CNN Staff On New Hire Lewandowski: "Inexcusable" And "Unprofessional" Behavior, Repeatedly “Faced Accusations Of Being Overly Aggressive”

CNN Staff On New Hire Lewandowski: "Inexcusable" And "Unprofessional" Behavior, Repeatedly “Faced Accusations Of Being Overly Aggressive”

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CNN has hired former Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski despite his history of allegedly manhandling a female reporter, reportedly making “unwanted romantic advances” and “sexual comments about female journalists,” and reportedly “pushing a CNN reporter.” CNN’s own staff previously criticized Lewandowski, calling his behavior "inexcusable" and "unprofessional" and noting he has “faced accusations of being overly aggressive.” Two CNN contributors also signed a letter calling for Trump to fire Lewandowski.

CNN Hires Former Trump Campaign Manager Despite Numerous Red Flags

CNN Has Hired Lewandowski. CNN is hiring former Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Lewandowski, who was fired from the campaign earlier this week, allegedly manhandled a reporter, and news outlets have reported he’s made “unwanted romantic advances” and “sexually suggestive and at times vulgar comments to -- and about -- female journalists.” He was also “accused of pushing a CNN reporter.” [Media Matters, 6/23/16; CNN.com, 6/23/16]

CNN’s Stelter: Lewandowski Hiring “Is Bound To Be Controversial, Even Within The Newsroom.” CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter reported of Lewandowski’s hiring:

Lewandowski's hiring by CNN is bound to be controversial, even within the newsroom, in part because he was accused of assaulting a reporter, Michelle Fields, after a Trump press conference in March. He was later cleared of any charges.

More broadly, the Trump campaign's hostility toward the press has been widely criticized by journalism advocates.

But Lewandowski, in his new role as a regular guest who will be exclusive to CNN, brings the same thing some of CNN's other paid commentators bring: first-hand experience running a presidential campaign. [CNN.com, 6/23/16]

"Some CNN Staffers Were Privately Grumbling On Thursday About Lewandowski's Hiring, Especially In Light Of How He Has Treated Journalists." [Politico, 6/23/16]

CNN Previously Reported That Lewandowski Likely Signed “A Nondisclosure Agreement, So He Cannot Disparage” Trump. CNN senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny reported on June 20: “Anyone who works for the Trump campaign signs a nondisclosure agreement, so he cannot disparage or anything like that at all, not that he might be inclined to.” [Media Matters, 6/23/16]

CNN Staff Previously Criticized Lewandowski’s Behavior, Called For His Firing From Trump Campaign

Reporter Dana Bash To Lewandowski: “Sources Who I've Talked To And Others Who I've Talked To Said That They've Described You As A Hothead, And That You Just Didn't Treat People Right.” [CNN, New Day, 6/21/16, via CNN.com]

CNN Contributors S.E. Cupp And Mary Katharine Ham Signed Letter Describing Lewandowski's Behavior Toward Reporter Michelle Fields "Inexcusable" And Calling For His Firing. CNN.com wrote in March:

Conservative radio host Dana Loesch, Townhall editor Katie Pavlich, Fox News contributor Meghan McCain and 13 other female conservatives signed a letter on Wednesday stating that Lewandowski's "inexcusable" and "unprofessional" behavior toward former Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields was grounds for termination.

"Donald Trump should immediately remove Lewandowski from his campaign," the letter read.

Fields has accused Lewandowski of yanking her arm after a campaign event in Jupiter, Florida, earlier this month. Lewandowski has been charged with minor battery, though Trump said Tuesday night that video of the incident "exonerates him" of any wrongdoing.

[…]

Two CNN contributors are signatories to the letter: S.E. Cupp, who is also a New York Daily News columnist, and Mary Katharine Ham, who is also a senior writer at The Federalist. [CNN.com, 3/30/16; ThinkProgress, 3/30/16]

Blitzer: Lewandowski Has Repeatedly “Faced Accusations Of Being Overly Aggressive.” CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer stated of him:

WOLF BLITZER: We're back with Donald Trump supporter Scottie Nell Hughes as we follow the hour's breaking news. Scottie, this is not the first time, as you well know, that Corey Lewandowski has faced accusations of being overly aggressive. Also in March, after this first incident, Lewandowski was caught on camera appearing to grab a protester by his collar during a rally in Tucson, Arizona. We're showing the viewers some pictures. We will show the viewers some video of that in a moment. There it is right there. So, I guess the bottom line question, is Lewandowski now a liability for Trump? [CNN, The Situation Room, 3/29/16, via CNN.com]

Blitzer Noted That Lewandowski Was Wrong About Not Touching Michelle Fields. From a segment on Blitzer’s CNN show:

BLITZER: Yes, because Lewandowski, as you know, David, he initially denied touching the reporter, Michelle Fields. He called her delusional. And clearly, he touched her, we can see on the video. There was some touching that was going on. That's why the police formally charged him with battery, if you will. [CNN, The Situation Room, 3/29/16, via CNN.com]

Anchor Ashleigh Banfield Noted Lewandowski’s Defense About Fields Was Incorrect. From a segment on Banfield’s CNN show

BANFIELD: This is what Corey Lewandowski tweeted out on March the 10th. That's two days after the event. And I believe the day before the actual charge was - was filed. "Michelle Fields, you are totally delusional. I never touched you. As a matter of fact, I have never even met you." Whether, in fact, he remembers not meeting her, I think the video shows that they clearly met and certainly that there was some kind of touching that was going on. So, again, that was - and then the tweets got even rougher. [CNN, Legal View With Ashleigh Banfield, 3/29/16, via CNN.com]

Stelter Noted Lewandowski “Chang[ed] His Story” About Fields Incident.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: So, initially, when this happened on March 8, he said nothing happened. The Secret Service told them nothing, that everybody was OK, that there was no footage of this incident. He also said that he thought she was making it up, and Corey Lewandowski said he thought she was an attention seeker.

Now that there is this new video he's changing his story and focusing on her as a possible threat. We also heard from Lewandowski's lawyer on "The Today Show". He said Fields changed her story. Initially she suggested she was almost yanked to the ground and now she's not saying that. Here's what the lawyer said this morning. [CNN, CNN Newsroom, 3/30/16, via CNN.com]

Banfield On Lewandowski-Fields Incident: “Trying To Physically Curtail The Press In An Open Country Like Ours Is The Problem.” During her show, Banfield said that “maybe he shouldn't have grabbed someone hard like that. It's not about the apology, it's about the action.” She added: “I think trying to physically curtail the press in an open country like ours is the problem.” [CNN, Legal View With Ashleigh Banfield, 3/29/16, via CNN.com]

Mary Katharine Ham Has Repeatedly Criticized Lewandowski On Twitter. 

*This post has been updated with additional material.

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