CNN’s Fareed Zakaria startled the media when he admitted on Eliot Spitzer’s In the Arena on Thursday night that he has been advising President Obama on foreign policy.
Zakaria told Spitzer that “mostly it’s been face-to-face meetings…usually organized by Tom Donilon, the national security adviser.”
He told Spitzer that he was particularly struck by how much time that Obama spends “thinking about the issues of the Arab Spring, particularly the issues of Egypt,” adding that “it’s been a very thoughtful conversation. You know, we’ll see where it goes.”
Rather than questioning the propriety of a journalist advising the president while reporting on his policies, Spitzer instead told Zakaria that “it makes my heart warm that the President is calling you for wisdom and advice” and thanked him for being on the program.
The media should be howling at this admission, but because Zakaria works for CNN and is on their side of the political ledger they are doing the best they can to just sweep this under the rug and hope it goes away. That only serves to underscore their hypocrisy. Clearly, if this had been Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck advising a Republican president while reporting or commenting on him, the media would be demanding immediate resignations or firing of those involved.
UPDATE: Zakaria apparently had second thoughts about his comments to Spitzer and posted the following clarification on his website this weekend:
The characterization that I have been “advising” President Obama is inaccurate. Over the last few months I’ve had a couple of conversations with the President, off-the-record. At no point did President Obama ask me for advice on a specific policy or speech or proposal, nor did I volunteer it. I know that he has had similar meetings with other columnists.