Earlier this year, we documented how CNSNews.com published pro-Trump columns by Ken Blackwell while largely censoring the fact that he was an adviser to, and surrogate for, President Trump's re-election campaign. That lack of disclosure never really stopped as the election drew near.
In an Aug. 10 column, Blackwell gushed that "Everything changed with the election of Donald J. Trump, who has kept his promise to rebuild American manufacturing as part of his plan to Make America Great Again," adding, "The record is crystal clear — no other president has done more to strengthen Ohio manufacturers than Donald Trump. The future of our state is brighter than ever before." The end-of=column bio stated: "Ken Blackwell served as the mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio, the Ohio State Treasurer, and Ohio Secretary of State. He currently serves on the board of directors for Club for Growth and National Taxpayers Union.." No mention of Blackwell's role as a Trump surrogate and adviser."
A Sept. 15 column carried the headline "Trump's Labor Department Seeks to Remove Potential for Left-Wing Abuses of Pensions." The bio stated that Blackwell "served as Treasurer of State of Ohio and as a member of the U.S. Department of Labor Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans. He is a trustee of the Institute for Pension Fund Integrity."
An Oct. 7 column contained advice for Vice President Mike Pence in an upcoming debate with Kamala Harris and insisted of Trump's nonexistent health care plan : "Coverage of pre-existing conditions will not be an issue if Trump is re-elected. The president has made it clear that all pre-existing conditions will be covered under his plan." The bio described Blackwell only as "the former treasurer of the State of Ohio."
In an Oct. 9 column, Blackwell demanded that Joe Biden answer the single most important question in this election: Whether Biden would pack the Supreme Court with additional seats, forever transforming our Constitution’s three-branch form of government into a two-branch system." The bio described Blackwell as "a Senior Fellow for Human Rights and Constitutional Governance at the Family Research Council."
Blackwell followed up on Oct. 13 by ranting that "Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are redefining the words “court packing” in a manner worthy of George Orwell’s "1984," ironically previewing how a packed (i.e., expanded) Supreme Court would redefine the Constitution’s words, abolishing our democratic republic as it has existed for more than 200 years." He was described only as "a distinguished fellow with The American Constitutional Rights Union." and "advisor to the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C."
In a Nov. 10 column, Blackwell cheered Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar for "implementing the president’s healthcare agenda and improving the way health-insurance companies operate by requiring more price transparency," adding, "Who said President Donald Trump didn't have a health plan?" That one identified him as "a Senior Fellow for Human Rights and Constitutional Governance, at the Family Research Council" and "a member of the board directors of the Club For Growth."
On Nov. 23, Blackwell went all-in on Trump's election fraud conspiracy theory: "The 2020 election was stolen because leftists were able to exploit the coronavirus pandemic to weaken, alter, and eliminate laws that were put in place over the course of decades to preserve the integrity of the ballot box. But just as importantly, it was stolen because those same leftists had a thoroughly-crafted plan, and because they were rigorous in its implementation and ruthless in its execution." The end-of-column blurb was a potpourri of his previous posts -- "former Secretary of State of Ohio," "Distinguished Fellow for Human Rights and Constitutional Governance, at the Family Research Council," " United States Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission from 1990-1993" -- but no mention of his Trump advisory job.
Blackwell's rant is highly ironic since, as Right Wing Watch noted, he was accused of overseeing voting irregularities during his stint as Ohio secretary of state that allegedly gave the state to George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election.
There were only two mentions of Blackwell's ties to Trump in an end-of-column blurb. The first came in an Aug. 19 column claiming that "President Donald Trump has an opportunity to secure his legacy with regard to Iran. It is an opportunity to put the U.S. on the moral high ground, encourage millions of Iranians who have been suffering under the ayatollahs’ yoke, and send a shiver down the spine of the tyrants ruling Iran," which did identify him as "on the Advisory Board of Trump-Pence 2020." The second came in a column defending Trump's attempt to overturn the election results under ludicrous headline "Gov. Wolf And His Legion of Darkness Must Be Stopped in Pennsylvania"; that one also identified Blackwell as "a member of the Board of Advisors of the Trump-Pence 2020 Campaign." Also, Blackwell did state in a Nov. 3 column defending the Electoral College that "President Trump’s bipartisan Election Integrity Commission, which I served on from 2017-2018, concluded that a tyranny of the majority or extant voter fraud has yet to manage to swing a presidential election."
CNS' continued failure to consistently identify Blackwell's conflict of interest is another bit of journalistic malpractice from the Media Research Center's "news" division -- and highly ironic given the MRC's eagerness to call out non-right-wing news sources that do something similar.