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Citizen Rudy?

Democratic operatives and contributors writing in the Washington Post's Outlook section.

An MSNBC study showing journalists' political donations.

The chummy relationship between news people and newsmakers seems as incestuous as ever, breeding cynicism and distrust.

Add to that mix this morning's New York Times piece about the friendship-slash-association between Fox News Channel head Roger Ailes and Republican presidential contender Rudy Giuliani.

One can't help but draw the line from this:

Mr. Ailes was the media consultant to Mr. Giuliani's first mayoral campaign in 1989. Mr. Giuliani, as mayor, officiated at Mr. Ailes's wedding and intervened on his behalf when Mr. Ailes's company, Fox News Channel, was blocked from securing a cable station in the city.
To this:
Mr. Giuliani's on-air time on Fox was 25 percent greater than that of his Republican competitor Mitt Romney, and nearly double that of Senator John McCain of Arizona. Fred D. Thompson, who has yet to formally announce his candidacy, came in second to Mr. Giuliani with 101 minutes of Fox interviews.

Aides to Mr. Ailes said he and Mr. Giuliani spoke with and saw each other only infrequently these days, though the two sat together in April at the correspondents' dinner.

This issue serves as one of those politics/media Rorschach tests. Sure, you might see nothing curious or uncomfortable here. But what if you substitute the head of CNN or MSNBC for Ailes and insert "John Edwards" or "Barack Obama" for Giuliani? Does it change your perception?

Let's be realistic. You're never going to eliminate the cross-pollination between politics and media. George Stephanopoulos has a political resume, as does Chris Matthews. Tim Russert worked for New York's Democratic Senators Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Mario Cuomo back in the day. But articles like today's do a service by giving us an additional thing to consider the next time we see Giuliani on Fox News Channel – which, according to the research, will probably be sooner rather than later.

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