On his CNN program this week, media correspondent Brian Stelter addressed the scandal in which Donna Brazile, then a CNN contributor, steered a pair of questions for a town-hall event and a debate to the Clinton campaign. “She embarrassed all of CNN by talking to the campaign this way,” said Stelter on “Reliable Sources.” That was mild in comparison with the assessment of CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker, who decided that Brazile’s transgressions were “disgusting.”
In a radio interview Monday with SiriusXM’s Joe Madison, Brazile didn’t sound too ashamed of these embarrassing actions. “My conscience, as an activist, as a strategist — my conscience is very clear. When I said what I said, I said it and I’m not going back on it. But I also understand that throughout the primary season, whether it was 2008 … 2016, I was in touch with everybody — Martin O’Malley, Bernie Sanders, who I’ve known for over 30 years, Hillary Clinton. … You’re doggone right I’m gonna talk to everybody. Joe, I will never go out on TV or come on radio without the facts. I will submit things, I will circulate things and guess what: I also enjoy the exchange that I have with my colleagues — they work for everybody. My friends are deeply embedded in all of the campaigns. And guess what — here comes a real shocker. I also talk to Republicans before I go to their events.”
With such defiance, Brazile is signaling just how much she cared about CNN’s journalistic priorities when she was employed there as a contributor. (Her contract was suspended over the summer when she took over as head of the Democratic National Committee, and she resigned under pressure in October after the first question-sharing story). So she’s adding weight to the argument of this blog — and many others — that political hacks shouldn’t be employed in any way by news networks.
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Erik Wemple