CNN Tweaks Ethics Policy For ‘Crossfire’ Hosts

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By Alex Weprin Comment

CutterGingrichCNN has apparently changed its ethics policy for the hosts of “Crossfire,” after a pair of complaints against hosts Newt Gingrich and Stephanie Cutter were made.

Conservative groups targeted Cutter because she is a former staffer for President Obama’s campaign, and still keeps in touch with many of her former colleagues. She also still works as a consultant for Democratic candidates and causes, including the President.

Liberal groups targeted Gingrich, as his PAC gave money to a number of conservative politicians. One of those politicians, Rand Paul, appeared on “Crossfire” and was interviewed by Gingrich, with no mention of his PAC’s donations.

One of those media watchdog groups, Media Matters, spoke to CNN standards executive Rick Davis earlier this month about the ethics guidelines the “Crossfire” hosts need to follow. Today, Davis told them that they are “clarifying” the policy. The issue in question is whether the hosts need to mention on-air if they are funding or helping a politician or candidate. The new, “clarified” rules say that they do not, because their political position implies support already.

“Crossfire” is a high-profile launch for CNN, which has committed seven figures to securing the four co-hosts to substantial deals with the channel. Given the investment it shouldn’t be surprising that CNN is moving the goalposts with regards to its ethics policy.