Brian Stelter of CNN is getting huffy about yesterday’s revelation that Sean Hannity may have used President Trump’s personal lawyer for legal advice without telling viewers. And Brian Stelter of CNN wants you to know that he is deeply disturbed by this unethical lack of disclosure:
While his off-air relationships might be just a logical extension of Hannity’s on-air cheerleading for Trump, it still came as a surprise, immediately raising questions about both Hannity and Fox.
By any standards of any normal newsroom, the Cohen-Hannity relationship is a glaring conflict of interest.
Fox is not a normal newsroom. And Hannity’s viewers are not typical news viewers — people who watch almost any other show would likely feel lied to when they learned something like this had not been disclosed to them, but Hannity’s want him to have this kind of relationship with Trumpworld.
This comes from Brian Stelter.
You see the problem? If not, let me sum it up in two words:
In June 2016, after Lewandowski left the Trump campaign, he was hired by CNN to be a political commentator. Here’s what one Brian Stelter from CNN said at the time:
There are also swirling questions about whether Lewandowski is still bound to Trump somehow.
Like other Trump employees, he signed a non-disclosure agreement that ensures he will not share confidential information.
The agreement likely included a “non-disparagement clause,” impeding his ability to criticize Trump publicly.
On Thursday night, in his first appearance as a CNN commentator, anchor Erin Burnett asked about the existence of such a clause, and Lewandowski declined to answer directly.
Meaning, of course, that he had one. Does this mean that Brian Stelter opposed the hire? Judge for yourself by reading the last line of his piece:
Adding Lewandowski is another way to ensure ideological diversity on the air. His perspective might be uniquely valuable given that he was Trump’s right hand man up until this week.
LOL. Cue the eternal cry of the hypocritical leftist: But that’s different!
But it got worse. In September, ABC News reported that Lewandowski was still receiving payments from the Trump campaign, even as he gave commentary about Trump on CNN:
Donald Trump’s presidential campaign paid former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski’s company $20,000 in consulting fees in August, campaign filings show.
Lewandowski was fired as Trump’s campaign manager on June 20 . . . Days after the firing, CNN hired Lewandowski as an on-air political commentator, a position he holds currently.
Trump’s campaign finance filing shows a $20,000 payment made to Lewandowski’s company, Green Monster Consulting, LLC, on August 11 for the purpose of “strategy consulting.”
Did CNN immediately fire Lewandowski? No, CNN did not. Indeed, Lewandowski stayed on until days before the election, ultimately resigning in November. As one Brian Stelter from CNN reported:
Lewandowski brought unique first-hand experience running a historic presidential campaign. But some viewers — and even some CNN staffers — felt Lewandowski never should have been hired at all.
Lewandowski was bound by a non-disclosure agreement that impeded his ability to criticize Trump publicly. He also received severance payments from the campaign.
CNN President Jeff Zucker stood by the decision to hire Lewandowski, pointing out that it was critical to have ideological diversity on the airwaves.
Which sounds a lot like Stelter’s own quote (already noted above), when Lewandowski was hired: “Adding Lewandowski is another way to ensure ideological diversity on the air.”
You know what you did not see from Stelter? A passage like this one, in which I take Stelter’s commentary about Hannity and rewrite it for the Lewandowski situation:
While his off-air relationship with Cohen might be just a logical extension of Lewandowski’s on-air cheerleading for Trump, it still came as a surprise, immediately raising questions about both Lewandowski and CNN.
By any standards of any normal newsroom, the Trump campaign’s payments to (and non-disparagement clause with) Lewandowski relationship constitute a glaring conflict of interest.
CNN is not a normal newsroom. And Lewandowski’s fans are not typical news viewers — people who watch almost any other show would likely feel lied to when they learned something like this had not been disclosed to them, but Lewandowski’s fans want him to have this kind of relationship with Trumpworld.
You did not see anything like that in any of Brian Stelter’s pieces. You did not see him calling Lewandowski’s arrangement a “glaring conflict of interest.” You did not see him claiming that CNN is not a normal newsroom. Instead, you saw him praising the Lewandowski hire.
What do you know? He has a different standard for Fox News than he has for his own employer!
Which is to be expected. Just don’t expect us to take your moral preening seriously, Brian Stelter. You guys are hardly the angels you’re trying to appear to be. And we all know it.