As NewsBusters has previously reported, the national media (including CNN itself) have gone into an uproar over CNN’s decision to hire Sarah Isgur Flores as deputy political editor. Flores's previous jobs have included Justice Department spokeswoman, and aide to Republican presidential bids by Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, and Mitt Romney.
The topic came up on Wednesday’s Tucker Carlson Tonight, where the eponymous host discussed the hiring hysteria with media reporter for The Hill Joe Concha. Concha ended up highlighting a blaring double standard when it comes to CNN’s hiring of political operatives with “no journalism experience.”
Carlson dismissed the idea that there were “ethical implications” to hiring somebody “who publicly supported Trump,” noting that “there are quite a few former Obama staffers on the CNN payroll.”
For example, Van Jones, who served as President Obama’s “green jobs czar”, works as a CNN political commentator and host of a weekend show; Samantha Vinograd, who worked on President Obama’s National Security Council, now works as a CNN national security analyst; and Jim Sciutto, who worked as a senior adviser to President Obama’s U.S. Ambassador to China, now tries to pass himself off as an objective co-host of CNN Newsroom and chief national security correspondent.
Concha read aloud some headlines about CNN’s hiring of Isgur Flores, including one from Vox: “CNN Hires GOP Operative With No Journalism Experience to Coordinate Its 2020 Coverage,” and one from Esquire: “CNN Just Set the New Standard for Corporate Media’s Chickensh** Catering to Republicans.”
Concha included more examples of left-wing hysteria surrounding CNN’s new hire in an article he wrote for The Hill earlier in the day.
Concha then proceeded to outline a seemingly hypothetical scenario that actually turned out to be real:
But let’s put it this way, let’s say that CNN hired Valerie Jarrett’s daughter, okay, and she was assigned to cover the Trump DOJ despite having no journalism experience whatsoever. Do you think that Esquire, Vox, and all of these other publications would be going nuts right now over a hiring like that of somebody who has no journalism experience but obviously has a bias, and the answer is, we already know the answer, because that actually happened in 2017.
A bewildered Carlson made it clear that he had no idea CNN hired Laura Jarrett, the daughter of President Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett, to work at the network. Concha responded: “Of course you didn’t, it was barely reported.”
Concha brought up how the media reacted similarly when MSNBC dared to give conservative Hugh Hewitt a half-hour show on Saturday mornings: “Everybody was in an uproar because Andy Lack was trying to bring MSNBC too far to the right.”
He then continued: “that’s what happens, you hire anybody from the right in left leaning news organizations and they go nuts, because it’s not conforming to the way things have always gone; like with George Stephanopoulos or like with David Shipley, who worked for the Clinton administration, went to be on a New York Times op-ed editor.”
Carlson ultimately concluded that the media “are not really in favor of diversity.” After all, if they really cared about diversity, surely they would not mind CNN hiring Flores to “balance things out a little bit.”
A transcript of the relevant portion of Wednesday’s Tucker Carlson Tonight is below. Click “expand” to read more.
Tucker Carlson Tonight
08:53 p.m. Eastern
TUCKER CARLSON: Well, the press, known of course, especially the national press, particularly CNN, for its scrupulous political neutrality. So it goes without saying that the hiring of a single middle-of-the-road former Republican staffer has people hysterical about bias. Former DOJ Spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores was just hired by CNN as Deputy Political Editor. According to that creepy kid who covers media for CNN, the staff over there were furious; one unnamed reporter called it a “disaster” and said there were ethical implications to working for someone who publicly supported Trump. Of course, there are quite a few former Obama staffers on the CNN payroll, no problem. Here to tell us more about all of this is media reporter Joe Concha, who covers the press for The Hill. Good to see you, Joe. So…
JOE CONCHA: Hey Tucker.
CARLSON: …just for the record, Sarah Isgur Flores, I know well, and I, I think of a lot of her, but I, my impression is never that she was some florid right winger, I mean I don’t know, but I certainly don’t have that impression of her. Is she and why the hysteria over this?
CONCHA: She has worked for some pretty moderate Republicans whether you are talking about Mitt Romney or Carly Fiorina, obviously, she was Jeff Sessions’ spokesperson, and you’re right, the headlines are incredible here. “CNN Hires GOP Operative With No Journalism Experience to Coordinate Its 2020 Coverage,” that was Vox. Esquire; “CNN Just Set the New Standard For Corporate Media’s Chicken stuff catering to Republicans,” again CNN catering to Republicans, every analysis and study I’ve seen has been overwhelmingly negative towards the President and the administration. But let’s put it this way, let’s say CNN hired Valerie Jarrett’s daughter, okay, and she was assigned to cover the Trump DOJ despite having no journalism experience whatsoever. Do you think that Esquire, Vox, and all of these other publications would be going nuts right now over a hiring like that of somebody who has no journalism experience but obviously has a bias, and the answer is, we already know the answer, because that actually happened in 2017. And you can go down the list, I mean…
CARLSON: Really? I didn’t know that.
CONCHA: Look at George Stephanopoulos.
CONCHA: Yeah, yeah, well, of course you didn’t, it was barely reported, I wrote about, I think, two years ago, but there wasn’t a lot of coverage on that. And again, we see what happened with Hugh Hewitt at MSNBC, everybody was in an uproar because Andy Lack was trying to bring MSNBC too far to the right by giving Hugh Hewitt an 8:00 A.M. Saturday morning show for a half hour. He didn’t even get the full hour. I was actually on the show, it was quite fun, and it was like, what are you doing? You’re turning into Fox News. So that’s what happens, you hire anybody from the right in left leaning news organizations and they go nuts, because it’s not conforming to the way things have always gone; like with George Stephanopoulos or like with David Shipley who worked for the Clinton administration, went to be on a New York Times op-ed editor, and the list goes on, Tucker.
CARLSON: I’m starting to think they’re really not in favor of diversity.
CONCHA: Well, it depends on what kind of diversity we’re talking about. Right? I mean, if we’re talking about ideological diversity…
CARLSON: Actual diversity, where people are different.
CARLSON: Right. They’re not into it.
CONCHA: And, and look, it was overblown, they’re trying to say that Sarah Flores is going to oversee all of the 2020 coverage, no, she reports up to people and there are several people that have the same title that she does, so it’s just one person to try to balance things out a little bit, I mean, give CNN a little bit of credit in that regard. But then again, I would say that I agree with the left’s or left-leaning publications when they say you could have hired 100 other political editors here that can’t be kind of compromised in any way, because we saw what happened at CNN, obviously with Donna Brazile…
CONCHA: …when she got her hands not once, but twice…
CONCHA: …on town hall debate questions and passed them onto the Clinton campaign and said that was my priority over my priority was CNN.
CARLSON: Unbelievable, Joe Concha, great to see you. Thank you.
CONCHA: Good to see you.