists

      Not surprised at all. I'm usually in a daze from all those gorgeous anchors they hire to read the "news" to me.
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      • #4
        Re: Most Cable News Commentators are Actually Paid Corporate Lobbyists

        That reminds me of Fox's Red Eye which routinely carried "Abs News":

        Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

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        • #5
          Re: Most Cable News Commentators are Actually Paid Corporate Lobbyists

          ^^ Ok. That does it. I'm officially switching to Fox News. That was A-W-E-S-O-M-E!!! O.o
          "Common sense is not so common." -Voltaire




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