CNN Chooses Flackery Over Journalism

Remember when CNN used to be a real news channel?  No more.  Not since it hired Corey Lewandowski and other campaign flacks to be paid "analysts." 

Donald Trump reportedly told his campaign manager "You're  fired" and made him an offer he couldn't refuse.  Just sign a nondisclosure agreement, don't discuss anything about the campaign or the candidate and in return you'll get a generous but unspecified severance. And, it turned out, more.

So why did CNN rush to hire him, gag and all, to be Trump's Baghdad Bob?

CNN is paying him quite a bit to operate as a Trump flack while he is also being paid by the Trump campaign plus helping the Republican standard-bearer prep for his debates with Hillary Clinton, traveling with the campaign and advising the candidate on a daily basis.

Vanity Fair noted Lewandowski's "antagonistic—even violent — history with journalists" and that he lost a $1.2 million book contract because the gag rule meant he'd have nothing  worthwhile to say.

Why couldn't CNN figure that out, too, when they put him on the payroll?

He admitted in a Tweet "I am under a strict confidentiality agreement with Mr. Trump."

If CNN were honest and professional, it would recognize conflict of interest and fire Lewandowski as well as all the other partisan flacks for all campaigns on its payroll.  That's checkbook journalism at its worst:

You come on, recite your candidate's talking points, and we'll pay you big bucks.  And we won't tell our naive viewers that you're a twice-paid flack.

Why does CNN or any news outlet have to pay campaign surrogates and spokespersons to come on the air to shill for their candidates?  Isn't that what the campaigns pay them for?

If a network brings on supporters, it should identify them as such and let viewers know that the news outlet is paying them to recite talking points for the candidate, who may also be paying them.

Media Matters has written to CNN chief Jeff Zucker urging him to cut ties to Lewandowski

He can't be an analyst if he's only allowed to say what Trump wants him to say.

Little wonder there is so much distrust of the media.  Okay, Fox News is worse, but at least everyone knows it is in Trump's pocket and serious people don't expect serious journalism from Fox.  But CNN is supposed to be a News Network. 

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.