CNN, Burying the News to Protect Its Own

Come on, CNN! Who do you expect us to believe---you, Piers Morgan, or Paul?

Here is a suggested rule of reason for integrity-challenged media organizations. If they are intent on being so venal and cynical as to hire high-profile low-lifes who inflate ratings at the cost of the organization’s credibility, they can at least make their new employees agree that in the event of the inevitable scandal or embarrassing revelation, the infamous/dubious quasi-journalist understands and agrees that his or her employers will cover the matter like locusts on a wheat field, and with just as much mercy.

Reason, however, like ethics, has very little place in American broadcast media these days. Even though Piers Morgan, the new Larry King on CNN, is awash in allegations of phone hacking from no less than the King Beatle himself, Paul McCartney, CNN itself is ignoring the story, using the pathetic excuse that it isn’t a story until there is smoking gun evidence or until Morgan actually has to testify in England.

Morgan, for his part, appears to be lying through his teeth. Once a British tabloid editor and no stranger to accusations of slimy journalistic practices, Morgan is denying accusations by ex-McCartney wife Heather Mills (Supported by Sir Paul) that Morgan hacked her phone, without explaining how he squares this with a 2006 interview in which he admitted to listening to a hacked Mills message. Isn’t it automatically news when the headline can read, “Paul Supports Ex-wife’s Claim that CNN Host Hacked Her Phone”?
Bloomberg News,, ABC, TIME, AP,CBS and over 2000 other sources have reported the story, but Morgan’s current employer, CNN, as of this writing, has not.  Protecting its own. Protecting its ratings. Trying to bury a story that’s embarrassing to it and a key employer.

As James Earl Jones used to intone, “THIS is CNN!”

This is also old hat for CNN, as it recently managed to pretend that then-host Eliot Spitzer wasn’t on the list of famous sex-scandal-disgraced politicians when the Weiner story was hot. Strange, isn’t it? All those news talk shows, and yet Tom Snyder, Charlie Rose, David Susskind, Edward R. Murrow and the rest never seemed to become liabilities as the result of scandalous behavior in their past. Why is that, do you think?

Might it be because in those days, the news organizations were interested in trustworthiness, honesty, experience and reliability, not just buzz and infamy?

2 thoughts on “CNN, Burying the News to Protect Its Own

  1. I’ve long said that there are three forms of bias in the news, and liberal bias is the least of them. This is an example of the second one.
    (Sadly, I remember years ago when NBC news suffered a huge embarrassment when they neglected to report a negative story about their parent company, G.E. Ah, the good old days!)

    Here they are:
    1) “HEY!!! OVER HERE!!! LOOK AT ME!!!”, a.k.a. “YOUR CHILDREN WILL DIE within the hour unless you watch our special report at the very end of our newscast.”
    2) “I, the journalist, will NEVER EVER EVER do or say anything that might make me look the least bit foolish–which normally means that I will always report a story exactly the same way the rest of the news media is doing. (Or I’ll simply not report it.)”
    3) Liberalism > Conservatism every time. “After all, I got into this business because I want to change the world, not just to document it–that would be lame. I’m an activist.”

    And there are a couple of sub-forms that crop up:
    A) [A combination of #1 and #2] “I know better than you what stories to cover and not to cover, because I know what’s IMPORTANT.”
    B) [A variation of #2, often in combination with #3] “If new facts are brought to my attention that contradict a story or cast a story in a different light, I will not report the story differently. I’ll simply downplay (or ignore) those facts or wait until something else comes up that supports the premise of the original story.”


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