The most trusted name in news, right?
Should CNN be using President Obama's pollster as a paid contributor to its network?
A Washington insider says dapper data guru Cornell Belcher represents a potential conflict of interest for the cable network, now that he's reportedly going to work for Obama's reelection effort.
In February, CNN announced that Belcher - who did polling for the Democratic National Committee from 2005 to 2008, including Obama's presidential campaign - was joining its team of on-air political contributors.
Since then, the president of Brilliant Corners Research has appeared on CNN's "The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer," "Anderson Cooper 360" "John King, USA" and the just-canceled "In the Arena" with Eliot Spitzer.
Then last April, The Washington Post reported that Belcher was going to work again for Obama.
Noting that the pollster had "spent the past several years studying Obama's electoral base of young voters and African-Americans," The Post added that Belcher would "bring that knowledge to bear for the reelection campaign."
With the numbers-cruncher slated to work on Obama's behalf for 2012, the Washington insider questions whether Belcher also can serve CNN's journalistic mission.
"It's a great gig to be paid by CNN so that you can promote your clients," says the source. "But for the Most Trusted Name in News, it doesn't work."
Belcher did not respond to requests for comment, but a CNN spokeswoman tells us the pollster is currently "not being paid by the Obama campaign. If he were," she added, "he would not be permitted to be a CNN contributor."
Presumably, Belcher will cease to appear on CNN when his work for Obama's campaign begins.
Another CNN insider calls the allegation of impropriety ridiculous, saying: "We bend over backward to make sure there's not a conflict of interest" with on-air contributors.