Forget Piers, Soledad, and Candy: CNN's D.C. Chief Claims They Never Took Sides for Obama

Tommy Christopher at Mediaite embarrassed himself in a servile interview with CNN Washington Bureau Chief Sam Feist, who, we’re told, “explained how preparation and perspiration helped deliver the night for his network, and cemented their brand, as they see it: the network you can trust.” Is this an interview, or a commercial? Even Mediaite reported Fox News easily won the night in prime time. CNN only won if you keep counting until 2 am, or about three hours after the election was called and Republicans went to bed or flipped to sports.

Then Christopher let Feist claim – against all evidence – that at CNN, “our network is the only one that hasn’t picked sides in the election.” Forget Piers Morgan, forget Soledad O’Brien, or Carol Costello, or Candy Crowley “moderating” a debate in Obama’s favor:

"Our viewers trust us. I believe that our network is the only one that hasn't picked sides in this election, and I think that, on election night, that means something," Sam said, adding, "Viewers might expect one of the news channels to lean a certain way," a veiled shot at MSNBC. "We're not going to lean, we haven't picked sides in the election, they have. Even if the others call a race, we're perfectly happy for viewers to turn to us to find out, for sure, who the winner is."

...Although he tries to be diplomatic, there is an unmistakable superiority to Sam’s pride in his network’s down-the-middle brand. “Fox has decided that they want Mitt Romney to win,” he said, “and MSNBC has decided that they want Barack Obama to win, and they make it clear in their story selection, they make it clear with their anchor, and their guests.”

Where was the pushback from Christopher? Does Christopher ever watch CNN? He could have noted that Morgan gushed during Hurricane Sandy coverage that "whichever side you're on, you cannot say that President Obama has not so far done an excellent job." Or that Morgan told The Hollywood Reporter that "We should collectively as a network be more aggressive, more provocative, more debate-y."

Feist apparently brought up Crowley’s debate gaffe without any question from Christopher. But then, Christopher asked why Crowley seemed to back off her shoving Romney around:

Sam also brought up debate moderator Candy Crowley’s on-the-fly fact-check of Mitt Romney  on the President’s response to the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi, Libya. I asked him why Crowley then decided to follow up a cut-and-dried read-back of a transcript by volunteering a more subjective defense of Romney.

“You could argue that, in a larger sense, the administration did try to distance itself from the notion that it was a terror attack,” Sam replied. “Her mission , at that point, was to give the audience another opportunity, and say ‘Gentlemen, let’s move on.'"

Her mission, it seemed quite apparent, was to protect Obama against being questioned on Libya -- which led Romney to decide not to take on Obama aggressively on Libya in the third debate. CNN's "moderator" took a side, and changed the direction of the campaign. Lying about that now to publicists at Mediaite isn't going to remove the stain.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis