I often say on social media that in the two years encompassing the presidential election and Trump’s first year and change in office, that CNN has been far worse than Fox News.
How is this possible? I am often asked. Because, no doubt, Fox News is a festering heaving swamp of racism, sexism, bias and shoddy propaganda posing as journalism.
It is all of these things, and much worse.
But that’s what we expect of Fox News. Fox News can do no better than their base garbage level, because that is the point of Fox News. It was dreamt up by racist and serial woman molester Roger Ailes to push a Republican Party propaganda message. It does this, every day, every hour.
I expect nothing of Fox News and it always lives down to those low expectations.
On paper, CNN is supposed to be different. It isn’t that CNN was born journalistically perfect. We are often too nostalgic about the press, which in America was always designed to attract eyeballs and operates on that principle for better or worse.
When Ted Turner launched CNN it was flashy and loud and unusual compared to the only other venues that existed for TV news at the time – the news departments at ABC, CBS, and NBC.
But while CNN was always designed and packaged with visual stimulus in mind, they at least practiced some semblance of journalism.
When Bernard Shaw broadcast as rockets hit Iraq, that was news.
On the other hand, an open microphone with the on-screen chyron “Donald Trump Expected To Speak Any Minute,” as was so often seen on CNN in 2016, is not news.
What also is not news is CNN’s shuffle to generate “news” that is often more of a set up than a wrestling match.
CNN hosts a discussion with a pro-Trump person – usually a CNN employee, like Rick Santorum or Jack Kingston – and then a CNN anchor takes them to task (often this is Chris Cuomo). Then, when the little moment is over, the video is captured and posted to social media and sites like Mediaite.
At that point, the CNN anchor will tweet out a link to him or her “owning” the Trump-friendly voice, leading to another segment where the “fallout” from the exchange is discussed.
This process has been repeated dozens of time in the last two years, and not a single time has it been “journalism.”
These reasons are why I say CNN has been worse than Fox. I expect nonsense garbage from Fox. I expect nothing from Fox. From CNN, I expect something resembling the news. I don’t mind if it’s eye-catching or engaging, there are a lot of things that news media has to compete with.
But when the propagandistic level of a CNN broadcast is the same or worse than Fox News, that is a moment of shame.
That’s why CNN has been worse than Fox. They’ve done a worse job than the worse. For television news, that says a lot.