The Corner


When the Media Bubble Rejects the Pin

Former Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores participates in a forum at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., March 22, 2018. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

I have no particular brief for — or against — Sarah Isgur Flores, the former Justice Department spokeswoman hired by CNN to be a political editor. Maybe she’ll be great, maybe she won’t. But I find the freakout about CNN’s decision a bit pathetic. I don’t like the revolving door between politics and journalism very much. But its existence doesn’t hinge on my approval. It was a thing long before CNN hired Flores and it will still be a thing if they decide to throw her under the bus.

If anything, I prefer it when the migration goes from politics to journalism than the other way around. Or at least I think that it’s less unseemly.

Recall that a remarkable number of supposedly objective journalists found jobs in the Obama administration, including Rick Stengel, Jay Carney, and Linda Douglass. What was unseemly was how so many of these journalists insisted — sometimes with Biblical levels of haughtiness and eye-rolling — that it was nuts to think that mainstream journalists were biased. And, yet, like a flipped quarter landing on heads 99 times in a row, whenever these objective reporters revealed their partisan biases we learned — literally to no one’s surprise — that they were run-of the-mill liberal Democrats.

I like the reverse migration better because there’s less dishonesty to it. No one will have any doubts about Flores’s views and, perhaps because of that, she’ll try to compensate in the name of balance.

I understand that the guild is trying to make this about her qualifications more than her ideology. Fine. But those rules have been bent over and over. Just off the top of my head:  Tim Russert was an aide to Pat Moynihan and Mario Cuomo before he made the leap to NBC News where he quickly rose to be Washington Bureau Chief and host of Meet The Press. George Stephanopoulos was a prominent aide to Bill Clinton and before that a Democratic staffer on the Hill. Then he went to ABC News. Pierre Salinger was a White House press secretary for both JFK and LBJ before becoming an ABC News correspondent.

And then there are all of the analysts who got their start in politics.

Jeff Greenfield was a speechwriter for Bobby Kennedy. Chris Matthews was an aide to various Democrats. Perhaps no job buys you more instant cache as a pundit than being a former White House speechwriter. I’d list them all, but it would take too long.

Again, I have no idea if CNN made the right hire here. But the freakout on Twitter and apparently within CNN feels more like the guild of cool kids closing ranks against an outsider than a serious argument about her qualifications or the sanctity of their profession.

Something to Consider

If you enjoyed this article, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS. Members get all of our content (including the magazine), no paywalls or content meters, an advertising-minimal experience, and unique access to our writers and editors (conference calls, social-media groups, etc.). And importantly, NRPLUS members help keep NR going. Consider it?

If you enjoyed this article, and were stimulated by its contents, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS.

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

Most Popular


Cold Brew’s Insidious Hegemony

Soon, many parts of the United States will be unbearably hot. Texans and Arizonans will be able to bake cookies on their car dashboards; the garbage on the streets of New York will be especially pungent; Washington will not only figuratively be a swamp. And all across America, coffee consumers will turn their ... Read More
National Security & Defense

The Warmonger Canard

Whatever the opposite of a rush to war is — a crawl to peace, maybe — America is in the middle of one. Since May 5, when John Bolton announced the accelerated deployment of the Abraham Lincoln carrier group to the Persian Gulf in response to intelligence of a possible Iranian attack, the press has been aflame ... Read More

The Merit of Merit-Based Immigration

Having chain-migrated his way into the White House and a little bit of political power, Donald Trump’s son-in-law is shopping around an immigration plan. And if you can get past the hilarious juxtaposition of the words “merit-based” and “Jared Kushner,” it’s a pretty good one. As things stand, the ... Read More
NR Webathon

We’ve Had Bill Barr’s Back

One of the more dismaying features of the national political debate lately is how casually and cynically Attorney General Bill Barr has been smeared. He is routinely compared to Roy Cohn on a cable-TV program that prides itself on assembling the most thoughtful and plugged-in political analysts and ... Read More
NR Webathon

Socialism Is about Taking, Not Giving

The snakiest of snake-oil pitches goes like this: Give us some of your freedom and we’ll take care of you. Socialists have been making similar claims back as far as Plato. The end result doesn’t have to be Venezuela. It can just be . . . Europe. What’s wrong with Europe? Despite a turn away from ... Read More