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UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See prorev.com for full contents of our site

February 28, 2010

CABLE NEWS OUTLETS NOT REVEALING CORPORATE TIES OF GUESTS

Since 2007, at least 75 registered lobbyists, public relations represenatives 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.


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