As Joe Concha reports on Mediaite, the media drumbeats are growing louder in the news media jungle, calling for Carol Costello to deliver an on-air apology when she returns to the CNN morning broadcast Monday. Various media critics, including the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple (whose judgement is inherently suspect after pronouncing the smug and biased CNN anchorwoman “outstanding”), Fox’s inconsistent Howard Kurtz, and even CNN’s own Brian Stelter, have declared unacceptable Costello’s vicious, personal, plainly partisan glee while introducing a tape of Bristol Palin giving her account of what she claimed as was a physical attack on her by a larger man. (Then there’s me.) Concha concludes,
“Throw in the growing-in-popularity hashtag (#firecarolcostello) on Twitter, a CNN Should Fire Carol Costello Facebook page, and a boatload of hypocrisy after she called for an ESPN analyst (Stephen A. Smith) to be suspended for insensitive comments he made about women’s abuse during the Ray Rice controversy, and you have an embattled anchor whose only option at this point is to ask for forgiveness on CNN (a mandatory two-week vacation afterward might not be a bad idea, either).”
As I explained at the time, Costello was wrong, and stupidly wrong, about Smith, as indeed she is wrong with remarkable frequency, and annoying even when she isn’t. Hypocrisy is only a small sliver of her problem, and no apology will cure what her gratuitous attack on Palin’s daughter reveals beyond question. She can express contrition to Bristol, but again, it doesn’t matter: her words, and the fact that she was unable to restrain herself sufficiently to avoid saying them on the air prove that she is unacceptably biased for a journalist. So great is her partisan hate that she takes glee in bodily harm being inflicted on the children of a popular conservative figure. So alien to Costello are the values of professionalism, fairness and respect for her viewers that she actually said, on the air, that her favorite part of the tape was the part where Palin said she had been called a cunt. She revealed that she isn’t trustworthy. Concha suggests that her comments were just on-air expressions of the kind of blatant bias journalists commonly display off camera. Wow, that’s some mitigating excuse, Joe: yeah, she’s vicious and biased, but you wouldn’t believe how many journalists are also vicious and biased. Well, now we know about Costello for certain: when the others slip up and reveal their lack of objectivity and professionalism, we can demand that they be fired too.
She revealed that she is so hostile to one whole side of the American political spectrum that her reporting cannot be regarded as credible. Costello may apologize for being cruel to Palin, but she cannot be forgiven for being an unethical journalist, and bad at her job.
She’s a disgrace, and no apology will change that. I’m sorry she’s a disgrace too. CNN should fire her, and if the network wants to retain any integrity, it will.