CNN Loves Hiring Former Obama Officials


Amber Athey Podcast Columnist
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CNN personalities have repeatedly attacked Fox News for allegedly being a mouthpiece for President Donald Trump, pointing to the number of Fox anchors and pundits who have joined the administration over the past year and a half.

CNN has its own extensive history, however, of being a revolving door for the Obama administration and even masquerading former Obama officials as impartial journalists.

CNN’s current chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto served in the Obama administration as the senior adviser to the U.S. ambassador to China. (RELATED: MSNBC And CNN Employees Dominate White House Press Briefings)

Despite having an obvious conflict of interest in foreign policy reporting — particularly on issues relating to China — Sciutto is often presented on the network as an objective reporter. He has reported on the Iran Deal, the United States’ deal to save China’s ZTE, and other international stories without CNN ever indicating that he served in the Obama administration.



Sciutto’s bias has made its way into his reporting before.

In 2017, Sciutto claimed that the Obama administration cared more about “civilian casualties” than the Trump administration. (RELATED: Gen. Hertling Shoots Down CNN’s Jim Sciutto — ‘Having Been In The Military…’)

In February of 2018, Sciutto falsely claimed that the Steele dossier was first funded by Republicans and refused to issue a retraction or correction after TheDC pointed out his mistake. In May, he made sure to point out that the “closest US allies” opposed Trump leaving the Iran Deal. (RELATED: Media Still Pinning Steele Dossier On Republicans)

John Kirby, who served as a State Department spokesperson and Pentagon press secretary during the Obama administration, appears on CNN as a military and diplomatic analyst.

Kirby is always identified by his former titles while appearing on the network, but CNN often fails to identify his connection to Obama.

Kirby was never identified as an Obama official during a July 11 appearance as he slammed President Donald Trump for not denouncing Russia strongly enough and for attacking NATO allies.


While Kirby’s role is to provide political commentary and not objective reporting, it is odd that he is afforded free rein to attack the president without viewers ever being informed about his political associations.

CNN justice reporter Laura Jarrett boasts a familial connection to the Obama administration — her mother is Valerie Jarrett, former senior adviser to Obama. Jarrett’s biography indicates she had no reporting experience prior to joining CNN yet the network tasked her with covering Trump’s Department of Justice.

According to the Media Research Center, CNN has conducted at least seven interviews with Valerie Jarrett wherein the host never disclosed that her daughter works for the network.

CNN’s cozy relationship with the Obama White House has worked in the opposite direction as well. In 2009, Sasha Johnson, a senior political producer for the network, left to join the administration as a press secretary for the Department of Transportation. During her time at CNN, Johnson covered the  2008 Obama campaign extensively.

“After 10 1/2 years at CNN, which included three presidential campaigns, I am ready for a new challenge and ready to fulfill another career goal – the opportunity to work in public policy,” Johnson said in an email to colleagues at the time of her departure.

Similarly, former CNN war correspondent Aneesh Raman quit his job and became an intern for the Obama campaign in 2008, eventually serving as Obama’s domestic policy speechwriter.

“To bear witness, up close to that kind of historic campaign and to be a part of it, even in a small way, was something singular,” Raman said in an interview with AsAmNews.

In addition to serving as “objective” reporters and analysts, other Obama officials joined CNN to provide partisan political commentary. Former senior adviser for strategy and communications Dan Pfeiffer, former press secretary Jay Carney, former national security adviser Samantha Vinograd, and former deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken have all served as CNN contributors or analysts at one time or another.

CNN also recently hired former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper after he was suspected of leaking classified information to its journalists.

According to a House Intelligence report released in April, Clapper acknowledged speaking with CNN reporter Jake Tapper about the infamous Steele dossier while he was serving as DNI. This contradicted earlier claims about whether or not he had spoken to media about the topic, and Clapper still later denied the House Intel report. (RELATED: James Clapper Discussed Dossier With CNN, According To House Intel Report)

Clapper was present at a meeting with President Donald Trump wherein then-FBI director James Comey briefed the soon-to-be president about the existence of the dossier. The fact that Trump was briefed on the dossier was later leaked to CNN. (RELATED: James Clapper Provided ‘Inconsistent Testimony’ About Media Contacts, Report Claims)

Clapper’s quick pick-up by CNN gave the appearance that he was being rewarded for allegedly handing CNN a scoop on a hot news item.

Former FBI agent Josh Campbell similarly raised eyebrows when he joined CNN after very publicly leaving the FBI and blaming his resignation on President Donald Trump. Campbell served at the FBI from 2008 to 2018.

Campbell’s closeness with former director Comey and his relative inexperience in the field raised questions as to whether CNN hired him to provide real expertise or to give the network more ammo against President Trump. Those questions were not assuaged by Campbell’s FBI goodbye flyer, which said his role at CNN was to “defend the bureau.” (RELATED: Why Did CNN Hire Comey’s Former Assistant Josh Campbell?)

CNN only describes Campbell as a “law enforcement analyst.”

In case the heavy mix of reporters and commentators affiliated with Obama weren’t enough, CNN also hosts former Obama senior adviser David Axelrod’s podcast, “The Axe Files.”

CNN employs a few former Trump aides, such as Jason Miller, a Trump transition team member, and Marc Short, the former director of legislative affairs. They also have their fair share of “Never Trumpers” in Ana Navarro, a Republican who voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, and Amanda Carpenter, a former aide to Sen. Ted Cruz.

CNN does not currently have an updated, full list of contributors to the network, but it seems no administration past or present has as much representation at CNN — who claims to be an impartial, unbiased network — than the Obama White House.

CNN did not respond to a request for comment.

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Daily Caller intern Christopher Smith contributed to this report.