CNN Hires Valerie Jarrett's Daughter

Laura Jarrett has never worked in journalism

Valerie Jarrett
Valerie Jarrett / AP
January 19, 2017

CNN has assigned the daughter of one of President Obama's top advisers to cover the Department of Justice.

The network announced in a press release that Valerie Jarrett's daughter Laura would be one of four reporters to cover the Justice Department in 2017. The New York Post broke the news that Jarrett had been hired in September, though a formal announcement about her beat did not come until Thursday.

Jarrett has long wanted to work in television news, though being an objective reporter was not her original goal. She told Vanity Fair in a 2009 "Bright Young Things" profile that her chief ambition was to "work as a TV-news legal analyst." Her favorite cause was "promoting civil rights and social equality for women and minorities."

Jarrett worked as a private practice attorney prior to joining the news network, according to her CNN bio page. She has some experience with her beat, having defended "companies and individuals in government investigations brought by the Justice Department," as well as other government agencies. She does not, however, appear to have any journalism experience. Her last publishing stint came while she attended Harvard Law School.

"She was Articles Selection co-chair, an Article Editor, and a Technical Editor for the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, and published her own articles on the intersection of gender, violence, and the law," the bio says. A search of the journal's archive shows that she penned one article; it was about strip searches in school.

She concluded that they are invasive.

CNN did not respond to a request for comment about whether any steps were taken to avoid conflicts of interest in Jarrett's reporting or about the genesis of the hiring.

Valerie Jarrett has been Obama's closest confidant for nearly his entire career. She spent all eight years in the White House as his senior adviser. The president and his family "[shut] down a whole suburb" to attend Laura Jarrett's 2012 wedding to the son of Canadian Liberal Party member of Parliament.

Valerie Jarrett did not take Trump's surprise election win well.

"It kind of was like a, I’m not sure what the right analogy would be, but like a punch in the stomach, let’s say. Soul-crushing might be another description," Jarrett said in December.

Donald Trump sparred with CNN throughout the campaign and beyond, a feud that came to a head after the network went public with a description of a memo making wild, unverified assertions about Trump's relationship to Russia and prostitutes. Trump dismissed CNN as "fake news" and refused to take a question from one its reporters at his first post-election press conference.

Jarrett is not the first political family member to work in television news. Washington Free Beacon Man of the Year Billy Bush worked for many years as a correspondent and co-host of NBC's Access Hollywood and the Today Show before parting ways with the company for mysterious reasons in October. Chelsea Clinton, the former First Daughter and the woman responsible for Hillary Clinton becoming an abuela, worked a brief stint at NBC News as a "special correspondent."

She was paid $600,000 a year.

Published under: CNN