News broke on Thursday that just days after getting shitcanned by Donald Trump, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski had been hired by CNN to be a political commentator. Immediately, reporters and media critics — including your’s truly — ridiculed the network for the hire, especially considering they already have two salaried contributors, Jeffrey Lord and Kayleigh McEnany, whose sole purpose is to defend Trump.
Shortly after it was reported, CNN media reporter Brian Stelter wrote up a piece on the hire, explaining that the network jumped on the opportunity to get someone who would be the ultimate Trump insider.
Lewandowski’s hiring by CNN is bound to be controversial, even within the newsroom, in part because he was accused of assaulting a reporter, Michelle Fields, after a Trump press conference in March. He was later cleared of any charges.
More broadly, the Trump campaign’s hostility toward the press has been widely criticized by journalism advocates.
But Lewandowski, in his new role as a regular guest who will be exclusive to CNN, brings the same thing some of CNN’s other paid commentators bring: first-hand experience running a presidential campaign.
His perspective might be uniquely valuable given that he was Trump’s right hand man up until this week.
But, alas, it appears that he may not legally be able to give all that valuable insidery, based on reporting by the network itself. Media Matters flagged a segment from Monday, where reporter Jeff Zeleny remarked on Lewandowski’s hesitance to be critical of the campaign that had just fired him during an interview with Dana Bash. According to Zeleny, this was likely due to Trump’s insistence that employees sign non-disclosure agreements.
“Anyone who works for the Trump campaign signs a nondisclosure agreement, so he cannot disparage or anything like that at all, not that he might be inclined to. I was struck during his interview with Dana how positive he was.”
So, yeah, if CNN were hoping Corey would spill some beans on Trump, that ain’t happening. Then again, Stelter was probably just putting a positive spin on his employer’s move, claiming CNN wanted Lewandowski for his unique insight, rather than admitting they just wanted a well-known Trumpkin who can help provide ‘balance’ in their coverage, and maybe even some fireworks on air. (You just know they’re planning an altercation with Van Jones as we speak.)
While awaiting the inevitable Jones-Lewandowski cage fight, you can Corey in his new role Thursday night at 7 PM ET on Erin Burnett’s OutFront.