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CNN Uses Interview With Valerie Jarrett To Boast Of Its Objectivity

October 30, 2009

campbell Brown

Bill O’Reilly has been giving his on-air competitor Campbell Brown of CNN some free promotion the last couple of nights. The reason was Campbell’s interview with senior Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett, in which Jarrett refused to admit that the Obama administration’s attacks on Fox News for media bias left out obvious examples of media bias such as MSNBC. While claiming that the administration was not only targetting Fox, that’s essentially what she did during the brief interview:

BROWN: SO DO YOU THINK FOX NEWS IS BIASED?

JARRETT: WELL, OF COURSE THEY’RE BIASED. OF COURSE THEY ARE.

BROWN: DO YOU ALSO THINK THAT MSNBC IS BIASED?

JARRETT: WELL, YOU KNOW WHAT, THIS IS THE THING. I DON’T WANT TO — ACTUALLY, I DON’T WANT TO JUST GENERALIZE ALL FOX IS BIASED OR ANOTHER STATION IS BIASED. I THINK WHAT WE WANT TO DO IS LOOK AT IT ON A CASE-BY-CASE BASIS. AND WHEN WE SEE A PATTERN OF DISTORTION, WE’RE GOING TO BE HONEST ABOUT THAT PATTERN OF DISTORTION.

BROWN: BUT YOU ONLY SEE THAT AT FOX NEWS. THAT’S ALL — THAT YOU’VE SPOKEN OUT ABOUT, FOX.

JARRETT: WHAT THE ADMINISTRATION HAS SAID VERY CLEARLY IS THAT WE’RE GOING TO SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER.

Why did Campbell Brown use CNN’s airtime to defend Fox News? I think the answer lies in CNN’s dismal ratings.   It currently lags behind both Fox and MSNBC. She is trying to help her network project the image of being the only objective cable TV news station on the air, as opposed to those rabid extremists you find on the other two networks. 

Here is what Campbell Brown said on her program the night after her Jarrett interview aired:

Just as Fox News leans to the right with their opinionated hosts in primetime, MSNBC leans left. I don’t think anyone at Fox or MSNBC would disagree with that. In fact, both Fox News and MSNBC are… doing quite well in the primetime ratings by doing partisan opinion.

Look, if the White House wants to lead us in a conversation about bias in the media, and how we define journalism today, I would love that. Times have changed. It would be great to talk honestly about how we draw important distinctions between the various media outlets.

Some of us like my colleagues here at CNN are still trying to do journalism. I believe that journalists do have a crucial role to play in challenging our leaders no matter what their political persuasion, and in holding them accountable.

Opinionated cable news hosts have a valid but very different role. They either cheerlead or criticize and in doing so they connect with those who agree with them. They validate the opinions of those on the left and on the right. They provoke one another, fight with one another, and yes, they entertain us.

And in a polarized country, that gets big ratings. I’m not critical of what my friends at Fox News and MSNBC do. But it is apples and oranges when compared to what we at CNN do. And we should all just acknowledge that.

The problem with Campbell’s self-righteous pronouncement about CNN’s high-minded journalism is that it is not true. One obvious example is “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” which hardly anyone would call unbiased.  While Dobbs is right-leaning, expecially on the immigration issue, the vast majority of Campbell’s colleagues on CNN have a distinctly pro-Obama and left-leaning bias which they try to conceal under the veneer of journalism. Try as they might, though, the bias shows through.  Indeed, Brown herself lobbed such soft-ball questions at Obama during one of the debates between Obama and Hillary Clinton that “Saturday Night Live” parodied her to great effect.

Exhibit A of CNN bias under the veil of ‘objectivity’ is Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s chief international correspondent and anchor of “Amanpour,” a 30-minute, daily interview program that premiered on CNN International in September 2009.  Her special “God’s Warriors,” which aired on CNN a couple of years ago, was intended to prove moral equivalency among Islam, Christianity and Judaism by portraying these religions as equally violent at the extremes. Amanpour has also displayed her anti-Israel bias on various occasions.

Bill O’Reilly can afford to be generous in showing clips of his on-air competitor and praising her for fair-minded journalism, given the huge ratings disparity between “The O’Reilly Factor” and the “Campbell Brown” show. But in doing so, he is playing into CNN’s hands, which is desperately trying to re-capture some ratings by trying to define itself as the truly fair and balanced news network. CNN is just as biased as any other network. Its problem is that it is just plain boring.

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12 Comments
  1. pmh159 permalink
    October 30, 2009 9:52 am

    Campbell Brown is one of the main reasons as to why CNN’s rating have plummeted. Average looking white women with a child and nothing compelling about their personal lives is not interesting to watch. If it was about journalism, then fox news and msnbc would be way at the bottom. Rachel Maddow does well because she is gay. That pulls in a substantial audience. I’m totally fine with the news being biased in any way. Just say, “Hey, we’re fox news, and we’re not fair and balanced.” And then MSNBC could say, “Hey, we have boners for obama, and will continue to stay erect.” And then CNN could say, “We’re boring and old. Anderson Cooper does real work. Larry King looks like an Owl.” Another thing, Campbell does a lot of yelling and condescending talking to men. Men don’t like to be yelled at or put in their place. Loud Dobbs is a toolbag.

    therightchoicepolitics.com

    • Jack Hampton permalink
      October 31, 2009 4:31 am

      pmh159
      I hope this post was meant as humor? Who cares if Brown is average looking or has a child? Now I am not a male feminist as some claim but talk about sexist. News is not supose to be about a compelling story about there personal lives. I cannot say for a fact what Browns motives were for defending FOX but she was right. Fox news has opinion comentators that are seperate from there striaght news personel. Bill O’Really is an example Glenn Beck is another they are not news reporters they give opinion. Carl Cameron is a real news reporter and Major Garret is probably the only real reporter that is doing a credible job in the Whitehouse press corp that I am aware of. There is a difference.

    • donnamarie permalink
      October 31, 2009 5:22 am

      First, thank you Jack Hampton for defending us average looking white women with children.
      Second, pmh159 you are a complete ********* and I can go on. As for Campbell Brown, she is a television news personality on CNN, which means, to me and probably others, that she is fairly successful at what she does-despite the fact that she is an average looking white woman with “child”.

      • Jack Hampton permalink
        October 31, 2009 7:05 am

        Donnamarie
        It was my priviledge and honor. God Bless

  2. Jack Hampton permalink
    October 30, 2009 12:05 pm

    The problem for CNN is the horse has already left the barn. It will do no good for Campbell to close the door now. I have not watched CNN or NBC since the first gulf war. I will read a couple of stories that pop up but that is it. Hell I have been lied to by professionals so why waste my time with them when I can be lied to by Obama, Reid, and Polopsie. More and more people are appreciating GW Bush despite his obvious failings on the border and his ill conceived spending. The man was a tower of principal and integrity compared to the thugs in control now. Thanks McCain and the GOP.

  3. Jan Kusier permalink
    October 30, 2009 7:39 pm

    All news stations have their own agendas and biased. Fox is the least biased one. I stopped watching CNN and Campbell turns me off every time I hear her broadcasting.

  4. October 31, 2009 12:47 pm

    pmh159; Part of what you said is correct, “Campbell Brown is an average looking white women with a child and nothing compelling about her personal life.”
    I’ll bet she secretly wishes she was Sarah Palin.

  5. peachey permalink
    October 31, 2009 1:32 pm

    Ah, the the true beauty of cable is that you can block channels on the boob tube. Our family decided to block certain channels from even appearing on the tube. CNN, MSNBC, and a few others are among them. It is really nice to be able to surf the tube and not see the tap dancing fools at MSNBC appear on the screen.

    • Kevroc permalink
      November 1, 2009 6:10 am

      I just wish this blog wouldn’t have those pics of Olbermann and Maddow on the right hand side. I don’t want to see their faces everytime I read a blog post.

      😦

      • November 1, 2009 6:17 am

        Sorry Kevroc but those images are provoking lots of people to read Forsmark’s “Meltdown” series and the Birkel’s Maddow series. They’re generating a lot of extra traffic for us.

        • Kevroc permalink
          November 2, 2009 8:04 am

          Ahhh, must be all the new touch screen users. If I had one, I’d probably be visiting those series’ alot more as well due to numerous finger flicks.

          🙂

  6. Samuel permalink
    November 2, 2009 11:05 am

    Spot on article Joseph.

    Samuel

Comments are closed.