After Corey Lewandowski was spotted at Donald Trump’s New Hampshire event this afternoon, questions were raised about CNN’s relationship to the Trump campaign.
Maggie Haberman of the New York Times shared a picture of Lewandowski:
Here's Corey pic.twitter.com/PtJwO7ZfVr
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) June 30, 2016
Since Lewandowski won’t reveal what is in his Non-Disclosure Agreement but other Trump employees have said it includes a non-disparagement clause, the political world was shocked by CNN’s decision to hire the recently “let go” Trump campaign manager.
So journalists began wondering if CNN’s President Jeff Zucker was covering part of Trump’s payroll:
At what point do we just ask if Zucker is effectively covering part of Trump's payroll? https://t.co/Y07eNJ02mK
— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) June 30, 2016
This is no small thing. Since CNN hired Lewandowski, it has looked to me like a product placement move meeting the revolving door concept of big corporations paying employees a golden parachute to “leave” and go work in the public sector doing “oversight” of the same company they just left (yes, this is legal and it’s why oversight isn’t reliable).
I never bought that Corey Lewandowski was really “fired”. That wouldn’t benefit Trump or the people who love to take their own wrong-doing and turn it into a source of pride (a certain segment of the right wing is big on this, see George Zimmerman fans) while claiming victimization. If they cared about his troubling behavior, he would have been fired long before they claimed he was.
But what would benefit the man who treats the concept of the free press as something he most assuredly does not like is a media plant. Someone who can spin “legitimate” positive stories about Trump in the mainstream media.
Even if that wasn’t the deal, Lewandowski is prohibited from speaking badly about Donald Trump, which makes him a biased “commentator” even if his own personality weren’t already troublesome.
So basically, CNN is paying a Trump campaign employee to give feedback about the Republican presumptive nominee. Pressure is growing on CNN about their decision to hire Lewandowski, as it should. They have some questions to answer if they want to keep the public’s trust.
Image: Via Frank Thorpe’s tweet
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.