The traditional sources of American media in the post-cable area have come under extreme heat over the past two decades. Many of the complaints are justified, while some complaints themselves are merely an echo of viewer bias. We should never kid ourselves; as long as humanity picks the news, creates the production, and makes editorial choices on what is seen, and how those stories are shown, bias was and forever will be in the news. Still, the rise of cable news brought competition, and with real competition came the need to draw viewers both from an existing pool of news consumers and from new audiences. This information race soon devolved into sensationalism. From sensationalism and objectification of stunningly attractive news readers followed the move to segment watchers by preferred political content. Now, the news is what we decide to watch, and what we don’t decide to watch, we often call “fake news.” Make no mistake, fake news that is completely false also has been around forever. Now, on the internet, we can’t even determine what is fake news because some fact-checkers are fake. Fake news, however, is completely different from, and in some ways, far less dangerous and insidious than biased and slanted news that mixes real events with political bias and fake or faulty conclusions, all packed and packaged as news by an otherwise “credible network,” like CNN.
CNN has provided us the perfect example of the dangerous use a mainstream media franchise to mix fact, opinion, and bias, to create news designed to fit a political narrative while cloaked in the authenticity of reporting. It is this profound misuse of the public trust that infuriates media watchers, and it is examples like the one I discuss below that are the source and basis of the claim that CNN is fake news. I don’t think CNN is fake news. I think they have some outstanding news readers, and in Jake Tapper a strong journalist. I think their reporting and resources are strong, and their panelists are all well-established, even if their mainstreamness … such as radicals like Van Jones … is a CNN myth. Don’t be fooled, however, CNN is biased news. It is slanted, and at times, if is radically slanted “news” that tries to eschew the appearance of infotainment while providing the real effect of creating a “news” narrative to fit a political view.
I am not here to pick solely on CNN. With each mainstream news source or cable network, a media watcher could find bias. In some cases, the “news” contains maddening forms of bias, tomfoolery, and buffoonery. How each network creates their broadcast is certainly different. I always appreciated, for example, that FOXNEWS, a profoundly biased media outlet, clearly set out the lines of infotainment and opinion from its newscast. No one thinks Mr. O’Reilly is news, or even a no spin zone. Sean Hannity is not news. These are opinion shows. When Brett Baier or Sheppard Smith come on, I get news. Do I get some inherent bias like I describe above? Of course I do.
On CNN, however, opinion and news are deliberately mixed all day on each show. The implication of their programming is that it is all news, and unlike FOX, not engaged in political opinion pushing or infotainment. That false and misleading perception is by design, and it is one of the great political lies of the century. Nothing is more disturbing than CNN’s use of flagrant bias hiding behind the veneer of news. It’s dishonest, if only because the deception is aimed at the masses who cannot tell the difference between news and opinion.
Today, CNN set out a great example of how it creates a “News Story” to fit a political narrative that changes the facts of a story to fit a conclusion or outcome that is false. It is a story or outcome CNN uses to deceive viewers, and in some cases enrage and enrage the political left. CNN posted a description of an interview related to violence, riots, assaults, terror, and political anarchy that took place when masked radicals and crazed liberal set fire, destroyed property, and forced UC Berkeley to cancel the invited student speech of a gay, conservative, foreign political activist, Milo Yiannopoulos. If one reads the CNN description, one might be lead to believe that “Milo” as he is known, spoke, made a call to white supremacists, and as a result triggered protests. A person who would create that type of false narrative, disconnected from facts or reasonable conclusion, ought not work in “news” at CNN.
Here is what CNN wrote:
Let’s digest this post. First, “Milo” is described as an “extremist.” This is a political conclusion, and even if one thought it an accurate description, CNN uses the term mostly for violent terrorists. Milo is not a violent terrorist. Likewise, while his views may be radical to some, including me … as I am not a fan or follower … he is no more radical than others CNN have foisted on their audiences under the guise of being objective analysts, this includes “former” communist Van Jones. Likewise, CNN described prior controversial figures like fraudster Al Sharpton, and BLM and New Black Panther members as activists. They easily fit the rubric of “extremist” under this new standard. The use of the word “Extremist” was cast on Mr. Yiannopoulos to immediately cue viewers to think of him in the most radical terms, and to believe that whatever happened was both his fault, and that he was not worthy of any sympathy. What “extremist” is?
The CNN Post then described the “event” as Milo’s event at Berkeley. It was not. Milo was invited to speak, as he does and has been by innumerable institutions and student groups. This event was a student initiated, student organized, student hosted event. Milo was to speak, at an elite college, to provide alternative, conservative views and opinions on political issues of the day. To be clear, Mr. Yiannopoulos never spoke. He never got to the event. The event never started. Milo never said anything. Despite how it reads, nothing “Milo” did “sparked” anything. The fear of Milo’s free speech and words and opinions others disagreed with and would not let be shared sparked the events of the evening. Those events may have started initially as a protest. They quickly became an all-out right. Property was damaged. People were attacked, beaten, and left injured and bloodied. Fires were set. Masked radicals scribbled messages like, “Kill Trump” on buildings. The violence and riot spilled into the streets, where drivers and vehicles were attacked. Banks and businesses were attacked. All of this happened, and Mr. Milo … never said a word. It was a full on riot to both stop speech and to intimidate and hurt anyone who stood up for the speech or the right to give it.
Nothing in CNN’s description properly conveys that truth or even relates newsworthy or accurate facts.
Still, CNN continues by suggesting that Milo then used the “protest” he “sparked” which was a “riot” he had “nothing” to do with to attack colleges and to then rally “white supremacists.” There is no evidence of that allegation. There is ample evidence of millions of hits, tweets, and posts, which suggest Americans of every color were angry, disappointed, and shocked by the radical riot. Among those angered included white people. Is some white supremacist out there answering the rally cry of the gay, foreigner named Milo? It’s possible. However, the riot by radicals was the impetus for anger.
With this profoundly untrue, false, deceptive, and deliberately damaging, message, CNN gave poof to its strongest detractors that it is “Fake News” and that it cannot be trusted as an impartial, or even partially partial, purveyor of authentic, trustworthy, reporting. For every individual associated with CNN, including the innumerable media pros, journalists, and real reporters, this message ought to be a clarion call for internal revolution and change. CNN has jumped the shark, and in so doing, has lent credence to the allegation that CNN is Fake News.
Author: Richard Kelsey
Richard Kelsey is the Editor-in-Chief of Committed Conservative.
He is a trial Attorney and author of the new book on higher education, “Of Serfs and Lords: Why College Tuition is Creating a Debtor Class”
Rich is a former Assistant Law School Dean and Law Professor. At Mason Law Kelsey conceived of, planned, and brought to fruition Mason’s Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property, known as CPIP, drawing on his expertise as a former CEO of a technology company specializing in combating cyber-fraud.
Before returning to private practice, Rich taught legal writing and analysis and an advanced litigation seminar. In 2014 he was elected by the graduating class as the faculty speaker at their graduation.
He is a regular commentator on legal and political issues in print, radio and on TV. Rich has appeared on hundreds of stations as a legal expert or political commentator. He provided the legal analysis for all stages of the Bob McDonnell trial and appeal for numerous outlets including NPR and WMAL.
Rich also writes on occasion for the American Spectator and CNSNews.com.
In his free time, Rich is part of the baseball mafia of Northern Virginia, serving on numerous boards and as a little league and travel baseball coach.
His Twitter handle is @richkelsey.