The evidence that CNN is aggressively seeking to out-Fox Fox News is rapidly accumulating. Just last week I enumerated many examples of CNN adopting Fox’s notoriously biased, wingnut perspective. (See The Foxification Of CNN). Included in that list was their decision to partner with a corrupt Tea Party group to host a Republican presidential primary debate. That was just a foreshadowing of what was yet to come.
Today CNN has announced a new GOP debate on November 15, that will focus on foreign policy and national defense. Their partners for this affair are the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute, two of the most far-right, extremist conservative thinks tanks in Washington.
The Heritage Foundation is backed by uber-rigtists like energy magnate Charles Koch and media maven Richard Mellon Scaife. A couple of their recent policy papers include Robert Rector’s terminally flawed study that claims there is no poverty in America because the poor own appliances, and Hans von Spakovsky’s advocacy of voter suppression.
The American Enterprise Institute is a champion of big-business that boasts affiliations with Dick Cheney (and his daughter Lynne), Newt Gingrich, and John Bolton. They also receive funding from the Scaife family as well as corporations like Philip Morris and ExxonMobil. Amongst their notable endeavors was a campaign to discredit Global Warming studies by offering scientists and economists $10,000 each to refute them, and issuing policy papers that assert that middle class homeowners were to blame for the 2008 economic collapse, not Wall Street and bankers.
For CNN to align themselves with these overtly partisan players reveals their utter lack of journalistic independence or integrity. This was a deliberate choice to skew their coverage of political affairs to the far-right. They cannot possibly engage or challenge the debate participants by limiting their ideological exposure to only representatives of conservative doctrine. Imagine how much more enlightening the debate would be if the hosts included the Center for American Progress or the Institute for Policy Studies.
But just as CNN chose the Tea Party over the Progressive Caucus or MoveOn, they have chosen, once again, to lean hard to the right at the expense of illuminating their viewers and providing a public service, which ought to be the core mandate of a responsible media enterprise.
This is the sort of news that should put a nail in the heart of the myth that the media is liberal. Yesterday the Pew Research Center published a study that proved, contrary to right-wing protestations, that the media has not been “in the tank” for Barack Obama. The study showed that, in fact, news coverage of Obama was far less positive than for any of his potential Republican opponents.
Also yesterday, an executive with the Fox Business Network sent a memo to his staff advising them not to copy Fox News because “If we give the audience a choice between FNC and the almost-FNC, they will choose FNC every time.” If Fox itself recognizes the foolishness of such ideological plagiarism, what the hell is wrong with CNN?