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CNN's Real Political Crime

As more time passes since the CNN/YouTube Republican debacle, I find myself thinking about it more and more. And I think I have figured out just why it annoyed me so much: it's the senseless waste, the sheer hubris and stupidity that CNN displayed that is the biggest problem I have.

I slept through the debate (my circadians are seriously messed up), but I went back and reviewed the questions asked by the Democratic plants.

"Will you eliminate farm subsidies?"

"How will you keep lead-laced toys out of my home?"

"If abortion is illegal, what should the punishment be?"

(paraphrased) "Will you allow gays to openly serve in the military?"

"Do you accept the support of log cabin republicans?"

"Repay the $2 trillion borrowed from Social Security?"

"Why don't many African-Americans vote Republican?"

"Mr. Paul, are you going to run as an independent?"

Apart from that last one, those were pretty good questions. There were some other good ones, too, and a few clunkers that, quite frankly, should not have made the cut. (The Confederate Flag one and the Bible one come to mind -- those just play up the stereotypes and biases CNN and the like have against Republicans.)

So, what's the problem? In the unfair way CNN handled them.

First up, they didn't identify the questioners as Democratic activists, confirmed supporters of Democratic candidates, or -- in one case -- advisor to a Democratic candidate. These men aren't running for president, they're running for the Republican nomination for president. The questioners have a clear conflict of interest --- they aren't looking to find the candidate they can most comfortably vote for, but to sabotage them. Nothing wrong with that, though -- the questions themselves were pretty damned good ones.

But as the old saying goes, "it's not the crime that gets you, it's the cover-up." By allowing these shills to make it through the screening process, CNN allowed the post-debate coverage to focus on who they were and not what they asked, and made themselves -- and their sheer ineptitude, partisan agenda, or both -- the center point of the discussion. And whenever the media becomes part of the story, especially to the point of becoming the most important part of the story, then they have betrayed their duty to report the news -- not make it.

But far more shameful for CNN is that they only sandbagged one side. The Democrats had their own CNN/YouTube debate, and that would have been an ideal time to allow their candidates face equally challenging questions. Oh, there were a couple good ones, but I'd have liked to see them answer a variant of the same question I kept hammering John Kerry over back in 2004:

"The president is the Chief Executive of the nation. It is the most active, most singularly powerful office in government. In many ways, the president IS the executive branch. Could you each cite some of your own executive experiences, times when you've been the singular leader, the decider? And as a followup, could you each cite the three achievements of your political careers of which you're most proud?"

Attention, CNN: it's not the planting, it's the hypocrisy. It's not the toughness of the questions, it's the lying by omission of their agenda. Either treat both sides equally, or come out and admit that you're not going to do so. A lot of people were convinced going in that the Republicans would be treated considerably less fairly at your forum, but only the most cynical thought it would be so many of the questions -- and so readily sought out. Look at the facts -- CNN claims to be "the most trusted name in news," and boasts of its investigative powers and journalistic excellence, yet within 24 hours nearly a full quarter of the questioners were revealed to be confirmed supporters of Democratic candidates, Democratic activists, and -- I'm gonna keep harping on this one -- an advisor to a candidate. And that one, CNN, you FLEW IN FROM ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO REPEAT AND EXPOUND ON HIS QUESTION. You singled out Kerr for special attention, but you never expended the casual efforts it took to discover his role in Hillary Clinton's campaign? That level of incompetence goes beyond any shred of credibility.

It's a pity that there won't be too many more debates on CNN. But the Republicans should press, now, for a commitment from CNN that at some future debate of Democratic candidates (if not this election cycle, then in 2012), the right to choose 25% of the questions asked of the candidates. CNN did it for the Democrats, so it's only fair. And the Democrats should have no cause for complaint -- it's in the spirit of the "Fairness Doctrine," which they are pushing so hard right now.

If they go for it, excellent. And it could set a rather interesting precedent -- allow each party to have a brief effect on the other's primary, under controlled, open, and aboveboard conditions. I think it'll have a Darwinian effect on the candidates, forcing them to bypass the "run to the base for the primary, then to the middle for the election" model and express honest, sincere opinions and positions while it's still early enough for the voters to have some real choices.

But they won't. It's a pipe dream, a fantasy. This will get swept under the rug, like so many of CNN's sins and those of the rest of the mainstream media. The "new press" simply hasn't developed enough where we can hang these millstones, these marks of shame, around the Old Media's necks and make them stick.

That day will come, though. And anyone who doubts that just needs to look at the financial health of the New York Times. They're not just losing money, they're hemorrhaging it at a catastrophic rate. They're in severe danger of "bleeding out," and the people running things (Pinch Sulzberger, I'm looking at you) are so invested in the policies that opened up their veins that they have no clue how to staunch it.

And a lot of people who are watching the Times have taken Napoleon's advice to heart: "Never interrupt your opponent when he is making a mistake." Hell, some have even gone so far as to
take the James Carville aproach: "if your opponent is drowning, throw the sonofabitch an anchor."


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Comments (36)

The fact that you are still... (Below threshold)
jp2:

The fact that you are still trying to reason it out is solid evidence that reasons are being grasped for.

I suppose I'd deflect as much attention from the candidates as possible though.

This has nothing to do with... (Below threshold)
DoninFla:

This has nothing to do with the candidates...Did you notice the title? The candidates are who and what they are. I suppose you have nothing to say about CNN and its bias...

The message to the viewers ... (Below threshold)
sissoed:

The message to the viewers of having most of the questions from a left-viewpoint, and almost no questions from a right-viewpoint, is to give the impression to the viewers that the public itself holds the left-viewpoint -- and that anyone watching the debate who holds a right-viewpoint is so much in the minority that no one who represents that view appears in the audience to ask questions. The biasing of the audience at these events is intended to convey the message that only left-viewpoints are legitimate and popular. As far as CNN and the mainstream media is concerned, they are trying to send this message to the viewers as a way of convincing right-of-center viewers that very few people share their perspective. The fact that the candidates may have good answers to difficult questions is less important than the message that is sent to the viewers that only a left-of-center viewpoint is legitimate for them to hold.

What infuriates me is the O... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

What infuriates me is the Orwellian quality. The dictation of terms, deception, and propaganda. It is another example of underhanded left domination. Pulling the puppet strings, as it were.

I guess jp2 doesn't have an... (Below threshold)

I guess jp2 doesn't have anything to say about CNN's bias, or Hillary's deception. It's also interesting... I saw a piece on the news this morning that another one of Hillary's fundraisers has been indicted on bribary charges. I'm still looking for a link for confirmation.

Jim C

CNN, the most trusted name ... (Below threshold)
Lee:

CNN, the most trusted name in Bull Shit.

If it's on CNN, it's bull shit.

CNN, pathological liars

JT, you are requesting that... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

JT, you are requesting that the left play fair. That will never happen. They cannot go toe to toe with republicans. ww

This pathetic whining and b... (Below threshold)
horsesense:

This pathetic whining and bleating post is moronic.

If this is the best right bloggers can do, get ready for the election deluge next year when your nominee, a samall man in search of a balcony, is trounced.

Tou delusional righties will be toast.

JP2:Starting on th... (Below threshold)

JP2:

Starting on the first post about this whole charade, right off the bat you only quote some other nut job you agreed with. Then you answer to a comment with a question that had NOTHING to do with the comment. Then in another post you ask something totally off-topic.

Now this:

"The fact that you are still trying to reason it out is solid evidence that reasons are being grasped for."

The fact that you are still avoiding the obvious issue here is solid evidence that you don't give a crap about integrity and honesty unless it affects you negatively. Then and only then are you ready to hold people to standards.

I'm still waiting for the day when you contribute something of substance and value here ... even accidentally.

"....it's the hypocrisy." (... (Below threshold)
Semanticleo:

"....it's the hypocrisy." (chuckle)

Those questions relate to the things these guys talk about on the campaign trail. We should let them choose whatever angle casts them in the best light. It's just so unfair to ask them for the dirty details.

horsesense - please use the... (Below threshold)

horsesense - please use the preview window. Don't let your zeal to sling out some slobbering invective and hit the submit button overshadow attention to details like spelling.

Here's a few more:... (Below threshold)
MagicalPat:

Here's a few more:

1) Since you believe in a woman's right to choose, do you support the right of young girls to choose the school they can go to with a voucher program? Can those same young women exercise their right to choose not to take the HPV vaccine?

2) What is the exact percentage of a person's income that you feel the Government is entitled to?

3) When does life begin? If you can't answer that question, then when is it viable? If you don't know either answer, how can you be so certain that abortion is not murder? If doctors discovered a way to put a child back into the womb, would you support a woman's right to kill it?

4) At the Republican debate, the candidates were asked if they believed every word of the Bible. I would like to know if you believe any of it, and please cite the parts you do not believe. If you believe some of it but not all of it, how do you know what is true and what is not?

It's unfortunate that Jay h... (Below threshold)
Eric F:

It's unfortunate that Jay has to spell it out child-like for the liberals of the board.

I do have a couple of questions: Was there any expectation or promise of neutrality/undecided voter? If CNN wanted to put on known Democrats asking 3/4 of the questions on both the Democrat and GOP debates, could they? And if so, would a Democrat voter shed a tear?

I'm curious. I don't rememb... (Below threshold)
MagicalPat:

I'm curious. I don't remember the Dem You-Tube debate very clearly, but were any of the video questioners flown in to ask follow up questions? Or did they only ambush Republicans?

I don't know the answer, but it would be interesting to know.

In my opinion sissoed nails... (Below threshold)
troglodyte:

In my opinion sissoed nails the most critical issue. The intended propaganda point was that only Democrats and leftists have questions that merit discussion, even by Republican candidates in a Republican primary. We are fortunate that CNN is so inept. They destroyed their argument by using obvious ringers to deliver it. Their subliminal message would have been very effective if they had not bungled it.

I wonder what percentage of... (Below threshold)
epador:

I wonder what percentage of those flown in by CNN rate their mental health as excellent.

I still laugh at the Democr... (Below threshold)
Roy:

I still laugh at the Democrat party which refused to let Fox News host a debate because of perceived bias. CNN has proven their bias and still the Rep debaters showed up.

I think the best way to con... (Below threshold)

I think the best way to conduct the debates is to have the questions to one side come from identified and known supporters of the other side. That way everbody knows there is no pretense of objectivity and they'll be in for a good ol' fashioned donnybrook. The only condition would be that the questions have to be genuine questions, not political dogma masquerading as such. That's a challenging condition for many idologues to meet, for it requires intellectually equanimity, which is lacking on both fringes.

Roy, that's because the Reb... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

Roy, that's because the Rebpubs. have some courage, and ideas. If you have none, you tend to avoid hard questions. Obviously.

The debate was excellent, i... (Below threshold)

The debate was excellent, if you were a Democratic voter who was considering switching parties. The questions were primarily issues that Democrats care about - or where they were issues Republicans care about, they were framed in a "Have you beat your wife lately?" way so that the real differences between candidates were hard to discern. So if that was what CNN had promoted (and in fairness, maybe it was understood because how many conservatives watch CNN anyway?) it would have been fine.

What we need now is a debate that actually answers questions that conservatives have about the candidates. The top ten issues include:

1. Illegal immigration -- 86%
2. War on terrorism -- 80%
3. Federal spending - 65%
4. Supreme Court and other judicial appointments -- 64%
5. Flat tax/tax cuts -- 61%
6. Size of government -- 61%
7. Iraq -- 55%
8. Social Security -- 45%
9. Entitlement programs -- 38%
10. Abortion -- 36%

There's nothing related to homosexuality on that list, because conservatives have more important issues right now. The farm subsidies question wasn't bad, but a conservative wouldn't have asked that, they would have asked about eliminating pork in the budget overall. Conservatives wouldn't have wasted valuable time on a lecture about government protection from Chinese products - we'll read the label and just not buy them. Bottom line - this debate was by and for Democrats.

Epador - you asked "I wo... (Below threshold)

Epador - you asked "I wonder what percentage of those flown in by CNN rate their mental health as excellent."

It's hard to say, but I'll bet their self-esteem is absolutely off the charts!

horsemanure:You so... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

horsemanure:

You sound like one who would tell a rape victim to stop "whining and bleating." You people are guilty of lies, deception, and cowardly ambush - nothing new here - and you skulk about blaming the recipients of your slimy subterfuge. You're good at blaming the victim aren't you? In your twisted world view 9/11 means we "got what we deserved."

As for the "election deluge," we'll see who comes out whining.

I don't care if they pack t... (Below threshold)
OhioVoter:

I don't care if they pack the audience with ex-wives/husbands/girlfriends/boyfriends of the candidates and their spouses.

Just don't tell me that Gennifer Flowers is an undecided voter from Idaho Falls instead of who she actually is.

sisscoed:Your post... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

sisscoed:

Your post is excellent. I think it hits the nail on the head.

Horsesense? You blithering ... (Below threshold)
914:

Horsesense? You blithering idiot! are You Mr. Ed?

The Clinton News Network ha... (Below threshold)
stan25 Author Profile Page:

The Clinton News Network has only one agenda and that is to get the Hidlabeast elected as the first woman President, by any means possible. That includes putting plants in opponents debates and campaigns. I would not be surprised to learn that the CNN reporters are giving the Hildabeast inside info on what each candidate is planning.

jp2 cannot answer the quest... (Below threshold)
Jo:

jp2 cannot answer the questions and has fled the building.

Smart move.

"There's nothing rela... (Below threshold)
Donna Hanover:

"There's nothing related to homosexuality on that list, because conservatives have more important issues right now."

Laura, that's soley because Rove isn't running this election. That issue is particular to his style, amd, in any event, is now a sensitive issue for your party of hypocresy w/ a leading candidate who co-habited w/ gay men. It would also be a risky issue since your convention is being held in Minneapolis where toilets at the airport are lately high on the tourist ciccuit.

If your small man in search of a balcony is the nominee, we will see the very slimiest election in the history of the planet.

At this time debates are ge... (Below threshold)
nogo war:

At this time debates are geared toward Primaries.
However the eventual Republican/Democratic Candidate will face a general election. The majority of voting Americans are not Republicans or Democrats let alone "right-wing" or "left-wing". Most of the data I have seen more eligible voter identifying themselves "Independents" than either Republican or Democrat.

Anyone who believes the "wing" Republican/Democratic base on its' own will elect our next President is mistaken.

Questions should be out of the comfort zone for any candidate.

A last simple question..Do you really believe the powers will allow Huckabee to be the Republican nominee?

The message to the viewe... (Below threshold)
Brian:

The message to the viewers of having most of the questions from a left-viewpoint

8 out of 34 is "most"?

Laura, that's soley beca... (Below threshold)

Laura, that's soley because Rove isn't running this election.

Exactly right... because, you know, it's hypocresy [sic] to think an actual shooting war in two countries, the invasion of our own country by our third-world neighbors, and creeping sharia are more important than letting certain members of the military proclaim their enjoyment of anal sex. Luckily, I have Darth Rove to do my thinking for me and get my priorities sorted out.

"I guess jp2 doesn't have a... (Below threshold)
jp2:

"I guess jp2 doesn't have anything to say about CNN's bias..."

Which question was unfair? They faced no harder questions that any other debate I have ever seen.

jp2, it helps if you read t... (Below threshold)

jp2, it helps if you read the article before commenting.

Apart from that last one ("Ron Paul, please run as an independent!", those were pretty good questions.

It was the MANNER in which it was handled, and the way CNN either out-and-out lied or was utterly inept and incompetent about how they presented the questions and questioners. Toss in how only ONE questioner in both debates was flown in to repeat and expound and follow up on his question -- the guy who's been advising Hillary Clinton -- and you can't help but smell the reek.

Well, you can't help but smell it unless you try really, really, really hard to ignore it. And I suspect that's what jp2 has been doing.

J.

Election fraud from the ... (Below threshold)
RobLACal:

Election fraud from the party of perpetual fraud.

"As far as CNN and the mainstream media is concerned, they are trying to send this message to the viewers as a way of convincing right-of-center viewers that very few people share their perspective."

Why do democrats fight so hard to deny the obvious, even go as far as to claim their democrat partners in the Media are biased to the Right(JOKE)?

Democrat know "Media Bias" = "election fraud"

Has anyone noticed when democrats lose they cry about every bit of coverage that exposes them for what they are as attacks?

Lies are like fleas on a dog , all dogs can sustain fleas. The normal action taken by those who care about their dog is to do all they can to rid both themselves and the dog of incessant biting pests. Flea collars , sentinel or advantage are readily available however there is one dog , the democrat dog that has been intentionally stripped of all such remedies. Not satisfied with the current infestation of domestic fleas the democrat dog is purposely opened up for exposure for foreign fleas to pile on.

Democrats what nothing more than these fleas to spread and flourish in hopes of infecting each and every person in this Country with their diseased way of thinking. Fortunately for me I am immune to their lies though in the past I was not immune to my own ignorance.

I am thouroughly disgusted with the abhorrent behavior and rancid vitriol aimed without warrant at our President George W Bush , his party and administration. Another of the endless dishonest activities of the democrat party is their hate speak under the guise of dissent. Equally disgusting is the hate and wide eyed rage directed to those who their lies no longer have or never have had an effect on. Suffering from Frustrated Fraud Syndrome with a twist of BDS and this is what we have today and it is only getting worse.

Have a Merry Christmas democrats.

JT - "Well, you can't h... (Below threshold)
marc:

JT - "Well, you can't help but smell it unless you try really, really, really hard to ignore it. And I suspect that's what jp2 has been doing."

It's hard to smell anything when you're like jp2 and use your sphincter muscle as a necklace.

CNN the COMMUNISTS NEWS NET... (Below threshold)
Spurwing Plover:

CNN the COMMUNISTS NEWS NETWORK you cant trust those lying liberal left-wing journalists
depp=true




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