Marketing Execs Suggesting What Reporters Should Cover? CNN Advertisers: Ask More Questions

Since when do marketing executives offer up "topic" suggestions to editors and reporters for consideration?

This is what The New York Times reported that Allison Gollust, the ousted executive vice president of marketing of CNN, did.

If this was in any way a common procedure at CNN, that is a bad thing.

It would mean CNN executives have stepped way over the line -- the proverbial church-and-state line.

Considering the longtime background of the ousted Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide -- including running NBC News and NBC’s “Today” show -- that sounds incredible. Yes, he had a relationship with Gollust. Was this topic suggesting something he knew about? That’s not good.

Of course, all this becomes even more muddied when talking about Chris Cuomo, CNN’s former top prime-time anchor.

For many years, analysts considered how he would respond to news stories as it then concerned his brother Andrew Cuomo, a rising political star who became Governor of the state of New York.

Those worries were confirmed when it was revealed by a CNN investigation that Chris Cuomo heavily advised his brother about how to handle the news, with regard to allegations made against him.

Andrew Cuomo then resigned as New York State Governor, and this was followed by Chris Cuomo being shown the door.

If you are an advertiser, you might believe that keeping one's distance in such matters might be the right approach to all this -- especially when it comes to the inappropriate appearance of more business-side influence. You might be right.

Still, one might now consider the need to ask more questions about all news-gathering operations -- and possible interference from any interested party -- no matter what news organization is involved.

It’s tough enough for TV and other news organizations to do the challenging work of journalism, especially for more intense and time-consuming investigative news stories -- but to have business-side executives pushing the idea of suggestive topics and questions to ask?

Here is what a spokesperson for Gollust told the Times that Gollust “in no way suggested that inclusion of these topics was a condition of the interview, nor did she suggest the interview should be limited to these subjects.”

My question: Why was it even brought up in the first place?

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