CNN devoted over a half hour of coverage on Thursday to touting Mayor Bloomberg's "Demand Action to End Gun Violence" conference, where Bloomberg, Vice President Biden, and families of gun violence victims pushed for stricter gun control. Over 22 minutes was given to live coverage of the conference.
CNN hyped the "raw emotion" of the speakers pressing Congress to take action on gun control. Although gun control was the focus, anchor Carol Costello framed it as an innocuous "battle over reforming our gun laws." Correspondent Susan Candiotti wondered if the presence of grieving family members of victims would "make a difference" in getting gun laws passed.
Is this Jeff Zucker's new vision for CNN? Instead of reporting hard-hitting news, Thursday's 9 a.m. ET hour of Newsroom featured conservatives getting whacked by a gauntlet of talking heads, celebrities, and centrist and liberal guests. And anchor Carol Costello added a liberal lament of "Will Gitmo ever close?"
Here were some "stories" that CNN devoted whole segments to: Tina Fey mocking Sarah Palin on Bravo, Fox News' Bill O'Reilly admonishing Rep. Michelle Bachmann, and a question about whether conservatives are overlooked in pop culture, answered by a liberal guest and a centrist guest. CNN is looking more and more like MSNBC. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
CNN is hitting Democrats from the left for not passing an assault weapons ban. Host Piers Morgan had a liberal pout session with filmmaker Michael Moore on Tuesday night's Piers Morgan Live, and then anchor Carol Costello asked on Wednesday morning if Democrats were "weenies."
After quoting the ultra-liberal Moore calling Democrats "weenies," Costello called out Democrats from the left: "Michael Moore says introduce the bill. Let Republicans vote against it. So my question, are Democrats weenies for not bringing an assault weapons ban to the floor?" [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Senate Majority Header Harry Reid (D-Nev.) disgustingly implied on Tuesday that a freak explosion killing seven Marines during a training exercise in Nevada happened because of sequester cuts. While MSNBC reported Reid's comments and the "strong exception" taken to them by the Marine Corps, CNN made no mention of them at all on Tuesday and Wednesday morning, just like CBS, ABC, and NBC.
Speaking on the Senate floor, Reid announced the explosion that killed the Marines and transitioned into how the sequester cuts back on military "training and maintenance." He added that "It's just not appropriate, Mr. President, that our military can't train and do the maintenance necessary. These men and women, our Marines were training there in Hawthorne. And with this sequester, it's going to cut back this stuff." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
A CNN headline during Tuesday's 11 a.m. hour of Newsroom asked, "Should Bush officials be tried for war crimes?" CNN legal analyst Lisa Bloom argued that the U.S. should submit to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court for the mass murder of Iraqis that far exceeded the 9/11 atrocities.
Bloom downplayed the 9/11 terror attacks in the face of the Iraq War. When anchor Ashleigh Banfield noted that America responded to 9/11 with force and not in a "sanguine" manner, Bloom compared it to the Iraqi casualty count: "And that was 4,000, not 100,000, not 10 years." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Monday night's CBS Evening News followed CNN and ABC to the ugly decades-old accusations against Pope Francis from his time in Argentina. CBS featured the same critic of Pope Francis that ABC did on Sunday. CNN, meanwhile, was the only one of the three networks to seriously question the accusations.
"There are still questions, though, about the Pope's relationship with Argentina's former government, a military dictatorship that kidnapped and killed thousands in the '70s and '80s," reported fill-in anchor Bob Schieffer. CBS centered the story around Francis' accuser, with only one quote in his defense. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
After a random CPAC attendee defended the benefits of slavery over the weekend, CNN's Don Lemon played it up as more baggage to a Republican party struggling to connect with minorities, on Sunday night's Newsroom.
"Listen, this won't help," he brought up the incident during a panel discussion about the GOP's outreach to minorities. He played the clip twice and narrated the details afterwards, all within the span of a few minutes. Then he implied it could "throw a monkey wrench" into GOP outreach. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
This past weekend, the media dug up decades-old accusations against Pope Francis from his time in Argentina. While CNN provided context and a critical eye toward the grave accusations, Sunday's ABC World News aired a one-sided report with damning overtones against the Pope.
ABC correspondent Matt Gutman interviewed a family member of multiple victims of the dictatorship who accused the Pope, then just a priest and superior of the Jesuit order, of failing to rescue her family. "Estela claims he had the power to help her family. But didn't," Gutman reported, providing no comment from the Vatican on her accusations. He also reported that two Jesuit priests accused Pope Francis of cooperating with the Argentinian dictatorship, adding only a brief mention of Francis' testimony in his defense.
[UPDATE BELOW: Cruz's office responds] CNN's Don Lemon smacked Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) on Friday for being "inaccurate" and "misleading" in grilling Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on the Second Amendment. Lemon didn't provide any transcript or video of what Cruz actually said, and it turns out he was the one being "inaccurate" and "misleading."
First, Lemon falsely claimed that Cruz argued Second Amendment protections were unlimited, and he cited the Heller case against Cruz: "But it also says – it also says the same thing, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. Is not unlimited."
CNN's Carol Costello spent her entire interview with the CPAC chairman badgering him about the inclusion of gay Republicans in the conference. A few minutes before, Costello had led off the 9 a.m. hour of Newsroom touting GOP Senator Rob Portman (Ohio) and his newfound support for gay marriage.
"Will CPAC ever change its position and allow gay Republicans to sit at the table?" she pressed the chair of the American Conservative Union, Al Cardenas. "Were there gay people included in those panel discussions?" she followed up. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Amidst the liberal media's fixation on Pope Francis upholding Catholic teaching on sexuality, Newt Gingrich knocked their wishes of liberal "reform" on Wednesday's Piers Morgan Live.
"I am amazed at how much western elites translate reform into sex. If it doesn't relate – if it doesn't relate to sex, it doesn't count," he told host Piers Morgan, who then ludicrously claimed that "if you are gay, and you want to be Catholic, at the moment, you are basically demonized." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
It took only seven minutes after the announcement of a new pope for CNN to interview women's ordination activists in St. Peter's Square.
The liberal activists were the first interviewees on CNN after the white smoke emerged from the Sistine Chapel chimney. Correspondent Miguel Marquez pointed out their "ordain women badges" and gave credence to their cause. "We have heard this across the U.S. and around the world, certainly, that people do want and hope for a more open, transparent, liberal, progressive church," he noted. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Count Soledad O'Brien as another CNN supporter of Mayor Bloomberg's nanny state efforts to crack down on big sodas. Even while interviewing both a supporter and an opponent of Bloomberg's ban on Tuesday's Starting Point, O'Brien revealed that she's been "a long supporter of it."
"I've been a long supporter of it. I actually think it's a good idea. But I do think the judge has some interesting points," O'Brien said of the ban, which was struck down by the New York Supreme Court on Monday. On Monday night, CNN's Piers Morgan defended the city's ban on the sale of sugary drinks over 16 ounces. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
CNN's Piers Morgan has become an apologist for the nanny state. He defended Mayor Bloomberg's large soda ban on his Monday night show, a ban that was shot down that day by the state supreme court for being "arbitrary and capricious."
"I agree with Mayor Bloomberg," Morgan asserted. "And what's the point of being a mayor of a city like New York? He's been big on gun control, big on smoking – he wants New Yorkers to be fitter and healthier. What is wrong with that?" [Video below the break.]
On Sunday's Reliable Sources, the CNN panel scoffed at the media for getting "manipulated" by the White House last week into hyping Obama's meetings with the GOP as a "charm offensive." CNN's own reporting shows that it played right into those talking points.
"I love how easily the press corps is manipulated," remarked The Washington Post's Dana Milbank. "So, the President takes a few senators out to dinner at the Jefferson Hotel and has lunch with Paul Ryan, and suddenly, he's reaching out and there's all these efforts to have kumbaya. He's had two meals." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
CNN couldn't stop talking about former President Clinton's op-ed on Friday. Every hour between 5 a.m. and 3 p.m. ET, the network touted Clinton asking the Supreme Court to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act that he signed as president, spending over a half hour of coverage on it.
Anchor Don Lemon reported the op-ed four times between 9 and 11 a.m. ET. Anchor Ashleigh Banfield ran two segments on it during the 11 a..m. ET hour. Lemon, openly-gay, voiced his support: "I mean, when you sit right down and just look at it, it's really all about civil and equal rights, human rights. We're a country that treats everybody equal, I mean everyone should be treated equally under the Constitution." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
CNN harped on the controversy over Fox News head Roger Ailes calling President Obama "lazy" and Vice President Biden "dumb as an ashtray." The network covered it on five shows on Wednesday and Thursday, but three of the shows ignored that Ailes used Obama's own words.
In making the "lazy" remark, Ailes cited a 2011 interview with Barbara Walters where Obama said that "deep down, underneath all the work that I do, I think there's a laziness in me." Erin Burnett was the only CNN anchor to promptly give that context in her report; on Thursday's Starting Point, conservative panel member Will Cain first brought it up, and co-host John Berman affirmed it. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
CNN gave over eight times more coverage to Beyonce lip synching the national anthem than it did to President Obama's falsehood on the sequester last Friday.
After the President claimed in last Friday's presser that Capitol Hill janitors and police would receive a pay cut because of the sequester, CNN correspondent Dana Bash fact-checked it and found it not to be the case. Her report aired twice that day and two more times over last weekend. She covered the matter for 45 seconds in each report, so CNN's coverage totaled three minutes.
Actress Olivia Munn stars in HBO's drama The Newsroom, but she knocked the real-life CNN newsroom on Sunday. At a panel moderated by CNN host Piers Morgan, Munn made clear her distaste for newspeople "trying to make themselves a celebrity."
"I like seeing my news anchors just be my news anchors. And now you turn on CNN and now people are putting themselves into a story," she said, calling out Morgan and CNN anchor Don Lemon by name.
Twelve minutes after reporting the news of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez's death, CNN hosted Chavez's close friend and former adviser who lavished praise on his legacy.
For over two minutes, CNN let attorney Eva Golinger strew rose petals on the dictator's record. She gushed that Chavez "has changed the lives dramatically of the majority of Venezuelans. He's altered the country forever." She added that "he's done extraordinary, extraordinary, absolutely extraordinary things for the country." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
The way CNN sees the Vatican hierarchy, one would think it's a repressive male-dominated cabal that women are morally obligated to challenge. CNN's Ben Wedeman aired another broadside against the church from the streets of Rome on Tuesday.
Wedeman stretched one comparison between Vatican City and Saudi Arabia – neither allow women's suffrage: "Vatican City joined Saudi Arabia as one of the few states left on earth where women have no vote." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
This is CNN, where environmental activists can launch their blistering attacks on man-made global warming skeptics without much of a challenge. On Tuesday's Starting Point, actress and activist Daryl Hannah promoted her new documentary "Greedy, Lying Bastards" that hits the funding and falsehoods behind global warming skepticism.
Hannah was able to slam "false information" by the Koch brothers, compare herself to Martin Luther King, and call for the "eradication" of Citizens United during the interview. CNN completely ignored that the director and writer of her film, Craig Rosebraugh, was a fomer spokesman for eco-terrorist groups for years before abandoning his work.
CNN's Dana Bash fact-checked President Obama's falsehood about the sequester on Friday, but the major networks didn't exactly follow CNN's lead in reporting the distortion that Capitol Hill janitors and police would receive a pay cut because of the sequester.
In his Friday press conference, Obama claimed, "They're going to have less pay, the [Capitol Hill] janitors, the security guards. They just got a pay cut." Shortly after that, CNN's Bash obtained from the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms that the workers would not receive a pay cut, just a limit on overtime pay. NBC ignored the distortion on its weekend newscasts, while CBS and ABC reported it one time each.
CNN's Howard Kurtz mocked the media – including his own network – on Sunday's Reliable Sources for uncritically channeling government hysteria over the sequester cuts.
"[I]f the press had put in, let's say, 10 percent of the effort that was devoted to investigating, I don't know, Beyonce's lip syncing into the actual measurable effects of these budget cuts, I think we would have seen a somewhat different picture," quipped Kurtz. [Video below. Audio here.]
CNN's White House correspondent asked President Obama on Friday why he couldn't just force Congress to stick around until a deal is reached to prevent the sequester cuts. Obama responded that he wasn't a "dictator."
"To your question 'what could you do?' First of all, couldn't you just have them down here and refuse to let them leave the room until you have a deal?" CNN's Jessica Yellin teed up the President. Apparently for Yellin, "leadership" means taking dictatorial measures to have an elected Congress pass a bill. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
CNN's Piers Morgan bullied gun rights advocate John Lott on his Wednesday night show, repeatedly interrupting him and lecturing him. At one point Morgan told his guest, "I'm going to keep talking, so I suggest you keep quiet."
This is typical Morgan behavior towards gun rights advocates, as he sets up a "debate" but proceeds to badger his guest as much as possible. An exasperated Lott asked "Why am I on?" at one point, and again shot back at Morgan, "You want to go and talk 90 percent of the time." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Piers Morgan slimed yet another gun rights advocate, on his Tuesday night show. He lectured and insulted a Virginia restaurant owner who offered discounts to gun-toting customers, calling the promotion "cynical" and "idiotic."
"Mr. Laze, good luck with your promotion. I hope it fails spectacularly," Morgan snarled at the pizza shop owner Jay Laze. Like other Morgan "interviews," he spent his time belitting his guest rather than hosting a real debate. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
On CNN Wednesday, BuzzFeed sports editor Jack Moore called for a gay pro athlete to come out of the closet and be "a Jackie Robinson of this cause."
"It just shows that more than ever we need some major pro athlete to come out of the closet at the height – like while they're in the league," he ranted. "But we need a Jackie Robinson of this cause because we just need an example to show that, yeah, I can still play at the same high level," he added. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
After CNN's initial report on Pope Benedict's final papal audience, the first guest to appear on CNN Newsroom on Wednesday was a radical leftist nun who believes the upcoming papal election is "invalid" because no women are involved.
Sister Donna Quinn lashed out: "We women are calling this papal election invalid. It has to be declared fraudulent because it has no women included in the process. By that I mean there are no women on the ballot in the conclave, there are no women voters, there are no women in the whole process, so we're very distressed." No church representative appeared to challenge Quinn's views; only CNN's Vatican analyst John Allen was on the air with Quinn. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
On Sunday's Reliable Sources, guest David Zurawik mocked "out of town reporters" who met with the White House about sequestration and simply repeated the administration's talking points back to their local channels, "like an Obama commercial."
However, CNN displayed that same uncritical journalism over and over on the sequester. Obama administration officials freaked out about looming budget cuts to their respective agencies and CNN simply relayed the hype to its viewers, comparing the cuts to the asteroid and calling them a "man-made disaster." [Video below the break. Audio here.]