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Scores of pundits appearing on cable news networks are paid corporate lobbyists and PR flaks–and the networks aren’t disclosing their corporate ties. In a new report in the Nation (3/1/10), reporter Sebastian Jones writes:
For example, during the collapse of insurance giant AIG–and the ensuing government bailout–some pundits appearing to discuss the story were, unbeknown to viewers, actually working for AIG, as lobbyists or public relations advisers. And as the healthcare debate unfolded throughout the past year, a number of pundits and former lawmakers have made numerous appearances to talk about health insurance reform–all the while employed by insurance and pharmaceutical companies. In almost all cases, viewers had no way of knowing the affiliations of these guests. The allegedly liberal-leaning MSNBC, writes Jones, had
Some networks have written policies demanding that contributors and analysts reveal their conflicts of interest. But it’s hard to take those guidelines very seriously; as Jones points out, one MSNBC official suggested that their idea of disclosure might be to post relevant information about their guests on the MSNBC website. In a media system already dominated by official sources from government and big business, why are cable channels relying on paid spokespeople and lobbyists as commentators? And why are these channels hiding the affiliations of their pundits? Join FAIR to demand answers and accountability. Sign our petition to MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, CNBC and Fox Business Channel, demanding that they come clean about their corporate-sponsored pundits.
Click here to sign FAIR’s petition.