Imagine, if you will, that in 2006, Mark Penn wrote an op-ed calling on Sen. John McCain not to run for president for the good of the country. Imagine that The Washington Post published the piece, identifying Penn only as “a pollster who worked for President Bill Clinton.”
That would be crazy, right? Penn was Hillary Clinton's pollster; the Post would be giving him space to urge his client's possible opponent in the 2008 presidential election to not run for the office. The Post would be ridiculed for not noting that obvious conflict of interest.
And yet, that's essentially what the Post did on Sunday.
The Post published an op-ed by Pat Cadell and Doug Schoen calling on President Obama not to run for re-election. Schoen was identified only as “a pollster who worked for President Bill Clinton” and “the author of 'Mad as Hell: How the Tea Party Movement Is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System.”
The Post didn't mention that Schoen was also New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's pollster for all three of his mayoral races.
In the lead-up to the 2008 presidential election, Schoen was repeatedly quoted discussing the possibility that Bloomberg might jump into the race as a third-party candidate. He also promoted Bloomberg's possible candidacy in his 2008 book, Declaring Independence: The Beginning of the End of the Two-Party System.
While Bloomberg has said he will not seek the presidency in 2012, rumors continue to swirl that he will eventually enter the race and spend up to $3 billion to try to win it. Some amount of that money would go to his pollster, who would likely be Schoen.
Shouldn't the Post point that out while it's giving him op-ed space to try to push his potential client's opponent out of the race?