After the State of the Union speech by President Obama, every network will broadcast the official Republican response that will be delivered by Wisconsin representative Paul Ryan.
CNN, however, will also broadcast a response by the chair of the House Tea Party Caucus, Michelle Bachmann. So Democrats will have one speech on the air and Republicans will have two rebuttals. This is CNN’s idea of fair and balanced. Ironically, Fox will not be airing Bachmann’s response.
So why would CNN go out on limb to give the farthest right element of the GOP an additional platform to bash the president and his policies? One word: RATINGS!
CNN is wearing their desperation of their sleeve as they seek to manufacture controversy that they hope will result in drawing in curious viewers. This is the modus operandi of the current network leadership. This one fact goes a long way toward explaining this bonehead move on the part of CNN:
CNN’s new president, Ken Jautz, is the man who gave Glenn Beck his first job in television!
That needs to be repeated relentlessly and shared with the world. Jautz is an unrepentant sensationalist who cares more about ratings than ethical journalism. He knows that the Tea Party is not a serious political player, but he believes the drama they generate will produce viewers.
Jautz is also responsible for CNN’s recent partnership with Tea Party Express, a racist and disreputable enterprise that was expelled from the Tea Party Federation. That’s the organization that Jautz thought would be a good partner to host an upcoming Republican presidential primary debate.
After taking criticism from all sides on this decision to fluff Bachmann and her Tea Bagger Brigades, CNN issued this defense of their move:
“The Tea Party has become a major force in American politics and within the Republican Party. Hearing the Tea Party’s perspective on the State of the Union is something we believe CNN’s viewers will be interested in hearing and we are happy to include this perspective as one of many in tonight’s coverage.”
That mirrors their lame defense of the Tea Party Express deal. And it still doesn’t make any sense. Poll after poll shows that the Tea Party is an insignificant segment of the population and that their views are wildly out of touch with the American mainstream and even the Republican Party. There is no justification for giving them this free promotional airtime. And it is notable also that CNN has not offered to give the Democrat’s Progressive Caucus equal time.
Everyone who who cares about ethical media and fair elections should let CNN know that this is inappropriate and unprofessional. You can use this form on CNN’s web site to tell them that they should not be partnering with Tea Party Express or any right-wing wing PAC (or left-wing for that matter). You can also Tweet them at http://twitter.com/cnn. Use the hashtag #NoCNNTP.
[Update] Bachmann’s address was surreal. She never looked into the camera. It was like she was talking to an invisible person to her right (as if that’s possible) the whole time. She also brought up the debunked (and hilarious) assertion that the IRS is hiring thousands of agents to “enforce” ObamaCare. What’s more, the Minneapolis Tea Party (from her home state) is protesting that Bachmann does not speak for them. Even her GOP colleagues are criticizing her speech. All in all, a massive fail.