1. Disclosure on cable news shows:
Here’s an excerpt from a statement put out by the conservative Koch Industries the week before last complaining about MSNBC:
On March 23, while guest hosting the Martin Bashir program, Karen Finney accused Koch of a connection with the tragic circumstances surrounding the Trayvon Martin matter. ”Who was the Typhoid Mary for this horrible outbreak,” Finney asked. She then stated, ”It’s the usual suspects the Koch brothers … the same people who stymied gun regulation at every point who funded and ghost write these laws.” Because we saw this dishonest story line developing and were concerned other extremists would pick it up, we put out a public statement the day before Ms. Finney’s rant explaining that this story line was totally false and irresponsible. First, Koch has had no involvement in this legislation … You should also be aware that on March 26, Ms. Finney signed and sent a letter on behalf of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee soliciting political contributions. Yet, she is presented to viewers as a “political analyst” and not as a paid fundraising operative for the Democratic party, as would be accurate.
Is this accurate? Was Finney paid to send the fundraising letter, or is she on the Democratic Party payroll? If so, should she be identified on air as a paid Democratic Party fundraiser the way sister channel CNBC identifies stock commentators who hold interests in the stocks they are talking about?
What are the cable news channels’ policies about all this, whether it’s Al Sharpton (also MSNBC), James Carville (CNN) or Karl Rove (Fox) who are the talking heads?