Donna Brazile is not apologizing for leaking CNN debate questions and topics to the Hillary Clinton campaign during the Democratic primary. Her only regret, it seems, is that she got caught.
“My conscience — as an activist, a strategist — is very clear,” the interim chair of the Democratic National Committee said Monday during a satellite radio interview with liberal activist and SiriusXM host Joe Madison. She added that “if I had to do it all over again, I would know a hell of a lot more about cybersecurity.”
In other words, Brazile would have made sure that her improper disclosures — which prompted CNN to drop her as an analyst — would not show up in hacked emails published by WikiLeaks. The lesson, apparently, is to pick up the phone or perhaps meet John Podesta in a dark alleyway.
Madison hardly objected. In fact, he said CNN should have expected this kind of thing.
“The one thing folk need to understand at CNN, MSNBC and all of this: When you hire folk who are, as you say, the, you know — their responsibility is to their candidate and their party,” Madison said, “they're going to do whatever they can to win. That's just — that's the nature of the beast.”
What a cynical view. Sure, Brazile is a longtime Democratic operative, but the network should have been able to trust that Brazile would care about the integrity of her employer's debates, too, and not abuse her position.
Notice that Brazile said her conscience is clear “as an activist, a strategist.” She is basically confirming one of the most negative perceptions of political operations — that the guiding ethos is whatever it takes to win. According to this cutthroat code of conduct, she did the right thing by putting her party's front-runner above all else.
For journalists who believe it is time to purge cable news of partisan pundits, Monday's remarks by Brazile will only strengthen their resolve. She is suggesting that when operatives double as commentators, their true loyalties are in politics, not journalism, and they will try to use their positions in the media to advance their causes.