Mar
11
2014

CBS Fails to Disclose Energy Guest's Industry Ties

jimjones-ftnCBS"s Face the Nation (3/9/14) was loaded up on right-wing guests. The show kicked off interviewing former Vice President Dick Cheney, then switched over to a chat with Rep. Paul Ryan, and also heard from former Reagan chief of staff James Baker. The roundtable featured two right-leaning pundits–Rich Lowry and Jeffrey Goldberg–alongside two centrist reporters, Peter Baker of the New York Times and CBS correspondent Margaret Brennan. 

If you were looking at partisanship, you might say that the only guest on the Democratic side was retired General Jim Jones, since he served as Barack Obama's national security adviser.  But his current job is more revealing–and it's one that CBS didn't tell its viewers. 

He was on to talk about Ukraine, and here's the relevant exchange: 

CHARLIE ROSE: Put in the energy equation, because of what impact that could have.

JONES: Well, you know…interestingly enough, yesterday four countries sent letters to Speaker Boehner and, I think, the majority leader in the Senate–that's Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia–asking the United States to accelerate its shipments of energy, to Eastern Europe in particular. This just underscores the fact that in a long-term– and maybe even midterm–scenario, our energy potential has the capacity of lowering the dependence of Europe on Russian energy, and therefore affecting the economic viability of Russia for a long term.

Using energy as a political tool isn't exactly novel. But what's worth knowing is that Jones isn't just a retired general. As Buzzfeed's Evan McMorris-Santoro (3/10/14) reported, Jones is now "a top lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute and the US Chamber of Commerce with a focus on Keystone."

In other words, he's paid by the oil and gas lobby to carry their message–and among the industry's top priorities are building the Keystone XL pipeline and expanding US oil and gas exploration. CBS viewers should have been told that–especially when guest host Charlie Rose is teeing up questions about the "energy equation."

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.