CNN host Jake Tapper did not report that Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, is still being paid severance by Trump’s campaign while simultaneously receiving a salary as a CNN contributor, in Lewandowski’s first appearance since the network’s acknowledgment of the severance package drew criticism.
CNN anchor Chris Cuomo and host Don Lemon disclosed in July 11 and July 12 segments that Lewandowski is “still receiving severance from the Trump campaign” while he is drawing a salary from the network as a CNN contributor to discuss the candidate on-air. Several media outlets criticized CNN after Media Matters drew attention to that new disclosure in a July 13 post.
Though Lewandowski was hired by CNN on June 23, it appears the network did not report the severance arrangement for three weeks, which raised a series of ethical questions about the network’s awareness of arrangements between Lewandowski and Trump -- including a non-disclosure and possible non-disparagement agreement -- at the time of Lewandowski’s hiring.
During the July 17 edition of CNN’s State of the Union -- Lewandowski’s first CNN appearance since the severance package was first disclosed -- host Jake Tapper introduced Lewandowski as “Donald Trump’s former campaign manager,” but did not note the severance package his colleagues reported just five days prior.
It is unclear whether Lewandowski is still receiving severance from the Trump campaign, but after the severance package was first reported, CNN “did not explain why the new step is being taken,” according to the Associated Press.
Media observers, including CNN’s own staff, have widely criticized the network over Lewandowski’s hiring, noting the various ethical conflicts surrounding Lewandowski’s likely non-disparagement agreement, an ongoing defamation suit against Lewandowski and Trump, and Lewandowski’s continued role as a Trump adviser while being paid by CNN.