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By Claire Atkinson
CNN's hiring of a former spokesman for then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions as a political editor revived the debate on the "revolving door" between politics and journalism.
On Tuesday, Politico announced that the cable news channel had named Sarah Isgur Flores, a former Ministry of Justice spokesperson with no previous journalism experience, to the media coverage team for the 2020 elections.
On Wednesday morning, an e-mail from CNN's political director David Chalian, vice-president of information Virginia Mosley, and Washington bureau chief Sam Feist described Isgur's role.
"Sarah will spend the first few months here getting to know our systems and our staff," they wrote in an email, obtained by NBC News. "We plan to eventually play a coordinating role in our daily political coverage – helping to organize and communicate between information gathering, digital and television. With two dozen candidates to cover, constant coordination is more necessary than ever. "
The news of Isgur's hiring quickly attracted criticism from former government employees and journalists.
"As a former Spox of the DOJ, I am stunned by that" tweeted Melanie R. Newman, former spokesperson for the Department of Justice under Loretta Lynch, under the Obama administration. "Does anyone think I could have gone to CNN after being spox for Loretta Lynch?" No matter who? No? Neither do I."
Emily Bell, director of the Digital Journalism Towing Center at Columbia University, tweeted, "What I think most often is that either Isgur will not really do the job she describes, or CNN will not really do of journalism during the period of 2020. campaign. "
CNN has not responded to a request for comment.
CNN Chief Correspondent Brian Stelter Regretted against rental reviews, noting that Isgur is the most recent example of officials entering the media industry.
ABC hired former presidential adviser George Stephanopoulos, while Tim Russert was assistant to New York Governor Mario Cuomo, before joining NBC News and becoming a "Meet the Press" host. CBS recently recruited Caitlin Conant as Political Director. She was Director of Communications for CBS News in Washington and was previously Regional Director of Communications for Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
"A GOP operator joins CNN" gets a lot of criticism, especially from Dems, "Stelter tweeted," But whether we like it or hate it, political insiders have been joining newsrooms for decades. The more points of view represented in the newsrooms, the better. @CNNPR refused to comment. "
CNN has not issued a statement on the hiring of Isgur. Isgur has not responded to a request for comment.
CNN, the prime target of President Donald Trump's criticism, has hired various pro-Trump voices to try to balance the perspectives of his comments, including former Trump campaign director Corey Lewandowski; Jason Miller, former director of communications for the Trump campaign; and Jeffrey Lord, who was a member of the Reagan Administration staff – all of them no longer with CNN.
The Vox Digital Media Web site reported that Isgur would not be involved in reporting on the Department of Justice, which is at the center of one of the biggest political reports of the day: the lawyer's investigation special Robert Mueller.
Brett Bruen, chairman of the Global Situation Room consulting firm and former diplomat of President Barack Obama, said the hiring of Isgur contributed to the recent erosion of journalistic standards.
"It's the continuing blur of news, politics and entertainment," said Bruen. "It's a really worrying development, a development without explanation."
"We should find ways to incorporate more moderate voices in this coverage," Bruen added.
Isgur had strongly criticized Trump before joining the DOJ and criticized CNN, calling at one point the "Clinton News Network" in a tweet.
Mike McCurry, who was the White House press secretary for President Bill Clinton, put forth a positive word for Isgur.
"Go easy on those who are fleeing Trump-Land for the real world … as long as they are good and skilled," he said.
In addition to political intrigue, Isgur's recruitment comes as CNN's owner, AT & T, has long been fighting the Justice Department for its acquisition of Time Warner. The GM had previously suggested that CNN or another major asset be sold for AT & T approval.
The Justice Department is still fighting the AT & T-Time Warner merger.