A couple days ago, I wrote a pretty harsh criticism of Politco for what I thought was an utterly irresponsible "team investigating" of the Clinton Family Foundation, where it's big story was that BIll Clinton used his own pension money to help fund his admirable charity, and they acknowledged finding nothing illegal.
Now, it's CNN's turn.
A quick-eyed viewer spotted a scroll across the bottom of a CNN story about the NY City bomber, and caught a screen-grab of it. It was pretty reprehensible.
It's worth bringing to CNN's attention, as many others have, that it's not a question of whether the suspect in question "deserves" his civil rights, but that it is the obligation of the United States to insure that his rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution are protected.
You don't waive those, blithely or otherwise. We don't ever see CNN scrolling a question on whether a suspect deserves his Second Amendment rights because he might have used a gun to kill someone. Nor do we see CNN ever scrolling a question about if a publication deserves its First Amendment rights if it's published something that was used in a crime or in terrorism.
But here, CNN inexplicably gives aid and comfort to the racist, intolerant, fascist view pushed by Donald Trump on his questions about suspects. Note to CNN: just because Donald Trump says something abhorrent doesn't mean you have to give it credibility.
But then, CNN has been far more irresponsible this election that seems acceptable. That they have Donald Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski as one of their regular analysts is mind-numbing -- and that was before it just came out that he's still on the Trump campaign payroll. (They claim it's a monthly severance stipend. But then, they also claim that if the Trump kids ran their dad's foundation, it would be a "blind trust.") And for some inexplicable reason they keep the addle-brained Katrina Pierson on as an expert Trump analyst despite her continually saying things like President Obama was responsible for the Afghan War (he hadn't even been elected a U.S. Senator yet), or that it was President Obama's change in tactics were responsible for the death of Capt. Humayun Khan, the son of Khizir Khan (Mr. Obama was still only in the Illinois State Senate at the time)!! And for some incomprehensible reason they keep ace Trump spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany on as a regular -- a person so wildly out-of-control, maniacally partisan that she once broke up the entire panel by claiming Donald Trump was headed for a landslide.
Have Trump spokesman on, that's good journalism. Have outspoken Trump spokesman who excoriate Hillary Clinton with what they consider a relentless stream of disqualifying facts. That's good journalism, too. But when you cross the line with garbage like this, and with ignoramuses who you promote as "experts" who literally don't have a clue with what they're talking about, who get basic facts repeatedly wrong and and who are so BAD that their fellow-panelists laugh at and ridicule them on air, you risk ceasing to be a journalistic enterprise and instead become a circus of pandering.
And that it leads to an on-screen scroll questioning whether a suspect "deserves" his Constitutional RIGHTS, all because you're pandering the fascist screeds of the racist Trump campaign, then your risk nears reality.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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