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Rodney Ho covers TV and radio, from Atlanta’s stations to the hottest “American Idol" news.

Is there a 'revolt' at CNN over hiring Donald Trump's former campaign manager?

By RODNEY HO/, originally filed Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Some CNN employees are not pleased the company has hired recently fired Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski as a paid commentator.

The New York Post first reported a "revolt" internally at the company, especially among female producers and reporters, after it claimed he was being paid a whopping $500,000 to work for the company.

The Post reported on Monday that the Donald’s daughter Ivanka gave her dad an ultimatum to cut Corey loose after she was distressed by news he’d grabbed reporter Michelle Fields by the arm at a Florida event, and by a Page Six report that he recently got into a shouting match on a Midtown street with campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks.

CNN's media critic Brian Stelter talked to colleagues and said on air during Sunday's "Reliable Sources" that there was no "organized protest" or real "revolt" over Lewandowski's hiring but acknowledges that "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 understand the hiring.”

On Monday, Lewandowski appeared on "New Day" where host Alisyn Camerota asked him straight out: “It turns out not everybody is a fan of the decision. You never seemed to have much respect for the press.”

Lewandowski disagreed: “I have great relationships with the media…look, I love everybody. I love you, right? The bottom line is I have a great relationship with the press. I have a lot of friends at all of the networks.”

Indeed, many in the media outside CNN didn't find this a smart hire.

Media critic Rem Reider of USA Today said hiring political talking heads at cable networks is now standard practice but hardly a desirable one.

"While some actually do offer valuable insights, far too many simply deliver predictable partisanship that adds nothing to the public's understanding," he wrote. Lewandowski's hire was particularly "horrendous," he wrote, because he is less a strategist and more Trump's former "right-hand man, a body man and an enforcer. So there is little reason to suspect Lewandowski will add much insight and perspective to the political dialogue."

Salon was even harsher with its headline: "CNN can't sink any lower: Corey Lewandowski's hiring is an affront to our very democracy. Trump's ex-campaign manager has abused journalists at every turn, and Jeff Zucker is rewarding him -- handsomely."

The story notes he is muzzled to a degree as well, courtesy of a "legally binding nondisclosure agreement"  that prohibits him from disparaging Trump or any member of his family.

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About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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