representatives and corporate officials have appeared on cable news
broadcasts "with no disclosure of the corporate interests that paid them,"
reports the Nation magazine.
Many of these people are "paid by companies and trade groups to manage
their public image and promote their financial and political interests,"
writes Sebastian Jones.
For example, Tom Ridge, identified as the former governor of Pennsylvania,
appeared on MSNBC's Hardball With Chris Matthews urging the White House to
"create nuclear power plants." What viewers were not told, though, is that
Ridge since 2005 has pocketed $530,659 in executive compensation for
serving on the board of Exelon, the nation's biggest nuclear power company.
On the same day, last Dec. 4th, retired general Barry McCaffrey, told
MSNBC viewers the war in Afghanistan would require a three-to-ten-year
effort and "a lot of money." Unmentioned, Jones says, was the fact DynCorp
paid McCaffrey $182,309 in 2009 alone and that DynCorp has a five-year,
$5.9 billion deal to aid U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
Jones describes MSNBC as "the cable network with the most egregious
instances of airing guests with conflicts of interest." He notes, "Only on
MSNBC was a prime-time program, Countdown, hosted by public relations
operative Richard Wolffe and later by a pharmaceutical company consultant,
former Governor Howard Dean, with no mention of the outside work either
man was engaged in. And MSNBC has yet to introduce DynCorp's Barry
McCaffrey as anything but a 'military analyst.'"
Moreover, last January 22nd, MSNBC's Morning Joe audience saw Mark Penn,
identified only as a Clinton administration pollster, suggest the Obama
administration put healthcare reform on ice. Unmentioned, says Jones, was
"Penn's role as worldwide 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.'"
Jones reports that what transpires on MSNBC also occurs on Fox News, Fox
Business Network, CNN and CNBC. During a Sept. 18 Fox News appearance to
discuss Sarah Palin, Bernard Whitman, president of Whitman Insight
Strategies---whose clients include marketing/PR firms like Ogilvy &
Mather---lambasted Sen. John McCain for proposing to "Let AIG fail,"
saying his position demonstrated "just how little he understands the
global economy today." Whitman's work for AIG was not mentioned.