The benefit for the part-time, but highly paid, pundits is clear: it increases their visibility. “It makes sense for candidates to seek out positions in niche cable, because it is a direct pipeline to voters,” said Jonathan Wald, a former senior vice president at CNBC and an adjunct professor at Columbia’s journalism school. “It’s an automatic affinity group.”
The benefit to the viewers is less clear. Some experts say the arrangements can cloud the objectivity of the news organizations.
“As long as they are still newsmakers, there is a strong potential for conflict,” said Andy Schotz, the chairman of the ethics committee for the Society of Professional Journalists. At the very least, it can amount to an advantage for the analysts, and create a perception of favoritism.