CNN Bans Clinton Supporters Carville and Begala from Primary Coverage
The problem first emerged way back in March. On the "Situation Room," James Carville, a contracted CNN political commentator, offered some relatively mild criticism of Barack Obama. Carville said the Illinois senator was "less-than-impressive" at a recent health care forum, adding, "[Obama] needs to get up to speed on a couple of these issues."
Under most circumstances, that would hardly have raised an eyebrow. But Carville had just issued fundraising solicitations on behalf of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, which he'd already endorsed. Pressed on the conflict of interest, Carville conceded that he would be "cognizant" of appearances, and would disclose his preference to CNN viewers when criticizing Clinton's Democratic rivals.
He added, however, that if he was transparent about his bias every time he was critical of another Democrat, it would make for "horrible TV."
Greg Sargent reported last night that, 10 months after this issue first arose, CNN is benching its Hillary-backing analysts.
I've just learned that CNN has told top Dem strategists James Carville, Paul Begala, and Robert Zimmerman -- who are CNN mainstays but are all Hillary supporters -- that they will not be doing any more political analysis on the network until the Democratic primary has reached a conclusion.
I'm also told that this move came after the Obama campaign repeatedly complained to high level officials at CNN about the presence of Carville and Begala on the network. [...]
Sam Feist, CNN's political director, also confirmed the decision to me. "As we got closer to the voting, we made a decision to make sure that all the analysts that are on are non-aligned," Feist said, adding that the decision had been made around the start of December. "Carville and Begala are two of the best analysts around and we look forward to seeing them on CNN plenty of times in the future, once the nominating process has ended."Clinton backers can still appear on the network, but as on-air surrogates.
I think this was definitely the right call.