The Huffington Post’s Jack Mirkinson writes about CNN’s sudden change to it’s political contribution policy…
Gingrich, who is now a “Crossfire” co-host, came under scrutiny from Media Matters for his apparent violation of the network’s rules, which stated that, whenever someone he or his PAC had given money to was a guest on his show, Gingrich had to disclose that fact.
“If Newt is helping fund a candidate and that candidate’s on the show, or being discussed on the show, of course he’ll disclose that,” Rick Davis, the network’s chief ethics and standards enforcer, said. “Disclosure is important when it’s relevant.”
Gingrich didn’t do this when two people his PAC has donated to, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, appeared on “Crossfire” or were discussed on the show, respectively.
On Friday, though, Davis told the media watchdog that his earlier statement was not operative:
We are clarifying the policy and making it clear Newt Gingrich is not in violation. The policy: If a Crossfire co-host has made a financial contribution to a politician who appears on the program or is the focus of the program, disclosure is not required during the show since the co-host’s political support is obvious by his or her point of view expressed on the program.
Apparently, “disclosure is important” is old thinking. The new rules mean that Gingrich could fund a political campaign, have the candidate or politician on his nationally televised cable news show, and not have to tell viewers he was giving the candidate money.
No kidding. What utter claptrap. There are lots of conservatives out there for Newt to be considered a “fellow traveler”. That doesn’t mean that Newt’s PAC is going to donate to them all. He’s only going to donate to some of them. But how are we to know who is “extra special” in Newt’s eyes now that CNN has all but gutted its campaign contribution policy as a meaningful disclosure barometer? We won’t.
Here’s how the optics of this play out: CNN gets reamed for being afraid to ruffle Newt’s feathers. CNN looks like its currying favor with Newt. CNN looks like it doesn’t care about disclosure.