CNN’s controversial hiring of recently-fired Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is polarizing the media world with news organizations including the New York Post, the Washington Post and even CNN itself disagreeing on the level of outrage within Jeff Zucker‘s staff.
Late last week, the New York Post published a story headlined, “CNN staff revolts over Corey Lewandowski hire.” The article mentions a “livid” newsroom and staffers who are considering demanding that Zucker fire the former Trump campaign manager. The Post also mentioned that Latino and female staffers were particularly upset.
CNN did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request to speak with Lewandowski.
Meanwhile, despite all the negativity surrounding Lewandowski’s hiring from multiple news organizations, The Washington Post published a story on Monday titled, “CNN’s hiring of Corey Lewandowski didn’t cause a staff revolt. In fact, it was the opposite.”
This morning on CNN’s “New Day,” Alisyn Camerota addressed the situation to Lewandowski’s face.
“It turns out not everyone is a fan of the decision [for CNN to hire Lewandowski] … you never seem to be a big fan of the press,” Camerota said to her new colleague.
Lewandowski disagreed, saying he has “great” relationships with the media before explaining the rules that the Trump campaign put in place regarding the press. “I love everybody! I love you, right?” he said.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) June 27, 2016
Meanwhile, CNN’s in-house media guru Brian Stelter devoted a significant portion of his “Reliable Sources” show on Sunday to the polarizing topic.
“I think it makes sense to add another pro-Trump voice, but I also understand these ethical questions,” Stelter said after explaining that he found “no signs of revolt” or “organized protest.”
Baltimore Sun media critic David Zurawik said he “hates it” when asked about CNN hiring Lewandowski — and he said it on CNN.
“I’ve hated bringing political operatives into TV operations, TV news operations, for decades,” Zurawik said. “A lot of people in this country feel that media elites and political elites are in bed together … this reinforces that.”
On the same program, Trump supporter Jeffrey Lord said that adding Lewandoswki was “a great decision” by CNN and that he’s a “terrific asset.”
— Reliable Sources (@ReliableSources) June 27, 2016
Stelter admits he did find “discomfort” around the CNN newsroom and one of the people who might feel uncomfortable with the situation is CNN commentator S.E. Cupp, who was among the prominent female reporters who petitioned Trump to fire Lewandowski back in March, when the former lobbyist grabbed then-Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields at a campaign rally.
“I trust our viewers will make up their own minds about his performance,” Cupp told TheWrap.
Last week when the hiring was announced, Fox News hosts Megyn Kelly and Howard Kurtz discussed the decision made by their rival network. Kurtz blasted it as “sad,” while Kelly questioned if Lewandowski can’t provide “honest analysis.”
Kurtz elaborated on his thoughts in a blog post this afternoon.
“Even if he wanted to be critical of Trump, Lewandowski signed a non-disclosure agreement that prevents that. He can’t defame or disparage the guy, as Burnett pointed out. So CNN is not getting even a semblance of independent analysis,” Kurtz wrote.
“I’m a guy who calls balls from strikes. I’m going to tell it like it is,” Lewandowski told CNN’s Erin Burnett in his first interview as an official CNN employee.
Lewandowski was hired by CNN last Thursday, only three days after he was fired by Trump. There hasn’t been a more polarizing hire in cable news in quite some time.
Check out some more of the social media reaction to the backlash of the hiring.
Journalistically, CNN's interview last night with Lewandowksi cannot be classified. No categories contain it. https://t.co/Exkbhd2qtv 1/2
— Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu) June 24, 2016
.@CLewandowski_ is going to CNN? Corey, does this mean you won’t be taking that position at the National Organization for Women?
— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) June 24, 2016
Corey Lewandowski,who proved to be too thuggish & incompetent for Trump as his campaign manager is joining @CNN! TYT can't thank you enough!
— Cenk Uygur (@cenkuygur) June 23, 2016