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The Intercept Finds that TV Pundits Praise Candidates On Air, Fail to Disclose Financial Ties to Campaigns



The Intercept discovered that most political pundits are laughably biased after analyzing their financial contributions to various presidential campaigns. These “former” campaign strategists or political contributors are introduced as neutral commentators of the election, their commentary supposedly objective and non-biased. However, as the Intercept has found it doesn’t take too much effort to find a financial connection:

Exhibit A:

“Stephanie Cutter, for example, has appeared on multiple networks to discuss Clinton, and is typically introduced as a former campaign official for President Barack Obama. What hasn’t been disclosed in any of her appearances reviewed by The Intercept, however, is that the boutique consulting firm she co-founded, Precision Strategies, has been retained by the Clinton campaign for “digital consulting,” according to Federal Election Commission records. Precision Strategies has been paid at least $120,049 from the Clinton campaign since June of last year.”

Exhibit B:

“Maria Cardona, a CNN contributor, has appeared on a regular basis over the course the presidential campaign as a reliable voice in support of Clinton. She is also a longtime partner at the Dewey Square Group, a lobbying firm with extensive ties to the Clinton campaign: Two Dewey Square partners serve as fundraisers for the Clinton campaign, each raising at least $100,000; both pro-Clinton Super PACs — Priorities USA Action and Correct the Record — have paid Dewey Square for consulting services during this election; and the co-founding partner of Dewey Square now serves as the chief administrative officer of the Clinton campaign. Notably, Cardona, a DNC “superdelegate” who pledged support for Clinton last year, before any of the primary elections, also contributed the maximum donation to Clinton’s campaign.”

Exhibit C:

“NBC contributor Sara Fagen, a political operative, has appeared twice on ABC News’s This Week to discuss the state of Republican primaries. Both times, she touted Jeb Bush’s campaign, which ended last week after a long string of dismal failures. In her appearance last August, Fagen said Bush along with Ted Cruz are the only candidates “really focused on a 35-state strategy going forward.” In her second appearance, on November 1, Fagen spoke at length about Bush’s ability to recover from weak performances at the GOP debates, telling host Martha Raddatz: “Martha, he has the most money. He has the most organization. He has the most endorsements, and the thing that he’s had that no one on that stage has, is he’s been through the fire before. And that is incredibly valuable in the long run….Throughout her punditry over the last year, Fagen has been introduced or bylined as a “Republican strategist” and contributor to CNBC. But FEC records show that the Bush campaign paid Deep Root Analytics, a data-consulting firm co-founded by Fagen, $586,610 in 2015, starting in July. Right to Rise USA, the Bush-supporting Super PAC, paid Deep Root Analytics $273,001, with payments starting in August 2015 and continuing into January 2016. She has also been a “bundler” for the Bush campaign, a term used to describe a fundraiser who helps collect campaign checks.”

Exhibit E:

“Hari Sevugan is a principal at 270 Strategies, which was co-founded by Lynda Tran, a CBS News political contributor. 270 Strategies boasts on the homepage of its website of its extensive work for the Clinton campaign. “270 Strategies worked with the Ready for Hillary team to develop their organizing approach and provided guidance on their volunteer engagement program,” the website notes, detailing work on behalf of a pro-Clinton Super PAC that later folded into the larger Clinton campaign. FEC records show that Ready for Hillary paid 270 Strategies $301,621 for consulting work, and later, the Hillary for America campaign paid the firm at least $75,200….Sevugan’s and Tran’s financial ties to the Clinton campaign were not disclosed in these appearances and other similar segments throughout the primary race in recent months. In several segments, their affiliations with 270 Strategies were disclosed, but not the firm’s work for the Clinton campaign.”


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