Spitzer Boosters at Boston Globe Hail Client #9 Show As Sign of CNN's Stand for 'Traditional News Values'

Why is The Boston Globe sucking up to CNN? In an unsigned staff editorial on Tuesday, the Globe warned TV critics to "back off" CNN for hiring "fresher voices" like Eliot Spitzer, the disgraced ex-Governor of New York and pseudo-conservative Kathleen Parker. They strangely claimed that somehow Spitzer won't be partisan, but he will be "candid" -- like in his political career?? He's "forever marred" by his transactional sex, but also a superior host because of it? 

Yes, Spitzer will forever be marred by his use of prostitutes, but the demise of his political career has freed him up to be far more candid than the average moonlighting politico. Parker, a voice of common-sense conservatism, is notable for her willingness to break with the GOP herd; in 2008, she wrote that Sarah Palin lacked important qualifications for national office.

Another Crossfire this won’t be: Spitzer and Parker will probably be unpredictable and sometimes contrarian. They might even agree on some things — an entirely welcome development. Throwing ideological chum to the partisan masses will always draw ratings, but it rarely leaves viewers better informed.

Anyone who thinks Client #9 isn't going to be a partisan Democrat isn't watching his recent TV appearances, attacking the GOP as the "party of nihilism." But the Globe mourns how Fox News and MSNBC are ruining the political culture, while CNN is a PBS-style oasis by comparison:

The fate of CNN is of more than casual interest, because it is the lone holdout on cable news promising in-depth reporting and non-ideological analysis. Its rivals, Fox and MSNBC, have chosen to preach to the converted, fueling a culture of outrage and denunciation. Their effects on American political dialogue have been widely noted, and widely condemned. CNN is the best hope for a revival of traditional news values on cable.

This is a weird stance coming from the Boston Globe, better known for partisanship that traditional objectivity. Please recall Brent Baker on the April 2009 column by Peter S. Canellos, the paper's Washington bureau chief, titled 'In a Stroke of Brilliance, Obama Defies Easy Caricature.'

A year ago, Baker found an article lamenting anti-Obamacare protesters in “Foes' decibels replace debate on healthcare: Protesters' yells at meetings frustrate Democrats' push.” Reporter Lisa Wangsness rued: "This summer, the Rockwellian ideal of neighbors gathering to discuss community issues in a neighborly way is gone, replaced by quarrelsome masses hollering questions downloaded from activist websites".

The Globe also loves ABC's new choice of Christiane Amanpour and her new America-bashing internationalist version of "This Week" on Sunday mornings: 

Broadcast TV is far less culpable for the coarsening of public dialogue, but like all media, it has some ingrained bad habits of its own. The broadcast equivalent of the highly ideological cable host is the super-inside political reporter — someone who betrays no opinions but reliably relates the Beltway consensus. It’s a useful perspective, but a limited, almost willfully stunted one.Thus, it was a breath of fresh air to see Christiane Amanpour, the legendary foreign correspondent, move into the anchor chair of ABC’s “This Week,’’ single-handedly broadening the perspective of the Sunday-morning interview shows. Of course, she, too, was swatted down by some capital critics, led by Tom Shales of The Washington Post, for lacking the proper political chops. Spitzer, Parker, and Amanpour represent a legitimate attempt by TV news executives to sell substance and offer fresh perspectives. More than just ratings are riding on their success.
Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis