When CNN announced it had hired Sarah Isgur as a political editor, it sparked immediate backlash from Democrats and even other CNN employees.
Isgur is a former Justice Department spokeswoman who worked under former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The Democratic National Committee immediately pressured CNN to say that Isgur would have no involvement in Democratic debates hosted on the network
CNN did that, but apparently that wasn't enough. Friday, Isgur announced that she would still be joining CNN—as an analyst, not an editor.
"It's been a great vacation but I am back on twitter! And news: I will go to CNN as a Political Analyst instead," Isgur wrote. "Will start next month on air and online."
It’s been a great vacation but I am back on twitter! And news: I will go to CNN as a Political Analyst instead. Wil… https://t.co/wWQBQP6TVV— Sarah Isgur (@Sarah Isgur)1552077592.0
A CNN statement claims that it was Isgur's request that led to her being an analyst and not an editor.
"We can confirm that when Sarah came to us and proposed her role be adjusted to a political analyst instead, we agreed and we look forward to her starting in that role," The statement read.
CNN spox on Sarah Isgur's change in role to political analyst: "We can confirm that when Sarah came to us and propo… https://t.co/Me87PZooaK— Oliver Darcy (@Oliver Darcy)1552078657.0
It was never totally clear to the public what Isgur's exact role would've been as an editor at CNN; the only public statements were about what Isgur wouldn't be allowed to do because of her Republican work history. CNN did say at one point that Isgur was going to "coordinate coverage across TV and Digital."
"The Democratic National Committee has sought and received assurances from CNN that the network's new politics editor, Sarah Isgur, will not be involved in the debates that the channel hosts and moderates for the Democratic primary," a DNC statement at the time read.
CNN confirmed that Isgur would have "no editorial decision-making control over the network's coverage of the 2020 elections."
Erik Wemple of The Washington Post authored a column criticizing the CNN's lack of independence in this situation. He wrote:
"Impeccably managed news organizations don't make mistakes whose undoing entails the surrender of journalistic independence. Yet that's what has happened here, despite this statement from a CNN spokeswoman: 'We can confirm that when Sarah came to us and proposed her role be adjusted to a political analyst instead, we agreed, and we look forward to her starting in that role.'"
(H/T The Daily Beast)