Donna Brazile responded to headlines regarding her resignation from CNN—in light of leaked emails showing her providing the Hillary Clinton campaign with debate questions—in familiar, black-auntie fashion.
Brazile quoted Michelle Obama’s “When they go low, we go high.” She invoked Martin Luther King Jr. She thanked people for their prayers, in some instances, in a sweet, cutesy way tied to Halloween. And when responding to others who'd heard about her leaving the cable news network, she tweeted lyrics from “Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around.” Brazile also got back to the business of criticizing GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and pushing for Democrats to vote.
Donna Brazile, more or less, behaved like the political equivalent of the words to Mary J. Blige’s single “Just Fine.”
However, as much as I have enjoyed Brazile on television—she doesn’t give way to CNN’s format of verbal pro-wrestling and is extremely Louisianan on all fronts—when it comes to what sparked her resignation, it’s not fine-fine-fine-fine-fine-fine (whew).
No, it’s not OK for a hostile foreign government to interfere in our elections, but that doesn’t excuse what’s been found out through hacked emails. On the day before a CNN-sponsored Democratic primary debate set in Flint, Mich., in March, Brazile reportedly wrote an email with the following subject line: “One of the questions directed to HRC tomorrow is from a woman with a rash.”
“Her family has lead poison and she will ask what, if anything, will Hillary do as president to help the ppl of Flint,” Brazile wrote to John Podesta, the Clinton campaign chairman, and Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton’s communications director.
Clinton was indeed asked about this, only the answer wasn’t exactly satisfactory. “I hated Hillary Clinton’s answer,” Lee-Anne Walters told the Huffington Post the day after the debate. “It actually made me vomit in my mouth.”
Nonetheless, to quote Real Housewives of New York star Luann de Lesseps, this was a very “uncool” thing to do, Ms. Brazile.
That said, if you were scheduled to debate in Flint and didn’t anticipate being asked about the poisoned water, you likely can’t put on a pair of pants without supervision.
Moreover, much of the leaked emails have exposed nothing but much of what we already knew about how political parties work—notably that when a longtime Democrat like Clinton goes up against a nouveau Democrat in Bernie Sanders, party operatives side with what they know. Also toss in the tidbit that if you happened to watch any of the debates, Clinton didn’t exactly need much help debating Sanders and his penchant for just regurgitating the word “revolution” whenever called to expound on his policy proposals.
But OK, OK: Bad Donna. Bad, bad Donna. She was wrong. She shouldn’t have done that. It was a silly, bad move. I still want to try her gumbo, but for shame.
Now that she’s gone, though, it’s still pretty grating to watch CNN play the pious card on this matter.
In a statement, Lauren Pratapas, a CNN spokesperson, said, “We are completely uncomfortable with what we have learned about her interactions with the Clinton campaign while she was a CNN contributor.”
Yet, they’re comfortable with Corey Lewandowski, despite Federal Election Commission filings showing that Lewandowski is being paid by the Trump campaign for “strategy consulting.” This is in addition to his cushy CNN contract as a political commentator. Speaking of that commentary, Trump requires everyone who works for his campaign to sign “nondisparagement” agreements. As Nancy LeTourneau notes in Washington Monthly, “Lewandowski is probably legally bound to avoid any criticism of his former boss. CNN is basically granting a microphone to the Trump campaign in the guise of political commentary.”
So Brazile is out because she helped Clinton, yet a guy still being paid by Trump who can’t legally speak ill of Trump continues to have a CNN contract to basically play the role of parrot? Vladimir Putin may like to play games with our electoral process, but so does the head of CNN. To wit, Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide, acknowledged that at least some of the network's coverage was a bit excessive, but the network doesn’t seem to feel too guilty about it, considering that it has helped its bottom line.
Brazile might have made a mistake, but CNN is full of it. If it was solely selling itself as infotainment, then the criticism would be less warranted. That is not the case, though, as it continues to present itself as a credible, legitimate, unbiased news organization. But if Donna Brazile is out and Corey Lewandowski remains in, the network reeks of hypocrisy and carries the stench of bias for Donald J. Trump.
Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.