The New York Post has a low threshold for determining when upheavals are afoot in corporate corridors. “CNN staff revolts over Corey Lewandowski hire,” reads the headline of a Friday story regarding CNN’s decision to bring on the fired campaign manager of Donald Trump as a political commentator. Upon whom did the New York Post rely to ascertain this revolt? “Sources,” of course. “A different source said, ‘Everyone at CNN — and even people who used to work there — are pissed about Trump’s former campaign manager being hired on salary.'”
Refutations are now cropping up. CNN’s very own Brian Stelter writes in Sunday’s “Reliable Sources” newsletter that he contacted “more than a dozen” sources at the network. Through those folks, he debunked any notion of a staff revolt — certainly a convenient conclusion for someone employed by CNN. “I did find some discomfort,” writes Stelter. “There are some people that are uncomfortable with the hiring, and there might be some awkward moments in the makeup room. But everyone also said they understood the hiring, understood the logic of it.”
The Washington Post’s Paul Farhi cites several witnesses as corroborating Stelter’s findings. “CNN’s hiring of Corey Lewandowski didn’t cause a staff revolt. In fact, it was the opposite,” reads the headline of Farhi’s piece.
What all of these inquiries have in common is anonymity. Those folks consulted by the New York Post who are so furious that they might just perhaps maybe “publicly” demand Lewandowski’s firing? They didn’t put their names behind their fury. Perhaps one of those same sources told the New York Post that Lewandowski’s services had been secured at a price of $500,000. Meanwhile a CNN spokesperson has told the New York Post that figure is preposterous. An unnamed spokesperson, that is.
There are nearly 4,000 news professionals at CNN. Summing up the mood of a crowd that large is tough work, especially considering that employees at television networks these days know they’re not supposed to speak to the media without first going through their control-freak media offices. Yet if there’s really a revolt in the works, with large numbers of people ready to “publicly” demand the firing of a network commentator — then it shouldn’t be too hard to find a single person willing to go on the record. Perhaps the New York Post was merely talking about an anonymous revolt waged on the comments sections of CNN articles. Or something.
What’s comical about this situation is that the people quoted in Farhi’s story requested anonymity, “so as not to alienate their employer” while saying things supporting their employer, like, “There aren’t many people who know more than him about how [Trump’s] campaign thinks and works. That could be very valuable to us over the next few months.” And this: “Most [other] networks don’t care about having someone on their shows who represents the views of the campaign of the present GOP nominee. They just don’t care. And then there’s CNN providing what CNN provides — analysis and diversity of opinion. We’re trying to reflect all sides.”
It’s a new one: These sources requested anonymity to make glowing comments about their employer.