Reading NBC News’s announcement Tuesday that it was hiring David Axelrod, a top adviser to Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns, as a “senior political analyst,” I had a sinking feeling in my stomach: No wonder the American public increasingly mistrusts the news media. We are obliterating the line between the political players and the people who are supposed to act as commentators and referees.
NBC boasted in its news release about how “for nearly three decades Axelrod guided successful campaigns at every level on the ballot.” Once upon a time, that would have been a disqualification for a news organization. But now, NBC brags that Axelrod “will contribute frequently across all broadcasts and platforms.” And he won’t just be a “senior political analyst” for MSNBC, the broadcaster’s more ideological affiliate, but also for the NBC mothership.
Just a week ago, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow introduced Robert Gibbs, the former Obama White House spokesman and campaign operative, as a new contributor. Politico reported that Gibbs would also appear on NBC News.