When Donna Brazile became interim DNC chair this summer, her contract as a political commentator for CNN was suspended. Rightly so. But recent hacks of private emails that were released by Wikileaks suggest that she informed the Clinton campaign of a question she could expect at one of the presidential debates. Because of that, the cable news channel severed their ties permanently with Brazile.
I’m not worried about Brazile. She is a talented political consultant who will have no trouble remaining gainfully employed. But CNN’s reaction to this situation raises a few concerns for me. The idea that someone can get fired based on information that was disseminated due on a hack into private emails should concern us all. Perhaps CNN authenticated this particular email from Brazile via other avenues. We aren’t privy to that information, but I certainly hope so. At this point I’m not ready to buy into the idea that any of the emails released by Wikileaks are authentic. Regardless of that, CNN’s response provides a serious incentive to breech privacy for nefarious purposes.
Perhaps even more concerning is that this is the same network that continues to employ former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski – even after FEC filings show that he is being paid by Trump for “strategy consulting.” We also know that Donald Trump requires everyone to sign “non disparagement” agreements. So Lewandowski is probably legally bound to avoid any criticism of his former boss. CNN is basically granting a microphone to the Trump campaign in the guise of political commentary.
Note that Brazile initially suspended her contract with CNN, not because she worked directly for a presidential candidate, but because she went to work for a candidate’s party. Lewandowski, on the other hand, continues to work directly for a candidate and maintains his contract with the network. Now…Brazile is permanently terminated for providing information to Clinton’s campaign. That is basically the task of a “strategy consultant.” And yet Lewandowski will continue in his position because no one has hacked or leaked emails documenting the information he has provided to the Trump campaign.