CNN's lack of ethics in how they edit and present the news to the public is woven into its very structure. One way they do that is by giving a platform for new faces to gain fame in the world of liars and for old faces to continue to prosper as purveyors of untruths and, ironically, giving unknowns more power to attack CNN itself (in some cases, with terror attacks endorsed by Hannity/Fox which remain unconfronted and thus continue... a fascinating pattern of behavior). Here is research by Media Matters proving this point.
Failed Trump nominee Stephen Moore: “If I'm such a scoundrel and a sexist, why did [CNN] have me on every night?” After Moore withdrew from Federal Reserve nomination process, he will not return to CNN
TUCKER CARLSON (HOST): I thought you just re-signed at CNN, they wanted you to work there and then I’m watching you tonight and they’re telling me that like, you’re evil. How did that --STEPHEN MOORE: This is a little awkward for CNN, because every night they trash me now, when, for the last two and a half years, I've been their senior economics writer. And the things that they're talking about now are things that happened 20 years ago. Wait a minute, if I'm such a scoundrel and a sexist, why did they have me on every night?CARLSON: What's the answer?MOORE: Well, I mean, I don't know. You would have to ask them, but -- but the point is, you know, I don't think you should hold accountable, you know, for things that were written 25 years ago.
Stephen Moore repeatedly said he liked working at Fox News because he met “a lot of beautiful women” there
Media Matters: CNN’s ethics mess: Employee again used network job to promote his lobbying client’s cause
CNN political commentator and megalobbyist David Urban again used his network job to push for the passage of a trade agreement favored by President Donald Trump. Urban’s lobbying firm is being paid by a Trump-aligned group to lobby for the passage of the agreement, a blatant financial conflict of interest that CNN (again) didn’t disclose to viewers.
Trump has been trying to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) as a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) since he signed the deal during November’s G-20 summit. In February, Axios reported that Republicans formed the 501(c)(4) group Trade Works for America with the specific purpose of pressuring members of Congress, especially Democrats, to support the USMCA.
On April 1, Trade Works for America retained Urban and his firm American Continental Group to lobby for the USMCA. The group has paid Urban's firm $90,000 so far, according to a lobbying report filed by the firm last week.
As Media Matters reported earlier this month, Urban used his CNN job to -- unprompted -- push for the agreement’s passage just three days after he was retained to lobby for it. On the April 4 edition of The Lead with Jake Tapper, Urban said that the USMCA has been “getting some momentum, some traction with Democrats in the House” and Trump’s threat to close the U.S.-Mexico border would “kind of blow that up” and be “a tragedy.” Media Matters asked CNN why the network didn’t disclose Urban’s financial conflict of interest during that segment but received no response.
Urban again appeared on CNN and urged the passage of the USMCA, this time on the July 24 edition of Anderson Cooper 360. Urban brought up the USMCA essentially unprompted and said that “people want to see legislators legislate” and that “the path of success for Democrats” is to pass things like the USMCA.
Media Matters: In patently unethical move, CNN hires John Kasich even as he considers presidential bid
CNN has hired former Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich as a contributor even though he is considering running for president in 2020. Kasich’s hire is the latest example of a cable news outlet unethically allowing potential office seekers to use its national platform to boost their future election chances while simultaneously drawing a paycheck. Kasich will undoubtedly use his CNN platform to draw a contrast between himself and President Donald Trump, as he did during the 2016 GOP primary. But his “carefully cultivated appearance” as a moderate is anything but accurate.
On January 15, CNBC reported that Kasich will work at CNN as a senior political contributor. Kasich’s chief political strategist, John Weaver, told CNBC that CNN “is a strong platform for the governor to continue to offer his positive vision to the country and engage on the vital issues facing America.” As CNBC’s report notes, the hire also comes as Kasich “is planning to go on a West Coast swing this week to meet with donors and business leaders, including traveling to Los Angeles and parts of Silicon Valley.” He is reportedly considering running for president as either an independent or a Republican.
Kasich previously parlayed a cable news gig into political office. After leaving Congress in 2001, he worked at Fox News between 2001 and 2009 as a host and contributor (while also working for Lehman Brothers from 2001-2008). He then successfully ran for governor of Ohio in 2010, with Fox News acting as one of his biggest cheerleaders. The phenomenon repeated itself when Fox News gave Kasich friendly coverage leading up to his announcement of a 2016 presidential run.
When Kasich announced his candidacy on July 21, 2015, he immediately received a return on his investment with Fox; during that day’s broadcast of The Five, then-host Kimberly Guilfoyle said that Kasich “does have a tremendous amount of experience and private sector in government and as governor,” while mentioning his previous employment with Fox. Fox’s Dana Perino added that “I said for a while that I think the folks are going to like him because they have for a long time,” while Geraldo Rivera proclaimed, “Kasich could do it.”
In August 2015, then-Fox News host Bill O’Reilly acknowledged that he was advising Kasich. (Kasich was previously a frequent guest host on The O’Reilly Factor, which was cancelled in 2017 following public reports about O’Reilly subjecting some of his staff members and guests to years of sexual harassment. Kasich has denied knowing about sexual harassment at Fox while he was an employee.)
Kasich has spoken candidly about the value of a cable news job in aiding political aspirations. In the lead-up to his 2016 presidential run, Kasich reportedly “endeared himself to the conservatives by mentioning his past TV work,” telling a group of conservatives: “I used to be at Fox News. I was a big star at one time.” In 2015, David Kushma of Toledo, OH, paper The Blade noted that Kasich's “tenure at Fox News, where he honed his heartland persona, helped make him media-savvy.” And a 2002 Columbus Dispatch profile noted that Kasich “wants to be in the White House,” but in the meantime was “concerned about doing a good job with Fox, developing as 'a media person' and connecting with viewers.”
Kasich’s hire by CNN is reminiscent of the revolving door between political candidacy and cable news punditry most often associated with Fox News. Media reporter Howard Kurtz noted on CNN.com in 2013 that “Fox News is the model” for the practice, citing the hire of “potential 2012 contenders like Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, with the latter two jumping from Rupert Murdoch's team into the presidential primaries,” and noting, “There is no question that the high-profile platform gave them a boost.” (Kurtz left CNN and joined Fox News as a media critic later that year.)
During the 2016 primaries -- in which, in addition to Kasich, Huckabee, Santorum, and Ben Carson also ended up running for president -- CNN’s Reliable Sources show discussed the phenomenon of the “Fox News primary” in which GOP candidates courted network executives and made appearances on the network central features of their campaigns. (Although he was never a paid employee, Trump infamously boosted his profile through years of regular appearances on Fox News.)
As he considers running for president, Kasich will now have a national platform to workshop his potential appeal to voters and distinguish himself from the current Republican president. Yet Kasich has a number of ultra-conservative positions and views, such as his extreme anti-choice positions, deep-seated animus toward labor unions, opposition to same-sex marriage, and refusal to take climate change seriously.
While Kasich used media appearances during the 2016 campaign to present himself as reasonable and friendly, that hasn’t always been the case. During a 2009 guest-hosting appearance on Fox, Kasich sounded indistinguishable from Trump, ranting about “illegals” and heaping praise on then-Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was later convicted of a crime for refusing to stop violating the civil rights of Latinos....
Media Matters:CNN pays Sean Duffy to make a ridiculous remark -- and then calls his statement “shocking” CNN host lets Sean Duffy question Lt. Col. Vindman's loyalty to the US, then calls his comments a ridiculous attack
CNN’s New Day gave network contributor Sean Duffy a platform to smear Army Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, who was on President Donald Trump’s Ukraine call and is testifying that he objected to Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine into pursuing investigations into Trump’s political rivals. Minutes later, CNN aired Duffy’s comments as an example of an unreasonable right-wing attack.
Duffy, who has a history of pushing lies and conspiracy theories during his time as a Republican congressman, claimed Vindman is “incredibly concerned about Ukrainian defense” and claiming, “I don’t know that he’s concerned about American policy.” Vindman, who was born in Ukraine and emigrated to the U.S. with his family as a child, is a decorated Iraq war veteran and a top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council. Duffy also said, “We all have an affinity to our homeland where we came from. … I'm sure that Vindman has the same affinity.” Co-anchor John Berman strongly pushed back on Duffy’s comments, calling them “pretty stunning.”
Only a few moments later, Berman re-aired Duffy’s comments as an example of “the president’s Republican allies trying to discredit today’s witness, Col. Vindman, who we will note was awarded a purple heart and is an active member of the U.S. military.” Duffy’s comments come after he used his first two appearances as a CNN contributor to push a long-debunked conspiracy theory about Ukraine, requiring on-air pushback....
A few minutes later, Berman reaired Duffy's comment, calling it “a pretty shocking statement.”
Media Matters: CNN and Jake Tapper fail to disclose employee’s major lobbying conflict of interest
For the third time this year, CNN allowed political commentator David Urban to push for the passage of a trade agreement without disclosing that he’s being paid to lobby for that measure. CNN has repeatedly ignored questions about its failure to disclose this blatant conflict of interest.
President Donald Trump has been trying to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) as a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) since he signed the deal during November’s G-20 summit. In February, Axios reported that Republicans formed the 501(c)(4) group Trade Works for America with the specific purpose of pressuring members of Congress, especially Democrats, to support the USMCA.
On April 1, Trade Works for America retained Urban and his firm American Continental Group to lobby for the USMCA. The group has paid Urban's firm at least $90,000 so far, according to a lobbying report filed by the firm in July.
During the September 9 edition of The Lead with Jake Tapper, Urban used his CNN job to push for the passage of the USMCA, stating: “[Politico reporter] Melanie [Zanoa] makes a good point about there's this long laundry list of things to do in the Congress, right, whether to get things actually accomplished, USMCA, lots of things that -- ”
Tapper then responded: “The new trade deal?”
Urban replied: “Yeah, the trade deal, right, that moderate Democrats, [Rep.] Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania and a slew of others, 30-plus others, were elected to get things done.”
Tapper added: “Congressman Max Rose.”
Urban then continued: “‘We’re going to go to Washington. We're going to work with my counterparts across the aisle and accomplish things.’ And they have gotta go back and run. And they're going to run on nothing, zero. They have a very thin record to run on. They're at risk.”
Urban’s push for the USMCA mirrors that of the White House, which has been heavily promoting the measure.
This is the third time that Urban has used his CNN position to push for the passage of the USMCA without any disclosure that he is paid to lobby for the measure’s passage. He also did it on the July 24 edition of Anderson Cooper 360 and the April 4 edition of The Lead with Jake Tapper.
CNN has also not previously disclosed Urban’s conflicts of interest from lobbying on other topics, such as military issues, environmental protections, and tax policy.
CNN again did not respond to a request for comment.
Media Matters: Broken record: CNN’s David Urban touts defense secretary, doesn’t disclose financial conflicts of interest
In what's become a troubling pattern, CNN failed to disclose that one of its main political commentators has financial entanglements with the subject he was discussing.
CNN political commentator David Urban appeared on the network and touted acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper, listing him as one of the “credible people” that President Donald Trump can rely on and saying that the administration official has a “great relationship” with Trump. Urban personally lobbies the Defense Department on behalf of defense contractors and lobbied for defense giant Raytheon when Esper headed the company’s lobbying shop.
Urban serves as the president and part-owner of American Continental Group, a multimillion dollar lobbying firm. In 2017, when Trump was reportedly considering Urban as his White House chief of staff, Daily Beast reporter Lachlan Markay wrote that Urban has “not just a wealth of political experience but a roster of recent lobbying clients with business before the federal government and large sums riding on major administration policy decisions.”
Trump recently nominated Esper to serve as defense secretary in a permanent capacity. In June, Axios had reported that Esper “is close” to Urban, and Politico called him “a close ally” of Urban. The two, along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, graduated from West Point in 1986.
Media Matters previously reported that Urban has pushed his lobbying interests during CNN appearances on issues such as the military, environment, taxes, and trade.
CNN has recently started adding some disclosures for Urban during his appearances. CNN’s Jake Tapper stated on the July 12 edition of The Lead that Urban is “a D.C. lobbyist” who works on “behalf of energy, defense, and transportation companies.” Urban laughed as Tapper read the disclosure, stating, “That's like a tagline ... my new tagline.” Tapper replied: “Well, just full disclosure.”
But just a few hours later, that disclosure was gone as Urban appeared on the July 12 edition of Erin Burnett OutFront with guest host Kate Bolduan, and she introduced him as a Trump 2020 adviser. The segment was about the stability of Trump’s White House intelligence community apparatus amid reports that Trump is considering firing Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. After dismissing Coats as “a glorified” staffer, Urban said that, among others, “you have a new secretary of defense coming up who the president has a great relationship with. … There's lots of credible people there in the intelligence community and other places the president relies on.”
In addition to their friendship, Urban has financial reasons to tout Esper’s credibility to CNN viewers.
Urban personally lobbies the Defense Department for clients that include military housing developer Lendlease Americas and defense contractors General Dynamics and Textron.
He was also financially connected to Esper before Esper joined the Trump administration in November 2017. Esper worked as a lobbyist for military contractor Raytheon and was its vice president of government relations. During that time, Urban lobbied on behalf of Raytheon regarding various military issues. His lobbying firm hasn’t reported any lobbying activity for the defense contractor since 2017.
Urban’s American Continental Group lists dozens of clients on its website and states that it lobbies for numerous sectors. In other words, whenever CNN decides to host Urban, the network is exposing itself to numerous potential conflicts of interest. The question remains: Why does CNN keep putting Urban on its airwaves?
CNN did not respond to a request for comment.
Media Matters: Once again, CNN is reaching a breaking point with a pro-Trump commentator A Trump rally is the latest episode of CNN’s embarrassing employment of Steve Cortes
CNN political commentator Steve Cortes this week attended a rally for President Donald Trump, who criticized CNN for its handling of Cortes and told him that he’ll “get a real job” soon. The rally is the latest episode in CNN’s embarrassing employment of Cortes, who appears headed for the exits at the network.
During the September 16 rally in New Mexico, Trump called Cortes a “great friend of mine, somebody that was on CNN and they didn’t like him because he was too positive on Trump, can you believe it? He happens to be Hispanic. … You were incredible on CNN and now you will get a real job, OK? Steve, that audience wasn’t big enough for you.”
He also launched into a bizarre monologue in which he said Cortes “looks more like a WASP than I do” and questioned, “Who do you like more, the country or the Hispanics? He says the country. I don’t know, I may have to go for the Hispanics, to be honest with you.”
In late January 2018, CNN announced that it had hired Cortes as a political commentator. CNN signed Cortes shortly after it let go of pro-Trump commentator Ed Martin, who said he was fired “for cause.”
CNN hired Cortes despite his anti-CNN history. As Media Matters documented in May 2018, Cortes called the network “fake news” and suggested he was “very happy” to work at Fox News -- where he was a contributor at the time -- instead of CNN. He also tweeted of CNN Chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta: “Sadly, @Acosta has stopped even pretending to be a journalist. He's an anti-Trump activist masquerading as a reporter.”
Cortes himself indicated in May 2018 that he started working for CNN at the suggestion of Trump, who is obsessed with cable news. The commentator said on a radio show: “I used to be at Fox News, which was a whole different world. I went over to CNN partly at the suggestion of the White House itself and the president himself because -- and I wanted to do it also because I saw a narrative there that I thought was unfair to the president, and I want to try to be a countervoice.”
Being a “countervoice” on CNN means that Cortes has defended Trump’s suggestion that violence from his supporters might be justified; taken issue with the idea “that the president is a habitual liar”; claimed “there is zero evidence that” Trump “is a racist”; and falsely stated that “there is evidence of widespread voter fraud” and “illegals do vote, clearly.”
Cortes starred in an August 5 video for the right-wing outlet PragerU which attempted to rewrite Trump’s “very fine people” remarks after the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. CNN reporter Oliver Darcy responded to the video by tweeting: “Calling this a ‘malicious lie’ (which it's not) and ‘journalistic malfeasance’ (which it's also not) is a weird thing for someone who is a paid CNN commentator to say, given the network's accurate reporting on the matter.” Trump replied to the video on Twitter: “Thank you Steve!”
Shortly afterward, The Hollywood Reporter’s Jeremy Barr wrote that Cortes appears to have been “benched” by the network, with one former CNN contributor stating of the network and Cortes: “They just won't book him. They'll just pay him. They won't fire him, because that's just blatant. But they won't book him, and they'll tell all the producers not to book him.” The Daily Beast’s Asawin Suebsaeng and Maxwell Tani subsequently reported that Trump “got on the phone with Cortes in the past month to ask him what was going on, and to complain about CNN’s ‘bias’ and how unfairly the cable news network has treated” Cortes, according to “two sources familiar with the call.”
In the past month, Cortes has appeared on CNN just twice (the September 11 and 17 broadcasts of Cuomo Prime Time), according to a Nexis and TVEyes search.
On August 30, Cortes visited Trump at The White House to discuss his CNN employment, among other issues. Cortes said in a September 13 radio interview that he discussed his CNN employment situation “with the president personally. I went there two weeks ago and sat with him in the Oval Office and talked about a whole lot of issues, most of them related to media, and most of them related to the 2020 campaign, you know, and including my situation there.” He added: “I’ll probably have more to say at some point but not present.”
When Cortes’ CNN contract does run out, it’s certainly likely he’ll follow the same path as other former pro-Trump CNN commentators and trash the network for purportedly being insufficiently deferential to Trump.
Even without Cortes, CNN has another problem in political commentator David Urban. Urban advises the Trump campaign and, like Cortes, received a Trump shoutout at a recent rally. But unlike Cortes, Urban is the president of a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm that collects millions in lobbying income per year. And Urban regularly uses his CNN position to promote his lobbying clients’ issues without disclosures about his conflicts of interest.
Media Matters: CNN’s Sean Duffy problem
Sean Duffy, a former Republican member of Congress, is the latest shill for President Donald Trump to join CNN and immediately disgrace the network. That’s by design, the result of a deliberate policy mandated by the network’s top executives to hire and feature Trump supporters, knowing all the while that they will inevitably lie to CNN's audience.
On Tuesday morning, Duffy was brought on to discuss Army Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman’s pending congressional testimony before the House committees that are currently pursuing an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s abuse of power regarding Ukraine. Vindman, the top official handling Ukraine on the National Security Council, will testify that he was on the July phone call in which Trump urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to probe former Vice President Joe Biden, and that he viewed the call as improper and reported his concerns to the NSC’s top lawyer.
Vindman earned a Purple Heart while deployed in Iraq in 2003. He came to the United States as a Jewish refugee from Ukraine (then part of the Soviet Union) when he was 3 years old.
That latter point was the focus of Duffy’s criticism, as the newly minted CNN contributor and The Real World: Boston alumnus insinuated that the decorated active duty Army officer had turned on the president because he is a “former Ukrainian” who “wants to make sure that taxpayer money goes in military aid to the Ukraine.”...
Related: The conspiracy theories and lies of CNN’s latest hire, Sean Duffy
CNN’s Sean Duffy joins leading lobbying firm, creating untold conflicts of interest for the network
CNN political commentator and former Republican Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) is taking a senior position at BGR Group, a leading lobbying firm that’s already worked for more than 100 clients this year. Duffy’s new job creates untold conflicts of interest for the network, which has repeatedly demonstrated its inability to handle its commentators’ ethical issues.
Duffy joined CNN last month and quickly embarrassed himself and his new employer by pushing a conspiracy theory about the 2016 election and smearing Army Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, a witness in the House impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. Duffy is the latest in a long line of CNN commentators whom the network pays to defend Trump.
Politico reported today that Duffy will become a lobbyist and senior counsel for BGR Group and that “he plans to advise financial services companies, trade associations and their members.” According to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, BGR has already banked roughly $21 million in lobbying income this year, which places them third among the top lobbying firms. BGR has received over $200 million since 1998.
BGR lobbied for the Saudi government, whose agents killed Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. BGR later dropped the government as a client. The firm currently employs Kurt Volker as senior international advisor; Volker has been a key figure in the ongoing impeachment inquiry.
This year so far, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, the firm has had 142 lobbying clients. They include defense contractors such as Airbus and Huntington Ingalls Industries; energy companies such as Chevron and Southern Co.; pharmaceutical companies such as Bayer and Eli Lilly; and foreign governments such as Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, India, and Somalia. BGR’s financial services clients include Credit Suisse Securities, Franklin Resources, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance, and the Mid-Sized Bank Coalition of America. Numerous other companies could be contracting BGR’s services for non-lobbying work that does not require filing government disclosures.
In other words, Duffy now has a countless amount of conflicts of interest as a paid CNN commentator.
CNN has previously failed when it comes to disclosing the conflicts of interest of fellow pro-Trump CNN commentator David Urban, who is the president of the lobbying firm American Continental Group. CNN did not disclose Urban’s lobbying conflicts of interest when he discussed topics such as military issues, environmental protections, and tax policy.
For instance, Urban has repeatedly urged Congress to pass a trade agreement favored by President Donald Trump without the network disclosing that he’s being paid by a Trump-aligned group to lobby for the passage of the agreement. Urban also urged attacking Iran without the network telling viewers that he lobbies for defense contractors.
BGR founding partner Ed Rogers was previously a contributing opinion writer for The Washington Post and frequently wrote about topics in which he had a conflict of interest. The publication's opinion editor told Media Matters last month that it had sidelined him ahead of the 2020 election.
Anchor John Berman spent the next several minutes pushing back on and teasing out the implications of the smear, as his colleague repeatedly suggested that Vindman had prioritized his “homeland” of Ukraine over the United States. He later reaired the comments as an example of efforts by the president’s allies to “discredit” Vindman, referring to them as “a pretty shocking statement.”
Duffy’s smear has continued to drive CNN’s coverage of the impending Vindman testimony.
Editor at large Chris Cillizza included Duffy’s comments, along with similar remarks from Fox hosts Brian Kilmeade and Laura Ingraham, in a piece denouncing the Vindman smear as “Awful. Appalling. Asinine.”
CNN commentator attacks green policies while his firm collects hundreds of thousands in fossil fuel-related lobbying fees CNN starts segment by noting some of Urban's lobbying ties after Media Matters inquiry
During appearances on Jake Tapper’s CNN programs, CNN political commentator David Urban has praised President Donald Trump for rolling back environmental protections and repeatedly warned Democrats against pursuing pro-environment policies. But CNN repeatedly failed to disclose his major financial conflict of interest during those segments: Urban lobbies for numerous fossil fuel-related clients, which have paid his firm nearly $900,000 since 2017.
CNN did not respond to a request for comment. But during Urban's first appearance after Media Matters reached out to CNN for comment for this story, the network stated that Urban is “a corporate lobbyist who has clients in the defense and energy industries.”
Urban is the president of American Continental Group (ACG). As part of his work for ACG, he has personally lobbied for fossil fuel companies, including Aiteo Global Group and Anadarko Petroleum (Anadarko terminated its relationship with ACG on January 31). His other clients have included the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline, a proposed natural gas pipeline in Oregon, the related Jordan Cove LNG export facility, and Norfolk Southern, which transports coal.
Since the beginning of 2017, ACG has pocketed $870,000 in fees from those clients, according to a tally of data via OpenSecrets.org.
Despite these financial conflicts of interest, Urban has repeatedly appeared on CNN and warned Democrats against pursuing pro-environmental policies. For instance:
- While discussing Democratic environmental proposals such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) Green New Deal, Urban said on the May 14 edition of The Lead with Jake Tapper: “I would just point out that AOC is not running for president and doesn't have to win in Pennsylvania, where there's Carbon County, Pennsylvania. What do you think comes out of Carbon County? Coal.”
- Urban said on the May 5 edition of State of the Union with Jake Tapper that the Green New Deal is one of the Democratic proposals that’s “very progressive, very left of center” and isn’t “going to play well in the states that the Democrats need to capture to win an electoral college map -- Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin. The ideas that the Democrats are talking about play very well in New York, San Francisco, Chicago -- big cities.”
- Urban connected the Green New Deal to socialism on the February 24 edition of State of the Union with Jake Tapper, stating that while younger people may not have a problem with socialism, for people who are “over 35 who turn out to vote a lot, it is a bad thing. ... The Green New Deal, where -- paying people not to work, sounds a little bit like socialism to me.” Tapper replied: “That was in an early document.”
- Urban said on the January 31, 2018, edition of The Lead with Jake Tapper that one of the things that “swung the election was Hillary Clinton's war on coal. She was completely out of touch with the working class, the Democrats in Pennsylvania.”
Urban also praised Trump for rolling back environmental protections. He stated on the October 15, 2017, edition of State of the Union with Jake Tapper that “the president and this administration have done so much so far,” then listed what he thought were Trump’s accomplishments, including the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, and mentioned “Pittsburgh, not Paris” -- a reference to Trump’s quote about withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate agreement.
CNN did not disclose Urban’s lobbying for fossil fuel-related companies during those discussions.
Media Matters reached out to CNN for comment last week about those lack of disclosures. The network did not respond but during Urban's June 30 appearance on State of the Union with Jake Tapper, guest host Brianna Keilar started a panel segment by stating: “We have to disclose that you are a corporate lobbyist who has clients in the defense and energy industries.” Urban replied, laughing: “We get in trouble. We always get in trouble. I get in trouble.”
Urban previously used his CNN position to advocate for a missile strike against Iran without the network disclosing that he lobbies for defense contractors, and he touted the National Association of Home Builders' opposition to the GOP tax bill without the network mentioning that the organization is his client and hired him to lobby on “tax reform.”
OpenSecrets reported on June 28 that Urban recently registered to lobby for defense contractor Lockheed Martin, adding:
Newly-minted acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper, a former Raytheon executive and lobbyist himself, is reportedly close friends with Urban. The two graduated from West Point, along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in 1986.Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, two of the world’s largest defense contractors, work closely on major weapons, including the F-35 fighter jet and the Javelin missile system. Urban on CNN specifically mentioned the Tomahawk cruise missile, the U.S. Navy’s go-to missile originally manufactured by General Dynamics and now made by Raytheon, Urban’s former client from 2015 to 2017.Lockheed Martin and Raythoen each saw their stock soar after Trump announced the U.S. would leave the Iran nuclear deal. The stocks dropped before the New Year then rebounded. Executives of major defense companies, including Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, have told investors that Iran tensions were good for business, The Intercept reported. Defense companies have consistently denied lobbying government on whether the U.S. should engage in conflicts.
Update (7/1/19): This post was updated to note Anadarko’s lobbying termination.
Watch CNN's Rick Santorum’s pathetic attempt to justify Trump’s confession that he welcomes election help from foreign governments Santorum: "When you get opposition research in a campaign, you don't call the FBI. ... I got folks who threw information at me in all of my campaigns, and no, I never called the FBI"
ANDERSON COOPER (HOST): Yeah, Sen. Santorum, on the subways in New York there are signs saying, you know, “If you see something, say something.” We want citizens to call the police if they even, you know, suspect something. What message does this send?RICK SANTORUM (CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR): Well, I mean, let's be fair. I mean, the president said he would listen, but he would also send it to the FBI. He said he would do both. So, the question is whether he should do both or just simply refuse to get the information. But he did say he would turn it over to the FBI. So, I -- and what I think he was talking about --DAVID GERGEN: He said “maybe.”COOPER: Yeah, “maybe,” and also, initially he did point out he's never, you know, never picked up the phone for something like that, and nobody ever would, and congresspeople don't do it, and that Chris Wray is wrong, that you should pick up the phone.SANTORUM: Yeah, I -- look, the president throws the terms “maybe” out -- I mean, he has sort of -- as we all do, we have filler words that we throw out there, and -- that don't mean what they say, like, you know, “I think.” So, I took the president for his word that he would do both, which I think -- I don't think that's necessarily inappropriate as long as he refers it to the FBI.As far as looking at the information, maybe he should, maybe he shouldn't, but I don't think there's a crime in looking at the information as long as you refer it to the proper authorities....SANTORUM: The president wasn't answering questions about solicitating information. He was saying if someone came to you and said, “Hey, I have some dirt” -- and he was talking more colloquially, and again, I think the president's word, as often, are imprecise and not necessarily -- you know, that's why I think he didn't want to be interviewed with Bob Mueller, is that he can sort of ramble and talk about things more loosely, and I think he was talking more of a general political context that we get opposition research all the time.When you get opposition research in a campaign, you don't call the FBI. I mean, I got -- I got folks who threw information at me in all of my campaigns, and no, I never called the FBI.COOPER: Right, but did you get it from Russia or Norway? Or, I mean --SANTORUM: No -- if I knew that that information was coming from a foreign source, sure, I would call the FBI --COOPER: OK, but that's not what the president said. He didn't say yes --SANTORUM: He said he would. He said he would do both.
CNN's Rick Santorum says Trump lies consistently about a lot of things so it doesn’t matter if he lies about Russia
CNN's Rick Santorum: The allegation that Trump committed a campaign finance violation is “an incredibly flimsy charge”
CNN's Rick Santorum praises Trump administration trying to bury report on climate change: “A lot of these scientists are driven by the money”
CNN's Rick Santorum defends Trump by claiming he was only praising assault in general, not assault on reporters
Media Matters: CNN’s voting rights coverage demonstrates its Trump sycophant problem
Over the past year, CNN diluted its coverage of voting issues by stocking its discussion panels with pro-Trump sycophants who consistently lied to prop up the president’s false claims about voter fraud in the 2016 election. CNN’s panelists stood in contrast to the channel’s reporters, who were somewhat more proactive in calling out Trump’s debunked claims of widespread voter fraud and illegal voting.
During (and since) the election, CNN was widely criticized for adding as commentators a roster of Trump loyalists, including former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), conservative commentators Scottie Nell Hughes and Kayleigh McEnany, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, and Jeffrey Lord, former White House staffer under then-President Ronald Reagan (Hughes and Lewandowski have since left CNN). Over the past year, these sycophants have used their platform on the network to spew lies about voting and have repeatedly defended Trump’s debunked claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2016 election.
- Lewandowski made 14 false statements about voting during his four appearances on CNN between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017, to discuss the topic.
- Lord made 21 false statements about voting during his 13 appearances on CNN between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017, to discuss the topic.
- McEnany made 41 false statements about voting during her 11 appearances on CNN between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017, to discuss the topic
- Santorum made eight false statements about voting during his one appearance on CNN between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017, to discuss the topic.
- Hughes made three false statements about voting during her one appearance on CNN between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017, to discuss the topic.
This barrage of lies from CNN’s pro-Trump coalition stands in contrast to the network’s reporters, who made somewhat of an effort to call out Trump’s lies about voting. During the same period, CNN correspondents Jeff Zeleny, Jim Acosta, Dana Bash, and Drew Griffin made a total of 85 true statements about voting and refrained from repeating any of the falsehoods their conservative colleagues pushed.
Ideally, panelists are supposed to engage in a healthy discussion based on a shared set of facts. But CNN’s Trump surrogates prop up lies when they discuss voting, often to defend the president and his alternate reality.
Media Matters: CNN’s baffling, self-sabotaging hire of Sarah Isgur The network’s new political editor is a former Trump official who has never worked in journalism
Early on in the Trump administration, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions ran into a staffing problem as he took over the Department of Justice. According to The Washington Post, Sessions very much wanted to hire longtime Republican political operative Sarah Isgur as his chief spokeswoman, but she had “criticized [President Donald] Trump, repeatedly, during the 2016 Republican primaries,” and thus her “prospects for a Justice Department job stalled.” To break the logjam, the Post reported, Isgur paid Trump “a cordial visit during which she told the president she was on board with his agenda and would be honored to serve him.”
The incident was noteworthy when the Post reported it last April because it demonstrated both the president’s overriding need for loyalty and the willingness of Republican operatives to kiss Trump’s ring as a means of career advancement. The story has taken on new relevance now that the same Sarah Isgur who personally expressed her loyalty to the sitting president has reportedly been hired as a political editor at CNN.
In certain respects, this is a baffling move by CNN. According to Politico, which first broke the news, Isgur will assume her editorial role at the network in March and “will coordinate political coverage for the 2020 campaign.” Isgur is a career political operative -- she’s worked for Sessions, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), the Republican National Committee, and Carly Fiorina’s failed 2016 presidential campaign -- but there is no indication that she has ever worked in any capacity as a journalist (unless you count appearing as a pundit on cable news, which you should not). CNN has hired a person with zero experience producing news to oversee the production of news.
Not only that, but the network has turned over its 2020 political coverage to a person who is more or less a walking conflict of interest. Politico notes that Isgur, because of her employment history, “will not play a role in covering the Department of Justice.” How on earth can a cable news channel have a political editor who can’t cover DOJ? The workings of the Justice Department are at the heart of some of the most critically important political stories of the Trump era. The Russia investigation and the special counsel’s office are going to be hugely important topics for the 2020 campaign, and Democratic candidates are likely going to spend considerable energy attacking DOJ policies that Isgur defended, such as Sessions’ legal assault on sanctuary laws for undocumented immigrants.
It doesn’t make much sense to have a political editor who has never worked in journalism, and it doesn’t make any sense to have a political editor who is walled off from important stories that will be central to the very coverage she is supposed to be coordinating. And those problems rest uneasily atop issues that arise from Isgur’s partisan leanings and her loyalties to current and former high-ranking Trump officials. Isgur’s presence will lead to persistent, difficult-to-answer questions about how her politics and conflicts of interest are shaping the network’s 2020 coverage.
CNN’s choice of a Trump administration veteran does, however, fit in with the network’s fantastically self-defeating strategy of hiring pro-Trump mercenaries who shill on behalf of a president and administration that delight in demonizing CNN. The journalism industry does not lack for talented, experienced professionals who are desperate for work, but CNN opted to give this important job to a Jeff Sessions acolyte who has never worked as a journalist. That sure feels like the network sabotaging its own interests in order to send a conciliatory message to a political movement that will always view it as an “enemy of the people.”
Media Matters: CNN pro-Trump pundit Steve Cortes says his tenure with the network is “almost done,” attacks media as “enemy of the people”
CNN political commentator Steve Cortes said on a radio program yesterday that his “tenure with CNN is almost done.” As he heads toward the exits, Cortes has been taking shots at CNN and the media in general, including stating that he believes the media is “very much the enemy of the people.”
CNN employment of pro-Trump commentators has been a disaster for the network and its viewers. It’s formerly employed Trump supporters like Corey Lewandowski, Jeffrey Lord, Ed Martin, Kayleigh McEnany, Stephen Moore, and Ken Cuccinelli. Former pro-Trump CNN commentators have gone on to trash the network for alleged bias against the president.
Despite those repeated failures, the network doesn’t appear to have learned its lesson: CNN recently hired pro-Trump former congressman Sean Duffy, who went on to promptly misinform the network’s viewers and later also joined a leading lobbying firm as senior counsel. It also employs Trump adviser David Urban, whose on-air conflicts of interest have repeatedly drawn scrutiny.
In 2018, the network hired Cortes, who also serves as a Trump campaign adviser, despite his anti-CNN history. As Media Matters documented in May 2018, Cortes had previously called the network “fake news” and suggested he was “very happy” to work at Fox News -- where he was a contributor at the time -- instead of CNN. He had also tweeted that CNN Chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta “sadly … has stopped even pretending to be a journalist. He's an anti-Trump activist masquerading as a reporter.”
Cortes has indicated that he started working for CNN at Trump’s suggestion, stating: “I used to be at Fox News, which was a whole different world. I went over to CNN partly at the suggestion of the White House itself and the president himself because -- and I wanted to do it also because I saw a narrative there that I thought was unfair to the president, and I want to try to be a countervoice.”
In August, Cortes starred in a video for the right-wing outlet PragerU which attempted to rewrite Trump’s “very fine people” remarks after the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. In recent months, he has been benched from appearing on the network, with one former CNN contributor telling The Hollywood Reporter’s Jeremy Barr: “They just won't book him. They'll just pay him. They won't fire him, because that's just blatant. But they won't book him, and they'll tell all the producers not to book him.” Cortes has not appeared on CNN since September 17, according to a search of transcripts in the Nexis database.
Cortes has recently started hosting The Steve Cortes Show on Chicago’s WIND. On that show, which frequently features discussion of the media, Cortes said that while he previously thought Trump “was too harsh” when he called the media the “enemy of the people,” he now thinks that “the fake news media” is “very much the enemy of the people” and pointed to the media’s coverage of the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani (he specifically singled out a New York Times article).
Cortes also appeared on the January 15 edition of Salem Radio Networks' The Dan Proft Show and said, “My tenure with CNN is almost done. I do give them credit for putting a voice like mine on. And I don’t see that, for example, on MSNBC.” He later took a shot at CNN and the media, saying:
STEVE CORTES: In general, CNN, MSNBC, anywhere, print media, it’s unfortunate, I believe, that there’s a real crisis of journalism in this country. Far too many people who are activists and advocates are trying to masquerade as journalists. And that lack of transparency and that hypocrisy, really, has destroyed a lot of trust from the public, rightfully so, in media. And that void of real journalism, I think, is really problematic for our republic. So I’ve always been incredibly transparent. I am an activist, I’m an advocate. I’m trying to persuade people of the American nationalist agenda. A lot of my colleagues in corporate media are similarly activists, and yet they pretend to be reporters and anchors. And I think, you know, therein lies the sort of systemic problem that unfortunately plagues a lot of so-called journalism today.
Media Matters: Man charged for allegedly threatening a mass shooting at “fake news” CNN
A man was charged in federal court on Friday after allegedly threatening a mass shooting at the Atlanta, GA, headquarters of CNN, which he complained was “fake news.”
As part of his broader effort to undermine trust in the news media, President Donald Trump has frequently singled out CNN for opprobrium, attacking the network dozens of times during his presidential campaign and first year in office and often asserting that the network and its reporters propagate “fake news.” In July, after the president tweeted a video of himself body-slamming a man who had a CNN logo superimposed on his head, the network warned that he was “encourag[ing] violence against reporters.”
Brandon Griesemer, a 19-year-old from Michigan, apparently channeled the president’s attacks on CNN. He made nearly two dozen phone calls to the network earlier this month, four of which included threats, according to court documents first reported on by Atlanta’s CBS affiliate. In those calls, Griesemar allegedly told a CNN operator:
- “Fake news. I’m coming to gun you all down. Fuck you, fuckin’ n***ers.”
- “I am on my way right now to gun the fuckin’ CNN cast down. … Fuck you. I am coming to kill you.”
- “I’m coming for you CNN. I'm smarter than you. More powerful than you. I have more guns than you. More manpower. Your cast is about to get gunned down in a matter of hours.”
- “You are going down. I have a gun and I am coming to Georgia right now to go to the CNN headquarters to fucking gun every single last one of you. I have a team of people. It’s going to be great, man. … You gotta get prepared for this one, buddy.”
Investigators were able to trace the calls, leading to Griesemer’s arrest last week. He was charged with transmitting interstate communications with the intent to extort and threat to injure, which carries a sentence of up to five years in prison, and released on a $10,000 bond.
It is unclear how close the threats were to being realized. The Washington Post reported that a man identifying himself as Griesemer’s father told the paper on Monday that Griesemer “really didn’t mean any of it” and that the family doesn’t own any guns.
On Monday night, CNN said in a statement: “We take any threats to CNN employees or workplaces, around the world, extremely seriously. This one is no exception. We have been in touch with local and federal law enforcement throughout, and have taken all necessary measures to ensure the safety of our people.”
This morning, as horrified reporters circulated articles detailing Griesemer’s threats, Trump tweeted another attack on “Fake News CNN”:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): You know, if you say CNN sucks, or CNN is fake news, that is not a cry or an advocation of violence in any way, shape, matter or form. It's a feeling people have when they see abusively biased news coverage....Media criticism is fair game. Calling out networks that have political agendas, that's fair game. When networks spend every second, minute, and hour of the day hating on Donald Trump if Donald Trump cured cancer they'd still hate him. Well, I'm allowed to call that out, that's not hate. If there's any hate there it's their hatred of the president that they can't seem to get over.
Sean Hannity: “I guarantee you that Obamacare will be repealed and replaced” if Republicans maintain control of House and Senate
Fox’s Geraldo Rivera on bombs sent to Democrats: “At the risk of sounding like a far right-wing lunatic … I believe that this whole thing was an elaborate hoax”
Media Matters: On Hannity, David Clarke calls CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, Washington Post, and Huffington Post “terrorist sympathizers” Clarke: “This attempt at muticulturalism has been a disaster. Cultures do not blend, they clash”
Media Matters: CNN bemoans a lack of civility after spending years hiring pro-Trump commentators
CNN has been on a civility kick. A transcript search shows that variations of the words were said over a hundred times on June 25 alone. One good example is the network’s June 25 highlight reel of allegedly incivil things that have recently been said by various people. As my colleague noted, the video conflated examples of liberals being mean with conservatives being racist:
CNN then brought on longtime centrist commentator David Gergen and pro-Trump whisperer Salena Zito to discuss the supposed decline in civility. Apparently no progressive voices were available.
Later in the day, when discussing Trump’s separation and detention of immigrant families with immigration lawyer David Leopold, CNN anchor Kate Bolduan interrupted Leopold and chided him for calling White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller a white nationalist, asking, “Where is the fact on that?”
Calling Miller a white nationalist is not some gratuitous insult. It is a simple, straight-forward analysis of his ideology. Splinter News’ Clio Chang aptly noted the evidence:
There is plenty of evidence that Stephen Miller, the architect of Donald Trump’s hard-line racist immigration policies, is a white nationalist. He crafted Trump’s Muslim ban. His thumbprint is smeared all over the administration’s family separation policy, the point of which is to tear immigrant families apart and deter others from entering the country. Miller reportedly laughed during a meeting when Trump made up names for immigrants and described imaginary crimes they might have committed. He has pushed for some of the harshest overhauls of our immigration system, including cutting legal immigration by half over the next decade. A White House aide recently told Vanity Fair Miller “actually enjoys” seeing pictures of children detained at the border: “He’s Waffen-SS,” the person said.
As journalist Chris Hooks also noted, Miller and white nationalist Richard Spencer worked together at Duke University to bring in white nationalist Peter Brimelow to speak about immigration. Spencer even told Mother Jones that he was glad no one was reporting on this connection:
“It’s funny no one’s picked up on the Stephen Miller connection,” Spencer says. “I knew him very well when I was at Duke. But I am kind of glad no one’s talked about this because I don’t want to harm Trump.”
This determined ignorance of the Trump team’s white nationalism is particularly galling since CNN has been profiting off of Trump’s team for years now. The network has hired a parade of pro-Trump analysts who, like the children at Willy Wonka’s factory, have been inevitably dropped as they become too toxic.
The hirings started during the 2016 campaign when Trump told CNN executives to hire Jeffrey Lord. Soon after, CNN programming was inundated with Lord, Corey Lewandowski, Kayleigh McEnany, and Scottie Nell Hughes. These hirings frequently raised ethical questions. Current Vox correspondent Carlos Maza examined the problem for Media Matters before the election:
As Maza noted, the presence of pro-Trump voices turned discussions into screaming matches more suited to reality television than to a news network. And like reality television, the names rotated in and out with the content staying the same.
Lewandowski resigned from CNN following the election (CNN refused to fire him even after reporting revealed the Trump campaign was still paying him). McEnany moved on to become the spokesperson of the Republican National Committee. Hughes left CNN before the inauguration. And most notably, CNN eventually fired Lord after he issued a Nazi salute on Twitter.
In their stead, CNN rolled in new pro-Trump voices. One of the first was former Trump senior communications adviser Jason Miller. By mid 2017, the channel’s paid Trump shills were flooding the network:
Media Matters’ senior fellow Matt Gertz noted in October 2017 how the network continued to flood its airwaves with bullshit:
[Ben] Ferguson, for example, has repeatedly been called out by his CNN colleagues this month for offering nonsensical diversions in discussions of Trump’s attacks on NFL players who protest racial inequality during the National Anthem. And [Stephen] Moore -- who typically appears on the network to lie about Trump-backed health care proposals -- on Monday derailed a CNN panel discussion about then-Fox News host Bill O’Reilly paying a hefty sexual harassment settlement by saying that the real solution is for powerful men to never be alone in a room alone with a woman. [Jack] Kingston, for his part, last night attempted to make excuses for Trump’s unprecedented falsehoods, saying that “the American perception is that politicians lie” and Trump is no worse than other presidents; the rest of the panel denounced him, with anchor Don Lemon scolding him for “condoning bad behavior.”When major stories break, such as Trump’s string of indefensible responses to the lethal white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA, Trump’s CNN supporters blanket the network’s coverage. That result was a trainwreck, with the president’s shills sidelining discussions with praise for Trump’s response and dismissals of the importance of the rally.
In September 2017, CNN hired Ed Martin, president of the Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund, ostensibly as Lord’s replacement. CNN was either ignorant or tolerant of the fact that Martin had previously called CNN “fake news” and had made flatly racist statements. In 2016, Martin told a crowd at a right-wing rally: “You're not racist if you don't like Mexicans. They're from a nation. If you don't think Muslims are vetted enough, because they blow things up, that's not racist.”
Martin predictably used his appearances to turn CNN into a trainwreck, while using his radio show to rail against the network:
- Martin called on the air for a total end to immigration, saying, “Stop all immigration right now.” (11/2/17)
- Martin argued that Leigh Corfman, the woman who reported that former Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore molested her as a child, should not be believed, saying, “What is this woman? She’s got multiple bankruptcies." (11/11/17)
- Martin endorsed Moore and tried to get him elected even as CNN was doing great reporting on him. (11/7/17)
- Martin contended that Trump’s racist anti-Muslim tweets were actually helpful because they were “starting a conversation.” (11/30/17)
- After Roy Moore said that America was at its best during slavery, Martin argued that Jewish slaves had families: “When the Jews were in bondage for years, they still loved each other.” (12/11/17)
- Martin called fellow CNN employees and co-panelists “black racists.” (12/14/17)
- Martin praised Trump for ordering CNN’s chief White House correspondent out of the Oval Office, saying it was “amazing to see” and “really funny.” (1/18/18)
- Martin gave an award to disgraced conservative operative James O’Keefe, who had on numerous occasions run deceitful stings against CNN. O’Keefe once attempted to lure then-CNN correspondent Abbie Boudreau onto a boat full of sex paraphernalia. (1/12/18)
Martin stopped appearing on CNN after December 14 when Media Matters posted audio of Martin complaining about appearing on a panel with CNN commentators “who were just rabid feminists, actually racial, racists -- two of the women were racists, they were just were racists, black racists.” CNN eventually confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter on January 18 that Martin no longer worked for the network.
Martin’s role was soon taken by pro-Trump commentator Steve Cortes, who has said that he went to CNN “partly at the suggestion of the White House itself and the president himself.” Like Martin, Cortes also had previously called CNN “fake news.” During his time as a contributor at Fox News, Cortes had compared undocumented immigrants to violent thieves. And on CNN, Cortes has not only made similar statements, he’s also made laughably false and ridiculous claims. Michelle Wolf called out CNN’s charade with Cortes:
MICHELLE WOLF (HOST): Aw man, as a fan I just love this kind of TV magic. Watching the host act like the guest forced his way into the studio is so compelling, you almost forget that he was invited on and paid! Good job, Don, you knew full well Steve was going to lie and you gave a fun clip to share, and that's exactly why you invite him back all the time.
Here’s a brief history of things that paid CNN commentators have said on-air since the inauguration:
- Stephen Moore made a completely false claim about coal jobs that an actual economist immediately corrected. (3/29/17)
- Jason Miller made sexist remarks about Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), calling her “hysterical.” (6/13/17)
- After Trump encouraged police brutality, Jeffrey Lord dismissed it as a “New Yorker sense of humor.” (7/31/17)
- Lord called Trump “the Martin Luther King of health care.” CNN then talked about it for an entire day. (4/13/17)
- Lord compared the Congressional Black Caucus to the KKK. (2/16/17)
- Ben Ferguson criticized civil rights icon John Lewis for not educating Trump about civil rights. (12/8/17)
- Rick Santorum said that Parkland school shooting survivors aren't taking personal responsibility and should learn CPR instead of engaging in activism. (3/25/18)
- Kayleigh McEnany attacked Barack Obama for golfing in 2002 when George W. Bush was president. (3/28/17)
- Ken Cuccinelli told panelist Symone Sanders to shut up while discussing white supremacists in Charlottesville. (8/14/17)
- Paris Dennard posited that Trump was better than Obama at calling out white supremacists. (8/14/17)
- Kayleigh McEnany defended Trump’s sexist remarks to an Irish reporter: “The press should be applauding the fact that he's bringing reporters into the Oval Office, calling them out and including them.” (6/28/17)
- Rick Santorum attacked reporters for asking Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for details about North Korea and nuclear weapons. (6/14/18)
- Miller dismissed reports that Trump had an affair with adult actor Stormy Daniels and paid her hush money because, according to him, the alleged payoff was nothing to a billionaire. (3/7/18)
- Santorum accused Obama of exacerbating racism in America. (6/3/18)
- After a suicide bombing killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert, Lord said that it would be fair for Trump to criticize Grande for not providing enough security. (6/5/17)
- Lord used a Nazi analogy to attack London Mayor Sadiq Khan. (6/5/17)
- Stephen Moore repeatedly lied about the Affordable Care Act, often without CNN fact-checking him. (7/17/17)
- After Roy Moore was accused of child molestation, Stephen Moore argued that his opponent was “no saint either” because he supported abortion. (11/20/17)
- Jack Kingston pushed a conspiracy theory that shadowy forces were behind the rally against gun violence organized by Parkland survivors. (2/20/18)
- While discussing sexual harassment, Stephen Moore said that he would never take a one-on-one meeting with a woman. (10/23/17)
- Jack Kingston said that Bill O'Reilly's racist remarks about Waters' hair were just like liberals calling Trump “orange.” (3/29/17)
- Bryan Lanza argued that discussing sexual assault allegations against Trump “seems like a waste of time.” (12/20/17)
And it’s not only the paid commentators who are a part of CNN's “false equivalency” problem. Just last week, after Lewandowski mocked a 10-year-old with Down syndrome who was separated from her mother at the U.S. border, CNN invited him on to talk more about his remark.
At the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, Michelle Wolf called out this sycophantic relationship between the media and those in power. Wolf later told Vulture (emphasis original): “It was gross! Like, I saw [CNN President] Jeff Zucker hugging Kellyanne Conway, and it was just like, Oh! You’re all in this together! People are really getting hurt, and you guys are just celebrating your money. It’s all a game, nothing more than ‘How will we best profit off of this?’ It was icky.” Nevertheless, a CNN panel criticized Wolf’s jokes, with a CNN host saying that some of her jokes were “way too personal.”
America is not enduring a crisis of civility. America is enduring a crisis of facts, brought on largely by the rise of the filter bubble, with specious liars given credibility by feckless media and tech companies. It’d be nice if they were all at least a bit more self-aware about it.
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