Lead image taken from the CNN website, 17 September 2020.
Opinion (No shit, Sherlock. -Editor)
The suggestion that CNN might possibly show some slight bias against President Donald Trump is hardly outré. After all, Mr. Trump did effectively declare war on the press as a whole early in his first year in office, calling it the “enemy of the people” fairly frequently. He also singles out reporters from CNN, the Washington Post, and sometimes even the New York Times as “fake news”. It’s not unreasonable that they might feel justified in striking back, and a detached observer examining the front page of their website might well conclude that this is precisely what they do.
So I’m not going to statistically analyze their coverage; if you’re reasonable, you’ll stipulate that I’m right and move on. And, if you’re not, you’ll never believe anything I say after “Opinion” anyway. So let’s skip all that and get right down to it, shall we?
“The problem is, you don’t write the truth… I told you, CNN is fake news. Don’t talk to me.”
That was Trump at a press conference on the 23rd of April. As it happens, in context he was correct; CNN had just falsely reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was in grave danger following surgery (the story has since been corrected) and Trump’s statement was that they’d been using outdated sources. Of course, this can happen to even the most conscientious news source, and it’s hardly sufficient cause to refer to the institution as “fake news”. Trump was referencing not the one instance but rather a clear pattern — clear to him, certainly, but also fairly evident to the rest of us.
Because, let’s face it: CNN makes no secret of their detestation for Mr. Trump. It’s only fair; the majority of their viewers hate him too, and they have a vested interest in pleasing their market share. CNN is, after all is said and done, a business; as has been evident since the ’70s, most so-called news programs are far more about entertainment than informing anybody.
Then too, deliberate media bias has a long tradition, not only in this country but around the world. It’s partly that there’s a genuine need to frame a story in such a way that readers can relate to it; however, it’s also true that enlisting major media as a propaganda instrument is common practice, and has been exactly that since the founding of the country and before. After all, that’s where the Federalist papers were published — and the Anti-Federalist too.
So, yes, they’ve got an evident bias, and they’ve got every right to. That is, after all, precisely what “freedom of the press” means: The press gets to say whatever it likes. It doesn’t have to be true, balanced, fair, or unbiased. The only thing they can’t do is be egregiously libelous; putting damaging lies in print will get you sued.
Take, for example, the present cover page, shown as an image above. There’s a lovely pic of Biden looking over everything, and every headline but three is about how awful Trump is. The two Trump pictures are poor-quality and emphasize rather than hide his makeup — in rather stark contradiction to the Biden image, which not only has no liver spots (he’s liberally speckled) but also shows a full head of hair — something Biden hasn’t had since the 60s. Not that there’s any crime in baldness, but Biden’s horrible combover is the only one more ludicrous than Trump’s, and you’d expect a fair and balanced news source to poke equal fun.
Did I say “every headline but three”? I was wrong; the one reading “Trump Has Done One Thing Really Well As President” is actually a trademark Cillizza hit piece condemning him — pretty usual stuff for Cillizza, who was brought on board some years ago specifically to write bad things about Trump. Which, again, is their absolute right.
Now, don’t mistake me: I never said it’s a good thing. In strict point of fact, I quite resent it; it’s something I find extremely inconvenient.
Because this is The Not Fake News. My job is to write about news that either gets overlooked, buried, or lied about. I’m self-appointed (and not free from bias, for that matter), but that in no way relieves me of the responsibility: I’m here; I know about it; I’m compelled to write.
Which sucks, because Donald Trump is a truly odious man. I dislike him intensely, and it’s seriously vexing to defend him. He’s done some foul things in office, and in my opinion that should be enough for anyone to condemn the man and his presidency — but CNN feels the need to exaggerate, and spin, and stretch the truth, and even sometimes outright lie about just how bad he is. Again, I’m not giving examples right now; this website is full of them anyway, if you’re curious enough to go looking — and if you’re not, again, you’re not my target audience. I aim at people who enjoy both reading and thinking.
Besides, I find it distasteful to defend the man. I don’t want to do it again, especially when that’s not the point of the article.
The point is — I know you’ve been wondering if I’d ever get to it — The point is, yes, CNN lies. They do it all the time. Not overtly, but constantly. On occasion, they simply don’t know the truth. Far more often, they twist and slant whatever the story is so it makes Trump look bad. They assign blame to the Administration that belongs to Congress, to Trump instead of Obama or China or Merkel or whomever. And they give Biden a pass. Does that make them “fake news”? Well… yes. Yes it does. So is Fox and MSNBC, Al Jazeera and the BBC and RT and Agence France-Presse.
So what? We only watch them for entertainment purposes anyway.
If you want honesty in journalism, you should know: That’s not normal, not even online. There is no unbiased press, no objective journalism, and there never has been. But I do my best. If you appreciate that,
And if you don’t, go read CNN and to hell with you.