In a December 7 Associated Press article, David Bauder cited Media Matters research to highlight the “close ties between the media and political world during this campaign season.” From the AP article:
Political consultant Dick Morris recently disclosed on Fox News Channel that some of the Republican presidential candidates that he talks about on the air have paid for advertisements in a newsletter he sends out to subscribers.
Columnist and ABC commentator George Will's wife works for Rick Perry. Fox host Greta Van Susteren's husband advised Herman Cain. NPR's Michele Norris left as host of “All Things Considered” in October because her husband began working for President Barack Obama's re-election campaign.
Such entanglements are laying bare the close ties between the media and political world during this campaign season while raising familiar questions: How much should consumers be clued in to preserve the sense that news organizations are acting independently? And what should journalists do to avoid the perception of a conflict?
Morris' comments during Sean Hannity's prime-time program came a few hours after The Associated Press questioned him and Fox programming executive Bill Shine about the ads. Though he acknowledged the ads, Morris did not address questions from the AP about their propriety, in light of his commentator role, and did not immediately respond to requests for comment. And Shine declined requests for an interview about the topic.
The liberal advocacy group Media Matters for America, which subscribes to the newsletter, says it saw at least seven ads from July through October that stated they were paid for by Cain's campaign.