By Democracy Now
February 24, 2010
Re-posted by Erin Schumaker, Nation intern
In his latest piece for The Nation, journalist Sebastian Jones investigates conflicts of interest surrounding political analysts on TV. His four-month long investigation, "The Media-Lobbying Complex," discovered that since 2007 at least seventy-five registered lobbyists, public relations representatives and corporate officials have appeared on major networks with no mention of their corporate or political ties. Jones says the number may be even higher.
On Democracy Now with Amy Goodman, Jones explains the numerous cases in which a guest will advocate for a certain position while working for a lobbying firm or PR firm that would benefit from what they're pushing. Barry McCaffrey, a "military analyst," appeared on MSNBC claiming the US needed more time in Afghanistan. Unmentioned was his tie to DynCorp, a company that just received a "five-year deal worth an estimated $5.9 billion to aid American forces in Afghanistan." Mark Penn, identified as a Clinton administration pollster and Democratic strategist, pushed to halt healthcare reform. His role as CEO of Burson-Marsteller, a PR firm representing Pfizer and Eli Lilly, went unacknowledged.
Jones asks for simple disclosure that would allow viewers to make their own evaluations. But until now, the networks have been slow to comply. "It's tough to understand how putting up a single line under McCaffrey's name reading, 'Also works for defense contractors'--or naming them specifically-- how that takes two years to do." says Jones. "I don't know but I don't work for TV."