Thursday, November 29, 2007

CNN - Another Media Misdemeanor

Let's see -- last week CNN hosted a Presidential debate for the Democrat candidates, and the "public participation portion" was infested with Democrat activists asking the questions of the candidates.

This week, CNN, along with YouTube, hosted a Presidential debate, this one for the Republican candidates, and the "public participation portion" (the entire debate) with YouTube video questions, was infested with Democrat activists asking the questions of the candidates.

Hmmmmm . . . maybe there is something to that Harvard media bias study that concluded, among other findings, that CNN is the most openly hostile to Republicans.

A video question on gays in the military was asked by a retired military officer, Retired Brig. Gen. Keith H. Kerr, whose solid connection to Hillary Clinton's campaign was popped last night before midnight by Kenneth P. Vogel on Politico. The former General initially lied to Vogel about his connection to the Clinton Campaign, as did the Clinton campaign.

From Politico's report:

. . .
Kerr told CNN that he had not done work for the Clinton campaign, and CNN
verified before the debate that he had not contributed money to any candidate,
the broadcaster said in a blog post after the debate.

Kerr told CNN he is a member of the Log Cabin Republicans and was representing no one other than himself, CNN said.

On Thursday, Clinton campaign spokesman Phil Singer said the retired general "is not a campaign employee and was not acting on behalf of the campaign."

A Nov. 11 press release retrieved from the website of the nonpartisan magazine Campaigns & Elections lists Kerr as one of nearly 50 co-chairs of "Veterans and Military Retirees for Hillary."

Clinton’s campaign did not respond to an e-mail asking about Kerr’s role
in her campaign or whether he was acting on behalf of the campaign.
. . . .

And today Michelle Malkin has the complete wrap-up on who the various plant questioners were in last night's CNN - YouTube "debate" free-for-all format.

Given the fact that, to some extent, the CNN Cable network had their reputation on the line in terms of allowing plants to misrepresent themselves on their debate programming after the latest Democrat debate they hosted, you would think the producers would have done a little better job of screening those asking the questions.


This time, it is clear they did exactly what they intended to do -- give free air time to misleading, and in the case of the former general, lying questioners -- ersatz Republicans -- each of whose sole purpose was to try to embarrass those in the field of Republican candidates, by hitting them with "gotcha" questions. But don't completely fault the questioners for trying -- hey, they're partisans!

Blame CNN for failing miserably to handle it with any sense of fairness at all.

This is an old story with CNN. The pattern probably began a long time ago, with an earlier "innovative" election participation technology that was popular at the time -- the "call-in" show.

In the 1992 Presidential race, CNN's Larry King brazenly allowed known Clinton political operative and Communications Director, George Stephanopolus, to be one of several "just folks" call in questioners on his show, Larry King Live. Stephanoplous then proceeded to harangue the sitting President with a totally misleading and accusatory question about Iran Contra.

Though the senior Bush immediately objected on air to King on the grounds that it was an obvious ambush question by a plant from the other side, King insisted that Stephanopolus had a right like anyone else to "call in," and he allowed the call. The damage was done.

Of course, no doubt the call came from the Clinton "war room" -- the one which Stephanopolus himself set up -- where they had the distinct advantage of using a bank of telephones to be sure at least one call got through. Or, perhaps more likely, the Clinton team simply coordinated with Larry King, a known Democrat partisan, to set up the call in advance.

Either way, however, CNN openly participated in the ambush at some level. And, in that instance they arguably succeeded in helping skew the election process.

Participants in the new media, however, are time after time exposing the partisan nature of the old. The problem has been, and continues to be that the old media partisans still have the advantage of getting in the sucker punch. And they don't do such a hot job of covering one others' media misdemeanors. They tend to ignore or lightly gloss over the stories.

Only Fox News Channel covered it as an actual news story, although CNN contributor, Bill Bennett interjected the exposure of Clinton team's military questioner, and Anderson Cooper later weighed in with an apology, acknowledging Bennet's role.

Oh, don't expect too much coverage of the CNN story from ABC News, whose President is George Stephanopolous.

Today's ABC Good Morning America video recap on the debate by Jake Tapper still up on the ABC site in the late afternoon of November 29th, makes no mention at all of the controversy over the series of Democrat plants. And there is not even one word of mention about the Clinton Campaign's intrusion with General Kerr's question, which, as we noted, was exposed last night.

Jake's entire take was that the Republican debate was about "personal attacks," and that the campaign was "only going to get nastier."

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