Quote Of The Day: Corrupt News Network Edition
-- Tim Rutten, LA Times Media Critic
Rutten says nothing I didn't say (here, here) about the failure of CNN's YouTube GOP debate, and the larger question of what passes (like a kid who can't read who gets advanced year after year) for debate in today's sensationalistic, breathless media environment -- but he says it with a burning fire in his belly.
Selecting a president is, more than ever, a life and death business, and a news organization that consciously injects itself into the process, as CNN did by hosting Wednesday's debate, incurs a special responsibility to conduct itself in a dispassionate and, most of all, disinterested fashion. When one considers CNN's performance, however, the adjectives that leap to mind are corrupt and incompetent.Rutten's point, echoing a legion of points, is that CNN biased the debate, whether out of ignorance, malice or incompetence, so that it was weighted towards issues they thought mattered to conservatives at the expense of the issues that really matter.
He leans on a Pew poll that shows 40% of Americans rank foreign affairs as our most important issue, followed by 31% who rank the economy first. Only 6% give immigration the highest mark, yet CNN spent 25 minutes on immigration.
So, why did CNN make immigration the keystone of this debate? What standard dictated the decision to give that much time to an issue so remote from the majority of voters' concerns? The answer is that CNN's most popular news-oriented personality, Lou Dobbs, has made opposition to illegal immigration and free trade the centerpiece of his neonativist/neopopulist platform. In fact, Dobbs led into Wednesday's debate with a good solid dose of immigrant bashing.I don't want to post any more of Rutten's column here because it might discourage you from reading the entire piece. It's worth three minutes of your time because it is an exceptionally blunt appraisal of the abject failures of those who hold broadcast licenses ... and because it's not that often you get to read the liberal LATimes accuse the liberal CNN of "intellectual venality" ... "wickedness" ... and of being "anathema to our system."
His network is in a desperate ratings battle with Fox News and, in a critical prime-time slot, with MSNBC's Keith Olbermann. So, what's good for Dobbs is good for CNN.
In other words, CNN intentionally directed the Republicans' debate to advance its own interests. Make immigration a bigger issue and you've made a bigger audience for Dobbs.
That's corruption ....