I just watched CNN’s Jack Cafferty, on Wolf Blitzer’s “The Situation,” do one of the most despicable hit jobs I’ve ever seen. He ripped into Virginia’s Sen. George Allen as if Allen were some sort of David Duke type. He intimated that Allen was lying about having only recently discovered that his mother was Jewish as a child. He made Allen’s stock option kerfuffle–a perfectly believable misunderstanding: after all, the options haven’t been worth a dime under current pricing–sound like a major ethical violation. Cafferty all but said that Allen is a raving racist. And he said it is unbelievable that such a lout could possibly still be leading in the polls. And so on.
Question for CNN: When, oh when, will you ever let a conservative do such a hit job against a liberal in a commentary during what otherwise is (supposedly) a straight news hour??? Do your producers have even a sliver of character themselves? How can they possibly claim to be fair when they so consistently skew things in the same direction?
It is perfectly possible to present news that fits reasonable standards of objectivity and balance and fairness even if you yourself have strong ideological opinions. The trick is to ACKNOWLEDGE, in your own mind, that you have such a bias, and therefore to double-check everything you do, and even have a good third party also double-check it, to make sure that your bias isn’t creeping sub rosa into your coverage. (That’s what I did when I was editing a weekly in New Orleans. And not a single liberal ever complained that our straight news items were written with a rightward bias.)
I hereby challenge CNN to let somebody right-leaning balance Cafferty, perhaps on alternating days, in its “Situation” commentary. While I’m at it, I volunteer for the job. And I guarantee that I could do it in a way that, even if liberals didn’t agree with what I said, would not strike them–as Cafferty’s commentary struck me–as being sneeringly obnoxious and utterly unfair.
Meanwhile, let it be known that Cafferty may be a fine fellow, but he came across today as a supercilious jerk.
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