Former Counselor to President Bush, Dan Bartlett, has joined CBS News as a political analyst. Bartlett will provide on-air analysis on a variety of political issues, “including at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions and beyond,” according to the press release.
Said CBS News & Sports president Sean McManus, “We’re very pleased to have Dan Bartlett join our team. We now go into the final stages of this fascinating political season with two analysts — Dan and Joe [Trippi] — who have had unique and extensive hands-on experience in major political campaigns and government.”
This is the latest part of a strange phenomenon of rewarding the Bush gang with high-profile opportunities at major media outlets. The Bush White House has been, for lack of a better word, a disaster for the country. From a journalistic perspective, these guys have been a nightmare — embracing almost comical levels of secrecy, propaganda, and media manipulation.
And yet, the moment presidential aides leave the West Wing, media outlets jump at the chance to put them on the payroll.
Michael Gerson was picked up as a columnist for the Washington Post.
Sara Taylor, who was integrally involved in the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal and the politicization of federal agencies, became a pundit for MSNBC.
Karl Rove became a Fox News “analyst,” a columnist for Newsweek, and a columnist for the Wall Street Journal.
Tony Snow went from the White House briefing room to a gig on CNN.
Frances Fragos Townsend also went from the White House to CNN.
Nicole Wallace went from Rove’s office to CBS News (she left soon after to join the McCain campaign).
And now Dan Bartlett will be an “analyst” for CBS News.
The obvious joke is to note how not-at-all liberal the media is, but I think this speaks to a larger problem of a revolving door between the political establishment and the political media. A guy like Bartlett spun and misled news outlets, professionally, for most of Bush’s presidency. I don’t doubt he goes to the same cocktail parties as the producers of the major networks, but rewarding him, and putting him on the air as a credible media figure, is absurd.