This week, CNN provided extensive coverage of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's March on Washington, hosting many of the original civil rights activists for interviews. The appearances became chances for Democrats to shill for liberal policies, and sometimes the rhetoric descended into the ridiculous and inflammatory.
Here are the five worst moments from CNN's coverage Saturday through Wednesday:
CNN's Fredricka Whitfield was incredibly generous to former Democratic D.C. Mayor Marion Barry on Saturday over his past drug arrest and jail time.
Barry was convicted on drug charges and served six months in jail in the 1990s, in between his two terms as D.C. Mayor. Yet Whitfield first praised his "incredible tenure." Then she brought up his arrest but framed him as a victim of his past: "does it frustrate you or bother you that forever there's always going to be that association with that drug bust in 1990?" [Video below the break. Audio here.]
While touting both Republican Chris Christie and Democrat Hillary Clinton as "the two hottest politicians," CNN's Jessica Yellin chipped away at the Republican's status by asking if he was a "bully." She said nothing negative about Clinton, on Tuesday evening's OutFront.
"Our sixth story OutFront: is Chris Christie a bully?" Yellin introduced the segment, centered on the New Jersey governor's in-your-face style with reporters and constituents. She only asked questions, but it echoed an NBC panel from a year ago which ran down Christie as a "bully" who wouldn't win over the rest of the country.
[UPDATED BELOW] CNN showed a complete double standard by smacking Republican Allen West for his "plantation" remarks while giving liberal Cornel West a pass for the same offense.
On Tuesday morning, anchor Carol Costello played a clip of West decrying the "21st century plantation" for blacks and suggested that such a statement hurt the GOP's minority outreach. However, when liberal Cornel West ripped the "Obama plantation" and said Al Sharpton was its "head house Negro" on Sunday's New Day, neither CNN co-host called him on it. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
CNN anchor Chris Cuomo's brother is the Democratic Governor of New York, yet he made no disclosure of that relationship on Monday while reporting on the state's Democratic Attorney General suing Donald Trump.
In fact, Cuomo interviewed both men on Monday's New Day but Trump was the one to spill the beans about the Cuomo family ties: "Your brother would know much better, but they were soliciting us during the investigation for campaign contributions to our attorney general who's a total lightweight, by the way. You know that, I know that." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
CNN's global economic analyst says many companies are just using Obamacare as an "excuse" to make employee health insurance cuts they already planned to make.
"[H]health care inflation is between seven and ten percent a year. And that's with or without Obamacare. So I do think that you're going to see a lot of companies using Obamacare and the ACA as an excuse to make changes in their plan that they might have been planning to make already," said Rana Foroohar on CNN Thursday afternoon.
CNN's Erin Burnett has not covered the IRS targeting scandal since May 22, yet she had time on Wednedsay's OutFront to report the mock-controversy that President Obama does not own a cat.
"Now, there is a major story of controversy at the White House," Burnett began her "Outtake" on Wednesday about the Obamas' new dog. "Cat owners are up in arms that President Obama did not choose a cat. The cat lobby thinks with 39 percent of American households owning at least one cat, the President is cutting out a huge group of American voters."
[UPDATED] Not surprisingly, CNN's Piers Morgan used last Friday's indiscriminate murder of an Australian student in Oklahoma to push for more gun control. His shilling for stronger gun laws has become a tired story.
On his Tuesday night show, Morgan lamented "What is wrong with America that it has to be partisan? That you have to be if you're pro-gun, you're Republican so therefore you can't bring in gun control. If you're anti-gun outrages as I am, apparently you're some liberal freak. What is wrong with the argument in America that makes it so nonsensical?" He also took his outrage to Twitter.
Are stronger gun laws in the U.S. inevitable? CNN's Brooke Baldwin seemed to think so on Wednesday, asking "when" a majority of the country will back stricter gun control and not "if" they will.
"[I]f you talk about intensifying [gun] laws, I guess this is my final question, and to both of you. When do you ever think – let's say 10 years, 50 years – that the majority of the country will be on the side of Marc Lamont Hill?" Baldwin asked her guests. The liberal Lamont Hill had pushed for "intensifying" existing gun laws. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Well that's a loaded comparison. On Wednesday's New Day, CNN's Chris Cuomo boosted immigration reform as a policy of "let's bring in our human potential" while marginalizing opponents as simply saying "let's find a way to get them out."
Cuomo's simplistic analysis came during his interview with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Cuomo is the brother of New York's current Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo and his father was the state's former Democratic governor Mario Cuomo, so perhaps his immigration take mirrors the Democratic family slant. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
CNN's Carol Costello said public opinion of Obamacare is "pretty evenly split" when recent polls are showing a double-digit gap between support and opposition of the law, with more people opposing the law than supporting it.
"Well most of the polls I've seen, it's pretty evenly split, right?" Costello interrupted her guest Will Cain, who had argued "Almost every poll now, over 50 percent of Americans oppose Obamacare and why wouldn't they?" [Video below the break. Audio here.]
CNN has ignored two warnings that Obamacare's privacy protection may be at risk when the state exchanges open October 1, which could leave participants open to the threat of identity theft.
An Inspector General report recently detailed how the security system was months behind schedule, and last week 13 state attorneys general wrote to HHS Secretary Sebelius warning of a possible "privacy disaster" in Obamacare. CNN has not yet reported either warning.
Lee Daniels, director and producer of the new film "The Butler," lashed out on Monday's Piers Morgan Live at Americans who are "angry that [Obama] is president" and who are "showing their true colors."
Host Piers Morgan teed him up, asking if "America is a more or less racist country since Barack Obama became president?" Daniels responded that "sadly I think so." Actor Lenny Kravitz had a more positive analysis but supported Daniels' assertion about many Americans. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
The RNC's communications director slammed CNN Films on Monday over its hiring of producer Courtney Sexton, who worked on liberal documentaries An Inconvenient Truth and Climate of Change.
The RNC had already voted to keep CNN and NBC from hosting any 2016 GOP primary debate because of planned productions on Hillary Clinton by CNN Films and NBC Entertainment. Since Sexton would be working on the Clinton film, the RNC argued her liberal credentials vindicate their case for railing against the film.
After the Republican National Committee voted to refuse CNN and NBC from hosting 2016 GOP primary debates, NBC took two days to even mention the news before again ignoring it. In fact, CBS spent more time covering the boycott of NBC than NBC itself did.
The RNC threatened a boycott after CNN Films and NBC Entertainment both planned productions on Democrat Hillary Clinton as she is predicted to run for president in 2016. At Friday's summer meeting, the RNC made good on its threat, but NBC reported it only once.
What's going on at CNN? On Thursday afternoon CNN's Athena Jones called the Missouri rodeo clown controversy a "firestorm," but CNN's tone changed within a matter of hours.
On Thursday night's Piers Morgan Live, Morgan admitted "it's all a bit silly" and agreed with Newt Gingrich that the outrage over the stunt "is all a bit ridiculous." Then on Friday morning, anchor Carol Costello huffed, "May I be blunt? This whole controversy is being blown way out of proportion and it's just kind of stupid now." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
NewsBusters reported the other night that during a debate on guns, CNN's Piers Morgan falsely claimed that according to FBI statistics, Virginia had the highest murder rate in the country in 2009. Over 38 hours later, Piers apologized and admitted "It didn't."
This came at a pivotal moment in the debate as Morgan's pro-gun opponent had cited Virginia's falling violent crime rate coinciding with its rising gun sales. By labeling Virginia the number one murder state as of only four years ago, and appealing to authority to support his claim, Morgan put his guest on the defensive with a completely false statistic not anywhere close to the truth. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
CNN's Chris Cuomo had a sharp message on Thursday's New Day for Republicans looking to get re-elected simply for opposing Obamacare.
"Any jackass can kick down a barn. But it takes a good man or woman to build one," Cuomo lectured Republicans. "The politics of 'they stink' is not enough anymore. You need to get better than that," he added before noting that "both parties" are to blame. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
13 GOP state attorneys general sent a letter to HHS Secretary Sebelius on Wednesday detailing serious concerns over Obamacare's privacy protections and warning of a "privacy disaster waiting to happen." As of Thursday afternoon, CNN has yet to report the letter that Politico and The Washington Times picked up.
"As chief legal officers of our states, we are concerned that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ("HHS") has failed to adequately protect the privacy of those who will use the assistance programs connected with the new health insurance exchanges," the letter began.
On Thursday morning, neither ABC nor CBS labeled former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. a Democrat as they reported on his 30 month jail sentence. NBC's Today did not report Jackson's sentence on Thursday, but on Wednesday they covered it without identifying him as a Democrat.
"Jesse Jackson, Jr. will spend two and a half years in prison. The former Illinois congressman was sentenced Wednesday," reported Charlie Rose, co-host of CBS This Morning. ABC's Josh Elliot said on Good Morning America that "former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for misusing campaign funds, spending $750,000 on things such as a gold Rolex and 500 dollar dinners."
[UPDATE BELOW] Trying to refute his guest's argument that "more guns equal less crime," CNN's Piers Morgan fell flat on his face on his Tuesday night show.
When guest A.W.R. Hawkins cited Virginia as an example where violent crime fell in 2012 as gun sales increased, Morgan answered that "It's Virginia, the very state you just quoted to me actually has the highest murder rate in the country. According to 2009 statistics by the FBI." Morgan's assertion was entirely false, according to the FBI's 2009 report on crime. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
[UPDATED BELOW] CNN has yet to report another significant setback to Obamacare. The limits on out-of-pocket healthcare spending have been delayed a year but CNN has not mentioned the news.
As the New York Timesreported, "under a little-noticed federal ruling, federal officials have granted a one-year grace period to some insurers" before a "limit on out-of-pocket costs" kicks in. The result could be that insurers "set higher limits, or no limit at all on some costs, in 2014."
Liberal Piers Morgan is still fond of the twice-disgraced Anthony Weiner and is wondering if he'll make another comeback after the present New York mayoral race.
"Having said all this, there's something about Anthony Weiner I can't help liking. He's a very intelligent guy," Morgan admitted on his Monday show. "I've seen him make speeches at big events where he's brought the house down and been very funny and very charming. And whenever I've had to deal with him myself, I've always liked the guy." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
ABC's Jonathan Karl admitted "it's hard to take Trump seriously," yet he spent almost a minute of his report on Monday's Good Morning America playing up Donald Trump's possible 2016 candidacy amidst Trump's birther questions. He also hyped Hillary Clinton's potential candiacy.
In contrast Karl gave just 7 seconds to 2012 GOP candidate Rick Santorum, who appeared at the Iowa State Fair over the weekend and roused speculation of a 2016 run. Almost a whole minute of Karl's report focused on Trump. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Liberal Jane Fonda plays Nancy Reagan in a very brief appearance in the film "The Butler," but ABC's Good Morning America hyped the cameo as "very impactful" and "remarkable" in a flatter-fest on Monday.
"It's remarkable. It's not a big role, but it's very impactful," co-host Lara Spencer said. "It's a 20-second appearance in the movie. But it was jam-packed with excitement," Fonda admitted. ABC's puffery for the liberal activist led to a vulgar chat about her Newsroom character's bedroom escapades. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Alarm bells are ringing over the status of Obamacare's privacy protection system, which is scheduled to start October 1 despite missed deadlines in getting it ready to operate. CNN has made no mention of the Inspector General report on the missed deadlines.
Reuters said the government was "months behind" in testing the system's security, where personal information would be stored to determine a person's eligibility for subsidies in purchasing health insurance at state exchanges. If the system was rolled out as scheduled before it was ready, "The most likely serious security breach would be identity theft," Reuters said.
CNN regular LZ Granderson said on Thursday's Erin Burnett OutFront that "black people would still be out in the field" if Americans had a choice. It wasn't the only wacky statement made on the show.
"I'm sure black people, if they were put to a vote, black people would still be out in the field. So, let's not talk about morality put up to a vote," Granderson said during a debate about the NFL mascot "Redskins." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
CNN had extensive coverage on Wednesday of President Obama's interview with NBC's Jay Leno, but only two CNN hosts actually challenged some of the President's claims during the 11 different news hours that played clips of the interview.
One of Obama's statements went completely unchallenged for the entire day. The President said that "we don't need a huge government, but we need government doing some basic things," in reference to infrastructure. He added that the country needs to "make sure we don't waste money."
RNC chair Reince Priebus went on CNN on Tuesday and castigated the network for "promoting" Hillary Clinton and her "cult of personality" before the 2016 election. CNN films will be producing a documentary on Clinton, who may run for president in 2016.
On OutFront, Priebus explained, "we ought not have moderators and companies that are in the business of promoting a Democratic opponent three years before an election." He later told host Erin Burnett that the GOP could "move on" without partaking in a 2016 primary debate hosted by CNN. "The sun doesn't rise and set with CNN and NBC," he asserted. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
For CNN, "purist" Republicans are daring to shut down the government to defund Obamacare while those Republicans trying to dissuade them are "pragmatists."
New Day co-host Kate Bolduan borrowed from the New York Times to play her label game. "Yeah, and I think the New York Times put it pretty well. It's the difference between the purists and the pragmatists. And there's that struggle in the party right now." [Video below the break. Audio here.]