CNN Panders to the Tea Party
By Robert ParryCNN, which likes to boast that it’s America’s non-ideological cable news network, revealed in its Republican presidential debate collaboration with the Tea Party Express the hidden political reality behind “centrist” journalism – a never-ending pandering to the Right.
The basic truth about mainstream journalism is that the careerists who dominate the national news media are keenly attuned to where the worst career dangers lie and steer away accordingly. And, by far, the biggest risk to a journalist’s career is to be deemed “liberal” by the Right’s powerful attack machine.
So, while CNN would surely recoil from a suggestion that it co-sponsor a Democratic debate with, say, Moveon.org, the “No Bias, No Bull” network saw no problem in associating its journalistic credibility with the far-right Tea Party.
Similar tendencies in the U.S. news media can be noted in everything from the endless fawning over Ronald Reagan’s glorious legacy to the reliably pro-war tilt of most key news outlets, as underscored in an article on Sunday by the New York Times former executive editor Bill Keller. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Who Are These People?”]
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The Times quoted Sal Russo, a Tea Party Express co-founder, as calling the partnership a way for the Tea Party to shed its image as an extremist movement.
“The fact that they’re broadcasting and partnering with us shows that they [CNN executives] understand it’s a broad-based political movement and that it isn’t fractured and narrow,” Russo said.
Though CNN insisted that it maintained its journalistic independence in its Tea Party collaboration , the network widely promoted the debate with banners linking CNN to the Tea Party Express and fashioned the debate as something of a Tea Party rally.
CNN coordinated with Tea Party activists to frame questions and arranged live satellite feeds from Tea Party gatherings in Arizona, Virginia and Ohio, the Times reported, adding that “even the graphics on the video screens behind the stage flashed flags that are often seen at Tea Party rallies.”