June 10, 2011

CNN - Certainly Not Neutral

Via Sodahead.com
CNN came in to existence as a great idea - a news feed.  Looking back, the writing was already on the teleprompter - CNN was doomed to ratings decline because of the irresistible urge to proselytize (that's a good word, look it up) the viewers.  It's no secret what political slant Ted Turner was (or is) - he married Hanoi Jane after all.  A liberal slant, a media outlet, and armed with the conscious or unconscious understanding Alinsky's rules for radicals (specifically 5, 8 and 12), all made the journalistic drift from news to editorializing inevitable.  That formula can't exist forever without consequences.

A look at CNN's Press Room today provides an excellent example of the editorializing being done.

An op-ed by Pakistan's Musharraf, a piece on the upcoming 'documentary' on 'truth-seeker' and founder of Wiki-Leaks Julian Assange, a piece on the unfortunate suicide of a "sissy boy", and a piece on Demi Moore partnering with CNN on Project Freedom (related to the sex trade in Nepal).  Further down there's Jack Welsh opining that Sarah Palin is a celebrity, not a politician. If I said Jack Welsh is an egotistical bully and not a business man does it make it true?  Does it make it news?  Of course not.  But I don't pretend to offer my opinion or even what I'd consider insight on some topics as 'news', but as opinion.

True, this is not CNN's news page, but 'press room'?  How about calling a liberal editorial page a liberal editorial page?  There's nothing wrong with Demi Moore trying to help sex trade workers in Nepal.  But CNN is supposed to be a news organization, not an activist organization.  People at CNN who want to do something of that nature should do it on their own time, and disclose it.  That would be more position-neutral. It's just a thought...

CNN masquerades as news because it had that as part of its genesis, but increasingly they have blurred the line between what is news and what is opinion to the point where they commonly pass off opinion as news.  That's not healthy for public knowledge and it's not helping the hyper-partisan nature of political debate in America.  While thankfully many, many viewers have detached themselves from this propaganda masked as hard news, they have simply retreated to conservative news outlets (out of necessity), thereby cementing the split of the people into two political camps, both being fed news from the perspective they prefer.  That's okay, but it fortifies the entrenchment of beliefs.  The existence of Fox News isn't to blame - it's a logical response to an ever-skewing mainstream news media.

What is needed is a return to new reporting as news only, minus the editorializing, minus the skew of slanting stories, however surreptitiously, in one direction, minus the blurring of those lines. But that's not going to happen. Instead, the nation will further entrench along the lines of a roughly 50/50 split in voters' predispositions with political viewpoints competing ever more intensely for those few in the middle who can flip back and forth.  That will be the case until something breaks the logjam, and something will.  Either the nation will be swamped with liberal Hispanic voters via lax immigration policies that benefit liberals, or the higher birth rate of more rural, less abortion-oriented conservative voters over liberal voters.  Those two trends are playing out now - liberals encouraging naturalization to help their cause, while conservatives fight for the right to life, seemingly in conflict with their political objectives, but not their moral imperatives.

How will it end?  I can't say. But for CNN, competing amongst a plethora of liberal media outlets, and increasingly abandon by conservative viewers who favor Fox, it won't end well.  If they succeed in liberalizing what's left of their viewers, the natural end point is MSNBC.  Alternatively, CNN could try being objective an reporting news, but don't hold your breath.

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