At a Time Warner shareholders meeting on Thursday, two individuals with a piece of the pie had some hard questions for CNN’s CEO Jeff Bewkes. David Almasi and David Ridenour of the National Center for Public Policy Research came to the meeting to demand answers from the cable news network’s top executive, specifically pertaining to CNN’s ultra-biased coverage of the Trump administration.
“In the past month, CNN parted ways with Kathy Griffin over her photo with a mock severed Trump head and Reza Aslan after he called our President a piece of excrement for pushing the anti-terror travel ban,” Almasi said at the meeting.
However, he said, these were mere drops in the bucket when it came to CNN’s overall approach to covering Trump and his supporters throughout the U.S.
“Mr. Bewkes, we have urged you many times to make CNN more objective,” Almasi said. “You have admitted to us in 2014 the need for more balance. We praised you last year after CNN President Jeffrey Zucker also acknowledged this and acted on the need for more diverse views. But bias is apparently worse than ever. As shareholders, we are concerned about the repetitional risk to our investment in Time Warner as CNN appears to be a key player in the war against the Trump presidency.”
To back up his assertions with hard figures, Almasi pointed to a Media Research Center study that conducted a survey of CNN’s programming for 14 hours on May 12. The report found that in that time, only 68 minutes were devoted to topics other than President Trump. And out of 123 guests that appeared on the network in that time span, 96 of them were hostile to the president.
“Is it any wonder that President Trump mocks CNN as ‘fake news,’ that the network was snubbed by Vice President Pence and that it receives poor access at White House press events?” he asked.
Bewkes (of course) said he didn’t agree with Almasi’s assessment of CNN’s programming, but after offering a weak defense, he promised to keep doing his best to make sure the network was reaching viewers across the political spectrum.
“We will recommit on an attempt to try to be independent,” Bewkes said. “I don’t want you to be skeptical of our effort – and it’s very sincere – to try to achieve it. So far, the viewing is up. Quite dramatically. We are trying to keep it balanced and fair. I understand you’re thinking we haven’t succeeded, but we are trying.”
In other words, our ratings are just fine, so we don’t feel the need to change a thing, thank you very much.
Well, that’s only going to last for so long. Eventually, the hardcore anti-Trumpers are going to lose interest in the day-to-day drama. Then, CNN is going to finally realize that they sacrificed their core legitimacy so they could score a year’s worth of hotshot ratings. And that’s when the network (along with several others) are going to suffer the consequences of peddling fake news in the service of an agenda.