Expect to see some new faces on cable TV news after the election as people leave Congress and the administration and seek work in the media world.
But do not expect to see many members of the Trump administration turning up on CNN anytime soon. CNN’s president, Jeff Zucker “has told people inside and outside the network that he’s not interested in hiring former officials he perceives as complicit in spreading falsehoods or spurious talking points,” wrote Jason Schwartz and Gabby Orr at Politico under the headline, “CNN cools on hiring Trump alums.”
“CNN is known for its big panels and endless parade of talking heads, but the network is signaling that it’s running out of room for figures from President Donald Trump’s administration,” the story begins.
One of the four unnamed sources who confirmed Zucker’s views for Politico said, “If they do any hiring after the midterms, it’s more likely to be members of Congress, senators and governors who lost their races, plus outgoing GOP members.” It said this group could include people who would likely defend Trump.
Zucker ruled out Trump alums after CNN “took flak for hiring analysts who had signed non-disclosure agreements” and now that its “relationship with the White House has grown even more tense after the network was sent pipe bombs over the last week.”
The non-disclosure agreements mentioned were between the former White House officials and President Trump, and officials who have gone to TV have been accused of being unable to answer key questions because of the agreements.
It marks a change from the recent past as well. Zucker hired former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to help cover the 2016 campaign and, more recently, Trump’s former top liaison to Congress, Marc Short.
The rule is not absolute, Politico reported, and “Zucker would be interested in what he views as independent-minded officials who he thinks have avoided damaging their credibility.” Nikki Haley, the outgoing U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is sited as an example.
Zucker’s views may have become public, but the No Trump Officials Rule is in force elsewhere as well.
“At MSNBC, where the conservative voices are almost uniformly of the never-Trump variety, executives are also out on former Trump administration officials,” Schwartz and Orr wrote. “But Fox News, where ex-Trump aide Sebastian Gorka became a paid national security analyst after leaving the White House, could be more welcoming to former administration officials.”
And it’s not just the networks.
“The broader job landscape for departing Trump officials could be just as challenging beyond media,” Politico wrote. “Some officials from the Trump administration have already struggled to land the same high-powered jobs their predecessors in the George W. Bush and Obama administrations secured.”
It points to Obama’s press secretaries, Robert Gibbs and Jay Carney, landing at McDonald’s and Amazon, respectively, and Andy Card of the George W. Bush administration landing at Fleishman-Hillard as examples of alums from past presidents who have succeeded after the White House.
It acknowledges some White House departees have landed on their feet as well – Hope Hicks at Fox, Josh Raffel at Juul, former national security adviser Dina Powell and former chief of staff Reince Priebus returning to their former employers.
But it says Steve Bannon, Sean Spicer and others have not been so successful.
“People whose resumes predate the White House are basically going to end up fine,” it quotes one former official as saying. “People who think their job in the White House is going to their golden parachute to a high-level corporate gig are going to find themselves crashing and burning.”
CNN also thinks it can ignore Trump officials because that angle is covered. “There is a feeling inside CNN that the contributor roster is pretty full on all sides,” an official is quoted anonymously as saying. “People who have ‘in the room’ expertise but who operated under the radar and did not publicly defend Trump’s less factual statements could stand a better chance.”