Conflict Of Interest? Not so fast…
The Hill’s Joe Concha opines about an alleged conflict of interest on CNN’s hands…
And he truly is CNN’s “it” guy right now — he’s landing interviews everywhere, from “The Daily Show” to Rolling Stone.
His commentaries — such as his blaming Donald Trump’s stunning victory on a “whitelash” of voters — go viral more than those of most network personalities lately.
But it was revealed on Thursday via a Washington Free Beacon report that Jones is also running a PR firm called Megaphone Strategies that is openly courting Electoral College electors in states across the country to not cast their vote for Trump on Dec. 19.
Before we go any further…what are we defining as a conflict of interest here? That CNN has a commentator who has a vested interest in the goings on in D.C. or have skin in some cause?
If we go by that standard, you’d have to disqualify most of the commentators on cable news today…starting with Karl Rove.
Now, while I’m all for tossing these guys (and gals) out on their ears and putting the “news” back in cable news…it’s not gonna happen.
But is it a conflict of interest for CNN? No. Cable news regularly brings on people of Van Jones’ ilk. What sets Van Jones apart, and makes the scrutiny a little stricter, is the fact CNN gave him what amounts to a live pilot. But that doesn’t make CNN any different from NBC News having Nicolle Wallace interview Jeb Bush or FNC using Tucker Carlson to host a show while he killed off Daily Caller articles critical of said network. Both are bigger conflicts of interest than whatever has ensnared Van Jones.
But that doesn’t stop Concha from unwisely going out on a long thin branch…
So is Jones now as compromised as Brazile was? And if so, what does CNN do about it?
Seriously? You’re going to compare Van Jones fronting a PR firm advocating a particular course of action…and being totally out in the open about it…to Brazile deliberately using back channels to pass on a debate question for a CNN debate to the Clinton campaign? The two could not be more dissimilar.
Is Van Jones conflicted? No. He blasts Trump on CNN and he runs a PR firm that currently is trying to undermine Trump’s chances of getting enough electors to vote for him. He’s being consistent. He’s not pretending to be something other than what he is. Furthermore, as Concha notes at the bottom, his PR firm says Van Jones plays no active role in the very issue he’s being taken to task over.
Does CNN have a disclosure issue? Technically, yes. But so does every other cable news channel in properly disclosing all the ties their analysts have. Either clean them all up or leave CNN alone.
The one question Concha doesn’t ask, and should have, is whether Van Jones is suitable material for fronting CNN specials? On that score he is definitely not. Not as long as he keeps his hands in the game.
As far as I’m concerned that’s CNN’s real problem; their poor judgement in putting a political commentator in the role of show host. That’s not journalism. It’s advocacy…at least for as long as Van Jones is still being primarily used by CNN for his opinion.