Double standards

CNN just dumped a compromised Clinton backer. Why is it still employing Trump’s ex-campaign chief?

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Now that interim Democratic National Committee chair Donna Brazile, a Hillary Clinton supporter, has been forced to resign her post as a longtime contributor on CNN due to some ethically dubious activity, it’s worth a reminder that the network still employs Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager who continues to pal around with the reality TV star-turned-candidate.

The network confirmed on Monday that it had severed ties with Brazile after the latest Wikileaks email dump revealed the longtime Democratic operator leaked a question that Clinton would be asked during a CNN-sponsored Democratic debate to the Clinton campaign ahead of time. It wasn’t clear from the email how Brazile had obtained the question.

screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-3-04-12-pmvia Wikileaks

It’s not the first time that the Wikileaks hack has landed Brazile in hot water. Another email published by Wikileaks, dated March 12, 2016, included the subject line, “from time to time I get the questions in advance.” A message from the same email chain obtained by Politico showed Brazile allegedly handing over a question about the death penalty ahead of a CNN town hall event.

After that revelation, Brazile denied leaking questions to the Clinton camp, saying in a statement, “I never had access to questions and would never have shared them with the candidates if I did.”

In a statement, CNN said the network had officially accepted her resignation on October 14, and was “completely uncomfortable” with her apparent behavior.

Brazile tweeted she was “honored” to work with the network and urged others to commit to voting on Election Day.

CNN wasn’t left with much choice in dropping Brazile after the emails made her leaks explicit. Even though network contributors are rarely paradigms of objective journalism–they’re most frequently political strategists with experience working in the trenches of partisan politics–leaking a question before a debate with Bernie Sanders went beyond the pale.

But CNN’s axing of Brazile in the name of ethical journalism feels awfully hollow when you remember that Lewandowski, who the network scooped up just three days after the Trump campaign dumped him, remains safely on the network payroll as a contributor.

For two months, campaign filings showed Lewandowski was drawing checks from both CNN and the Trump campaign in the form of severance payments, which a Trump spokesman said would continue through the end of the year. But after continuing criticism about Lewandowski’s overt conflict of interests, the campaign finally paid out his severance in a lump sum last month.

That would be a move in the right direction if Lewandowski wasn’t spotted palling around with the GOP nominee earlier this month, pulling his hoodie all the way over his face in an effort to disguise his identity after spending the day on Trump’s plane with the candidate.

As Donald Trump & Co. have demonstrated time and time again, it’s a great year to be a white dude in America. You just have to hope like hell that your email doesn’t get hacked.