A Tale of Two Networks: CNN Questions Obama Attack Ad While MSNBC Cheers It

After the Obama campaign released an ad on Monday attacking Mitt Romney's record at Bain Capital, CNN went so far as to question President Obama's hypocrisy in attacking Romney. In contrast, MSNBC hosts joined Team Obama on the offensive.

CNN first reported the ad during the 9 and 10 a.m. hours of Monday, and by that evening anchor John King hosted a former venture capitalist who defended the business practices of Bain. Meanwhile, MSNBC's Martin Bashir and the network's prime-time lineup were cheerleaders for the Obama campaign on Monday.

"It's the Bain of Mitt's existence," sneered Bashir at the beginning of Monday's 3 p.m. hour. He hailed the ad as "the beast of Bain," and hyped up its effectiveness. "Ouch. We haven't seen an ad that stinging since – well about four months ago when Newt Gingrich was crowning Mitt the King of Bain in a similar ad."

In contrast, during the 3 p.m. hour the next day, CNN's liberal anchor Ashleigh Banfield walloped the Obama campaign's press secretary for "mincing dates" and "cheating" in the ad.

Banfield even quoted a Washington Post fact-check on the ad and defended Bain Capital's business history. She told the press secretary "you and I also know that he [Romney] had plenty of success, as The Washington Post has outlined, many successes. The Wall Street Journal has outlined many successes that Bain Capital has had in creating jobs, in saving people's companies from going under, and also that there are other steel companies, like Steel Dynamics, that did incredibly well under their leadership."

Later on Tuesday evening, CNN host Anderson Cooper ran a critical "Keeping Them Honest" segment on the ad, where he hit President Obama for being a hypocrite.

"Attacking leaders of companies that make millions by taking over other companies and sometimes putting average Americans out of work, when at the same time President Obama racks up millions for his campaign courtesy of the very same type of corporate leaders," Cooper explained.

Cooper reported Obama having dinner on Monday night with the president of the private equity firm Blackstone, which had done business before with Bain Capital. "[I]isn't it disingenuous to try to drive a stake into the corporate heart of the one so-called 'vampire' in the morning and then sit down and eat a steak with another 'vampire' at night?" Cooper questioned. Former steelworkers featured in Obama's ad had labeled Bain a "vampire" for its business practices.

And that morning, CNN's Brooke Baldwin had echoed the same sentiment, that President Obama was being hypocritical in hitting Romney for his venture capital past while raising large amounts of money from the financial sector.
 

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014