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Star-Ledger Op-Ed - Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019

Newt Gingrich and CNN

newtgingrich3.jpgWhen CNN announced the return of Crossfire and that Newt Gingrich would be among the hosts, Joe sought out CNN officials to ask if he would have to disclose his ties to his American Legacy PAC if a guest or topic created a conflict of interest. In addition, if he was going to run for president.
CNN Execuive Vice-President Rick Davis, also a former Crossfire producer, made clear Gingrich would have to give up his job if he began raising money or hiring staff.
He also stated that any discussion involving guests or topics that either recieved money from Gingrich's PAC or donated to Gingrich or his PAC, would require a disclosure.
"If Newt is helping fund a candidate and that candidate's on the show, or being discussed on the show, of course he'll disclose that," Davis said at the time. "Disclosure is important when it's relevant."
After that story ran on Sept. 6, word came from Mother Jones that Gingrich's PAC had given money to both Ted Cruz and Rand Paul without discosing either one when both men appeared on Crossfire or were discussed.
Reaching out to Davis again, Joe found CNN was quick to change its policy and get Gingrich off the hook, offering this statement:
We are clarifying the policy and making it clear Newt Gingrich is not in violation.  The policy:  If a Crossfire co-host has made a financial contribution to a politician who appears on the program or is the focus of the program, disclosure is not required during the show since the co-host's political support is obvious by his or her point of view expressed on the program.
The coverage drew a wide range of critical responses from the likes of Salon.com, The Washington Post and even The Atlantic
CNN's own Reliable Souces also noted the situation, with host Brian Stelter stating "CNN can do better."

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