Lewandowski Hire Puts CNN and Its Reporters in Awkward Position

By Mark Joyella 

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When CNN’s Brian Stelter published his story on the hiring of former Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, he got a sympathetic tweet from Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch. “Nearly impossible for you here. One of the reasons I support not covering your own place. Good luck.”

Deitsch’s sympathy, however, did not extend to CNN, which Deitsch said made “a truly horrible and shameful move” in hiring Lewandowski. Known for putting journalists in “press pens,” at Trump events, Lewandowski had previously threatened a CNN reporter. In March, CNN political analysts Mary Katharine Ham and S.E. Cupp were among 16 women to sign a letter demanding Trump fire Lewandowski for “inexcusable and unprofessional” conduct toward women.

“I can’t tolerate hiring a guy who treated reporters like shit,” Deitsch said, expressing a sentiment repeated by many on Twitter. As Stelter notes in his story, “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.”

Also raising questions was an exclusive interview Lewandowski gave to CNN’s Dana Bash just before word of his hiring was announced. Coincidence? A CNN spokesperson said “it’s categorically not true that Lewandowski was offered a job before” the interview. Bash later tweeted, “no discussions. No offer. Not accurate.”

Stelter reports Lewandowski’s debut as a CNN employee has moved up–from New Day Friday to Erin Burnett OutFront tonight, at 7 p.m., when he’s expected to address the questions about his hiring, including whether a non-disclosure agreement he signed as a member of Trump’s campaign will limit what he can say as a commentator.