CNN doesn't tell viewers its analyst who urged a military strike against Iran is a lobbyist for defense contractors

Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

During CNN’s “breaking news” coverage of the conflict between the United States and Iran, CNN political commentator David Urban advocated for a missile strike against Iran, claiming that “the Iranian government has to be checked” and that there needs to be “retribution” for its alleged actions against the United States. The network didn’t disclose to viewers that Urban is a lobbyist for numerous defense contractors.

Urban appeared on the June 20 edition of CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper, where he advocated for striking Iran with a missile:

DAVID URBAN (CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR): I think the president is trying to give himself and others a way out. And, you know, unfortunately, I think that there's going to have to be some response -- a measured response. If I were a betting man, I'd bet that there’d be some sort of a Tomahawk missile strike on the site that launched this, right, it’s a very limited response, to the missiles that struck this, and not very escalating to put a Tomahawk missile in a 3-by-3 window and, you know, mitigate the damage it’s done and it’s an appropriate response and I think would be met with, you know, I don't want to say met with approval from our allies and around the world, but the Iranian government has to be checked. You can’t be looking to, you know, block the Strait of Hormuz and now downing a U.S. military aircraft, which is in international airspace, without any type of retribution.

CNN, Urban, and host Jake Tapper didn’t disclose during the segment that Urban has extensive financial ties to military contractors.

In addition to working for CNN, Urban is the president of American Continental Group (ACG). The company states on its website that its “defense and homeland security practices draw on years of experience working at the highest levels of the legislative branch and the federal appropriations process. We help our clients understand the nuances of the system, make sure they have a chance to make their voices heard, and secure favorable legislative outcomes on their behalf.”

ACG lobbies on behalf of numerous defense-related clients, including for defense contractors General Dynamics, Honeywell International, ​Kaman Corp., ​MAG DC Corp., and ​Textron Inc., according to a search of federal lobbying records. Urban personally lobbies for those previously mentioned companies, according to ACG's filings.  

CNN did not respond to a request for comment.

Media Matters has previously documented problems with CNN failing to adequately disclose the lobbying or consulting ties of its on-air commentators, including regarding Urban on The Lead. The Washington Post also recently posted a pro-Iran strike op-ed by Michael G. Vickers without disclosing that he serves on the board of directors for defense contractor BAE Systems.