I make every effort to disclose potential specific conflicts of interest in the context of each individual conversation and commentary. However, the following describes some general conditions that may bias my personal opinions or questions I may ask when I host online conversations.
CustomScoop has many clients that may have an interest in topics I discuss. Since I co-founded CustomScoop in 2000, it has had clients of all political stripes and most possible issue interests. In fact, it is not uncommon for competitive companies or even political opponents to both be using the service at the same time. That’s because CustomScoop is a media intelligence service. We don’t discriminate based on the business interests or political views of our prospects, and we don’t advocate or market on their behalf. For these reasons, I see no inherent conflict in who these companies and organizations may be.
I advise companies about how to communicate effectively online. Over the years, I have advised numerous companies and organizations about how to communicate effectively online, and I am currently employed by a public affairs firm. If my work is ongoing or was substantial in the recent past, I will attempt to disclose it specifically. However, it would be impractical to identify every conversation I may have had about a particular organization or issue because of the breadth of my consulting activities. If I am actively engaged with a client on an issue that I discuss, I will attempt to disclose it clearly. Because much of my work has involved Fortune 500 companies that have a huge array of business interests, I may reference their industry or products/services (or competing ones) without making an explicit disclosure if the work I am doing does not directly impact what I am discussing.
I am bound by non-disclosure agreements. In my role as an entrepreneur and as a public affairs consultant, I am sometimes contractually obligated not to disclose conversations or relationships. In those instances, I will try to avoid commenting on anything that would require me to make such a disclosure.
I invite interesting people for intelligent conversations regardless of whether I agree with them. I do everything I can to be clear about what is my opinion and to enable my guests to share their own points of view, which often differ from my own. I do not subscribe to the notion of creating conflict for entertainment purposes, but would prefer to have an honest discussion with each individual guest. In fact, I often most enjoy hearing from people with whom I may disagree because these can be the most educational shows for me personally.
I do not accept payment or gifts in exchange for posts and openly disclose any sponsors. You can expect that if I have received money, gift, or benefit from anyone who appears on my online radio show or that I write about on my blog that I will mention it. If someone is an advertiser or a sponsor it will be made obvious to visitors to this site so everyone can make their own judgment about whether it may have any potential impact on editorial selection or content.
I consider myself a conservative and am a registered Republican. I have worked professionally for Republican officeholders, conservative non-profits, and GOP campaigns and consultants. This certainly impacts my view of the world and likely influences the kinds of questions I ask and the things I write. I do make every effort to keep the online conversations focused on what my guest thinks rather than my own opinions, however.
I will answer any reasonable question about a potential conflict as openly and honestly as I can. If you are concerned I might have a conflict I have not disclosed, feel free to email me and I’ll respond forthrightly. In some cases, I may have to make a disclosure in general terms (for instance by identifying the client’s industry rather than the entity’s specific name) due to contract confidentiality requirements, but I will provide as much information as I possibly can.