Should CNN have its access denied? That questions was recently addressed in an Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children article which was headlined, “Sean Hannity Agrees With Twitter User that CNN shouldn’t have Press Credentials- What Do You Think?” That last sentence is where the author made her mistake- an open invitation for misguided children to respond.
Banning them might be a rights violation, even if they’re putzes
In answer to the question, I don’t believe CNN’s press credentials, or those of any other legitimate news organization should be revoked, as that would be a tantamount to a violation of 1st amendment rights. Although the 1st Amendment specifies only that Congress, shall make no law “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press”, abridgment of speech by virtually any government agency is largely regarded as a rights violation.
CNN’s blatantly biased political news coverage is detestable. What’s equally offensive is that most of the network’s commentators are, in my opinion, putzes, who use their positions to promote their personal agenda (more to come on that subject).
The OAPs – On Air Putzes
But CNN (and its mainstream brethren) has a right to express its point of view, and to have said points of view promulgated by OAPs (On Air Putzes).
The right to express opinions is an American mandate, one that was described with profound clarity by fictitious president Andrew Shepard in the movie “The American President.”
“America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You’ve gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say, “You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.” You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free.” Andrew Shepard, fictional President
However, the exercising of a right is accompanied by responsibility and accountability. The 1st Amendment prohibits Congress from making laws that abridge freedom of speech, but that prohibition does not imply a right to make threats or to slander, libel or defame.
And although it might seem that a news organization has an ethical mandate to accurately report news events, and to clearly distinguish between news and opinion, no such mandate, other than public acceptance and response, exists.
The breaking news banner that wasn’t- breakdown in ethics
Which brings us to a relatively minor, but revealing case in point related to CNN, its OAPs and a lack of an ethical compass. I rarely watch CNN, except when I’m looking for “Putz of the Year” candidates, but recently I was in a restaurant that had CNN on the televisions placed throughout the dining area.
This was at least a week after the video of the Donald Trump/Billy Bush conversation became public. For almost half an hour, CNN ran a “Breaking News” banner across the screen that referenced Trump’s comments about sexual exploits.
At that late date, it clearly wasn’t breaking news and the newscasts that were presented behind the banner covered completely different subjects, some of which actually qualified as “breaking news.” The continuous running of the banner was an obvious attempt to maximize an opportunity to discredit Trump.
The prolonged display of a “Breaking News” banner that contained information that was neither breaking nor news, is, in light of blatant misrepresentations in reporting, a relatively minor issue. Yet it speaks of the far-reaching ethical corruption within CNN.
In running the banner, CNN broke no laws, yet it did violate what should have been an overriding ethical code of not using news to promote a private agenda. If the network management wanted to maintain some amount of integrity while attacking Trump, it should have called on one of its OAPs to present a commentary clearly identified as opinion.
Liberal bias should be countered by a strong president
CNN isn’t the only media outlet to apply liberal amounts of bias and impropriety to its news reporting: The New York Times has also wallowed in the swamp of odious reporting. In spite of the publisher’s claim to rededicate the newspaper to fairness, scrutiny and independence, accompanied by a plea for reader loyalty, The Times seems bent on continuing to perpetuate its liberal bias.
In spite of the array of blood-pressure elevating comments that will continue to be served through the mainstream media, Trump should not deny credentials to any legitimate news organization. He should provide appropriate access all reporters, even those who are known to be biased.
He should be the American President who has the strength and conviction to “acknowledge the men and women whose words make his blood boil as they stand center stage advocating at the top of their lungs that which he would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of his.
He should facilitate their every opportunity to publish their words—many of which they will ultimately come to eat, along with servings of humble pie and egg scraped from their faces.