Commentator Andrew Sullivan said this embodied "what's wrong with the press corps."
And he's right. This is hardly the first time the corporate media has offered openly biased observers, under the guise of objective analysts, with financial ties to topics they were discussing.
There are many other examples but the most infamous recent one was during the aggression against and occupation of Iraq. The War Department hired a number of retired senior military officials to spout the party line. They were presented on cable news [sic] shows as objective, credible analysts, not paid flacks of a Pentagon propaganda campaign.
I suppose this isn't surprising since, while liberals like to single out Fox, there is precious little journalism on any of the so-called cable news channels. It's all speculation and analysis... apparently corrupted analysis.
But there is a different form of corruption, which shows the degree to which the 'watchdog' media is in bed with, or perhaps afraid of, those it's supposed to be watching.
The Guardian, much derided by one regular reader of this blog but a much more vigorous watchdog than any daily in this country, reported that several major US media outlets have been submitting quotes to the campaigns of President Obama and Mitt Romney for approval before publication. The UK daily cited The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times as papers who were reviewing this policy.
It is not clear why this was done. But the corporate media has shown that it prizes one thing above all else: access. It doesn't seem to care if it actually uses that access for any sort of public service, as long as the reporters (not all of them act as journalists) get invited to fancy parties and White House comedy jam sessions. I suspect the quote approval abdication of duty was done to preserve this meaningless access.
In an industry that pats itself on the back as the national guardian of transparency and questioning - the party line is the democracy would collapse if such sycophantic reporting disappeared - the degree to which the big corporate media outlets themselves are compromised would shock a lot of people.
Then again, given the decreasing respect in which the media is held, maybe it wouldn't.
Update: James Fallows has a good column on how the media will have to start understanding the difference between 'objectivity' and 'neutrality.' It's telling how truly substantive investigative reporting - Fallows for The Atlantic, Seymour Hersch for The New Yorker, Matt Taibbi for Rolling Stone and independent author Prof. Chalmers Johnson - is all found outside the context of daily newspapers and television.
Also, for those interested, Prof. Rosen is on Twitter.