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Saturday, December 01, 2007

CNN: The Corrupt News Network?

I woke up this morning to fire alarms in my house (fortunately no fire), which will certainly get the sleep out of your eyes really fast. I almost felt the same way when I made my typical morning trek to the LA Times website when what do I see? A headline that I still don’t believe I read: “CNN: Corrupt News Network: A self-serving agenda was set for the Republican presidential debates.” Can this be? Objective news from the LA Times? I wonder if it showed up in the print version, but maybe not, because next to it was a little red “Discuss.” Oh boy, I’ll discuss.

In case you are not familiar with the disgrace CNN heaped upon itself this week at the so-called Republican debate, you can read about it here or here. One of those two is Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post. That amazed me of course, but what’s next, the New York Times? I believe in miracles, but that would actually be irrefutable proof of the existence of God.

So here is some of what that LA Times media guy, Tim Rutten, had to say:

The United States is at war in the Middle East and Central Asia, the economy is writhing like a snake with a broken back, oil prices are relentlessly climbing toward $100 a barrel and an increasing number of Americans just can't afford to be sick with anything that won't be treated with aspirin and bed rest.

So, when CNN brought the Republican presidential candidates together this week for what is loosely termed a "debate," what did the country get but a discussion of immigration, Biblical inerrancy and the propriety of flying the Confederate flag?

In fact, this most recent debacle masquerading as a presidential debate raises serious questions about whether CNN is ethically or professionally suitable to play the political role the Democratic and Republican parties recently have conceded it.

Selecting a president is, more than ever, a life and death business, and a news organization that consciously injects itself into the process, as CNN did by hosting Wednesday's debate, incurs a special responsibility to conduct itself in a dispassionate and, most of all, disinterested fashion. When one considers CNN's performance, however, the adjectives that leap to mind are corrupt and incompetent.
This could have come right out of the mouth of Rush Limbaugh! In fact, much of it did! I grew up politically in the era BR (before Rush), which means before talk radio, cable news, and the blogosphere, and this story is indicative of just how much the playing field has changed since Reagan was in office. Then CBS, NBC, ABC, Public television and radio, and the big dailies ruled the roost. When they determined what the reigning paradigm would be on a story it was very difficult to challenge and get heard. Hey CNN, it’s a new day!


Tom Van Dyke said...

Oh, you had me going there, Ben. Sadly, the headline is the only thing that echoes Limbaugh. Rutten is complaining that CNN didn't ambush the Republicans harder, on the usual laundry list of issues that Democrats control.

Nowhere does Rutten acknowledge the corruption of CNN stacking the deck of questioners full of Democrat operatives. That would be conveying actual information, something that newspapers have little interest in these days.

Mike D'Virgilio said...

I know. When I read the rest of the article I thought the same thing. But still, seeing that headline, and reading those paragraphs was jarring, and I had heard some of that same stuff coming out of Rush's mouth last week. Perception is everything, and most people probably wouldn't even read that far down in the article. CNN is taking a beating for this, and being called corrupt for whatever reason on the front page of the LA Times is a small bit of poetic justice.

Mike D'Virgilio said...

Drudge makes my point this evening. Right there in red under Hugo Chavez, "LA Times: CNN: Corrupt News Network . . ." Perception is everything and CNN ain't doing so good in the perception department right about now.

Tom Van Dyke said...

About the only time I can think of when the left didn't get the benefit of the misleading headline.