CNN failing to accept Brazile scandal severity

Published 7:29 pm Friday, November 11, 2016

By Jim Paxton
The Paducah Sun

Cable network CNN’s allegiance to the left is no secret, no more than the affinity of Fox News for conservative points of view.
It has long been so. Back in the days when Bill Clinton occupied the White House the standing joke was that CNN stood for Clinton News Network. Before Clinton, when Ted Turner (then-married to Jane Fonda) owned the network, conservatives routinely referred to CNN as the Communist News Network.
We don’t get too exorcised about such things. Bias after all is in the eye of the beholder. People who don’t like the political bent of CNN don’t have to watch it. Many choose not to. This year Fox News is beating CNN by more than 2-to-1 in the ratings. In fact, one ratings month this summer CNN came in behind the Home Gardening Network.
CNN nonetheless enjoys an important place at the table when it comes to moderating presidential debates and town halls. That may be in jeopardy, however, after revelations that Donna Brazile, while working as a paid commentator for the network, fed at least two and probably more debate questions in advance to the Hillary Clinton campaign. Brazile subsequently became chairperson of the Democratic National Committee.
CNN put Brazile on hiatus when she took the DNC job this summer. But Brazile was fired from her paid position at CNN a few days ago after Wikileaks documents revealed she had sent the questions to the Clinton campaign. There is evidence to suggest Brazile obtained one of the questions from a commentator for TV One, which co-hosted one of the town halls with CNN. It remains unclear whether the other question or questions Brazile forwarded came from within the network itself.
While CNN has never seemed to worry too much about the idea of neutral reporting, there does remain in some corners of journalism the quaint notion of ethics. Slanting coverage is one thing. Rigging a presidential debate is quite another. And much of the journalism world is not letting CNN off the hook with simply firing Brazile.
No less than the Washington Post ripped the network this week for its scant reporting on its own scandal and for efforts by some of its on-air commentators to minimize it, even to the point of denying that Brazile was fired (she “resigned” instead, it was argued).
Brazile has also been roundly criticized by publications on the left and right for shamelessly lying about the matter, most notably in an interview with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly. Brazile asserted that the Wikileaks-disclosed emails — between her and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta — had been doctored by Russian hackers. She claimed she was being “persecuted.”
We suppose it surprises no one that the Clinton campaign showed no compunction about being the beneficiary of Brazile’s underhanded conduct. Ethically this sort of thing is right in the Clinton wheelhouse. FBI director James Comey unmasked lie after lie told by Clinton with regard to her personal email server when he was questioned on the subject by Rep. Trey Gowdy at a now-famous congressional hearing. The notion that the campaign has no issue with cheating in a debate doesn’t even raise eyebrows among most of the media.
Still, it’s the sort of thing that makes you want to take a bath. Such antics are the reason Americans are so fed up and distrustful of mainstream politicians. It is the reason populist candidates like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders suddenly resonate with many people. The fact that CNN finds itself married to such chicanery is an albatross the news organization will find difficult to shed for some time to come.