CNN mourns the loss of commentator Alice Stewart - Poynter (2024)

Stunning and horrible news out of CNN over the weekend.

CNN political commentator Alice Stewart, a veteran political adviser who worked on several Republican presidential campaigns, has died. She was 58.

According to CNN’s Holmes Lybrand, Evan Perez and Kaanita Iyer, law enforcement said Stewart’s body was found outdoors in Belle View, Virginia, early Saturday. Officers said no foul play was suspected, and they believe Stewart suffered a medical emergency.

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” host Jake Tapper called it “an unspeakable loss.”

Stewart started her career as a reporter/producer at a local station in Georgia before moving to Little Rock, Arkansas, to be an anchor. She then left TV to work in the communications office of then-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. She went on to work on the presidential campaigns of Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

CNN hired her as a political commentator ahead of the 2016 election.

CNN anchor and chief political correspondent Dana Bash told CNN, “One of the many reasons why she was so valuable to us on our political panels … is because she brought that experience. She brought that understanding of how Republican politics, Republican campaigns work, and she never, ever did it with anything other than a smile.”

CNN anchor Jim Acosta tweeted, “My heart is broken …”

CNN political commentator Ana Navarro-Cárdenas tweeted “I’m very sad about this news. Alice was kind, decent, hard-working and a woman whose faith sustained her. She was a breath of fresh air – always professional – at a time when lack of decorum and civility reign in political discussions. May she rest in peace.”

In an email to staff, CNN CEO Mark Thompson said, “Alice was a very dear friend and colleague to all of us at CNN. A political veteran and an Emmy Award-winning journalist who brought an incomparable spark to CNN’s coverage, known across our bureaus not only for her political savvy, but for her unwavering kindness. Our hearts are heavy as we mourn such an extraordinary loss.”

CNN commentator Maria Cardona said on “CNN Newsroom” that she was supposed to record a podcast with Stewart on Saturday. She said, “I just can’t believe that she’s gone. … I want everyone to know what a special person she was, especially in this industry. As you know, today’s politics can be indecent and so dirty, and Alice was just such a loving, shining light.”

The Los Angeles Times’ Stephen Battaglio reported, “Ashley Allison, a Democratic political commentator on the program, held back tears as she described their off-camera connection. She said the two grew close following a heated exchange on CNN over the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in 2022. Allison said she reluctantly accepted Stewart’s invitation for a drink after the discussion. They eventually became close friends and trained together for a marathon.”

Cardona said on the air, “That night we got to know each other for who we were and it wasn’t about politics. She was a good person and I loved her and I’m really going to miss her.”

Here was CNN’s on-air tribute.

The New York Times and reporter Jodi Kantor broke a wow story last week: On Jan. 17, 2021 — just a week after the insurrection at the Capitol and just days before Joe Biden’s inauguration — an upside-down American flag was displayed in the yard of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. The upside-down flag was a symbol that many supporters of Donald Trump used to falsely claim the election was stolen from Trump.

The Times published a photo it said was from Jan. 17, 2021. The Washington Post’s Justin Jouvenal and Ann E. Marimow reported the flag was up for two to five days. The Times’ story said it was up for “several days.”

In an email statement to the Times, Alito said, “I had no involvement whatsoever in the flying of the flag. It was briefly placed by Mrs. Alito in response to a neighbor’s use of objectionable and personally insulting language on yard signs.”

Kantor wrote in her story, “Judicial experts said in interviews that the flag was a clear violation of ethics rules, which seek to avoid even the appearance of bias, and could sow doubt about Justice Alito’s impartiality in cases related to the election and the Capitol riot.”

And Washington Post associate editor Ruth Marcus wrote, “The larger problem isn’t the flag flying at the Alito home. It’s the resolutely partisan banner under which he sails as a justice.”

Appearing on Sunday’s “State of the Union” on CNN, Alyssa Farah Griffin, who was a White House communications director during the Trump administration, said, “If after Donald Trump won in 2016, Justice (Sonia Sotomayor) hung a flag upside down on her front lawn, we, Republicans, would be calling for her resignation.” She added, “I find it deeply disturbing, and I don‘t think we can gloss over it.”

Here’s a good follow from Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern: “The Smallest Justice Who Ever Lived.”

They write, “Perhaps the saddest line in Kantor’s reporting is this one: ‘The half-dozen neighbors who saw the flag, or knew of it, requested anonymity because they said they did not want to add to the contentiousness on the block and feared reprisal.’ Even his neighbors didn’t want to complain about Alito’s ‘Stop the Steal’ flag, both because there’s no possibility of accountability, and also because they fear reprisal. This, right here, is the reason we create accountability: because without it, we are hostages to the unaccountable. This is also the reason Chief Justice John Roberts will say and do nothing about Martha-Ann Alito’s MAGA flag stunt; and the rest of the justices will say nothing about it; and also the reason that parties that litigate Jan. 6 cases before (Justice Clarence) Thomas and Alito will never raise it. Mention that this is rank lawlessness and you become one of the nasty bullies. Payback only ever flows in one direction.”

Speaking of this story, there was one curious aspect to it, something that several Poynter Report readers asked about. Why is this news — albeit important and factual and most certainly newsworthy — just coming to light now when it happened more than three years ago?

I reached out to the Times about this and Times spokesperson Danielle Rhoades Ha told me in an email, “We don’t hold news. We published the story shortly after interviewing eyewitnesses and acquiring and vetting the image and other information.”

Well, we have a name. The upcoming new sports partnership between Disney (ESPN), Fox Corp. and Warner Bros. Discovery to package all their sports programming in one streaming bundle has a name. It will be called … drumroll, please … Venu Sports.

I guess that kind of works. Venu as in “venue” — a place to go to watch something. The new venture, meant to appeal to those who cut the cable cord, will combine the sports properties shown on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SECN, ACCN, ESPNews, Fox, FS1, FS2, Big Ten Network, TNT, TBS and truTV.

We still don’t have a launch date or even know how much it will cost. But they do have a website — — that says, “Launch is conditional on receiving regulatory approval and is expected for Fall 2024.”

Variety’s Todd Spangler notes, “The Justice Department reportedly has planned to review the three-way venture to look at anticompetitive implications, and last month two leading congressional Democrats expressed concerns that the JV may ‘result in higher prices for consumers and less fair licensing terms for upstream sports leagues and downstream video distributors.’”

In addition, the streamer Fubo filed a federal lawsuit, saying the new venture violates antitrust laws. Earlier this month, Fubo, DirecTV, Dish Network, Newsmax and others called up Congress to have hearings on the matter.

But, I would be surprised if anything can stop the three powerhouses — Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery — from plowing forward with their plans.

CNN mourns the loss of commentator Alice Stewart - Poynter (1)

Michael Phelps speaks during a forum on mental health during the U.S. Open tennis championships last September in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Michael Phelps — the most decorated Olympian of all time with a total of 28 medals, including a record 23 gold medals — was featured on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, talking about his post-swimming career. He speaks about his depression and anxiety to advocate for mental health resources for athletes.

He went into great detail about his personal experience and talked about his friendship with Fox NFL insider Jay Glazer.

Phelps said, “Look, I’m lucky to be here. I’m lucky to have everything I have. So, I’m going to go down swinging no matter what. I just had a conversation with — I might get choked up here. I just had a conversation with a buddy of mine the other day. So, for me, this is all fresh. So, a friend of mine, he’s my mental health buddy and he knows who I’m talking about. I’ll just say it. OK, so Jay Glazer and I are mental health buddies. We both struggle. And when we’re both having our bad days, we go through similar ups and downs and we do similar things when we’re down, if that makes sense. And we both had this conversation the other day, because when it happens, for me I reach out to him. When it happens for him, he reached out to me. And I have a couple friendships like that, where we’ve kind of really been able to form a bond. And to what we were saying before is I literally sent a text to him and I was like, “I’m never (expletive) quitting, ever in my life. That’s not who I am.”

Just a portion of moderator Kristen Welker’s interview with Phelps ran on Sunday. Here’s the full 38-minute online interview.

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CNN mourns the loss of commentator Alice Stewart - Poynter (2024)


What was Alice Stewart's cause of death? ›

Law enforcement officials told CNN, which confirmed Stewart's death May 18, her body was found outdoors in the Belle View neighborhood of northern Virginia early in the morning. No foul play is suspected at this time, with officers believing a medical emergency occurred, though they did not provide an exact cause.

Is Alice Stewart Republican or Democrat? ›

Alice Elizabeth Stewart (March 11, 1966 – May 18, 2024) was an American communications director who worked on five Republican presidential campaigns before joining CNN as a commentator.

Was Alice Stewart married? ›

She married Ludovick Stewart, a languages teacher at Harrow School, in 1933; they had two children and divorced in the 1950s. Her son predeceased her; her daughter, Anne Marshall, a neuropathologist and general practitioner, survives her.

How old is Alice Stewart in CNN? ›

Alice Stewart, a veteran political adviser and CNN political commentator who worked on several GOP presidential campaigns, has died. She was 58. Law enforcement officials told CNN that Stewart's body was found outdoors in the Belle View neighborhood in northern Virginia early Saturday morning.

Is Margaret Hoover liberal? ›

Political beliefs

Hoover is a Republican, with libertarian or rather libertine or socially permissive beliefs on issues of personal morality. Hoover is an advocate for gay rights, including gay marriage, arguing that individual freedom and marriage are conservative values.

Who was Martha Stewart's husband? ›

Personal life. In 1961, she married Andrew Stewart, then a student at Yale Law School.

Does Jon Stewart have a wife? ›

Who is the longest serving reporter on CNN? ›

Chuck Roberts is a weekday news anchor on HLN. He is one of the longest-serving anchors among the CNN networks and has anchored weekday Headline News broadcasts since the network's debut on New Year's Day, 1982. He is based in CNN's world headquarters in Atlanta.

Who was CNN first host? ›

After an introduction by Ted Turner, the husband and wife team of David Walker and Lois Hart anchored the channel's first newscast.

How long has Wolf Blitzer been with CNN? ›

Blitzer has been with CNN for over 30 years having joined in 1990 as the network's military-affairs correspondent at the Pentagon.

How long has Becky Anderson been with CNN? ›

She worked for Bloomberg and CNBC before joining CNN in 1999.

How long has Anderson Cooper been on CNN? ›

In 2001, Cooper joined CNN, where he was given his own show, Anderson Cooper 360°, in 2003; he has remained the show's host since. He developed a reputation for his on-the-ground reporting of breaking news events, with his coverage of Hurricane Katrina causing his popularity to sharply increase.

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