CNN is silently severing ties with former contributor and acting DNC chair Donna Brazile because of a recent WikiLeaks scandal. Hacked emails released by the pro-transparency group shows Brazile provided town hall questions to Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primary. The cable news network hosted the debate.
The network confirmed Brazile resigned on Oct. 14. But she had put on standby her role at CNN this summer shortly after she replaced former DNC chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
WikiLeaks shows that the former CNN host shared at least two debate questions with Clinton camp. One before a CNN-hosted Democratic debate in Flint, Michigan, in spring, and another one ahead of a town hall debate in Ohio during the same month.
CNN repeatedly said that Brazile did not have the questions in advance. A CNN spokesperson recently stated the network did not give the woman any background info, questions, or other prep material before the debates. The company stated they were “completely uncomfortable” with Brazile’s ties with Clinton camp during her time as a news contributor.
The DNC chair has yet to reply requests for comment. She did somewhat reply on Twitter by blaming the Russians. Three weeks ago, she implied that the Russian government was behind the WikiLeaks. She reiterated that argument on Oct. 31. In the meantime, she thanked the network for her role as commenter and strategist. And she wished her former colleagues all the best.
The news is a hard blow to CNN which had been previously accused of featuring political pundits that were on presidential candidates’ payrolls. For instance, CNN employed Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski even though Trump was paying him $20,000 per month at the time.
Lewandowski declined to comment on the revelations citing a nondisclosure agreement he signed before leaving the camp. If there had been no agreement, Lewandowski would have written a book on the real estate tycoon for HarperCollins and gained $1.2 million.
A few months ago, CNN boss Jeff Zucker explained why they hired Lewandowski. Zucker argued that in the general election it is crucial to have people that back the controversial candidate. And Lewandowski was one of them. The CNN chief disclosed that other news networks have tried to hire him too. In Zucker’s opinion, the former Trump aide did a “really nice job” on the network despite coming under spotlight for his relationship with the media.
Social Media Backlash
The same thing can be said about Brazile now who has entered the damage-control mode on Twitter. Shortly after the WikiLeaks revelations, she urged Twitter commenters to refrain from “vile, violent and vitriolic emails.” She also pledged to turn those emails over to the “appropriate law enforcement.”
Two Twitter users commented on the irony of the situation.
— Scotty Arinder (@csarinder) October 31, 2016
Others were curious to learn how much could they comment without getting in trouble with justice. A commenter even said Brazile tries to shield herself from vicious comments due to a “martyr complex.” In response, Brazile cited universal campaign fatigue and hoped for it all to end soon.
Image Source: Wikimedia