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Howard Schultz

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who is speculating an independent presidential run in 2020, recently revealed his political advisors joining the prospective campaign. These include former Washington Post senior editor Rajiv Chandrasekaran, former CNN reporter Erin McPike and former Forbes journalist Joanne Gordon.

Although reporters moving from journalism to politics is common, decisions like Schultz’s – to bring on media personalities as key campaign advisors – has been gaining steam in recent years. Just look at reports of former Fox News reporter and Navy pilot Lea Gabrielle potentially joining the Trump administration. The goal is prospectively to control the media narrative about the candidate and develop close relationships to leading news organizations.

Also, note that it’s a two-way street. Last week, former Sen. Jeff Flake joined CNN as a political contributor. (Flake also joined the board of real estate builders Taylor Morrison, solidifying his transition out of governance.) Along with Flake, former Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill was hired by NBC News and MSNBC. At the same time Democratic Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum and former Gov. John Kasich announced their partnerships with CNN. As the 2020 election edges closer, key players in media and politics are set to make transitions to roles that will gain prominence as campaigning continues in 2019.

The relationship of media and politics takes a further turn with the case of former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg. A recently published article by The Atlantic revealed Bloomberg’s plan to setup a data mining center with hopes to influence the 2020 election. While the article did not clarify his position to run as a candidate, the former mayor’s ownership of Bloomberg news makes the relationship between politics and media clear. Going forward, many more journalists and politicians are expected to trade places.

The Leadership Connection:

Changes in the media and political landscape show 2019/2020 will be a critical time for expanding relationships and establishing new ones. Our people intelligence service, particularly the verticals in U.S. Government and Media, can get you the contacts you need to make those deals.

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