The Telecom World's Payola Pundit

The New York Times, Washington Post and other "major U.S. newspapers often quote Jeff Kagan -- regarded as one of the most influential telecommunications analysts -- but invariably leave out the fact that he is paid by many companies in the industry to offer his comments to the media," reports Tim Arango. Kagan's web site describes him as a "'fee-based' analyst" who "gives interviews, analysis and insights to the media for free, and charges everyone else." Sprint, Verizon and BellSouth are among the companies that have hired Kagan. "Kagan admits he is rarely asked by reporters if he is being paid by the companies he is speaking about," writes Arango. "He said he is more frequently asked if he has an investment relationship with a particular company, and does not hold stock in the companies he counts as clients."