If Ailes sending a memo to Rove compromised Fox's independence, then what about Zakaria's ongoing face-to-face strategy sessions with Obama? As controversy grew over the weekend, Zakaria tried to claim, "At no point did President Obama ask me for advice on a specific policy or speech or proposal, nor did I volunteer it. I know that he has had similar meetings with other columnists."
This denial doesn't pass the laugh test. What the hell did they talk about, then? If Obama is looking to formulate a policy and a speech (as The New York Times article asserted), then merely being in the room with him and moving your lips is advising him. As Zakaria himself said of meeting Obama in the Times, "He is searching for a way to pull back and weave a larger picture."
But Zakaria isn't just a "columnist," as he's been with Newsweek and now Time. He hosts a Sunday show on foreign policy for CNN. To now claim that Zakaria's covert meetings do not conflict with his journalistic integrity is not only inaccurate, it's hypocritical by CNN's own standards. If they were really interested in the image of journalistic independence, Zakaria would recuse himself immediately from covering foreign policy that affects the United States.
What's happened to our "news" media? They don't see their role as simply providing the public with the best information. They would much rather apply all their wisdom gleaned from their Harvard and Yale educations to assist the government in running the country.
Incredibly, here's how Zakaria actually ended his show on Sunday. He showed several Internet reworkings of the historic picture of Obama's staff watching the bin Laden takedown, and announced: "This one may be my favorite. The superhero squad. President Obama is Captain America, Vice President Biden as Flash. Madame Secretary (Hillary Clinton) as Wonder Woman, and many more."
Where are Jack Cafferty's "fair and balanced" wisecracks now?
Asymmetrical Politics: Republicans Act Like an Unruly Mob, Democrats Like a Regimented Army | Michael Barone