CNN: Conservative Guests are 'Controversial;' No Labels for Liberals

CNN, whose new ad claims that they "keep them all honest, without playing favorites," actually played favorites on Monday's Parker-Spitzer. Hosts Kathleen Parker and Eliot Spitzer failed to give ideological labels to their liberal guests, while clearly identifying Tim Phillips as being president of "Americans for Prosperity, a right-wing group" and labeling Bjorn Lomborg a "controversial author."

Parker and Spitzer's first guest was liberal Congressman Anthony Weiner, who appeared two minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour. The former liberal governor introduced Weiner as merely a "Democratic representative from New York." The American Conservative Union gave the congressman a zero rating in 2008 and 2009, with a lifetime rating of 5.14. The left-of-center Americans for Democratic Action named Weiner one of their "ADA Heroes" in the House in 2009. Clearly, the New York politician is a liberal, but neither host identified him as such.

Twelve minutes later, Spitzer introduced Lomborg: "Our 'Person of Interest,' today, is Bjorn Lomborg, a controversial author with a global reputation as a skeptic on climate change. A business professor and founder of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, Lomborg argues that the consequences of climate change are vastly exaggerated, and that money spent on climate change policy would be much more effective if it were used to fight major global problems like malaria eradication or water sanitation" This wasn't the first time the former New York governor gave him this label, as he referred to the Dane as a "controversial global warming skeptic" at the top of the hour.

The author isn't even the "skeptic" that the liberal CNN host made him out to be, as he stated during the segment that global warming is "manmade and it is a problem we need to tackle." But since he isn't an alarmist like Al Gore (Parker described Lomborg as the "anti-Al Gore"), the author was still given the "controversial" label.

Eliot Spitzer, CNN Host; & Kathleen Parker, CNN Host | NewsBusters.orgJust before the bottom of the hour, the two hosts brought on liberal activist and founder of Def Jam Records, Russell Simmons. Parker identified him as a "hip-hop and fashion mogul, financier, animal rights activist, avid Obama supporter, reality TV star, and author of the upcoming book, 'Super Rich.'" But even with the mentions of Simmons's animal rights cause (he criticized the media for not highlighting the "10 billion suffering farm animals") and his support for the President, the CNN hosts couldn't give him an ideological label.

Parker and Spitzer brought on Philips, an ideological conservative, immediately after their segment with Simmons. The liberal host of "Client Number Nine" infamy made his guest's political leanings immediately clear from the outset:

SPITZER: Our 'Headliner' tonight is Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity, a right-wing group who Barack Obama claims was at the center of questionable Republican campaign spending in 2010. He called out the group at least 19 times in campaign speeches, a highly unusual level of attention from the President.

PARKER: Phillips is a major player in the rise of the Tea Party. His organization has invested heavily in the fight against health care reform. Welcome, Tim.

PHILLIPS: Nice to be here.

PARKER: How do you feel about being identified as a right-wing activist group? Is that accurate?

PHILLIPS: (laughs) I think 'free market' is the word, but we'll take whatever.


The two CNN hosts concluded the hour with their regular panel discussion segment which they call "Our Political Party." The panel consisted of Max Kellerman, a CNN contributor and HBO boxing analyst; The Daily Beast's Elise Jordan, whom Parker described as "a former speechwriter for Condoleezza Rice and also travels frequently to Afghanistan;" and John Avlon, also of The Daily Best, who regularly bashes conservatives. Despite this record, the pseudo-conservative host labeled Avlon an "aggressive centrist."

This favoritism towards liberals isn't limited to the Parker-Spitzer program. The MRC's Rich Noyes pointed out on November 12 that CNN also played "favorites" during the last four weeks prior to the midterm election. The network's liberal guests during this period outnumbered the conservative guests by a more than three-to-two margin, 61% to 39%.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center