CNN has been transformed from a sober and respected news network into a shrill and biased mouthpiece for liberals, according to actor, author and economist Ben Stein.
Stein, a speechwriter for Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, said the dramatic change is particularly noticeable in CNN's coverage of the racial strife in Ferguson, Mo., following the fatal shooting of a black teen by a white police officer.
"They've flipped out. I don't know what happened to CNN because CNN used to really be great and I can remember when it was great," Stein said Tuesday on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
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"It wasn't that long ago that they just flipped out in a leftward direction and in a provocative direction and [are] always endlessly, endlessly, endlessly whipping up grievances….
"They just assume the police are wrong, white people are wrong, any Republican is wrong, any businessman is wrong. They just will always play on that nerve."
The cable network has assumed it is "standard procedure" for white policemen to kill unarmed teenagers, Stein said of the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson following an altercation.
"Now first of all, it isn't standard procedure, it's an extremely rare thing when that happens. Second, the idea of calling this poor young man unarmed when he was 6-foot-4, 300 pounds, full of muscles," he said.
"Apparently according to what I read in the New York Times [he was] on marijuana. To call him unarmed is like calling Sonny Liston unarmed or Cassius Clay unarmed. I mean he wasn't unarmed; he was armed with his undoubtedly strong, scary self."
Stein — noted for his memorable role in the film "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" — said Attorney General Eric Holder's trip to Ferguson — and injecting race into the tragedy — will make it hard for Police Officer Darren Wilson to get a fair shake.
"They don't want them to get a fair trial…. They're looking for a lynching jury and it's a very sad state of affairs," Stein said.
"It used to be … when lynchings of African Americans were not that incredibly rare. Now the lynchings are the police and it's just an outrage."
Stein — a Newsmax contributor and author of "How To Really Ruin Your Financial Life and Portfolio,"
published by Wiley — said he speaks with young people about the importance of respecting law enforcement.
"I live during the large part of the year in north Idaho, a part of the state with almost no African Americans. I talk to young people there and they give you this talk about how, oh, they're going to talk back to the police if the police pull them over, they're not going to go in without a struggle," Stein said.
"I say to them, are you insane? Just do what the police tell you, wait until you're back in the jailhouse or in the court house, and then give your side of it….
"The police don't know what you've got there under your jacket, the police don't know what you've got under the dashboard of your car. Just do the reasonable thing."
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