News & Politics

Totally Not a Liberal Hack Network CNN Hires Liberal Hack John Harwood

Moderator John Harwood speaks during the CNBC Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Last week, Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) dismissed CNN correspondent Manu Raju as a “liberal hack,” causing talking heads at the network to erupt in rage. CNN host Wolf Blitzer called it “disgusting.” Yet on Tuesday, CNN proved its liberal hack credentials by hiring former CNBC Editor-at-Large John Harwood.

“some personal news: this is my first day at [CNN] as White House Correspondent. honored and proud to join a team of journalists I’ve admired for so long,” Harwood announced on Tuesday morning.

If anyone is a liberal hack, it’s John Harwood. During the 2016 primary, Harwood moderated a Republican primary presidential debate. Before the debate, he asked Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta, “What should I ask Jeb?” This revelation came out in the WikiLeaks dump of Podesta’s emails in November 2016, days before the general election.

Yet even at the time, Harwood’s bias was palpable. During the debate, he asked Donald Trump, “Is this a comic-book version of a presidential campaign?”

In a later email to Podesta after the debate, Harwood told Clinton’s campaign manager, “I imagine that Obama feels some (sad) vindication at this demonstration of his years-long point about the opposition party veering off the rails. I certainly am feeling that way with respect to how I questioned Trump at our debate.”

As The Hill‘s Joe Concha noted, this question did not come from a campaign surrogate for Clinton or even an opinion host supporting her — it came from the chief Washington correspondent at CNBC. The title of “chief Washington correspondent” means “Harwood is not an opinion host or a partisan pundit — he’s one who represents the network as objective and nonpartisan. It also means he cannot consult with opposition campaigns for advice — nor can he provide advice back to a campaign, which Harwood has on several occasions via recent WikiLeaks dumps.”

“The optics of Harwood advising a presidential campaign while allowing the campaign to write questions for his network are not only horrible, but the hubris he displayed afterward is a huge turnoff to at least half CNBC’s audience, which now views Harwood as a comic-book version of a chief Washington correspondent,” Concha wrote, scathingly. “But don’t expect Harwood or Hoffman to ever apologize. And don’t expect Harwood — unless he’s offered a dream job as economic adviser in a Clinton administration — to ever leave the network.”

Concha called on CNBC to change Harwood’s title at the very least.

Last December, Harwood seemed to agree with the idea that the media is too biased … in favor of Republicans. He retweeted CNN’s Brian Stelter, who quoted The Washington Post‘s Margaret Sullivan as saying, “In an unceasing effort to be seen as neutral, journalists, time after time, fell into the trap of presenting facts and lies as roughly equivalent and then blaming political tribalism for not seeming to know the difference.”

Harwood called it a “good description of the challenge for journalism,” adding that it’s “hard for reporters to say plainly that the Republican Party, at this point in our history, is fundamentally broken… but it is.”

The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway rightly mocked this asinine suggestion. “‘The problem with journalism is that it’s just too fair to the right,’ sounds like a totally not insane thing to say. My goodness these people have lost all touch with reality,” she tweeted.

Hemingway proved similarly acerbic when Harwood joined CNN on Tuesday.

“As has been documented for years, this man is too dim and way too hackishly partisan to be offering even his poorly-developed opinions at a legit outlet. To be a WH correspondent is flat out laughable. This would be shameful, if CNN were intending to be treated as respectable,” she tweeted.

Good going, CNN. Liberal hacks gotta liberal hack.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.