Another media figure is joining the incoming Biden administration. The president-elect's team announced over the weekend Biden's intention to nominate CNN global-affairs analyst Antony Blinken for the role of secretary of state.
Blinken, in addition to his role at CNN, is a cofounder and managing partner of WestExec Advisors, a "strategic advisory firm that offers unique geopolitical and policy expertise to help business leaders make the best decisions in a complex and volatile international landscape." He also served as a deputy in the Obama administration from 2013 to 2017.
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Starting one's own "strategic advisory firm" is one of the more conventional ways in which selfless public servants ensure they become rich enough to afford a life of selfless public service. The job of secretary of state, for example, pays a mere $210,700 a year. Multinational corporations will pay a lot more than that for strategic advice from politically well-connected media analysts.
Though the practice is typically frowned upon when Republicans do it, Democrats can often count on journalists and other liberals to defend them for simply having "participated in society" by raking in cash from corporate clients while their Democratic colleagues routinely badmouth those clients in public.
Blinken participated in society. The horror. https://t.co/JaJiAeF6X8
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 23, 2020
For some reason, CNN was reluctant to highlight its connection to the presumptive nominee for a senior cabinet position. CNN's chief media correspondent, Brian Stelter, didn't mention Blinken's ties to the company in his morning newsletter. He did link to a CNN story about the announcement, but that didn't mention the CNN connection either. Weird.
Blinken, the CNN analyst, will join other media figures who have already been tapped for roles in the Biden administration. CNN contributor Jen Psaki is a senior advisor to the Biden-Harris transition team. Numerous NBC and MSNBC analysts have already made the jump, including Richard Stengel, Dr. Zeke Emanuel, and Karine Jean-Pierre.
Presidential historian Jon Meacham is no longer a paid MSNBC contributor after he failed to disclose his role as a speechwriting consultant for the Biden campaign. On at least one occasion, Meacham had appeared on MSNBC to praise a speech he helped write.
Biden's hiring announcements thus far have continued the tradition established by his former boss, Barack Obama, who claimed to despise corporate lobbyists but hired dozens of them. Similarly, dozens of journalists left their roles as impartial truth-seekers to join the Obama administration.