CNN senior vice president Sam Feist announced on Wednesday that former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, who left the Obama administration in June 2014, will be joining the liberal news network as a political commentator. Feist praised Carney's "unique experience as both a journalist and a White House press secretary" which will supposedly "make him an invaluable voice for the network as we cover the final two years of the Obama Administration and look ahead to the coming campaigns."
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The former Obama flack's "unique experience" is actually all too common in the news media. Prior to serving in the West Wing, Carney had a two-decade record as a liberal journalist for Time magazine, which the MRC's Tim Graham documented in a 2011 analysis (he also served as communications director for Vice President Joe Biden between 2008 and 2011):
"In towns like Pushkino (pop. 90,000), many Russians view the tumult sweeping Moscow with more anxiety and skepticism than do their big-city compatriots...they wonder if the destruction of Soviet communism will bring them anything more than uncertainty and hardship."
-- Time reporter James Carney, September 9, 1991.
"Perhaps the most startling thing about Hillary Clinton's performance last week on Capitol Hill was the silent but devastating rebuke it sent to her cartoonists. This was not the Hillary as overbearing wife, the Hillary as left-wing ideologue, or even the Hillary as mushy-headed spiritual adviser to the nation. This was Hillary the polite but passionate American citizen -- strangely mesmerizing because of how she matched the poise and politics of her delivery with the power of her position. No wonder some of Washington's most acid tongues and pens took the week off."
-- Time reporters James Carney, Michael Duffy, and Julie Johnson, October 11, 1993.
"At 10 am E.T. last Thursday, nine of the nation’s top conservative economists stopped what they were doing, placed a call to the same telephone number and spent the next 90 minutes debating how to save George W. Bush from his own party."
-- Time reporter James Carney in an August 9, 1999 article titled "Bush’s Tax Tango: He wants to please rich Republicans and keep his pledge to be compassionate. Can he pull it off?"
"If it sounds as if George Bush is protesting too much, that's because he's got a credibility problem. It's hard enough being the leader of a party that has made headlines by shutting down the government and refusing to add a few quarters to the minimum wage. The Texas Governor also has his own recent past to overcome, including a bruising primary fight that featured him cozying up to the religious right and running a singularly uncompassionate campaign against his opponent, John McCain."
--Time's James Carney and John F. Dickerson, April 24. 2000.
Despite this record, Carney claimed on the July 30, 2014 edition of CBS's Late Show with David Letterman that he was an objective correspondent all along: " Right after the election in 2008, I was the Washington bureau chief for Time. And I was an old-fashioned journalist, not an advocate, didn't take sides in my job. But I was extremely excited personally about the Obama-Biden victory." One wonders if he still has this excitement, and if he will bring onto his new gig at CNN.
Previously, CNN hired former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer in September 2011 as a political contributor. Unlike Carney, Fleischer was never a journalist, and left as a regular contributor to the liberal news network in October 2013. However, he still makes occasional appearances on CNN, as recently as Sunday's edition of Reliable Sources.