Ah, the ironies. CNN helped make Donald Trump’s candidacy by broadcasting every minute of everything he said or did during the campaign, including having Trump’s campaign shills as constant participants on “panels of political experts” to discuss endlessly every detail of Trump’s behavior. CNN became, in effect, the carnival barkers for the Trump sideshow.
Now, Trump is President-Elect and he is demonstrating that he is exactly the same person and personality that was kept in the public eye by CNN during the campaign. This should come as no surprise. Now he no longer needs to “make nice” and so he refused, in his first press conference in seven months to let the CNN reporter in attendance ask a question. He accused CNN of being “fake news” and indicated, yet again, that he will brook no unwelcome questioning of himself from the press, no matter how prominent.
Then CNN gave another opportunity for KellyAnne Conway, Trump’s shill-in-chief, to bumble and fumble her way through more demonstrably false accusations about the way CNN reported the latest Trump “news.” The CNN team, led by Anderson Cooper, a day later still trying to find a way to do its job, showed how stung they were by the Trump rejection and the Trump/Conway claims that CNN reported something that it demonstrably did not report.
Helpfully, Carl Bernstein, one of the contributors to the CNN reports and who knows a thing or two about reporting and politics, defined “reporting” as the “best available version of the truth.”
Here, then, is some advice for CNN about how it can develop a more constructive relationship with the soon-to-be President and his team of fact-deniers:
- Just report the damn news! You know, what happened today that is of interest to the American people?
- Eliminate the endless panels of “experts” arguing endlessly over every statement that Trump makes. Just report what he says, what others say, what happens (with as much verification as possible) and let the viewers/readers decide without having to listen to Trump shills like Jeffrey Lord and Conway re-write and re-interpret what Trump said into gibberish. Continuing what you have been doing adds credence to the Trump mode of operation and helps raise doubts about the accuracy and legitimacy of your own reporting. If you’re going to continue to claim that CNN is about journalism, then just report the news as truthfully and accurately as possible and move on. Let the Trump machine finds its own outlets (it will always have Fox and Breitbart) to make its case.
- For guidance, review some of the tapes of Walter Cronkite and Eric Sevareid of CBS News in the 1960s. If you want to add interpretation and analysis to the facts, have your “experts” appear alone to state what they believe. Make them own the analysis.
That’s it. Do yourselves and America a favor and remove yourselves as the one of the “usual suspects” Trump wants to paint with a bias brush. Report the news!