CNN Dives Head First into Television Payola

In the wake of the Richard Wolffe brouhaha, some may still insist that its rare for television networks to promote corporate spokespeople as disinterested, nonpartisan "political analysts." If you are one of those people, check this out -- it gives you a good sense that this happens all the time:

Longtime CNN political analyst Bill Schneider has joined Third Way, a think tank that bills itself as advancing "the next generation of moderate policy ideas." Schneider, who will continue his on-air political analysis at CNN, will be the organization's first Distinguished Senior Fellow & Resident Scholar.

You may recall that "Third Way" is one of the most notorious corporate front groups in Washington, most recently working to destroy health care reform:

Third Way was launched in early 2005 to produce policy papers and messaging tactics for congressional Democrats, with a focus on Blue Dog senators. It was then, as it is now, drenched in corporate money and tangled in ties to big business. These ties stretch from the board of trustees, thick with hedge-funders and investment bankers, to its lone senior fellow for health policy, David Kendall, a former Blue Cross Blue Shield consultant.

So here we have yet another example of what we might call Television Payola - a television network promoting a spokesperson for a corporate front group as a disinterested, nonpartisan "political analyst." The fact that this happened just a few days after the Wolffe controversy -- and with almost no interest/notice/concern/fanfare -- once again suggests that this kind of corruption is so pervasive that it's not even moderately newsworthy.

Evidently, in our overtly corrupt media/political culture, its simply way too much for network news executives to require any kind of independence whatsoever. In the age of Television Payola, regular "news" contributors never have to choose between television time and corporate shilling -- the shills get the best of both worlds while the audience loses.