“I do not like her,” my friend would say last year about Hillary. “But I cannot vote for Trump.”
“How do you feel?” he would repeatedly ask me this year. “Do you think Trump did the right thing when he…Do you agree with what he said yesterday about…”
I would patiently expound (again) my standard (campaign, transition, and since) response. “It was a binary choice. Hillary would be a third term for President Obama. She would complete his ‘transformation of America.’ For me, it was, it is, about liberating the economy to grow and liberating our military to win. It’s about appointing justices to the Supreme Court and federal judges.”
And this, in recent weeks, is my friend now:
“You know,” he declares, repetitively, “CNN has become like Fox.”
“What?” I asked, the first time.
“Disgusting!” he explains, and again, for emphasis. “Disgusting!”
He has not changed his unabashedly down-view of Trump. But something else animates him. He would explain the obvious: CNN is on a crusade to take out Trump.
“I can’t stand Fox. It’s just propaganda for Trump. And CNN? They just want to get him.”
He is a naturalized American citizen who emigrated here from France in the 1980s. No fan of Trump, he is nonetheless repulsed by the pioneering news network’s mania to drive Trump from the presidency.
CNN has overplayed its hand.
On May 5, 1961, XETRA, a radio station actually licensed in Tijuana could reach with its 50,000 watt signal not only San Diego but also the second largest media market in the U.S., trendsetter Los Angeles. “X-Tra News” boasted continually on the air of its novel 24-hour format “All News All the Time.” Now, more than a half century later, CNN does not boast, but everyone knows its round the clock obsessive, but unstated mantra: “All Destroy Trump, all the time.”
In the guise of news, CNN’s disingenuous anchors are righteously indignant, in what they say, and how they say it. They have become a caricature, less because of their manifest unfairness, more because of their stupidity. Simply put, they are doing the nearly impossible, following the lead of Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, et al. in making the “bully” Trump an underdog.
Recall on Friday, at the start of the clearly dreadful Hurricane Harvey, that Schumer egregiously charged Trump with using the hurricane to obfuscate his nefarious, contemporaneous acts, such as: …CNN suggested President Trump was using the epic natural disaster as a cover for the forgettable departure of Sebastian Gorka from a scarcely defined position at the National Security Council, and the anticlimactic pardon of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the expected transgendered policy, and the almost weekly North Korean missile tests.
About CNN’s aberrations, viewers are, consequently, numb… until yesterday, when CNN outdid itself, “analyzing” President Trump’s trip to ground zero (adjacent).
“Did he show enough empathy?” smug anchor Erin Burnett asked, we thought rhetorically, as if anyone wondered. She and her colleagues proved again not only their absurdity, but a distinct lack of class. Within the same time frame, the network had covered the death of a Houston police officer and interviewed Virginia Saldivar, whose four grandchildren had drowned in a car.
Her guests, almost embarrassed for Burnett, tried to ignore her.
“If he treats this [help and recovery] like a business,” Ben Ferguson, a conservative often critical of Trump finally noted, “that’s a good thing.”
“People are being rescued…government is doing a good job,” Ferguson observed, charitably reminding Burnett, “We should not be talking politics.”
Burnett looked forlorn.
“Dan,” she quickly turned to Dan Pfeiffer, former communications director for no less than President Barack Obama, hoping that Pfeiffer would take the carrot. “Is he [Trump, that is, not Ferguson] setting the right tone?”
Trump apparently was too upbeat for Burnett, because the president had told the people in Corpus Christi, “We love you. What a crowd! What a turnout!” Of course, Trump’s contextual remarks praised the spirit and resilience of Texans and also the courage and dedication of their first-responders.
“His tone was a little off,” Pfeiffer had responded matter of factly, even charitably, trying to take Burnett off the hook, then added: “But that’s not important.”
Even a former Obama flack was not buying.
Visibly upset, Burnett persisted: “Everybody roots for him to get it right, but there are questions of timing.” She then faulted Trump for praising the governor and Houston officials, somehow prematurely. “Will he regret that?” she asked.
Ferguson pointed out that Trump was praising the Houston mayor and his colleagues, most of whom are Democrats. The president was doing what he should, cheering on the Texans under siege.
There is a strong case that a central government is obliged to respond to such an historic calamity. This is not a point of contention, as for example, whether the government should employ the Department of Education to define the acceptable dating behavior and sexual engagement of college students.
After Burnett’s fiasco, CNN’s Chris Cuomo probed Congressman Roger Williams, a Texas congressman, who said he wanted to support legislation, without any unrelated amendments, to alleviate the suffering. “You can’t have a clean bill!” Cuomo objected, as he faulted the Republican for voting against an omnibus bill in 2012 went beyond Hurricane Sandy relief. Williams, upstaging Cuomo, said the Congress would pass emergency legislation right away, and consider long-term rebuilding later.
Turn an hour later to Fox. And Sean Hannity was complaining about the “liberal media” attacking Melania’s footwear. His guest Laura Ingraham said, “The Left wants to discuss freedom of sexual expression…but won’t give the First Lady the freedom to dress.” Then Hannity, refusing to quit while, if not ahead, not yet shrilly partisan, proceeded to interview Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican who tried to talk about the catastrophe, not politics. “How many times did the Houston mayor [a Democrat] not take your call?” Abbott did not take the bait, and relied. “I’ve spoken to him and we’re working fine.”
Yes, CNN is like Fox.
Arnold Steinberg is the author of "WHIPLASH! From JFK to Donald Trump, A Political Odyssey." His classic graduate texts, "Political Campaign Management: A Systems Approach" and "The Political Campaign Handbook: Media, Scheduling and Advance" defined modern political campaigns. He has testified numerous times as a court-recognized expert, including on campaigns, media, and polling. He has conducted 2,000 polls and focus groups and pioneered in innovative sampling methodology, question formats, and analytics; he consulted on strategy for hundreds of political campaigns, including historic ballot measures. He has lectured widely and taught at the Graduate School of Public Policy at Pepperdine University. He is extensively published in American media and a frequent television and radio analyst. He has helped formulate major policy, ranging from free market and libertarian issues to national security to criminal justice reform. He served on federal, state and local government commissions. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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