CNN Defends Hiring Ex-Sessions Spox Sarah Isgur: ‘We Are Thrilled’

384757 02: The Cable News Network (CNN) logo adorns the top of CNN's offices on the Sunset Strip, January 24, 2000 in Hollywood, CA. CNN was hit with job cuts earlier this week after CNN's parent company, Time-Warner... 384757 02: The Cable News Network (CNN) logo adorns the top of CNN's offices on the Sunset Strip, January 24, 2000 in Hollywood, CA. CNN was hit with job cuts earlier this week after CNN's parent company, Time-Warner, Inc., completed its merger with America Online, Inc. (Photo by David McNew/Newsmakers) MORE LESS
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February 20, 2019 10:41 a.m.

CNN sent out an internal memo defending the hiring of former Jeff Sessions spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Wednesday after the news broke in other outlets and sparked widespread outcry.

The memo, obtained by TPM and signed by CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist, expresses managers’ delight with the hire and details the experience Isgur will bring to the network. Isgur has never worked in journalism but will coordinate news coverage of the 2020 campaigns.

You may have heard that Sarah Isgur will be joining CNN in the coming weeks as a Political Editor. We wish we had been able to share this news with you before it was reported in the press but as Washington is a town full of journalists, news like this sometimes gets out.

We’re thrilled that Sarah is coming to CNN. She brings a wealth of government, political, communications, and legal experience to our team.

Sarah will spend the first few months here getting to know our systems and our people. Eventually we plan to have her play a coordinating role in our daily political coverage – helping to organize and communicate between newsgathering, digital, and television. With two dozen candidates to cover, constant coordination is needed more than ever.

Sarah will report to David and work alongside Steve, Terence, and the digital politics team to make sure that all of our audiences get the most from our political reporting.

She starts March 11th. We look forward to introducing Sarah to all of you.

The Daily Beast attributes the letter to Newsgathering Vice President Virginia Mosley and Political Director David Chalian, in addition to Feist.

According to CNN’s Brian Stelter, many of his coworkers have reacted with anger to the hire, citing the ethical murkiness of accepting a political operative into the newsroom, Isgur’s lack of journalistic experience and the network’s sluggishness in sharing the news internally.

Isgur is also on the record criticizing the network in a way familiar to any President Donald Trump watchers, prompting cries of hypocrisy.

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