CNN Embarrassed by Spitzer Documentary

Monday, 15 Nov 2010 08:29 AM

By James Hirsen

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One of the unintended consequences of the release of director Alex Gibney’s documentary, “Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer,” is that it is causing embarrassment to the brass at CNN.

The movie recounts the scandalous manner in which the former New York governor exited office. But it also leaves moviegoers wondering why Spitzer would be awarded a prime-time gig at the cable network.

It’s probable that the attraction to the subject matter for Gibney and his journalist-collaborator Peter Elkind had less to do with informing the public and more to do with the manufacturing of right-wing villains. The two had previously worked together on the documentary, “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.”

“Client 9” contains a series of interviews with people who have little love for Spitzer, such as the former director of the New York Stock Exchange and co-founder of Home Depot, Kenneth Langone, whom Spitzer had prosecuted unsuccessfully, and the former head of AIG, Hank Greenberg, who was forced to resign because of a Spitzer-related investigation.

Roger Stone, a GOP consultant, reveals in the film how he, via a letter, informed the FBI of Spitzer’s unusual affinity for the world’s oldest profession.

Back when Spitzer held the office of New York's attorney general, he specialized in going after investment bankers and hedge fund executives.

Gibney implies in the film that some kind of conspiracy existed in which the Justice Department utilized FBI wiretaps and press leaks, and worked together with Wall Street tycoons who loathed the former governor.

Conspiracies aside, it’s clear that the responsibility for the sex scandal, one that was so uncomfortable that even the Democrats were ashamed, rests solely on Spitzer.

Unfortunately, it’s also clear that, when a politician messes up, if he is a Democrat, a spot on a liberal mainstream media network or tilted cable lineup awaits.

In another CNN note, Soledad O’Brien has released a new memoir titled the “The Next Big Story."

The book contains a revelation involving the Rev. Jesse Jackson in which the CNN anchor’s “blackness” had been questioned.

Off the air, Jackson allegedly told O’Brien that she “didn't count” as a black anchor on the cable news network.

After Jackson had expressed anger that CNN didn’t have enough black anchors, O’Brien, the offspring of a white father and black and Hispanic mother, interrupted the reverend and reminded him that she was the “American Morning” anchor on the network.

According to O’Brien, Jackson shook his head and said, “You don't count.”

O’Brien writes in her book, “I wasn't sure what that meant. I don't count — what? I'm not black? I'm not black enough? Or my show doesn't count?”

O'Brien wrote that she was “angry and embarrassed” by Jackson's comments and that they left her “ashamed” of her skin color.

Jackson claimed back during the 2008 presidential campaign that Barack Obama was “acting like he's white.”

O’Brien noted that “even someone as prominent in African-American society as Rev. Jackson has one box to check for black and one for white. No one gets to be in between.”


James Hirsen, J.D., M.A. in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, commentator, media analyst, and law professor. He is admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court and has made several appearances there on various landmark decisions. Hirsen is the co-founder and chief legal counsel for InternationalEsq.com. Visit: Newsmax TV Hollywood: http://www.youtube.com/user/NMHollywood


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