CBS News last week named Jamal Simmons, native Detroiter and a leading political commentator on national television including CNN, and Democratic Party tactician, as the first Black political analyst hired by the network.

Simmons is among a list of confirmed panelists set to speak at a national symposium Oct. 22 at Wayne State University Law School Auditorium at 10 a.m. to mark the release of “Obama and Black Loyalty,” volume one of a trilogy on President Barack Obama and Black America written by Michigan Chronicle senior editor Bankole Thompson. The symposium will examine the current impact of Obama’s policies on African Americans on a range of issues, all of which form the theme of Thompson’s new book.

CBS appointed Simmons “to provide on-air analysis of Democratic strategies and contribute to CBS News broadcasts and platforms across the network.”

“Jamal and his CBS News Republican counterpart, Dan Bartlett, will make a dynamic team providing our viewers insider scoops and unique insights into the campaigns and the issues,” said Sean McManus, president of CBS News and Sports, in a statement.

Simmons is a principal at the Raben Group, a Washington consulting firm. He was a political appointee during the first Bill Clinton administration, in the Office of the United States Trade Representative and the Commerce Department, traveled with Clinton during his successful 1992 campaign and served as a communications aide for Vice President Al Gore during his 2000 presidential campaign. He has also been a panelist on CNN, “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” and the BBC, and has written for print and Internet publications.

CBS has lagged behind the other networks, particularly those on cable, in its use of political analysts of color. Spokeswoman Sonya McNair confirmed that Simmons is the first for CBS.

Simmons’ appointment is effective immediately, the network said. The hiring of Simmons and Bartlett continues a trend of using political partisans to provide analyses once performed almost exclusively by journalists.


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