CNN is launching a new series called “Free Press: What’s at Stake” to highlight the “challenges facing the media, which is under attack from critics, governments, and changing technology.” The series is not specifically about CNN’s war with the White House, although that is certain to play a central role in the presentation. What won’t play a particularly notable role, we imagine, are CNN’s blatant lies, false reporting, and exaggerated disdain for Donald Trump and his voters. This was obvious from anchor Brian Stelter’s column on Sunday, which promoted the new series with an overview of what freedom of the press means.
“Press freedom is YOUR freedom. That’s the way I recommend thinking about ‘freedom of the press,’” he wrote. “it’s about MORE than just journalists. Turn it around. Recognize how protections for the press benefit each and every one of us, whether we’re reporting the news or reading about it. When journalists uncover corporate wrongdoing and expose political cover-ups, we all benefit. When lawyers at a newspaper or a TV network gain access to government documents through the Freedom of Information Act, we all benefit.”
Stelter went on to warn that while the First Amendment had its benefits, it also had its drawbacks.
“Of course, our cherished First Amendment protections also enable falsehoods, hoaxes and other forms of misinformation to spread across the country and all around the world,” he wrote.
Those falsehoods, hoaxes, and misinformation took the form of fake stories like “Pope Endorses Trump,” he wrote, but he declined to address the much more dangerous sources of misinformation…like the network for which he works. Yes, we’re sure that blatantly fake news like the Pope story do their own form of limited damage, but they cannot seriously be compared to the crap that gets churned out of CNN on a daily basis.
The worst kind of “fake news” is not really fake at all. It’s simply biased to the point that it morphs out of the category of news and into the category of propaganda. In these cases, all of the stated facts can be completely vetted and correct…and yet the viewer will come away with an astoundingly slanted idea of what’s really going on.
Putting aside all of CNN’s “infotainment” problems they had long before the 2016 election, they have been the chief drivers of anti-Trump bias since the billionaire threw hit hat into the ring in the summer of 2015. And that’s really saying something, given a news landscape that includes the New York Times, the Washington Post, MSNBC, and more. Again and again, CNN chose to utterly ignore the scandals of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama so they could focus on Trump and Russia, Trump and Russia, Russia and Trump. They chose to do NOTHING but cover his presidency negatively from Inauguration Day forward, and they have not strayed from that mission once.
Yes, CNN both benefits and is protected by the First Amendment, and that’s as it should be. But we would be far more interested in hearing their thoughts on press responsibility than on press freedom.