THE CNN SEMANTIC STING
The most trusted name in news, but not the most trustworthy!
Jesse - TvNewsLies.org - 5-Feb-2004
Day in and day out they let you know. Just tune in anytime and you’ll hear it loud and clear: There’s no doubt about it, and you just know it has to be true: you’re watching the Most Trusted Name in News. People trust their name, people trust their logo and people trust their newscasters. After all, they’re CNN, the Cable News Network! They’re not only trusted, - they’re the MOST trusted of all to bring you the news you need to know. Yeah, right!
Uh, there’s a small problem here. Being trusted means that others place their confidence in you. They believe what you tell them. They are convinced you’re reliable and sincere. But if you are trusted, it does not automatically follow that you are trustworthy, because that would imply that you deserve to be trusted. CNN has undoubtedly conned its way into becoming the Most Trusted Name in News. It cannot, in any shape or form lay claim to being the most trustworthy. In fact, CNN, with this semantic ploy, may well be the most perfect example of linguistic disconnect!
As any successful con artist knows, get someone to trust you and you’re in. Get someone to trust you and you have a far better chance to manipulate and control. If a con artist presents an effective image of integrity, his victims never realize they’ve been cleverly set up. And that’s precisely what CNN has done. They have established a reputation that inspires trust. They can lay claim to being the pioneers in cable news. They can parade an impressive array of newsmen and women on their screen. And they expertly disguise the charade they have become.
Guess what - CNN really is the most trusted name in news. No argument from TvNewsLies, because we believe them. We know that tens of millions of people trust them. Why not, - clever slogans hit home. Expert advertising works. Okay, so they’re the most trusted. That’s a clever ruse, but not a great accomplishment. It’s not about being trusted. It’s about being trustworthy, - about being reliable and up front. It’s about deserving the trust of the people. And CNN is not at all trustworthy when it comes to fulfilling its claim. CNN, while winning the trust of so many television viewers, does NOT deserve their trust. Not for a minute.
You can almost hear them snickering every time they repeat that phrase, most trusted name in news. People who understand journalism and take the time to analyze CNN news have to believe that the CNN viewing audience is a gullible bunch. They’re too often loyal followers who really believe that anything broadcast on CNN has credibility: It must be true. I saw it on CNN, - and I just know that they’re the most trusted name in news. So much for indoctrination.
Let's talk trustworthy. What should a viewer expect, need or even deserve from an organization that claims to be a national TV news network? For starters let's just say, oh, how about "national news?" We at TvNewsLies feel that a national news network has a responsibility to report the events that actually affect the nation and the world. We feel that, at the end of any given day, the issues most important to most people will at least have been touched upon. You would think that a 24 hour network would have enough time during a typical broadcast day to do this. Well, think again. It’s not happening on CNN.
Let’s talk news. What do we mean by the events that affect the nation and the world? Here are three basic questions that may help people decide if they are getting the important news:
How many people are affected by the event? If the answer is a few or a few dozen. the event is at best a local story or perhaps a story of human interest. While these stories have a place on a national news network, they should be way down on the priority list. They should not be reported in place of more vital national news that affects us as a nation.
Is the event an event at all? Is it a news report or a commercial dressed up as news? Is a movie review or celebrity interview really news? Does the story more appropriately belong on an entertainment network? Again, it’s about priorities. Has other important news been omitted or under-reported?
Is this all there is? Has the network covered the important happenings in the nation and the world? Has there been a follow up to yesterday’s unfinished story? Has the network informed the viewer or tried to influence the viewer’s perspective?
Our premise is that CNN does not report the news that people deserve to get from a network that asks for their trust. Let’s take a closer look.
For this analysis, TVNL is not going to discuss media bias or the many methods of deception that take place during news broadcasts. We are going to set one critical standard for a national news network: report the news. Tell us about the events that affect us as a nation. Tell us about the events that affect our democracy. Tell us about the events that affect our world.
CNN has a captive audience in the American viewing public. In their readiness to trust CNN, most people have no clue that hardly any real news is reported on the network. During its 24 hours or continual broadcasting, an average of 5 minutes of real news per hour is delivered to the public. The number of essential news stories omitted from the broadcast day is simply astonishing.
In the place of real news, CNN regularly offers the public a range of sensational tabloid stories that are repeated ad infinitum. At the same time, the network ignores critical stories that unquestionably should be reported by a trusted network. Too often, stories are present as breaking events that are not current or new at all. Too often CNN offers its viewers news that an informed segment of the American population knew about months before. CNN has a clear agenda with its time table for news, for partisan politics has replaced integrity.
Currently there is an array of news stories on CNN about the events that led up to the invasion ofIraq. Some CNN viewers may be impressed by the investigative journalism that they are watching. But the informed public is wondering why this was not done in the weeks and months prior to the war with Iraq. The information was there. The stories are not new. But CNN chose to support the war blindly as it garnered an enviable role in covering the fighting. There were no questions, no challenges, and no doubts expressed by CNN about the validity of a pre-emptive attack against Iraq by the Bush administration. Was this in any way trustworthy journalism? We think not.
Still not convinced? Here’s another test.
Decide whether or not CNN been the role model for overkill with stories about:
- Scott & Laci Peterson
- Martha Stewart's lawsuit
- Kobe Bryant's legal battle
- Michael Jackson's troubles
- Conjoined twin separations
- Weekly box office results
- Every new movie that comes out
- Accidents and car chases caught on video
- A missing child of the hundreds that go missing.
- Celebrities, celebrities, celebrities.
Now ask yourself whether or not CNN responsibly informed the public about these ten important issues, listed at random from among dozens of possible unreported and under-reported stories:
Dick Cheney's 3 year legal battle to keep public information secret about his energy meetings; the discovery of Iraqi oil and pipeline maps used during those policy meeting notes.
The members of the Project for a New American Century now in powerful positions in the Bush administration; their political beliefs and their influence on American policy
The real number of US war dead and wounded, and the Iraqi civilian dead and wounded.
After considering these topics, is it possible to consider CNN’s news coverage trustworthy? We think not. TvNewsLies realizes that the American broadcast system is devoid of a national news network. There is no reliable, unbiased, journalism-based 24 hour TV news source available to the American public. We challenge anyone in the industry to prove us wrong. We will appear on any program for the purpose of debating this issue and we will gladly discuss the sad state of broadcast journalism in this nation.
TVNL is currently working on a series of videos that will clearly expose the TV broadcast news networks for what they are. More importantly we will show you what they are not.
Lesson learned: The viewing public must think for themselves. They must begin to ask the right questions and expect credible answers. Americans have the right to re-discover what true journalism is all about. It has been missing for so long that millions upon millions of Americans trust a pathetic organization like CNN to keep them informed.
Without information we lose control of our ability to understand the world. Demand information.. Don't just trust, test. But most of all trust only those who are trustworthy. CNN is not.