I expect to have more to say on the gay angle of the latest example of biased coverage at CNN. It almost makes me wish I had tuned into last night’s debate instead of watching Rain Man. (I was eager to see flick, roughly a quarter of which takes place in my home town).
Suffice is to say that while impressed (yet again) by Dustin Hoffman‘s Oscar-winning performance, I pretty much found the movie disappointing. While well made, it seemed quite dated, not as powerful last night as it had been when first I saw it, now nearly two decades ago.
But, today the big issue is the blogosphere is not how well quality movies hold up over time, but the aforementioned bias at CNN. First, we learn that an openly gay veteran whom CNN invited to the debate to ask a question served on Mrs. “Clinton’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender steering committee.” She isn’t the only Democrat this man supported. “He was also active in John F. Kerry’s 2004 campaign for president.”
To be sure, this man raised an important issue, asking about gays in the military, but it compromises the intended purpose of this Republican forum to invite voter who has already made up his mind in this election by choosing to support a candidate the opposing party.
And it’s not just this Clinton supporter. It seems that with each passing hour today, we learn that yet another person questioning the Republican candidates last night was affiliated with the campaign of a Democratic contender — or else had worked for a Democratic politician.
As I noted in the updates to Bruce’s initial post, we have since learned that one questioner works for Democratic Senate Whip Dick Durbin while another works for Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson. Later, it came out that another backed John Edwards while yet another had worked for Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman.
This sort of liberal media bias would have been far less of an issue if we were talking about a debate between the Democratic and Republican nominees for president, because in those circumstances both candidates are seeking to govern all Americans, even those who don’t vote for them. But in a Republican primary debate, when it is GOP members who are trying to determine which candidate should best represent their party, an overwhelmingly Democratic institution like CNN needs to be specially conscious of the way its biases might play into question selection.
No wonder Hugh Hewitt has called CNN The Most Busted Names In News”.
If CNN wishes to live up to its self-description as “the Most Trusted Name in News,” it needs to fire all those who chose the questions (and hence vetted those asking them) for last night’s debate. Only employees who can show that they favored a more thorough vetting process than that used should be allowed to keep their jobs.
While those on the left delight in portraying Fox as a biased network, CNN’s inclusion of a number of questioners who have supported Democratic candidates (without so identifying them) in last night’s Republican debate shows that supposedly impartial news source as being far more off-center than its supposedly conservative rival (news network). This is yet another piece of evidence that CNN leans far more to the left than Fox does to the right.
If CNN wishes to live up its mantra, heads should roll at the network.
UPDATE: CNN defends its vetting of the questions (Via Dan Riehl via Instapundit). I might be more sympathetic to this defense if CNN had indicated the questioners’ affiliation with or suport of other presidential candidates. But, the main thing is that it shows the similarity of the world view between those vetting the questions and supporters of Democratic presidential candidates. Given that this was a forum for Republican candidates, it would be nice if CNN could have identified good questions from individuals who back Republican candidates or support conservative causes.
They don’t seem familiar with issues on the mind of Republican voters. And this, after all, is a contest for who will be the party’s standard-bearer in next year’s presidential election.
And this coupled with past examples of CNN bias helps confirm the conservative charge of network bias.
UP-UPDATE: Given some of the comments critics made in the comments and which I received in at least one e-mail, I thought I’d offer excerpts form posts of other bloggers who have thoughts similar to my own — and expressed them better than I did. Given the length of this post, I have placed them beneath the jump, so just click here on the more to read on.
In his post providing a plethora of links on this topic, Glenn Reynolds writes:
CNN’s problem isn’t just bias — it’s a failure of professionalism. Frankly, if bloggers ran some sort of event and were infiltrated in this fashion, the usual media-ethics suspects would be tugging their beards about blogger irresponsibility and praising the superior layers of editors and fact-checkers at Big Media outfits like . . . CNN.
The network [CNN] botched the debate big time, making a mockery of objective journalism, and it deserved to be called out — especially in light of CNN’s pre-debate suggestion that it was trying to moderate the debate in a way that would help Republican voters pick a candidate.
. . .
Remember, the network has insisted time and again that it must filter the questions rather than bestow that power on the Internet community (including those untrustworthy, pajama-clad loons we know as bloggers) because only CNN knows how to make sure a debate is fair and balanced.
. . .
One of the cardinal rules of the blogosphere is disclosure. Bloggers believe it’s OK to have what some readers might consider conflicts of interest as long as those conflicts are acknowledged. They weren’t in this case, and they should have been.
Pretty much sums up my problem with the way CNN handled this debate and why I believe heads should roll.
[Please note that when an alert reader e-mailed me to note that the Obama supporter who asked about Log Cabin did not define himself as a member of the organization, so I merely removed the paragraph which said as much.–Dan]