Ethical questions are being volleyed after details surfaced that the new White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, is in a serious relationship with CNN national correspondent Suzanne Malveaux, a possible conflict of interest.
Current White House press secretary Jen Psaki is set to leave her position on May 13.
There were already ethical concerns regarding Biden’s White House after an Axios report claimed that Psaki was negotiating a deal with potentially two major cable TV networks to host a show at the same time as being the press secretary for President Joe Biden. Psaki reached a deal to host a show on NBCUniversal’s streaming platform Peacock and join MSNBC as a pundit for political commentary during live cable news shows, according to NPR.
Psaki’s departure after almost 18 months in the role opened the door for Jean-Pierre to be President Biden’s new mouthpiece. On Thursday, Jean-Pierre was named as Psaki’s successor – which presented a new possible conflict of interest.
Jean-Pierre, 44, is in a longtime relationship with CNN national correspondent Suzanne Malveaux, 55. The couple live together and are parents of a 7-year-old daughter.
In their coverage of the new White House press secretary, CNN mentioned, “Jean-Pierre’s family includes her partner, CNN national correspondent Suzanne Malveaux, and their daughter.” However, CNN focused on Jean-Pierre’s race and sexuality by running with the headline: “Karine Jean-Pierre to become White House press secretary, the first Black and out LGBTQ person in the role.”
CNN opened its article by saying, “Karine Jean-Pierre will become the new White House press secretary when Jen Psaki departs her role next week, President Joe Biden announced in a statement Thursday, becoming the first Black and out LGBTQ person to hold the position.”
Jean-Pierre previously worked for NBC and MSNBC.
USA Today reported, “Prior to joining the White House, Jean-Pierre worked as chief public affairs officer for MoveOn.org and as an NBC and MSNBC political analyst. She was regional political director for the White House Office of Political Affairs during the Obama-Biden administration and deputy battleground states director for President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign.”
Malveaux’s biography on the CNN website states, “Award-winning journalist Suzanne Malveaux serves as the network’s national correspondent, covering national and international news and cultural events. Previously, she co-anchored CNN’s Around The World and co-anchored the network’s Emmy-winning coverage of the revolution in Egypt and the network’s Peabody Award-winning coverage of the Arab Spring.”
Malveaux was also a White House correspondent for more than a decade – covering Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.
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Mediaite contributor Juwan Holmes expressed some concerns about the conflict of interest.
“One thing of interest for media coverage: Jean-Pierre’s wife is Suzanne Malveaux, who is a CNN anchor sub (formerly a WH Correspondent),” Holmes wrote on Twitter. “I’m sure there won’t be Cuomo-level conflict of interest violations but expect it to have it bought up in the future.”
CNN dismissed the accusations of a conflict of interest.
“Suzanne Malveaux will continue in her role as CNN National Correspondent covering national/international news and cultural events but will not cover politics, Capitol Hill, or the White House while Karine Jean-Pierre is serving as White House Press Secretary,” CNN told the Daily Caller.
CNN was recently involved in another ethical debacle, as its former anchor Chris Cuomo assisted his brother – former Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
CNN confessed that its prime-time anchor engaged in “inappropriate” conversations with staff members of the disgraced ex-governor.