CNN President Jeff Zucker is not a man who backs down easily, which is usually framed as a strong suit but probably isn’t when his network recently hired a despicable Republican hack as a “political editor.”
If you’re just joining this latest cycle of the cable news “meritocracy,” CNN announced on Tuesday that it had hired Sarah Isgur Flores to be a “political editor” during the 2020 election cycle. This sucks, because Isgur has never had a job in journalism before and is better known as a virulently anti-abortion Trump administration spokesperson who allegedly promoted various conspiracy theories. (She denies that last claim.)
Anyway, here’s what Zucker had to say about it during a 9.a.m. staff editorial call this morning, per the Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Zucker said that executives haven’t discussed changing her title but acknowledged it was a good question. He said he understood the concerns because “editor” has a different meaning in digital and print media than it does in TV, the person said. Mr. Zucker added that he wouldn’t rule out that Ms. Isgur could be featured in TV segments or write articles for CNN, but noted that her primary duties would include coordinating coverage for the Washington bureau.
So she’s not like, leading political coverage, but she’s still “coordinating” it and will potentially be on TV. Tight! As the Journal points out, CNN has basically been stacking its D.C. team with extremely right-wing reporters for the past few years (emphasis mine, because let’s not miss what the Journal characterizes as a “diverse newsroom”):
Mr. Zucker has made it a point of emphasis to cultivate a diverse newsroom, bringing in conservative voices and journalists from conservative outlets.
Earlier this year, CNN announced that Haley Byrd, a former reporter for The Weekly Standard, would join the Washington bureau as a reporter. In April, CNN announced the hiring of Sarah Westwood from the Washington Examiner to cover the White House. In 2017, the network has also hired Kaitlan Collins, the former White House reporter for the Daily Caller, to cover that beat for CNN.
CNN employees also reportedly pointed out that Isgur has taken wild swings at the company before. Does Zucker mind? Nope!
Mr. Zucker said CNN has recruited from other employers that are generally critical of the network, one of the people said. Mr. Zucker noted that CNN has recruited from Sean Hannity’s Fox News show. Mr. Hannity is a prominent critic of CNN and Mr. Zucker.
Weird. How’s that working out for you Jeff?