CNN Is Tottering

“More people watch CNN than any other news source,” they tell us, another assertion of the demented state of the populace. But for world news in Mexico there isn’t much choice. In English it’s CNN International or Fox News. I finally signed up with SKY TV to get both and also to watch SKY’s sports coverage.

It was fun for a while. Then it seemed CNN was dumping ads and promos on us every five minutes. And they have kept repeating the same ones constantly: Africa has apparently taken on CNN as a wholly owned subsidiary; more recently, it’s Japan. And we continue getting the same old promos for their tired anchors like Becky (“It all Stahts Heah”) Anderson.

I just had to boycott much of this stuff. When the commercials came on, I switched to Fox, than back to CNN after getting nauseated with Tucker and his guests. There is no loyalty possible on cable. The news media informs us, corrupts us, and too often deceives us.

The latest instance of that is CNN’s recent two-hour special, “Covid War: The Pandemic Doctors Speak Out,” which came on last Sunday and will be repeated this coming Friday (8:00 ET). Here is a good positive review of the show if you didn’t see it. You should see it.

Six principal doctors, including Fauci, were interviewed by Sanjay Gupta, as the show tries to set the record straight about how the Trump administration politicized the pandemic from the beginning and caused many thousands of unnecessary deaths.

The doctors’ revelations are sometimes gripping, sometimes trite. Yet often they seem trying to rehabilitate their reputations, glossing over past remarks and attempts to placate the Trump crew and keep their jobs. Deborah Birx is the prime example of that, and her remarks testify to the pressure she felt.

Says Vox, “That the Trump White House was engaged in politically motivated wishful thinking instead of trying to save lives was painfully obvious by late March 2020. And yet Birx opted to try and stay in Trump’s good graces instead of telling the public the truth.”

CNN presents all these interviews without much commentary by Gupta. That’s fair enough, but they can’t stand on their own. The truth behind them is multiplex. Despite their possibly good intentions, these doctors functioned as enablers, one and all.

The show’s apologetic one-sidedness is why so many distrust the media. Polarization just gets reinforced. CNN has many good anchors and hosts who respect the multiplicity of truth. Among them are John Berman, Pamela Brown, and Jim Acosta. The network’s well-paid stars like Chris Cuomo and Anderson Cooper are something else.

There is no excuse for Chris Cuomo being on the air, especially after his gigs with brother Andrew and getting special treatment for Covid. His smug, brassy commentary is my nightly invitation to shut him off and, God help me, switch to Tucker Carlson for a change of ego. Anderson Cooper can speak like a robot. He often runs over his own words but gets paid $12 million a year for his drawn-out pauses while thinking up a response to a difficult interviewee.

CNN management may well be facing some hard choices soon lest they forfeit their most-watched standing. Media politics as usual isn’t going to cut it. Indeed, they have demonstrated that media politics makes strange bedfellows.

4 Replies to “CNN Is Tottering”

  1. I’m too bitter to watch the special. My son was about to be a freshman in college, my daughter a freshman in high school. Schools in our area, a blue state, have been closed for over a year, and both are suffering from the depression brought on by the isolation and disappointment. One has had thoughts of suicide. Gut-wrenching for a parent to see.

    If I had to point fingers it wouldn’t be at Trump, but at the horrific advice given by the medical community early on, when containment of the virus was most critical:

    – nothing about social distancing.

    – very little about restricting travel abroad.

    – masks were said to be ineffective, could potentially do more harm than good.

    The result? Covid was allowed to spread unrestrained, far and wide. At which point schools were suddenly closed, again on the advice of experts. More bad guidance it turns out, as it’s become clear that classrooms are a minor source of community spread, and closing them is not worth the harm done to the students’ mental health.

    Of course CNN blames it all on Trump. The silver lining being that this helped Biden win the election, saving our nation from a fascist moron. So, a lot of mixed feelings.

  2. Good points here, Hiker, and the doctors all clearly made some truly bad choices. Their justification in staying on was thinking they could help change policy. How much proof did they need that that was hopeless? So sorry that your kids had to go through this mess, as I guess many did.

  3. Thanks, John.

    I’m curious, did the doctors on the CNN special mention the botched test kits? Again, happened early on, when daily new cases were still low enough for surveillance tracing to be manageable and effective (think of South Korea).

    Chess players know that if you play the opening badly, the middle and end game can become an exercise in futility. This, in my opinion, is what happened to western nations. France for example is back on full lockdown.

    That said, the vaccines are turning out to be fantastic. Just a lot of unnecessary pain during the wait.

  4. Part of the problem with our failed early response was just bad luck.

    The virus emerged in China, and an almost universal response there and in neighboring countries was mask wearing. In western countries, where almost nobody wore masks, the virus was not yet much of a problem. So how were we to tell if mask wearing was effective or not?

    In a February 17, 2020 interview, Dr. Fauci said,

    “A mask is much more appropriate for someone who is infected and you’re trying to prevent them from infecting other people than it is in protecting you against infection. If you look at the masks that you buy in a drug store, the leakage around that doesn’t really do much to protect you. And for example, people start saying, should I start wearing a mask? Now, in the United States, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to wear a mask.”

    Terrible advice, but based at the time on the best available science – so I don’t fault the good doctor. He was doing his job. But goes to show that the best available science is not infallible.

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